THE CITY OF THE GODS
CLASSIC PERIOD: 100BC-800AD
WHO WERE THE
TEOTIHUACANOS• The ancient city of Teotihuacan is one of
the most important archaeological sites in
• The world Teotihuacan is a Nahuatl word
for “the city of the gods”
• The Aztecs believed that the gods created
the universe at this site.
• It was founded around the year 100 BC with
its height in 450 AD and its decline around
• Even as a ruin, it exerts a powerful
influence. The Aztecs incorporated it into
their mythology and it became a place of
pilgrimage for their rulers.
• Teotihuacan is speculated to have had
around 150,000-250,000 residents.
• At its existence, it was one of the 6th most
populated metropolis in the world!
• The rise and fall of Teotihuacan is still a
mystery. Ooooh! 0_0
Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec “Lord
of the Dead” was worshipped in
this form by the people of
Teotihuacan in 100BC
WHO WERE THE
Archaeologist have identified the
workshops of around 500 craftsmen, who
produced goods that were exported
The city itself was notable for its brightly
painted murals and its sculpture,
representing religious practices, which
revolved around human sacrifice.
Teotihuacan is also anthropologically
significant for its complex, multi-family
Teotihuacan exported fine obsidian tools
that garnered high prestige and
widespread usage throughout
Teotihuacan was the center of a state
empire, its influence throughout
Mesoamerica is well documented;
evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be
seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and
the Maya region.
PRIMARY GODS AND
RELIGIONDue to the arid climate of Teotihuacan, in the Valley of
Mexico, there was a lot of worship to deities that could
bring produce rain.
The main gods of the Teotihuacanos:
Tlaloc: rain and lightening god
Great Water Goddess
Chalchiuhtlicue: god of running water
Feathered Serpent: Creator of man
Teotihuacanos practiced human sacrifice: human bodies
and animal sacrifices have been found during
excavations of the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Scholars
believe that the people offered human sacrifices as part
of a dedication when buildings were expanded or
The victims were probably enemy warriors captured in
battle and brought to the city for ritual sacrifice to
ensure the city could prosper. Some men were
decapitated, some had their hearts removed, others
were killed by being hit several times over the head, and
some were buried alive.
Animals that were considered sacred and represented
Talud- Tablero Style
The vertical Tablero sits on the sloping
The exterior is finished with fine plaster
This architectural style would have been
used only for sacred architecture.
This style is so particular to Teotihuacan
that it’s style spread and is even located at
a site called Kaminaljuyu (Guatemala)- 700
Teotiahucan’s pyramids were colored deep
red with molded plaster decorations of gods
in blue, green and white.
Avenue of the Dead as seen from the Pyramid of the Moon.
AVENUE OF THE
A long, straight avenue, known as the Way
of the Dead, linked its three main
buildings- the Pyramids of the Sun, the
Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of
the Plumed Serpent.
This avenue was evidently used for ritual
processions, and was also deliberately
aligned towards Cerro Gordo, a
mountainous dead volcano.
PYRAMID OF THE
• Mimics the contours of the mountain Cerro
• A slope in front of the staircase gives
access to the Avenue of the Dead, a
platform atop the pyramid was used to
conduct ceremonies in honor of the Great
Goddess of Teotihuacan, the goddess of
water, fertility, the earth, and even creation
• the pyramid underwent at least six
renovations; each new addition was larger
and covered the previous structure.
• human male sacrificial victims as well as a
wolf, jaguar, puma, serpent, bird skeletons,
and more than 400 other relics which
include a large greenstone and obsidian
figurines, ceremonial knives, and spear
PYRAMID OF THE SUN
• is the largest building in Teotihuacan and
one of the largest in Mesoamerica.
• The name Pyramid of the Sun comes from the
Aztecs, who visited the city of Teotihuacan
centuries after it was abandoned
• Third largest pyramid in the world
• painted brilliantly colored murals
• The paint and plaster have not and are no
longer visible. Jaguar heads and paws, stars,
and snake rattles are among the few images
associated with the pyramids.
• The pyramid is oriented slightly northwest of
the horizon point of the setting sun on two
days a year, August 12 and April 29, which
are about one divinatory calendar year apart
for the Teotihuacanos
• interpreted as possibly the place of
Chicomoztoc, the place of human origin
according to Nahua legends. More recent
excavations have suggested that the space is
TEMPLE OF THE
SERPENT• The Ciudadela is a structure with high
walls and a large courtyard
surrounding the temple.
• The Ciudadela’s courtyard is massive
enough that it could house the entire
adult population of Teotihuacán within
TEMPLE OF THE
Temple: 3rd largest pyramid at
• The burials, like the structure, are
dated to some time between 150
and 200 AD.
