Sketch based on a drawing from the Florentine Codex, a sixteenth-century colonial manuscript compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun.
Click on image for full size
Huitzilopochtli was the patron deity in Aztec mythology. The Aztecs were an ancient civilization living in Mexico when the Spaniards arrived in 1519 to conquer Central America. Huitzilopochtli, whose name means "Blue Hummingbird on the Left", was the Aztec god of the Sun
and the war. Huitzilopochtli was depicted as a blue man fully
armed and with his head decorated with hummingbird feathers.
His mother Coatlicue was magically impregnated when a ball of feathers fell into the temple where she was sweeping and came into contact with her breast. This mysterious pregnancy greatly distressed her existing
four hundred star children who thought she had disgraced them. One sister of
Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, instigated her
star sisters and brothers to kill their mother, Coatlicue.
sprang out of his mother as an adult fully armed and slew Coyolxauhqui and his other
star brothers and sisters. Thus, Huitzilopochtli cut off Coyolxauhqui's head and threw it in the sky to become the Moon.
Huitzilopochtli was the god who was supposed to guide Aztecs towards a promised land in the South.
He incited Aztec people to fight without mercy, to form an empire, and to gather prisoners to sacrifice to the gods.
Aztecs used to offer frequent and numerous human sacrifices to their gods in order to secure rain, harvests and success in war. The victims were usually prisoners captured in the frequent wars that Aztecs were fighting against their neighbors. The most common form of sacrifice was to tear out the heart of a living adult or child and offer it to the Sun.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is an Aztec deity representing the planet Venus and an apparition of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli means "Lord of the House of Dawn." He was the lord...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more