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Title: Latin American Mythology - The Mythology of All Races - Vol. 11
Author: Alexander, Hartley Burr
Language: English
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[Illustration: PLATE I.]

 Top face of the monolith known as the "Dragon" or the "Great Turtle"
 of Quirigua. This is one of the group of stelae and "altars" which
 mark the ceremonial courts of this vanished Maya city (see Plate
 XXIII); and is perhaps the master-work not only of Mayan, but of
 aboriginal American art. The top of the stone here figured shows
 a highly conventionalized daemon or dragon mask, surrounded by a
 complication of ornament. The north and south (here lower and upper)
 faces of the monument contain representations of divinities; on the
 south face is a mask of the "god with the ornamented nose" (possibly
 Ahpuch, the death god), and on the north, seated within the open mouth
 of the Dragon, the teeth of whose upper jaw appear on the top face of
 the monument, is carved a serene, Buddha-like divinity shown in Plate
 XXV. The Maya date corresponding, probably, to 525 A. D. appears in
 a glyphic inscription on the shoulder of the Dragon. The monument is
 fully described by W. H. Holmes, _Art and Archaeology_, Vol. IV, No. 6.





In aim and plan the present volume is made to accord as nearly as
may be with the earlier-written volume on the mythology of the North
American Indians. Owing to divergence of the materials, some deviations
of method have been necessary, but in their main lines the two books
correspond in form as they are continuous in matter. In each case
the author has aimed primarily at a descriptive treatment, following
regional divisions, and directed to essential conceptions rather than
to exhaustive classification; and in each case it has been, not the
specialist in the field, but the scholar with kindred interests and the
reader of broadly humane tastes whom the author has had before him.

The difficulties besetting the composition of both books have been
analogous, growing chiefly from the vast diversities of the sources
of material; but these difficulties are decidedly greater for the
Latin-American field. The matter of spelling is one of the more
immediate. In general, the author has endeavoured to adhere to such
of the rules given in Note 1 of _Mythology of All Races_, Vol. X (pp.
267-68), as may be applicable, seeking the simplest plausible English
forms and continuing literary usage wherever it is well established,
both for native and for Spanish names (as _Montezuma, Cortez_).
Consistency is pragmatically impossible in such a matter; but it is
hoped that the foundational need, that of identification, is not evaded.

The problem of an appropriate bibliography has proven to be of the
hardest. To the best of the author's belief, there exists, aside from
that here given, no bibliography aiming at a systematic classification
of the sources and discussions of the mythology of the Latin-American
Indians, as a whole. There are, indeed, a considerable number of
special bibliographies, regional in character, for which every student
must be grateful; and it is hoped that not many of the more important
of these have failed of inclusion in the bibliographical division
devoted to "Guides"; but for the whole field, the appended bibliography
is pioneer work, and subject to the weaknesses of all such attempts.
The principles of inclusion are: (1) All works upon which the text of
the volume directly rests. These will be found cited in the _Notes_,
where are also a few references to works cited for points of an
adventitious character, and therefore not included in the general
bibliography. (2) A more liberal inclusion of English and Spanish than
of works in other languages, the one for accessibility, the other for
source importance. (3) An effort to select only such works as have
material directly pertinent to the mythology, not such as deal with
the general culture, of the peoples under consideration,--a line most
difficult to draw. In respect to bibliography, it should be further
stated that it is the intent to enter the names of Spanish authors in
the forms approved by the rules of the Real Academia, while it has not
seemed important to follow other than the English custom in either text
or notes. It is certainly the author's hope that the labour devoted
to the assembling of the bibliography will prove helpful to students
generally, and it is his belief that those wishing an introduction
to the more important sources for the various regions will find of
immediate help the select bibliographies given in the _Notes_, for each
region and chapter.

The illustrations should speak for themselves. Care has been taken
to reproduce works which are characteristic of the art as well as of
the mythic conceptions of the several peoples; and since, in the more
civilized localities, architecture also is significantly associated
with mythic elements, a certain number of pictures are of architectural

It remains to express the numerous forms of indebtedness which pertain
to a work of the present character. Where they are a matter of
authority, it is believed that the references to the _Notes_ will be
found fully to cover them; and where illustrations are the subject,
the derivation is indicated on the tissues. In the way of courtesies
extended, the author owes recognition to staff-members of the libraries
of Harvard and Northwestern Universities, to the Peabody Museum, the
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the American Museum of Natural History, and
the Museum of the University of Nebraska. His personal obligations are
due to Professor Frank S. Philbrick, of the Northwestern University
Law School, and to the Assistant Curator of the Academy of Pacific
Coast History, Dr. Herbert I. Priestley, for valuable suggestions
anent the bibliography, and to Dr. Hiram Bingham, of the Yale Peruvian
Expedition, for his courtesy in furnishing for reproduction the
photographs represented by Plates XXX and XXXVIII. His obligations to
the editor of the series are, it is trusted, understood.

The manuscript of the present volume was prepared for the printer by
November of 1916. The ensuing outbreak of war delayed publication
until the present hour. In the intervening period a number of works
of some importance appeared, and the author has endeavoured to
incorporate as much as was essential of this later criticism into the
body of his work, a matter difficult to make sure. The war also has
been responsible for the editor's absence in Europe during the period
in which the book has been put through the press, and the duty of
oversight has fallen upon the author who is, therefore, responsible for
such editorial delinquencies as may be found.



 November 17, 1919.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE.                                                 vii

INTRODUCTION.                                                       i

    CHAPTER I.         THE ANTILLES.                                   15

    I                  The Islanders.                                  15

    II                 The First Encounters.                           18

    III                Zemiism.                                        21

    IV                 Taïno Myths.                                    28

    V                  The Areitos.                                    32

    VI                 Carib Lore.                                     36

    CHAPTER II.        MEXICO.                                         41

    I                  Middle America.                                 41

    II                 Conquistadores.                                 44

    III                The Aztec Pantheon.                             49

    IV                 The Great Gods.                                 57

    1                  Huitzilopochtli.                                58

    2                  Tezcatlipoca.                                   61

    3                  Quetzalcoatl.                                   66

    4                  Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue.                     71

    V                  The Powers of Life.                             74

    VI                 The Powers of Death.                            79

    CHAPTER III.       MEXICO. (_continued_)                           85

    I                  Cosmogony.                                      85

    II                 The Four Suns.                                  91

    III                The Calendar and its Cycles.                    96

    IV                 Legendary History.                             105

    V                  Aztec Migration-Myths.                         111

    VI                 Surviving Paganism.                            118

    CHAPTER IV.        YUCATAN.                                       124

    I                  The Maya.                                      124

    II                 Votan, Zamna, and Kukulcan.                    131

    III                Yucatec Deities.                               136

    IV                 Rites and Symbols.                             142

    V                  The Maya Cycles.                               146

    VI                 The Creation.                                  152

    CHAPTER V.         CENTRAL AMERICA.                               156

    I                  Quiché and Cakchiquel.                         156

    II                 The Popul Vuh.                                 159

    III                The Hero Brothers.                             168

    IV                 The Annals of the Cakchiquel.                  177

    V                  Honduras and Nicaragua.                        183

    CHAPTER VI.        THE ANDEAN NORTH.                              187

    I                  The Cultured Peoples of the Andes.             187

    II                 The Isthmians.                                 189

    III                El Dorado.                                     194

    IV                 Myths of the Chibcha.                          198

    V                  The Men from the Sea.                          204

    CHAPTER VII.       THE ANDEAN SOUTH.                              210

    I                  The Empire of the Incas.                       210

    II                 The Yunca Pantheons.                           220

    III                The Myths of the Chincha.                      227

    IV                 Viracocha and Tonapa.                          232

    V                  The Children of the Sun.                       242

    VI                 Legends of the Incas.                          248


    I                  Lands and Peoples.                             253

    II                 Spirits and Shamans.                           256

    III                How Evils Befell Mankind.                      261

    IV                 Creation and Cataclysm.                        268

    V                  Nature and Human Nature.                       275


    I                  The Amazons.                                   281

    II                 Food-Makers and Dance-Masks.                   287

    III                Gods, Ghosts, and Bogeys.                      295

    IV                 Imps, Were-Beasts, and Cannibals.              300

    V                  Sun, Moon, and Stars.                          304

    VI                 Fire, Flood, and Transformations.              311

    CHAPTER X.         THE PAMPAS TO THE LAND OF FIRE.                316

    I                  The Far South.                                 316

    II                 El Chaco and the Pampeans.                     318

    III                The Araucanians.                               324

    IV                 The Patagonians.                               331

    V                  The Fuegians.                                  338

    NOTES.                                                            347

    BIBLIOGRAPHY.                                                     381



PLATE                                                      PAGE

  I        The Dragon of Quirigua--Photogravure.             Frontispiece

  II       Antillean Triangular Stone Images.                24

  III      Antillean Stone Ring.                             29

  IV       Dance in Honor of the Earth Goddess, Haiti.       35

  V        Aztec Goddess, probably Coatlicue.                47

  VI       Tutelaries of the Quarters, Codex                 56
  xx       Ferjérváry-Mayer--Coloured.

  VII      Coyolxauhqui, Xochipilli, and Xiuhcoatl.          60

  VIII     Tezcatlipoca, Codex Borgia--Coloured.             65

  IX       Quetzalcoatl, Macuilxochitl, Huitzilopochtli,     71
  xx       Codex Borgia--Coloured.

  X        Mask of Xipe Totec.                               76

  XI       Mictlantecutli, God of Death.                     81

  XII      Heavenly Bodies, Codex Vaticanus B and            88
  xx       Codex Borgia--Coloured.

  XIII     Ends of Suns, or Ages of the World, Codex         95
  xx       Vaticanus A--Coloured.

  XIV      Aztec Calendar Stone.                             101

  XV       Temple of Xochicalco.                             106

  XVI      Section of the Tezcucan "Map Tlotzin"--Coloured.  113

  XVII     Interior of Chamber, Mitla.                       118

  XVIII    Temple 3, Ruins of Tikal.                         127

  XIX      Map of Yucatan Showing Location of Maya Cities.   130

  XX       Bas-relief Tablets, Palenque.                     136

  XXI      Bas-relief Lintel, Menché, Showing Priest         144
  xx       and Penitent.

  XXII     "Serpent Numbers," Codex Dresdensis--Coloured.    152

  XXIII    Ceremonial Precinct, Quirigua.                    160

  XXIV     Image in Mouth of the Dragon of Quirigua.         168

  XXV      Stela 12, Piedras Negras.                         179

  XXVI     Amulet in the Form of a Vampire.                  190

  XXVII    Colombian Goldwork.                               196

  XXVIII   Mother Goddess and Ceremonial Dish, Colombia.     200

  XXIX     Vase Painting of Balsa, Truxillo.                 206

  XXX      Machu Picchu.                                     213

  XXXI     Monolith, Chavin de Huantar.                      218

  XXXII    Nasca Vase, Showing Multi-Headed Deity.           222

  XXXIII   Nasca Deity, in Embroidery--Coloured.             226

  XXXIV    Nasca Vase, Showing Sky Deity.                    230

  XXXV     Monolithic Gateway, Tiahuanaco.                   234

  XXXVI    Plaque, probably Representing Viracocha.          236

  XXXVII   Vase Painting from Pachacamac--Coloured.          240

  XXXVIII  Temple of the Windows, Machu Picchu.              248

  XXXIX    Carved Seats and Metate.                          265

  XL       Vase from the Island of Marajó.                   286

  XLI      Brazilian Dance Masks.                            294

  XLII     Trophy Head, from Ecuador.                        303


FIGURE                                                       PAGE

1       Chart showing Culture Sequences in Mexico and Peru.  367

2       Figure from a Potsherd, Calchaqui Region.            369


There is an element of obvious incongruity in the use of the term
"Latin American" to designate the native Indian myths of Mexico and
of Central and South America. Unfortunately, we have no convenient
geographical term which embraces all those portions of America which
fell to Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, and in default of this,
the term designating their culture, Latin in character, has come into
use--aptly enough when its application is to transplanted Iberian
institutions and peoples, but in no logical mode relating to the
aborigines of these regions. More than this, there are no aboriginal
unities of native culture and ideas which follow the divisions made
by the several Caucasian conquests of the Americas. It is primarily
as consequence of their conquest by Spaniards that Mexico and Central
America fall with the southern continent in our thought; from the point
of view of their primitive ethnology there is little evidence (at least
for recent times)[1] of southern influence until Yucatan and Guatemala
are passed. There are, to be sure, striking resemblances between the
Mexican and Andean aboriginal civilizations; and there are, again,
broad similarities between the ideas and customs of the less advanced
tribes of the two continents, such that we may correctly infer a
certain racial character as typical of all American Indians; but amid
these similarities there are grouped differences which, as between the
continents, are scarcely less distinctive than are their fauna and
flora,--say, calumet and eagle's plume as against blowgun and parrot's
feather,--and these hold level for level: the Amazonian and the Inca
are as distinctively South American as the Mississippian and the Aztec
are distinctively North American.

Were the divisions in a treatment of American Indian myth to follow
the rationale of pre-Columbian ethnography,[2] the key-group would
be found in the series of civilized or semi-civilized peoples of the
mainly mountainous and plateau regions of the western continental
ridge, roughly from Cancer to Capricorn, or with outlying spurs from
about 35º North (Zuñi and Hopi) to near 35º South (Calchaqui-Diaguité).
Within this region native American agriculture originated; and along
with agriculture were developed the arts of civilization in the forms
characteristic of America; while from the several centres of the
key-group agriculture and attendant arts passed on into the plains and
forests regions and the great alluvial valleys of the two continents
and into the archipelago which lies between them. In each continent
there is a region--the Boreal and the Austral--beyond the boundaries
of the native agriculture, and untouched by the arts of the central
civilizations, yet showing an unmistakable community of ideas, of
which (primitive and vague as they are) recurrent instances are to be
found among the intervening groups. Thus the plat and configuration of
autochthonous America divides into cultural zones that are almost those
of the hemispherical projection, and into altitudes that are curiously
parallel to the continental altitudes: the higher civilizations of
the plateaux, the more or less barbarous cultures of the unstable
tribes of the great river basins, and the primitive development of
the wandering hordes of the frigid coasts. The primitive stage may be
assumed to be the foundational one throughout both continents, and it
is virtually repeated in the least advanced groups of all regions;
the intermediate stage (except in such enigmatical groups as that of
the North-West Coast Indians of North America) appears to owe much to
definite acculturation as a consequence of the spread of the arts and
industries developed by the most advanced peoples. Moreover, the outer
unities of mode of life are reflected by inner communities of thought;
for there are unmistakable kinships of idea, not only throughout
the civilized group, but also in the whole range of the regions
affected by its arts; while underlying these and outcropping at the
poles, there is a definable stratum of virtually identical primitive
thought. Nevertheless, these unities are cut across by differences,
partly environmental and partly historical in origin, which give,
as said above, distinctive character to the parallel groups of the
two continents. One might, indeed, say that the cultural division is
twinned, north and south,--with a certain primacy, as of elder birth
and clear superiority in the northern groups; for, on the whole, the
Maya is superior to the Inca, just as the Iroquois and Sioux are
superior to Carib and Araucanian, and the Eskimo to the Fuegian.

Such, in loose form, is the native configuration of American culture
and hence of native American thought, and without question a desirable
mode of treating the latter would be to follow this natural chart.
Nevertheless, there are reasons which fully justify, in the study of
native ideas, the bringing together in a single treatment of all the
materials relating to the peoples of Latin America. The most obvious
of these reasons is the unity of the descriptive literature, in its
earlier and primary works almost wholly Spanish. It is not merely
that such writers as Las Casas, Acosta, Herrera, and Gómara pass
ubiquitously from region to region of the Spanish conquests, now north,
now south, in the course of their narratives; it is rather that a
certain colouristic harmony is derived from what might be termed the
linguistic prejudices of their tongue, which, therefore, they share
with those Spanish chroniclers whose field of description is limited
to some one region. The mere fact that the ideas of an Indian nation
are first described by a sixteenth century Spaniard--friar, bishop, or
cavalier--gives to them the flavour of their translation and context,
and thus establishes a sort of community between all groups of ideas
so described. Nor need this be matter for regret: primitive thought,
with its burning concreteness and its lack of relational expression,
is as truly untranslatable into analytical languages as poetry is
untranslatable; and it is, on the whole, good fortune to have, as it
were, but one linguistic colour cast upon so large a body of aboriginal

Further--what may not be to the liking of the ethnologist, but is
certainly of high zest to the lover of romance--the Spanish colour is
quite as much in the nature of imagination as in the hue of expression.
No book on Latin American mythology could be complete without
description of those truly Latinian fables which the discoverers
brought with them to the New World, and there, wedding them to native
traditions (ill-heard and fabulously repeated), soon created such a
realm of gorgeous marvel as glamoured the age with fantasy and set the
coolest heads to mad adventure. In such names as Antilles, Brazil,
the Amazon, Old World myths are fixed in New World geography; and
beyond these there is the whole series of fantastic tales with which
the Spaniard, in a sort of imaginative munificence, has enriched the
literature and the romantic resources of this world of ours. The
Fountain of Eternal Youth, the Seven Cities of Cibola, the Island of
the Amazons and the marvellous virtues of the Amazon Stone, El Dorado
("the Gilded Man"), the treasure cities of Manoa and Omagua, the lost
empire of the Gran Moxo and the Gran Paytiti, Patagonian giants, and
"men whose heads do grow between their shoulders," and finally, most
wide-spread of all, the miracles of the robed and bearded white man
who, long ago, had come to teach the Indian a new way of life and a
purer worship and had left the cross to be his sign, in whom no pious
mind could see other than the blessed Saint Thomas: all these were
in part a freight of the caravels, and they represent collectively
a chapter second to none in mythopoesy. There is no match for this
cargo of imported fantasy in the parts of America colonized by the
English and the French. This, however, need not be accredited merely
to cooler blood and calmer race: the North American colonies belong to
the seventeenth century, a good hundred years after the Spaniards had
completed their most golden conquests, and for the Spaniard, no less
than for the others, the hour of intoxication and extravagance had
by then gone by--leaving its flamboyant tones to warm the colours of
succeeding times. Thus it is that Latin American myth is in no faint
degree truly Latinian.

But while there is a certain Old World seasoning in Latin American
myth, native traditions are, of course, the substantial material of the
study. This material is striking and various. It embraces the usual
substrata of demoniac beliefs and animistic credulities, and above
these such elaborate formations as the Aztec and Maya pantheons, with
their amazing astral and calendric interpretations, or the enigmatic
and fervid religion of Peru. Many of the stories are little more than
vocal superstitions; others, such as the conquering of death in the
_Popul Vuh_, the Brazilian tale of the release of the imprisoned night,
or the superb Surinam legend of Maconaura and Anuanaïtu, will compare,
both for dramatic power and subtle suggestion, with the best that
the world can show. There is, of course, the constant difficulty of
deciding where myth clearly emerges from the misty realm of folk-lore,
and, at the other extreme, where it is succeeded by science and
religion; but this difficulty is more theoretic than practical: in its
central character mythology is present wherever there are animating
gods operant in the body of nature, and myth is present wherever
spirits or deities are shown as dramatically interacting causes. With
a few possible exceptions (the possibility being probably but the
expression of our ignorance), all American Indians are mythopoets,
whose mythology is characterized in characterizing their beliefs.

The practical problem of handling and apportioning the subject-matter
is similar to that presented in the case of North America, and rather
more difficult. In the first place, it were idle to undertake the mere
narration of stones and superstitions without some delineation of the
conditions of the life and culture of those who make them; frequently,
the whole relevance of the tale is to the manner of life. In the next
place, the feasible mode of apportionment, by regional divisions, is
made difficult not only by the vastness of some of the regions, but
even more so by the unevenness of culture, and hence of the range of
ideas. If the lines were drawn on the scale of Old World studies,
Mexico (Nahua and Maya) and Peru would each deserve a volume; and the
proportionately slight attention which they receive in the present work
is due partly to the need of giving reasonable space to other regions,
partly to the fact that the myths of these fallen empires are already
represented by an accessible literature. Still a third problem has to
do with the order in which the matters should be presented. From the
point of view of native affinities, the logical step from the Antilles
is to the Orinoco and Guiana region (that is, from Chapter I to Chapter
VIII).[3] But since, in beginning with the Antilles, one is really
following the course of discovery--seeing, as it were, with Spanish
eyes--the natural continuation is on to Mexico and Peru, and thence
to the more slowly uncovered regions of central South America. This
procedure, also, follows a certain bibliographical trend: the relative
importance of Spanish authors is much less for the latter chapters of
the book, and the sources of material, in general, are of later origin.

Finally, a word might be said with respect to interpretation. No
matter how conscientiously one may aim at straight narration, the
mere need for coherence will compel some interpreting; while every
translation is, in its degree, an interpretation (and one literally
impossible). Besides and beyond all this, there are the prepossessions
of the recorders to be taken into account--honest men who interpret
according to their lights. There are the Biblical prepossessions of
the early Padres, for whom the Tower of Babel and the Dispersion were
recent and real events: granting a Noachian Deluge of the thoroughness
which they had in mind, nothing could be more rational than were
their readings of aboriginal legends of events of a kindred nature,
or than their speculations as to what sons of Shem the Indians might
be. There are the traditionary visions of migratory descendants of the
Lost Tribes, of far-wandering Buddhist monks, of sea-faring Orientals,
and forgotten Atlantideans; and there is the wonderful Euhemerism of
the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg (ever the more admirable in the more
reading)--neither the first nor the last of his tribe, but assuredly
the most gifted of them all. There are, again, the theological
biases of missionaries, for whom the devil is seldom far and God is
generally near; and there are the no less ingrained prejudices of
the anthropologists who serenely Tylorize and fetishize the most
recalcitrant materials, and of the philologists who solarize and
astralize because the model was once set for them. America has proven
an abundant field for the illustration of all these methods of reading
the riddle of man's fancy; and it is scarcely to be desired that one
should report the matters without some reflection of the colourations.
But, in sooth, how could myth be myth apart from meaning?

Which leads (by no devious routing of reflection) to some consideration
of the meaning of mythology and of our interest in it. Such interest
may be of any of several types. A first, and still persistent,
interest, and one to which we owe, for America, from Ramon Pane onward,
more actual material than to any other, is the desire of the Christian
missionary to discover in the native mind those points of approach and
elements of community which will best enable him to spread the faith
of Christendom. In many cases, of course, the missionary is seized
with a purely speculative zeal for recording facts, but it is usually
possible in such records to detect the influence of the impulse which
first brought him into the field,--and which, it may be added, makes
of his services a matter for the gratitude of all who follow him. A
second interest, which is often not sharply divorced from the first,
as instanced in Missionary Brett's poetizing of the myths of the
Guiana Indians,[4] is the aesthetic and imaginative. What classical
mythology has done for the art and poetry of Christian Europe all men
know: Dante and Milton, Botticelli and Michelangelo are only less its
debtors than are Homer and Phidias. Further, the Renaissance curiosity,
with its passion for the antique gems and heathen gods whose forms so
stimulated its own expressions, was at its height when America was
discovered and conquered; and it is small wonder that that interest was
transformed, where the marvel of the New World was in question, into a
wave of American exotism which rose to its crest in the humanitarian
enthusiasm of the eighteenth century.[5] In our own day this interest
is continuing, more soberly but not less fruitfully, in a deliberate
effort on the part of artists, of poets, and of musicians to discover
the elements of lasting beauty in the native arts and mythic themes.
From a certain point of view there is a peril in the aesthetic
interest: most investigators consciously or unconsciously possess
it, and most recorders of native myths consciously or unconsciously
dress their materials with the suaver forms of expression which the
cultivated languages of Europe have developed. There is, in other
words, some untruth to aboriginal thought in the desire to find or
inject art where the original motive was realistic, or, if aesthetic,
governed by a taste foreign to our own. On the other hand, we recognize
readily enough that the real creative gain, in an artistic sense,
must come from an amalgamation, and with such an example of artistic
achievement through amalgamation as is afforded by the Renaissance, we
can but hope that the more intimate adoption of the ideas and motives
of American Indian art into our own aesthetic consciousness may yet
result in an American Renaissance no less notable.

A third interest in American mythology is that of the anthropologists,
by whom the domain is today most cultivated. Here the foundation
is scientific curiosity and the modes are those of the natural and
historical sciences. This type of interest, of course, determines its
own problems and methods. For example, to it we owe most of the exact
recording and minute analysis of materials: the preservation of texts
in the native tongues, and the careful application of ethnological and
archaeological observations to their interpretation. Naturally, the
key-problem here is of the origin and distribution of the American
Indian peoples, and the reconstruction of their history, both physical
and ideational,--wherein recent advances have been veritably in the
nature of strides. Along with this problem of distribution and genesis
there has co-existed the complementary question of the influence of
nature (human and environmental) upon the forms of expression--a
question to which one might ascribe three facets, the philological,
the sociological, and the more strictly bionomic, with its strong
Darwinian leanings. Ultimately the two complemental problems resolve
into an effort to read human nature, as human nature is reflected in
its express reactions to the complex world by which it is modified
even while it offers a conserving resistance, born of the strength of
its traditions and of racial solidarity. This means, at the bottom, an
interest in human psychology.

It is here that the anthropological interest in mythology passes over
into the philosophical. Philosophy strives to achieve, as it were, a
generalized autobiography of the human mind. It starts, inevitably,
with psychology, and with those elemental unities of experience which
our senses (inner and outer) determine for us; it goes on to try to
discover the range and fullness of meaning of all the variations of
human experience. Philosophers are interested in mythology, therefore,
primarily from a psychological standpoint: they are interested in
reading the mind's complexion, as mythopoesy reflects it; in analyzing
out the images of sense in human thought, the images of instinct, of
kind and kin, of speech and number; and again in reviewing the natural
reactions of the human spirit to the visible and sensible world,
with its seasons and cycles and evident metamorphoses,--reactions
which start, apparently, with a dreamy consciousness of the fluid and
incoherent character of an outer, man-environing world, and culminate
in a sense of the allegory and drama of things physical, and the
discovery of a thinking self, still hazy as to its powers and its
limitations. The biographic tale is a long one; it begins in savagery
and continues on into the highest civilization; it is today unfinished,
and so long as man lives and thinks must continue unfinished; but it is
not without form, and its continuities become the more obvious with the
extension of our knowledge of men.

It should be added that each of the interests which have been named
shares in or leads to that final interest which is most appropriate
to all, namely, a common concern for human welfare. The missionary
interest is obviously actuated by this from the very beginning, and,
as applied to America, it has produced (in Las Casas and his many
notable successors) a truly wonderful series of apostolic figures--in
themselves a moving revelation of the possibilities of human nature.
Hardly less striking is the humanitarianism which has accompanied
the aesthetic interest--one need but mention Montaigne's sympathetic
curiosity, Rousseau, fantastic in his eighteenth century credulity,
Chateaubriand, with his "epic of the man of nature," or Fenimore
Cooper's idealization of the savage chivalrous,--while the curiosity of
the anthropologist and the philosopher, as must all honest curiosity
about things human, leads at the last to understanding and sympathy,
and ultimately to an active desire to preserve the manifest good which
enlightens every chapter in the narrative of human progress.

Finally, it is perhaps worth observing that America affords a field of
truly unique profit for all of these interests. The long isolation
of its inhabitants from the balance of mankind, the variety of the
forms and levels of their native achievement, the intrinsic value
to humanity at large of what they did achieve, both in material and
ideal modes, all unite to give to the races of the New Hemisphere an
almost other-world distinction from the Old World peoples from whose
midst (in some remote day) they doubtless sprang. It is true that the
resemblances between the modes of life and the bent of thought in the
two Worlds are as striking and numerous as their divergences; but this
fact is in itself of the highest significance in that it emphasizes
that fundamental unity, spiritual as well as physical, which is of the
whole human brotherhood.

It is surely apparent that one book cannot satisfy all the interests
which have been here defined. It is possible, however, that a
description which should show what, in the main, are the materials to
be found and how they are distributed with reference to accessible
sources of study might well contribute to all. Nothing more ambitious
than this is in the plan of the present work.




