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, whose name means "Blue Hummingbird on the Left," was the Aztec god of
and the war. He was shown as a blue man fully armed with hummingbird feathers on his head. His mother Coatlicue
became pregnant with
Huitzilopochtli when a ball of feathers fell from the heaven and touched her. Huitzilopochtli's siblings thought that their mother Coatlicue had dishonored them with her mysterious pregnancy.
One sister of
Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, encouraged her star sisters and brothers to kill their mother Coatlicue. However, Huitzilopochtli sprang out of his mother and saved her. Coatlicue regretted such violence. Thus, Huitzilopochtli
cut off Coyolxauhqui's head and threw it in the sky to become the Moon.
Aztecs used to offer human sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli. The victims were usually
prisoners captured in the frequent wars that Aztecs were fighting against their
neighbors. The sacrifices were intended to secure rain, harvests and success in war.The most common form of sacrifice practiced by Aztecs was to tear out the heart of a living body and offer it to the Sun.
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