National Geographic : 1937 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE COLLEGE STUDENTS TAKE NOTES ON THE HUGE AZTEC CALENDAR STONE By reading the intricate markings on this 24-ton monolith of basaltic porphyry, priests are believed to have kept track of seasons and festivals and been able to tell farmers when to sow and reap their corn. The central figure of the sacred stone symbolizes the sun. Placed around this face are rectangles representing the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Other symbols are supposed to stand for days and years. Dug up in 1790, the Stone of the Sun was later set up here at the National Museum in Mexico City. Miniatures are popular as souvenirs. to the gods played no small part in the promotion of conflict. As a matter of fact, the Aztecs continu ally sought pretexts for starting hostilities. They deemed themselves "idle" if no war was in progress. Actual declarations of war were decided upon in the council by very formal pro ceedings. The highest in military com mand was the Chief of Men, or Emperor, and he was assisted by the war chiefs. These officers had three grades or ranks. First were the chiefs of the great subdivi sions, the principal quarters of the city, and below them came the captains of the Kins, or minor quarters. All of these officers were elected on merit; their rank was not transmissible by inheritance and they could be deposed. Below the captains were the meritorious braves composed of three classes-the Tigers or Beasts of Prey, the Eagles, and the Wandering Arrows.