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Relaciones. Estudios de historia y sociedad

On-line version ISSN 2448-7554Print version ISSN 0185-3929


ECHEVERRIA GARCIA, Jaime. Of Monsters and Natural Phenomena. Cyclical History, Omens and Destruction of Empires in the Central High Plateau in the Postclassic Period. Relac. Estud. hist. soc. [online]. 2018, vol.39, n.153, pp.293-343. ISSN 2448-7554.

In the pre-Hispanic Nahua way of thinking, the decline of cities and empires was predicted by both celestial and terrestrial signs that exceeded natural, ordinary events of everyday life and that, due to their very strangeness, caused deep terror among the people. These omens were believed to be engendered by divinities as a consequence of transgressions committed by rulers. But these terrestrial signs in the form of awful apparitions of monsters also announced the imposition of a new political order. The destruction of old empires and the emergence of new ones in Mexico’s Central High Plateau in the Postclassic period followed this model of events, and can be interpreted in a similar way, reinforcing a cyclical conception of history among the ancient Nahuas. One of the main contributions of this paper is its analysis of monsters from a Mesoamerican point of view that highlights the symbolism of their particular physical characteristics and their meaning in the Nahua worldview.

Keywords : nahuas; omens; monsters; fall of empires; cyclical history.

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