General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Sep 2017/13 Flint
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Photopack: Aztecs

Photopack: Aztecs

Steve Harrison and Jonathan Hewitt, Folens Ltd 1997

Generally well conceived and reproduced photo pack containing 10 x A4 colour card prints from primary sources plus one A3 poster and background info/activity book. The ‘key questions’ and ideas for activities are excellent.

Oddly, there are several errors/omissions:- p3 unimportant, but the Rivera mural reproduced in the pack is of the Huastec, not Toltec, civilization - and it’s printed the wrong way round!
p4 The Aztecs settled at Tenochitlan in 1325 (Year 2 House), not 1345
p5 The highest Aztec temples rose up 45m (150ft), not 20m
p6 Most sacrifical victims were captive warriors, not slaves
p6 The Codex Magliabecchiano (now in Florence) was not an Aztec manuscript and was in fact drawn after the conquest; this is an important fact when discussing (as the book rightly encourages) the classic drawing in the codex of human sacrifice: to answer the book’s own question, no, it couldn’t have been drawn by an eyewitness
p7 The ‘two calendars’ did not come together in 1519 - some sources say it happened in 1506, others in 1508, but definitely not in the year Cortés arrived; the coincidence the authors are alluding to is that of 1519 matching local calendar year One Reed, the year in which an avenging Quetzalcóatl was predicted to return to his people (though even this is in dispute, some claiming it was made up by the Spanish to help them validate the role of Cortés)
p8 No information is given on the artefacts it is suggested the children describe (from the Codex Borbonicus)! Incidentally, this codex is actually twice the height referred to by the authors, and - this is important as the codex page is enlarged in the photo pack - was overwritten by the Spanish after the conquest. There is wide disagreement as to whether it was originally drawn before the arrival of the Spanish or not.
p9 Most estimates of the population of Tenochtitlan in 1519 give a maximum of 250,000. The authors’ figure of 350,000 is definitely an over-estimate.