Selasa, 01 Juli 2008

The Origin of the Aztec Gods

The Aztec religion was polytheistic (belief in many gods) and was therefore composed of a multitude of gods and goddesses. Every town, neighborhood, and family had a corresponding deity. Additionally, every plant, and human traits. The Aztec gods embodied fundamental Aztec principles such as the concept of duality, the predilection for multiplicity (polytheism) over individuality (monotheism), and the important connection between the gods, humans, and the natural environment.
Although the Aztec religion was indeed very complex and can be described as polytheistic, there is also a certain tendency toward a theoretical monotheism (belief in a primordial single god). Aztec poets and philosophers, for example, bestowed many epithets on the primordial god Ometeotl, the Lord of Duality:
Ipalnemoani, “the giver of life”; Tloque Nahuaque, “the one that is everywhere” or “the ever present”;
Moyocoyani, “the one that acts by itself with absolute freedom” or “the one who invents himself.” Although the creator Ometeotl was also known as Tezcatlipoca, Tonatiuh, and Xiuhteuctli-Huehueteotl, it was understood that they all represented preeminent personifications of the supreme deity. The supreme deity was eternal but somewhat remote from the world and from human beings; therefore, other gods were sent to mediate in the affairs of men and women. These gods exhibited benevolent powers in many senses, but they were also subject to the limitations and imperfections of the earthly realm. They could be moved by a whim or through passion, be hurt or maimed, and could suffer debilitation and be subject to death.
The Mexica considered the supreme deity Ometeotl to be both the father (Ometecuhtli) and mother (Omecihuatl) of the other gods. Both fundamental beings were called Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl, the Lord and Lady of Our Sustenance, deities that nourished humanity.
The Aztec religion was inclined to syncretism rather than proselytism. When the Aztec conquered other towns they did not impose their own gods onto the conquered nations but rather incorporated the gods of the peoples they conquered.
Therefore we find a variety of gods who serve as patrons of sorcerers, nomadic hunters, soldiers, agriculturists, fishermen, as well as gods from particular regions, inhabiting the tropical forests, the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, and the central plateau

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