A glance at a map of the Western Hemisphere reveals two great
continents, North and South America, somewhat tenuously united by the
Isthmus and the Antilles. The Isthmus is solid, mountainous land,
forming a part of that backbone of the hemisphere which extends along
its western border, continuous from Alaska to the Land of Fire. The
Antilles are an archipelago, or rather a group of archipelagos,
extending without gap from the tip of Florida to Trinidad and the
mouths of the Orinoco. Both connexions have a certain weight, or
leaning, toward North America. The Isthmus narrows southward almost to
the point of its attachment to South America, while to the north it
broadens out into Central America, the peninsula of Yucatan, and the
plateau of Mexico. Similarly, the southern division of the archipelago,
the Lesser Antilles, forms an arc of islets, mere stepping-stones,
as it were, from the southern continent to the large islands of the
Greater Antilles--Porto Rico, Hispaniola or Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba--which
are natural outliers of the continent to the north. Cuba, indeed,
almost unites Yucatan and Florida; while breasting Cuba and Florida,
toward the open sea, is a third island group, the Bahamas, still
further emphasizing the northern predominance.

There is a superficial resemblance between the connexions of the
northern and southern land bodies in the Old World and in the New--the
Isthmus of Suez having its counterpart in Panama; the peninsulas and
large islands of southern Europe corresponding to Florida, Yucatan,
and the Greater Antilles; and the break at Gibraltar suggesting the
uncertain bridge of the Lesser Antilles. But the resemblance is merely
superficial. The Mediterranean served far more as a unifier than as
a divider of cultures and civilizations in antiquity; all its shores
were in a sense a single land even before Rome united them politically.
The Caribbean, on the other hand, was a true obstacle to the primitive
intercourse of the western continents, having its proper Old World
analogue in the Sahara Desert rather than in the Mediterranean Sea. In
fact, we can carry this truer analogy a step further, pointing out that
just as Old World culture went southward, from Egypt into Ethiopia,
by way of the comparatively secure route of the Nile, so New World
civilization found its securest path by way of the solid land of the
Isthmus, while the islets of the Lesser Antilles and the isle-like
oases of the Sahara were alike unfriendly to profoundly influential

In one striking particular the analogies of the Old World are reversed
in the New: at least in recent periods, the migration of native races
and culture has been from the south to the north. This is the more
extraordinary in view of the land predominance which, as has been
indicated, belongs to the north. The Isthmus was held by, and is
now representative of, the Chibchan stock, extending far south into
Ecuador; while the Antilles, at the time of the discovery, were almost
entirely possessed by tribes of two great South American stocks,
Arawakan and Carib. In Cuba, and probably in the Bahamas, there were
remnants of more ancient peoples--timid and crude folk, whose kindred
seem to have been the makers of the shell-mounds of Florida, and whose
provenience was doubtless the northern continent; but neither the race
nor the affinities of these vanished peoples is certainly known; even
in pre-Columbian times they were succumbing to the war-like Calusa of
southern Florida and to the still more dangerous Arawakan tribes from
the south.

Of the two powerful races from the south, the first comers were
doubtless the Taïno[7] (as the Antillean Arawak are named), whom the
Spaniards found in possession of most of Cuba and of the other greater
islands, Porto Rico alone showing a strong Carib element along with
the Arawak. The Lesser Antilles, bordering the sea which was named for
their race, was inhabited by Carib tribes, whose language comprised
a man-tongue and a woman-tongue, the latter containing many Arawak
words--a fact which has led to the interesting (though uncertain)
inference that the first Carib invaders slew all the warriors of their
Arawak predecessors, taking the women for their own wives. Only when
they came to Porto Rico, the first of the Greater Antilles in their
route, were they partially stopped by the mass and strength of the
more highly developed Taïno peoples; some, indeed, obtained a foothold
here, while beyond, in Hispaniola, one of the five caciques[8] dividing
the power of the island was reputed a Carib, and in Cuba itself have
been found bones believed to be those of Carib marauders. The typical
culture of the Antilles, that of the Arawakan Taïno, was scarcely
less aggressive than the Carib. Arawaks gained a foothold in Florida,
and their influence, in trade at least, seems to have extended far
into Muskhogean territories to the north, while it may have affected
Yucatan and Honduras to the west. Nor was it meanly savage in type.
The Antilles furnish every incentive of climate, food supply, rich
resources, and easy communication for development of civilization; and
at the time of the discovery of the Taïno peoples, they were already
advanced in the arts of agriculture, pottery-making, weaving, and
stone-working, combined with some knowledge of metals. Furthermore,
they had developed their social organization to such an extent that
their chiefs, or caciques, with power in some cases hereditary, were
the heads of veritable nations--all of Jamaica was under one ruler,
Hispaniola had five, while the Ciboney of Cuba and the Borinqueño of
Porto Rico were powerful peoples. The Spanish conquerors of the islands
succeeded early in virtually annihilating these nations, but their
handiwork and the traditions which they have left still command respect.


Even before Columbus's day the mythical Island of Antilia was marked
on the maps out in the Atlantic west; and when the archipelago
which Columbus first discovered came to be known as an archipelago,
the name, in the plural form Antilles, was not unnaturally applied
to it. Probably, too, it was with more than the glamour of
discovery--enchanting as that must have been--that Columbus first
looked upon the new-found lands. From time immemorial European
imagination had been haunted by legends of Isles of the Gods, Isles
of the Happy Dead--Fortunate Isles, in some weird sense, lying far
out in the enchanted seas; and it is no marvel if Columbus should
have felt himself the finder of this blessed realm. In one of his
letters to Ferdinand and Isabella he wrote: "This country excels
all others as far as the day surpasses the night in splendour; the
natives love their neighbours as themselves; their conversation is the
sweetest imaginable; their faces always smiling; and so gentle and so
affectionate are they that I swear to your highness there is not a
better people in the world."

Something of the same idealization, coupled with a happy ignorance,
underlay, no doubt, the statement which Columbus makes in his letters
to Ferdinand's officials, Gabriel Sanchez and Luis de Santangel,
describing his first voyage: "They are not acquainted with any kind
of worship and are not idolaters, but believe that all power and,
indeed, all good things are in heaven." Columbus adds that the natives
believed him and his vessels and his crews to be descended from heaven,
and the Indians whom he took with him from his first landing, to serve
as interpreters, cried out to the others, "Come, come, and see the
people from heaven!" This same simplicity was cruelly exploited by the
Spaniards of later date, for after the mines of Hispaniola were opened,
and the native labour of the island was exhausted, the Bahamas were
nearly emptied of inhabitants by the ruse that the Spaniards would
convey them to the shores where dwelt their departed relatives and
friends. Belief in heaven-spirits and belief in living souls of their
dead were surely deep-seated in these first-met of New World peoples.

The earliest encounters were probably with tribes of the Taïno race,
for the Indians taken from San Salvador were readily understood in the
Greater Antilles; and it was with this race that Columbus had to do on
his initial voyage. Yet even then he was learning of other peoples.
He was told that in the western part of Cuba ("Juana" was the name he
gave to the island) there was a province whose inhabitants were born
with tails--a form of derogation of inferior peoples familiar in many
parts of the world--and the story very likely designated remnants of
the autochthones of the islands. Again, as he explored eastward, he
began to hear of the Carib cannibals, with whom he became acquainted
on later voyages. "These are the men," he reports, "who form unions
with certain women who dwell alone in the island of Matenino, which
lies next to Española on the side toward India; these latter employ
themselves in no labour suitable to their own sex, for they use bows
and javelins as I have already described their paramours as doing, and
for defensive armour they have plates of brass, of which metal they
possess great abundance." Thus we have the beginning of that legend of
Amazons[10] in the New World which not only occupied the fancies of
explorers and historiographers for many decades, but eventually, as the
domain of these mythical women was pushed farther and farther into the
beyond, gave its name to the great river which drains what was then
the mysterious heart of the southern continent. Possibly the source
of the tale lay in a difference of Taïno and Carib customs, for among
the latter the women, as the Spaniards speedily discovered, were quick
with bow and spear; possibly it lay in the fact, already noted, that
the Caribs, dispatching the men of a conquered tribe, formed unions
with their women, who spoke a language differing from that of their

Other legends of the Old World, besides that of Amazonian warriors,
gained a footing in the New, mingling, not infrequently, with similar
native tales. The "Septe Cidade" of the Island of Antilia had been
founded, according to Portuguese tradition, by the Archbishop of Oporto
and six bishops, fleeing from the Moors in the eighth century; and it
was these cities, identified by the Spaniards with the seven caves
whence the Aztecs traced their race, that led Cabeza de Vaca onward
in his search for the Seven Cities of Cibola and resulted in the
discovery of the Pueblos in New Mexico. Similarly, Ponce de León partly
brought and partly found the story of the Fountain of Youth,[11] or
the life-renewing Jordan, in search of which he went into Florida. The
story is narrated in the "Memoir on Florida" of Hernando d'Escalente
Fontaneda, who says that the Indians of Cuba and the other isles told
lies of this mythical river; but that the story was not merely invented
as a gratification of the Spaniards' thirst for marvels is suggested by
Fontaneda's further statement that long before his time a great number
of Indians from Cuba had come into Florida in search of this same
wonder--a possible explanation of the Arawakan colony on the Florida

But it was chiefly with tales of gold that the Spaniards' ears were
pleasured. Columbus, writing to de Santangel, promised his sovereigns
not only spices and dyes and Brazil-wood from their new realm, fruits
and cotton and slaves, but "gold as much as they need"; and this
promise was all too well founded for the good of either Spaniard or
native, since the spoil of western gold, more than aught else, resulted
in the wars which eventually impoverished Spain; and thirst for sudden
wealth was the chief cause of the early extermination of the native
peoples of the Antilles. Las Casas, bitter and full of pity, gives
us the contrasting pictures. The first is of the cacique Hatuey,[12]
fled from Haiti to Cuba to escape the Spaniards and there assembling
his people before a chest of gold: "Behold," he said, "the god of the
Spaniards! Let us do to him, if it seem good to you, _areitos_ [solemn
dances], that thus doing we shall please him, and he will command the
Spaniards that they do us no harm." The other is the image of the
Spanish tyrant, enslaving the Indians in mines "to the end that he
might make gold of the bodies and souls of those for whom Jesus Christ
suffered death."


The Spanish _conquistador_, reckless of native life in his eager quest
of gold, and the Spanish preaching friar, often yielding himself to
death for the spread of the Gospel, are the two types of men most
impressively delineated in the pages of the first decades of Spain's
history in America, illustrating the complex and conflicting motives
which urged the great adventure. As early as the writings of Columbus
these two motives stand out, and the promise of wealth and the
promise of souls to save are alike eloquent in his thought. In order
to convert, one must first understand; and Columbus himself is our
earliest authority on the religion of the men of the Indies, showing
how his mind was moved to this problem. In the _History of the Life of
Columbus_, by his son Fernando, the Admiral is quoted in description of
the Indian religion.

"I could discover," he says, "neither idolatry nor any other sect
among them, though every one of their kings ... has a house apart from
the town, in which there is nothing at all but some wooden images
carved by them, called _cemis_; nor is there anything done in those
houses but what is for the service of those _cemis_, they repairing to
perform certain ceremonies, and pray there, as we do to our churches.
In these houses they have a handsome round table, made like a dish, on
which is some powder which they lay on the head of the _cemis_ with a
certain ceremony; then through a cane that has two branches, clapped to
their nose, they snuff up this powder: the words they say none of our
people understand. This powder puts them beside themselves, as if they
were drunk. They also give the image a name, and I believe it is their
father's or grandfather's, or both; for they have more than one, and
some above ten, all in memory of their forefathers.... The people and
caciques boast among themselves of having the best _cemis_. When they
go to these, their _cemis_, they shun the Christians, and will not let
them go into those houses; and if they suspect they will come, they
take away their _cemis_ and hide them in the woods for fear they should
be taken from them; and what is most ridiculous, they used to steal one
another's _cemis_. It happened once that the Christians on a sudden
rushed into the house with them, and presently the _cemi_ cried out,
speaking in their language, by which it appeared to be artificially
made; for it being hollow they had applied a trunk to it, which
answered to a dark corner of the house covered with boughs and leaves,
where a man was concealed who spoke what the cacique ordered him. The
Spaniards, therefore, reflecting on what it might be, kicked down the
_cemi_, and found as has been said; and the cacique, seeing they had
discovered his practice, earnestly begged of them not to speak of it to
his subjects, or the other Indians, because he kept them in obedience
by that policy."

This, the great Admiral quaintly concedes, "has some resemblance to
idolatry." In fact, his description points clearly to well-developed
cults: there are temples, with altars, idols, oracles, and priests, and
there is even a shrewd adaptation of religion to politics--the certain
mark of sophistication in matters of cult. Benzoni, who visited the
Indies some fifty years after their discovery, says of the islanders:
"They worshipped, and still worship, various deities, many painted,
others sculptured, some formed of clay, others of wood, or gold, or
silver.... And although our priests still daily endeavour to destroy
these idols, yet the ministers of their faith keep a great many of them
hidden in caves and underground, sacrificing to them occultly, and
asking in what manner they can possibly expel the Christians from their
country." Idols of gold and silver have not been preserved to modern
times, but examples in stone and wood and baked clay are in present-day
collections, and one, at least, of the wooden images has a hollow head,
open at the back for the reception of the speaking-tube by which the
priest conveyed the wisdom of his cacique. A peculiar type of Antillean
cultus-image, mentioned by Peter Martyr, among others, was made of
"plaited cotton, tightly stuffed inside," though its use seems to have
been rather in connexion with funeral rites (perhaps as apotropaic
fetishes) than in worship of nature-powers.

The work of archaeologists, especially in the Greater Antilles, has
brought to light many curious objects certainly connected with the old
Antillean cults. There are idols and images, ranging in height from
near three feet to an inch or so; and the latter, often perforated,
were used, perhaps, as Peter Martyr describes: "When they are about
to go into battle, they tie small images representing little demons
upon their foreheads." There are, again, masks and grotesque faces,
sometimes cunningly carved, sometimes crude pictographs. Most
characteristic are the triangular stones with a human or an animal
face on one side; the stone collars or yokes, some slender and some
massive in construction, but all representing laborious toil; and the
"elbow stones" with carved panels--objects of which the true use and
meaning is forgotten, though their connexion with cult is not to be
doubted.[14] Possibly a hint of their meaning is to be found in the
narrative of Columbus, which, after describing the _zemis_, goes on to
say: "Most of the caciques have three great stones also, to which they
and their people show a great devotion. The one they say helps corn and
all sorts of grain; the second makes women be delivered without pain;
and the third procures rain and fair weather, according as they stand
in need of either."

[Illustration: PLATE II.]

 Antillean triangular carved stones, lateral and top views. In addition
 to the grotesque masks, limbs are clearly indicated. For reference to
 their probable significance, see pages 23-24 and note 14. After 25
 _ARBE_, Plates XLVI and XLIX.

From the name _zemi_ (variously spelt by the older writers), applied to
the Antillean cult-images, the aboriginal faith of this region has come
to be called _zemiism_; and it is not difficult, from the descriptions
left us, to reconstruct its general character. "They believe," says
Peter Martyr, "that the _zemes_ send rain or sunshine in response to
their prayers, according to their needs. They believe the _zemes_ to
be intermediaries between them and God, whom they represent as one,
eternal, omnipotent, and invisible. Each cacique has his _zemes_, which
he honours with particular care. Their ancestors gave to the supreme
and eternal Being two names, Iocauna and Guamaonocon. But this supreme
Being was himself brought forth by a mother, who has five names,
Attabeira, Mamona, Guacarapita, Iella, and Guimazoa." Here we have the
typical American Indian conception of Mother Earth and Father Sky and
a host of intermediary powers, deriving their potency in some dim way
from the two great life-givers. In the name _zemi_ itself is perhaps
an indication of the animistic foundation of the religion, for by
some authorities it is held to mean "animal" or "animal-being," while
others see in it a corruption of _guami_, "ruler"--a source which would
ally it with one of the terms for the Supreme Being as given by Peter
Martyr; for Guamaonocon is interpreted as meaning "Ruler of the Earth."

Other appellations of the Sky Father, who "lives in the sun," are
Jocakuvague, Yocahu, Vague, and Maorocon or Maorocoti; while
Fray Ramon Pane gives names for the Earth Mother closely paralleling
Peter Martyr's list: Atabei ("First-in-Being"), Iermaoguacar, Apito,
and Zuimaco. Guabancex was a goddess of wind and water, and had
two subordinates, Guatauva, her messenger, and Coatrischie, the
tempest-raiser. Yobanua-Borna was a rain-deity whose shrine was in
a cavern, and who likewise had two subordinates, or ministers. The
Haitians are said to have made pilgrimages to a cave in which were
kept two statues of wood, gods again of rain, or of sun and rain; and
it is likely that the double-figure images preserved from this region
are representations of these or of some other pair of Antillean twin
deities. Baidrama, or Vaybrama, was also seemingly a twinned divinity,
and clearly was the strength-giver: "They say," Fray Ramon tells us,
"in time of wars he was burnt, and afterwards being washed with the
juice of yucca, his arms grew out again, his body spread, and he
recovered his eyes"; and the worshippers of the god bathed themselves
in the sap of the yucca when they desired strength or healing. Other
_zemis_ mentioned by Pane are Opigielguoviran, a dog-like being which
plunged into a morass when the Spaniards came, never to be seen again;
and Faraguvaol, a beam or tree-trunk with the power of wandering at
will. Here there seems to be indication of a vegetation-cult, which is
borne out by Pane's description of the way in which wooden _zemis_ were
made--strikingly analogous to West African fetish-construction: "Those
of wood are made thus: when any one is travelling he says he sees some
tree that shakes its root; the man, in great fright, stops and asks
who he is; it answers, 'My name is Buhuitihu [a name for priest, or
medicine-man],[15] and he will inform you who I am.' The man repairing
to the said physician, tells him what he has seen. The wizard, or
conjurer, runs immediately to see the tree the other has told him of,
sits down by it and makes it _cogioba_ [an offering of tobacco].... He
stands up, gives it all its titles, as if it were some great lord, and
asks of it, 'Tell me who you are, what you do here, what you will have
with me, and why you send for me? Tell me whether you will have me cut
you, whether you will go along with me, and how you will have me carry
you; and I will build you a house and endow it.' Immediately that tree,
or _cemi_, becomes an idol, or devil, answers, telling how he will have
him do it. He cuts it into such a shape as he is directed, builds his
house, and endows it; and makes _cogioba_ for it several times in the
year, which _cogioba_ is to pray to it, to please it, to ask and know
of the said _cemi_ what good or evil is to happen, and to beg wealth of

In such descriptions we get our picture of zemiism, a religion rising
above the animism which was its obvious source, becoming predominantly
anthropomorphic in its representations of superhuman beings, yet
showing no signs of passing from crude fetish-worship to that symbolic
use of images which marks the higher forms of idolatry. The ritual
was apparently not bloody--offerings of tobacco, the use of purges
and narcotics inducing vision and frenzy, and the dramatic dances, or
_areitos_, which marked all solemn occasions and the great seasons of
life, such as birth and marriage and death--these were the important
features. _Oblatio sacrificiorum pertinet ad jus naturale,_ says Las
Casas (quoting St. Thomas Aquinas) in his description of Haitian rites;
and to the law of man's nature may surely be ascribed that impulse
which caused the Antillean to make his offerings to Heaven and Earth
and to the powers that dwell therein.

Nor was he forgetful of the potencies within himself. With his
nature-worship was a closely associated ancestor-worship. When they
can no longer see the reflection of a person in the pupil of the eye,
the soul is fled, say the Arawak--fled to become a _zemi_. The early
writers all dwell upon this belief in the potency and propinquity of
the souls of the departed. They are shut up by day, but walk abroad by
night, says Fray Ramon; and sometimes they return to their kinsmen in
the form of Incubi: "thus it is they know them: they feel their belly,
and if they cannot find their navel, they say they are dead; for they
say the dead have no navel." The navel is the symbol of birth and of
the attachment of the body to its life; hence the dead, though they may
possess all other bodily members, lack this; and the Indians have, says
Pane, one name for the soul in the living body and another for the soul
of the departed.

The bones of the dead, especially of caciques and great men, enclosed
sometimes in baskets, sometimes in plaited cotton images, were
regarded as powerful fetishes; and from what is told us of the funeral
ceremonies certain beliefs may be inferred. The statement by Columbus,
already quoted, closes with an account of some such rites: "When these
Indians die, they have several ways of performing their obsequies,
but the manner of burying their caciques is thus: they open and dry
him at the fire, that he may keep whole. Of others they take only the
head, others they bury in a grot or den, and lay a calabash of water
and bread on his head; others they burn in the house where they die,
and when they are at the last gasp, they suffer them not to die but
strangle them; and this is done to caciques. Others are turned out of
the house, and others put them into a hammock, which is their bed,
laying bread and water by their head, never returning to see them any
more. Some that are dangerously ill are carried to the cacique, who
tells them whether they are to be strangled or not, and what he says
is done. I have taken pains to find out what it is they believe, and
whether they know what becomes of them after they are dead," and the
answer was that "they go to a certain vale, which every great cacique
supposes to be in his country, where they affirm they find their
parents and all their predecessors, and that they eat, have women, and
give themselves up to pleasures and pastimes." This is very much the
belief of all the primitive world, but it has one interesting feature.
The strangling of caciques and of those named by caciques clearly
indicates that there was a belief in a different fate for men who die
by nature and men who die with the breath of life not yet exhausted;
quite likely it was some Valhalla reserved for the brave, such as the
Norseman found who escaped the "straw death," or the Aztec warrior whom
Tonatiuh snatched up into the mansions of the Sun.


"I ordered," says Columbus, "one Friar Ramon, who understood their
language, to set down all their language and antiquities"; and it is to
this Fray Ramon Pane, "a poor anchorite of the order of St. Jerome," as
he tells us, that thanks are due for most of what is preserved of Taïno
mythology. The myths which he gathered are from the island of Haiti,
or Hispaniola, but it is safe to assume that they represent cycles of
tales shared by all the Taïno peoples. They believe, says the friar,
in an invisible and immortal Being, like Heaven, and they speak of the
mother of this heaven-son, who was called, among other names, Atabei,
"the First-in-Existence." "They also know whence they came, the origin
of the sun and moon, how the sea was made, and whither the dead go."

The earliest Indians appeared, according to the legend, from two
caverns of a certain mountain of Hispaniola--"most of the people that
first inhabited the island came out of Cacibagiagua," while the others
emerged from Amaiauva (it is altogether likely that the two caves
represent two races or tribal stocks). Before the people came forth, a
watchman, Marocael, guarded the entrances by night; but, once delaying
his return into the caves until after dawn, the sun transformed him
into a stone; while others, going a-fishing, were also caught by the
sun and were changed into trees. As for the sun and moon, they, too,
came from a certain grotto, called Giovava, to which, says Fray Ramon,
the Indians paid great veneration, having it all painted "without
any figure, but with leaves and the like"; and keeping in it two stone
_zemis_ which looked "as if they sweated"; to these they went when they
wanted rain.

[Illustration: PLATE III.]

 Antillean stone ring, of the ovate type, with carved panels. Stone
 rings, or "collars," form one of the types of symbolic stones from
 this region the significance of which has so profoundly puzzled
 archaeologists. Reference to their possible meaning will be found on
 page 24 and note 14. there referred to. The specimen here figured
 is in the Museum of the American Indian, New York. Joyce (_Central
 American Archaeology_, pages 189-91) interprets the design as a human
 figure. The disks on either side of the head are ear-plugs; arms and
 hands may be seen supporting them; the pit between the elbows is the
 umbilicus; while the legs are represented by the upper segments of the
 decorated panels exterior to the disks.

The story of the origin of the sea is a little more complex. In
introducing the tale, Fray Ramon says: "I, writing in haste and not
having paper enough, could not place everything rightly.... Let us
now return to what we should have said first, that is, their opinion
concerning the origin and beginning of the sea." There was a certain
man, Giaia, whose son, Giaiael ("Giaia's son"), undertook to kill his
father, but was himself slain by the parent, who put the bones into a
calabash, which he hung in the top of his house. One day he took the
calabash down, and looking into it, an abundance of fishes, great and
small, came forth, since into these the bones had changed. Later on,
while Giaia was absent, there came to his house four sons, born at
a birth from a certain woman, Itiba Tahuvava, who was cut open that
they might be delivered--"the first that they cut out was Caracaracol,
that is, 'Mangy.'" These four brothers took the calabash and ate of
the fish, but seeing Giaia returning, in their haste they replaced
it badly, with the result that "there ran so much water from it as
overflowed all the country, and with it came out abundance of fish, and
hence they believe the sea had its origin." Fray Ramon goes on to tell
how, the four brothers being hungry, one of them begged cassaba bread
of a certain man, but was struck by him with tobacco. Thereupon his
shoulder swelled up painfully; and when it was opened, a live female
tortoise issued forth--"so they built their house and bred up the

"I understood no more of this matter, and what we have writ signifies
but little," continues the friar; yet to the modern reader the tales
have all the marks of a primitive cosmogony, a cosmogony having many
analogues in similar tales from the two Americas. The notion of a cave
or caves from which the parents of the human race and of the animal
kinds issue to people the world is ubiquitous in America; so, too, is
the notion of an age of transformations, in which beings were altered
from their first forms. Peter Martyr, who tells the same stories in
résumé, as he says, of Pane's manuscript, adds a number of interesting
details; as that after the metamorphosis of Marocael, or Machchael,
as Martyr calls him, the First Race were refused entrance into the
caves when the sun rose "because they sought to sin," and so were
transformed--a moral element which recalls similar motifs in Pueblo
myths. But perhaps the most striking analogies are with the cosmogonies
of the Algonquian and Iroquoian stocks. The four Caracarols (_caracol_,
"shell," plural _cacaracol_, is the evident derivation), one of whom
was called "Mangy," recall the Stone Giants, and again recall the twins
or (as in a Potawatomi version) quadruplets whose birth causes their
mother's death, while the tortoise cut from the shoulder (Martyr says
it was a woman by whom the brothers successively became fathers of
sons and daughters) is at least suggestive of the cosmogonic turtle
of North American myth. In the flood-legend, the idea of fishes being
formed from bones is remotely paralleled by the Eskimo conception of
the creation of fishes from the finger-bones of the daughter of Anguta;
and Benzoni tells how, in his day, the Haitians still had a pumpkin as
a relic, "saying that it had come out of the sea with all the fish in

In the order of his narrative--though not, apparently, in the order in
which he deemed the events ought to lie--Fray Ramon follows the story
of the emergence of the First People from caves with the adventures of
a hero whom he calls Guagugiana, but whom Peter Martyr terms Vagoniona.
It is easy to recognize in this hero an example of the demiurgic
Trickster-Transformer so common in American myth. Like the Trickster
elsewhere, he has a servant or comrade, Giadruvava, and the first story
that Pane tells is one of which we would fain have a fuller version,
for even the fragmentary sketch of it is full of poetic suggestion.
Guagugiana, it seems, was one of the cave-dwellers of the First Race.
One day he sent forth his servant to seek a certain cleansing herb,
but, as Pane has it, "the sun took him by the way, and he became a
bird that sings in the morning, like the nightingale"; to which Peter
Martyr adds that "on every anniversary of his transformation he fills
the night air with songs, bewailing his misfortunes and imploring his
master to come to his help."

