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Aztec 2

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Once the fall of the Toltec civilization (a civilization north of what is now
Mexico) transpired, an influx of immigrants fled into Mexico's central plateau area around Lake Texcoco. As the Aztec's were late to arrive in Mexico, they were soon forced to inhabit the swampy area on the western side of the lake. Forceful neighbors surrounded the Aztec and demanded tributes of gold and their only piece of dry land.They soon converted into a powerful empire within two centuries. As As the Aztecs population grew, superior military and civil organizations were formed and established. By 1325, the city of Tenochitilan was founded. The actual religion of the Aztecs originated in the city of Tenochtitlan somewhere between the 14th and 16th century C.E. It transfigured and combined a number of ritual, mythic and cosmic elements from the cultural groups who inhabited the central plateau of Mesoamerica. (Please refer to map for geographical location and empire boundaries) The mother goddess of the Aztec creation story was called ?Coatlique", the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was formed in the image of the unknown. Decorated with skulls, snakes, and mangled hands there were no cracks or openings in her body.Coatlique was first impregnated by a black knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her chest. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. The moon and stars, her children did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they wanted to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the original family of divinity and no more. During the time that they were plotting her fall, Coatlique gave birth to the fiery god of war,
Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxauhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies crushed forever.When the Aztecs were first colonizing, an ancient legend came into play. According to the legend, a great civilization would be born in a marshy area where they would see a cactus growing out of a rock and perched on it, an eagle eating a snake. The priests said they saw this when the arrived in the swampy area of the Aztecs. (This is why the Eagle, Cactus and Serpent are written on Mexican paper money) The high god Ometeotl was the clever, androgynous and previous creator of the universe. Sometimes appeared as his/her offspring: Ometecuhtli and Tonacatecuhtli (male) or Ometecuhtli and Tonacatecuhtli (Female) as a sign of almighty power. The female aspect merged with fertility and corn goddesses. Ometeotl inhabited the 13th and highest heaven in the cosmos. The most creative effort to organize the universe was done by the divine four: Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Xiuhtecuhtli and Tlaloe. Tezcatlipoca was the supreme active force of the Pantheon, and an arch-sorcerer whose smoking black mirror revealed the powers of ultimate transformation associated with darkness, night, jaguars and shamanic magic.The Aztec's religion consisted of many god and goddesses whose roles were held in high regard by the Aztecs. Unlike Christianity, where one God is held in the highest place, the Aztec religion had many gods for different purposes and roles.Most ceremonies took place in walled ceremonial structures like the Aztec pyramid. The main structures outside of these buildings were called teocallis. They had a solid base rising like grand stair steps. At the top of these stair like fabrications were temples dedicated to divinity. Priest climbed theses stairways to reach the temple at the top. The ceremonial centers also included gardens, living quarters for the priests, sacred pools for cleansing, and racks to hold the skulls of sacrificed victims. Centers also included game courts were basketball like games were played. More then eighty buildings were constructed in the capital were well organized ceremonies took place. These are aside from the hundreds of buildings that are situated in the Aztec empire.Priesthood played the dominant organizational role in Aztec society. Priests controlled offerings to gods and ...

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