Daniela Segura 12/16/08
How did pleasing the gods direct daily life?
Many years ago, a tribe called the Mexica wandered around trying to find a place to settle in what used to be Mesoamerica. It is said that Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, was guiding them to find a new location. Every time the tribe settled, Huitzilopochtli told them to find another place; he told themthat when they found an eagle holding a snake while sitting on a prickly pear cactus on a swampy island, they could stop wandering. This picture is now in the middle of Mexico’s present-day flag. They had passed this sight several times in around the Valley of Mexico, so they decided to settle there. The Mexicas built their city on an island in the middle of Lake Texaco; their capital citywas called Tenochtitlan; which is located in present-day Mexico City. To thank Huitzilopochtli, they built a temple called Huey Teocalli of Tenochtitlan, in honor of him and dedicated one half of the temple to Tlaloc, the god of rain. The Mexica tribe later called theirselves the Aztecs, coming from the word Aztlan, which was the Mexica’s homeland. The Aztec empire came to a fall when theSpaniards came and destroyed their city on August 31st, 1521 B.C. The Aztec empire lasted only from about 1250 B.C. to 1521B.C.
Aztec religion was one of the most important part of their daily lives, it affected their lives in many ways. Sometimes, there would be ceremonies where many people were sacrificed. The Aztecs believed in worshiping gods; the Aztecs had many gods that they believed in. Eachgod had a special role in their lives, for example, Tlaloc the rain god is responsible for both floods and droughts. The Aztecs believed that the gods needed fresh human blood in order to keep living or else they would wither and die. The three main gods were Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, and Tezcatlipoca.
Huitzilopochtli is the god of war. He is also known as “Hummingbird of the South”. AncientAztec books say that Huitzilopochtli was the god who told the Mexica tribe to leave their homeland and build a city. Huitzilopochtli was associated with sun and fire, a lot of sacrificing took place in order to keep Huitzilopochtli happy and to keep the sun shining. He has half a temple dedicated to him, which still exists today in Mexico City.
Quetzalcoatl is another important Aztec god. Heis known as “the Feathered Serpent” or “the Precious Twin”, he has a twin named Xolotl. Quetzalcoatl is the opposite of Tezcatlipoca; he is sometimes called “White Tezcatlipoca”, to contrast him with Tezcatlipoca which is sometimes called “Black Tezcatlipoca”. He is the god of intelligence, self-reflection, and wind. The Aztecs believed that together with his opposite Tezcatlipoca, they created theEarth. The Aztecs also believe that he brought maize to all mankind. Quetzalcoatl is the Lord of the Days with the number nine. “Chicunahui” means nine in Nahuatl (the Aztecs language).
Xolotl is known as “the Lord of the West”. He is Quetzalcoatl’s twin brother, he was often depicted as a dog with ragged ears. He went to the underworld with Quetzalcoatl to retrieve the bones from those wholived in the previous world to create new life.
Another important god was Tezcatlipoca; he was known as “the Smoking Mirror” or “the Lord of the North”. Some say that he controlled everyone’s fate. He is the god of darkness, as opposed to Quetzalcoatl who is associated with sun and fire. He lost his right foot when he used it as bait for the Earth monster, Cipactli. From then on, he was seen withan obsidian rock or a snake to replace his foot. The Aztecs say that he teamed up with Quetzalcoatl to create the Earth.
Mictlantecuhtli was the god of the underworld. He was married to Mictlantecuhatl, the goddess of the underworld. He was the Lord of the Days with number six. “Chicuacen” means six in Nahuatl. He was often depicted as a bloody skeleton. Ancient Aztec books say that he...
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