The Aztecs = (the Mexica and 6 other tribes all speaking the language Nahua) came from the north;
from Aztlan where they had emerged from Chicomoztoc (7 Caves) -- they were one of seven Nahua
Mexica. (last to arrive in Valley of Mexico)
Mexica left Aztlan, migrated to Valley of Mexico; settled, sometime after l25O A.D., in Chapultepec (near the Western shore of the Lake of Texcoco).
In l3l9 they were captured by their neighbors and expelled from Chapultepec. In l325 they saw eagle carrying serpent crouched on a prickly pear on an Island in Lake Texcoco. There on the island of Tenochtitlan they settled, eventually defeated the Tepanecs (1428), and went on to create an empire. Aztec empire grew on a foundation of Mexica aggressiveness.
CREATION - originally there were two primordial deities –
Ometecuhtli ("Lord of Duality") and Omecihuatl ("Lady of Duality")
They had four sons: (all 4 could be seen as manifestations of Tezcatlipoca)
l) Xipe Totec (Red Tezcatlipoca) (Tezcatlipoca = "Smoking Mirror")
2) Tezcatlipoca (Black Tezcatlipoca) (lord of the night sky)
3) Quetzalcoatl (White Tezcatlipoca) ("Feathered Serpent" -- Morning Star Associations.)
4) Huitzilopochtli (Blue Tezcatlipoca)
Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli commissioned to create further life
(including gods, humans, animals, etc.:
lst created fire & a half-sun
then the first man and woman (Oxomoco and Cipactonal)
(which one is male varies) (who are direct ancestors
of the common people -- the macehualtin)
then the lord and lady of the underworld (Mictlantecuhtli & Mictecacihuatl)
& the calendar was fixed
& the heavens and waters were created, and floating
on the waters was the great crocodilian
monster Cipactli, which became the earth's
surface(crocodile and toad are earth
& Tlaloc the rain god was created, and his spouse, Chalchiuhtlicue
then Oxomoco and Cipactonal bore a son, Piltzin-tecuhtli,
the first man to marry; he married a maiden
created from the hairs of the maiden Xochiquetzal
After this original "Genesis" comes a sequence of Four World Ages:
l) Jaguar Sun - (Nahui Ocelotl) - assigned to the Earth, Tezcatlipoca
presiding. World populated by giants, subsisting on
acorns. Man (the giants) was eaten by jaguars, which
ended this world age.
2) Wind Sun - (Nahui Ehecatl) - assigned to Wind/Air, Quetzalcoatl
presiding. Human population living on piñon nuts,
transformed into monkeys, and the age was terminated by
3) Rain Sun - (Nahui Quiahuitl) - assigned to Fire, Tlaloc presiding.
Population subsisting on a wild aquatic, seed bearing
plant (perhaps water lily), was transformed into turkeys,
butterflies, and dogs, and then destroyed by a great
4) Water Sun - (Nahui Atl) - assigned to Water, presided over by
Chalchiuhtlicue. Age terminated by a great deluge/flood,
after which the population (which had lived on another
wild seed bearing plant) was turned into fish.
5) Earthquake Sun - (Nahui Olin) - (Olin/Ollin, usually called
"Movement") - this is the age in which we are living
now: it is to terminate in great earthquakes. After
the end of the fourth Age, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl
had to initiate the present Age. In one version, they
split the Cipactli monster in half, and the upper half
formed the earth and the lower half formed the heavens.
The Earthquake Sun began in the year 1 Tochtli 978 A.D.
This splitting of Cipactli angers the other gods, who descend to console her by decreeing that henceforth
from her shall come all things necessary for man's life. From her hair they made trees, flowers, and herbs;
from her skin comes grass and small flowers; from her eyes come wells, springs, and small caverns;
from her mouth, rivers and large caves;
from her nose, mountain valleys; and from her shoulders, mountains. "And then this terrible creature
cried out in the night and refused to bring forth fruit if not soaked with blood and fed with human hearts".
Next Tezcatlipoca turned into Mixcoatl-Camaxtli and produced fire,
twirling the fire sticks.
Next, Mankind is created... Quetzalcoatl gets bones, the gods drip
their own blood on the bones, and after four days a male child
emerges and after four more days, a female comes.
Creation of Mankind - Quetzalcoatl descended to the underworld to obtain from its ruler, Mictlantecuhtli,
bones and ashes of the previous generation of humanity, from which to recreate man. Mictlantecuhtli
grants the request, but harasses the departing Quetzalcoatl, so that Quetzalcoatl drops the bones, breaking
them into pieces, accounting for the varying stature of man. Finally Quetzalcoatl delivers his precious cargo
to the gods assembled in Tamoanchan.
Cihuacoatl-Quilaztli grinds the bone fragments into a mass, places them
into a precious vessel.
thickly on the mass of ground up bones. After four days a male child
emerges and after four more days, a female infant.
Sustenance Mountain - Quetzalcoatl finds maize in mountain, but can't bring
it back. Nanahuatl brings it back for mankind.