• The pyramid takes its name from
representations of the Mesoamerican
"feathered serpent" deity which
covered its sides.
• These are some of the earliest-
known representations of the
feathered serpent, often identified
with the much-later Aztec god
• There would have been 260
feathered serpent reliefs around the
pyramid suggesting that it worked
on the calendar system!
• 200 skeleton remains are found
surrounding the structure are of war
Restored portion of Teotihucan architecture showing the typical
Mesoamerican use of red paint complemented on gold and jade
THE GREAT EARTH-WATER GODDESS OF TEOTIHUACÁN. 100-
Paradise of Tlaloc, a fresco from
The Great Earth-Water Goddess
presides over waters that pour down
upon earth, and rain springs from her
hands. Priests make offerings at his
Here, in eternal happiness, live those
who have died by water or who were
killed by storms and lightning.
At Tepantitla the half-body of the
Great Earth Goddess rises from a
talud-tablero platform ornamented
with flowers and feathers.
This central symbol emerges from a
wavy body of water in which shell fish
swim. Its top is an imaginary ground
line on which plants such as maize
and fruit trees grow.
This Great Goddess is an Earth Mother
PARADISE OF RAIN
Tlalocan means place of the god Tlaloc.
In this mural we see the representation of
a subterranean river.
All sorts of animals swim in the river.
In some way, the city of Teotihuacan is
represented as a river emanating from the
mountain of substance (Tonacatepetl), in
this case the Cerro Gordo.
All the people are represented enjoying
daily life activities: playing ball, singing,
jumping and talking in a context of
abundance and fertility.
Detail of mural shows us a figure playing
the Mesoamerican ballgame.
EARLY CLASSICTripod feet characterize Teotihuacan
Tripod vessel usually would have fitted
lids on top with handles.
On this vessel a goggled warriors
approach mountains or bear weapons.
URN WITH OWLS
Other clay objects include polychromed
incense burners, built up of mold-made
The urns show human and animal faces
peering out from almost architectural
constructions of mass-produced, stamped
They may have ben taken apart and
reconfigured for different deities.
It is believed that a barrio north of the
Citadel would have been the place of
Owls in Mesoamerica are associated with the
night and the passage into the underworld.
This receptacle is in the shape of a jaguar.
It served as a receptacle for the hearts of
human sacrifices which were common in
These kinds of sacrificial receptacles are
Found in the town of Coatlinchan near
Tlaloc Mountain in the State of Mexico
and weighing 168 tons, this is the largest
existing monolith in the Americas.
Tlaloc, the provider, had attributes of the
He created and brought down the rain and
He caused the trees, the grasses, the
maize to blossom, to sprout, and to grow.
Also attributed to Tlaloc was the
thunderbolts and the drowning of people.
• This colossal statue represents
Chalchiuhtlicue, "Her Skirt Is of Jade“
• She was the goddess of running water.
She is Tlaloc's elder sister and sometimes
regarded as his wife. She was esteemed
• represented the water in both its calm
and wild states.
• Teotihuacan's sculptures are massive and
• They matched the geometrically shaped
massive architecture of their great city of
• “Our lord the flayed one”
• Was the god of spring, linked primarily with the
renewal of crops.
• Rituals surrounding his worship were designed to
ensure the fertility of the land
• During the second month of the year,
Tlacaxipehualiztli, “the flaying of men,” the
priests scarified their victims by removing their
• The bodies were then flayed and the skins dyed
yellow. These “golden clothes” (teocuitlaquemitl)
were then worn by young devotees, until they
• The idea behind this was to mimic the growth of
a maize kernel, with the new plant emerging
from the husk of an old seed.
There was no tradition of portraiture at
Teotihuacan, but masks depicting the
human face are abundant in the style
associated with the site.
With its geometrically rendered horizontal
brow, triangular nose, and oval mouth
and eyes, this mask depicts the idealized
facial type that seems to function as a
symbol, similar to other standardized
motifs present in the art of Teotihuacan.
The depressions of the eyes and the
mouth suggest that this mask, like many
of its counterparts, might have originally
possessed inlaid shell or stone for the
depiction of eyes and teeth.
This mask is acknowledged as one of the great
treasures of pre-Hispanic art in Mesoamerica.
Masks were commonly placed over mummy
bundles to protect the deceased from the
dangers of the afterlife.
Made of stone, its surface is covered in bits of
turquoise, obsidian, and shell.
The tiny glyph on the forehead may record a
Most of these masks have been found in
burials. This mask exemplifies the mastery of
the mosaic techniques by the Teotihuacanos.