In this tale, slender as it is, there is an element of unusual
interest, fortified by various other allusions to Antillean beliefs.
It would appear that the First People, the cave-dwellers, were of the
nature of spirits or souls, and that the Sun was the true Transformer,
whose strength-giving rays gave to each, as it emerged to light, the
form which it was to keep. The disembodied soul (_opia_) haunts the
night, moreover, as if night were its native season; in the day it is
powerless, and men have no fear of it. Surely it is a beautiful myth
which makes of the night-bird's song a longing for the free life of the
spirit, or at least an expression of the feeling of kinship with the

The tale goes on to tell how Guagugiana, lamenting his lost comrade,
resolved to go forth from the cave in which the First People dwelt. Yet
he went not alone, for he called to the women: "Leave your husbands!
Let us go into other countries, where we shall get jewels enough!
Leave your children; we will come again for them; carry only herbs
with you." The women, abandoning all save their nursing children (as
Peter Martyr tells), followed Guagugiana to the island of Matenino, and
there he left them; but the children he took away and abandoned them
beside a brook--or perhaps, as Martyr implies, he brought them back
and left them on the shore of the sea--where, starving, they cried,
"Toa, toa," which is to say, "Milk, milk!" "And they thus crying and
begging of the earth, saying, 'toa, toa,' like one that very earnestly
begs a thing, they were transformed into little creatures like dwarfs,
and called _tona_, because of their begging the earth." Martyr's more
prosaic version says that they were transformed into frogs; but both
authorities agree that this is how the men came to be left without
wives; and doubtless it is this myth from which Columbus gained at
least a part of his notion of the Amazon-like women "who dwell alone in
the island of Matenino."

Other episodes in the career of Guagugiana, which Pane recounts in a
confused way, are his going to sea with a companion whom he tricked
into looking for precious shells and then threw overboard; his finding
of a woman of the sea who taught him a cure for the pox; this woman's
name was Guabonito, and she taught him the use of amulets and of
ornaments of white stone and of gold. Peter Martyr's variant says:
"He is supposed to go to meet a beautiful woman, perceived in the
depths of the sea, from whom are obtained the white shells called by
the natives _cibas_, and other shells of a yellowish colour called
_guianos_, of both of which they make necklaces; the caciques, in our
own time, regard these trinkets as sacred." In this there is a striking
suggestion of the Pueblo myths of the White-Shell Woman of the East
and of the sea-dwelling Guardian of the yellow shells of the West; and
it is quite to be inferred that the regard in which the caciques held
these objects was due to a ritual and magical significance analogous to
that which we know in the Pueblos.


"The Spaniards," says Peter Martyr,[17] "lived for some time in
Hispaniola without suspecting that the islanders worshipped anything
else than the stars, or that they had any kind of religion, ... but
after mingling with them for some years ... many of the Spaniards began
to notice among them divers ceremonies and rites." These ceremonies are
called _areitos_, or _areytos_, by the Spanish writers; and from the
early descriptions it is obvious that they were rites of the typical
American kind, dramatic dances or mysteries performed in the great
crises of national and personal life, or in the changes and climaxes of
that course of the seasons, which is the life of Nature. As in the case
of myths, so in the case of rites, it is chiefly those of Haiti which
are described for us; but there is little reason to doubt that these
are typical of all the Greater Antilles.

Birth, marriage, death, going to war, curing the sick, initiation, and
puberty rites all seem to have had their appropriate ceremonies. Songs
played an important part in these ceremonies; indeed, the word _areito_
is frequently restricted to funeral chants, or elegies in praise of
heroes. But the chief rite known to us, and, we may feel assured, the
chief rite of the whole Taïno culture, was the ceremony in honour of
the Earth Goddess. This ceremony, as celebrated by the Haitians, is
described by both Benzoni and Gómara with some detail. Gómara's account
is as follows:[18]

"When the cacique celebrated the festival in honour of his principal
idol, all the people attended the function. They decorated the idol
very elaborately; the priests arranged themselves like a choir about
the king, and the cacique sat at the entrance of the temple with a
drum at his side. The men came painted black, red, blue, and other
colours or covered with branches and garlands of flowers, or feathers
and shells, wearing shell bracelets and little shells on their arms and
rattles on their feet. The women also came with similar rattles, but
naked, if they were maids, and not painted; if married, wearing only
breechcloths. They approached dancing, and singing to the sound of the
shells, and as they approached the cacique he saluted them with a drum.
Having entered the temple, they vomited, putting a small stick into
their throat, in order to show the idol that they had nothing evil in
their stomach. They seated themselves like tailors and prayed with a
low voice. Then there approached many women bearing baskets and cakes
on their heads and many roses, flowers, and fragrant herbs. They formed
a circle as they prayed and began to chant something like an old ballad
in praise of the god. All rose to respond at the close of the ballad;
they changed their tone and sang another song in praise of the cacique,
after which they offered the bread to the idol, kneeling. The priests
took the gift, blessed, and divided it; and so the feast ended, but the
recipients of the bread preserved it all the year and held that house
unfortunate and liable to many dangers which was without it."

In this rite it is easy to recognize a festival in honour of a
divinity of fertility, probably a corn deity, or perhaps a goddess
who is the mother of corn spirits. Benzoni says of the Haitians that
"they worshipped two wooden figures as the gods of abundance, and at
some periods of the year many Indians went on a pilgrimage to them."
These may be the two _zemis_ of the painted grotto of the Sun and the
Moon, mentioned by Ramon Pane and Peter Martyr, for the latter says
that "they go on pilgrimages to that cavern just as we go to Rome";
but it is certain that they were associated with agriculture, since
it was to them that prayers were made for rain and fruitfulness. In
an interesting old picture, printed in Picart, the rite of the Earth
Goddess is represented, much as described by Gómara and Benzoni. The
goddess herself is shown with several heads, each that of a different
animal, and near her are two lesser idols of grotesque form. It is
possible that the Earth was conceived as the mother of all life,
animal as well as vegetable, and that her two attendants represented
yucca and maize, the two principal food plants of the Antilleans. Some
authorities regard the chief of the Taïno gods, the son of the great
First-in-Being, as a yucca spirit; and, indeed, the name of the plant
appears to enter into such forms as Iocauna, Jocakuvague, Yocahuguama.
Yet it is little likely that we shall ever have certainty on this
point, for of the poems which, Peter Martyr tells us, the sons of
chiefs sang to the people on feast days, in the form of sacred chants,
none are preserved to us.

[Illustration: PLATE IV.]

 Dance, or Areito, of the Haitian Indians in honor of the Earth
 Goddess. The ceremony is described by both Benzoni and Gómara, the
 latter's description being quoted in this volume, pages 33-34. After
 the drawing in Picart, _The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the
 Several Nations of the known World_, London, 1731-37, Plate No. 78.

That the Taïno had, besides these great public festivals, rites for
the individual also is abundantly witnessed in the old books. Like all
American Indians, they were mystics and vision-seekers. Benzoni says
that when the doctors wished to cure a man who was ill, he was lulled
into unconsciousness by tobacco smoke, and "on returning to his senses
he told a thousand stories of his having been at the council of the
gods and other high visions"--a description which recalls im Thurn's
account of his own experiences in the hands of an Arawak _peaiman_.[19]
Something analogous to the individual totem, or "medicine," of other
Indians was certainly known to them. "The islanders," says Peter
Martyr, "pay homage to numerous _zemes_, each person having his own.
Some are made of wood, because it is amongst the trees and in the
darkness of night they have received the message of the gods. Others,
who have heard the voice among the rocks, make their _zemes_ of stone;
while others, who heard their revelation while they were cultivating
their _ages_--the kind of cereal I have already mentioned [sweet
potato, or yam],--make theirs of roots." Martyr goes on to describe
trances, induced, he thinks, by tobacco, in which the chiefs seek
prophetic revelations, stammered out in incoherent words. One of the
most interesting of the early stories tells of such a prophecy received
from Yocahuguama, the yucca spirit. Doubtless the earliest version of
the tale is that of Ramon Pane:[20]

"That great lord who, they say, is in heaven ... is this Cazziva
[cassava], who kept a sort of abstinence here, which all of them
generally perform; for they shut themselves up six or seven days,
without taking any sustenance but the juice of herbs, with which they
also wash themselves. After this time they begin to eat something that
is nourishing. During the time they have been without eating, weakness
makes them say they have seen something they earnestly desired, for
they all perform that abstinence in honour of the _cemies_ to know
whether they shall obtain victory over their enemies, or to acquire
wealth or any other thing they desire. They say this cacique affirmed
he spoke with Giocauvaghama, who told him that whosoever survived him
would not long enjoy his power, because they should see a people clad,
in their country, who would rule over and kill them, and they should
die for hunger. They thought at first these should be the cannibals,
but afterwards considering that they only plundered and fled, they
believed it was some other people the _cemi_ spoke of; and now they
believe it is the admiral and those that came with him." This is the
first of those stories of clothed and bearded strangers (the beard is
added in some versions), coming to overthrow the gods and kingdoms of
the Indians, which were encountered in various portions of the New
World. So much importance was attached to it, says Gómara, that a song
was formed commemorating it, sung as an _areito_ in a ceremonial dance.


Not only Columbus, but other early writers praised the peacefully
happy and amiably virtuous character of the Indians of the Bahamas and
the Greater Antilles; and though this description may have been in
some degree coloured by their ideal of what dwellers in the Fortunate
Isles ought to be, there is yet little in the old accounts of these
Indians to contravene their good report. With small question, however,
this same picture served only to intensify the grimness of its
companion portrait, for the folk of the Lesser Antilles, the "Caribbee
Islands" of seamen's romance, were painted as hard and mirthless
savages, murderers and marauders, ferocious in war, and abhorrent
cannibals--altogether such as would be dramatically appropriate as the
aborigines of islands that were to become the paradise of pirates.

On his second voyage Columbus encountered men of this race, finding
them treacherous and fierce. Unlike the Taïno, the men wore their hair
long and they painted themselves with strange devices; their beards
were plucked out, and their eyes and eyebrows were stained to give them
a terrible appearance--at least so thought Chanca, who describes them
for us. The women--that is, the true Carib women, not the captives,
of whom they had many--were as savage fighters as the men; and the
Spaniards distinguished them from the captive Taïno women by the
leg-bands, fastened below the knee and above the ankle, which caused
the leg-muscles to swell out--a trait recorded by im Thurn of the true
Carib of Guiana.

There is small question that these people came from the mouth of the
Orinoco in the southern continent just as the ancestors of the Taïno
had doubtless come before them; and even at the time of the discovery
they were invading the Greater Antilles and had secured a foothold
in Porto Rico. Nevertheless, they had already been in the lesser
islands for a period sufficiently long to differentiate them, in a
degree, from their continental congeners and to develop among them a
distinctly Antillean type of Carib culture, related on the one hand
to the continent they had left, on the other to the islands they had
conquered. Doubtless the fundamental modification was due not so much
to the change of habitat or to the difference between alluvial and
insular life as to the fact--repeated from Columbus onward--that they
spared and married with the women of the dispossessed tribes and so
fell heirs to many of their arts and ideas.

Of all Carib customs, after their cannibalism (the word "cannibal" is
a variant of "Carib"), the most striking is the couvade--the Custom
whereby the husband and father, at the birth of a child, takes to his
bed, or rather hammock, as if he were suffering the pangs of labour.
For forty days he remains in retirement, fasting or on meagre diet;
and at the end of this period a feast is held at which the invited
guests lacerate the skin of the patient with their nails and wash the
wounds with a solution of red pepper, he bearing his pain heroically.
Even then his trials are not at an end; for six moons more he must be
careful of his food--should he eat turtle, the child will become deaf,
and so of other creatures, bird and fish,--such being Père du Tertre's
description of this rite, still in vogue on the southern continent.

Other Carib festivals are mentioned by Davies. A ceremony attended
a council of war, the killing of an enemy, and the return from war;
the launching of a canoe, the building of a house, and the making
of a garden; the birth of a child and the cutting of its hair;
adolescence and participation in the first war-party; the death of
parents, husband, or wife. They had, of course, their doctors or
medicine-men--the _peaimen_ of the continent, apparently called _boii_
by the islanders, a name which is surely a variant of the Taïno
_buhuitihu_ and doubtless was adopted from the latter; especially as
Maboya ("the Great Boye" or "Great Snake") is a name recorded for the
tutelary power of these _boii_, or "snakes." Maboya, or Mapoia, is the
god who sends the hurricane; and here we have an interesting point of
contact with the mythology of the great isthmus, since Hurakan, the
hurricane, is the Mayan storm-god. Du Tertre says that there were many
Maboyas; and it may be that the term is the insular equivalent for
"Kenaima," by which the mainland Carib designate a member of the class
of death-bringing powers.

Good spirits were also recognized. The names Akambou and Yris are
found for the highest of all, and the name Chemin--doubtless related
to _zemi_--is applied to the sky-god. It may be that the island Carib
possessed a whole pantheon of celestial deities, or perhaps the name
for the Great Spirit varied from island to island, as similar names
vary among the related tribes of Guiana.

Fragments of the legends of the island Carib are preserved. Louquo, the
first man, came down from the sky; other men were born from his body;
and after his death he ascended into the heavens. The sky itself is
eternal; the earth, at first soft, was hardened by the sun's rays. The
First Race of men were nearly exterminated by a deluge, from which a
lucky few escaped in a canoe. After death the soul of the valiant Carib
ascends to heaven; the stars are Carib souls. All these are beliefs
which we need not ascribe to Old World suggestion, for they are found
far and wide in America; and equally native must be the Carib notion
that each man has three souls--one in his heart, one in his head, and
one in his shoulders--though it is only the heart-soul that ascends to
paradise at death, while the other two wander abroad as dangerous and
evil powers. The islanders possessed also a legend of their origin or
migration from among the Galibi, their continental relatives, "Galibi"
being, apparently, yet another variant of "Carib." Their ancestor,
Kalinago, they said, wearying of life among his own people, embarked
for the conquest of new lands, and after a long voyage settled in Santo
Domingo with his kin, where his numerous children, conspiring against
him, gave him poison. His body died, but his soul found an avatar in a
terrible fish, Atraioman; while his slayers, pursued by his vengeance,
scattered afar among all the isles. Wherever they went, they destroyed
the men, but spared the women; and they placed the heads of their
enemies in rocky caves that they might show their sons and their sons'
sons these symbols of the valour of their fathers. According to some
tales all brave Caribs at death enter a paradise where they forever
wage successful war against the Arawak, while cowards are condemned in
the future world to be enslaved to Arawak masters.

A more agreeable picture of Carib nature is suggested by their belief
in Icheiri--a kind of Lares and Penates--to whom in each cabin was
erected an altar of banana leaves or of cane, upon which were placed
offerings of cassava flour and of the first fruits of the field, these
Icheiri being conceived as kindly and familiar intermediaries between
man below and the distant heaven power above. There were also spirits
that could enter into a man to lead him to inspired vision--"medicine"
spirits, or tutelaries. The god Yris seems to have been of this
character, for du Tertre, who received the story from one of the
missionaries in Santo Domingo, relates that Yris entered into a certain
woman and transported her far above the sun, where she saw lands of a
marvellous beauty with verdant mountains from which gushed springs of
living water; and the god promised her that after her death she should
come thither to dwell with him forever. The savage mystic, too, it
would appear, has her visions of a divine spouse, who shall one day
welcome her into the heaven above the heavens.




From the Rio Grande to the southern continent extends the great land
bridge connecting North and South America, forming a region which
might properly be called Middle America. This region divides naturally
into several sections. To the north is the body of Mexico, its coastal
lands mounting abruptly on the western side, but rising more gradually
on the eastern littoral toward the broad central plateau, the shape
of which--roughly triangular, with its apex in the lofty mountains of
the south--conforms to that of the whole land north of the Isthmus
of Tehuantepec. Next to this is the low-lying peninsular region of
Yucatan, ascending into mountains toward the Pacific, and forming a
great broadening of the southward tapering land. A second bulge is
Central America, lying between the Gulf of Honduras and the Mosquito
Gulf, and terminating in the thin Isthmus forming an arc about the Bay
of Panama.

The physiography of the region is an index to its pre-Columbian
ethnography.[22] The northern portion, including Lower California and,
roughly, the mainlands in its latitudes, was a region of wild tribes,
the best of them much inferior in culture to the Pueblo Indians on the
Gila and the upper Rio Grande, and the lowest as destitute of arts as
any in America. Yuman and Waicurian tribes in Lower California; Seri on
the Island of Tiburon and the neighbouring mainland; Piman in the north
central and western mainlands; Apache in the desert-like lands south
of the Rio Grande; and Tamaulipecan on the east, coasting the Gulf of
Mexico--these are the principal groups of this region, peoples whose
ideas and myths differ little from those of their kindred groups of the
arid South-west of North America. The Piman group, however, possesses
a special interest in that it forms a possible connexion between the
Shoshonean to the north and the Nahuatlan nations of the Aztec world.
Such peoples as the Papago, Yaqui, Tarahumare, and Tepehuane are the
wilder cousins of the Nahua, while the Tepecano, Huichol, and Cora
tribes, just to the south, distinctly show Aztec acculturation. In
general, the Mexican tribes north of the Tropic of Cancer belong, in
habit and thought, with the groups of the South-West of the northern
continent; ethnically, Middle America falls south of the Tropic.

Below this line, extending as far as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, is the
region dominated by the empire of the Aztec, marked by the civilization
which bears their name.[23] As a matter of fact, although at the time
of the culmination of their power this whole region was politically
subordinated to the Aztec (it was not completely conquered by them),
it contained several centres of culture, each in degree distinct. To
the north, about the Panuco, were the Huastec, a branch of the Maya
stock; while immediately south of them, and also on the Gulf Coast,
were the Totonac, possibly of Maya kinship. The central highlands,
immediately west of these peoples, were occupied by the Otomi,
primitive and warlike foes of the Aztec emperors. On their west, in
turn, the Otomi had a common frontier with Nahuatlan tribes--Huichol,
Cora, and others--forming a transitional group between the wild tribes
of the north and the civilized Nahua. Quite surrounded by Nahuatlan and
Otomian tribes was the Tarascan stock of Michoacan, a group of peoples
whose culture certainly ante-dates that of the Nahua, of whom, indeed,
they may have been the teachers. Still to the south--their territories
nearly conterminous with the state of Oaxaca--were the Zapotecan
peoples, chief among them the Zapotec and Mixtec, whose civilization
ranks with those of Nahua and Maya in individual quality, while in
native vitality it has proved stronger than either.

The Zoquean tribes (Mixe, Zoque, and others), back from the Gulf of
Tehuantepec, form a transition to the next great culture centre, that
of the Maya nations. The territories of this most remarkable of all
American civilizations included the whole of Yucatan, the greater
portions of Tabasco, Chiapas, and Guatemala, and the lands bordering
on both sides of the Gulf of Honduras. Thus the Mayan regions dominate
the strategy of the Americas, since they not only control the juncture
of the continents, but, stretching out toward the Greater Antilles,
command the passage between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
It is easily conceivable that, had a free maritime commerce grown up,
the Maya might have become, not merely the Greeks, but the Romans, of
the New World.

Central America, occupied by no less than a dozen distinct linguistic
stocks, forms a fourth cultural district. Its peoples show not only the
influences of the Maya and Nahua to the north (a tribe of the Nahuatlan
stock had penetrated as far south as Lake Nicaragua), but also of
the Chibchan civilization of the southern continent, dominant in the
Isthmus of Panama, and extending beyond Costa Rica up into Nicaragua.
In addition, there is more than a suggestion of influence from the
Antilles and from the sea-faring Carib. Here, we can truly say, is the
meeting-place of the continents.

The nodes of interest in the culture and history of Middle America are
the Aztec and Maya civilizations, which are justly regarded as marking
the highest attainment of native Americans.[24] Neither Aztec nor Maya
could vie with the Peruvian peoples in the engineering and political
skill which made the empire of the Incas such a marvel of organization;
but in the general level of the arts, in the intricacy of their
science, and above all in the possession of systems of hieroglyphic
writing and of monumental records the Middle Americans had touched a
level properly comparable with the earliest civilizations of the Old
World, nor can theirs have been vastly later than Old World culture in

In a number of particulars the civilizations of the Middle and South
American centres show curious parallels. In each case we are in the
presence of an aggressively imperial highland (Aztec, Inca) and of
a decadent lowland (Maya, Yunca) culture. In each case the lowland
culture is the more advanced aesthetically and apparently of longer
history. Both highland powers clearly depend upon remote highland
predecessors for their own culture (Aztec harks back to Toltec,
Inca to Tiahuanaco); and in both regions it is a pretty problem for
the archaeologist to determine whether this more remote highland
civilization is ancestrally akin to the lowland. Again, in both the
apogee of monument building and of the arts seems to have passed
when the Spaniards arrived; indeed, empire itself was weakening. The
Aztec and the Inca tribes (perhaps the most striking parallel of all)
emerged from obscurity about the same time to proceed on the road to
empire, for the traditional Aztec departure from Aztlan and the Inca
departure from Tampu Tocco alike occurred in the neighbourhood of 1200
A. D. Finally, it was Ahuitzotl, the predecessor of Montezuma II, who
brought Aztec power to its zenith, and it was Huayna Capac, the father
of Atahualpa, who gave Inca empire its greatest extent; while both
the Aztec empire under Montezuma, which fell to Cortez in 1519, and
the Inca empire under Atahualpa, conquered by Pizarro in 1524, were
internally weakening at the time. But the crowning misfortune common to
the two empires was the possession of gold, maddening the eyes of the


In 1517 Hernandez de Cordova, sailing from Cuba for the Bahamas, was
driven out of his course by adverse gales; Yucatan was discovered; and
a part of the coast of the Gulf of Campeche was explored. Battles were
fought, and hardships were endured by the discoverers, but the reports
of a higher civilization which they brought back to Cuba, coupled with
specimens of curious gold-work, induced the governor of the island to
equip a new expedition to continue the exploration. This venture, of
four vessels under the command of Juan de Grijalva, set out in May,
1518, and following the course of its predecessor, coasted as far as
the province of Panuco, visiting the Isla de los Sacrificios--near the
site of the future Vera Cruz--and doing profitable trading with some
of the vassals of the Aztec emperor. A caravel which he dispatched to
Cuba with some of his golden profit induced the governor to undertake
a larger military expedition to effect the conquest of the empire
discovered; for now men began to realize that a truly imperial realm
had been revealed. This third expedition was placed under the command
of Hernando Cortez; it sailed from Cuba in February, 1519, and landed
on the island of Cozumel, in Maya territory, where the Spaniards were
profoundly impressed at finding the Cross an object of veneration.
The course was resumed, and a battle was fought near the mouth of the
Rio de Tabasco; but Cortez was in search of richer lands and so moved
onward, beyond the lands of the Maya, until on Good Friday, April 21,
1519, he landed with all his forces on the site of Vera Cruz. The two
years of the Conquest followed--the tale of which, for fantastic and
romantic adventure, for egregious heroism and veritable gluttony of
bloodshed, has few competitors in human annals: its climacterics being
the seizure of Montezuma in November, 1519; _la noche triste_, July 1,
1520, when the invaders were driven from Tenochtitlan; and, finally,
the defeat and capture of Guatemotzin, August 13, 1521.

The reader of the tale cannot but be profoundly moved both by what the
Spaniards found and by what they did. He will be moved with regret at
the wanton destruction of so much that was in its way splendid in
Aztec civilization. He will be moved with revulsion and wonder that
such a civilization could support a religion which, though not without
elements of poetic exaltation, was drugged with obscene and bloody
rites; and he will feel only a shuddering thankfulness that this faith
is of the past. But when he turns to the agents of its destruction
and reads their chronicles, furious with carnage, he will surely say,
with Clavigero, that "the Spaniards cannot but appear to have been
the severest instruments fate ever made use of to further the ends of
Providence," and amid conflicting horrors he will be led again into
regretful sympathy for the final victims.

An apologist for human nature would say that neither _conquistador_
nor _papa_ (as the Spaniards named the Aztec priest) was quite
so despicable as his deeds, that both were moved by a faith that
had redeeming traits. Outwardly, aesthetically, the whole scene
is bizarre and devilish; inwardly, it is not without devotion and
heroism. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, adventurer not only with Cortez,
but with Cordova and Grijalva before him, one of the sturdiest of the
conquerors and destined to be their foremost chronicler, records for
us one unforgettable incident which presents the whole inwardness and
outwardness of the situation--gorgeous cruelty and simple humanity--in
a single image. It was four days after the army of Cortez had entered
the Mexican capital; and after having been shown the wonders of the
populous markets of Tenochtitlan, the visitors were escorted, at their
own request, to the platform top of the great teocalli overlooking
Tlatelolco, the mart of Mexico. From the platform Montezuma proudly
pointed to the quartered city below, and beyond that to the gleaming
lake and the glistening villages on its borders--all a local index of
his imperial domains. "We counted among us," says the chronicler,[26]
"soldiers who had traversed different parts of the world:
Constantinople, Italy, Rome; they said that they had seen nowhere a
place so well aligned, so vast, ordered with such art, and covered
with so many people." Cortez turned to Montezuma: "You are a great
lord," he said. "You have shown us your great cities; show us now your

[Illustration: PLATE V.]

 Aztec goddess, probably Coatlicue, the mother of Huitzilopochtli, an
 earth goddess (see page 74). The statue is one of two Aztec monuments
 (the other being the "Calendar Stone," Plate XIV) discovered under
 the pavement of the principal plaza of Mexico City in 1790, and is
 possibly the very image which Bernal Diaz mistook for "Huichilobos"
 (see pages 46-49, and Note 26). The goddess wears the serpent apron,
 and carries a death's head at the girdle; her own head is formed of
 two serpent heads, facing, rising from her shoulders. The importance
 of Coatlicue in Aztec legend is evidenced by the story of the embassy
 sent to her by Montezuma I (see page 116). After an engraving in
 _AnMM_, first series, Vol. II.

"He invited us into a tower," continues the chronicler, "into a part
in form like a great hall where were two altars covered with rich
woodwork. Upon the altars were reared two massive forms, like giants
with ponderous bodies. The first, placed at the right, was, they say,
Huichilobos [Huitzilopochtli], their god of war. His countenance was
very large, the eyes huge and terrifying; all his body, including the
head, was covered with gems, with gold, with pearls large and small,
adherent by means of a glue made from farinaceous roots. The body was
cinctured with great serpents fabricked of gold and precious stones; in
one hand he held a bow, and in the other arrows. A second little idol,
standing beside the great divinity like a page, carried for him a short
spear and a buckler rich in gold and gems. From the neck of Huichilobos
hung masks of Indians and hearts in gold or in silver surmounted by
blue stones. Near by were to be seen burners with incense of copal;
three hearts of Indians sacrificed that very day burned there,
continuing with the incense the sacrifice that had just taken place.
The walls and floor of this sanctuary were so bathed with congealing
blood that they exhaled a horrid odour.

"Turning our gaze to the left, we saw there another great mass, of the
height of Huichilobos. Its face resembled the snout of a bear, and its
shining eyes were made of mirrors called _tezcatl_ in the language
of the country; its body was covered with rich gems, in like manner
with Huichilobos, for they are called brothers. They adore Tezcatepuca
[Tezcatlipoca] as god of the lower worlds, and attribute to him the
care of the souls of Mexicans. His body was bound about with little
devils having the tails of snakes. About him also upon the walls there
was such a crust of blood and the floor so soaked with it that not
the butcheries of Castile exhale such a stench. There was to be seen,
moreover, the offering of five hearts of victims sacrificed that
day. At the culminating point of the temple was a niche of woodwork,
richly carved; within it, a statue representing a being half man, half
crocodile, enriched with jewels and partly covered by a mantle. They
said that this idol was the god of sowings and of fruits; the half of
his body contained all the grains of the country. I do not recall the
name of this divinity; what I do know is that here also all was soiled
with blood, wall and altar, and that the stench was such that we did
not delay to go forth to take the air. There we found a drum of immense
size; when struck it gave forth a lugubrious sound, such as an infernal
instrument could not want. It could be heard for two leagues about, and
it was said to be stretched with the skins of gigantic serpents.

"Upon the terrace were to be seen an endless number of things
diabolical in appearance: speaking trumpets, horns, knives, many hearts
of Indians burned as incense to idols; and all covered with blood in
such quantity that I vowed it to malediction! As moreover, everywhere
arose the odours of a charnel, it moved us strongly to depart from
these exhalations and above all from so repulsive a sight.

