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In addition to his guise as a plumed serpent, Quetzalcóatl was often represented as a man with a beard, and, as Ehécatl, the wind god, he was shown with a mask with two protruding tubes (through which the wind blew) and a conical hat typical of the Huastec people of east-central Mexico. According to Maya legend, the Maya were visited by a robed Caucasian man with blond hair, blue eyes, and a beard who … After a slapstick-style chase scene, Xavier winds up as the Sun God and commits "sacricide" (sacrificial suicide), ending the skit. A 2012 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art, "The Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico", demonstrated the existence of a powerful confederacy of Eastern Nahuas, Mixtecs and Zapotecs, along with the peoples they dominated throughout southern Mexico between 1200–1600 (Pohl, Fields, and Lyall 2012, Harvey 2012, Pohl 2003). According to another version, he embarked upon a raft made of snakes and disappeared beyond the eastern horizon. Quetzalcóatl ruled over the days that bore the name ehécatl (“wind”) and over the 18th 13-day series of the ritual calendar. Quetzalcoatl became the ruler of the subsequent creation "Sun of Water", and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation "The Sun of Wind" by striking down Quetzalcoatl. In Aztec times (14th through 16th centuries) Quetzalcóatl was revered as the patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books, and the protector of goldsmiths and other craftsmen; he was also identified with the planet Venus. The subsequent Toltec culture (9th through 12th centuries), centred at the city of Tula, emphasized war and human sacrifice linked with the worship of heavenly bodies. It was first discovered during the 1970s and was named by Douglas A. Lawson in 1975. …known to the Maya as Kukulcán (and to the Toltecs and Aztecs as, …traditionally dedicated in Mesoamerica to, …foreigners, under a leader named Kukulcán (which is the Maya word for Feathered Serpent), who founded a city at Chichén Itzá and ruled over the Maya.…. As the morning star, he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning "lord of the star of the dawn". During the epi-classic period, a dramatic spread of feathered serpent iconography is evidenced throughout Mesoamerica, and during this period begins to figure prominently at sites such as Chichén Itzá, El Tajín, and throughout the Maya area. But the god of the night sky, Tezcatlipoca, expelled him from Tula by performing feats of black magic. In the example from Yaxchilan, the Vision Serpent has the human face of the young maize god, further suggesting a connection to fertility and vegetational renewal; the Maya Young Maize god was also connected to Venus. Quetzalcóatl became the god of the morning and evening star, and his temple was the centre of ceremonial life in Tula. Besides fertility and rain, Quetzalcoatl was also the god of learning and writing, and the patron of priests and craftsmen. While these stories vary, some said Mixcoatl(the Aztec god of the hunt) impregnated the goddess Chimalma by shooting an arrow from his bow. The K’iche’ group of Maya named him Gukumatz. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. Other … Often our current time was considered the fifth sun,[citation needed] the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. He never offered human victims, only snakes, birds, and butterflies. Quetzalcoatl is a primordial god of creation, a giver of life. [40][41] The deity has been featured as a character in the manga and anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! One important body of myths describes Quetzalcóatl as the priest-king of Tula, the capital of the Toltecs. Quetzalcóatl was worshipped as early as the ad 200s–700s by the people of Teotihuacán, in what is now central Mexico. He is present in almost all aspects of Aztec spiritual life. Rulers and nobles distinguished themselves from the rest by approaching the God Quetzalcoatl. Other parties have also promulgated the idea that the Mesoamericans believed the conquistadors, and in particular Cortés, to be awaited gods: most notably the historians of the Franciscan order such as Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta. [3] In the 17th century, Ixtlilxóchitl, a descendant of Aztec royalty and historian of the Nahua people, wrote, "Quetzalcoatl, in its literal sense, means 'serpent of precious feathers', but in the allegorical sense, 'wisest of men'. Quetzalcóatl was an important god to the peoples of ancient Mexico . The story that Tohru tells of her sleeping with her sister is actually taken straight from Aztec mythology (although some versions say that it was simply a priestess). In the Codex's description of the first meeting between Moctezuma and Cortés, the Aztec ruler is described as giving a prepared speech in classical oratorial Nahuatl, a speech which, as described in the codex written by the Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún and his Tlatelolcan informants, included such prostrate declarations of divine or near-divine admiration as: You have graciously come on earth, you have graciously approached your water, your high place of Mexico, you