10 extraordinary facts from the mythology of the Aztecs
Legends, myths and religious beliefs of the Aztecs, together with their traditions, is a huge cultural complex that influenced all spheres of life of one of the most famous ancient nationalities. Today, Mexico has about one and a half million Nahua, the descendants of the Aztecs, and the whole world continues to be keenly interested in their cultural heritage, admiring the scope and horrified by the deeds of the divine pantheon of their ancestors.
In today's review of 10 unusual and little-known facts about the Aztec gods and stories of their intricate mythology.
1. Aztec pantheon - it's more than a hundred gods, many of which had several names. If the name of the god changed, then its essence was transformed. Many deities at the same time could be both positive, and sharply negative and dangerous characters. Amazing and the destination of a large number of Aztec gods, who patronized the most unexpected manifestations of life and civilization.
2. Duplicity was characteristic of a large number of Aztec gods, underscored their ambiguity, duality, propensity for good and for evil. The nature of the god changed depending on the situation and circumstances. In other words, almost all the Aztec gods were complex individuals with complex psychology. Divinity was even managed by a special god - Ometeotl, the Lord of Duality.
3. Two thirds of the gods of the Aztec pantheon were men, and one third fell to the share of female deities.
4. They say that the Aztecs, with the general vampirism of the Mesoamerican rituals, practiced human sacrifices with a special scope. To sacrifice people, all eighteen Aztec holidays were required. However, in their worldview system, such a situation was considered the norm, and many historians will suggest that we compare the number of victims brought by the Aztecs with hundreds of times the number of their fellow tribesmen killed by the conquistadors.
In addition to people, the Aztecs sacrificed things and animals. For example, the cult of Quetzalcoatl - Feathered Serpent - required the sacrifice of butterflies and hummingbirds, and his opponent, Tezcatlipoc, the creator of the worlds and the destroyer in one person, needed a ritual of self-sacrifice.
5. The prophecy of the sun god and Witslipochtli's war is reflected in the modern Mexican flag. When the Aztecs were nomadic hunters, God predicted that they should settle in the place where they would see at the top of the cactus an eagle with prey in its claws. After 130 years of wandering, the Aztecs finally came upon a valley where the eagle took off on a cactus with a snake in its paws. Thus, in 1325 the legendary Temuchtitlan was founded, on the site of which Mexico City is now built.
6. Shipet-Tootek, the god of the renewal of nature, the change of seasons and the patron of goldsmiths, in his negative hypostasis, sent people to epidemics, blindness and deafness. His celebrations were accompanied by one of the most eerie rituals: the priest performed the dance, dressed in the skin of the sacrificed people.
7. Tlaloc, one of the most revered gods of the Aztecs, brought the long-awaited rain and patronized agriculture. Being in a bad mood, he sent hails, frosts and floods, rewarded people with rheumatism. It was believed that drowned people fall into Tlaloc's personal paradise.
8. For Ometecutli, the supreme deity and creator of all things, the temples did not build or organize the places of his worship, because it was believed that he was present in every thing and every ritual of the whole world.
9. The most charming in all the Aztec pantheon was Shochiketzal - the goddess of love, flowers, land, fertility, procreation, games, dances, the patroness of weavers and prostitutes, sculptors and artists. Her retinue consisted of birds and butterflies. Every eight years festivals were held in her honor, therefore European sources of the 16th-17th centuries compare Shochiketzal with Roman Venus and correlate with the planet of the same name, the cycle of which is exactly 8 years.
10. The Aztecs believed that their gods, despite their power and various skills, were mortal. However, they can rebuild themselves many times and recreate the human race. According to the Aztec calendar, humanity has already died three times after the universal catastrophes. The last time, the fourth, at the moment, people revived Quetzalcoatl, moreover, from their own bones.