"It was then that our general, by means of our interpreter, said to
Montezuma, smiling: 'Sire, I cannot understand how being so great a
prince and so wise as you are, that you have not perceived in your
reflections that your idols are not gods, but evilly named demons. That
Your Majesty may recognize this and all your priests be convinced,
grant me the grace of finding it good that I erect a Cross upon the
height of this tower, and that in the same part of the sanctuary where
are your Huichilobos and Tezcatepuca, we construct a shrine and elevate
the image of Our Lady; and you will see the fear which she will inspire
in these idols, of which you are the dupes.' Montezuma replied partly
in anger, while the priests made menacing gestures: 'Sir Malinche,
if I had thought that you could offer blasphemies, such as you have
just done, I had not shown you my deities. Our gods we hold to be
good; it is they who give us health, rains, good harvests, storms,
victories, and all that we desire. We ought to adore them and make them
sacrifices. What I beg of you is that you will say not a word more
that is not in their honour.' Our general, having heard and seeing
his emotion, thought best not to reply; so, affecting a gay air, he
said: 'It is already the hour that we and Your Majesty must part.' To
which Montezuma answered, true, but as for him, he must pray and make
sacrifice in expiation of the sin he had committed in giving us access
to his temple, which had had for consequence our presentation to his
gods and the want of respect through which we had rendered ourselves
culpable, blaspheming against them." So the Spaniards departed, leaving
Montezuma to his expiatory prayers and no doubt bloody sacrifices.


Within the precincts of the temple-pyramid, and not far from it, was
a lesser building which Bernal Diaz describes, a house of idols,
diabolisms, serpents, tools for carving the bodies of sacrificed
victims, and pots and kettles to cook them for the cannibal repasts
of the priests, the entrance being formed by gaping jaws "such as one
pictures at the mouth of Inferno, showing great teeth for the devouring
of poor souls." The place was foul with blood and black with smoke,
"and for my part," says Diaz, "I was accustomed to call it 'Hell.'"

It is indeed doubtful whether the human imagination has ever elsewhere
conjured up such soul-satisfying devils as are the gods of the Aztec
pantheon. Beside them Old World demons seem prankishly amiable sprites:
the Mediaeval imagination at best (or worst) gives us but a somewhat
deranged barnyard, while even Chinese devils modulate into pleasantly
decorative motifs. But the Aztec gods, in their formal presentments,
and seldom less in their material characters, ugly, ghastly, foul,
afford unalloyed shudders which time cannot still nor custom stale.
To be sure, the ensemble frequently shows a vigour of design which
suggests decoration (though the decorative spirit is never sensitive,
as it often is in Maya art); but this suggestion is too illusory to
abide: it passes like a mist, and the imagination is gripped by the raw
horror of the Thing. Aztec religious art seems, in fact, to move in a
more primitively realistic atmosphere than that in which the religious
art of other peoples has come to similarly adept expression; it shows
little of that tendency--which Yucatan and Peru in America, as well as
the ancient and Oriental nations, had all attained--to subordinate the
idea to the expressional form, and to soften even the horrible with the
suavity of aesthetic charm. The Aztec gods were as grimly business-like
in form as the realities of their service were fearful.

In number these divinities were myriad and in relations chaotic.
There were clan and tribal, city and national gods, not only of
the victorious race, but of their confederates and subjects, for
the Aztec followed the custom of pagan conquerors, holding it
safest to honour the deities native to the land; and several of
their greatest divinities were assuredly inherited from vanquished
peoples--Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc among them--though an odd and somewhat
amusing fact is that a multitude of the godling idols of ravaged cities
were kept in a kind of prison-house in the Aztec capital, where, it was
assumed, they were incapable of assisting their former worshippers.
There were gods of commerce and industries, headed by Tacatecutli, god
of merchant-adventurers, whose "peaceful penetration" opened paths for
the imperial armies; gods of potters and weavers and mat-makers, of
workers in wood and stone and metal; gods of agriculture, of sowing and
ripening and reaping; gods of fishermen; gods of the elements--earth,
air, fire, and water; gods of mountains and volcanoes; creator-gods;
animal-gods; gods of medicine, of disease and death, and of the
underworld; deity patrons of drunkenness and of carnal vice, and deity
protectors of the flowers which these strange peoples loved. The whole
heterogeneous world was filled with divinities, reflecting the old
fears of primitive man and the old tumults of history, each god jealous
of his right and gluttonous of blood--a kind of horrid exteriorization
of human passion and desire.

However, this motley pantheon is not without certain principles of
order. The regulations of an elaborate social system, divided by
clan and caste and rank and guild, are reduplicated in it; for to
every phase of Mexican life religious rites and divine tutelage
were attached. Still more significant as a means of hierarchic
classification is the relation of the divine beings to the divisions of
time and space. A cult of the quarters of space and their tutelaries
and of the powers of sky-realms above and of earth-realms below is
almost universal among American Indian groups showing any advancement
in culture; the gods of the quarters, for example, are bringers of
wind and rain, upholders of heaven, animal chiefs; the gods above are
storm-deities and rulers of the orbs and dominions of light, on the
whole beneficent; the powers below, under the hegemony of the earth
goddess, are spirits of vegetation and lords of death and things
noxious. This is the most primitive stage in which the family of
Heaven and Earth begin to assume form as an hierarchic pantheon. But
the seasons, beginning with the diurnal alternation of the rule of
light and darkness, and proceeding thence to the changing phases of
the moon and the seasonal journeys of the sun, constantly shift the
domination of the world from deity to deity and from group to group.
Thus the lords of day are not the lords of night, nor are the fates of
the mounting morn those of descending eve: the Sun himself changes his
disposition with the hours. Similarly, the Moon's phases are tempers
rather than forms; and the year, divided among the gods, runs the cycle
of their influences.

The Aztec and other pantheons of the civilized Mexicans evince all of
these elements with complications. Both cosmography and calendar are
more complex than among the more northerly Americans, and there is a
veritable tangle of space-craft and time-craft, with astrological and
necromantic conceptions, bound up with every human desire and every
natural activity. Certainly the most curious feature of this lore
is the influence of certain numbers--especially four (and five) and
nine; and, again, six (and seven) and thirteen. These number-groups
are primarily related to space-divisions. Thus four is the number of
cardinal points, North, South, East, and West, to which a fifth point
is added if the _pou sto_, or point of the observer, is included;
by a process of reduplication, of which there are several instances
in North America, the number of earth's cardinal points became the
number of the sky-tiers above and of the earth-tiers below, so that
the cosmos becomes a nine-storeyed structure, with earth its middle
plane. Sometimes (this is characteristic of the Pueblo Indians)
orientation is with reference to six points--the four directions
and the Above and the Below (the _pou sto_, when added, becomes a
seventh--a grouping which recalls to us the seven forms of Platonic
locomotion--up, down, forward, backward, right, left, and axial). With
these directions colours, jewels, herbs, and animals are symbolically
associated, becoming emblems of the ruling powers of the quarters. The
number-groups thus cosmographically formed react upon time-conceptions,
especially where ritual is concerned. Thus the Pueblo Indians celebrate
lesser festivals of five days (a day of preparation and four of
ritual), and greater feasts of nine days (reduplicating the four) the
whole, in some cases at least, being comprised in a longer period of
twenty days. The rites of the year among the Zuñi and some others are
divided into two six-month groups, and each month is dedicated to or
associated with one of the six colour-symbols of the six directions;
while the Hopi--a fact of especial interest--make use of thirteen
points on the horizon for the determination of ceremonial dates.[28]

The cosmic and calendric orientation of the Mexicans is a complex,
with elaborations, of both these number-groups (i.e. four, five, nine,
and six, seven, thirteen). According to one conception there are nine
heavens above and nine hells beneath. Ometecutli ("Twofold Lord") and
Omeciuatl ("Twofold Lady") the male and female powers of generation,
dwell in Omeyocan ("the Place of the Twofold") at the culmination of
the universe; and it is from Omeyocan that the souls of babes, bringing
the lots "assigned to them from the commencement of the world,"[29]
descend to mortal birth; while in the opposite direction the souls of
the dead, after four years of wandering, having passed the nine-fold
stream of the underworld, go to find their rest in Chicunauhmictlan,
the ninth pit. Nine "Lords of the Night" preside over its nine hours,
and potently over the affairs of men. Mictlantecutli, the skeleton
god of death, is lord of the midnight hour; the owl is his bird; his
consort is Mictlanciuatl; and the place of their abode, windowless
and lightless, is "huge enough to receive the whole world." Over the
first hour of night and the first of morning (there are Lords of the
Day, too) presides Xiuhtecutli, the fire-god, for the hearth of the
universe, like the hearth of the house, is the world's centre.

But the ninefold conception of the universe is not without rival. A
second notion (of Toltec source, according to Sahagun) speaks of twelve
heavens; or of thirteen, reckoning earth as one. The Toltec, says
Sahagun, were the first to count the days of the year, the nights,
and the hours, and to calculate the movements of the heavens by the
movements of the stars; they affirmed that Ometecutli and Omeciuatl
rule over the twelve heavens and the earth, and are procreators of
all life below. There is some ground for believing that with this
there was associated a belief in twelve corresponding under-worlds,
for Seler[30] plausibly argues that the five-and-twenty divine pairs
of Codex Vaticanus B represent twelve pairs of rulers of hours of the
day, twelve of hours of the night, and one intermediate. However, the
arrangement which Seler finds predominating is that of thirteen Lords
of the Day and nine Lords of the Night--implying a commingling of the
two systems--and this scheme (the day-hour lords following the Aubin
Tonalamatl and the Codex Borbonicus, as Seler interprets them) he
reconstructs dial-fashion, as follows:


                        7. Xochipilli Cinteotl
                       (Flower-God as Maize-God)

6. Teoyaoimqui                              8. Tlaloc
(Warrior's Death-God)                       (God of Rain)

5. Tlazolteotl                              9. Quetzalcoatl
(Goddess of Dirt)                           (as Wind-God)

4. Tonatiuh                                 10. Tezcatlipoca
(the Sun-God)                              (the Great God)

3. Chalchiuhtlicue                          11. Mictlantecutli
(Goddess of Water)                          (God of the Dead)

2. Tlaltecutli                             12. Tlauizcalpantecutli
(the Earth as Gaping Jaws)                 (the Planet Venus)

1. Xiuhtecutli                             13. Ilamatecutli
(God of Fire)                              (Mother-of the Gods)




IX. Tlaloc                                  I. Xiuhtecutli
(God of Rain)                               (God of Fire)

VIII. Tepeyollotl                           II. Itztli
(Heart of the Mountain)                     (Stone-Knife God)

VII. Tlazolteotl                            III. Piltzintecutli-Tonatiuh
(Earth Goddess)                             (Lord of Princes, the Sun)

VI. Chalchiuhtlicue                         IV. Cinteotl
(Goddess of Flowing Water)                  (Maize-God)

                           V. Mictlantecutli
                        (God of the Underworld)


But the gods are patrons not only of the celestial worlds and of
the underworlds, hours of the day and of the night; they are also
rulers and tutelaries of the quarters of earth and heaven, and of the
numerous divisions and periods of time involved in the complicated
Mexican calendar. The influences of the cosmos were conceived to vary
not merely with the seasonal or solar year of 365 days, but also with
the _Tonalamatl_ (a calendric period of 13 x 20, or 260, days);
again with a 584-day period of the phases of Venus; and finally with
the cycles formed by measuring these periods into one another. Here,
it is evident, we are in the presence not only of a scheme capable
of utilizing an extensive pantheon, but of one having divinatory
possibilities second to no astrology.

As such it was used by the Mexican priests, and various codices, or
_pinturas_, preserved from the general destruction of Aztec manuscripts
are nothing but calendric charts to calculate days for feasts and
days auspicious or inauspicious for enterprise. In one of these, the
Codex Ferjérváry-Mayer, the first sheet is devoted to a figure in the
general form of a cross _pattée_ combined with an X, or St. Andrew's
cross. This figure, as explained by Seler,[31] affords a graphic
illustration of Aztec ideas. It represents the five regions of the
world and their deities, the good and bad days of the _Tonalamatl_, the
nine Lords of the Night, and the four trees (in form like tau-crosses)
which rise into the quarters of heaven, perhaps as its support. In
the Middle Place, the _pou sto_, is the red image of Xiuhtecutli, the
Fire-Deity--"the Mother, the Father of the Gods, who dwells in the
navel of the Earth"--armed with spears and spear-thrower, while from
the divinity's body four streams of blood flow to the four cardinal
points, terminating in symbols appropriate to these points--East, a
yellow hand typifying the sun's ray; North, the stump of a leg, symbol
of Tezcatlipoca as Mictlantecutli, lord of the underworld; West, where
the sun dies, the vertebrae and ribs of a skeleton; South, Tezcatlipoca
as lord of the air, with featherdown in his head-gear. The arms of
the St. Andrew's cross terminate in birds--quetzal, macaw, eagle,
parrot--bearing shields upon which are depicted the four day-signs
after which the years are named (because, in sequence, they fall on
the first day of the year), each year being brought into relation
with a correspondingly symbolized world-quarter; within each arm of
the cross, below the day-sign, is a sign denoting plenty or famine.
But the main part of the design, about the centre, is occupied with
symbols of the quarters of the heavens. In each section is a T-shaped
tree, surmounted by a bird, with tutelary deities on either side of
the trunk. Above, framed in red, the tree rises from an image of the
sun, set on a temple, while a quetzal bird surmounts it; the gods
on either side are (left) Itztli, the Stone-Knife God, and (right)
Tonatiuh, the Sun; the whole symbolizes the tree which rises into the
eastern heavens. The trapezoid opposite this, coloured blue, symbol
of the west, contains a thorn-tree rising from the body of the dragon
of the eclipse (for the heavens descend to darkness in this region)
and surmounted by a humming-bird, which, according to Aztec belief,
dies with the dry and revives with the rainy season; the attendant
deities are Chalchiuhtlicue, goddess of flowing water, and the earth
goddess Tlazolteotl, deity of dirt and of sin. To the right, framed
in yellow, a thorny tree rises from a dish containing emblems of
expiation, while an eagle surmounts it; the attendants are Tlaloc, the
rain-god, and Tepeyollotl, the Heart of the Mountains, Voice of the
Jaguar--all a token of the northern heavens. Opposite this is a green
trapezoid containing a parrot-surmounted tree rising from the jaws of
the Earth, and having, on one side, Cinteotl, the maize-god, and on
the other, Mictlantecutli, the divinity of death. The nine deities, he
of the centre and the four pairs, form the group of _los Señores de
la Noche_ ("the Lords of Night"); while the whole figure symbolizes
the orientation of the world-powers in space and time--years and
_Tonalamatls_, earth-realms and sky-realms.

[Illustration: PLATE VI.]

 First page of the Codex Ferjérváry-Mayer, representing the
 five regions of the world and their tutelary deities. Seler's
 interpretation of this figure is given, in brief, on pages 55-56 of
 this book.

The recurrence of cross-forms in this and similar pictures is striking:
the Greek cross, the tau-cross, St. Andrew's cross. The Codex
Vaticanus B contains a series of symbols of the trees of the quarters
approximating the Roman cross in form, suggesting the cross-figured
tablets of Palenque. In the analogous series of the Codex Borgia,
each tree issues from the recumbent body of an earth divinity or
underworld deity, each surmounted by a heaven-bird; and again
all are cruciform. There is also a tree of the Middle Place in the
series, rising from the body of the Earth Goddess, who is masked
with a death's head and lies upon the spines of a crocodile--"the
fish from which Earth was made"--surmounted by the quetzal bird
(_Pharomacrus mocinno_), whose green and flowing tail-plumage is the
symbol of fructifying moisture and responding fertility--"already has
it changed to quetzal feathers, already all has become green, already
the rainy time is here!" About the stem of the tree are the circles
of the world-encompassing sea, and on either side of it, springing
also from the body of the goddess, are two great ears of maize. The
attendant or tutelar deities in this image are Quetzalcoatl ("the
green Feather-Snake"), god of the winds, and Macuilxochitl ("the Five
Flowers"), the divinity of music and dancing. Another series of figures
in this same Codex represent the gods of the quarters as caryatid-like
upbearers of the skies--Quetzalcoatl of the east; Huitzilopochtli, the
Aztec war-god, of the south; Tlauizcalpantecutli, Venus as Evening
Star, of the west; Mictlantecutli, the death-god, of the north. All
these, however, are only a few of the many examples of the multifarious
cosmic and calendric arrangements of the gods of the Aztec pantheon.


On the cosmic and astral side the regnant powers of the Aztec pantheon
are the Gaping Jaws of Earth; the Sea as a circumambient Great Serpent;
and the Death's-Head God of the Underworld; while above are the Sun
wearing a collar of life-giving rays; the Moon represented as marked
by a rabbit (for in Mexican myth the Moon shone as brightly as the Sun
till the latter darkened his rival by casting a rabbit upon his face);
and finally the Great Star, "Lord in the House of Dawn," the planet
Venus, characteristically shown with a body streaked red and white,
now Morning Star, now Evening Star. The Sun and Venus are far more
important than the Moon, for the reason that their periods (365 and 584
days respectively), along with the _Tonalamatl_ (260 days), form the
foundation for calendric computations. The regents of the quarters of
space and of the divisions of time are ranged in numerous and complex
groups under these deities of the cosmos.

But the divinities who are thus important cosmically are not in
like measure important politically, nor indeed mythologically,
since the great gods of the Aztec, like those of other consciously
political peoples, were those that presided over the activities of
statecraft--war and agriculture and political destiny. In the Aztec
capital the central teocalli was the shrine of Huitzilopochtli, the
war-god and national deity of the ruling tribe. The teocalli above the
market-place, which Bernal Diaz describes, was devoted to Coatlicue,
the mother of the war-god, to Tezcatlipoca, the omnipotent divinity of
all the Nahua tribes, and, in a second shrine, to Tlaloc, the rain-god,
whose cult, according to tradition, was older than the coming of the
first Nahua. In a third temple, built in circular rather than pyramidal
form, was the shrine of what was perhaps the most ancient deity of
all, Quetzalcoatl ("the Feather-Snake"), lord of wind and weather.
These--Huitzilopochtli, Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, and Tlaloc--are the
gods that are supreme in picturesque emphasis in the Aztec pantheon.


The great teocalli of Huitzilopochtli stood in the centre of
Tenochtitlan and was dedicated in the year 1486 by Ahuitzotl, the
emperor preceding the last Montezuma, with the sacrifice of huge
numbers of captive warriors--sixty to eighty thousand, if we are
to believe the chroniclers. On the platform top of the pyramidal
structure, bearing the fane of the war-god and also (as in the case
of the temple in the market place) a shrine of Tlaloc, was space,
tradition says, for a thousand warriors, and it was here, in 1520,
that Cortez and his companions waged their most picturesque battle,
fighting their way up the temple stairs, clearing the summit of some
four hundred Aztec warriors, burning the fanes, and hurling the images
of the gods to the pavements below. After the Conquest the temple was
razed, and the Cathedral which still adorns the City of Mexico was
erected on or near a site which had probably seen more human blood shed
for superstition than has any other in the world.

The name of the war-god, Huitzilopochtli (or Uitzilopochtli), is
curiously innocent in suggestion--"Humming-Bird of the South"
(literally, "Humming-Bird-Left-Side," for in naming the directions the
Nahua called the south the "left" of the sun). Humming-bird feathers
on his left leg formed part of the insignia of the divinity; the
fire-snake, Xiuhcoatl, was another attribute, and the spear-thrower
which he carried was serpentine in form; among his weapons were
arrows tipped with balls of featherdown; and it was to his glory that
gladiatorial sacrifices were held in which captive warriors, chained to
the sacrificial rock, were armed with down-tipped weapons and forced
to fight to the death with Aztec champions. One of the most romantic
of native tales recounts the capture, by wile, of the Tlascalan
chieftain, Tlahuicol. Such was his renown that Montezuma offered him
citizenship, rather than the usual death by sacrifice, and even sent
him at the head of a military expedition in which the Tlascalan won
notable victories. But the chieftain refused all proffers of grace,
claiming the right to die a warrior's death on the sacrificial stone,
and at last, after three years of captivity, Montezuma conceded to him
the privilege sought--the gladiatorial sacrifice. The Tlascalan is said
to have slain eight Aztec warriors and to have wounded twenty before
he finally succumbed. It may be remarked in passing that the Tlascalan
deity, Camaxtli, the Tarascan Curicaveri, the Chichimec Mixcoatl, and
the tribal god of the Tepanec and Otomi, Otontecutli or Xocotl, were
similar to, if not identical with, Huitzilopochtli.

The myth of the birth of Huitzilopochtli, which Sahagun relates,
throws light upon the character of the divinity. His mother, Coatlicue
("She of the Serpent-Woven Skirt"), dwelling on Coatepec ("Serpent
Mountain"), had a family consisting of a daughter, Coyolxauhqui
("She whose Face is Painted with Bells"), and of many sons, known
collectively as the Centzonuitznaua ("the Four Hundred Southerners").
One day, while doing penance upon the mountain, a ball of feathers fell
upon her, and having placed this in her bosom, it was observed, shortly
afterward, that she was pregnant. Her sons, the Centzonuitznaua, urged
by Coyolxauhqui, planned to slay their mother to wipe out the disgrace
which they conceived to have befallen them; but though Coatlicue was
frightened, the unborn child commanded her to have no fear. One of
the Four Hundred, turning traitor, communicated to the still unborn
Huitzilopochtli the approach of the hostile brothers, and at the moment
of their arrival the god was born in full panoply, carrying a blue
shield and dart, his limbs painted blue, his head adorned with plumes,
and his left leg decked with humming-bird feathers. Commanding his
servant to light a torch, in shape a serpent, with this Xiuhcoatl he
slew Coyolxauhqui, and destroying her body, he placed her head upon the
summit of Coatepec. Then taking up his arms, he pursued and slew the
Centzonuitznaua, a very few of whom succeeded in escaping to Uitztlampa
("the Place of Thorns"), the South.

[Illustration: PLATE VII.]

 1. Colossal stone head representing Coyolxauhqui, the Moon goddess,
 sister of Huitzilopochtli (see page 60). The head is not a fragment,
 but bears figures upon its base, and doubtless represents Coyolxauhqui
 as slain by the Fire Snake, Xiuhcoatl, hurled by Huitzilopochtli, and
 afterwards beheaded by him. The original is in the Museo Nacional,

 2. Statue of the god of feasting, Xochipilli, "Lord of Flowers" (see
 page 77). The crest is missing. The original is in the British Museum.

 3. The Fire Snake, Xiuhcoatl, as represented in stone. The Fire Snake
 is associated with Huitzilopochtli, Tezcatlipoca, and the fire god,
 Xiuhtecutli; and stands, perhaps, in a kind of opposition to the
 "Green Feather Snake," Quetzalcoatl, the latter signifying rain and
 vegetation, the former drought and want (cf. the hymn to Xipe Totec,
 page 77). The original is in the British Museum.

The myth seemingly identifies Huitzilopochtli as a god of the southern
sun. The hostile sister is the moon; the brothers are the stars driven
from the heavens by the rising sun, whose blue shield is surely the
blue buckler of the daylit sky; and probably the balls of featherdown
tipping his arrows are cloud-symbols. Sahagun describes a sacramental
rite in which an image of the god's body, made of grain, was eaten
by a group of youths who were for a year the servitors of the deity,
with duties so onerous that the young men sometimes fled the country,
preferring death at the hands of their enemies--a statement which leads
to the suspicion that here was some ordeal connected with chivalric
advancement. Certainly Huitzilopochtli was a god of warriors, and it is
probable that those devoted to him sought the warrior's death, which
meant ascent into the skies rather than that descent into murky Mictlan
which was the lot of the ordinary. In this connexion the name of the
divinity and the humming-bird feather insignia acquire significance;
for again it is Sahagun who relates that the souls of ascending
warriors, after four years, are "metamorphosed into various kinds of
birds of rich plumage and brilliant colour which go about drawing the
sweet from the flowers of the sky, as do the humming-birds upon earth."


Tezcatlipoca, or "Smoking Mirror," was so called because of his most
conspicuous emblem, a mirror from which a spiral of smoke is sometimes
represented as ascending, and in which the god was supposed to see
all that takes place on earth, in heaven, and in hell. Frequently the
mirror is shown as replacing one of his feet (loss or abnormality of
one foot is common in the Mexican pantheon), explained mythically
as severed when the doors of the underworld closed prematurely upon
it--for Tezcatlipoca in one of his many functions is deity of the
setting sun. In other aspects he is a moon-god, the moon of the
evening skies; again, a divinity of the night; or sometimes, with
blindfold eyes, a god of the underworld and of the dead; and in the
calendric charts he is represented as regent of the northern heavens,
although sometimes (perhaps identified with Huitzilopochtli) he is
ruler of the south. Probably he is at bottom the incarnation of the
changing heavens, symbolized by his mirror, now fiery, now murky,
reflecting the encompassed universe. He is the red Tezcatlipoca and the
black--the heaven of day and the heaven of night. He is the Warrior
of the North and the Warrior of the South, symbolizing the course of
the yearly sun, which, in the latitude of Mexico, culminates with the
alternating seasons to the north and to the south of the zenith. His
emblems include the Fire-Snake, symbol of heavenly fires; and again
he is Iztli-Tezcatlipoca, the Stone-Knife God of the underworld, of
blood-letting penance, and of human sacrifice. Sahagun says of him that
he raised wars, enmities, and discords wherever he went; nevertheless,
he was the ruler of the world, and from him proceeded all prosperities
and enrichments. Frequently he is represented as a jaguar, which to
the Mexicans was the dragon of the eclipse, a were-beast, and the
patron of magicians; cross-roads were marked by seats for Tezcatlipoca,
the god who traversed all ways; and he was called the Wizard and the
Transformer. In himself he was invisible and impalpable, penetrating
all things; or, if he appeared to men, it was as a flitting shadow;
yet he could assume multifarious monstrous forms to tempt and try men,
striking them with disease and death. As Yoalli Ehecatl, the Night
Wind, he wandered about in search of evil-doers, and sinners summoned
him in their confessions. On the other hand, he was "the Youth"
(Telpochtli), and as Omacatl ("Two-Reed") he was lord of banquets and

It is evident that Tezcatlipoca is the Great Transformer, identified
with the heavens and all its breaths, twofold in all things: day,
night; life, death; good, evil. Certainly he seems to have been held
in more awe than any other Mexican god and well merits the supremacy
(not political, but religious) which tradition assigns to him. The
most notable of the prayers which Sahagun transcribes are filled with
poetic veneration for this deity, and had we only these invocations
as record--not also tales of the fearful human sacrifices--we should
assuredly assign to their Aztec composers a pure and noble religious
sentiment. Perhaps theirs was so, for men's actions everywhere seem
worse than the creeds which impel them. Thus, in time of plague the
priests prayed:

 "O mighty Lord, under whose wings we seek protection, defence, and
 shelter! Thou art invisible, impalpable, as the air and as the night.
 I come in humility and in littleness, daring to appear before Thy
 Majesty. I come uttering my words like one choking and stammering;
 my speech is wandering, like as the way of one who strayeth from the
 path and stumbleth. I am possessed of the fear of exciting thy wrath
 against me rather than the hope of meriting thy grace. But, Lord, do
 with my body as it pleaseth thee, for thou hast indeed abandoned us
 according to thy counsels taken in heaven and in hell. Oh, sorrow!
 thine anger and thine indignation are descended upon us in all our

 "O Lord, very kindly! Thou knowest that we mortals are like unto
 children which, when punished, weep and sigh, repenting their faults.
 It is thus that these men, ruined by thy chastisements, reproach
 themselves grievously. They confess in thy presence; they atone for
 their evil deeds, imposing penance upon themselves. Lord, very good,
 very compassionate, very noble, very precious! let the chastisement
 which thou hast inflicted suffice, and let the ills which thou hast
 sent in castigation find their end!"

