|Classic Maya collapse|
|Spanish conquest of the Maya|
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Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million Maya peoples, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more within its territory.
Kʼicheʼ are indigenous peoples of the Americas and are one of the Maya peoples. The Kʼicheʼ language is a Mesoamerican language in the Mayan language family. The highland Kʼicheʼ states in the pre-Columbian era are associated with the ancient Maya civilization, and reached the peak of their power and influence during the Mayan Postclassic period. The meaning of the word Kʼicheʼ is "many trees". The Nahuatl translation, Cuauhtēmallān "Place of the Many Trees (People)", is the origin of the word Guatemala. Quiché Department is also named for them. Rigoberta Menchú, an activist for indigenous rights who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, is perhaps the best-known Kʼicheʼ.
His name, understood as 'One-Leg', suggests god K of Postclassic and Classic Maya iconography, a deity of lightning with one human leg,and one leg shaped like a serpent. God K is commonly referred to as Bolon Tzacab and Kʼawiil or Kauil. The name may ultimately derive from huracan, a Carib word, and the source of the words hurricane and orcan (European windstorm).
Carib or Kari'nja is a Cariban language spoken by the Kalina people (Caribs) of South America. It is spoken by around 7,400 people mostly in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil. The language is currently classified as highly endangered.
European windstorms are the strongest extratropical cyclones which occur across the continent of Europe. They form as cyclonic windstorms associated with areas of low atmospheric pressure. They are most common in the autumn and winter months. On average, the month when most windstorms form is January. The seasonal average is 4.6 windstorms. Deep low pressure areas are relatively common over the North Atlantic, sometimes starting as nor'easters off the New England coast, and frequently track across the North Atlantic Ocean towards western Europe, past the north coast of Great Britain and Ireland and into the Norwegian Sea. However, when they track further south, they can affect almost any country in Europe. Commonly affected countries include the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland, but any country in Central Europe, Northern Europe and especially Western Europe is occasionally struck by such a storm system.
Related deities are Tohil in Kʼiche mythology, Bolon Tzacab in Yucatec mythology, Cocijo in Zapotec mythology, and Tezcatlipoca in Aztec mythology.
Tohil was a deity of the Kʼicheʼ Maya in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica.
Yucatec Maya, called mayaʼ tʼàan by its speakers, is a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula and northern Belize. To native speakers, the proper name is Maya and it is known only as Maya. The qualifier "Yucatec" is a tag linguists use to distinguish it from other Mayan languages. Thus the use of the term Yucatec Maya to refer to the language is scientific jargon or nomenclature.
Cocijo is a lightning deity of the pre-Columbian Zapotec civilization of southern Mexico. He has attributes characteristic of similar Mesoamerican deities associated with rain, thunder and lightning, such as Tlaloc of central Mexico, and Chaac of the Maya civilization. In the Zapotec language, the word cocijo means "lightning", as well as referring to the deity.
Ehecatl is a pre-Columbian deity associated with the wind, who features in Aztec mythology and the mythologies of other cultures from the central Mexico region of Mesoamerica. He is most usually interpreted as the aspect of the Feathered Serpent deity as a god of wind, and is therefore also known as Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. Ehecatl also figures prominently as one of the creator gods and culture heroes in the mythical creation accounts documented for pre-Columbian central Mexican cultures.
Qʼuqʼumatz was a deity of the Postclassic Kʼicheʼ Maya. Qʼuqʼumatz was the Feathered Serpent divinity of the Popol Vuh who created humanity together with the god Tepeu. Qʼuqʼumatz is considered to be the rough equivalent of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, and also of Kukulkan of the Yucatec Maya tradition. It is likely that the feathered serpent deity was borrowed from one of these two peoples and blended with other deities to provide the god Qʼuqʼumatz that the Kʼicheʼ worshipped. Qʼuqʼumatz may have had his origin in the Valley of Mexico; some scholars have equated the deity with the Aztec deity Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, who was also a creator god. Qʼuqʼumatz may originally have been the same god as Tohil, the Kʼicheʼ sun god who also had attributes of the feathered serpent, but they later diverged and each deity came to have a separate priesthood.
Chalchiuhtlicue[t͡ʃaːɬt͡ʃiwˈt͡ɬikʷeː] is an Aztec deity of water, rivers, seas, streams, storms, and baptism. Chalchiuhtlicue is associated with fertility and she is the patroness of childbirth. Chalchiuhtlicue was highly revered in Aztec culture at the time of the Spanish conquest and she was an important deity figure in the Postclassic Aztec realm of central Mexico. Chalchiuhtlicue belongs to a larger group of Aztec rain gods and she is closely related to another Aztec water god, Chalchiuhtlatonal.
