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Encyclopedia > Huitzilopochtli

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what you need to know about aztecs gods

Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.
Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.

In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli, (IPA: [witsiloˈpotʃtɬi] ("Hummingbird of the South", "He of the South", "Hummingbird on the Left (South)", or "Left-Handed Humming Bird" – huitzil is the Nahuatl word for hummingbird), was a god of war and a sun god and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 516 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (548 × 637 pixels, file size: 79 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Huitzilopochtli, from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis (16th century). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 516 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (548 × 637 pixels, file size: 79 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Huitzilopochtli, from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis (16th century). ... Conquistador Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán as depicted in Codex Telleriano Remensis The Codex Telleriano-Remensis, produced in sixteenth century Mexico and printed on European paper, is one of the finest surviving examples of Aztec manuscript painting. ... The Aztec civilization recognized a polytheistic mythology, which contained the many gods and supernatural creatures from their religious beliefs. ... For the Spanish language as spoken in Mexico, see Mexican Spanish. ... For other uses, see Hummingbird (disambiguation). ... A solar deity is a deity who represents the Sun. ... Tenochtitlan, looking east. ...


He was also the national god of the Aztecs. As well as being a god of war and a sun god, he was also a god of death, young men, warriors, storms, and a guide for journeys and a psychopomp. Aztec is a term used to refer to certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who achieved political and military dominance over large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the Late post-Classic... This is an article about the mythology of the Psychopomp. ...


In the Nahua culture, many names have an esoteric meaning, known only to some. According to Laurette Séjourné, in her book "Burning water" (sacred war) 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 esoteric meaning of Huitzilopochtli is "the warrior soul from the paradise." The Nahua are a group of indigenous peoples of Mexico. ... Laurette Séjourné (1911–May 25, 2003) was an archeologist and ethnologist. ...


Genealogy

Huitzilopochtli in human form in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.
Huitzilopochtli in human form in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.

His mother was Coatlicue, his father a ball of feathers (or, alternatively, Mixcoatl). His sister was Malinalxochitl, a beautiful sorceress, who was also his rival. His messenger or impersonator was Paynal. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Conquistador Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán as depicted in Codex Telleriano Remensis The Codex Telleriano-Remensis, produced in sixteenth century Mexico and printed on European paper, is one of the finest surviving examples of Aztec manuscript painting. ... Statue of Coatlicue displayed in National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan (also transcribed Teteo Inan) (The Mother of Gods), is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. ... In Aztec mythology, Mixcoatl (Cloud Serpent) was a god of the hunt, the north star and war. ... In Aztec mythology, Malinalxochi was a sorceress and goddess of snakes, scorpions and insects of the desert. ... In Aztec mythology, Paynal was the impersonator and messenger of Huitzilopochtli. ...


The legend of Huitzilopochtli is recorded in the Mexicayotl Chronicle. His sister, Coyolxauhqui, tried to kill their mother because she became pregnant in a shameful way (by a ball of feathers). His offspring, Huitzilopochtli, sprang from his mothers womb and killed his sister Coyolxauhqui, along with many of his 400 brothers and sisters. He then tossed her head into the sky, where it became the moon, so that his mother would be comforted in seeing her daughter in the sky every night. In Aztec mythology, Coyolxauhqui (golden bells more correctly: She with the bells on her cheeks Consider the orbiting full moon and the stone carvings facial details. ... Two feathers Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds. ...


History and myth

Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano.
Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano.

Huitzilopochtli was a tribal god, and a legendary wizard of the Aztecs, and originally was of little importance to the Nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztecs, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level as Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, and Tezcatlipoca, making him a solar god. So he replaced Nanahuatzin, the solar god from the Nahua legend, with Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli was said to be in a constant struggle with the darkness, and required nourishment in the form of sacrifices to ensure the sun would survive the cycle of 52 years that was the basis of most Mesoamerican myths. While popular accounts claim it was necessary to have a daily sacrifice, sacrifices were only done in festive days. There were 18 especially holy festive days, and only one of them was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Detail of first page from the Boturini Codex, depicting the departure from Aztlán. ... The Nahua are a group of indigenous peoples of Mexico. ... Tlacaelel (1397 - 1487) was the nephew of Itzcoatl (1427 - 1440) and brother of Moctezuma I (1440 - 1469), the first and second Mexica emperors. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Tlaloc, as shown in the late 16th century Codex Rios. ... Tezcatlipoca as depicted in the Codex Borgia. ... In Aztec mythology, the god Nanauatl (or Nanauatzin, the sufix tzin implies respect or familiarity) sacrificed himself in fire so that it would continue to shine on Earth as the sun, thus becoming the sun god. ... 18 (eighteen) is the natural number following 17 and preceding 19. ...


