A concept drawing for the Mesoamerican Woman Warrior, representing the Mesoamerican Culture Such as the Aztec and Mayans and in the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited
, which is roughly based on the Middle ages covering 800 AD to 1400 AD. Nahuatl Tlahtoloyan is an erroneous term for the Nahuatl Speaking Alliance, loosely based on that of the Triple Alliance that dominated Central America in the Middle ages, better known as the Aztec Empire.
Inspired by the Music: Battle of Tolan
- Jeff van DyckThe Mesoamerican civilizations was a distant past, whose land and people were conquered and subjugated long ago by the Spanish Conquistadors, in their conquest of wealth and power in the new World. Alas, it was in this part of Central America that numerous highly developed civilizations coexist, like the Aztecs, Mayans, Zapotec and Mixtec, with their impressive masonry and architecture, extensive trade routes and highly sophisticated societies tha in many cases, comparable to those of the civilizations in the Old World. This drawing is dedicated to serve as a remembrance that before their fall at the hands of Old World civilizations, the land was ruled by the majestic Mesoamerican civilizations whose legacy shall remain in our imagination to this day.
Speaking of their Women, the mesoamericans did have their women participated in war/battle and were recorded in various historical sources and codex. Not to mention, given the dynamism of their societies, it was not uncommon to find women in position of power, much more than the Europeans from the old world from the same time period.
In this sketch, Ahuiliztli Tziquetzalpoztectzin
is drawn in a very stylized anachronistic war attires, combining the Mayan, Zapotec and Aztec style, (maybe the inca for the Sun decoartion on her headdress). Many warriors of the time did fight in little clothing, but there were also those that wore padded cloth and elaborate costumes like the famous Jaguar Warriors and Eagle Warriors. The highly decorated attires served as symbol of prestige, as well as source of inspiration during the battle, not to mention it would also be pretty disheartening to their enemies. Probably a more accurate depiction can be found in this drawing
This is probably my second attempt at drawing Mesoamerican culture in the historically wrong sketch series, as this part of tte world isn't really my specialty. But, apart from seing how the media depicts them as war-like savages and bloodthirsty people, bend on conquering their neighbors and sacrificing human to appease their Gods, I actually found out that the mesoamerican civilization is a quite interesting topic to study, more intriguing than that of the other history that I have read before, and my intention is to share what i have discovered with you
Now, there's plenty of anatomical errors in the drawing (as well as lack of details), but i was a bit lazy to redraw it again
. Also, I've been experimenting to include more backgrounds in my drawing, apart from the usual group of armed men behind the main characters to see if i can improve the overall scene. So any feedback is most welcomed
Now, before i begin to start detailing the history, I want to point out that I'm certainly no expert in this field and most of what I write is from what i have studied recently. So if you do find any errors, please do let me know and correct me
Lastly, I want to give my greatest thanks to Kamazotz
(formerly known as plummet serpent) for his feedback and information in my first drawing. His knowledge in the subject of Mesoamerica is without doubt, very admirable, and He also have the amazing talent to display his knowledge through his artworks. So i really recommend his gallery for you to check out
Around the time of the middle ages, central america is ruled by various powerful distinct civilizations, The notable ones being the Mexica/Aztec and Mayans, as well as other that may sound familiar once you dig the History of post-classical history, like the Mixtec, Tarascans, Pipil and totonac. For the sake of simplification, I will focus mainly on the Mayan and Aztec (which are represented rather inaccurate and anachronistic in this drawing
So, Who were the Mayans? Maya civilization rose to power earlier before the Aztec did, but they were pretty distinct in comparison to the famous Aztec. The Mayans were not a single unified entity that ruled their realm, but rather a group of several independent city states much like the Italian Peninsula during the middle ages. They were also quite advance for their time, reaching their pinnacle in the time where Europe crawling out from the dark ages. the Mayan developed pretty vibrant and sophisticated cultures, with extensive cities and road networks, tall pyramids, and pretty large collections of writing systems, one of the few that survived to this day.
