Saturday is Codex-Day (5)

Codex-Day is a wonderful day. I can tell you, there are so many interesting pages in the Codices, that I really can’t say, which one I want to present you the next time. Also it helps to understand the Aztec/Maya-Polytheism a bit more. Unlike with Roman/Greek deities, the ones of the Aztecs could change their form and function and have a totally different name and appearance. We will see such an example today.

Have a look at page 10 of the Codex Cospi:

Page 10 of Codex Cospi (Loubat)
source: famsi.org

You will immediately notice, that there are two actions depicted here, accompanied by eight daysigns on the left. The left figure each time is the same. This is the main deity of today’s entry. He’s the brother of Xólotl and another instance of the famous Quetzalcoatl. Interesting enough: his name is the longest name of an Aztec deity – Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. Try to say that three times in a row and you’re officialy appointed Mesoamericanist.

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is not only remarkable by name, but also cause of his function. He signifies the planet Venus. You will remember, that Aztec watched the Venus very closely. Also they believed that the sky is full of fights and struggles between gods; the most significant being the fight between sun and moon, day and night. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli was a kind of Medium between the two, sometimes seen during the day, sometimes during the night. There were 5 different Venus cycles throughout the year and each cycle was depicted. The two cycles we see here are number three and four.

Wee see Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli depicted as deity with a skull mask and spears/darts in his hand. In fact, he is always throwing something to others, no matter which picture you look at. But remember, there were battles fought in the sky, all the time! A legend has it, that he also throws those darts to living beings on some days, targeting a different group each day.

But back to what we see on our page. He throws the darts to targets and I want to concentrate on the lower scene. We see a huge throne and a small disk sitting on it. Can you recognize the disk? It’s our always again reappearing sun stone, which is often mistaken as a calendar. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli hurts the sun, hunts it to make it rise and go down again. Because another legend has it, that Tonatiuh, the sun god, is a lazy one and wouldn’t move by himself. So he has to be forced.

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