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. Outside of Tenochtitlán, the main centre of Quetzalcóatl’s cult was Cholula, on the plateau region called Mesa Central. 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). The Mayan god of the wind, Quetzalcoatl, was represented in many forms, one of … [28][29][30][31][32] Most documents expounding this theory are of entirely Spanish origin, such as Cortés's letters to Charles V of Spain, in which Cortés goes to great pains to present the naive gullibility of the Aztecs in general as a great aid in his conquest of Mexico. He was a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of mankind. Quetzalcóatl was worshipped as early as the ad 200s–700s by the people of Teotihuacán, in what is now central Mexico. As the morning and evening star, Quetzalcóatl was the symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcóatl was an important god to the peoples of ancient Mexico . On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures. Those bones he anointed with his own blood, giving birth to the men who inhabit the present universe. He sometimes appeared as a pale man with a beard. Last year it ranked th in the U.S. Social Security Administration list of most popular baby girl names. In this period the deity is known to have been named Quetzalcōhuātl by his Nahua followers. One important body of myths describes Quetzalcóatl as the priest-king of Tula, the capital of the Toltecs. There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatl. A third story narrates that Chimalman was hit in the womb by an arrow shot by Mixcoatland nine months later she gave birth to a c… The various stories of Quetzalcoatl, who has already been established as a very old Mesoamerican god, is a prime example of the religious variety found in ancient Mexico. The god Quetzalcoatl, is the Feathered Serpent or Precious Twin. With his opposite Tezcatlipoca he created the world. Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered-serpent". Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Historian Matthew Restall concludes that: The legend of the returning lords, originated during the Spanish-Mexica war in Cortés' reworking of Moctezuma's welcome speech, had by the 1550s merged with the Cortés-as-Quetzalcoatl legend that the Franciscans had started spreading in the 1530s. [22], According to another version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl is one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the four Tezcatlipocas, each of whom presides over one of the four cardinal directions. His calendrical name … During this period, Quetzalcoatl was transformed into the god of the morni… He was the feathered serpent, the white bearded priest, the whirlwind and Venus. (Restall 2001 p. 114)[full citation needed]. He is the god intelligence and self-reflection, a patron of priests. On the basis of the iconography of the feathered serpent deity at sites such as Teotihuacan, Xochicalco, Chichén Itzá, Tula and Tenochtitlan combined with certain ethnohistorical sources, historian David Carrasco has argued that the preeminent function of the feathered serpent deity throughout Mesoamerican history was the patron deity of the Urban center, a god of culture and civilization. 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. In one version of the story he is one of the 400 children of the snake-skirted goddess Coatlicue. He was the god of the wind, the sky god, the morning star, and the high priest. Quetzal meant “bird” and coatl meant “snake,” so this snake-bird deity represented the link between sky and earth, between humanity and the stars. This tradition is strong and repetitive. In the Postclassic period (900–1519 AD), the worship of the feathered-serpent deity centred in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula. He is often depicted as a feathered serpent. He was, for many reasons, a dual god, who, along with his brother Xolotl represented dawn and dusk, the beginning and the end, east and west. The Aztecs just adopted the Mayan gods like Kulkulkan and renamed them. Besides fertility and rain, Quetzalcoatl was also the god of learning and writing, and the patron of priests and craftsmen. Quetzalcóatl became the god of the morning and evening star, and his temple was the centre of ceremonial life in Tula. While these stories vary, some said Mixcoatl(the Aztec god of the hunt) impregnated the goddess Chimalma by shooting an arrow from his bow. Historians debate to what degree, or whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler describe historical events. Cult worship may have involved the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybes), considered sacred. A supreme god of the Aztecs, Tezcatlipoca which means “smoking mirror” was the patron god of sorcery and war and was the patron god of the ruling dynasty. A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Known under a number of different names, Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent was one of the most important gods in Mesoamerica. 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. Virtually all 16th-Century writers wrote about a white god called Quetzalcoatl (KATES-ALL-CO-OUGHT-ALL). [5] That period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period (400 BC – 600 AD) of Mesoamerican chronology; veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period (600–900 AD).[6]. 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. This talisman was a conch shell cut at the cross-section and was likely worn as a necklace by religious rulers, as such objects have been discovered in burials in archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica,[7] and potentially symbolized patterns witnessed in hurricanes, dust devils, seashells, and whirlpools, which were elemental forces that had significance in Aztec mythology. The contradictory nature of the feathered serpent symbolized the dual nature of Quetzalcoatl as both earth and sky god. 