The Fifth Sun


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HUITZILOPOCHTLI(from huitzilin, "hummingbird," and opochtli, "left") was the Aztec sun and war god ... what a name !

Blue Humming Bird on the left.

The Aztecs believed that dead warriors came back to life  as hummingbirds and that the south was the left side of the world.

Huitzilopochtli's name, therefore, meant the Warrior of the South brought back from the dead.


His animal disguise, was the eagle.

Huitzilopochtli's  image, in the form of a hummingbird, was carried upon the shoulders of the priests when the Aztecs invaded, and at night his voice was heard giving orders.

Thus, according to Huitzilopochtli's command, Tenochtitlan the Aztec capital, was founded in AD 1325 on a small rocky island in the lake of the Valley of Mexico.

The god's first shrine was built on a spot where priests found an eagle poised upon a rock and devouring a snake. Successive Aztec rulers enlarged the shrine until the year "Eight Reed" (1487), when an impressive temple was dedicated by the emperor Ahuitzotl.

Pictures of Huitzilopochtli usually show him as a hummingbird or as a warrior with armour and helmet made of humming bird feathers. His legs, arms and the lower part of his face were painted blue; the upper half of his face was black. He wore an elaborate feathered head dress and waved a round shield and a turquoise snake.

The Aztecs believed that the sun god needed daily "nourishment" (tlaxcaltiliztli) - that is, human blood and hearts - and that they, as the "people of the sun," were required to provide the sun god with his victims. The sacrificial hearts were offered to the sun quauhtlehuanitl ("eagle who rises") and burned in the quauhxicalli ("the eagle's vase").

Warriors who died in battle or on the sacrificial stone were called quauhteca ("the eagle's people").

It was believed that after their death the warriors first formed part of the sun's brilliant retinue; then, after four years, they went to live forever in the bodies of hummingbirds.

A serpent

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