General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 27 May 2019/12 Rabbit
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Professor Davíd Carrasco

Question for June 2013

Did the Aztecs have a particularly BAD ruler, like we had Henry VIII? Asked by St. Mary’s RC Pri School. Chosen and answered by Professor Davíd Carrasco.

Tizoc, Codex Telleriano-Remensis, folio 38v (detail)
Tizoc, Codex Telleriano-Remensis, folio 38v (detail) (Click on image to enlarge)

A fascinating question. Of course it depends on what you mean by a BAD ruler. Of the different Aztec rulers there are two in particular who have come under criticism. One is King Tizoc who ruled the shortest of all the rulers - from 1481 to 1486 and was murdered, it is rumored, because other members of the royal family resented his poor leadership. Some sources say he was poisoned and some say he was killed by sorcery.
The other ruler criticized for his leadership is Moctezuma the Second who some believe was too friendly to the Spaniards and allowed them to gain a foothold in the capital when they first arrived. Let me know what you think after you do more research there at St. Mary’s RC Pri School...

Scanned from our own copy of Codex Telleriano-Remensis by Eloise Quiñones Keber, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1995.

Professor Davíd Carrasco has answered 3 questions altogether:

Did the Aztecs have a particularly BAD ruler, like we had Henry VIII?

Was it true that the Aztecs believed that by wearing masks they took on extra powers?

Did the Spanish first meet the Aztecs during the day or at night?

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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Good question! Not that we’re aware of - and if they did, they certainly never seem to have used it...!