Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Toltecs

EQ 2020  mx_toltec / MxToltc

The Basin or Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly corresponding to modern-day Mexico City. Here, we are interested in the period when the Basin was under the control of a city known as Tula (c. 900-1199 CE). Some scholars have argued that Tula corresponded to Tollan, the capital of the Toltecs; according to the Aztecs as well as other Mesoamerican sources, the Toltecs were the Aztec’s hegemonic predecessors in the region. [1] Tula itself had up to 60,000 inhabitants. [2] The Basin of Mexico experienced an increase in the number of settlements, and archaeological data suggest that the rural population had access to the same material goods and trading networks as Tula. [3]
There is no evidence that Tula was the capital of an empire, but it is clear that its influence extended beyond the confines of the Basin of Mexico, and that it extracted food and other revenue from its surrounding region. The city’s many buildings with large halls and evidence for feasts and other types of large gatherings, as well as depictions of processions, suggest that, perhaps like Teotihuacan, it may have relied on an administrative system wherein power was distributed among different sectors of society. [4]

[1]: (Healan and Cobean 2012: 372) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/FZJZ92TE.

[2]: (Carballo 2019: pers. comm. to E. Cioni and G. Nazzaro)

[3]: (Healan and Cobean 2012: 377) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/FZJZ92TE.

[4]: (Healan and Cobean 2012: 380) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/FZJZ92TE.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[900 CE ➜ 1,199 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Language
Language Genus:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[30,000 to 60,000] people  
Polity Territory:
[20,000 to 25,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[150,000 to 200,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4  
Military Level:
2  
Administrative Level:
4  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
inferred present  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
inferred present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
inferred present  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
unknown  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present  
Irrigation System:
unknown  
Food Storage Site:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
unknown  
Transport Infrastructure
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Mnemonic Device:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Sacred Text:
unknown  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
present  
Information / Money
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Fortified Camp:
present  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
absent  
  Copper:
absent  
  Bronze:
absent  
Projectiles
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
inferred absent  
  Javelin:
inferred absent  
  Composite Bow:
inferred absent  
  Atlatl:
present  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
inferred absent  
  Polearm:
inferred absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
inferred absent  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
present  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
inferred present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
present  
Naval technology
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Toltecs (mx_toltec) was in:
 (900 CE 1199 CE)   Basin of Mexico
Home NGA: Basin of Mexico

General Variables
Identity and Location
Temporal Bounds

Political and Cultural Relations
Language

Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[30,000 to 60,000] people

"The Tollan phase (950AD-1150 or 1200) marks the major occupation of the capital, with the city [Tula][...] reaching an estimated population of 30,000-40,000". [1] David Carballo suggested a rough estimate of "50-60k" inhabitants for Tula at this time. [2]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 138) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.

[2]: (Carballo 2019: pers. comm. to E. Cioni and G. Nazzaro)


Polity Territory:
[20,000 to 25,000] km2

km2. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020.


Polity Population:
[150,000 to 200,000] people

"By about CE 1200, there were fewer than 200,000 people in the Basin". [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 438) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4

levels. The polity included Hamlets, Small Villages, Large villages and small provincial or regional centres. Information retrieved from table 5.13 of Sanders et al. 1979 [1]

[1]: (Sanders et al 1979: 138) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/L743EUD5.


Military Level:
2

levels. At least two tiers can be inferred for the Toltecs. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Administrative Level:
4

levels. "We could infer about 4 [tiers] earlier (Teo and Toltec) through art and architecture, but they are not textually documented." [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

Professional soldiers are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Professional Priesthood:
present

Professional priests are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Professional Military Officer:
present

Professional military officers are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

Government buildings are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Merit Promotion:
unknown

Unknown until the Aztec period. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Full Time Bureaucrat:
present

Full time bureaucrats are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Examination System:
unknown

Possible in the Aztec period, unknown before. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Likely unknown before the Aztec period. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Formal Legal Code:
unknown

Unknown for the Toltecs. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

"Other kinds of civic buildings [at Tula] one might expect to find with more excavation includes palaces, marketplaces, government storehouses, and calmecacs (priestly schools)".



Food Storage Site:
present

"Other kinds of civic buildings [at Tula] one might expect to find with more excavation includes palaces, marketplaces, government storehouses, and calmecacs (priestly schools)".



