MxEpicl

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Giulia Nazzaro ♥

♠ Original name ♣ ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 650-899 CE ♥

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ ♥

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥

Supra-cultural relations

Below code cultural relations between the coded (quasi)polity and the preceding one, as well as those nearby. These codes are particularly useful for archaeologically known polities.

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ ♥

Language

♠ Language ♣ ♥

General Description

The Basin or Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly corresponding to modern-day Mexico City. Here, we are interested in the phase of its prehistory known as the Epiclassic or Late Classic period (c. 650-899 CE). In this period, Teotihuacan had diminished in size and lost its hold over the region; at the same time, none of the major centres at the time matched it: the populations of Cantona, Xochicalco, and Cacaxtla likely did not surpass 25-30,000.[1] Worship of the feathered snake became widespread throughout Mesoamerica, as indicated by the broad distribution of artistic representations of this deity or culture hero, and there was a renewed emphasis on human sacrifice in both ritual practice and artistic expression.[2]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Giulia Nazzaro ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ suspected unknown ♥ in squared kilometers

♠ Polity Population ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [25,000-30,000] ♥ "...several centers of the Epiclassic (Cantona, Xochicalco, Cacaxtla) in the 25-30k range".[3]

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 3 ♥ levels. Inferred from previous period.

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 4 ♥ levels. "We could infer about 4 [tiers] earlier (Teo and Toltec) through art and architecture, but they are not textually documented."[4]

♠ Religious levels ♣ ♥ levels.

♠ Military levels ♣ 2 ♥ levels. At least two tiers can be inferred for Teotihuacan.[5]

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ inferred present ♥ Professional military officers are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [6]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ inferred present ♥ Professional soldiers are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [7]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ inferred present ♥ Professional priests are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [8]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ inferred present ♥ Full time bureaucrats are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [9]

♠ Examination system ♣ absent ♥ [10]

♠ Merit promotion ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Possible in Teotihuacan.[11]

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred present ♥ Government buildings (council houses) are known by Teotihuacan (ca. 250-550 CE). The information for this code is based primarily on art and are less secure than what we know from the Aztec Period (1450-1521). [12]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Unknown for Teotihuacan.[13]

♠ Judges ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Likely unknown before the Aztec period.[14]

♠ Courts ♣ absent ♥ [15]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ absent ♥ [16]

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ markets ♣ present ♥ "Marketplace institutions also would have existed at Teotihuacan, beginning at least in the second century AD".[17]
♠ food storage sites ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ ♥
♠ Bridges ♣ ♥
♠ Canals ♣ ♥
♠ Ports ♣ ♥
♠ Mines or quarries ♣ ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ present ♥ Present since the Archaic Period c. 10 ka.[18]
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ present ♥ First evidence in the Early Formative period (1500-1000 BCE).[19]
♠ Written records ♣ absent ♥ "Absent in the Basin, present in lowland Mesoamerica c. 100 BCE-900CE."[20]
♠ Script ♣ present ♥ First evidence in Teotihuacan c. 200 CE.[21]
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ absent ♥ [22]

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ absent ♥ [23]
♠ Calendar ♣ present ♥ First evidence in Mesoamerica c. 500 BCE. Present at Teotihuacan c. 200 CE onwards.[24]
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Possibly present in Teotihuacan. Present in the Basin by c. 1300 CE.[25]
♠ Religious literature ♣ absent ♥ [26]
♠ Practical literature ♣ absent ♥ [27]
♠ History ♣ absent ♥ Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Only records in the Basin are conquest records by the Aztec (1450-1519 CE).[28]
♠ Philosophy ♣ absent ♥ "Known for the colonial period, maybe oral philosophy earlier."[29]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "Astronomical almanacs inferred for Classic period, c. 200-900, preserved from c. 1300 onwards."[30]
♠ Fiction ♣ absent ♥ [31]

Money

♠ Articles ♣ ♥
♠ Tokens ♣ ♥
♠ Precious metals ♣ ♥
♠ Foreign coins ♣ ♥
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ ♥
♠ Paper currency ♣ ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ ♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Giulia Nazzaro ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ absent ♥ "Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan's predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools".[32]
♠ Bronze ♣ absent ♥ "Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan's predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools".[33]
♠ Iron ♣ absent ♥ "Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan's predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools".[34]
♠ Steel ♣ absent ♥ "Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan's predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools".[35]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ inferred absent ♥ There was no significant change in arms compared to the Classic period—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[36]
♠ Atlatl ♣ present ♥ There was no significant change in arms—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[37]
♠ Slings ♣ present ♥ "...[the armor]was very effective against slingstones which relied on impact rather than penetration, and this protection grew as atlatl fire forced slingers back to greater and less effective distances."[38]
♠ Self bow ♣ inferred absent ♥ There was no significant change in arms compared to the Classic period—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[39]
♠ Composite bow ♣ inferred absent ♥ There was no significant change in arms compared to the Classic period—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[40]
♠ Crossbow ♣ ♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ ♥
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ ♥

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ present ♥ "Most soldiers lacked body armor and helmets, probably only carrying shields for defense, especially by slingers and clubmen."[41]
♠ Battle axes ♣ inferred present ♥ No significant change compared to the Classic period.[42]
♠ Daggers ♣ present ♥ "Knives are primarily depicted in mural scenes with impaled hearts, suggesting a ritual use, but they were doubtless used in combat as auxiliary weapons, as was the case with subsequent Mesoamerican groups".[43]
♠ Swords ♣ absent ♥ There was no significant change in arms compared to the Classic period—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[44]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ There was no significant change in arms—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[45]
♠ Polearms ♣ inferred absent ♥ There was no significant change in arms compared to the Classic period—thrusting spears and atlatls continued to dominate.[46]

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ absent ♥ Although domesticated dogs were present during this period,[47][48] their function is unclear (food and/or hunting),[49][50] and war dogs were unknown in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish Conquest; indeed, Hassig lists war dogs among the new military "technologies" the Spanish introduced to the region in the sixteenth century[51].[52][53]
♠ Donkeys ♣ absent ♥ Not native to region.
♠ Horses ♣ absent ♥ Not native to region.
♠ Camels ♣ absent ♥ Not native to region.
♠ Elephants ♣ absent ♥ Not native to region.

