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Did your recent edit remove good info?[edit]

Hi, Madman. The information you removed from the article was good information, at least if my sources are correct. (But I'll double-check what they say about the relationship to Matlalcihuatzin; maybe I misread it.) I wonder why you removed the information, especially the part about making the position hereditary. That seems like an important point to me. Do you have some information that contradicts my sources? --Rbraunwa 18:16, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Every other source I have reviewed indicates that the position of tlatoani (or hueyi tlatoani) was never hereditary. For example [1], [2], Encarta, and the Aztec article here in Wikipedia, which says "The Nahuatl title, Huey Tlatoani (plural Huey Tlatoque), translates roughly as "Great Speaker". This office gradually took on more power with the rise of Tenochtitlan. By the time of Auitzotl, the title of Emperor had become a more appropriate analogy for this office, although as in the Holy Roman Empire, the title was not hereditary."
Similarly, I did some checking about the relationship between Huitzilíhuitl and Matlalcihuatzin and all the web references referred to her as his daughter.
Overall, I was attempting to use bring your additions in line with the "style" we've been using for the Aztec-related articles (which is one reason I substituted tlatoani for "ruler" and particulary "Lord", and completely removed the term "cacique").
However, I am puzzled about your insistence about translating Huitzilíhuitl's name into Spanish. He wasn't Spanish, never met the Spanish, and this is not the Spanish language Wikipedia.
In any case, really enjoyed your addition to the article. There is no doubt that the Aztec ruler articles need beefing up. Thanks for addressing this and I look forward to any other Aztec-related articles you may be working on. Thanks, Madman 00:49, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Hi Madman,
I wrote these paragraphs before I had a chance to see your comments, but they pretty much cover my reasons for the material you removed.
First, I think it is reasonable and useful to include the Spanish translation of the name Huitzilíhuitl as well as the English, because this turns up often in Spanish sources. And most of the sources on this individual are in Spanish.
Second, the sentence you changed to a <ref> generates an orphaned footnote number, but no footnote, and the information it contains does not appear anywhere unless you edit the article. I agree with what I assume you meant — the dates 1396-1417 are more likely correct. But the other dates do appear in some good published sources, and it makes sense to acknowledge that fact in our article.
Third, it is important to give some information about the location of Tenochtitlan in the article, even though that is described in the separate article Tenochtitlan. This is so that a reader who doesn't click on all the links knows at least where this person lived and where these events occurred. So I put back the parenthetical note on Mexico City, but I changed it a little to emphasize that it's not reasonable to say the two cities were the same, only that they shared a geographical location.
Fourth, and this is the most important point I think, is that it was Huitzilíhuitl who made the position of tlatoani hereditary. The best discussion of this is in Fernando Orozco Linares's Gobernantes de México, one of the sources I cited in the references. Orozco says "[F]ijó la sucesión familiar real, asegurando el reinado permanente a su casa". Orozco is a good source, and I have no reason to doubt this information. And it's one of the two most important actions Huitzilíhuitl took as tlatoani, so it should be mentioned. Do you have a source that contradicts it?
Fifth, I rechecked my sources concerning the relationship between Huitzilíhuitl and Matlalcihuatzin. One says she was his sister, and one says she was his daughter, which is what you changed it to. However, I think daughter is very unlikely, based on the following reasoning. Huitzilíhuitl was 16 when he ascended to the thone. Under the more likely dating of his reign, that means he was born in 1380, give or take a year. It is unlikely he was married to a close relative of Tezozómoc, a more powerful lord, before he became tlatoani, because until then his prospects were uncertain. So in all likelihood his first child would have been born no earlier than 1396, probably no earlier than 1397. Matlalcihuatzin's son Nezahualcóyotl was born in 1402. If she was Huitzilíhuitl's daughter rather than sister, she would have been only 5 years old (give or take 1 year) when her son was born, perhaps younger. Even under the less likely dating of Huitzilíhuitl's reign, she would have been only 11 (or younger), give or take a year. And Huitzilíhuitl himself would have been 22±1 or 28±1, quite young for a grandfather. Thus I think the source that says sister is almost certainly right, and the other an error.
I should also mention that nothing I put in the article is unsupported by the sources I cited. Of course I don't assume that every sentence in every source is correct, but these are good general sources and I do assume they are correct in the absence of evidence to the contrary. If you have such evidence, I would be glad to see it.
Since reading your reply:
It is true that two of my sources don't explictly say the position was hereditary, although they imply it. The third source states it outright, as I quoted above. But perhaps there's no contradiction here. We are dealing with an unwritten constitution, and it's possible the position was hereditary (at least in the sense of remaining in a single family) without there being any statute, etc. to justify it. You're right, without more information about the exact state of affairs (which may not exist), it's probably better to omit this.
I still don't see how Matlalcihuatzin could have been his daughter.
I understand the stylistic changes, and have no problem with them. In fact, thanks for doing that. I wasn't happy with "cacique" myself.
I'm not an expert on the Aztecs, but my sources have interesting, short articles on them and on some other Indigenous rulers. My field, though, is colonial Mexico. I've just finished the last article on the viceroys of New Spain today. --Rbraunwa 17:04, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Regarding the sister/daughter relationship, I believe that we need to go with the consensus opinion on the matter, and every source that I've seen says "daughter". Now, these are all web sources, but nonetheless can you find a web-source that says "sister"? Yes, if the 1380 birth date for Huitzilíhuitl is correct, then it would be difficult for Matlalcihuatzin to be his daughter. But these dates like this are notorious inaccurate. Tezozomoc, for example, was said to live to be over 100 years old.
If you want to pursue the hereditary nature of the office of Aztec tlatoani, I suggest that you (we) open a discussion on the Aztec talk page.
Thanks again for your contributions, Madman 01:07, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Hi Madman, you're right — every Internet source I can find, in English or Spanish, says she was his daughter. My only source for sister is the Enciclopedia de México. That's a good source, but not infallible; I've found mistakes before. I will defer to your judgment. However, I still have a couple of questions. The dates and the relationship still seem to me to be in conflict. If it's the relationship that is more secure, why haven't scholars used it to revise the dates? That seems like exactly the kind of information one would use to narrow down date possibilities.

