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War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica$
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Ross Hassig

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520077348

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520077348.001.0001

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Patterns of Warfare in Mesoamerica

Patterns of Warfare in Mesoamerica

(p.165) Chapter 10 Patterns of Warfare in Mesoamerica
War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica

Ross Hassig

University of California Press

Much of Mesoamerican trade was political, occurring under the protection of imperial domination. The relationship between economics and military expansion is frequently reciprocal, with the potential for adequate gain determining whether or not the expansion is undertaken. Mesoamerican history was not simply a succession of imperial rises and falls or oscillations between social types. Rather, the nature of Mesoamerican empires changed over time. Changes in arms and armor throughout Mesoamerican history presumably reflected increasing effectiveness. Four major expansions—Olmec, Teotihuacano, Toltec, and Aztec, the last three imperial—were crucial in creating the Mesoamerican culture area. Each society enjoyed a military advantage in their expansions. During the expansion phase, Mesoamerican empires worked well, but they could not prevail indefinitely against the local developments their very existence promoted.

Keywords:   warfare, Mesoamerican history, military expansion, economics, Olmec, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Aztec, Mesoamerican culture

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