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ "Made of quilted cotton, this armor was as much as two or three inches thick and found in two basic types at Teotihuacan: one covered the entire body and limbs like mail".[54]
♠ Shields ♣ ♥
♠ Helmets ♣ present ♥ "Quilted cotton helmets were also widely used".[55]
♠ Breastplates ♣ present ♥ "Made of quilted cotton, this armor was as much as two or three inches thick and found in two basic types at Teotihuacan: one covered the entire body and limbs like mail".[56]
♠ Limb protection ♣ present ♥ "Teotihuacan soldiers required armor that protected not only the trunk against shock attack, but also such extremities as the legs, which were vulnerable to the indiscriminate fire of projectiles."[57]
♠ Chainmail ♣ ♥
♠ Scaled armor ♣ ♥
♠ Laminar armor ♣ ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ ♥

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ ♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ ♥

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ ♥
♠ Moat ♣ ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ present ♥ "Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic."[58]
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ ♥
♠ Long walls ♣ ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

These codes refer to an explicit or defined right for some group to constrain the activity of the executive in some way, typically through a legal code, but other ways are imaginable (explain in paragraph if other mechanisms found). When coding ‘present’ for each of the below codes, provide explanation and give examples of the constraints being used, or note that the constraints were formalized but are no known instances of its use in practice.

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Governmental officials (i.e. judiciary/legislature) can veto or overturn executive decision (including removing a political appointment), or withhold cooperation (e.g., refuse to provide funds or allow raising troops), regardless of whether or not these limits were actually practiced. Explain in paragraph
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Non-governmental organization (elite, social group, community organization, economic group, etc.) can veto or overturn executive decision (including removing a political appointment), or withhold cooperation (e.g., refuse to provide funds or allow raising troops), regardless of whether or not these limits were actually practiced. Explain in paragraph. Note: this does not include religious groups (Church leaders, Buddhist monks, etc.), since that is coded elsewhere)
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. There is a legal mechanism for removing and replacing the head of state

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Members of the ‘elite’ inherit their status and positions. If the ruler position is inherited most of the time, then these are sufficient grounds to code this variable as present

Religion and Normative Ideology

Deification of Rulers

(‘gods’ is a shorthand for ‘supernatural agents’)

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. For example, rulers are blessed by gods; the institution of kingship is ordained by heaven

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown.

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

These codes refer to acts undertaken without direct compulsion from or out of adherence to a religious system (religious aspects of prosociality are coded below)

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Religious doctrine, philosophical statements, or practice makes claims about equality. For instance, explicit statements by religious groups or influential philosophers that all humans are equal

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Religious doctrine, philosophical statements, or practice makes claims about engaging in activity for the benefit of a wider community, for instance Christian traditions of alms-giving or Islamic sadaqah

♠ production of public goods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Public Goods refer to anything that incurs cost to an individual or group of individuals, but that can be used or enjoyed by others who did not incur any of the cost, namely the public at large. They are non-excludable and non-rivalrous goods. Examples are roads, public drinking fountains, public parks or theatres, temples open to the public, etc.

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ {absent;present} ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ {absent;present} ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [59] [60] [61]

References

  1. (Carballo 2019: pers. comm. to E. Cioni and G. Nazzaro)
  2. (Evans 2012: 123-124) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/AN5IUQ7X.
  3. (Carballo 2019: pers. comm. to E. Cioni and G. Nazzaro)
  4. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  5. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  6. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  7. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  8. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  9. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  10. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  11. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  12. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  13. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  14. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  15. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  16. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  17. (Sugiyama 2005: 4) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/P56I2R2H.
  18. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  19. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  20. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  21. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  22. (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  23. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  24. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  25. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  26. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  27. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  28. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  29. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  30. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  31. Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)
  32. (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.
  33. (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.
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  47. Savolainen, P., Y. Zhang, J. Luo, J. Lundeberg, and T. Leitner. (2002) "Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of domestic dogs." Science 298:1610-1613.
  48. Leonard, J. A., R. K. Wayne, J. Wheeler, R. Valadez, S. Guillén, and C. Vilà. (2002) "Ancient DNA evidence for old world origin of new world dogs." Science 298: 1613-1616.
  49. Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 285.
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  52. Hassig, Ross. (1988) Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 237.
  53. Hassig, Ross. (1992) War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. Berkeley: University of California Press, pg.163.
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  55. (Hassig 1992: 83) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.
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  59. http://seshatdatabank.info/databrowser/moralizing-supernatural-punishment-acknowledgements.html
  60. http://seshatdatabank.info/databrowser/moralizing-supernatural-punishment-narratives.html
  61. http://seshatdatabank.info/databrowser/moralizing-supernatural-punishment-nga_tables.html