Though this word is typically masculine, there are notable exceptions—for example, the goddesses Ilamatecuhtli and Chalmecatecuhtli. In Bernardino Sahagún's Florentine Codex, for example, Tlaltecuhtli is invoked as in tonan in tota —"our mother, our father"—and the deity is described as both a god and a goddess. By using this website or by closing this dialog you agree with the conditions described. 10. In the Mexica creation story, Tlaltecuhtli is described as a sea monster (sometimes called Cipactli) who dwelled in the ocean after the fourth Great Flood. D&D Beyond Cipactli’s appetite was insatiable, and each joint of the creature bore a mouth. Cipactli (Classical Nahuatl: Cipactli "crocodile" or "caiman") was the first day of the Aztec divinatory count of 13 X 20 days (the tonalpohualli) and Cipactonal "Sign of Cipactli" was considered to have been the first diviner. But nevertheless, What makes this Aztec sea monster such a relevant figure in the culture of this empire? In other versions, Cipactli is called Tlaltecuhtli, a deity referred to as the "earth monster". Portable green stone Olmec sculptures depict crocodilians in similar positions, indicating that they are probably also breathing.[4]. According to Miller, "Tlaltecuhtli literally means 'Earth Lord,' but most Aztec representations clearly depict this creature as female, and despite the male gender of the name, some sources call Tlaltecuhtli a goddess. [2], Since Tlaltecuhtli's body was transformed into the geographical features, the Mexica attributed strange sounds from the earth as either the screams of Tlaltecuhtli in her dismembered agony, or her calls for human blood to feed her. Stefan Lovgren, "Aztec Temple found in Mexico City",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 July 2020, at 00:55. [4] One day, the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca descended from the heavens in the form of serpents and found the monstrous Tlaltecuhtli sitting on top of the ocean with giant fangs, crocodile skin, and gnashing teeth calling for flesh to feast on. Karl A. Taube has noted that among the Formative-period Olmec and the pre-Hispanic Maya peoples, crocodilians were identified with rain-bringing wind, probably because of the widespread belief that wind and rain clouds are “breathed” out of cave openings in the earth. After several years of excavation and restoration, the monolith can be seen on display at the Museum of the Templo Mayor in Mexico City. Commonly some authors associate the image of Cipactli with a shark, due to being considered a sea monster and having teeth as sharp as them. Tlaltecuhtli is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican deity worshipped primarily by the Mexica people. In reference to her mythological function as the support of the earth, Tlaltecuhtli was sometimes carved onto the cornerstones of temples, such as the pyramid platform at El Tajin. Even though for the Aztecs Cipactli is a monster, in the Toltec culture this name belongs to that of a god , which is able to provide food for families. [10] While one mostly encounters Tlaltecuhtli as female, some depictions are clearly male (though these distinctions may at times arise from the Spanish-language gendering process). [13] The sculpture measures approximately 13.1 x 11.8 feet (4 x 3.6 meters) and weighs nearly 12 tons, making it one of the largest Aztec monoliths ever discovered—larger even than the Calendar Stone.

[5], Tlaltecuhtli's importance in the Mexica pantheon is demonstrated by her inclusion in major works of art. [9] While Tlaltecuhtli's name is masculine, the deity is most often depicted with female characteristics and clothing.
The stone was broken into four pieces by the weight of a colonial building that once sat above it. A representation of the goddess can be found on each side of the 1503 CE Coronation Stone of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II, alongside the glyphs for fire and water — traditional symbols of war. We use cookies to provide our online service. 6. One of the things that Cipactli represented in the Aztec culture was the chaos , which could be observed through the narrations of which this creature was a part. Historian Mary Miller even suggests that Tlaltecuhtli may be the face in the center of the famous Aztec Calendar Stone (Piedra del Sol), where she symbolizes the end of the 5th and final Aztec cosmos.[4]. The deity Tezcatlipoca sacrificed a foot when he used it as bait to draw the monster nearer. After a long struggle, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl managed to rip her body in two — from the upper half came the sky, and from the lower came the earth. Films:The Haunted Sea (1997) Alias:Andy Delgado. Nicholson writes, "most of the available evidence suggests that... the earth monster in the mamazouhticac position was conceived to be female and depicted wearing the costume proper to that sex. Aztec Sea Monster.
[2] In the Mixtec Vienna Codex (Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I), Crocodile is a day associated with dynastic beginnings.[3]. Lopez Lujan noted that according to the surviving codices, 1502 was the year that one of the empire's most feared rulers, Ahuitzotl, was laid to rest. [11] H.B. Location:Haunted home. Sea Monster (noun): Any sufficiently awesome water-dwelling creature that we perceive as being monstrously cool. Clutched in her lower right claw is the year glyph for 10 rabbit (1502 CE). Considered the source of all living things, she … Cipactli was described in many fashions: a crocodile with toad and fish characteristics, a sea demon or monster.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures,, Articles containing Classical Nahuatl-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 August 2020, at 18:30. She was often carved onto the bottom of sculptures where they made contact with the earth, or on the undersides of stone boxes called cuauhxicalli ("eagle box"), which held the sacrificial hearts she was so partial to. [2] She remained alive, however, and demanded human blood as repayment for her sacrifice.

[14] Just below this monument, Offering 126 was found, a huge dedicatory deposit containing 12 thousand objects. Affiliation:Evil. With scaly creatures suddenly back in the spotlight, let’s take a quick look at six of the weirdest water-based monsters from folklore, from island-sized turtles to evil, sexy horses. [7], The Mexica believe Tlaltecuhtli to swallow the sun between her massive jaws at dusk, and regurgitate it the next morning at dawn. A male aspect of that deity was also recognized and occasionally represented in appropriate garb—but was apparently quite subordinate to the more fundamental and pervasive female conception. According to the Bodley Codex,[6] there were four earth gods — Tlaltecuhti, Coatlicue, Cihuacoatl and Tlazolteotl.

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