The Nahuas believed the world would end like the other previous four creations. Every fifty-two years, they feared the world would end. Under Tlacaelel, Aztecs believed that they could give strength to Huitzilopochtli with human blood and thereby postpone the end of the world, at least for another fifty-two years. Tlacaelel (1397 - 1487) was the nephew of Itzcoatl (1427 - 1440) and brother of Moctezuma I (1440 - 1469), the first and second Mexica emperors. ...


The Great Temple of Tenochtitlan was dedicated to Huitzlilopochtli and Tlaloc because they were considered equals in power. Sixteenth-century Dominican Friar Diego Durán wrote, "These two gods were always meant to be together, since they were considered companions of equal power." (Diego Durán, Book of Gods and Rites) The Templo Mayor actually consisted of a pyramidal platform on top of which were twin temples. The left one was Huitzilopochtli's and the right one was Tlaloc's. The Great Pyramid or Templo Mayor was the main temple of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City). ... A friar is a member of a religious mendicant order of men. ... Diego Durán (c. ...


According to Miguel León-Portilla, in this new vision from Tlacaelel, the warriors that died in battle and women who died in childbirth would go to serve Huitzilopochtli in his palace (in the south, or left). From a description in the Florentine Codex, Huitzilopochtli was so bright that the warrior souls had to use their shields to protect their eyes. They could only see the god through the arrow holes in their shields, so it was the bravest warrior who could see him best. From time to time, those warriors could return to earth as butterflies or hummingbirds. Miguel León-Portilla (born in Mexico City, 22 February 1926) is a Mexican anthropologist and historian, and the prime authority on Nahuatl thought and literature. ... Page 51 of Book IX from the Florentine Codex. ...


The myth of the origin of Tenochtitlan

The Aztec emperor Chimalpopoca in Huitzilopochtli costume, from the Codex Xolotl.
The Aztec emperor Chimalpopoca in Huitzilopochtli costume, from the Codex Xolotl.

There are several legends and myths of Huitzilopochtli. According the Aubin Codex, the Aztecs originally came from a place called Aztlan. They lived under the ruling of a powerful elite called the "Azteca Chicomoztoca". Huitzilopochtli ordered them to abandon Aztlan to find a new home. He also ordered them to never call themselves Aztec , instead they should be called "Mexica". Huitzilopochtli guided them through a long journey. For a time Huitzilopochtli left them in the charge of his sister Malinalxochitl, who according to legend founded Malinalco, but the Aztecs resented her ruling and called back Huitzilopochtli. He put his sister to sleep and ordered the Aztecs to leave the place. When she woke up and realized she was alone, she became angry and desired revenge. She gave birth to a son called Copil. When he grew up he confronted Huitzilpochtli, who had to kill him. Huitzilopchtli then took his heart and threw it in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Many years later, Huitzilopchtli ordered the Aztecs to search for the Copil heart and build their city over it. The sign would be an eagle perched on a cactus, eating a precious bird. The Aztecs finally found the eagle, who bowed to them, and they built a temple in the place, which became Tenochtitlan. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Chimalpopoca (died circa 1427) was the third Tlatoani, or Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlán. ... Depiction of the departure from Aztlán, from the Boturini Codex. ... Aztl n is the Aztec/Mexica place of origin in Northern Mexico — perhaps in the area of the present-day southwestern US states or perhaps an island in part of the modern Mexican state of Nayarit. ... In Aztec mythology, Malinalxochi was a sorceress and goddess of snakes, scorpions and insects of the desert. ... View over Malinalco Malinalco is a city in México State, Mexico. ... Lake Texcoco is a lake in Mexico. ... Tenochtitlan, looking east. ...


