National Geographic : 2010 Nov
SACRED PRECINCT Shrine to Tlaloc Shrine to Huitzilopochtli Coyolxauhqui DETAIL ON NEXT PAGE 1417 1427 1440 1395 Templo Mayor A ceremonial theater, the stepped pyramid was topped by two small temples to honor rain god Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, god of sun and war. The pyramid towered 150 feet tall. Serpent Sculptures The base of the pyramid was ornamented with sculp- tures of snakes, linking it to mythical Coatepec---"hill of serpents," a sacred place. Tlaltecuhtli Stone Found at the foot of the pyra- mid, the monolith of the earth goddess was carved of pink andesite quarried six miles away and transported by 200 to 500 men with ropes, poles, and perhaps a balsa raft. Ritual Sacrifice Spilling human blood, priests frequently reenacted the death of goddess Coyolx- auhqui at the hands of her brother, Huitzilopochtli---a mythic battle between night and day, female and male. 1396 Huitzilihuitl makes alliances and expands the capital. 1427-1430 An alliance led by Tenochtitlan wins control of central Mexico. HUITZILIHUITL (Hummingbird Feather) marries into two rival royal families, cementing alliances. CHIMALPOPOCA (Smoking Shield) survives ten years before he is mur- dered by a rival. ITZCOATL (Obsidian Snake) joins leaders of Tlacopan and Texcoco in mobilizing a new empire. Scene depicted circa 1500.