Throughout the prayers there are characterizations of the god, not a
few of them echoing a kind of world-weary melancholy that seems so
typical of Aztec supplications. When the new king is crowned, the
priest prays: "Perchance, deeming himself worthy of his high employ, he
will think to perpetuate himself long therein. Will not this be for him
a dream of sorrow? Will he find in this dignity received at thy hands
an occasion of pride and presumption, till it hap that he despise the
world, assuming to himself a sumptuous show? Thy Majesty knoweth well
whereto he must come within a few brief days--for we men are but thy
spectacle, thy theatre, serving for thy laughter and diversion." And
when the king is dead: "Thou hast given him to taste in this world a
few of thy sweets and suavities, making them to pass before his eyes
like the will-o'-the-wisp, which vanisheth in an instant; such is the
dignity of the post wherein thou didst place him, and in which he had
a few days in thy service, prostrate, in tears, breathing his devoted
prayers unto thy Majesty." Again: "Thou art invisible and impalpable,
and we believe that thy gaze doth penetrate the stones and into the
hearts of the trees, seeing clearly all that is concealed therein. So
dost thou see and comprehend what is in our hearts and in our thoughts;
before thee our souls are as a waft of smoke or as a vapour that riseth
from the earth."

Perhaps the most striking rite in the Aztec year was the springtime
sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca--near Easter, Sahagun says. In the previous
year a youth had been selected from a group of captives trained for
the purpose, physically without blemish and having all accomplishments
possible. He was trained to sing and to play the flute, to carry
flowers and to smoke with elegance; he was dressed in rich apparel and
was constantly accompanied by eight pages. The king himself provided
for his habiliment, since "he held him already to be a god." For nearly
a year this youth was entertained and feasted, honoured by the nobility
and venerated by the populace as the living embodiment of Tezcatlipoca.
Twenty days before the festival his livery was changed, and his long
hair was dressed like that of an Aztec chieftain. Four maidens,
delicately reared, were assigned to him as wives, called by the names
of four goddesses--Xochiquetzal ("Flowering Quetzal-Plume"), Xilonen
("Young Maize"), Atlatonan (a goddess of the coast), and Uixtociuatl
(goddess of the salt water). Five days previous to the sacrifice a
series of feasts and dances was begun, continued during each of the
following four days in separate quarters of the city. Then came the
final day; the youth was taken beyond the city; his goddess-wives
abandoned him; and he was brought to a little road-side temple for
the consummation of the rite. He ascended its four stages, breaking a
flute at each stage, till at the top he was seized, and the priest
opening his breast with a single blow, presented his heart to the sun.
Immediately another youth was chosen for the following year, for the
Tezcatlipoca must never die. It was said, remarks Sahagun, that this
youth's fate signified that those who possess wealth and march amid
pleasures during life will end their career in grief and poverty; while
Torquemada more grimly comments that "the soul of the victim went down
to the company of his false gods, in hell." For the student of to-day,
however, the rite is but another significant symbol of the god who dies
and is born again.

[Illustration: PLATE VIII.]

 Figure from the _Codex Borgia_ representing the red and the black
 Tezcatlipoca facing one another across a _tlachtli_ court upon
 which is shown a sacrificial victim painted with the red and white
 stripes of the Morning and Evening Star (Venus). The red Tezcatlipoca
 symbolizes day, the black Tezcatlipoca, night; the ball court is
 a symbol of the universe; the Morning and Evening Star might very
 naturally be looked upon as a sacrifice to the heaven god.

In myth Tezcatlipoca plays the leading _rôle_ as adversary of
Quetzalcoatl, the ruler and god of the Toltec city of Tollan. In
Sahagun's version of the story, three magicians, Huitzilopochtli,
Titlacauan ("We are his Slaves," an epithet of Tezcatlipoca), and
Tlacauepan, the younger brother of the others, undertook by magic
and wile to drive Quetzalcoatl from the country and to overthrow the
Toltec power. The three deities are obviously tribal gods of Nahuatlan
nations, and Tezcatlipoca, who plays the chief part in the legends, is
clearly the god of first importance at this early period, possibly the
principal deity of all the Nahua; he was also the foremost divinity
of Tezcuco, which, almost to the eve of the Conquest, was the leading
partner in the Aztec confederacy. As the tale goes, Quetzalcoatl was
ailing; Tezcatlipoca appeared in the guise of an old man, a physician,
and administered to the ailing god, not medicine, but a liquor which
intoxicated him. Texcatlipoca then assumed the form of a nude Indian
of a strange tribe, a seller of green peppers, and walked before the
palace of Uemac, temporal chief of the Toltec. Here he was seen by
the chief's daughter, who fell ill of love for him. Uemac ordered the
stranger brought before him and demanded of Toueyo (as the stranger
called himself) why he was not clothed as other men. "It is not the
custom of my country," Toueyo answered. "You have inspired my daughter
with caprice; you must cure her," said Uemac. "That is impossible;
kill me; I would die, for I do not deserve such words, seeking as I am
only to earn an honest living." "Nevertheless, you shall cure her,"
replied the chief, "it is necessary; have no fear." So he caused the
marriage of his daughter with the stranger, who thus became a chieftain
among the Toltec. Winning a victory for his new countrymen, he
announced a feast in Tollan; and when the multitudes were assembled, he
caused them to dance to his singing until they were as men intoxicated
or demented; they danced into a ravine and were changed into rocks,
they fell from a bridge and became stones in the waters below. Again,
in company with Tlacauepan, he appeared in the market-place of Tollan
and caused the infant Huitzilopochtli to dance upon his hand. The
people, crowding near, crushed several of their number dead; enraged,
they slew the performers and, on the advice of Tlacauepan, fastened
ropes to their bodies to drag them out; but all who touched the cords
fell dead. By this and other magical devices great numbers of the
Toltec were slain, and their dominion was brought to an end.


The most famous and picturesque of New World mythic figures is that
of Quetzalcoatl, although primarily his renown is due less to the
undoubted importance of his cult than to his association with the
coming and the beliefs of the white men. According to native tradition,
Quetzalcoatl had been the wise and good ruler of Tollan in the Golden
Age of Anahuac, lawgiver, teacher of the arts, and founder of a
purified religion. Driven from his kingdom by the machinations of evil
magicians, he departed over the eastern sea for Tlapallan, the land
of plenty, promising to return and reinstitute his kindly creed on
some future anniversary of the day of his departure. He was described
as an old man, bearded, and white, clad in a long robe; as with other
celestial gods, crosses were associated with his representations and
shrines. When Cortez landed, the Mexicans were expecting the return of
Quetzalcoatl; and, according to Sahagun, the very outlooks who first
beheld the ships of the Spaniards had been posted to watch for the
coming god. The white men (perhaps the image was aided by their shining
armour, their robed priests, their crosses) were inevitably assumed
to be the deity, and among the gifts sent to them by Montezuma were
the turquoise mask, feather mantle, and other apparel appropriate to
the god. It is certain that the belief materially aided the Spaniards
in the early stages of their advance, and it is small wonder that the
myth which was so helpful to their ambitions should have appealed to
their imaginations. The missionary priests, gaining some idea of native
traditions and finding among them ideas, emblems, and rites analogous
to those of Christendom (the deluge, the cross, baptism, sacraments,
confession), not unnaturally saw in the figure of the robed and bearded
reformer of religion a Christian teacher, and they were not slow to
identify him with St. Thomas, the Apostle. When an almost identical
story was found throughout Central America, the Andean region, and,
indeed, wide-spread in South America, the same explanation was adopted,
and the wanderings of the Saint became vast beyond the dreams of Marco
Polo or any other vaunted traveller, while memorials of his miracles
are still displayed in regions as remote from Mexico as the basin of
La Plata. Naturally, too, the interest of the subject has not waned
with time, for whether we view the Quetzalcoatl myth in relation to
its association with European ideas or with respect to its aboriginal
analogues in the two Americas, it presents a variety of interest
scarcely equalled by any other tale of the New World.

The name of the god is formed of _quetzal_, designating the long,
green tail-plumes of _Pharomacrus mocinno_, and _coatl_ ("serpent");
it means, therefore, "the Green-Feather Snake," and immediately puts
Quetzalcoatl into the group of celestial powers of which the plumed
serpent is a symbol, among the Hopi and Zuñi to the north as well as
among Andean peoples far to the south. Sahagun says that Quetzalcoatl
is a wind-god, who "sweeps the roads for the rain-gods, that they may
rain." Quetzal-plumes were a symbol of greening vegetation, and it
is altogether probable that the Plumed Serpent-God was originally a
deity of rain-clouds, the sky-serpent embodiment of the rainbow or the
lightning. The turquoise snake-mask or bird-mask, characteristic of
the god, is surely an emblem of the skies, and like other sky-gods he
carries a serpent-shaped spear-thrower. The beard (which other Mexican
deities sometimes wear) is perhaps a symbol of descending rain, perhaps
(as on some Navaho figures) of pollen, or fertilization. Curiously
enough, Quetzalcoatl is not commonly shown as the white god which the
tradition would lead us to expect, but typically with a dark-hued body;
it may be that the dark hue and the robe of legend are both emblems of

The tradition of his whiteness may come from his stellar associations,
for though he is sometimes shown with emblems of moon or sun, he is
more particularly identified with the morning star. According to
the _Annals of Quauhtitlan_, Quetzalcoatl, when driven from Tollan,
immolated himself on the shores of the eastern sea, and from his ashes
rose birds with shining feathers (symbols of warrior souls mounting
to the sun), while his heart became the Morning Star, wandering
for eight days in the underworld before it ascended in splendour.
In numerous legends Quetzalcoatl is associated with Tezcatlipoca,
commonly as an antagonist; and if we may believe one tale, recounted
by Mendieta, Tezcatlipoca, defeating Quetzalcoatl in ball-play (a game
directly symbolic of the movements of the heavenly orbs), cast him
out of the land into the east, where he encountered the sun and was
burned. This story (clearly a variant of the tale of the banishment
of Quetzalcoatl told in the _Annals of Quauhtitlan_ and by Sahagun)
is interpreted by Seler as a myth of the morning moon, driven back
by night (the dark Tezcatlipoca) to be consumed by the rising sun. A
reverse story represents Tezcatlipoca, the sun, as stricken down by
the club of Quetzalcoatl, transformed into a jaguar, the man-devouring
demon of night, while Quetzalcoatl becomes sun in his place. Normally
Quetzalcoatl is a god of the eastern heavens, and sometimes he is
pictured as the caryatid or upbearer of the sky of that quarter.

Perhaps it is in this character that he was conceived as a lord of
life, a meaning naturally intensified by his association with the
rejuvenating rains and with the wind, which is the breath of life.
A woman who had become pregnant was praised by the relatives of her
husband for her faithfulness in religious devotions. "It is for
these," they said, "that our lord Quetzalcoatl, author and creator,
has vouchsafed this grace--even as it was decreed in the sky by that
one who is man and woman under the names Ometecutli and Omeciuatl."
Moreover the new-born was addressed: "Little son and lord, person of
high value, of great price and esteem! O precious stone, emerald,
topaz, rare plume, fruit of lofty generation! be welcome among us! Thou
hast been formed in the highest places, above the ninth heaven, where
the two supreme gods dwell. The Divine Majesty hath cast thee in his
mould, as one casts a golden bead; thou hast been pierced, like a rich
stone artistically wrought, by thy father and mother, the great god
and the great goddess, assisted by their son, Quetzalcoatl." The deity
also figures as a world creator, as in the Sahagun manuscript in the
Academia de la Historia, from which Seler translates:

    "And thus said our fathers, our grandfathers,
    They said that he made, created, and formed us
    Whose creatures we are, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl;
    And he made the heavens, the sun, the earth."

It is in another character, however, that Quetzalcoatl is romantically
of most interest. His cult was less sanguinary than that of most
Aztec divinities, though assuredly not antagonistic to human
sacrifice, as some traditions say. He was a penance-inflicting god,
perhaps particularly a deity of priests and their lore; yet he was
also associated with education and the rearing of the young. He is
named as the patron of the arts, the teacher of metallurgy and of
letters, and in tradition he is the god of the cultured people of
yore from whom the Aztec derived their civilization. A part of the
story, as narrated by Sahagun, has been told: how Quetzalcoatl was the
aged and wise priest-king of Tollan, driven thence by the magic and
guile of Tezcatlipoca and his companions. The tale goes on to tell
how Quetzalcoatl, chagrined and ailing, resolved to depart from his
kingdom for his ancient home, Tlapallan. He burned his houses built
of shell and silver, buried his treasure, changed the cacao-trees
into mesquite, and set forth, preceded by servants in the form of
birds of rich plumage. Coming to Quauhtitlan, he demanded a mirror
and gazing into it, he said, "I am old," wherefore he named the city
"the old Quauhtitlan." Seating himself at another place and gazing
back upon Tollan, as he wept, his tears pierced the rock, which also
bore thenceforth the marks where his hands had rested. He encountered
certain magicians, who demanded of him, before they would let him pass,
the arts of refining silver, of working in wood, stone, and feathers,
and of painting; and as he crossed the sierra, all his companions, who
were dwarfs and hump-backs, died of the cold. Many other localities
received memorials of his passage: at one place he played a game of
ball, at another shot arrows into a tree so that they formed a cross,
at another caused underworld houses to be built--all clearly cosmic
symbols--and finally coming to the sea, he departed for Tlapallan
on his serpent-raft. In Ixtlilxochitl's history, Quetzalcoatl first
appeared in the third period of the world, taught the arts, instituted
the worship of the cross--"tree of nourishment and of life"--and ended
the period with his departure. Tradition names the last king of the
Toltec "Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl," and it may be assumed as not
improbable that stories of the disasters attending the fall of Tollan,
under a king bearing the name of the ancient divinity, represent an
historical element, confused with nature elements, in the myths of
Quetzalcoatl,--such an assumption accounting for the heroic glamour
surrounding the god, who, like King Arthur, is half kingly mortal, half
divinity. In Cholula, whither many of the Toltec were said to have fled
with the fall of their empire, was the loftiest pyramid in Mexico,
dedicated to Quetzalcoatl and even in the eyes of Aztec conquerors a
seat of venerable sanctities--the emblem of the culture whose conquest
had conquered them.

[Illustration: PLATE IX.]

 Figures from the _Codex Borgia_, representing cosmic tutelaries.

 The upper figure represents the tree of the Middle Place rising from
 the body of the Earth Goddess, recumbent upon the spines of the
 crocodile from which Earth was made. The tree is encircled by the
 world sea and is surmounted by the Quetzal, whose plumage typifies
 vegetation; two ears of maize spring up at its roots. The attendant
 deities are Quetzalcoatl and Macuilxochitl, both symbols of fertility.
 In the figure they are apparently nourishing themselves on the
 up-flowing blood, or vital saps, of the body of Earth. The figure
 should be compared with the Palenque Cross and Foliate Cross tablets
 (Plate XVIII _a, b_). See, also, pages 57, 68, 77.

 The lower figure represents one of the four caryatid-like supporters
 of the heavens, Huitzilopochtli, as the Atlas of the southern quarter.
 See page 57.


The rain-god, Tlaloc, was less important in myth than in cult. He was
a deity of great antiquity, and a mountain, east of Tezcuco, bearing
his name, was said to have had from remote times a statue of the god,
carved in white lava. His especial abode, Tlalocan, supposed to be upon
the crests of hills, was rich in all foods and was the home of the
maize-goddesses; and there, with his dwarf (or child) servants, Tlaloc
possesses four jars from which he pours water down upon the earth. One
water is good and causes maize and other fruits to flourish; a second
brings cobwebs and blight; a third congeals into frost; a fourth is
followed by dearth of fruit. These are the waters of the four quarters,
and only that of the east is good. When the dwarfs smash their jars,
there is thunder; and pieces cast below are thunderbolts. The number of
the Tlaloque was regarded as great, so that, indeed, every mountain had
its Tlaloc.

Like Quetzalcoatl, the god was shown with a serpent-mask, except that
Tlaloc's was formed, not of one, but of two serpents; and from the
conventionalization of the serpentine coils of this mask came the
customary representation of the god's eyes as surrounded by wide,
blue circles, and of his lip as formed by a convoluted band from which
are fanglike dependencies. The double-headed serpent--a symbol no less
wide-spread than the plumed serpent--is frequently his attribute.
His association with mountains brought him also into connexion with
volcanoes and fire, and it was he who was said to have presided over
the Rain-Sun, one of the cosmogonic epochs, during which there rained,
not water, but fire and red-hot stones.

The worship of Tlaloc was among the most ghastly in Mexico. Perhaps
for the purpose of keeping up the number of his rain-dwarfs, children
were constantly sacrificed to him. If we may believe Sahagun, at the
feast of the Tlaloque "they sought out a great number of babes at the
breast, which they purchased of their mothers. They chose by preference
those who had two crowns in their hair and who had been born under
a good sign. They pretended that these would form a more agreeable
sacrifice to the gods, to the end that they might obtain rain at the
opportune time.... They killed a great number of babes each year; and
after they had put them to death, they cooked and ate them.... If the
children wept and shed tears abundantly, those who beheld it rejoiced
and said that this was a sign of rain very near." No wonder the
brave friar turns from his narrative to cry out against such horror.
Yet, he says, "the cause of this cruel blindness, of which the poor
children were victims, should not be directly imputed to the natural
inspirations of their parents, who, indeed, shed abundant tears and
delivered themselves to the practice with dolour of soul; one should
rather see therein the hateful and barbarous hand of Satan, our eternal
enemy, employing all his malign ruses to urge on to this fatal act."
Unfortunately, it is to be suspected that the rite was very far-spread,
for in the myths of many of the wild Mexican tribes and even in those
of the Pueblo tribes north of Mexico the story of the sacrifice of
children to the water-gods constantly recurs--though, perhaps, this
was but the far-cast rumour of the terrible superstition of the south.

The goddess of flowing waters, of springs and rivulets,
Chalchiuhtlicue, was regarded as sister of the Tlaloque and was
frequently honoured in rites in connexion with them. Like Tlaloc,
she played no minor _rôle_ in the calendric division of powers, and
she also ruled over one of the "Suns" of the cosmogonic period.
Serpents and maize were associated with her, and like the similar
deities she had both her beneficent and malevolent moods, being not
merely a cleanser, but also a cause of shipwreck and watery deaths.
At the bathing of the new-born she was addressed: "Merciful Lady
Chalchiuhtlicue, thy servant here present is come into this world,
sent by our father and mother, Ometecutli and Omeciuatl, who reside
at the ninth heaven. We know not what gifts he bringeth; we know not
what hath been assigned to him from before the beginning of the world,
nor with what lot he cometh enveloped. We know not if this lot be good
or bad, or to what end he will be followed by ill fortune. We know
not what faults or defects he may inherit from his father and mother.
Behold him between thy hands! Wash him and deliver him from impurities
as thou knowest should be, for he is confided to thy power. Cleanse
him of the contaminations he hath received from his parents; let the
water take away the soil and the stain, and let him be freed from all
taint. May it please thee, O goddess, that his heart and his life be
purified, that he may dwell in this world in peace and wisdom. May this
water take away all ills, for which this babe is put into thy hands,
thou who art mother and sister of the gods, and who alone art worthy to
possess it and to give it, to wash from him the evils which he beareth
from before the beginning of the world. Deign to do this that we ask,
now that the child is in thy presence." It is not difficult to see how
this rite should have suggested to the first missionaries their own
Christian sacrament of baptism.


Universally Earth is the mythic Mother of Gods and Men, and Giver of
Life; nor does the Mexican pantheon offer an exception to the rule,
although its embodiments of the Earth Mother possess associations which
give a character of their own. Like similar goddesses, the Mexican
Earth Mothers are prophetic and divinatory, and in various forms they
appear in the calendric omen-books. They are goddesses of medicine,
too, probably owing this function primarily to their association with
the sweat-bath, which, in its primitive form of earth-lodge and heated
stones, is the fundamental instrument of American Indian therapeutics.
It is here, possibly, that these goddesses get their connexion with
the fire-gods, of whom they are not infrequently consorts, and with
whom they share the butterfly insignia--a symbol of fertility, for the
fire-god, at earth's centre, was believed to generate the warmth of
life. Serpents also are signs of the earth goddesses, not the plumed
serpents of the skies, but underworld powers, likewise associated
with generation in Aztec symbolism. A third animal connected with
generation, and hence with these deities, is the deer--the white, dead
Deer of the East denoted plenty; the stricken, brown Deer of the North
was a symbol of drought, and related to the fire-gods. The eagle,
also, is sometimes found associated with the goddesses by a process of
indirection, for the eagle is primarily the heavenly warrior, Tonatiuh,
the Sun. Frequently, however, the earth goddess is a war-goddess;
Coatlicue, mother of the war-god Huitzilopochtli, is an earth deity,
wearing the serpent skirt; and it was a wide-spread belief among the
Mexicans that the Earth was the first victim offered on the sacrificial
stone to the Sun--the first, therefore, to die a warrior's death. When
a victim was dedicated for sacrifice, therefore, his captor adorned
himself in eagle's down in honour, at once, of the Sun and of the
goddess who had been the primal offering.

Among the earth goddesses the most famous was Ciuacoatl ("Snake
Woman"), whose voice, roaring through the night, betokened war. She
was also called Tonantzin ("Our Mother") and, Sahagun says, "these
two circumstances give her a resemblance to our mother Eve who
was duped by the Serpent." Other names for the same divinity were
Ilamatecutli ("the Old Goddess"), sometimes represented as the Earth
Toad, Tlatecutli, swallowing a stone knife; Itzpapalotl ("Obsidian
Butterfly"), occasionally shown as a deer; Temazcalteci ("Grandmother
of the Sweat-Bath"); and Teteoinnan, the Mother of the Gods, who, like
several other of the earth goddesses, was also a lunar deity. In her
honour a harvest-home was celebrated in which her Huastec priests (for
she probably hailed from the eastern coast) bore phallic emblems.

Closely connected with the earth goddesses are their children, the
vegetation-deities. Of these the maize-spirits are the most important,
maize being the great cereal of the highland region, and, indeed, so
much the "corn" of primitive America that the latter word has come to
mean maize in the English-speaking parts of the New World. Cinteotl
was the maize-god, and Chicomecoatl ("Seven Snakes"), also known as
Xilonen, was his female counterpart, their symbol being the young
maize-ear. Because of the use of maize as the staff of life, a crown
filled with this grain was the symbol of Tonacatecutli ("Lord of our
Flesh"), creator-god and food-giver. Pedro de Rios says[38] of him that
he was "the first Lord that the world was said to have had, and who,
as it pleased him, blew and divided the waters from the heaven and
from the earth, which before him were all intermingled; and he it is
who disposed them as they now are, and so they called him 'Lord of our
Bodies' and 'Lord of the Overflow'; and he gave them all things, and
therefore he alone was pictured with the royal crown. He was further
called 'Seven Flowers' [Chicomexochitl], because they said that he
divided the principalities of the world. He had no temple of any kind,
nor were offerings brought to him, because they say he desired them
not, as it were to a greater Majesty." This god was also identified
with the Milky Way.

Of all Mexican vegetation-deities, however, at once the most important
and the most horrible was Xipe Totec ("Our Lord the Flayed"),
represented as clad in a human skin, stripped from the body of a
sacrificed captive. He was the god of the renewal of vegetation--the
fresh skin which Earth receives with the recurrent green--and his great
festival, the Feast of the Man-Flaying, was held in the spring when the
fresh verdure was appearing. At this time, men, women, and children
captives were sacrificed, their bodies eaten, and the skins flayed
from them to be worn by personators of the god. That there was a kind
of sacrament in this rite is evident from Sahagun's statement that
the captor did not partake of the flesh of his own captive, regarding
it as part of his own body. Again, youths clad in skins flayed from
sacrificed warriors were called by the god's own name, and they waged
mimic warfare with bands pitted against them; if a captive was made,
a mock sacrifice was enacted. The famous _sacrificio gladiatorio_ was
also celebrated in the god's honour, the victim, with weak weapons,
being pitted against strong warriors until he succumbed. The magic
properties of the skins torn from victims' bodies is shown by the fact
that persons suffering from diseases of the skin and eye wore these
trophies for their healing, the period being twenty days. Xipe Totec
was clad in a green garment, but yellow was his predominant colour;
his ornaments were golden, and he was the patron of gold-workers--a
symbolism probably related to the ripening grain, for with all that is
horrible about him Xipe Totec is at bottom a simple agricultural deity.
At his festival were stately _areitos_, and songs were chanted, one of
which is preserved:[39]

    "Thou night-time drinker, why dost thou delay?
    Put on thy disguise--thy golden garment, put it on!

    "My Lord, let thine emerald waters come descending!
    Now is the old tree changed to green plumage--
    The Fire-Snake is transformed into the Quetzal!

    "It may be that I am to die, I, the young maize-plant;
    Like an emerald is my heart; gold would I see it be;
    I shall be happy when first it is ripe--the war-chief born!

    "My Lord, when there is abundance in the maize-fields,
    I shall look to thy mountains, verily thy worshipper;
    I shall be happy when first it is ripe--the war-chief born!"

[Illustration: PLATE X.]

 Stone mask of Xipe Totec. The face is represented as covered by the
 skin of a sacrificed victim, flaying being a rite with which this god
 was honored. The reverse of the mask bears an image of the god in
 relief. The original is in the British Museum.

Less unattractive is the group of deities of flowers and dancing,
games and feasting--Xochipilli ("Flower Lord"), Macuilxochitl ("Five
Blossoms"), and Ixtlilton ("Little Black-Face"). Xochipilli is in
part a divinity of the young maize, probably as pollinating, and
is sometimes viewed as a son of Cinteotl. As is natural, he and
his brothers are occasionally associated with the pulque-gods, the
Centzontotochtin, of whom there were a great number--among them
Patecatl, lord and discoverer of the _ocpatli_ (the peyote) from which
liquor is made, Texcatzoncatl ("Straw Mirror"), Colhuatzincatl ("the
Winged"), and Ometochtli ("Two Rabbit")--deities who were supposed to
possess their worshippers and to be the real agents of the drunken
man's mischief. The more especial associate of the flower-gods,
however, is Xochiquetzal ("Flower Feather"), who is said to have been
originally the spouse of Tlaloc, but to have been carried away by
Tezcatlipoca and to have been established by him as the goddess of
love. Her throne is described as being above the ninth heaven, and
there is reason to think that in this _rôle_ she is identical with
Tonacaciuatl, the consort of the creator-god, Tonacatecutli.[40] Her
home was in Xochitlicacan ("Place of Flowers") in Itzeecayan ("Place of
Cool Winds"), or in Tamoanchan, the Paradise of the West--the region
whence came the Ciuateteo, the ghostly women who at certain seasons
swooped down in eagles' form, striking children with epilepsy and
inspiring men with lust. Xochiquetzal was, indeed, the patroness of
the unmarried women who lived with the young bachelor warriors and
marched to war with them, and who sometimes, at the goddess's festival,
immolated themselves upon her altars. In a more pleasing aspect she
was the deity of weaving and spinning and of making all beautiful and
artistic fabrics, and she is portrayed in bright and many-coloured
raiment, not forgetting the butterfly at her lips, emblem of life and
of the seeker after sweets. In a hymn[41] she is named along with her
lover, Piltzintecutli ("Lord of Princes"), who is presumed to be the
same as Xochipilli:

    "Out of the land of water and mist, I come, Xochiquetzal--
    Out of the land where the Sun enters his house, out of Tamoanchan.

    "Weepeth the pious Piltzintecutli;
    He seeketh Xochiquetzal.
    Dark it is whither I must go."

Seler suggests that this lamentation is perchance the expression of a
Proserpina myth--of the carrying off into the underworld of the bright
goddess of flowers and of the quest for her by her disconsolate lover.