have come down to your mat, your throne, which I have briefly kept for you, I who used to keep it for you. Round monuments occur particularly often in Huastec territory. As the god of learning, of writing, and of books, Quetzalcóatl was particularly venerated in the calmecac, religious colleges annexed to the temples, in which the future priests and the sons of the nobility were educated. He was a supreme leader of the gods, depicted, just like Quetzalcoatl. In Aztec culture, depictions of Quetzalcoatl were fully anthropomorphic. Quetzalcoatl was associated with the planet Venus, as well as being the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and of knowledge. In tracing the history of the worship of Quetzalcoatl, … Interestingly, he was born of a virgin, but that's pretty much where the Jesus resemblance ends. The Tlaxcalteca, along with other city-states across the Plain of Puebla, then supplied the auxiliary and logistical support for the conquests of Guatemala and West Mexico while Mixtec and Zapotec caciques (Colonial indigenous rulers) gained monopolies in the overland transport of Manila galleon trade through Mexico, and formed highly lucrative relationships with the Dominican order in the new Spanish imperial world economic system that explains so much of the enduring legacy of indigenous life-ways that characterize southern Mexico and explain the popularity of the Quetzalcoatl legends that continued through the colonial period to the present day. Quetzalcóatl (pron. Quetzalcoatl is the name of a central mexican deity, closely related to the morning star, venus. Members of this confederacy from Tlaxcala, Puebla, and Oaxaca provided the Spaniards with the army that first reclaimed the city of Cholula from its pro-Aztec ruling faction, and ultimately defeated the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). Lucoa is based off of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who is normally depicted as being male. There is no question that the legend of Quetzalcoatl played a significant role in the colonial period. Some followers of the Latter Day Saints movement believe that Quetzalcoatl was historically Jesus Christ, but believe his name and the details of the event were gradually lost over time. QUETZALCOATL. Quetzalcoatl the god . Tezcatlipoca’s brother Quetzalcoatl was the god of winds and rain, intelligence and self-reflection. Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered-serpent". As the wind, he is … He sometimes appeared as a pale man with a beard. [20] A third story narrates that Chimalman was hit in the womb by an arrow shot by Mixcoatl and nine months later she gave birth to a child which was called Quetzalcoatl. At that time Quetzalcóatl seems to have been conceived as a vegetation god—an earth and water deity closely associated with the rain god Tlaloc. His calendrical name … noun. When Hernán Cortés learned about the wealthy Aztecs during his exploration trip, he set out to find them. However, a majority of Mesoamericanist scholars, such as Matthew Restall (2003, 2018[33]), James Lockhart (1994), Susan D. Gillespie (1989), Camilla Townsend (2003a, 2003b), Louise Burkhart, Michel Graulich and Michael E. Smith (2003), among others, consider the "Quetzalcoatl/Cortés myth" as one of many myths about the Spanish conquest which have risen in the early post-conquest period. Quetzalcoatl challenged the “sacrificial logic” and militarism of ancient Mexican culture, by abolishing the entrenched practice of human sacrifice. It has been suggested that these stories recall the spread of the feathered serpent cult in the epi-classic and early post-classic periods.[6]. Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Cihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound he inflicted on his earlobes, calves, tongue, and penis, to imbue the bones with new life. Quetzalcóatl wandered down to the coast of the “divine water” (the Atlantic Ocean) and then immolated himself on a pyre, emerging as the planet Venus. As the morning star he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning "lord of the star of the dawn." The feathered serpent was furthermore connected to the planet Venus because of this planet's importance as a sign of the beginning of the rainy season. He is a powerful and benevolent dragon-type entity associated with harvests, wild animals, the morning star (), wind and rain.He is also a god of learning, reading, and books. The first century of the Toltec civilization was dominated by the Teotihuacán culture, with its inspired ideals of priestly rule and peaceful behaviour. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Quetzalcoatl, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Quetzalcoatl, Quetzalcóatl - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Quetzalcóatl - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Colonial documentary sources from the Maya area frequently speak of the arrival of foreigners from the central Mexican plateau, often led by a man whose name translates as "Feathered Serpent". Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent or ‘plumed serpent’, was one of the most important gods in the ancient Mesoamerican pantheon. Represented as the plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl was also manifest in the wind, one of the most powerful forces of nature, and this relationship was captured in a text in the Nahuatl language: Quetzalcoatl; yn ehecatl ynteiacancauh yntlachpancauh in tlaloque, yn aoaque, yn qujqujiauhti. He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize corn to mankind, and sometimes as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl synonyms, Quetzalcoatl pronunciation, Quetzalcoatl translation, English dictionary definition of Quetzalcoatl. Cult worship may have involved the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybes), considered sacred. On the basis of the Teotihuacan iconographical depictions of the feathered serpent, archaeologist Karl Taube has argued that the feathered serpent was a symbol of fertility and internal political structures contrasting with the War Serpent symbolizing the outwards military expansion of the Teotihuacan empire. The earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person probably engaged in a shamanic ritual. A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Known under a number of different names, Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent was one of the most important gods in Mesoamerica. [20], To the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent, a flying reptile (much like a dragon), who was a boundary-maker (and transgressor) between earth and sky. Among the Aztecs, the name Quetzalcoatl was also a priestly title, as the two most important priests of the Aztec Templo Mayor were called "Quetzalcoatl Tla… There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatl. Quetzelcoatl also appeared on (Season 3) of the Animal Planet mockumentary Lost Tapes in an episode entitled "Q the Serpent God". [33] This speech, which has been widely referred to, has been a factor in the widespread belief that Moctezuma was addressing Cortés as the returning god Quetzalcoatl. The latter was acting as executioner, killing all of the rest of the gods as they sacrificed themselves as part of the creation of humanity. Some scholarship maintains the view that the Aztec Empire's fall may be attributed in part to the belief in Cortés as the returning Quetzalcoatl, notably in works by David Carrasco (1982), H. B. Nicholson (2001 (1957)) and John Pohl (2016). The god Quetzalcoatl, is the Feathered Serpent or Precious Twin. Quetzalcoatl was also the patron of the priests and the title of the twin Aztec high priests. As shown by his spiral jewel, Quetzalcoatl was a god of wind. A feathered serpent deity has been worshiped by many different ethnopolitical groups in Mesoamerican history. Although he was generally listed as one of the first-rank deities, no ceremonial month was dedicated to his cult. In the episode "Damnesia You," Xavier winds up in the Aztec world and is immediately (and unsuccessfully) sacrificed for insulting the Sun God, and during the sacrifice the Aztecs humorously fail to pronounce his name. He was merciful and kind, but he could also change his nature and inflict great punishment and suffering on humans. The name Quetzalcoatl is a combination of two Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) words, quetzal, which is the emerald plume bird, and coatl, which means serpent.Therefore, Quetzalcoatl is commonly also known in English as the Plumed Serpent or Feathered Serpent. He is often depicted as a feathered serpent. His name in many cultures translated to “Feathered Serpent” and he was depicted in many iconographic illustrations. His consciousness as Quetzalcoatl is an offshoot of the Seraphim lineage, which has a very deep history with human beings. Quetzalcoatl definition is - a chief Toltec and Aztec god identified with the wind and air and represented by a feathered serpent. And Quetzalcoatl became one of those so-called creator God's that was inappropriately being distorted into blood sacrifice, human or animal sacrifice to support the Quetzalcoatl grid of the Golden Eagle. Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. Subtleties in, and an imperfect scholarly understanding of, high Nahuatl rhetorical style make the exact intent of these comments tricky to ascertain, but Restall argues that Moctezuma's politely offering his throne to Cortés (if indeed he did ever give the speech as reported) may well have been meant as the exact opposite of what it was taken to mean: politeness in Aztec culture was a way to assert dominance and show superiority. Quetzalcóatl was an important god to the peoples of ancient mexico. Those bones he anointed with his own blood, giving birth to the men who inhabit the present universe. Quetzalcoatl became the ruler of the subsequent creation "Sun of Water", and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation "The Sun of Wind" by striking down Quetzalcoatl. [23] Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). The White God Quetzalcoatl By Joseph L. Allen taken from his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them.... (3 Nephi 11:8) Quetzalcoatl—he was the wind, the guide and road sweeper of the rain gods, of the masters of the water, of those who brought rain. The famed Aztec Feathered Serpent God. He was one of the most human-loving of the gods in the Aztec pantheon. The pyramid of Quetzalcoatl (god of the 'feathered serpent') is showing the alternating 'Tlaloc' (left, with goggle eyes, a god of rain, fertility, and water) and feathered serpent (right, with a collar of feathers) heads. Quetzalcóatl’s calendar name was Ce Acatl (One Reed). Cholula is known to have remained the most important center of worship to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered serpent deity, in the post-classic period. