Camazotz

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Camazotz
Night, death, and sacrifice
Camazotz sculpture on display at Museo Popol Vuh
Other namesCama-Zotz
AnimalsBat
Equivalents
Polynesian equivalentLeutogi

In the Late Post-Classic Maya mythology of the Popol Vuh, Camazotz (/kɑːməˈsɒts/ from Mayan /kama ˈsots’/) (alternate spellings Cama-Zotz, Sotz, Zotz) is a bat spirit at the service of the lords of the underworld. Camazotz means "death bat" in the Kʼicheʼ language. In Mesoamerica generally, the bat is often associated with night, death, and sacrifice.[1]

Etymology[edit]

Camazotz is formed from the Kʼicheʼ words kame, meaning "death", and sotz', meaning "bat".[2]

Mythology[edit]

In the Popol Vuh, Camazotz are the bat-like spirits encountered by the Maya Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats, where they squeezed themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves from the circling bats. Hunahpu stuck his head out of his blowgun to see if the sun had risen and Camazotz immediately snatched off his head and carried it to the ballcourt to be hung up as the ball to be used by the gods in their next ballgame.[3]

Chamá vase, way-spirit

Classic Period (200–900 CE)[edit]

In Classic Maya iconography, the (leaf-nosed) bat, exhaling unhealthy vapours, is often depicted as a person's nahual or way-spirit bringing disease over an enemy. However, the Classic bat spirit is rarely, if ever, part of a narrative context, nor does it appear to play the role assigned to it by the Popol Vuh.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Camazotz is a playable god in the video game Smite, where his title is "The Deadly God of Bats".
  • He's a changed hero in the television series Maya and the Three, having rebelled against Lord Mictlan the Evil.
  • Goth, a spectral bat and descendant of Cama Zotz, is the primary antagonist of Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing series.
  • Camazotz appears in the American animated television series Victor and Valentino.
  • Camazotz is the name of the planet consumed by darkness in A Wrinkle in Time, a novel by Madeleine L'Engle.
  • Camazotz serves as one of the main villains of the Storm Runner trilogy of novels by J. C. Cervantes, part of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint.
  • Camazotz appears in Legendary Pictures's MonsterVerse franchise in the graphic novel Kingdom Kong, where he is a giant bat-like Titan from the Hollow Earth commanding a large group of bat-like creatures dubbed the "Hell Swarm". Camazotz would later appear in the Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong crossover attacking Gotham City and battling Batman.
  • Camazotz is a character in the video game Fate/Grand Order.
  • "Camazotz" is an episode of the show Mayans M.C.
  • Camazotz is what Agent Esteban Ruiz changes his name to upon becoming a vampire luchador in Hellboy (2019).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miller & Taube 1993, 2003, p.44.
  2. ^ Christenson.
  3. ^ Miller & Taube 1993, 2003, p.44. Thompson 1966, p.181. Read & Gonzalez 2000, p.133.
  4. ^ Brady&Coltman 2016

Bibliography[edit]

  • Brady, James E., and Jeremy D. Coltman, Bats and the Camazotz: Correcting a Century of Mistaken Identity. Latin-American Antiquity 27(2) 2016: 227–237.
  • Christenson, Allen J. "Kʼicheʼ" (PDF). English Dictionary and Guide to Pronunciation of the Kʼicheʼ-Maya Alphabet. Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-10. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  • Miller, Mary; Taube, Karl (2003) [1993]. An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27928-4. OCLC 28801551.
  • Read, Kay Almere; González, Jason (2000). Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology. Oxford: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-340-0. OCLC 43879188.
  • Thompson, J. Eric S. (June 1966). "Maya Hieroglyphs of the Bat as Metaphorgrams". Man. New Series. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 1 (2): 176–184. doi:10.2307/2796344. JSTOR 2796344.
  • Brock, Zoë (11 May 2018). Popol Vuh Part Four. LitCharts LLC.