Aztec Rulers: Tizoc, Seventh Tlatoani

Formal name: Tizocicatzin
Reign: 1481-1486, 1481-1485 (Tira de Tepechpan)
Name: He who makes sacrifices, he who does penance
Place of Birth: Likely Tenochtitlan

Upon the death of his brother, Axayacatl, the two remaining leaders of the Triple Alliance, Nezahualpilli of Texcoco and Chimalpopoca of Tlacopan, met and selected Tizoc to be the next tlatoani of Tenochtitlan. He was a grandson of former emperors Moctezuma I and Itzcoatl, and the middle brother of three who would follow, in order, as tlatoani.

“in the entire five years and few days of Tizocicatzin’s rule nothing of note occurred,” Alva Ixtlilxochitl, History of the Chichimeca Nation. This is a bit of an oversimplification as ruling an empire is certainly not “nothing.” Tizoc did hold the empire’s borders and conquered some lands within the empire’s borders. Having an uneventful reign isn’t the worst thing a ruler could be known for. Duran noted he was thought of as cowardly and slow to act.

One monument bears his image and appears to be carved to commemorate or elevate his short reign, called the Tizoc Stone. The Tizoc Stone, now housed in the National Anthropology museum in Mexico City, is a round stone about three feet tall and circled by ornate carvings depicting gods and the feats of Tizoc and includes an image of Tizoc himself. The stone was used as a sacrificial altar where an enemy warrior was tied to the stone and forced to fight against Aztec warriors. His death would be a sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli and his role in war.

After five years he died. It is possible he was killed by internal forces as speculation includes theories that he died either by poisoning or natural illness. Duran indicates Tlacaelel did away with him after widespread frustration with his unenthusiastic efforts on the Templo expansion.

Tizoc’s Accomplishments
Tizoc Stone
Templo Mayor expansion project begun.
Put down rebellion in Toluca.
Expanded and solidified the central empire

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