Of far darker hue is the goddess whom Sahagun[42] calls "another
Venus," Tlazolteotl ("Goddess of Uncleanliness"), the deity in
particular of lust and sexual sin. To her priests confession was made
of carnal sins and drunkenness, and by them penance was inflicted,
including as a feature piercing the tongue with a maguey thorn and the
insertion therein of straws and osier twigs. Sahagun remarks that the
Indians awaited old age before confessing carnal sins, "a thing easy
to comprehend, since, although they had committed their faults during
youth, they would not confess before an advanced age in order not to
find themselves obliged to cease from disorderly conduct before age
came upon them; this, because of their belief that one who fell into
a sin already once confessed could receive no absolution. From all of
which," he continues, "it is natural to reach the conclusion that the
Indians of New Spain believed themselves obliged to confess once in
their lifetime, and that _in lumine naturali_, with no knowledge of the
things of the faith." One of the titles of Tlazolteotl is "Heart of the
Earth," and since she is represented in the same attire as the great
mother of the gods, it is presumed that she is a special form of the
Earth Mother, Teteoinnan, with emphasis upon her character as deity of
fertility. Sometimes she is spoken of as Ixcuiname ("the Four-faced")
and is regarded plurally as a group of four sisters who, according
to Sahagun, represent four ages of woman's maturity. In the _Annals
of Quauhtitlan_ it is related that the Ixcuiname came to Tollan from
Huasteca. "And in the place called Where-the-Huaxtec-weep they summoned
their captives, whom they had taken in Huaxteca, and explained to them
what the business was, telling them that, 'We go now to Tollan, we
want to couple the Earth with you, we want to hold a feast with you:
for till now no battle offerings have been made with men. We want to
make a beginning of it, and shoot you to death with arrows.'" In Aztec
paintings of the arrow sacrifice the victim is shown suspended from a
ladder-like scaffold, whence the blood from the arrow wounds drips to
earth. This blood was the emblem of the fertilizing seed, dropped into
the womb of the goddess; and it is at least worthy of remark that the
form of the Skidi Pawnee fertility sacrifice, in honour of the Morning
Star, was identical, scaffold and all, with that in vogue in Mexico.


Earth, the Great Mother, is a giver of life, but Earth, the cavernous,
is Lord of Death. The Mexicans are second to no people in the grimness
of their representations of this power. As Tepeyollotl ("Heart of the
Mountain"), earth's cavern, it is the spotted jaguar monster which
leaps up out of the west to seize the declining sun, and its roars may
be heard in the echoing hills. As Tlaltecutli ("Lord of the Earth") it
is the hideous Toad with Gaping Jaws, which must be nourished with the
blood of sacrificed men, precisely as the Sun above must be nurtured;
for the Mexican idea of warfare seems to have been that it must be
waged to keep perpetual the ascending vapours and the descending flow
from the hearts of sacrificed victims, that Tonatiuh and Tlaltecutli
might gain sustenance in heaven and in earth.[43]

But the grimmest figure is that of Hades himself, Mictlantecutli, the
skeleton God of the Dead--also called, says Sahagun, Tzontemoc ("He of
the Falling Hair"). Sahagun describes the journey to the abode of this
divinity. When a mortal--man, woman, child, lord, or thrall--died of
disease, his soul descended to Mictlan, and beside the corpse the last
words were spoken:[44] "Our son, thou art finished with the sufferings
and fatigues of this life. It hath pleased Our Lord to take thee hence,
for thou hast not eternal life in this world: our existence is as a
ray of the sun. He hath given thee the grace of knowing us and of
associating in our common life. Now the god Mictlantecutli, otherwise
called Acolnauacatl or Tzontemoc, as also the goddess Mictecaciuatl,
hath made thee to share his abode. We shall all follow thee, for it is
our destiny, and the abode is broad enough to receive the whole world.
Thou wilt be heard of no longer among us. Behold, thou art gone to the
domain of darkness, where there is neither light nor window. Never
shalt thou come hither again, nor needst thou concern thyself for thy
return, for thine absence is eternal. Thou dost leave thy children poor
and orphaned, not knowing what will be their end nor how they will
support the fatigues of this life. As for us, we shall not delay to go
to join thee there where thou wilt be." Similar words were spoken to
the relatives: "Hath this death come because some being wisheth us ill
or mocketh us? Nay, it is because Our Lord hath willed that such be his
end." Then the body was wrapped, mummy-form, and a few drops of
water were poured upon the head: "Lo, the water of which thou hast made
use in this life"; and a vessel of water was presented: "This for thy
journey." Next, certain papers were laid before the body in due order:
"Lo, with this thou shalt pass the two clashing mountains." "With this
thou shalt pass the road where the serpent awaiteth thee." "With this
thou shalt pass the place of the green lizard." "Lo, wherewithal thou
shalt cross the eight deserts." "And the eight hills." "And behold with
what thou canst traverse the place of the winds that bear obsidian
knives." Thus the perils of the underworld were to be passed and the
soul, arrived before Mictlantecutli, was, after four years, to fare
on until he should arrive at Chiconauapan, the "Nine-Fold Stream" of
the underworld. Across this he would be borne by the red dog which,
sacrificed at his grave, had been his faithful companion; and thence
master and hound would enter into the eternal house of the dead,
Chiconamictlan, the "Ninth Hell."

[Illustration: PLATE XI.]

 Green stone image of Mictlantecutli, the skeleton god of death and of
 the underworld. The original is in the Stuttgart Museum.

Yet not all who died pursued this journey. To the terrestrial
paradise, Tlalocan, the abode of Tlaloc, rich with every kind of
fruit and abundant with joys, departed those slain by lightning, the
drowned, victims of skin-diseases, and persons who died of dropsical
affections--a heterogeneous lot whose company is to be ascribed to
the various attributes of the rain-gods. With them should be included
victims sacrificed to these deities, who perhaps themselves became
rain-makers and servants of the Lords of the Rain. More fortunate still
were they who ascended to the mansions of the Sun--those who fell in
war, those who perished on the sacrificial altar or were sacrificed
by burning, and women who died in child-birth. Those warriors, it was
said, whose shields had been pierced could behold the Sun through the
holes; to the others Tonatiuh was invisible; but all entered into the
sky gardens, whose trees were other than those of this world; and
there, after four years, they were transformed into birds of bright
plumage, drawing the honey from the celestial blossoms.

It was in the eastern heavens that the souls of warriors found their
paradise. Here they met the Sun as he rose in the morning, striking
their bucklers with joyous cries and accompanying him on his journey
to the meridian, where they were encountered by the War Women of the
western heavens, the Ciuateteo, or Ciuapipiltin, souls of women who
had gone to war or had died in childbed. These escorted the Sun down
the western sky, bearing him on a gorgeous palanquin, into Tamoanchan
("the House of the Descent").[45] At the portals of the underworld they
were met by the Lords of Hell, who conducted the Sun into their abode;
for when it ceases to be day here, the day begins in the realm below.
Possibly it was from this association with the underworld powers that
the Ciuateteo acquired their sinister traits, for they were sometimes
identified with the descending stars, the Tzitzimime, which follow the
Sun's descent and become embodied as Demons of the Dark.

But the Sun has yet another comrade on his journey. As the soul of
the dead Aztec is accompanied and guided into the nether world by his
faithful dog, so the Sun has for companion the dog Xolotl. Xolotl is a
god who presides over the game of _tlachtli_, the Mexican ball-game,
analogous to tennis, in which a rubber ball was bounced back and
forth in a court, not hurled or struck by hand, but by shoulder or
thigh. As with other Indian ball-games, this was regarded as symbolic
of the sun's course, and Xolotl was said to play the game on a magic
court, which could be nothing else than the heavens. He was, moreover,
deity of twins and other monstrous forms (for twins were regarded as
monstrous), and it was humpbacks and dwarfs that were sacrificed to the
Sun on the occasion of an eclipse, when it was deemed that the solar
divinity had need of them. A myth narrated by Sahagun possibly explains
or reflects this belief. In the beginning of things there was no sun
and no moon; but two of the gods immolated themselves, and from their
ashes rose the orbs of night and day, although neither sun nor moon
as yet had motion. Then all the gods resolved to sacrifice themselves
in order to give life and motion to the heavenly bodies. Xolotl alone
refused: "Gods, I will not die," he said; and when the priest of the
sacrifice came, he fled, transforming himself into a twin-stalked maize
plant, such as is called _xolotl_; discovered, he escaped again and
assumed the form of a maguey called _mexolotl_; and evading capture a
third time, he entered the water and became a larva, _axolotl_--only
to be found and offered up. A second version of the legend, recorded
by Mendieta, makes Xolotl the sacrificial celebrant who gave death to
the other gods and then to himself that the sun might have life. In
still another tale, recorded also by Mendieta, it is the dog Xolotl
who is sent to the Underworld for bones of the forefathers, that the
first human pair might be created; but being pursued by Mictlantecutli,
Xolotl stumbled, and the bone that he carried was dropped and broken
into fragments, from which the various kinds of people sprang. Tales
such as these are strongly reminiscent of the coyote stories of the
northern continent, and it is possible that Xolotl himself is only a
special form of Coyote, the trickster and transformer, especially as
Ueuecoyotl ("Old Coyote"), borrowed from the more primitive Otomi,
was a recognized member of the Aztec pantheon, as a god of feasts and
dances, and perhaps of trickery as well.

Of all the recorded beliefs connected with the dead the most affecting
is the brief account of the limbo of child-souls reported by the
clerical expositor of Codex Vaticanus A. There was, he says,[46] "a
third place for souls which passed from this life, to which went only
the souls of children who died before attaining the use of reason. They
feigned the existence of a tree from which milk distilled, where all
children who died at such an age were carried; since the Devil, who
is so inimical to the honour of God, even in this instance wished to
show his rivalry: for in the same way as our holy doctors teach the
existence of limbo for children who die without baptism, or without the
circumcision of the old law, or without the sacrifice of the natural
man, so he has caused these poor people to believe that there was such
a place for their children; and he has superadded another error--the
persuading them that these children have to return thence to repeople
the world after the third destruction which they suppose that it
must undergo, for they believe that the world has already been twice
destroyed." The belief in an infant paradise, with its Tree of Life
whence the souls of babes draw nourishment, biding the day of their
rebirth, is a pleasant relief from the nightmarelike quality of most
Aztec notions--not less familiarly human than are the pious reflections
of the good friar who records it.





Mexican cosmogonies conform to a wide-spread American type. There
is first an ancient creator, little important in cult, who is the
remote giver and sustainer of the life of the universe; and next
comes a generation of gods, magicians and transformers rather than
true creators, who form and transform the beings of times primeval
and eventually bring the world to its present condition. The earlier
world-epochs, or "Suns," as the Mexicans called them, are commonly
four in number, and each is terminated by the catastrophic destruction
of its Sun and of its peoples, fire and flood overwhelming creation
in successive cataclysms. Not all of this, in single completeness,
is preserved in any one account, but from the various fragments and
abridgements that are extant the whole may be reasonably reconstructed.

One of the simpler tales (simple at least in its transmitted form) is
of the Tarascan deity, Tucupacha. "They hold him to be creator of all
things," says Herrera,[48] "that he gives life and death, good and
evil fortune, and they call upon him in their tribulations, gazing
toward the sky where they believe him to be." This deity first created
heaven and earth and hell; then he formed a man and a woman of clay,
but they were destroyed in bathing; again he made a human pair, using
cinders and metals, and from these the world was peopled. But the god
sent a flood, from which he preserved a certain priest, Texpi, and his
wife, with seeds and with animals, floating in an ark-like log. Texpi
discovered land by sending out birds, after the fashion of Noah, and it
is quite possible that the legend as recounted is not altogether native.

More primitive in type and more interesting in form is the Mixtec
cosmogony narrated by Fray Gregorio García, which begins thus:[49]
"In the year and in the day of obscurity and darkness, when there
were as yet no days nor years, the world was a chaos sunk in
darkness, while the earth was covered with water, on which scum
and slime floated." This exordium, with its effort to describe the
void by negation and the beginning of time by the absence of its
denominations, is strikingly reminiscent of the creation-narrative
in Genesis ii. and of the similar Babylonian cosmogony; the negative
mode, employed in all three, is essentially true to that stage when
human thought is first struggling to grapple with abstractions,
seeking to define them rather by a process of denudation than by one
of limitation of the field of thought. The Mixtec tale proceeds with
a group of incidents. (1) The Deer-God and the Deer-Goddess (the
deer is an emblem of fecundity)--known also as the Puma-Snake and
the Jaguar-Snake, in which character they doubtless represent the
tawny heaven of the day-sky and the starry vault of night--magically
raised a cliff above the abyss of waters, on the summit of which they
placed an axe, edge upward, upon which the heavens rested. (2) Here,
at the Place-where-the-Heavens-stood, they lived many centuries,
and here they reared their two boys, Wind-of-the-Nine-Serpents and
Wind-of-the-Nine-Caves, who possessed the power of transforming
themselves into eagles and serpents, and even of passing through solid
bodies. The symbolism of these two boys as typifying the upper and
the nether world is obvious; they can only be one more example of
the demiurgic twins common in American cosmogony. (3) The brothers
inaugurated sacrifice and penance, the cultivation of flowers and
fruits; and with vows and prayers they besought their ancestral gods
to let the light appear, to cause the water to be separated from the
earth, and to permit the dry land to be freed from its covering. (4)
The earth was peopled, but a flood destroyed this First People, and the
world was restored by the "Creator of all Things."

It is probable that this Mixtec Creator-of-All-Things was the same
deity as he who was known to their Zapotec kindred as Coqui-Xèe or
Coqui-Cilla ("Lord of the Beginning"), of whom it was said that "he
was the creator of all things and was himself uncreated." Seler is of
opinion that Coqui-Xèe is a spirit of "the beginning" in the sense of
dawn and the east and the rising sun, and that since he is also known
as Piye-Tào, or "the Great Wind," he is none other than the Zapotec
Quetzalcoatl, who also is an increate creator. Coqui-Xèe, however, is
"merely the principle, the essence of the creative deity or of deity in
general without reference to the act of creating the world and human
beings"; for that act is rather to be ascribed to the primeval pair
(equivalent to the Deer-God and Deer-Goddess of the Mixtec), Cozaana
("Creator, the Maker of all Beasts") and Huichaana ("Creator, the Maker
of Men and Fishes").

The ideas of the Nahuatlan tribes were similar. Of the Chichimec
Sahagun[50] says that "they had only a single god, Mixcoatl, whose
image they possessed; but they believed in another invisible god, not
represented by any image, called Yoalli Ehecatl, that is to say, God
invisible, impalpable, beneficent, protector, omnipotent, by whose
strength alone the whole world lives, and who, by his sole knowledge,
rules voluntarily all things." Mixcoatl ("Cloud-Snake"), the tribal god
of the Chichimec and Otomi, is certainly an analogue of Quetzalcoatl
or of Huitzilopochtli, like them figuring as demiurge; and Yoalli
Ehecatl ("Wind and Night," or "Night-Wind") is an epithet applied to
Tezcatlipoca, who also is addressed as "Creator of Heaven and Earth."

All of these gods are of the sky and atmosphere, and all of them appear
as creative powers, though mainly in the demiurgic _rôle_. Back of
and above them is the ancient Twofold One, the Male-Female or Male
and Female principle of generation, which not only first created the
world, but maintains it fecund. This being, sometimes called Tloque
Nauaque, or "Lord of the By," i.e. the Omnipresent, is represented as
a divine pair, known under several names. Sahagun commonly speaks of
them as Ometecutli and Omeciuatl ("Twi-Lord," "Twi-Lady"), and in his
account of the Toltec he states that they reign over the twelve heavens
and the earth; the existence of all things depends upon them, and from
them proceeds the "influence and warmth whereby infants are engendered
in the wombs of their mothers." Tonacatecutli and Tonacaciutl ("Lord
of Our Flesh," "Lady of Our Flesh") is another pair of names, used
with reference to the creation of the human body out of maize and to
its support thereby.[51] A third pair of terms, appearing in Mendieta
and in the _Annals of Quauhtitlan_, is Citlallatonac and Citlalicue
("Lord" and "Lady of the Starry Zones"). In the _Annals_ Quetzalcoatl,
as high-priest of the Toltec, is said to have dedicated a cult to
"Citlalicue Citlallatonac, Tonacaciuatl Tonacatecutli ... who is
clothed in charcoal, clothed in blood, who giveth food to the earth;
and he cried aloft, to the Omeyocan, to the heaven lying above the nine
that are bound together." Nevertheless, these deities--or rather deity,
for Tloque Nauaque seems to be, like the Zuñi Awonawilona, bisexual in
nature--received little recognition in the formal cult; and it was said
that they desired none.

[Illustration: PLATE XII.]

 Figures representing the heavenly bodies. The upper figure, from
 _Codex Vaticanus B_, represents the conflict of light and darkness.
 The Eagle is either the Morning Star or the Sun; the Plumed Serpent is
 the symbol of the Cosmic Waters, from whose throat the Hare, perhaps
 the Earth or Moon, is being snatched by the Eagle. Similar figures
 appear in other codices, the Serpent being in one instance represented
 as torn by the Eagle's talons.

 The lower figure, from _Codex Borgia_, portrays Sun, Moon, and Morning
 Star. The Sun-god is within the rayed disk; he holds a bundle of
 spears in one hand, a spear-thrower in the other; a stream of blood,
 apparently from a sacrifice offered by the Morning Star, which has the
 form of an ocelot, nourishes the Sun. The Moon appears as a Hare upon
 the face of the crescent, which is filled with water and set upon a
 background of dark sky.

In connexion with these primal creators appear the demiurgic
transformers, Quetzalcoatl usually playing the important part.
According to Sahagun's fragmentary accounts, the gods were gathered
from time immemorial in a place called Teotiuacan. They asked: "Who
shall govern and direct the world? Who will be Sun?" Tecuciztecatl
("Cockle-Shell House") and the pox-afflicted Nanauatzin volunteered.
They were dressed in ceremonial garments and fasted for four days;
and then the gods ranged themselves about a sacrificial fire, which
the candidates were asked to enter. Tecuciztecatl recoiled from
the intense heat until encouraged by the example of Nanauatzin, who
plunged into it; and because of this Nanauatzin became the Sun, while
Tecuciztecatl assumed second place as Moon. The gods now ranged
themselves to await the appearance of the Sun, but not knowing where to
expect it, and gazing in various directions, some of them, including
Quetzalcoatl, turned their faces toward the east, where the Sun
finally manifested himself, close-followed by the Moon. Their light
being then equal, was so bright that none might endure it, and the
deities accordingly asked one another, "How can this be? Is it good
that they should shine with equal light?" One of them ran and threw a
rabbit into the face of Tecuciztecatl, which thenceforth shone as does
now the moon; but since the sun and the moon rested upon the earth,
without rising, the gods saw that they must immolate themselves to
give motion to the orbs of light. Xolotl fled, but was finally caught
and sacrificed; yet even so the orbs did not stir until the wind blew
with such violence as to compel them--first, the sun, and afterward the
moon. Quetzalcoatl, the wind-god, is, of course, thus the giver of life
to sun and moon as he is also, in the prayers the bearer of the breath
of life from the divine pair to the new-born.

A complete version of the same myth is given by Mendieta,[52] who
credits it to Fray Andrés de Olmos, transmitted by word of mouth from
Mexican caciques. Each province had its own narrative, he says, but
they were agreed that in heaven were a god and goddess, Citlallatonac
and Citlalicue, and that the goddess gave birth to a stone knife
(_tecpatl_), to the amazement and horror of her other sons which
were in heaven. The stone hurled forth by these outraged sons and
falling to Chicomoxtoc ("Seven Caves"), was shattered, and from its
fragments arose sixteen hundred earth-godlings. These sent Tlotli, the
Hawk, heavenward to demand of their mother the privilege of creating
men to be their servants; and she replied that they should send
to Mictlantecutli, Lord of Hell, for a bone or ashes of the dead,
from which a man and woman would be born. Xolotl was dispatched as
messenger, secured the bone, and fled with it; but being pursued by
the Lord of Hell, he stumbled, and the bone broke. With such fragments
as he could secure he reached the earth, and the bones, placed in a
vessel, were sprinkled with blood drawn from the bodies of the gods.
On the fourth day a boy emerged from the mixture; on the eighth, a
girl; and these were reared by Xolotl to become parents of mankind.
Men differ in size because the bone broke into unequal fragments; and
as human beings multiplied, they were assigned as servants to the
several gods. Now, the Sun had not been shining for a long time, and
the deities assembled at Teotiuacan to consider the matter. Having
built a great fire, they announced that that one among their devotees
who should first hurl himself into it should have the honour of
becoming the Sun, and when one had courageously entered the flames,
they awaited the sunrise, wagering as to the quarter in which he would
appear; but they guessed wrong, and for this they were condemned to
be sacrificed, as they were soon to learn. When the Sun appeared, he
remained ominously motionless; and although Tlotli was sent to demand
that he continue his journey, he refused, saying that he should remain
where he was until they were all destroyed. Citli ("Hare") in anger
shot the Sun with an arrow, but the latter hurled it back, piercing the
forehead of his antagonist. The gods then recognized their inferiority
and allowed themselves to be sacrificed, their hearts being torn out by
Xolotl, who slew himself last of all. Before departing, however, each
divinity gave to his followers, as a sacred bundle, his vesture wrapped
about a green gem which was to serve as a heart. Tezcatlipoca was one
of the departed deities, but one day he appeared to a mourning follower
whom he commanded to journey to the House of the Sun beyond the waters
and to bring thence singers and musical instruments to make a feast for
him. This the messenger did, singing as he went. The Sun warned his
people not to harken to the stranger, but the music was irresistible,
and some of them were lured to follow him back to earth, where they
instituted the musical rites. Such details as the formation of the
ceremonial bundles and the journey of the song-seeker to the House of
the Sun immediately suggest numerous analogues among the wild tribes of
the north, indicating the primitive and doubtless ancient character of
the myth.


In the developed cosmogonic myths the cycles, or "Suns," of the early
world are the turns of the drama of creation. Ixtlilxochitl names four
ages, following the creation of the world and man by a supreme god,
"Creator of All Things, Lord of Heaven and Earth." Atonatiuh, "the
Sun of Waters," was the first age terminated by a deluge in which all
creatures perished. Next came Tlalchitonatiuh, "the Sun of Earth"; this
was the age of giants, and it ended with a terrific earthquake and
the fall of mountains. "The Sun of Air," Ehcatonatiuh, closed with a
furious wind, which destroyed edifices, uprooted trees, and even moved
the rocks. It was during this period that a great number of monkeys
appeared "brought by the wind," and these were regarded as men changed
into animals. Quetzalcoatl appeared in this third Sun, teaching the way
of virtue and the arts of life; but his doctrines failed to take root,
so he departed toward the east, promising to return another day. With
his departure "the Sun of Air" came to its end, and Tlatonatiuh, "the
Sun of Fire," began, so called because it was expected that the next
destruction would be by fire.

Other versions give four Suns as already completed, making the present
into a fifth age of the world. The most detailed of these cosmogonic
myth-records is that given in the _Historia de los Mexicanos por sus
pinturas_. According to this document Tonacatecutli and Tonacaciuatl
dwelt from the beginning in the thirteenth heaven. To them were
born, as to an elder generation, four gods--the ruddy Camaxtli (chief
divinity of the Tlascalans); the black Tezcatlipoca, wizard of the
night; Quetzalcoatl, the wind-god; and the grim Huitzilopochtli, of
whom it was said that he was born without flesh, a skeleton. For six
hundred years these deities lived in idleness; then the four brethren
assembled, creating first the fire (hearth of the universe) and
afterward a half-sun. They formed also Oxomoco and Cipactonal, the
first man and first woman, commanding that the former should till the
ground, and the latter spin and weave; while to the woman they gave
powers of divination and grains of maize that she might work cures.
They also divided time into days and inaugurated a year of eighteen
twenty-day periods, or three hundred and sixty days. Mictlantecutli and
Mictlanciuatl they created to be Lord and Lady of Hell, and they formed
the heavens that are below the thirteenth storey of the celestial
regions, and the waters of the sea, making in the sea a monster
Cipactli, from which they shaped the earth. The gods of the waters,
Tlaloctecutli and his wife Chalchiuhtlicue, they created, giving them
dominion over the Quarters. The son of the first pair married a woman
formed from a hair of the goddess Xochiquetzal; and the gods, noticing
how little was the light given forth by the half-sun, resolved to make
another half-sun, whereupon Tezcatlipoca became the sun-bearer--for
what we behold traversing the daily heavens is not the sun itself, but
only its brightness; the true sun is invisible. The other gods created
huge giants, who could uproot trees by brute force, and whose food was
acorns. For thirteen times fifty-two years, altogether six hundred and
seventy-six, this period lasted--as long as its Sun endured; and it
is from this first Sun that time began to be counted, for during the
six hundred years of the idleness of the gods, while Huitzilopochtli
was in his bones, time was not reckoned. This Sun came to an end when
Quetzalcoatl struck down Tezcatlipoca and became Sun in his place.
Tezcatlipoca was metamorphosed into a jaguar (Ursa Major) which is
seen by night in the skies wheeling down into the waters whither
Quetzalcoatl cast him; and this jaguar devoured the giants of that
period. At the end of six hundred and seventy-six years Quetzalcoatl
was treated by his brothers as he had treated Tezcatlipoca, and his
Sun came to an end with a great wind which carried away most of the
people of that time or transformed them into monkeys. Then for seven
times fifty-two years Tlaloc was Sun; but at the end of this three
hundred and sixty-four years Quetzalcoatl rained fire from heaven and
made Chalchiuhtlicue Sun in place of her husband, a dignity which she
held for three hundred and twelve years (six times fifty-two); and it
was in these days that maize began to be used. Now two thousand six
hundred and twenty-eight years had passed since the birth of the gods,
and in this year it rained so heavily that the heavens themselves
fell, while the people of that time were transformed into fish. When
the gods saw this, they created four men, with whose aid Tezcatlipoca
and Quetzalcoatl again upreared the heavens, even as they are today;
and these two gods becoming lords of the heavens and of the stars,
walked therein. After the deluge and the restoration of the heavens,
Tezcatlipoca discovered the art of making fire from sticks and of
drawing it from the heart of flint. The first man, Piltzintecutli, and
his wife, who had been made of a hair of Xochiquetzal, did not perish
in the flood, because they were divine. A son was born to them, and
the gods created other people just as they had formerly existed. But
since, except for the fires, all was in darkness, the gods resolved to
create a new Sun. This was done by Quetzalcoatl, who cast his own son,
by Chalchiuhtlicue, into a great fire, whence he issued as the Sun of
our own time; Tlaloc hurled his son into the cinders of the fire, and
thence rose the Moon, ever following after the Sun. This Sun, said
the gods, should eat hearts and drink blood, and so they established
wars that there might be sacrifices of captives to nourish the orbs
of light. Most of the other versions of the myth of the epochal Suns
similarly date the beginning of sacrifice and penance from the birth of
the present age.

The _Annals of Quauhtitlan_ gives a somewhat different picture of the
course of the epochs. Each epoch begins on the first day of Tochtli,
and the god Quetzalcoatl figures as the creator. Atonatiuh, the first
Sun, ended with a flood and the transformation of living creatures into
fish. Ocelotonatiuh, "the Jaguar Sun," was the epoch of giants and of
solar eclipse. Third came "the Sun of Rains," Quiyauhtonatiuh, ending
with a rain of fire and red-hot rocks; only birds, or those transformed
into them, and a human pair who found subterranean refuge, escaped the
conflagration. The fourth, Ecatonatiuh, is the Sun of destruction by
winds; while the fifth is the Sun of Earthquakes, Famines, Wars, and
Confusions, which will bring our present world to destruction. The
author of the _Spiegazione delle tavole del codice mexicano_ (Codex
Vaticanus A)--not consistent with himself, for in his account of the
infants' limbo he makes ours the third Sun--changes the order somewhat:
first, the Sun of Water, which is also the Age of Giants; second, the
Sun of Winds, ending with the transformation into apes; third, the Sun
of Fire; fourth, the Sun of Famine, terminating with a rain of blood
and the fall of Tollan. Four Suns passed, and a fifth Sun, leading
forward to a fifth eventual destruction, seems, most authorities agree,
to represent the orthodox Mexican myth; though versions like that of
Ixtlilxochitl represent only three as past, while others, as Camargo's
account of the Tlascaltec myth, make the present Sun the third in a
total of four that are to be. Probably one cause of the confusion
with respect to the order of the Suns is the double association of
Quetzalcoatl--first, with the Sun of Winds, which he, as the Wind-God,
would naturally acquire; and second, with the fall of Tollan and of the
Toltec empire, for Quetzalcoatl, with respect to dynastic succession,
is clearly the Toltec Zeus. The Sun of Winds is normally the second
in the series; the fall of Tollan is generally associated with the
end of the Sun last past: circumstances which may account for
the shortened versions, for it seems little likely (judging from
American analogies) that the notion of four Suns passed is not the most
primitive version.

