The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology (ca 800-1000 CE). The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tollan as the epitome of civilization, indeed in the Nahuatl language the word 'Toltecatl' or 'Toltecah' came to take on the meaning 'artisan'. The Aztec oral and pictographic tradition also described the history of the Toltec empire giving lists of rulers and their exploits. Among modern scholars it is a matter of debate whether the Aztec narratives of Toltec history should be given credence as descriptions of actual historical events. While all scholars acknowledge that there is a large mythological part of the narrative, some maintain that by using a critical comparative method some level of historicity can be salvaged from the sources.
Contributions by CJLL Wright, Infrogmation, and Madman2001.