Perhaps the scholars have written papers on this -- we just don't have access to them.  : ) Or maybe it's so obscure that no one really cares. Dunno, really.

And shouldn't the article include some mention of the date conflict, so that a person who calculates the dates from the given information won't appear to find a contradiction?

I think that that conflict should indeed be mentioned in the article, perhaps in a lengthy footnote (you've already written a good deal of it above). Madman 19:02, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Me, again. I'm thinking that perhaps the birth date of 1380 for Huitzilíhuitl is incorrect. I have been unable to find any source giving his birthdate, and I'm thinking that you backed into his birthdate based on the data that he was 16 years old at the time of his coronation. Perhaps that "16 years old" data is incorrect. Just a thought, Madman 19:55, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
That's certainly possible. I don't have any idea which piece of data is incorrect, just that it's likely one of them is. I have seen the age 16 "fact" repeated in more than one place, though.
Rbraunwa 20:17, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
More than 1 place, eh? Drat!! Back to the drawing board. Madman 20:27, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

As for my contribution, do you think this was helpful? Should I go ahead with some other Tlatoque from my sources? (I'm still working on some colonial articles, so it might not be right away.) --Rbraunwa 18:50, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Oh, please do!!! Definitely. As you can no doubt see, the biographies of these guys are quite lacking. Madman 19:02, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


Partially related to the above discussion of a couple years ago now, I think that we could and should have some better or more direct sources in this article. Those given are more or less tertiary sources, ie are from a generalist high-level historical perspective only. Any info they do contain on this period would've been drawn from more specific Aztec scholarship sources; there are a few of these around will see abt identifying couple of those here. --cjllw ʘ TALK 01:31, 17 December 2008 (UTC)