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Tohil (IPA: [toˈχil] , also spelled Tojil) was is the Mayan god of fire. He is a deity of the Kʼicheʼ Maya in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica.
At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Tohil was the patron god of the Kʼicheʼ.was included of the Tolteca pantheon that was influenced in the high lands mayan culture in the post-clasic. Tohil's principal function was that of a fire deity and he was also both a war god, sun god and the god of rain. Tohil was also associated with mountains and he was a god of war, sacrifice and sustenance. In the Kʼicheʼ epic Popul Vuh, after the first people were created, they gathered at the mythical Tollan or Tula, the Place of the Seven Caves, to receive their language and their gods. The Kʼicheʼ, and others, there received Tohil. Tohil demanded blood sacrifice from the Kʼicheʼ and so they offered their own blood and also that of sacrificed captives taken in battle. In the Popul Vuh this consumption of blood by Tohil is likened to the suckling of an infant by its mother.
Tohil may originally part of the Tolteca pantheon and was introduced in the post-classic Maya's culture that have been compared the same god Qʼuqʼumatz, and shared the attributes of the feathered serpent with that deity,but they later diverged and each deity came to have a separate priesthood. Sculptures of a human face emerging between the jaws of a serpent were common from the end of the Classic Period through to the Late Postclassic and may represent Qʼuqʼumatz in the act of carrying Hunahpu, the youthful avatar of the sun god Tohil, across the sky. The god's association with human sacrifice meant that Tohil was one of the first deities that the Spanish clergy tried to eradicate after the conquest of Guatemala.
Indeed, it's known that the Kaqchikel tribe was against the human sacrifice demanded by Tohil to bring them fire. For this reason they stole the fire from the deity — Kaqchikel means “fire thieves.” This is the principal cause of enmity between the K'iche and Kaqchikel peoples.
There is disagreement over the meaning of the name of the deity. It has been interpreted as meaning "obsidian",as deriving from the word toh ("rain") and as meaning "tribute" or "payment". Tohil was one of a trinity of gods worshipped by the Kʼicheʼ elite, together with Awilix and Jacawitz. The concept of a triad of deities was ancient in Maya religion, dating as far back as the Late Preclassic. The triad of Kʼicheʼ gods were sometimes referred to collectively as Tohil. Tohil has been equated with the Classic Period God K. The deity also possesses attributes that suggest a link with Mixcoatl, a hunting god of the Aztecs.
Tohil was the patron deity of the Kaweq lineage of the Kʼicheʼ.He was associated with a sacred deerskin bundle that was said to embody him, and one of his titles was Qajawal Kej ("Our Lord Deer"). The deity was associated with thunder, lightning and the sunrise.
The Kaweq lineage of the Kʼicheʼ built a temple to Tohil at their first capital Jacawitz, identified as the archaeological site of Chitinamit. Jacawitz was overlooked by a shrine to the god placed on a neighbouring peak, this shrine was known as Pa Tohil.Later the Kʼicheʼ built their main temple to Tohil at Qʼumarkaj, their new capital. They made him offerings on the day Toh, one of the days of their 20-day calendar cycle. The Kʼicheʼ performed the Great Dance of Tohil in honour of the deity in the month of Tzʼikin Qʼij, prior to the maize harvest (which takes place in November). This dance took place at Qʼumarkaj and involved a gathering of all the principal lineages subject to the Kʼicheʼ Kingdom of Qʼumarkaj, and as is described in the Kʼicheʼ chronicle Título de Totonicapán , they were expected to bring tribute, slaves and sacrifices.
The priests of Tohil were known as Aj Tohil and were selected from the ruling Kaweq lineage of Qʼumarkaj. During their ceremonies to Tohil, the Kʼicheʼ would offer quetzal feathers to the god.Writing at the end of the 17th century, Francisco Ximénez described the tradition that upon the temple human sacrifices were tied before the representation of Tohil, where the priest would open the victim's chest and cut out his heart. After sacrifice, the victim's body was probably hurled down the front stairway of the temple where his head would be severed to be placed on a skull rack that was located in front of the temple.
Equivalents to Tohil were worshipped by other groups closely related to the Kʼicheʼ. These included Belehe Toh of the Kaqchikels and Hun Toh of the Rabinal,this last name meaning "One Rain", a calendrical date. The Kaqchikel and the Rabinal did not merely think their own patrons were equivalent to Tohil, they claimed that they were the same deity under a different name. The Kʼicheʼ themselves claimed in the Popul Vuh that their patron Tohil was the same as Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs.
The Temple of Tohil at Qʼumarkaj was the tallest structure in the city. The rubble core of the building still stands but the stone facing has been looted. The temple was originally a pyramid with stairways on all four sides, the summit shrine faced towards the rising sun in the east. This form of radial pyramid temple was built by the Maya since the Late Preclassic with examples at many archaeological sites such as Tikal, Copán and Chichen Itza, among others. According to John Lloyd Stephens, who visited the site in the 1830s, the temple base measured 66 feet (20 m) square and it stood 33 feet (10 m) high. At that time the radial stairways were more-or-less intact. The temple was originally covered in painted stucco, with the decoration including the painted image of a jaguar.