Mictlāntēcutli or Mictlantecuhtli, in Aztec mythology, was a god of the dead and the king of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld. He was one of the principal gods of the Aztecs and was the most prominent of several gods and goddesses of death and the underworld. The worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around the temple.
In Aztec mythology, Cihuacōātl[siwaˈkoːaːt͡ɬ] was one of a number of motherhood and fertility goddesses. Cihuacōātl was sometimes known as Quilaztli.
In Aztec religion, Xiuhcoatl[ʃiʍˈkoːaːt͡ɬ] was a mythological serpent, it was regarded as the spirit form of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec fire deity, and was also an atlatl wielded by Huitzilopochtli. Xiuhcoatl is a Classical Nahuatl word that literally translates as "turquoise serpent"; it also carries the symbolic and descriptive meaning, "fire serpent".
Kʼawiil, in the Post-Classic codices corresponding to God K, is a Maya deity identified with lightning, serpents, fertility and maize. He is characterized by a zoomorphic head, with large eyes, long, upturned snout and attenuated serpent tooth. A torch, stone celt, or cigar, normally emitting smoke, comes out of his forehead, while a serpent leg represents a lightning bolt. In this way, Kʼawiil personifies the lightning axe both of the rain deity and of the king as depicted on his stelae.
In Maya mythology, Camazotz was a bat god. Camazotz means "death bat" in the Kʼicheʼ language. In Mesoamerica the bat was associated with night, death, and sacrifice.
Kukulkan is the name of a Mesoamerican serpent deity. Prior to the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatán, Kukulkan was worshipped by the Yucatec Maya peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula, in what is now Mexico. The depiction of the Feathered Serpent is present in other cultures of Mesoamerica. Kukulkan is closely related to the deity Qʼuqʼumatz of the Kʼicheʼ people and to Quetzalcoatl of Aztec mythology. Little is known of the mythology of this Pre-Columbian era deity.
World trees are a prevalent motif occurring in the mythical cosmologies, creation accounts, and iconographies of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica. In the Mesoamerican context, world trees embodied the four cardinal directions, which also serve to represent the fourfold nature of a central world tree, a symbolic axis mundi which connects the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial realm.
The term uniped refers to a person or creature with only one foot and one leg, as contrasted with a biped and a quadruped. Moving using only one leg is known as unipedal movement. Many bivalvia and nearly all gastropoda molluscs have evolved only one foot. Through accidents or birth abnormalities it is also possible for an animal or a human being to end up with only a single leg.
The Feathered Serpent was a prominent supernatural entity or deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It was called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya. The double symbolism used in its name is considered allegoric to the dual nature of the deity, where being feathered represents its divine nature or ability to fly to reach the skies and being a serpent represents its human nature or ability to creep on the ground among other animals of the Earth, a dualism very common in Mesoamerican deities.
God L of the Schellhas-Zimmermann-Taube classification of codical gods is one of the major pre-Spanish Maya deities, specifically associated with trade. Characterized by high age, he is one of the Mam ('Grandfather') deities. More specifically, he evinces jaguar traits, a broad feathery hat topped by an owl, and a jaguar mantle or a cape with a pattern somewhat resembling that of an armadillo shell. The best-known monumental representation is on a doorjamb of the inner sanctuary of Palenque's Temple of the Cross.
Jacawitz was a mountain god of the Postclassic Kʼicheʼ Maya of highland Guatemala. He was the patron of the Ajaw Kʼicheʼ lineage and was a companion of the sun god Tohil. It is likely that he received human sacrifice. The word jacawitz means "mountain" in the lowland Maya language, and the word qʼaqʼawitz of the highland Maya means "fire mountain", which suggests that Jacawitz was mainly a fire deity, much like Tohil. In the Mam language, the similar word xqʼaqwitz means "yellow wasp" and the wasp was an important symbol of the deity and its associated lineage. In the Cholan languages, jacawitz means "first mountain", linking the god with the first mountain of creation.
Awilix was a goddess of the Postclassic Kʼicheʼ Maya, who had a large kingdom in the highlands of Guatemala. She was the patron deity of the Nijaʼibʼ noble lineage at the Kʼicheʼ capital Qʼumarkaj, with a large temple in the city. Awilix was a Moon goddess and a goddess of night, although some studies refer to the deity as male. Awilix was probably derived from the Classic period lowland Maya moon goddess or from Cʼabawil Ix, the Moon goddess of the Chontal Maya.
An eccentric flint is an elite chipped artifact of an often irregular ('eccentric') shape produced by the Classic Maya civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. Although generally referred to as "flints", they were typically fashioned from chert, chalcedony and obsidian.
During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya culture was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice. Generally only high status prisoners of war were sacrificed, with lower status captives being used for labour.