The Aztec Calendar: Math and Design by Charles William Johnson

August 12th, 2010

The Aztec Calendar:

Math and Design

The subject of ancient reckoning of time and space can only be inferred from the logic of numbers, with very few exceptions of data in the historical record. Many historically significant numbers exist in the historical record of different ancient cultures. But, the method for computing those numerical results remains a theme of speculation. Many of the ancient Babylonian clay tablets that exist reflect specific mathematical and geometrical problems, much like a school textbook of today. However, notebooks of the scientists who computed the astronomical meandering of the bodies in our solar system have yet to be found.

Our analyses of the historically significant numbers coming out of the ancient reckoning systems are based on speculation about the logic of numbers; how the numbers might relate to one another through elementary mathematical methods. Numbers that appear in the ancient maya system are compared to the numbers that appear in the ancient kemi system. Such a comparison allows us to visualize the significance of intermediary numbers. The ancient day-counts of 260, 360, 364, and 365 days are taken into consideration in this light, along with other day-counts relating, for example, to the cycles of other planetary bodies in our solar system. In this manner, one is almost able to distinguish the possibility that the 365c day-count came about before the 260c day-count. Scholars believe the 260c day-count to be the older calendrical system, but the math of the numbers suggests otherwise.

In this manner, strange appearing numbers in the historical record, such as 756, 819, 151840, 1366560, among many others, suddenly reveal unsuspecting interrelationships. For example, the k’awil count, identified as the 819c day-count, appears to mediate computations between the 360c and the 364c day-counts. Further, one begins to distinguish the possible use of the mediatio/duplatio method of computation, whereby the ancients may have not only doubled numbers, but also trebled them. In this manner, one arrives at a table of squares and cubes of the whole numbers. Numbers that at first glance appear to be unrelated are thus revealed to lie on the same number series representing a multiple of one another. The maya long count is a more obvious case in representing a doubling of its terms (36, 72, 144, 288, 576, 1152 and 2304).

Aztec Calendar Stone


In The Aztec Calendar: Math and Design , we examine the possible relationships between mathematics and geometry. The historically significant numbers may reflect progressions which in turn may translated into geometrical figures and designs. No one knows for certain how the Aztec Calendar may have been read or interpreted. Its symbolic design is striking and has intrigued scholars for centuries. What little information was gathered upon its discovery is at best contradictory itself. There are distinct interpretations of the symbolic elements on the stone sculpture. And, even though almost everyone agrees that La piedra del sol , as it is called in Spanish, is in fact a calendar, it is not known how it functioned as an instrument for counting the days and years.We explore its elements and rings, in relation to its spatial divisions in attempt to discern a possible method of computation as of the historically significant numbers of the ancient reckoning system. The geometrical spatial division of the calendar’s elements appears to obey specific mathematical posits. The geometrical patterns and design appear to encode images that may be identified in the calendar’s design. We have presented one of our studies regarding the visualization of a hummingbird within the structural analysis of the calendar. The hummingbird, an ancient Aztec god, appears to be placed at the center of the four directions, which reflects ancient folklore as well. Many more images appear to have been encoded into the geometrical design of the calendar which we shall be presenting in later studies.Charles William Johnsonis the leading scholar in the study of ancient cultures particularly the Mesoamerican and Egyptian languages and civilization.



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