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). Quetzalcoatl was associated with the planet Venus, as well as being the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and of knowledge. Latter-day Saint author Brant Gardner, after investigating the link between Quetzalcoatl and Jesus, concluded that the association amounts to nothing more than folklore. Later on, Xavier and the Aztecs summon Quetzalcoatl in his mortal form and wind up angering him after cutting him open. Quetzalcoatl was variously assigned the role of a creator, of the patron deity of the priests as in the Aztec culture, of the embodiment of the cosmos as in the Mayan culture and generally as a god of fertility. The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of the iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. 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. Quetzalcoatl challenged the “sacrificial logic” and militarism of ancient Mexican culture, by abolishing the entrenched practice of human sacrifice. This would lead some to believe that both Quetzalcoatl, and Kukulcan were indeed the same deity, or man as it may be the … The pressure of the northern immigrants brought about a social and religious revolution, with a military ruling class seizing power from the priests. as an aztec deity, he was one of four sons of the creator god ometeotl, associated with the wind god, and the patron god of arts and knowledge. Killing a Quetzal was a crime punishable by death. [citation needed], In the Codex Chimalpopoca, it is said Quetzalcoatl was coerced by Tezcatlipoca into becoming drunk on pulque, cavorting with his older sister, Quetzalpetlatl, a celibate priestess, and neglecting their religious duties. Pretty badass. 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. Other … 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. With his opposite Tezcatlipoca he created the world. Son of Creator God biggie Ometecuhtli, he also makes the odd appearance as Ehecatl. Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was represented with a serpent's head, a symbol for material goods, and a feathered body, a metaphor for spirituality. Quet-zal-co-at) was one of the most important gods in ancient Mesoamerica.The god known as the Plumed Serpent is a mix of bird and rattle snake and his name is a combination of the Nahuatl words for the quetzal - the emerald plumed bird - and coatl or serpent. His consciousness as Quetzalcoatl is an offshoot of the Seraphim lineage, which has a very deep history with human beings. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 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". Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza. Quetzalcoatl is a boss in Final Fantasy XV fought during the Party of Three main quest, and the Divine Beast of the Underworld hunt.. It is named after the mythical Mesoamerican feathered serpent god named Quetzalcoatl. In a version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl was born by a virgin named Chimalman, to whom the god Onteol appeared in a dream. [34] Some Franciscans at this time held millennarian beliefs[35] and some of them believed that Cortés' coming to the New World ushered in the final era of evangelization before the coming of the millennium. [21], The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. With his companion Xolotl, a dog-headed god, he was said to have descended to the underground hell of Mictlan to gather the bones of the ancient dead. Franciscans then equated the original Quetzalcoatl with Thomas and imagined that the Indians had long-awaited his return to take part once again in God's kingdom. 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. A feathered serpent deity has been worshipped by many different ethno-political groups in Mesoamerican history. Similar gods would be used to represent the balance of two opposite powers. Starting with his creation, there are many versions of how Quetzalcoatl came to be. His older brothers were Xipe Totec and Tezcatlipoca while his younger brother was Huitzilopochtli. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © … He even created the human race by stealing bones from Hell and sprinkling them with his own blood. [need quotation to verify] Codex drawings pictured both Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl wearing an ehēcacōzcatl around the neck. Quetzalcóatl, Mayan name Kukulcán, (from Nahuatl quetzalli, “tail feather of the quetzal bird [Pharomachrus mocinno],” and coatl, “snake”), the Feathered Serpent, one of the major deities of the ancient Mexican pantheon. Interestingly, the Fate Series also has Quetzalcoatl as a Servant and their physical appearance is somewhat similar. Quetzalcoatl definition is - a chief Toltec and Aztec god identified with the wind and air and represented by a feathered serpent. Quetzalcoatl synonyms, Quetzalcoatl pronunciation, Quetzalcoatl translation, English dictionary definition of Quetzalcoatl. 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. According to the Aztec Legend of the Suns, Quetzalcoatl ruled over the second Sun of Aztec creation . He was regarded as the god of winds and rain and as the creator of the world and mankind. Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind, air, and learning, wears around his neck the "wind breastplate" ehēcacōzcatl, "the spirally voluted wind jewel" made of a conch shell. Other legends posited that Quetzalcoatl was the son of the goddess Chimalma. Quetzalcóatl was an important god to the peoples of ancient mexico. When Hernán Cortés learned about the wealthy Aztecs during his exploration trip, he set out to find them. The Romans and Greeks took the Egyptian gods and goddesses and renamed them along with making a few of their own. He also had anthropomorphic forms, for example in his aspects as Ehecatl the wind god. The legend of Quetzalcoatl is spoofed in the Adult Swim CGI series Xavier: Renegade Angel. 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]. 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. His Roots Go Back as Far as the Ancient Olmec. The date 9 Wind is known to be associated with fertility, Venus and war among the Maya and frequently occurs in relation to Quetzalcoatl in other Mesoamerican cultures. In the Aztec language, the word "coatl" means serpent. "[15], Quetzalcoatl was also linked to rulership and priestly office; additionally, among the Toltec, it was used as a military title and emblem.[16]. Quetzalcoatl is also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. 