Chapter

Patterns of Warfare in Mesoamerica

Ross Hassig

in War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780520077348
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912281 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520077348.003.0010
Patterns of Warfare in Mesoamerica

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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

Chapter.  6618 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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