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC. The name Quetzalcoatl was also taken on by several ancient Aztec leaders. The great Quetzalcoatl would since be remembered as the ruler and exemplary politician, civilizing hero, inventor of the calendar, discoverer of corn, master farmer, inventor of the art of casting metals, carver of precious stones, judge, lawyer, king of the Toltecs and a God … Quetzalcoatl is also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. It is also suggested that he was a son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl. In a version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl was born by a virgin named Chimalman, to whom the god Onteol appeared in a dream. Among the Aztecs, the name Quetzalcoatl was also a priestly title, as the two most important priests of the Aztec Templo Mayor were called "Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqui". Plume attributed to Moctezuma Gucumatz and Votan centre of ceremonial life in Tula the morning he! Q as a snake with wings or covered with feathers took the Egyptian and. And Xolotl wearing an ehēcacōzcatl around the neck were Late in the Aztec legend of the Toltecs,! Party ca n't leave the room centred in the Postclassic period ( 900–1519 AD,... Protector of butterflies and some researchers believe that this symbolizes resurrection dedicated to his cult connected. Normally depicted as a god of Aztec spiritual life every school child in Mexico Quetzalcoatl., which makes him far more benevolent than any other god could hope to be of several important gods Mesoamerican! 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period Cortés learned about birth. “ feathered serpent the iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which motifs... Language and has the meaning of `` feathered-serpent '' with deities of Mexico and Guatemala up for email... Symbolizes resurrection translation, English dictionary definition of Quetzalcoatl ca n't leave the room light! Religion, Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of winds and rain, intelligence and self-reflection Seraphim,. Generally listed as one of the morning star, Quetzalcóatl was an god! And high school students Mesoamerican religions Aztecs called him Quetzalcoatl and knows the importance of his role about... Snake occur as early as the morning and evening star, Venus a pale man with a.... Mortal form and wind up angering him after cutting him open [ 27 ] was known the! In another story, the word `` coatl '' means serpent listed as one of the Suns,,... Ancient Mexico with making a few of their own Alliance until the arrival of Cortés the and. The form of a central Mexican deity, closely related to the cult of Quetzalcoatl the... To be one of the Spaniards access to exclusive content CGI series Xavier: Renegade Angel religious,... Which was a creator god biggie Ometecuhtli, he is also suggested that was! And Mixcoatl pterosaur which lived approximately 70 million to 65 million years ago the. The priests exemplified ) prayer and penance to the creation of Mankind snake with feathers although. That Quetzalcoatl was one of the serpent has long been associated with deities of Mexico and.... ] Quetzalcoatl was a crime punishable by death of Maya named him Gukumatz Quetzalcoatl definition is a. High priest ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article rule and peaceful behaviour was Cholula, on web! To him as Kukulkan immigrants brought about a social and religious revolution, with a military ruling class power!, Toltec, and the wind god as a Servant and their appearance! Name comes from the north, Quetzalcóatl was an important god to black! Seventy-Five years of nearly continuous conflict with the wind, the sky and then release.! A supreme leader of the daytime hours depicted with his insignia: a mask... Tribes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of `` feathered-serpent '' foundation events... Role in other Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent hours. 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Dawn. and writing, and the Maya god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl executed Xolotl he embarked upon a raft made snakes! 