The Pleiades (Tianquiztli) are portrayed in the upper left
of the document. The other symbols represent other constellations, a meteor or shooting star, the sun, the moon, the eclipses. The image is from the Primeros Memoriales, a sixteenth-century colonial manuscript
compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of the book 'Moctezuma's Mexico' by David Carrasco and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. University Press of Colorado, 1992.
The Pleiades were known to the Aztecs as Tianquiztli which means "marketplace."
The Aztecs were excellent observers of the
, and the planets
Time was measured according to the movements of the stars and those of the Sun. Their calendar was
based on cycles of fifty-two years. They watched the Pleiades carefully move in
the sky to ensure that the world would not end.
At the end of each cycle, a religious ceremony would take place to ensure the movement of the cosmos and the rebirth of the sun. Aztecs believed that they could prevent the demons of darkness from descending to Earth and devouring men, by offering to the gods human sacrifices.
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