god of rain. One of the two principal Aztec deities,
being the other, Tlaloc's priests commanded one of the
two principal temples in the center of Tenochtitlán
. He is always depicted with big round eye
s and fang
Now, Brittanica Online (at www.brittanica.com) has an extensive article
about Tlaloc. It will tell you his name is Nahuatl for "He who
makes things sprout". It will also tell you his consort is Chalchiuhtlicue,
“She Who Wears a Jade Skirt”, goddess of fresh water rivers and ponds.
While Tlaloc sent rain to the people, he could also send drought, lightning,
and hurricanes to manifest his anger. The article will also tell
you that in order to appease Tlaloc, the Aztecs would sacrifice children
to him two times a year.
Brittanica does not mention that one of the most important (perhaps
the most important) events in Mexican history involved Tlaloc (which I
learned watching The History Channel).
Shortly after Hernán Cortes entered the Aztec empire in 1519
and was received by the emperor Moctezuma as the second coming of Quetzalcoatl,
Cortes made his host Moctezuma a prisoner within his palace at Tenochtitlán
when the people of that city began to grow angry, suspecting that the visitors
were not returning gods after all (He and his men were more interested
in gold than diplomacy). Cortes left Mexico and traveled to Cuba
While Cortes was gone, an important festival sacred to Tlaloc came around.
Instead of human sacrifice, however, this ceremony involved the priests
of Tlaloc dressing in feathered costumes and dancing around the city shaking
sacred rattles. The "bird men" apparently became a focus for demonstrations
against the Spaniards.
You can probably guess what happened next. The Spanish were spooked
by the Bird Men and fired upon them. The murder of Tlaloc's priests
caused the whole city to rise against the Spaniards, who were besieged
in the Palace. Moctezuma offered (or was ordered) to speak to the people
and calm them. At the critical moment, someone killed Moctezuma.
This may have been a Spaniard, this may have been one of Moctezuma's subjects.
The Spaniards barely escaped with their lives; Cortes returned to find
them taking refuge with the Tlaxcalan (none to happy with the Aztecs who
had subjugated them).
The Bird men have begun shaking their rattles in Mexico City again. It is probably not surprising that Moctezuma's Revenge involves water.