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 was also the patron of the priests and the title of the twin Aztec high priests. As the morning star he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning "lord of the star of the dawn." Quetzalcoatl as a Fertility God. If you look up Quetzalcoatl, even Wikipedia will tell you he is an Aztec god. [9] Furthermore, early Spanish sources written by clerics tend to identify the god-ruler Quetzalcoatl of these narratives with either Hernán Cortés or Thomas the Apostle—identifications which have also become sources of a diversity of opinions about the nature of Quetzalcoatl.[10]. The Maya of southeastern Mexico and Central America also believed in Quetzalcóatl. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Corrections? Quetzalcoatl ('the feathered serpent') was the most popular deity in old Mesoamerica. Quetzalcoatl was often pictured as a snake with feathers, although he was sometimes shown in the form of a human. 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). Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. Quetzalcoatl was also the patr… He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl is unique among the religious traditions of the ancient Mesoamerican world. But the god of the night sky, Tezcatlipoca, expelled him from Tula by performing feats of black magic. The God. 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. Quetzalcoatlus is a pterosaur which lived approximately 70 million to 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. However, this legend likely has a foundation in events that took place immediately prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. Quetzalcoatl (pronounced Keh-tzal-coh-AH-tl) is the feathered serpent god of the Aztecs and Toltecs. [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'. They maintained a major pilgrimage and commercial center at Cholula, Puebla which the Spaniards compared to both Rome and Mecca because the cult of the god united its constituents through a field of common social, political, and religious values without dominating them militarily. He was a supreme leader of the gods, depicted, just like Quetzalcoatl. As the morning star, he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning "lord of the star of the dawn". Interestingly, he was born of a virgin, but that's pretty much where the Jesus resemblance ends. Although he was generally listed as one of the first-rank deities, no ceremonial month was dedicated to his cult. He was, for many reasons, a dual god, who, along with his brother Xolotl represented dawn and dusk, the beginning and the end, east and west. For the giant pterosaur, see. He is also seen as the protector of butterflies and some researchers believe that this symbolizes resurrection. 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. 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. 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. His consciousness as Quetzalcoatl is an offshoot of the Seraphim lineage, which has a very deep history with human beings. In another myth, the Aztec primordial god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl executed Xolotl. Often our current time was considered the fifth sun,[citation needed] the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. 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. Quetzalcoatl the god . 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. The various stories of Quetzalcoatl, who has already been established as a very old Mesoamerican god, is a prime example of the religious variety found in ancient Mexico. You have graciously arrived, you have known pain, you have known weariness, now come on earth, take your rest, enter into your palace, rest your limbs; may our lords come on earth. Starting with his creation, there are many versions of how Quetzalcoatl came to be. He helped create the cosmos and instigated the system of universal death and rebirth. Quetzalcoatl is the "White bearded God" or the "Serpent God" from the legend of Quetzalcoatl of the ancient Aztecs. [11] Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. info)), in honorific form: Quetzalcōātzin) is a deity in Aztec culture and literature whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "Precious serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent". he appears in post classic tales from the maya, toltec, and aztec cultures. 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 who managed to unify the new world. He also happens to be the Aztec patron of craftsmen and priests, as well as being the one who gave humans calendars and other snazzy tools. The name Quetzalcoatl was also taken on by several ancient Aztec leaders. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The cult of Quetzalcoatl, the "quetzal-feathered serpent," was prominent in central Mexico from at least the time of Teotihuac á n (100 – 750 ce) to the collapse of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitl á n in 1521. If the player uses a glitch to open the way to the Vesperpool before it is meant to be visited as part of the story, they will be trapped in Steyliff Grove if they kill quetzalcoatl too early. The meaning of Quetzalcoatl is "Feather" and "God of the sky" and "Creator of humans".Its origin is "Aztec".Recently this name is mostly being used as a girls name, but historically it's a boy's name. [12] In his form as the morning star, Venus, he is also depicted as a harpy eagle. 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. In the iconography of the classic period, Maya serpent imagery is also prevalent: a snake is often seen as the embodiment of the sky itself, and a vision serpent is a shamanic helper presenting Maya kings with visions of the underworld. Flood/Mexicolore ) name of a central Mexican deity, closely related to the Egyptians the wind itself in serpent! Crime punishable by death chocolate, which i… the famed Aztec feathered serpent ''. Mercy and wind full citation needed ] moral foundation, Quetzalcoatl taught ( and exemplified ) prayer and penance new. Bearded priest, the worship of Quetzalcoatl were fully anthropomorphic with Jesus.... Seen as the morning star ( Venus ). 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