The are different versions of this encounter, but the version by father Duran would become the most popular. In his version, the eagle is eating a snake instead of a bird. This image is seen on the flag of Mexico. The Flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe. ...


Iconography & Art

In art and iconography, Huitzilopochtli 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. In the great temple his statue was decorated with cloths and feathers, gold and jewels, and was hidden behind a curtain to give it more reverence and veneration. Look up Iconography in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Hummingbird (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ... A mirror, reflecting a vase. ...


According to legend, the statue was supposed to be destroyed by the soldier Gil González de Benavides, but it was rescued by a man called Tlatolatl. The statue appeared some years later, during an investigation by Bishop Zummáraga during the 1530s, only to be lost again. There is speculation that the statue still exists in a cave somewhere in the Anahuac valley. Juan de Zumárraga (1468 – 3 June 1548) was a Spanish Franciscan prelate and first bishop of Mexico. ... For the city in Mexico, see Anáhuac, Nuevo León. ...


Calendar

An imaginative European depiction of an Aztec shrine. The idol of Huitzilopochtli is seated in the background. (1602)
An imaginative European depiction of an Aztec shrine. The idol of Huitzilopochtli is seated in the background. (1602)

Father Duran gave us the description of the festivities for Huitzilopochtli. Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was the Aztec month dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were a ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, for which the people prepared for the whole month. People fasted, or ate very little; a statue of the god was made with amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. Because of its similarities to the Catholic mass, after the conquest the amaranth cultives were outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Aztec calendar was the calendar of the Aztec people of Pre-Columbian Mexico. ... is the 341st day of the year (342nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 360th day of the year (361st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Amaranth (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... For other uses, see Christmas (disambiguation). ...


According to the Ramirez Codex, in Tenochtitlan circa sixty prisoners were sacrificed at the festivities. Sacrifices were reported to be made in other Aztec cities, including Tlatelolco, Xochimilco and Texcoco, but the number is unknown, and no archeological findings currently available confirm this. This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... Look up Circa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Latin word circa, literally meaning about, is often used to describe various dates (often birth and death dates) that are uncertain. ... Tlaltelolco is an area in Mexico City, centered on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, a square surrounded on three sides by an excavated Aztec pyramid, the 17th century church Templo de Santiago, and the modern office complex of the Mexican foreign ministry. ... Xochimilco within the Federal District Chalupa boats at the floating gardens of Xochimilco. ... Texcoco was a major site and city-state in the central Mexican plateau region of Mesoamerica during the Late Postclassic period of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican chronology. ...


For the reconsecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. While accepted by some scholars, this claim also has been considered Aztec propaganda, since it involves 14 sacrifices per minute for 24 hours during the four-day consecration, all done personally by the Tlatoani with a stone knife. Events Richard Fox becomes Bishop of Exeter. ...


See also

It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Tezcatlipoca as depicted in the Codex Borgia. ...

External links

  • The Gods and Goddesses of the Aztecs
  • Short description and an image

  Results from FactBites:
 
Sala 4 Huitzilopochtli y Coyolxauhqui (745 words)
Huitzilopochtli, the Sun, from her womb, warned the Earth of the danger and decided to defend his life and that of his mother.
When the Moon and the Stars were on the point of killing her, the sun Huitzilopochtli was born, fully armed for war with a fire serpent called xiuhcoatl,with which he decapitated his treacherous sister, to then cast her down from the top of Coatepec hill.
Coyolxauhqui and her dismemberment are the explanation for a celestial phenomenon, in which the moon dies and is born in phases, and so she was found at the foot of the stairway of the Huitzilopochtli temple at the Templo Mayor.
Huitzilopochtli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1225 words)
Huitzilopochtli was a tribal god, and a legendary wizard of the Aztecs, and originally was of little importance to the Nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztecs, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level as Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, and Tezcatlipoca, making him a solar god.
Huitzilopochtli was said to be in a constant struggle with the darkness, and required nourishment in the form of sacrifices to ensure the sun would survive the cicle of 52 years that was the basis of most mesoamerican myths.
In art, Huitzilopochtli was represented as a hummingbird (or with just the feathers of such on his head and left leg), a fl face, and holding a snake and a mirror.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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