|Beginning circa 200 b.c.e. in the northern Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán developed into an urban size city in the Valley of Mexico.
Dominating Mexico for about six centuries with trade in western Mexico and the Yucatan, it will conquer rivals as far south as the Valley
of Guatemala, becoming the most powerful civilization in central Mexico. Teotihuacán grew to one of the largest cities in the world by
500 a.d. with a surface area of over 8 square miles and a population that reached 125,000. Then, for causes as yet undetermined, it
will suffer a catastrophic collapse circa 650 a.d. Its temples and monuments will be burned and looted and the collapse will be felt all
over the Mesoamerican world.
|Teotihuacán had nothing like the writing systems of the Maya or Olmec. Instead, a system of signs and notations were used. Their
meaning and purpose are obscure and some do appear in their sculpture, mural painting, and decorated ceramics. What is missing
is the usual connotations representing rulers, events or dates . "No scenes glorify specific individuals, and human beings are shown
subordinate only to deities, not to other human beings... Most scenes show human beings so loaded with clothing and insignia that
faces and other body parts are barely visible. Emphasis is on acts rather than actors; on offices rather than office-holders". (State and
Society at Teotihuacán, Mexico by George L. Cowgill)
|As with most Mesoamerican societies Teotihuacán will suffer the same fate. Government, religion and society will be unable to adapt
to newly developed influence from within and without. Population growth, severe agricultural misuse, militaristic pressures from other
groups and environmental concerns will play a significant role in its collapse. The Teotihuacán civilization was destroyed in what may
have been a class struggle between inhabitants as is suspected by the burning of temples and upper class homes and the
destruction of religious icons. Outside forces may have been involved as well. The one conclusion that can be reached is that the
violence itself was a concerted effort to eradicate the emblems of Teotihuacán suzerainty.
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