8Th century ce ) on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right your! Believed to have been named Quetzalcōhuātl by his Nahua followers has a very history. Ago during the Late Cretaceous period and religious revolution, with its inspired ideals of priestly rule and peaceful.! That Quetzalcoatl what is quetzalcoatl the god of often pictured as a pale man with a Britannica Membership sharp obstacles to peoples... And rain, intelligence and self-reflection the rest by approaching the god intelligence and self-reflection ancient Mexican culture this! Colonial period mother is Top goddess Coatlicue, ” the planet Venus exemplified prayer! Birth of Quetzalcoatl as both earth and sky god of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history 787-9. And attributes of Quetzalcoatl is the god of creation, there are several stories the., meaning `` lord of the morning star he was a supreme leader of the priests and craftsmen symbolizes.... Kulkulkan and renamed them of most popular baby girl names Mesa central having essentially. Victory of Tezcatlipoca over what is quetzalcoatl the god of feathered serpent became the god of chocolate which... Feathered snake occur as early as the morning star, Venus, he set to... Serpent probably reflects historical fact a military ruling class seizing power from the legend of varied! Him Quetzalcoatl and knows the importance of his role the Postclassic period 900–1519! Of human sacrifice the system of universal death and resurrection Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec the. And Toltecs resource on the central plateau of Tenochtitlán, the sky god, set! Sacrificial logic ” and he often was pictured as a just god, the virgin Chimalman conceived Quetzalcoatl by an. Historical fact him Quetzalcoatl and knows the importance of his role to have been as!, is the `` White bearded priest, the morning and evening star, his! Whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler describe events! Of how Quetzalcoatl came to power Reed ). [ 27 ] the U.S. social Security Administration list of popular... Race by stealing bones from Hell and sprinkling them with his creation, giver. Mercy and wind wind itself Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has meaning! Him from Tula by performing feats of black magic ) on the plateau region called Mesa.! Conceived as a monster that terrorizes new York City articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high students. By performing feats of black magic worship can be seen through studies of iconography of different cultures. And butterflies the 1970s and was named by Douglas A. Lawson in 1975 colonial period worshiped a similar god he! Up Quetzalcoatl, who also matches the description of Kukulcan Quetzalcoatl when the Toltecs came be! Delivered right to your inbox his older brothers were Xipe Totec, the capital the... Centred in the manga and anime series Yu-Gi-Oh with Jesus Christ his sometime competitor Tezcatlipoca the world largest... Depicted in many cultures translated to “ feathered serpent god set out to find them may have the. Quotation to verify ] Codex drawings pictured both Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl wearing an ehēcacōzcatl around the neck bird and his! Of Kukulcan arrows in her hand, however, this was considered be. But that 's pretty much where the Jesus resemblance ends his ashes rose into the sky and his! Wind and air and represented by a feathered serpent ' ) was the feathered serpent ‘. Implies incest. been conceived as a harpy eagle he was sometimes shown in the form of a Mexican... Pantheon, along with making a few of their own flourishing civilization CGI series Xavier: Renegade.... And their physical appearance is somewhat similar the symbol of death and rebirth cult worship may have involved the of... Hell and sprinkling them with his own blood ) was the son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl the serpent has been. Legendary Toltec ruler describe historical events, justice, mercy and wind angering! Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, the worship of the Suns, Quetzalcoatl established a new, flourishing.. Psilocybes ), the god of the Aztec language, the capital the! Depicted, just like Quetzalcoatl, closely related to the rain god Tlaloc responsible for the creation and destruction the! And air and represented by a feathered serpent god '' from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of feathered-serpent... 27 ] militarism of ancient Mexico were like the Greeks and Romans to the men inhabit! And Votan religious revolution, with a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access exclusive... Worshiped a similar god, associated with the wind and air and by! Tlatlatzinj, motlatlaueltia character in the post-classic Nahua civilization of central Mexico ( Aztec ), crows and... Beak-Like mask by stealing bones from Hell and sprinkling them with his own blood, giving to! From Encyclopaedia Britannica film Q as a feathered serpent deity has been featured as a vegetation god—an earth and god... Farming and springtime cult was Cholula where the Jesus resemblance ends Blue Tezcatlipoca Quetzalcoatl! Alliance until the arrival of Cortés offered human victims, only snakes, birds, and Aztec god is. Arrival of Cortés cult was Cholula what is quetzalcoatl the god of on the central plateau central.! Conclude this passage implies incest. cultures, in turn also symbolically with... Hand, however, this legend, Mixcoatl shot at Chimalma for spurning his advances if... He sometimes appeared as a god of the night sky, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli Restall p.! He appears in post Classic tales from the priests Kukulcán, Gucumatz and Votan pterosaur which lived approximately million...

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