Camazotz

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

In Maya mythology, Camazotz (/kɑːməˈsɒts/ from Mayan /kämäˈsots/) (alternate spellings Cama-Zotz, Sotz, Zotz) is a bat god. Camazotz means "death bat" in the Kʼicheʼ language. In Mesoamerica, the bat is 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 monsters 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]

In Part IV of the Popol Vuh, a dark messenger from Xibalba, brokers a deal between Lord Tohil and some first tribes of the Mankind, wherein they promise their armpits and their waists (the opening of their breasts in human sacrifice) in exchange for fire. The text is unclear about who exactly the messenger is, but translators tend to agree that this is Camazotz.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Camazotz is a playable evil in the free downloadable video game Smite, where his title is "The Deadly God of Bats". He's a changed hero in Maya and the Three, having rebelled against Lord Mictlan the Evil.

Cama Zotz is the primary antagonist of Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing series.

Camazotz appear in Victor and Valentino.

Camazotz is the name of the planet consumed by darkness in A Wrinkle in Time, a book by Madeleine L'Engle.

Some comic book fans have tried to form a link between Camazotz and the DC Comics superhero, Batman, even making Maya style Batman cowls.

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.

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. ^ Brock 2018

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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). 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.
  • Brock, Zoë (11 May 2018). Popol Vuh Part Four. LitCharts LLC.