Transport Infrastructure
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent

"Absent in the Basin, present in lowland Mesoamerica c. 100 BCE-900CE." [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Script:
present

First evidence in Teotihuacan c. 200 CE. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Nonwritten Record:
present

First evidence in the Early Formative period (1500-1000 BCE). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Mnemonic Device:
present

Present since the Archaic Period c. 10 ka. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown

"Astronomical almanacs inferred for Classic period, c. 200-900, preserved from c. 1300 onwards." [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Sacred Text:
unknown

Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Possibly present in Teotihuacan. Present in the Basin by c. 1300 CE. [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Religious Literature:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Practical Literature:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Philosophy:
absent

"Known for the colonial period, maybe oral philosophy earlier." [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


History:
absent

Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Only records in the Basin are conquest records by the Aztec (1450-1519 CE). [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Fiction:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Calendar:
present

First evidence in Mesoamerica c. 500 BCE. Present at Teotihuacan c. 200 CE onwards. [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Information / Money
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications

Fortified Camp:
present

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Military use of Metals

Tula has yielded no metal of any kind, neither copper nor gold. [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 142) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Tula has yielded no metal of any kind, neither copper nor gold. [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 142) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Tula has yielded no metal of any kind, neither copper nor gold. [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 142) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Tula has yielded no metal of any kind, neither copper nor gold. [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 142) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Projectiles

"...slings may well have been used for greater distance." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 112) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Self Bow:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Javelin:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Composite Bow:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Atlatl:
present

Pyramid B had two rooms which were supported by four warriors carrying an atlatl and a bag of incense. [1] "Toltec arms included atlatls and darts, knives, and a curved club that I have labelled a short sword." [2]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 139) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.

[2]: (Hassig 1992: 112) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
present

"Toltec arms included atlatls and darts, knives, and a curved club that I have labelled a short sword." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 112) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


"Toltec arms included atlatls and darts, knives, and a curved club that I have labelled a short sword." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 112) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Polearm:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Dagger:
present

"Toltec arms included atlatls and darts, knives, and a curved club that I have labelled a short sword." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 112) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Battle Axe:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions and lists of Toltec weaponry.


Animals used in warfare

Not native to region.


Elephant:
absent

Not native to region.


Not native to region.


Although domesticated dogs were present during this period, [1] [2] their function is unclear (food and/or hunting), [3] [4] and war dogs were unknown in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish Conquest; indeed, Hassig lists war dogs among the new military "technologies" the Spanish introduced to the region in the sixteenth century [5] [6] [7]

[1]: Savolainen, P., Y. Zhang, J. Luo, J. Lundeberg, and T. Leitner. (2002) "Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of domestic dogs." Science 298:1610-1613.

[2]: Leonard, J. A., R. K. Wayne, J. Wheeler, R. Valadez, S. Guillén, and C. Vilà. (2002) "Ancient DNA evidence for old world origin of new world dogs." Science 298: 1613-1616.

[3]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 285.

[4]: Rosenswig, Robert M. (2015) "A Mosaic of Adaptation: The Archaeological Record for Mesoamerica’s Archaic Period." Journal of Archaeological Research 23(2): 115-162.

[5]: (Hassig 1992, 143) Hassig, Robert. 1992. War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. London; Berkeley: University of California Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/F76EVNU3/itemKey/E9VHCKDG

[6]: Hassig, Ross. (1988) Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 237.

[7]: Hassig, Ross. (1992) War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. Berkeley: University of California Press, pg.163.


Not native to region.


Armor
Shield:
present

"Toltecs [were] bearing spearthrowers and back shields". [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 402) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Scaled Armor:
absent

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Plate Armor:
absent

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Limb Protection:
present

"Protection against enemy darts was provided by a heavy padding of quilted cotton on the left arm". [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 140) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Leather Cloth:
present

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Laminar Armor:
absent

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Helmet:
present

"Headgear consisted of a pillbox-shaped hat". [1]

[1]: (Coe 1994: 140) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5DJ2S5IF.


Chainmail:
absent

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Breastplate:
present

"There were two types of armor, full body and left arm, both made of quilted cotton." [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 114) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Naval technology

Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.