The Hypothesis of a Calendar Reform of 1454 AD -1455 AD

Cesar Saenz suggests that a calendar reform between 1454 AD - 1455 AD was initiated by Motecuzoma (“he who frowns in a lordly manner”) Ilhuicam- ina (“to shoot an arrow in the sky”) [I] because of a disastrous famine caused by a frost during the year Ce Tochtli (1 Rabbit) (1454 ad) (Saenz 1967: 15-16). In support of his argument Saenz refer to Sahagun in Vol. II of The Florentine Codex and page 67 of Codex Aubin (Saenz 1967: 15). Saenz’s hypothesis is supported by the circumstance that a New Fire Ceremony is illustrated on folio 32V in Codex Telleriano-Remensis (fig. 13). It portrays a smoking fire-board sign under the year sign Ome Acatl (2 Reed), a white individual representing the sacrificed victim after the new fire was drilled, and probably the ilhuitl sign which conceivably refers to the veintena when the ritual was performed.[1] The New Fire Ceremony depicted was conducted on Ome Acatl (2 Reed) of 1455 AD under the rule of Motecuzoma [I]. The end of the drought of the year before, i.e. Ce Tochtli (1 Rabbit) or 1454 ad, is symbolised by six plants. In the written annotations to the picture, “Hand 1” the commentator of Codex Telleriano-Remensis, remarks that the sacrificed individual symbolises “The binding of the years” (xiuhmol- pilli), which took place every 52-years, and that 1455 AD was an excellent agricultural year (Quinones Keber 1995: fol. 32V, 68; 217-218; 272).

The Ome Acatl (2 Reed) sign also appears alone on a range of stone artefacts. An Ome Acatl (2 Reed) plaque was excavated from the Templo Mayor in Mexcio City (Tenochtitlan). It commemorates the New Fire Ceremony of 1455 AD since the plaque dates, according to Lopez Austin, to ‘phase 7a’ of the temple. Phase 7a is dated before 1502 AD (Read 1998: 2; 238, note 1).

  • [1] This can be either the veintena of Tecuilhuitontli or Hueytecuilhuitl according toH.B. Nicholson in personal communication to Quinones Keber (Quinones Keber 1995: 334,note 53).
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