[Illustration: PLATE XIII.]

 Figures from _Codex Vaticanus A_ representing cataclysms bringing to
 an end cosmic "Suns," or Ages of the World.

 The upper figure represents the close of the Sun of Winds, ending with
 the transformation of men, save for an ancestral pair, into apes. The
 lower pictures the end of the Sun of Fire, whence only birds and a
 human pair in a subterranean retreat escaped.

Another myth confusedly associated now with the Sun of Waters, now
with the Sun last past, is the story of the deluge. In the pattern
conception (if it may so be termed) each Sun begins with the creation
or appearance of a First Man and First Woman and ends with the
salvation of a single human pair, all others being lost or transformed.
The first Sun ends with a deluge and the metamorphosis of the First
Men into fish; but a single pair escaped by being sealed up in a log
or ark. In the Chimalpopoca (Quauhtitlan) version given by Brasseur
de Bourbourg it is related that the waters had been tranquil for
fifty-two years; then, on the first day of the Sun, there came such a
flood as submerged even the mountains, and this endured for fifty-two
years. Warned by Tezcatlipoca, however, a man named Nata, with Nena his
wife, hollowed a log and entered therein; and the god closed the port,
saying, "Thou shalt eat but a single ear of maize, and thy wife but a
single ear also." When the waters subsided, they issued from their log,
and seeing fish about, they built a fire to roast them. Citlallatonac
and Citlalicue, beholding this from the heavens, said: "Divine Lord,
what is this fire? Wherefore does this smoke cloud the sky?" Whereupon
Tezcatlipoca descended in anger, crying, "What fire is this?" And he
seized the fishes and transformed them into dogs. Certainly one would
relish an elaboration of this tale; for it would seem that a theft
of the fire must precede--perhaps a suffering Prometheus may have
followed--the anger of the gods. In another version the Mexican Noah is
named Coxcox, his wife bears the name of Xochiquetzal; and it is said
that their children, born dumb, received their several forms of speech
from the birds. Now Xochiquetzal is associated (doubtless as a festal
goddess) with Tollan and the age in which she appears is the last of
all, that in which Tollan is destroyed; whence the deluge is placed at
the end of the fourth Sun.

To the same group of events--the passing of Tollan and the
deluge--belong the stories of the building of the great pyramid of
Cholula and the portents which accompanied it. It is said[54] that,
reared by a chief named Xelua, who escaped the deluge, it was built
so high that it appeared to reach heaven; and that they who reared it
were content, "since it seemed to them that they had a place whence
to escape from the deluge if it should happen again, and whence they
might ascend into heaven"; but "a chalcuitl, which is a precious stone,
fell thence [i.e. from the skies] and struck it to the ground; others
say that the chalcuitl was in the shape of a toad; and that whilst
destroying the tower it reprimanded them, inquiring of them their
reason for wishing to ascend into heaven, since it was sufficient for
them to see what was on the earth." It is worth while to remember that
the hybristic scaling of heaven is no uncommon motive in American
Indian myth, while the moral of the tale is honestly pagan--"mortal
things are the behoof of mortals," saith Pindar; nor can we fail to see
in the green jewel the jealous Earth-Titaness, for the toad is Earth's

The duration of the cosmic Suns is given various values by the
recorders of the myths. These, no doubt, issued from variations
in calendric computations; for the Mexicans not only possessed an
elaborate calendar; they also used it, in its involved circles of
returning signs, as the foundation for calculating the cycles of cosmic
and of human history. It is essential, therefore, if the genius of
Mexican myth be fully grasped, that the elements of its calendar be
made clear.


The Mexican calendar is one of the most extraordinary inventions of
human intelligence. Elsewhere the science of the calendar is a lore of
sun, moon, and stars, and of their synodic periods; in the count of
time astronomy is mistress, and number is but the handmaiden. In the
Mexican system this relation is distinctly reversed: it is number that
is dominant, and astronomy that is ancillary. One might, indeed, add
that the number is geometric. It is common enough elsewhere to find the
measures of space influencing the measures of time, but ordinarily they
are the measures of celestial, not of terrestrial, space; and they are,
therefore, moving, and not stationary, numbers. In the Mexican system
the controlling numerical ideas appear to be the 4 (5) and the 6 (7)
of the world-quarters--these in their duplicate forms, 9 (= 2 x 4 + 1)
and 13 (= 2 x 6 + 1)--and all are under the domination of the four by
five digits (two fives of fingers and two of toes) of their vigesimal
system of counting. Man in the Middle Place of his cosmos; oriented
to the rising Sun; four-square with the Quarters, which are duplicate
in the Above and the Below; counting his natural days by his natural
digits: this is the image which makes most plausible our explanations
of the peculiarly earth-tethered calendar of the Mexicans, and, in
consequence, of a cosmographical rather than an astrological conception
of the Fates and Influences.

Not that the moving heavens were without computation: astronomy,
though secondary, was indispensable.[56] The day, of course, is the
creation of the journey of the sun; and the day, as a time-unit, plays
in the Mexican count a part altogether commensurate in importance
with that given to the sun in myth and ritual. The moon, though far
less prominent in every respect, is still conspicuously figured.
The morning star (far and wide a great deity of the American Indian
nations) was second in significance only to the sun; indeed, one of
the most extraordinary achievements of aboriginal American science
was the identification of Phosphorus and Hesperus as the same star,
and the computation of a Venus-period of five hundred and eighty-four
days (the exact period being five hundred and eighty-three days and
twenty-two hours). Comets and meteors were regarded as portents;
the Milky Way was the skirt of Citlalicue, or was the white hair of
Mixcoatl of the Zenith; and in the patterns of the stars were seen the
figures that define the topography of the nocturnal heavens. Sahagun
mentions three constellations, which he vaguely identifies with Gemini,
Scorpio, and Ursa Minor; and in the chart of heavenly bodies, given
with his Nahuatlan text, he figures two other stellar groups; while
five is the number which Tezozomoc names as those for which the king
elect must keep watch on the night of his vigil. Doubtless many other
star-patterns were observed, but these five seem predominant. Stansbury
Hagar, resolving what he regards as the Mexican Scorpio into Scorpio
and Libra, would see in Sahagun's figures half of the zodiacal twelve;
and in both Mexico and Peru he believes that he has identified a series
of signs closely equivalent to that of the Old World zodiac. Another
view (presented by Zelia Nuttall) conceives the Aztec constellations
as forming a series of twenty, corresponding to the twenty day-signs
employed in the calendar. A third interpretation, on the whole,
accordant with the evidence, is that of Seler, who maintains that the
five constellations named by Sahagun and Tezozomoc represent, instead
of a zodiac, the four quarters and the zenith of the sky-world, and
are, therefore, spatial rather than temporal guides. Seler identifies
Mamalhuaztli, "the Fire-Sticks," with stars of the east, in or near
Taurus. The Pleiades, rising in the same neighbourhood, he believes to
have been the sign of the zenith; and at the beginning of a new cycle
of fifty-two years the new fire was kindled when the Pleiades were in
the zenith at midnight--the very hour, according to Tezozomoc, when
the king rises to his vigil. Citlalachtli, "the Star Ball-Ground,"
is called "the North and its Wheel" by Tezozomoc, and must refer
to the stars which revolve about the northern pole. Colotlixayac,
"Scorpion-Face," marks the west; while Citlalxonecuilli--so named,
Sahagun tells us, from its resemblance to S-shaped loaves of bread
which were called _xonecuilli_--is clearly identified by Tezozomoc
with the Southern Cross and adjacent stars. Thus it appears (granting
Seler's interpretation) that the constellations served but to mark the
pillars of this four-square world.

Essentially the Mexican calendar is an elaborate day-count. As with
many other American peoples, the system of notation was vigesimal
(probably developed from a quinary mode of counting), and the days
were accordingly reckoned by twenties: twenty pictographs served as
day-signs, endlessly repeated like the names of the days of the week.
These twenty-day periods are commonly called "months" (following the
usage of Spanish writers), though they have no relation to the moon
and its phases; they are, however, like our months, used as measures
of the primitive solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days,
the Aztec year comprising eighteen months (or sets of twenties) plus
five _nemontemi_, or "Empty Days," regarded as unlucky. According to
Sahagun, six _nemontemi_ were counted every fourth year; if this were
true (it is widely doubted), the Mexicans would have had a calendar
which was Julian in effect. Like our months, each of the eighteen
twenties of the solar year had its own name and its characteristic
religious festivals; during the _nemontemi_ there were neither feasts
nor undertakings. The beginning of the solar year is placed by Sahagun
on the first day of the month Atlcaualco--corresponding, he says, to
February 2--the period of the cessation of rains, and the time of rites
in honour of Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue. Some authorities, however,
believe that the year really began with Toxcatl, corresponding to
the earlier part of May, the period of the celebration of the great
festival of Tezcatlipoca, when his personator was sacrificed and the
next year's victim was chosen. The location of the _nemontemi_ in the
year is not certain.

From the fact that to the days of the year were assigned twenty
endlessly repeating signs, and the further fact that the _nemontemi_
were five in number (18 x 20 + 5 = 365), it follows that the first
day of the year would always fall upon one of four signs; and these
signs--_Colli_ ("House"), _Tochtli_ ("Rabbit"), _Acatl_ ("Reed"), and
_Tecpatl_ ("Flint")--inevitably became emphasized in the imagination,
not only with units of time, but also with the Quarters which divide
the world.

But the designation of the days was not simply by the series of
pictographic signs. An additional series was formed of the numbers
one to thirteen, which, like the signs, were repeated over and over;
so that each day had not only a sign, but also a number. Since only
thirteen numerals were employed, it follows that if any given twenty
days have the number one accompanying the sign of its first day, the
sign of the first day of the ensuing twenty days will be accompanied
by the number eight, the sign of the first day of the third twenty by
two, and so on; not until the end of two hundred and sixty days (since
thirteen is a prime number) will the same number recur with the initial
sign. The representation of this period of thirteen by twenty days, in
which the cycles of numerals and pictographs passed from an initial
correspondence to its first recurrence, was called by the Aztec the
_Tonalamatl_, or "Book of Good and Bad Days"--a set of signs employed
for divination as the name implies. Since the _Tonalamatl_ represents
only two hundred and sixty days, it follows that the last one hundred
and fifteen days of the year will have the same signs and numerals as
the first one hundred and fifteen. For this reason De Jonghe and some
others believe that a third set of day-signs was employed--the nine
Lords of the Night, which (since two hundred and sixty is not evenly
divisible by nine) would suffice to differentiate the days throughout
the year. Seler, however maintains that he has disproved this theory;
if so, there would still be the possibility of differentiating the days
of the second _Tonalamatl_ from those of the first by employing
the sign of that one of the eighteen "months" in which the day fell.

[Illustration: PLATE XIV.]

 The Aztec "Calendar Stone," one of the two monuments (see Plate V for
 the other) found beneath the pavement of the plaza of the city of
 Mexico in 1790. The outer band of decoration is formed of two "Fire
 Snakes" (cf. Plates VII 3 and XXI), each with a human head in its
 mouth; between the tips of the serpents' tails is a glyph giving the
 date, 13 Acatl, of the historical Sun, that is, the beginning of the
 present Age of the World. A decorative band formed of the twenty day
 signs surrounds the central figure, which consists of a Sun-face, with
 the glyph 4 Olin; while in the four adjacent compartments are the
 names of the eras of the four earlier "Suns." Sun rays, with other
 figures, appear in the spaces between the inner and outer decorative
 bands. Below is given a key (after Joyce, _Mexican Archaeology_, page

[Illustration: Key.]

In addition to the _Tonalamatl_, there is another consequence of
the double designation of the days. Each year, it has been noted,
begins with one of four day-signs. But three hundred and sixty-five
is indivisible, evenly, by thirteen; therefore, the day-signs and
numerals for succeeding years must vary, the day-signs recurring in
the same order every four years, and the numerals in the same order
every thirteen years (since 365 = 13 x 28 + 1), while not until there
has elapsed four times thirteen years will the same day-sign and the
same numeral occur on the first day of the year. These divisions of the
years into groups, determined by their signs and numbers, were of great
significance to the Mexican peoples. The sign which began each group
of thirteen years was regarded as dominant during that period, and as
each of these signs was dedicated to one of the four Quarters, it is to
be supposed that the powers of the ruling sign determined the fortunes
of the period. The cycle was complete when, at the end of fifty-two
years, the same sign and number recurred as the emblem of the year.
Such an epoch was the occasion for prognostics and dread anticipations,
and it was celebrated with a special feast at which all fires were
extinguished and a new flame was kindled on the breast of a sacrificial
victim. This festival was called "the Knot of the Years," and in Aztec
pictography past periods were represented by bundles, each signifying
such a cycle of fifty-two years.

It will be noted that the fifty-two year cycle is also the period for
the recurring coincidence of the day-signs and numerals in the year
and in the _Tonalamatl_ (for, 365 factoring 73 x 5, and 260 factoring
52 x 5, it follows that 52 years will equal 73 _Tonalamatls_). It is,
therefore, the more extraordinary that in the usual mode of figuring
the _Tonalamatl_ it is begun, not with one of the four signs which name
the years and their cycles, but with another day-sign, _Cipactli_
("Crocodile"). The plausible explanation of this is that since the
Crocodile was the monster from which Earth was formed by the creative
gods, the divinatory period was inaugurated under his sign.

The origin of so peculiar a reckoning as the _Tonalamatl_ is one of
the puzzles of Americanist studies. Effort has been made to connect
it with lunar movements, but no astronomical period corresponds with
it. Again, it has been pointed out that the two hundred and sixty
days of the _Tonalamatl_ approximate the period of gestation, and
in view of its use, for divinations and horoscopic forecasts, this
is not impossible as an explanation of its origin. The obvious fact
that it expresses the cycle of coincidence of the twenty day-signs
and thirteen numerals only carries the puzzle back to the origination
of the numeration, with its anomalous thirteen--for which, as a
significant number, no more satisfactory astronomical reason has been
suggested than León y Gama's, that it represents half of the period
of the moon's visibility. In myth the invention of the _Tonalamatl_
is ascribed to Cipactonal and Oxomoco (in whom Señor Robelo sees the
personification of Day and Night), and again to Quetzalcoatl. At his
immolation the heart of Quetzalcoatl, it will be recalled, flew upward
to become the Morning Star, and in special degree the god is associated
with this star. "They said that Quetzalcoatl died when the star
became visible, and henceforward they called him Tlauizcalpantecutli,
'Lord of the Dawn.' They said that when he died he was invisible for
four days; they said he wandered in the underworld, and for four
days more he was bone. Not until eight days were past did the great
star appear. Quetzalcoatl then ascended the throne as god." One of
the early writers, Ramon y Zamora, states that the _Tonalamatl_ was
determined by the Mexicans as the period during which Venus is visible
as the evening star; and Förstemann discovered representations of
the Venus-year of five hundred and eighty-four days divided into
periods of ninety, two hundred and fifty, eight, and two hundred and
thirty-six days, which he estimated to represent respectively the
period of Venus's invisibility during superior conjunction (ninety
days), of its visibility as evening star (two hundred and fifty days),
of its invisibility during inferior conjunction (eight days), and of
its visibility as morning star (two hundred and thirty-six days).
The near correspondence of the period of two hundred and fifty days
with the _Tonalamatl_, coupled with the identity of the eight days'
invisibility with the period of Quetzalcoatl's wandering and lying
dead in the underworld, which was followed by his ascension to the
throne of the eastern heaven, as related in the myth, give plausibility
to the traditions which associate the formation of the _Tonalamatl_
with the Venus-period. Seler suggests--and this is perhaps the best
explanation yet offered--that the _Tonalamatl_ is the product of an
indirect association of the solar year (three hundred and sixty-five
days) and of the Venus-period (five hundred and eighty-four days), for
the least common multiple of the numbers of days in these two periods
is twenty-nine hundred and twenty days, equal to eight solar years and
five Venus years; in associating the two, he says, the inventors of
the calendar lighted upon the number thirteen (8 + 5), and hence upon
the _Tonalamatl_ of two hundred and sixty days. If this be the case,
the belief in thirteen heavens and thirteen hours of the day would
be derivative from temporal rather than spatial observations, from
astronomy rather than cosmography. A somewhat analogous association
might be offered in connexion with the nine of the heavens and the nine
of the hours of the night; for just as there are four signs that always
recur as the designations of the solar years, so for the Venus-period
there are five (since five hundred and eighty-four divided by twenty
leaves four as divisor of the signs), and the sum of these is nine.

The signs which inaugurate the Venus periods are _Cipactli_
("Crocodile"), _Coatl_ ("Snake"), _Atl_ ("Water"), _Acatl_ ("Reed"),
and _Olin_ ("Motion"). But here again the numerals enter in to
complicate the series, so that while the day-signs which inaugurate
the Venus-periods recur in groups of five, they do not recur with the
same numeral until the lapse of thirteen times five periods. This great
cycle of Venus-days, comprising sixty-five repetitions of the apparent
course of the planet, is also a common multiple of the solar year and
of the _Tonalamatl_, comprising one hundred and four of the former and
one hundred and forty-six of the latter. Thus it was that at the end
of one hundred and four years of three hundred and sixty-five days the
same sign and number-series recurred in the three great units of the
Aztec calendar. When it is remembered that prognostics were to be drawn
not merely from the complex relations of the signs to their place in
each of the three time-units, with their respective elaborations into
cycles; but from their further relations with the regions of the upper
and lower worlds, and also from the numerals, which had good and evil
values of their own, it will be seen that the Mexican priests were in
possession of a fount of craft not second to that of the astrologers of
the Old World.

That so complex a system could easily give rise to error is evident,
and it is probable that, as tradition asserts, from time to time
corrections were made, serving as the inauguration of new "Suns" or
as new "inventions" of time. It may even be that the "Suns" of the
cosmogonic myths are reminiscences of calendric corrections, and it is
at least a striking coincidence that the traditions of these "Suns"
make them four in number, like the year-signs, or five in number, like
the Venus-signs. The latter series, too, is distinctly cosmogonic in
symbolism--Crocodile suggests the creation from a fish-like monster;
Snake, the falling heavens; Water, the "Water-Sun" and the deluge; Reed
(the fire-maker), the Sun of Fire; Motion, the Sun of Wind, or perhaps
the Earthquake. But whatever be the value of these symbolisms, it is
certain that the Mexicans themselves associated perilous times and
cataclysmic changes with the rounding out of their cycles.


The cosmogonic and calendric cycles (intimately associated) profoundly
influenced the Mexican conception of history. Orderly arrangement of
time is as essential to an advancing civilization as the ordering of
space, and it is natural for the human imagination to form all of its
temporal conceptions into a single dramatic unity--a World Drama, with
its Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Judgement; or a Cosmic Evolution
from Nebula to Solar System, and Solar System to Nebula. In the making,
such cosmic dramas start from these roots: (1) Cosmogony and Theogony,
for which there is no simpler image in nature than the creation of
the Life of Day from the Chaos of Night at the command of the Lord of
Light; (2) "Great Years," or calendric cycles, formed by calculations
of the synodic periods of sun and moon and wandering stars, or, as in
the curious American instance, mainly from simple day-counts influenced
by a complex symbolism of numbers and by an awkward notation; (3) the
recession of history, back through the period of record to that of
racial reminiscence and of demigod founders and culture-heroes. Of
these three elements, the first and third constitute the material,
while the second becomes the form-giver--the measure of the duration of
the acts and scenes of the drama, as it were--adding, however, on the
material side, the portents and omens imaged in the stars.

The Mexican system of cosmic Suns is a capital example of the first
element--each Sun introducing a creation or restoration, and each
followed by an elemental destruction, while all are meted out in formal
cycles. It is no matter for wonder that there are varying versions of
the order and number of the cosmogonic cycles, nor that a nebulous and
legendary history is varyingly fitted into the cyclic plan; for each
political state and cultural centre tended to develop its own stories
in connexion with its own records and traditions. Nevertheless, there
is a broad scheme of historic events common to all the more advanced
Nahuatlan peoples, the uniformity of which somewhat argues for its
truly historic foundation. This is the legend which assigns to the
plateau of Anahuac three successive dominations, that of the Toltec,
that of the Chichimec nations, and that of the Aztec and their allies.
Although the remote Toltec period is clouded in myth, archaeology tends
to support the truth of the tales of legendary Tollan, at least to
the extent of identifying the site of a city which for a long period
had been the centre of a power that was, by Mexican standards, to be
accounted civilized.

The general characters of Toltec civilization, as tradition shows it,
are those recorded by Sahagun.[57] The Toltec were clever workmen
in metals, pottery, jewellery, and fabrics, indeed, in all the
industrial arts. They were notable builders, adorning the walls of
their structures with skilful mosaic. They were magicians, astrologers,
medicine-men, musicians, priests, inventors of writing, and creators
of the calendar. They were mannerly men, and virtuous, and lying was
unknown among them. But they were not warlike--and this was to be their

[Illustration: PLATE XV.]

 The temple of Xochicalco, partially restored. The relief band, of
 which a section is given for detail, shows a serpent; a human figure,
 doubtless a deity, is seated beneath one of the great coils. After
 photographs in the Peabody Museum.

Their principal deity was Quetzalcoatl, and his chief priest bore the
same name. The temple of the god was the greatest work of their hands.
It was composed of four chambers: that to the east, of gold; that to
the west, encrusted with turquoise and emerald; that to the south,
with sea-shells and silver; that to the north, with reddish jasper
and shell. In another similar shrine, plumage of the several colours
adorned the four apartments. The explicator of Codex Vaticanus A says
that Quetzalcoatl was the inventor of round temples (it is possible
that the rotundity of his shrines was due to the presumption that
the wind does not love corners), and that he founded four; in the
first princes and nobles fasted; the second was frequented by
the lower classes; the third was "the House of the Serpent," and here
it was unlawful to lift the eyes from the ground; the fourth was "the
Temple of Shame," where were sent sinners and men of immoral life.
Details such as these--obviously referring to familiar features of
American Indian ritual--as well as the numerous myths that narrate the
departure of Quetzalcoatl for the mysterious Tlapallan, followed by a
great part of the Toltec population, clearly belong in the realm of
fancy, shimmeringly veiling historic facts. Thus, when Ixtlilxochitl
states that the reign of each Toltec king was just fifty-two years,
we see simply a statement which identifies calendric with political
periods; yet when he goes on with the qualification that those kings
who died under such a period were replaced by regents until a new cycle
could begin with the election of a new king, and when he specifically
notes that, as exceptions, Ilacomihua reigned fifty-nine years, and
Xiuhquentzin, his queen, four years after him, we are in the presence
of a tradition which looks much more like history than myth--for there
is no mythic reason that satisfies this shift. Fact, too, should
underlie Sahagun's naïve remark that the Toltec were expert in the
Mexican tongue, although they did not speak it with the perfection
of his day, and again that communities which spoke a pure Nahua were
composed of descendants of Toltecs who remained in the land when
Quetzalcoatl departed--for behind such notions should lie a story of
linguistic supersession.

Such, indeed, appears to have been the course of events. The date of
the founding of Tollan, according to the _Annals of Quauhtitlan_,
is, computed in our era, 752 A. D. Ixtlilxochitl puts the beginning
of the Toltec kingship as early as 510 A. D.; and the end he sets
in the year 959, when the last Toltec king, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl,
was overthrown and departed, none knew whither. It is a plausible
hypothesis which assumes the historicity of this event and which
accounts for the myths of the departure of Quetzalcoatl, the god,
as due in part to a confusion of the permutations of a nature deity
with the _gesta_ of an earthly hero--a process exemplified in the Old
World in the tales of King Arthur, Celtic god and British hero-king.
It is certain that from an early date the civilization of the Mexican
plateau was racially akin to that of the Maya in the south; it is not
improbable that the Toltec represent an ancient northern extension of
Maya power (the oldest stratum at Tollan shows Huastec influences,
and the Huastec are of Maya kin); and, finally, when the political
overthrow of the Toltec was accomplished, and their leaders fled away
to Tlapallan, to the south-east, the northern barbarians who had
replaced them gradually learned the lesson of civilization from the
sporadic groups which remained in various centres after the capital
had fallen--Cholula, Cuernavaca, and Teotihuacan, cities which were to
figure in Nahuatlan lore as the centres of priestly learning. Such an
hypothesis would account for Sahagun's statement that the Toltec spoke
Nahua imperfectly, for those who remained would have changed to this
language; while what may well be an historical incident of the period
of change is Ixtlilxochitl's account of the reply of the Toltec king
of Colhuacan to the invading Chichimec, refusing to pay tribute, for
"they held the country from their ancestors, to whom it belonged, and
they had never obeyed or payed tribute to any foreign lord ... nor
recognized other master than the Sun and their gods." However, less
able in arms than the invaders, they fell to no great force.

The Chichimec, according to the prevailing accounts, were a congeries
of wild hunting tribes, cave-dwellers by preference, who vaguely and
imperfectly absorbed the culture that had preceded them in the Valley
of Mexico. Ixtlilxochitl has it that, under the leadership of a chief
named after the celestial dog Xolotl, they entered the Toltec domain a
few years after the fall of Tollan, peaceably possessing themselves of
an almost deserted land. They were soon followed by related tribes,
among whom the most important were the Acolhua, founders of Tezcuco;
while later came the Mexicans, or Aztec, who wandered obscurely from
place to place before they finally established the town which was to be
the capital of their empire. For several centuries, as the chronicler
pictures it, these related peoples warred and quarrelled turbulently,
owning the shadowy suzerainty of "emperors" whose power waxed or waned
with their personal force--altogether such a picture as is presented
by Mediaeval Europe after the recession of the Roman Empire before
the incursive barbarians. Gradually, however, just as in Europe, the
seed of the elder civilization took root, and the culture which the
Spaniards discovered grew and consolidated.

Its leaders were not the Aztec, but the related Acolhua, whose capital,
Tezcuco, became the Athens of an empire of which Tenochtitlan was to be
the Rome; and the great age of Tezcuco came with King Nezahualcoyotl,
less than a century before the appearance of Cortez. Cautious writers
point to the resemblances between the career and character of this
monarch as pictured by Ixtlilxochitl, and that of the Scriptural David:
both, in their youth, are hunted and persecuted by a jealous king,
and are forced into exile and outlawry; both triumphantly overthrow
their enemies and inaugurate reigns of splendour, erecting temples,
cultivating the arts, and reforming the state; both are singers and
psalmists, and prophets of a purified monotheism; both assent to the
execution of an eldest son and heir because of palace intrigue; and,
finally, both, in the hour of temptation, cause an honoured thane to
be treacherously slain in order that they may possess themselves of
a woman who has captivated their fancy. In each case, too, the queen
dishonourably won becomes the mother of a successor whose reign is
followed by a decline of power, for Nezahualpilli was the last of the
great Tezcucan kings. Certainly the parallels are striking and the
chronicler may well have been influenced by Biblical analogy in the
form which he gives his stories; but it is surely not unfair to remark
that such repetitions of event are to be expected in a world whose
possibilities are, after all, limited in number; that, for example,
a whole series of similarities can be drawn between Inca and Aztec
history (where there is no suspicion of influence), and that there are
not a few striking likenesses of the characters of Nezahualcoyotl and
Huayna Capac, to both of whom is ascribed an enlightened monotheism.
Various fragments of Nezahualcoyotl's poems--or such as bear his
name--have survived, among them a lament which has the very tone of the
Aztec prayers preserved by Sahagun, and which, indeed, breathes the
whole world-weary dolour of Nahuatlan religion.[58]

 "Hearken to the lamentations of Nezahualcoyotl, communing with himself
 upon the fate of Empire--spoken as an example to others!

