Ometeotl

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Ometeotl [oːmeteːotɬ] ("Two God") is a name sometimes used to refer to the pair of Aztec gods Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl (also known as Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl). The existence of such a deity and its significance is a matter of dispute among scholars of Mesoamerican religion.

Definition[edit]

Miguel Leon-Portilla interprets the name "Ometeotl" as "Lord of the Duality" and argues that Ometeotl was the supreme creator deity of the Aztecs, and that the Aztecs envisioned this deity as a mystical entity with a dual nature akin to the European concept of the trinity.[1] He argues that the Aztecs saw Ometeotl as a transcendental deity and that this accounts for the scarcity of documentary references to it and the absence of evidence of an actual cult to Ometeotl among the Aztecs. Leon-Portilla's arguments have largely been accepted among scholars of Mesoamerican religion.

Other scholars however, notably Richard Haly (1992) argue that there was no "Ometeotl", Ometeuctli or Omecihuatl among the Aztecs but rather that the names should be interpreted, using the Nahuatl language root "omi" "bone" rather than "ome" "two", and that Omitecuhtli was another name for Tonacatecuhtli and Mictlantecuhtli both gods of the other related to the creation of humans from dead bones. He argues that of the five sources used by Leon-Portilla to argue in favour of the existence of a single creator god among the Aztecs none contain a clear reference to a god of duality .

Sources[edit]

In the chronicle of the Franciscan friar Juan de Torquemada it is stated that the "indians wanted the divine Nature shared by two gods". In his translation of the Cantares Mexicanos Leon-Portilla introduces a reference to the "God of duality" where it is not found in the original text, but rather a Spanish loanword "dios".[2][3] Another example given by Leon-Portilla is from the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca where the text actually has "ayometeotl" but where Leon-Portilla glosses as Ometeotl without comment. Haly argues that this should rather be translated as "juicy maguey God" as the text talks about the imbibing of pulque. The Codex Ríos has a representation of a god labelled "hometeule" - iconographic analysis shows the deity hometeule to be identical to Tonacatecuhtli.[4][5] The fifth source is the Historia de los Mexicanos por sus pinturas which Haly shows does not in fact write ometeotl, but rather omiteuctli which is explicitly stated to be identical to Huitzilopochtli who was born as a fleshless skeleton, a Bonelord.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Leon-Portilla 1999
  2. ^ Haly 1992:275
  3. ^ Payas 2004:553
  4. ^ Haly 1992:277
  5. ^ Anders et al.

References[edit]

Anders, Ferdinand; Maarten Jansen; Luis Reyes García. Religión costumbres e historia de los antiguos mexicanos : libro explicativo del llamado Códice Vaticano A, Codex Vatic. Lat. 3738 de la Biblioteca Apostólica Vatican. 
Haly, Richard (1992). "Bare Bones: Rethinking Mesoamerican Divinity". History of Religions 31 (3): 269–304. doi:10.1086/463285. 
León-Portilla, Miguel (1963). Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Náhuatl Mind. Civilization of the American Indian series, no. 67. Jack Emory Davis (trans.) (translation and adaptation of: La filosofía náhuatl, 1st [1990] pbk reprint ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2295-1. OCLC 23373512. 
León-Portilla, Miguel (1999). "Ometeotl, el supremo dios dual, y Tezcatlipoca "Dios Principal",". Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl 30. 
Miller, Mary; Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05068-6. OCLC 27667317. 
Payàs, Gertrudis (2004). "Translation in Historiography: The Garibay/León-Portilla Complex and the Making of a Pre-Hispanic Past". Meta : journal des traducteurs / Meta: Translators' Journal 49 (3): 544–561. doi:10.7202/009378ar. 
Van Tuerenhout, Dirk R. (2005). The Aztecs: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO's Understanding Ancient Civilizations series. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-57607-921-X. OCLC 57641467. 
Wimmer, Alexis (2006). "Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl classique" (online version, incorporating reproductions from Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl ou mexicaine [1885], by Rémi Siméon). Retrieved 2009-07-14.  (French) (Nahuatl)