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Encyclopedia > Huitzilopchtli

In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopchtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli ("hummingbird of the south" or "he of the south" or "hummingbird on the left"), was a god of war and a sun god and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlán. His mother was Coatlicue, his father a ball of feathers (or, alternatively, Mixcoatl). He was sometimes said to have had a sister, Malinalxochi. His messenger was Paynal.


In the nahua culture, many names have an esoteric meaning, known only to some. In nahua maps, the south is at the left, and in the south is the paradise of the sun. Also the souls of the dead warriors return to the earth as butterflies and hummingbirds, so the name represents "the warrior soul from the paradise".


His sister, Coyolxauhqui, killed their mother, Coatlicue, because she became pregnant in a shameful way (by a ball of feathers). Her fetus, Huitzilopchtli, sprang from her womb and killed Coyolxauhqui, along with many of the brothers and sisters. He then tossed her head into the sky, becoming the moon, so that his mother would be comforted in seeing her daughter in the sky every night.


Huitzilopochtli was the tribal god of the Aztecs, and originally it was of little importance to the nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztec, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level of the Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc and Tezcatlipoca making him a solar god.


The nahuas believed the world would end like the other four creations. Each 52 years they feared the world would end. Aztecs believed that they could give strength to Huitzilopochtli with human blood and thereby postpone the end of the world.


In art, he was represented as a hummingbird – or with just the feathers of such on his head and left leg – a black face and holding a snake and a mirror.


External links

  • Short description and an image (http://cr.middlebury.edu/public/russian/bulgakov/public_html/Uitzilopochtli.html)

 
 

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