Just incase if you were wondering, the Mayan did partake in Human Sacrifice Ritual like the Aztecs, but in a much smaller scale to their Water God. Though, the method of sacrificing the individuals was quite different...
By the turn of the 10th century, around the same time when Kingdom of England was established, the Mayan civilization went into drastic decline which stills puzzled historians to this day. No one knew whether it was caused by famine, disaster, diseases, government/society collapse or foreign invasion, but nevertheless, its people survived and were integrated to surrounding Mesoamerican culture and lasted well into the 17th century due to their decentralized nature.
Now that the Mayans are gone, it's time for another civilization to pave its way to dominance over central america, the Aztecs
So who were the Aztecs? Historians have pointed out that the Aztec were the Mexica people that migrated from Arizona to southern Mexico in the 13th century, settling down and forming several city states in the region. Some of the city states, Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan, formed an alliance together and giving birth to the triple alliance (Ēxcān Tlahtōlōyān) or the Aztec Empire as we know today. The Aztec was quite advance compared to its neighbors, where it could be seen from the massive pyramids, irigations, road networks, as well as aqueducts that had been constructed by them. Aztec society was also quite sophisticated, where social mobility is pretty dynamic, which allows commoners to climb up the social ladders through deeds done at war or other contribution to the society (although not very common). Trade is also given high importance in the Aztecs Society, with traders often occupying important position, since they are the ones who often trade in faraway distances, becoming the eye and the ear of the Aztecs Empire.
As for the Rituals of Human Sacrifice done by the Aztecs, it is a historical fact. They did sacrificed large number of people in a year, probably somewhere around thousands (mostly captives from war). The record of having sacrificed 80,000 people in 4 day period is probably an exaggeration, as it meant that the Aztec must conduct a sacrifice every 5-6 seconds in that 4 day period. But we must understand their religion as to why they did this. The Aztec Religion revolves around the Idea that their Gods sacrificed themselves to keep the World Running, as such, the Aztec felt indebted to them and had to offer precious life in a way to appease their Gods. But not all Aztec gods demanded human sacrifice, some demanded hummingbirds as sacrifice, while others, different plants or insects
Given the needs of having to sacrifice people, it could be understood why the Aztec had many enemies. Enemies brings war, and war brings more captives. In peacetime, the empire constitutes a mock war called the flower war, as a justification to get more captives for sacrifice. The Aztec empire was one of the largest power in the area, they had numerous manpower to draw soldiers in the events of war, and was usually victorious due to their sheer numbers. This often the misconceptions that people often associated with how the Aztecs launch their warfare, that their main objective is to capture captives. Whenever the Aztecs wanted to expand their realm, those neighboring cities and settlements received Aztec diplomats to explain the benefits of joining the alliances and were given 15 days to answer. If no answer were given, the Aztecs would sent another diplomatic envoy to warn them of the destruction for defying the Alliances and another 15 days were given to reply back to the threat. If no reply is received within the given time, or the states declared war, then only the Aztecs would mobilize its massive military force to conquer the defying states. Capturing captives were given least priorities, and killing ensues during the battle, although the Aztecs prefer not to raze the conquered cities and instead pacify the region to bring them under the control of the alliances.
However, it all came to an end when the Spanish cam, and made an alliance with the Aztec nemesis, the Tlaxcala. The two succeeded in defeating the Aztec, and in the span of just a few decades filled with war and plague, the Empire finally was brought to an end....
It is very sad that only a trace amount of these civilizations remains, but whatever they had left shall always remind of the greatness of these people, as a proof, that great civilizations once ruled the land with pride and honor.
~~~~~References and Other Related Media~~~~~
Developed from the Original Concept of Tziquetzalpoztectzin of Nohpalli Empire - Concept
Maybe related to her Northern American Neighbor, the Mississippian culture
and the Southern American neighbor, the Inca
Will definitely come in contact with the Iberian
or maybe, the Viking
A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here: