Much of what is known about the Toltecs is based on what has been learned about the Aztecs, another Mesoamerican culture that postdated the Toltecs and admired the Toltecs as predecessors. This school of thought connected the “Toltecs” to the archaeological site of Tula, which was taken to be the Tollan of Aztec myth. Désiré Charnay, the first archaeologist to work at Tula, Hidalgo, defended the historicist views based on his impression of the Toltec capital. They also connect this city with other cultural sites in Mesoamerica. Toltec pyramid at Tula, Hidalgo. Skeptics argue that the ancient city of Teotihuacán and the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan were much more influential sites for Mesoamerican culture than Tula. Among modern scholars it is a matter of debate whether the Aztec narratives of Toltec history should be given credence as descriptions of actual historical events. Much of what is known about the Toltecs is based on what has been learned about the Aztecs. Furthermore, the site of Tula includes two ball courts for the religious rubber ball game that appears in many Mesoamerican civilizations. The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula in the early Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology (c. 800–1000 CE). No consensus has yet emerged about the degree or direction of influence between these two sites. The feathered serpent deity that appears in carvings at Tula and also in much later buildings and mythology in the Aztec Empire. Stone carving of Quetzalcoatl. Along with these distinct relics, the Toltecs also built distinctive pyramids that mirror other sites, such as Chichén Itzá. Toltec warrior statues at Tula. The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors, and described Toltec culture emanating from Tōllān [ˈtoːlːaːn] (Nahuatl for Tula) as the epitome of civilization. 1. This fourth sun immediately precedes the fifth sun of the Aztec people, which was prophesied to be presided over by Quetzalcoatl. This powerful feathered serpent deity has deep mythological roots in Aztec stories. During the early part of the 6 th century AD, Huémac, a legendary chief, is said to have led the Toltecs southwards in search of a new settlement. Historicists supportive of the ethnic group theory also argue that much of central Mexico was possibly dominated by a “Toltec empire” between the 10th and 12th centuries CE. The city of Tula boasts 15-foot-tall warrior statues carved from stone. While all scholars acknowledge that there is a large mythological part of the narrative, some maintain that by using a critical comparative method some level of historicity can be salvaged from the sources. A scholar that utilizes Aztec accounts of Toltec culture to piece together the history of the Toltec people. Many questions still remain about the inhabitants of this site, including questions about their origin and their demise. Tula also boasts intricate carvings of eagles, jaguars, hummingbirds, and butterflies, all of which the Aztec Empire used prolifically. Since so much of what remains on record about the Toltecs may have been tainted by Aztec glorification and mythology in the 14th through 16th centuries, it is difficult to parse out the true history. Others believe that Aztec accounts are too shrouded in myth to be trusted as sources of truth. Archaeologist Laurette Sejourné, followed by the historian Enrique Florescano, argued that the “original” Tollan was probably Teotihuacán. This site also raises questions about the flow of influence between multiple Mesoamerican cultures before the rise of the Aztec Empire. Some scholars argue that the Toltec era is best considered the fourth of the five Aztec mythical “suns” or ages. Nowadays, however, scholars are of the opinion that the Toltecs were more likely to have migrated into the region of central Mexico from the northwestern desert, perhaps during the 9 th or early 10 th century AD. These same Atlantean figures, as they are called, also appear at the Mayan sites of Chichén Itzá and Potrero Nuevo. The Postclassic Maya civilizations of Chichén Itzá, Mayapán, and the Guatemalan highlands have been referred to as “Toltecized” or “Mexicanized” Mayas. Theories abound about the role the Toltecs actually played in Mesoamerica, from the central Mexican valleys all the way down to certain Maya city-states. Many dynasties of the conquest period,… He also appears regularly in carvings at Tula. This led him to p… Multiple theories place the Toltec and the site of Tula within a more general framework: While the residents of the site of Tula, Hidalgo, remain a mysterious group, and their ethnic and social dynamics are obscure, they left behind substantial archeological records that modern scholars have attempted to parse through. He was the first to note similarities in architectural styles between Tula and Chichén Itzá, a famous Maya archeological site. https://www.boundless.com/world-history/textbooks/boundless-world-history-textbook/. Historicists believe that Aztec accounts of the Toltecs can be trusted as historical sources. These stone statues highlight the artistic style of the city of Tula. Theories abound about the role the Toltecs actually played in Mesoamerica, from the central Mexican valleys all the way down to certain Maya city-states. Some 20th-century historicist scholars, such as David Carrasco, Miguel León Portilla, Nigel Davies and H. B. Nicholson, argued that the Toltecs were a distinct ethnic group. Some researchers argue that the only historically reliable data in the Aztec chronicles are the names of some rulers and possibly some of the conquests ascribed to them. Indeed, in the Nahuatl language the word “Tōltēcatl” [toːlˈteːkat͡] (singular) or “Tōltēcah” [toːlˈteːkaʔ] (plural) came to take on the meaning “artisan.” The Aztec oral and pictographic tradition also described the history of the Toltec Empire, giving lists of rulers and their exploits. Rather, it takes “Toltec” to mean simply an inhabitant of Tula during its apogee. Another controversy relating to the Toltecs remains how best to understand the reasons behind the perceived similarities in architecture and iconography between the archaeological site of Tula and the Mayan site of Chichén Itzá. He was the first to note similarities in architectural styles between Tula and Chichén Itzá, a famous Maya archeological site. One possible clue they point to is that the Aztecs referred to several Mexican city-states as Tollan, “Place of Reeds,” such as “Tollan Cholollan.”. The historical traditions also state that these migrations were responsible, along with a series of natural disasters, for the collapse of a great empire ruled by a people called the Toltec from their capital of Tollan, or Tula.