The political organization of the Toltecs was marked by the power and dominion exercised by the military leaders. The military dominance arose as a result of the different wars that the people faced to defend their lands. The constant struggles of this Mesoamerican culture resulted in territorial growth.
In general terms, the Toltec people were characterized by being nomadic at first, they practiced the values of sincerity, obedience and loyalty. On the other hand, men were in charge of providing for their families, while women were in charge of household chores. However, her most outstanding trait was bravery.
As a good warrior people, the Toltecs managed to manifest their leadership capacity, which made the military who were in command of the battles to organize and establish political hierarchy. Followed by military power was the priesthood and below these the less favored classes, such as artisans and peasants.
Political organization: power structure
The form of government of the Toltecs was monarchical and militaristic. In addition, it was characterized by being theocratic, that is, the highest rulers made their decisions guided by the statutes and rules of the religion that prevailed. The Toltecs were a polytheistic people, so they were guided by all the gods they believed in.
The political organization of the Toltecs was headed by a major ruler, who was a prominent military leader who had participated in several battles. This government leader was a kind of king to whom the population had respect and sometimes fear for the way he exercised power, he was seconded by priests.
– Kings or more prominent leaders
In the Toltec culture, there were several kings or leaders who were responsible for the monarchy to remain for more than three hundred years. Some of the most prominent were:
– Chalchiutlanetzin (667-719 AD).
– Ixtlicuechahuac (719-771 AD).
– Huetzin (771-823 AD).
– Totepeuh (823-875 AD).
– Nacaxxoc (875-927 AD).
– Mitl (927-976 AD).
– Xiuhtzatzin (queen) (976-980 AD).
– Tecpancaltzin (980-1031 AD).
– Tōpīltzin (1031-1052), died in 2 Tecpatl year.
From the list mentioned above the most important ruler was Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl, better known as Topiltzin. His work stood out for the capacity with which it produced prosperity for the Toltecs and for the way in which it consolidated the traditions and customs of this Mesoamerican people.
Quetzalcóatl was the son of Tecpatl (one of the first leaders of the Toltecs, revered as a mythological figure). He was in charge of politically structuring the Toltecs, his strategies and principles reigned for a long time. The name of this warrior was linked to the god they worshiped and meant “feathered serpent.”
On the other hand, a contrary version of Topiltzin was Huemac, who was the ruler who supplanted him. This leader was considered one of the last of the Toltec culture, but his performance was marred by the bad decisions he made. Consequently, the town experienced different crises in its entire structure that led to its end.
Huemac and the tributes
One of the main causes of the fall of the Toltecs was the way in which Huemac carried out the collection of tributes and taxes. The despotism with which he exercised power and compliance with the laws aroused the reaction of neighboring populations, to the point of being looted and invaded.
The laws became a fundamental point within the Toltec culture after they became a civilized people and settled in Tollan (Tula, today Mexico). Thus, these were promulgated by the main head of government (king), who enforced them to the letter and thus maintain control of the population.
The king as creator of the laws also had the power to punish those who did not comply with it through the threatening and intimidating actions of the military. One of the main punishments as a consequence of disobedience was sacrifice, the person was handed over to the gods in which they believed.
– The priests
The priests were an important figure within the political organization of the Toltecs, it is pertinent to clarify that they were very different from what is known today.
The relevance of the priestly body was due to the fact that politics and religion went hand in hand, since the rulers believed that the gods guided them in their battles and governmental decisions.
In such a way, the priests were in charge of the different populations that the military leaders conquered through the wars. At the same time, they advised their superiors according to the messages they received from the gods of that time.
On the other hand, the political participation of priests in the Toltec culture included the performance of different public positions, as well as the supervision of military houses. They also had the power to defend themselves from neighboring attacks and invasions and to conquer other lands with the intention of expanding the monarchy.
– Main political activity
The Toltecs focused their political activity on the military strategies designed by the leaders and rulers to conquer other territories. The expansion of this Mesoamerican people and their permanence for three centuries was due to their warrior character and their defensive spirit.
The main opponents of the Toltec political organization were the Chichimecas, both fought constantly for economic and social advantages. On the other hand, the Toltecs made their rule more genuine as they conquered their neighboring peoples and instilled in them all their traditions, especially religious ones.
It is necessary to mention that the political decisions of the Toltecs were closely linked to economic growth. The rulers took advantage of the conquest of new territories to grow their agricultural activities. Thus they managed to commercialize and obtain benefits for all the people, even more so for those of the high command.
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