Deerskins, the symbol of Tohil, are to this day venerated in many highland Maya communities and are used in dances.In the modern village of Santiago Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands, a traditional Maya priesthood performs rites to a powerful deity addressed as "King Martin, Lord of the Three Levels, Lord of Rain, Lord of Maize, and Lord of all the Mountains". This priest blesses deerskins prior them being worn, with head and antlers attached, during the Dance of Martin on November 11 prior to the maize harvest. King Martin is probably a blend of Tohil and his deerskin bundle with the Roman Catholic St Martin of Tours, whose feast falls on the same day. In Rabinal, Tohil was merged with St Paul while still retaining many of his characteristics.
Qʼuqʼumatz was a god of wind and rain of the Postclassic Kʼicheʼ Maya. It was the Feathered Serpent that according to the Popol Vuh created the world and humanity, together with the god Tepeu. It carried the sun across the sky and down into the underworld and acted as a mediator between the various powers in the Maya cosmos. It is considered to be the equivalent of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and of Kukulkan, of the Yucatec Maya.
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Popol Vuh is a text recounting the mythology and history of the Kʼicheʼ people of Guatemala, one of the Maya peoples who also inhabit the Mexican states of Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo, as well as areas of Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
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.
Tecun Uman was one of the last rulers of the K'iche' Maya people, in the Highlands of what is now Guatemala. According to the Kaqchikel annals, he was slain by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado while waging battle against the Spanish and their allies on the approach to Quetzaltenango on 12 February 1524. Tecun Uman was declared Guatemala's official national hero on March 22, 1960, and is commemorated on February 20, the popular anniversary of his death. Tecun Uman has inspired a wide variety of activities ranging from the production of statues and poetry to the retelling of the legend in the form of folkloric dances to prayers. Despite this, Tecun Uman's existence is not well documented, and it has proven to be difficult to separate the man from the legend.
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San Bartolo is a small pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site located in the Department of Petén in northern Guatemala, northeast of Tikal and roughly fifty miles from the nearest settlement. San Bartolo's fame derives from its splendid Late-Preclassic mural paintings still heavily influenced by Olmec tradition and from examples of early and as yet undecipherable Maya script.
The Annals of the Cakchiquels is a manuscript written in Kaqchikel by Francisco Hernández Arana Xajilá in 1571, and completed by his grandson, Francisco Rojas, in 1604. The manuscript — which describes the legends of the Kaqchikel nation and has historical and mythological components — is considered an important historical document on post-classic Maya civilization in the highlands of Guatemala.
Iximcheʼ is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. Iximche was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Excavators uncovered the poorly preserved remains of painted murals on some of the buildings and ample evidence of human sacrifice. The ruins of Iximche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. The site has a small museum displaying a number of pieces found there, including sculptures and ceramics. It is open daily.
The Kʼicheʼ kingdom of Qʼumarkaj was a state in the highlands of modern-day Guatemala which was founded by the Kʼicheʼ (Quiché) Maya in the thirteenth century, and which expanded through the fifteenth century until it was conquered by Spanish and Nahua forces led by Pedro de Alvarado in 1524.
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Chitinamit is an archeological site of the Maya civilization in the highlands of Guatemala. It has been identified as Jakawitz, the first capital of the K'iche' Maya. The site is located in the El Quiché department, in the municipality of Uspantán. Chitinamit dates from the Early Classic through to the Late Postclassic periods and covers approximately 2 hectares (220,000 sq ft), making it the largest site in its region.
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.
During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya culture was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods and goddesses. 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 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, and lower status captives were used for labor.
The Título de Totonicapán, sometimes referred to as the Título de los Señores de Totonicapán is the name given to a Kʼicheʼ language document written around 1554 in Guatemala. The Título de Totonicapán is one of the two most important surviving colonial period Kʼicheʼ language documents, together with the Popol Vuh. The document contains history and legend of the Kʼicheʼ people from their mythical origins down to the reign of their most powerful king, Kʼiqʼab.
Chutixtiox is an archaeological site of the ancient Maya civilization near Sacapulas, in the Quiché department of modern Guatemala. The site was excavated during the 20th century by A. Ledyard Smith. Ceramic evidence excavated at the site suggests a close relationship with the K'iche' capital of Q'umarkaj. Chutixtiox may have been a settlement in a polity that included the nearby sites of Chutinamit and Xolpacol.
The Título Cʼoyoi is an important early colonial Kʼiche document documenting the mythical origins of the Kʼicheʼ people and their history up to the Spanish conquest. It describes Kʼicheʼ preparations for battle against the Spanish, and the death of the Kʼicheʼ hero Tecun Uman. The document was written in Qʼumarkaj, the Kʼicheʼ capital city, by the Cʼoyoi Sakcorowach lineage, which belonged to the Quejnay branch of the Kʼicheʼ, and who held territory just to the east of Quetzaltenango, now in Guatemala. The document was largely written by Juan de Penonias de Putanza, who claimed to be the relative of a Cʼoyoi nobleman who was killed during the Spanish conquest. It was composed with the assistance of the Kʼicheʼ officialdom at Qʼumarkaj, and portions of the text reflect the official version of Kʼicheʼ history as produced in the capital. An illustration in the document shows that the Maya nobility of Quetzaltenango adopted the double-headed Habsburg Eagle as their family crest.