(Another version has Centeotl, son of Piltzintecuhtli (himself the son of the Oxomoco and Cipactonal) and Xochiquetzal, having his body parts turned into the wild plants.
Version A. Quetzalcoatl, transformed into a black ant, was led to
"sustenance Mountain" (Tonacatepetl) by a red ant. Here he got some
maize grains and brought them back to Tamoanchan, where the gods
decided after tasting it that mankind should have it. Quetzalcoatl
fails to carry "sustenance mountain" on his back to mankind, but
Nanahuatl (a diseased, pauper god) succeeds.
Variant B. The gods descended to the cavern where lived Piltzintecuhtli,
son of the primal couple (Oxomoco and Cipactonal), and his wife,
Xochiquetzal. Their son, Centeotl was buried. From his hair
sprang cotton; from his ears, two useful seed bearing wild plants;
from his nose, chia; from his fingers the sweet potato;
from his nails a long variety of maize; from the remainder of
his body, many other food plants.
Alcohol / Octli - Mayahuel, a moon maiden, torn to pieces and bones buried.
From the grave sprang up the maguey, from which octli (pulque) was derived.
For man's enjoyment: Mayahuel, the maiden, was torn to pieces by
her monster guardians (Tzitzimime), after she had been
stolen from them by Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl buried
the mangled bones of Mayahuel, and from the grave sprang the
agave/maguey plant, from which pulque / octli is made.
Sun and Moon Created - 26 years after the creation of the earth, the
diseased but courageous pauper god Nanahuatl, and the rich
but cowardly Tecciztecatl leap into a great fire and are
transformed into the sun and the moon respectively.
Autosacrifice (death) of the Gods - The gods assembled and sacrificed
themselves into the fire so as to provide the newly created sun with nourishment.
Human Wars and Human Sacrifice - The death of the gods was not enough for
the sun. The sun and earth had an insatiable craving for hearts and blood.
And that is where man becomes responsible for the burden. War was instituted, for the primary purpose of obtaining sacrificial victims.
GODS - Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror) - black god of the night sky, a
transformer. Missing a foot (or a leg, which was bitten off by the
Cipactli (or Acipactli) monster.
Quetzalcoatl - Also found in the guises and/or names of
Ehecatl, Nine Wind, Nine Snake, and
Xolotl (Xolotl, the canine deity and equivalent of the evening
star, is the twin of Quetzalcoatl).
God of Life and Fertility, Inventor of Agriculture, Patron of
Tlaloc - God of Rain and Thunder
Xipe Totec - ("Flayed Lord"), God of Spring Planting, patron of
jewelers. Also called Yopi.
Huitzil-opochtli - God of War, Hunting, and the Sun. Later
associated with the eagle, emblem of the sun (cf.
Mixe witzn 'eagle')
Mictlantecuhtli - 'Lord of the Land of the Dead' in the underworld.
(as with the Greeks, only part of the underworld was the land of
Huehueteotl - Aged God, a god of Fire
Coatlicue - "Serpent Skirt" earth fertility an creator goddess.
Has skull or serpent for her head;
wears a necklace of human hearts.
Has taloned feet (cf. matlacihuatl - La llorona)
Tlazolteotl - Goddess of Filth. Earth goddess; also procreation,
carnal sin, and confession.
Yacatecuhtli - God of Merchants
For the hazardous journey after death the dead were provided with food, warm blankets, paper flags, water, and dogs. A jade bead was placed in the mouth of a dead person, to serve as a substitute heart, and he took presents for the lord and lady of the underworld...
Levels ‑ Hazards
1. River (dogs helps person across, reddish color)
2. Clashing high mountains
3. obsidian mountain
4. icy winds
5. flapping flags all over
6. arrows shot at soul
7. ferocious beasts eat hearts
8. narrow passages between hard rocks
9. darkness and rest ‑ Chicnahuamictlan.
dead souls could return to earth for food once a year, and at that time the people on earth made big festivals. (cf. today: Todos Santos and día de los muertos)
SOCIAL STRUCTURE (Major Divisions)
Rulers tlatoque (pl.) 'supreme rulers of major political bodies (empires,
cities, towns)' tlatoani (sing.)
"Chiefs" tetecutin (pl.) 'high military and governmental positions'
Nobles pipiltin (pl.) 'children of rulers and "chiefs", occupied
governmental, religious, and military positions)
Merchants pochteca (pl.) Merchants organized into guilds and trading over
long distances. pochtecatl (sing.)
Luxury artisans toltecca (pl.) Artisans of crafts such as gold and
featherworking. some guild organized, others
worked for the state. tolteccatl (sing)
"Free commoners" macehualtin (pl.) 'common man', organized into
calpulli, agriculturalists, fishers and utilitarian
craftsmen. macehualli (sing.)
Rural tenants mayeque (pl. & sing.) commoners who worked on the private
lands of the nobility.
Slaves tlacotin (pl.) slaves - attained their status through gambling,
economic necessity, or a criminal act (usually theft)