Sunday, December 06, 2015

The group of the pyramids of Teotihuacan is in the valley of Mexico, eight leagues north-east from the capital, in a plain that bears the name of Micoatl, or the Path of the Dead. - Humboldt #QotD

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The group of the pyramids of Teotihuacan is in the valley of Mexico, eight leagues north-east from the capital, in a plain that bears the name of Micoatl, or the Path of the Dead. There are two large pyramids dedicated to the Sun (Tonatiuh), and to the Moon (Meztli) ; and these are surrounded by several hundreds of small pyramids, which form streets in exact lines from north to south, and from east to west. Of these two great teocallis, one is fifty-five, the other forty-four metres in perpendicular height. The basis of the first is two hundred and eight metres in length; whence it results, that the Tonatiuh Yztaqual, according to Mr. Oteyza's measurement, made in 1803, is higher than the Mycerinus, or third of the three great pyramids of Geeza in Egypt, and the length of its base nearly equal to that of the Cephren. The small pyramids, which surround the great houses of the Sun and the Moon, are scarcely nine or ten metres high ; and served, according to the tradition of the natives, as burial places for the chiefs of the tribes. Around the Cheops and the Mycerinus in Egypt, there are eight small pyramids, placed with symmetry, and parallel to the fronts of the greater. The two teocallis of Teotihuacan had four principal stories, each of which was subdivided into steps, the edges of which are still to be distinguished. The nucleus is composed of clay mixed with small stones, and it is encased by a thick wall of tezontli, or porous amygdaloid.

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This construction recalls to mind that of one of the Egyptian pyramids of Sakharah, which has six stories ; and which, according to Pocock, is a mass of pebbles and yellow mortar, covered on the outside with rough stones. On the top of the great Mexican teocaliis were two colossal statues of the Sun, and the Moon : they were of stone, and covered with plates of gold, of which they were stripped by the soldiers of Cortez. When bishop Zumaraga, a Franciscan monk, undertook the destruction of whatever related to the worship, the history, and the antiquities of the natives of America, he ordered also the demolition of the idols of the plain of Micoati. We still discover the remains of a staircase built with large hewn stone, which formerly led to the platform of the teocalli. (pp. 84-87)

2015.12.05-DSC05094 Researches concerning the institutions & monuments of the ancient inhabitants of America : with descriptions & views of some of the most striking scenes in the Cordilleras! by Alexander von Humboldt

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