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[question]Date of death of Aztec Emperor Axayacatl [Nov. 3rd, 2009|08:45 pm]
Ancient Americas

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[aliettedb]
(crossposted to askahistorian and little_details)
I apologise for butting in with a question, which isn't the main purpose of this community, but I figured someone here might have an idea of where I could look.

I'm working on a historical fantasy set among the Aztecs, and I have hit a slight snag...

I'm looking for the date of death of the Aztec Emperor Axayacatl. I know the year, but what I need is the precise day or at least month, in either the Aztec or European calendar. Does anyone have any idea of what it is (or where I could find it, failing that?) I know Aztec history is a bit patchy, and I was wondering if I couldn't find it anywhere in my books simply because we don't know it with enough precision.

Done so far: read through "The Aztecs" by Nigel Davies, "Handbook of Life in the Aztec World" by Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, and "The Aztecs of Mexico" by George Vaillant, without much success. In desperation, also googled "Axayacatl date of death".

Thanks in advance! (I know this is a really nitpicky one)

EDIT: got a date (well, half-made up one). Thank you so much for the help!
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: spiletta42
2009-11-03 09:02 pm (UTC)
He died in 1481. I failed to narrow it down further. The Aztecs by Richard F. Townsend is my source. Sorry, I'm much more useful regarding the Maya, myself.
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[User Picture]From: spiletta42
2009-11-03 09:11 pm (UTC)
Wikipedia lists his precise date of death as unknown:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1481

Not that Wikipedia is the ultimate source, but a good rule of thumb when writing historical fantasy is that if you can point to a specific source stating that something is specifically unknown, you're free to make it up as best suits your plot.

This is my opinion as a sci-fi writer, rather than my opinion as an archaeology buff, but I think it's valid.

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[User Picture]From: aliettedb
2009-11-03 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm a little leery of Wikipedia especially on subjects like those, because I once saw them list something completely wrong on Aztec history (which I corrected).
But yeah, I totally agree on the "making it up if you can't find it" rule (just not that keen to use Wikipedia to do that).
I seem to have found a book on google that mentions a minor solar eclipse on the day that Axayacatl died, and then mentions the date of the eclipse in recorded Aztec history. Might be able to do something with that...
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[User Picture]From: spiletta42
2009-11-03 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I never trust Wikipedia as a source, but if you've exhausted more credible sources, then it's good to know what Wikipedia says, since when you publish, that's where your most obnoxious reader will find their weapons of attack.
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[User Picture]From: donnad
2009-11-03 10:03 pm (UTC)
From The Aztecs 2nd edition by Michael E. Smith.
Pg. 13

2 House [1481] was when the ruler Axayacatyl died. Then Tizoc was inaugurated as ruler of Tenochtitlan. Also there was an eclipse of the sun.

Does that help?

(edited for typos)

Edited at 2009-11-03 10:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: aliettedb
2009-11-03 10:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It helps a lot, actually--correlates with something else I was pointed to. The eclipse of the sun is apparently dated in Aztec lore, so I can work something out.
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[User Picture]From: donnad
2009-11-03 10:24 pm (UTC)
Have you found this page yet? Might be useful.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_calendar

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[User Picture]From: aliettedb
2009-11-03 11:06 pm (UTC)
Ha, no, never found it, thanks! Cool, it has all the glyphs for the months (my books don't have them). I use http://www.azteccalendar.com for calendar stuff, since it does Julian to Aztec correlations automatically.

*grabs a pen, paper, and prepares for yet another set of calculations*
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