Descriptions of the cult of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca in sources of Spanish origin

Oleksii Otkydach

Master of Нistory

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Kyiv, Ukraine


Abstract. The author of the article aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis of sources of Spanish origin, since they constitute the most significant category of documents used by Amerindologists. At the same time, it draws attention to the historiography of the topic. Conditionally, it is divided into two groups: works that highlight the general features of the entire pantheon of Aztecs and those that analyze the cult of Tezcatlipoca itself and its characteristics.

The use of the linguistic method in connection with the names of Tezcatlipoca allows us to understand the functions that the Aztecs bestowed on this god and more accurately interpret the mentioned deity. Particular attention is paid to the translation of Nahuatl names and the explanations given by the authors of the sources. Comparing the names of the god and the descriptions of his cult, created after the conquest, allows us to trace how the Europeans could at their own discretion treat Tezcatlipoca as an individual representative of the pantheon and how the autochthonous population of central Mexico saw it.

In addition to the analysis of names, the paper reviews the main holidays in honor of Tezcatlipoca, compares the testimony of different sources on this occasion. In this context, the prayers and typical sacrifices of the worship of this god are analyzed. This allows to expand the range of ideas about the essence and functions of Tezcatlipoca, as well as to trace the various local variants of his cult within central Mexico

The article also explores the legends that cite sources of Spanish descent about Tezcatlipoca. Because of this, two different traditions of mythological tradition about the mentioned god were distinguished. One is likely to relay events in the history of Tollan in the form of a legend, while the other reflects representations of the creating of the world and the role of Tezcatlipoca in this. Moreover, the first variant of the myth of the mentioned god has differences in different sources of Spanish origin, which allows for a more thorough analysis of these testimonies. Further development of the problematic issue is to attract sources of pre-colonial age, which will help to create a more thorough understanding of this cult.

Keywords: Aztecs, Mexico, religious beliefs, Tezcatlipoca, Aztec codes.

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