 "O king, inquiet and insecure, when thou art dead, thy vassals shall
 be destroyed, scattered in dark confusion; on that day rulership will
 no longer be in thy hand, but with God the Creator, All-Powerful.

 "Who hath beheld the palace and court of the king of old, Tezozomoc,
 how flourishing was his power and firm his tyranny, now overthrown
 and destroyed--will _he_ think to escape? Mockery and deceit is this
 world's gift, wherefore let all be consumed!

 "Dismal it is to contemplate the prosperity enjoyed by this king,
 even to his senility, like an old willow, animated by desire and by
 ambition, uplifting himself above the weak and humble. Long time
 did the green and the flowers offer themselves in the fields of
 springtime, but at last, worm-eaten and dried, the wind of death
 seized him, uprooted him, and scattered him in fragments on Earth's
 soil. So, also, the olden king Cozastli passed onward, leaving neither
 house nor lineage to preserve his memory.

 "With such reflections, with melancholy song, I bring again the
 memory of the flowery springtime gone, and of the end of Tezozomoc
 who so long knew its joys. Who, harkening, shall withhold his tears?
 Abundance of riches and varied pleasures, are they not like culled
 flowers, passed from hand to hand, and at the end cast forth stripped
 and withered?

 "Sons of kings, sons of great lords, give heed and consideration
 to what is made manifest in my sad and lamenting song, as I relate
 how passed the flowery springtime and the end of the powerful king
 Tezozomoc! Ah, who, harkening, will be hard enough to restrain his
 tears--for all these varied flowers, these pleasures sweet, wither and
 end with this passing life!

 "Today we possess the abundance and beauty of the blossoming summer,
 and harken to the melody of birds, where the butterflies sip sweet
 nectar from fragrant petals. But all is like culled flowers, that
 pass from hand to hand, and at the end are cast forth, stripped and


Common tradition makes of the Aztec, or Mexica, late comers into the
central valley, although they are regarded as belonging to the general
movement of tribes known as the Chichimec immigration. Apparently they
entered obscurely in the wake of kindred groups, perhaps in the middle
of the eleventh century; wandered from place to place for a period;
and finally settled on the swampy islands of Lake Tezcuco, founding
Tenochtitlan, or Mexico, which eventually became the capital of empire.
The founding of the city is variously dated--one group of references
placing it at or near 1140, and another assigning dates from 1321 to
1327, variations which may refer to an earlier and later occupation
by different or related tribal groups. The Aztec formed a league with
their kindred neighbours, the Tecpanec of Tlacopan and the Acolhua of
Tezcuco, in which their own _rôle_ was a secondary one, until finally,
under Axayacatl, Tizoc, and Ahuitzotl, the immediate predecessors
of the last Montezuma (whose name is variously rendered Moteuhçoma,
Moteczuma, Moteçuma, Motecuhzoma, etc.), they rose to undisputed
supremacy. This, however, was in war and politics, for Tezcuco,
previous to the Conquest, was still the seat of Mexican learning.

Many of the Nahuatlan peoples retained mythic reminiscences of the
period and course of their migrations; but of the narratives which
remain hardly two are in accord, although most of them mention the
"House of Seven Caves" (Chicomoztoc) as a place of dispersal. Back
of this several of the narratives go, giving details of which the
purely mythic character is evident, for the leaders named are gods
and eponymous sires, while tribes of utterly unrelated stocks are
given a common source. Thus, according to Mendieta's account,[60]
at Chicomoztoc dwelt Iztacmixcoatl ("the White Cloud-Serpent")
and his wife Ilancue ("the Old Woman"), from whom were sprung the
ancestors--"as from the sons of Noah"--of the leading nations of
Mexico, excepting that the Toltec were descended from Ixtacmixcoatl
by a second wife, Chimalmatl (or Chimalma), who is named as mother of
Quetzalcoatl, and who is represented elsewhere as the priestess or
ancestress of the Aztec in their fabled first home, Aztlan.

Sahagun[61] gives a version starting with the landing of the ancestral
Mexicans at Panotlan ("Place of Arrival by Sea"), whence he says
that they proceeded to Guatemala, and thence, guided by a priest, to
Tamoanchan, where the Amoxoaque, or wise men, left them, departing
toward the east with their ritual manuscripts and promising to return
at the end of the world. Only four of the learned ones remained with
the colonists--Oxomoco, Cipactonal, Tlaltetecuin, and Xochicauaca--and
it was they who invented the calendar and its interpretation in order
that men might have a guide for their conduct. From Tamoanchan the
colonists went to Teotihuacan, where they made sacrifices and erected
pyramids in honour of the Sun and of the Moon. Here also they elected
their first kings, and here they buried them, regarding them as gods
and saying of them, not that they had died, but that they had
just awakened from a dream called life. "Hence the ancients were in
the habit of saying that when men die, they in reality began to live,"
addressing them: "Lord (or Lady), awake! the day is coming! Already
the first light of dawn appears! The song of the yellow-plumed birds
is heard, and the many-coloured butterflies are taking wing!" Even
at Tamoanchan a dispersal of the tribes had begun: the Olmac and the
Huastec had departed toward the east, and from them had come the
invention of the intoxicating drink, pulque, and (apparently as a
result of this) the power of creating magical illusions; for they could
make a house seem to be in flames when nothing of the sort was taking
place, they could show fish in empty waters, and they could even make
it appear that they had cut their own bodies into morsels. But the
peoples associated with the Mexicans departed from Teotihuacan. First
went the Toltec, then the Otomi, who settled in Coatepec, and last the
Nahua; they traversed the deserts, seeking a home, each tribe guided
by its own gods. Worn by pains and famines, they at length came to the
Place of Seven Caves, where they celebrated their respective rites.
The Toltec were the first to go forth, finally settling at Tollan.
The people of Michoacan departed next, to be followed by the Tepanec,
Acolhua, Tlascaltec, and other Nahuatlan tribes, and last of all by the
Aztec, or Mexicans proper, who, led by their god, came to Colhuacan.
Even here they were not allowed to rest, but were compelled to resume
their wanderings, and, passing from place to place--"all designated
by their names in the ancient paintings which form the annals of this
people"--finally they came again to Colhuacan, and thence to the
neighbouring island where Tenochtitlan was founded.

[Illustration: PLATE XVI.]

 Section, comprising about one third, of the "Map Tlotzin," after
 Aubin, _Mémoires sur la peinture didactique (Mission scientifique au
 Mexique et dans l'Amérique Centrale_), Plate I. The map is described
 by Boturini as a "map on prepared skin representing the genealogy of
 the Chichimec emperors from Tlotzin to the last king, Don Fernando
 Cortès Ixtilxochitzin." Two of the six "caves," or ancestral abodes of
 the Chichimec, shown on the whole map, are here represented. At the
 right, marked by a bat in the ceiling, is Tzinacanoztoc, "the Cave of
 the Bat"; below it, in Nahuatl, being the inscription, "Tzinacanoztoc,
 here was born Ixtilxochitzin." The second cave shown is Quauhyacac,
 "At the End of the Trees"; and here are shown a group of ancestral
 Chichimec chieftains, whose wanderings are indicated in the figures
 below. The Nahuatlan text below the figure of the cave is translated:
 "All came to establish themselves there at Quauhyacoc, where they
 were yet all together. Thence departed Amacui; with his wife he went
 to Colhuatlican. Thence again departed Nopal; he went with his wife
 to Huexotla. Thence again departed Tlotli; he went with his wife to

Of the "ancient paintings," mentioned by Sahagun, several are
preserved,[62] portraying the journey of the Aztec from Aztlan, their
mythical fatherland, which is represented and described as located
beyond the waters, or as surrounded by waters; and the first stage
of the migration is said to have been made by boat. For this reason
numerous speculations as to its locality have placed it overseas--in
Asia or on the North-west Coast of America--although the more
conservative opinion follows Seler, who holds that it represents
simply an island shrine or temple-centre of the national god, and
hence a focus of national organization rather than of tribal origin.
According to the Codex Boturini (one of the migration picture-records),
as interpreted by Seler and others, after leaving Aztlan, represented
as an island upon which stood the shrine of Huitzilopochtli in care
of the tribal ancestor and his wife Chimalma, the Aztec landed at
Colhuacan (or Teocolhuacan, i. e. "the divine Colhuacan"), where they
united with eight related tribes, the Uexotzinca, Chalca, Xochimilca,
Cuitlauaca, Malinalca, Chichimeca, Tepaneca, and Matlatzinca, who are
said to have had their origin in a cavern of a crook-peaked mountain.
From Colhuacan, led by a priestess and four priests, they journeyed
to a place (represented in the codex by a broken tree) which Seler
identifies as Tamoanchan, or "the House of Descent," and which is also
the "House of Birth," for it is here that souls are sent from the
thirteenth heaven to be born. Thence, after a sojourn of five years,
the Aztec, perhaps urged on by some portent of which the broken tree
is a symbol, took their departure alone, leaving their kindred tribes;
and guided by Huitzilopochtli, they came to the land of melon-cacti
and mesquite, where the god gave them bow and arrows and a snare.
This land they called Mimixcoua ("Land of the Cloud-Serpent"); and
it was here that they changed their name, for the first time calling
themselves "Mexica"--an appellation which Sahagun describes as formed
from that of a chieftain, who was also an inspired priest, ruling
over the nation while they were in the land of the Chichimec, and
whose cradle, it was said, was a maguey plant, whence he was called
Mexicatl ("Mescal Hare"). Perhaps this is the incident represented in
the curious picture which shows human beings clad in skins and with
ceremonial face-paintings, recumbent upon desert plants; and no doubt
it signifies some important change in cult, such, perhaps, as the
introduction of the mescal intoxication, with its attendant visions.
It may, too, portray the institution of human sacrifice; for the
next station indicated on the chart, Cuextecatlichocayan ("Where the
Huastec Weep"), was the scene of the offering of the Huastec captives
by arrow-slaying (see p. 79, _supra_). From this place the journey led
to Coatlicamac ("In the Jaws of the Serpent"), where the people "tied
the years" and kindled the new fire; and from Coatlicamac they made
their way to Tollan, with the reaching of which the first stage of
the migration-story may be said to end. Seler regards the whole as a
myth of the world-quarters: Tamoanchan is the West, as in the Books of
Fate; Mimixcoua is the North; Cuextecatlichocayan is the East, as the
reference to the Huastec shows; and Coatlicamac is the South; finally,
Tollan is the Middle Place, being regarded, like other sacred cities,
as the navel of the world.

A second stage of the myth depicts the journey of the Aztec from
Tollan, through many stops, back to Colhuacan, until at last they came
to the site of Tenochtitlan. It is said that as the tribes halted by
the waters of Tezcuco they beheld a great eagle perched on a cactus
growing from a wave-washed rock; and while they gazed the bird ascended
to the rising sun with a serpent in his talons. This was regarded as a
divine augury, and here Tenochtitlan was founded. Such is the tradition
which gives modern Mexico its national emblem. The places of sojourn
between Tollan and Tenochtitlan, as represented in the writings, are
all with fair certainty identified with towns or sites in the Valley
of Mexico, so that here we are in the realm of history rather than of
myth. Historic also are the names (and approximate dates) of the nine
lords or emperors who ruled from the Mexican capital before the coming
of the Spaniards brought the native power to its unhappy end.

The fifth of the Aztec monarchs was the first Montezuma. Of him it is
told (the story is recorded by Fray Diego Durán)[63] that after he had
extended his realm and consolidated his rule, he decided to send an
embassy to the home of his fathers, especially since he had heard that
the mother of Huitzilopochtli was still living there. He summoned his
counsellor Tlacaelel, who brought before him an aged man learned in the
nation's history. "The place you name," said the old man, "is called
Aztlan ['White'], and near it, in the midst of the water, is a mountain
called Culhuacan ['Crooked Hill']. In its caverns our fathers dwelt
for many years, much at their ease, and they were known as Mexitin
and Azteca. They had quantities of duck, heron, cormorants, and other
waterfowl, while birds of red and of yellow plumage diverted them
with song. They had fine large fish; handsome trees lined the shores;
and the streams flowed through meadows under the cypress and alder.
In canoes they fared upon the waters, and they had floating gardens
bearing maize, chile, tomatoes, beans, and all the vegetables which
we now eat and which we have brought thence. But after they left this
island and set foot on land, all this was changed: the herbs pricked
them, the stones wounded, and the fields were full of thistle and of
thorn. Snakes and venomous vermin swarmed everywhere, while all about
were lions and tigers and other dangerous and hurtful beasts. So is
it written in my books." Then the king dispatched his messengers
with gifts for the mother of Huitzilopochtli. They came first to
Coatepec, near Tollan, and there called upon their demons (for they
were magicians) to guide them; and thus they reached Culhuacan, the
mountain in the sea, where they beheld the fisherfolk and the floating
gardens. The people of the land, finding that the foreigners spoke
their tongue, asked what god they worshipped, and when told that it was
Huitzilopochtli and that they were come with a present for Coatlicue,
his mother, if she yet lived, they conducted the strangers to the
steward of the god's mother. When they had delivered their message,
stating their mission from the King and his counsellor, the steward
answered: "Who is this Montezuma and who is Tlacaelel? Those who went
from here bore no such names; they were called Teçacatetl, Acacitli,
Oçelopan, Ahatl, Xomimitl, Auexotl, Uicton, Tenoch, chieftains of the
tribes, and with them were the four guardians of Huitzilopochtli." The
messengers answered: "Sir, we own that we do not know these lords,
nor have we seen them, for all are long dead." "Who, then, killed
them? We who are left here are all yet living. Who, then, are they
who live to-day?" The messengers told of the old man who retained the
record of the journey, and they asked to be taken before the mother
of the god to discharge their duty. The old man, who was the steward
of Coatlicue, led them forward; but the mountain, as they ascended,
was like a pile of loose sand, in which they sank. "What makes you so
heavy?" asked the guide, who moved lightly on the surface; and they
answered, "We eat meat and drink cocoa." "It is this meat and drink,"
said the elder, "that prevent you from reaching the place where your
fathers dwelt; it is this that has brought death among you. We know
naught of these, naught of the luxury that drags you down; with us all
is simple and meagre." Thereupon he took them up, and swift as wind
brought them into the presence of Coatlicue. The goddess was foul and
frightful to behold, and like one near death, for she was in mourning
for her son's departure; but when she heard the message and beheld the
rich gifts, she sent word to her son, reminding him of the prophecy
that he had made at the time of his going forth: how he should lead
the seven tribes into the lands they were to possess, making war and
reducing cities and nations to his service; and how at last he should
be overthrown, even as he had overthrown others, and his weapons cast
to earth. "Then, O mother mine, my time will be accomplished, and I
will return fleeing to thy lap, but until then I shall know naught save
pain. Therefore give me two pairs of sandals, one for going forth and
one for returning, and four pairs of sandals, two pair for going forth
and two for returning." "When he thinks on these words," continued
the goddess, "and remembers that his mother yearns after him, bring
to him this mantle of nequen and this breechband." With these gifts
she dismissed the messengers; and as they descended, the steward of
Coatlicue explained how the people of Aztlan kept their youth, for when
they grew old, they climbed the mountain, and the climbing renewed
their years. So the messengers returned, by the way they had come, to
King Montezuma.


In 1502 Montezuma Xocoyotzin ("Montezuma the Young") was elected
Emperor of Mexico, assuming a pomp and pride unknown to his
predecessors. Five years later, in 1507, the Aztec "tied the years"
and for the last time kindled the new fire on the breast of a noble
captive. Ominous portents began to appear with the new cycle, and the
chronicles abounded with imaginations of disaster.[64] The temple
turret of the war-god was burned; another shrine was destroyed by fire
from heaven, thunderlessly fallen in the midst of rain; a tree-headed
comet was seen; Lake Tezcuco overflowed its banks for no cause; a rock
which the King had ordered made into a sacrificial altar refused to be
moved, saying to the workmen that the Lord of Creation would not suffer
it; twins and monsters were born, and there were nightly cries, as of
women in travail--

    "Lamentings heard i' the air; strange screams of death,
    And prophesying with accents terrible
    Of dire combustion and confused events
    New-hatched to the woeful time."

Fishermen caught a strange bird with a crystal in its head, and in the
crystal, as in a mirror, Montezuma beheld unheard-of warriors,
armed and slaying. Most terrible of all, a huge pyramid of fire
appeared in the east, night after night, coruscating with points of
brilliance. In his terror Montezuma summoned old Nezahualpilli of
Tezcuco, noted as an astrologer, to interpret the sign; and this King,
whose star was in the decline, took perhaps a grim satisfaction in
reading from the portents the early overthrow of the empire. Montezuma,
it is said, put the interpretation to test, challenging Nezahualpilli
to the divinatory game of _tlachtli_; but just on the point of winning,
the monarch lost and returned discomfited. Another tale, doubtless
apocryphal, tells how Papantzin, sister of Montezuma, died and was
buried; shortly afterward she was found sitting by a fountain in the
palace garden, and when the lords were assembled in her presence,
she told how a winged youth had taken her to the banks of a river,
beside which she saw the bones of dead men and heard their groans,
while upon the waters were strange craft, manned by fair and bearded
warriors coming to possess the kingdom. Certain it is, at least, that
the hearts of all men regarded the return of Quetzalcoatl as near--the
oppressed looking with hope, the powerful with dread, to the coming of
the god--and the vestments of the deity were among the first gifts with
which the unhappy Mexican sought to win the favour of Cortez.

[Illustration: PLATE XVII.]

 Interior of chamber, Mitla, showing type of mural decoration peculiar
 to this region. After photograph in the Peabody Museum.

Nevertheless the memory of the King did not fade from native
imagination with the fall of his throne. Stories of the greatness, the
pride and the destruction of Montezuma spread; they became confused
with older legends; and finally the Mexican monarch himself became the
subject of myth. Far to the north the Papago[65] still show the cave
of Montezuma, whom they have identified with Sihu, the elder brother
of Coyote; and they tell how Montezuma, coming forth from a cave dug
by the Creator, led the Indian nations thence. At first all went
happily, and men and beasts conversed with one another until a flood
ended this age of felicity, only Montezuma and his brother, Coyote,
escaping in arks which they made for themselves. When the waters had
subsided, they aided in the repeopling of the world, and to Montezuma
was assigned the lordship of the new race, but, being swollen with
pride and arrogance by his high dignity, he failed to rule justly. The
Great Spirit, to punish him, removed the sun to a remote part of the
heavens; whereupon Montezuma set about building a house which should
reach the skies, and whose apartments he lined with jewels and precious
metals. This the Great Spirit destroyed with his thunder; but Montezuma
was still rebellious, whereupon as his supreme punishment, the Great
Spirit sent an insect to summon the Spaniards from the East for his

How far the political influence of the Aztec Empire extended is not
clearly certain, but there are numerous indications that its cultural
relations were very wide. There are rites and myths of the Pueblo
Indians, Hopi and Zuñi, whose resemblance to the Mexican seems surely
to imply a connexion not too remote; while far to the south, among the
Nahua of Lake Nicaragua, the creator pair and ruling gods, Tamagostad
and Çipattoval, are identical with the Mexican generative couple,
Oxomoco and Cipactonal.[66]

In outlying districts today the less-touched Nahuatlan tribes preserve
their essential paganism, and Lumholtz's and Preuss's accounts[67] of
the pantheons of the Cora and Huichol Indians give us a living image of
what must have been the ancestral religion of the Nahuatlan tribes, at
least in the crude days of their wanderings. Father Sun, say the Cora,
is fierce in the summer-time, slaying men and animals; but Chuvalete,
the Morning Star, keeps watch over him to prevent him from harming
the people. Morning Star is cool and dislikes heat, and once he shot
the Sun, causing him to fall to earth; but an old man restored him to
the heavens, giving him a new start, Chuvalete is the first friend
of the Cora among the gods, and it is to him that they address their
prayers as they go to the spring to bathe in the early dawn; they call
him, "Elder Brother," just as the Earth is "Our Mother" and the Sun
"Our Father." The Water Serpent of the West, the Moon, the Winds, the
Rain, the Lightning,--all these are familiar deities. Preuss[68] calls
attention to the striking emphasis which the Cora place on the power
of thought: the leaders of the ceremonies are called "thinkers" and
in their prayers and rites the conception of a magical preservative
and creative power in thought frequently recurs, not only as a power
of priests, who have obtained it through purification, but as the
essential power of the gods. Thus, of the sun about to rise:

    "Our Father in Heaven thinks upon his Earth, our Father the Shining One.
    There he is, on the other side of the World.
    He thinks with his Thought, our Father, the Shining One.
    He remembers, too, what he is, our Father, the Shining One."

And again it is the sacred words handed down in ritual through which
men acquire that mystical participation in the divine power that
preserves them in life:

    "Here are present his Words, which he has given to us, his children,
    Wherewith we live and continue in the World.
    Indeed, all his Words are here present, which he has uttered and left unto us.
    Here leaves he unto his children his Thought."

The Huichol have a more populous pantheon. Tatevali ("Grandfather
Fire") is the deity of life and health, and also of shamans and
prophesying. Great-grandfather Deer-Tail is likewise a fire-god and a
singing shaman; he is the son of Grandfather Fire and yet his elder;
for, it is said, Great-grandfather Deer-Tail is the spark produced
in striking flint, while Grandfather Fire is the flame fed by wood.
Father Sun is another important deity who was created, they say, when
the Corn Mother (or the Eagle Mother, as some have it) threw her young
son, armed with bow and arrows, into an oven, whence he emerged as
the divinity. Setting Sun is the assistant of Father Sun; and with
the Moon, who is a Grandmother, he helps to keep Tokakami, the black
and blood-smeared god of death, from leaving his underworld abode to
devour the Indians. Tamats, the Elder Brother, is divinity of wind and
air and messenger of the gods;[69] the cock belongs to him, because it
follows the course of the Sun and always knows where the Sun is; and
he is also the deity who conquered the underworld people and put the
world into shape. He appears in different forms (like Tezcatlipoca),
now a wolf, now a deer, a pine-tree, a whirlwind; and it is he who
taught the ancients "all they had to do in order to comply with what
the gods wanted at the five points of the world." There are goddesses,
too. Takotsi Nakawe ("Grandmother Growth") is the Earth goddess who
gives long life and is the mother of the armadillo, the peccary, and
the bear; to her belong maize, and squash, and beans, and sheep; she
is water, likewise, and is a Rain-Serpent in the east. Rain-Serpent
goddesses live in each of the Quarters--she of the east is red, and
the flowers of spring are her skirt; she of the west is white, like a
white cloud; blue is the Rain-Serpent goddess of the south, and to her
belong seeds and singing shamans; while the Rain-Serpent goddess of the
north, whose name means "Rain and Fog hanging in the Trees and Grass,"
is spotted. Another goddess is Young Mother Eagle, the Sun's mother,
and it is she who holds the world in her talons and guards everything;
the stars are her dress. With Grandmother Growth beneath, Young Mother
Eagle above, and the four Rain-Serpent goddesses, the six cardinal
points of the world are defined. It will be observed, too, that the
goddesses are deities of the feminine element, earth and water; while
the gods are divinities of the masculine elements, fire and air.

Beliefs such as these inevitably suggest those of the older Mexico, and
similarly in many of the rites of these Indians there are analogies
to Aztec cult. Perhaps most striking of all is the elaborate and
partly mystical adoration of the hikuli, or peyote (cacti of the genus
_Lophophora_), to which are ascribed mantic power and the induction of
ecstacy; and in which, no doubt, we see the marvellous plant which the
Aztec encountered in their migration. The cult extends to tribes remote
in the north and is not without a touch of welcome poetry, as in the
Tarahumare song given by Lumholtz[70]--

    "Beautiful lily, in bloom this morning, guard me!
    Drive away sorcery! Make me grow old!
    Let me reach the age at which I have to take up a walking-stick!
    I thank thee for exhaling thy fragrance, there where thou art standing!"




Native American civilization attained its apogee among the Maya.
This is not true in a political sense, for, though at the time of
the Conquest the Maya remembered a past political greatness, there
is no reason to believe that it had ever been, either in power or in
organization, a rival of such states as the Aztec and Inca. The Mayan
cities had been confederate in their unions rather than national,
aristocratic in their governments rather than monarchic; and in their
greatest unity the power of their strongest rulers, the lords of
Mayapan, appears to have been that of feudal suzerains, or at best
of insecure tyrants. Politically the Mayan cities present somewhat
the aspect of the loose-leaguing Hellenic states, and it is not
without probability that in each case the looseness of the political
organization was directly conducive to the intense civic pride which
undoubtedly in each case fostered an extraordinary development of the
arts. For in all the more intellectual tokens of culture--in art,
in mathematics, in writing, and in historical records--the Mayan
peoples surpassed all other native Americans, leaving in the ruins
of their cities and in the profusion of their sculptured monuments
such evidences of genius as only the most famous centres of Old-World
antiquity can rival.

The territories of the Mayan stock are singularly compact.[71] They
occupied--and their descendants now occupy--the Peninsula of Yucatan,
the valley of the Usumacinta, and the cordillera rising westerly and
sinking to the Pacific. The Rio Motagua, emptying into the Gulf of
Honduras, and the Rio Grijalva, debouching into the Bay of Campeche,
form respectively their south-eastern and western borders excepting
for the fact that on the eastern coasts of Mexico, facing the Gulf of
Campeche, the Huastec (and perhaps their Totonac neighbours) represent
a Mayan kindred. Between this western branch and the great Mayan centre
of Yucatan the coast was occupied by intrusive Nahuatlan tribes,
landward from whom lay the territories of the Zoquean and Zapotecan
stocks, the western neighbours of the Mayan peoples.

The culture of the Maya is distinctly related, either as parent or as
branch, to the civilizations of Mexico.[72] Affinities of Haustec and
Maya works of art indicate that the ancestors of the two branches were
not separated previous to a considerable progress in civilization;
while, in a broader way, the cultures of the Nahuatlan, Zapotecan, and
Mayan peoples have common elements of art, ritual, myth, and, above
all, of mathematical and calendric systems which mark them as sprung
from a common source. The Zapotec, situated between the Nahuatlan and
Mayan centres, show an intermediate art and science, whose elements
clearly unite the two extremes; while the appearance of place-names,
such as Nonoual and Tulan, or Tollan, in both Maya and Nahua tradition
imply at least a remote geographical community. The Nahuatlan tribes,
if we may believe their own account, were comparatively recent comers
into the realm of a civilization long anteceding them, and one
which they, as barbarians, adopted; the Maya (at least, mythically)
remembered the day of their coming into Yucatan. On the basis of these
two facts and the undoubted community of culture of the two races, it
has been not implausibly reasoned that the Toltec of Nahua tradition
were in fact the ancestors of the Maya, who, abandoning their original
home in Mexico, made their way to the peninsula, there to perfect their
civilization; and the common association of Quetzalcoatl ("Kukulcan"
in Maya) with the migration-legends adds strength to this theory.
Nevertheless, tradition points to the high antiquity of the southern
rather than of the Mexican centres of civilization; and as the facts
seem to be well explained by the assumption of a northern extension
of Mayan culture in the Toltec or pre-Toltec age, followed by its
recession in the period of its decline in the south, this may be taken
as the more acceptable theory in the light of present knowledge.
According to this view, the Nahua should be regarded as the late
inheritors of an older civilization which they had gradually pushed
back upon its place of origin and which, indeed, they were threatening
still further at the time of the Conquest, for even then Nahuatlan
tribes had forced themselves among and beyond the declining Maya.

When the Spaniards reached Yucatan, its civilization was already
decadent. The greater cities had been abandoned and were falling
into decay, while the country was anarchical with local enmities.
The past greatness of Mayapan and Chichen Itza was remembered; but
rather, as Bishop Landa's account shows,[73] for the intensification
of the jealousies of those who boasted great descent than as models
for emulation. Three brothers from the east--so runs the Bishop's
narrative--had founded Chichen Itza, living honourably until one of
them died, when dissensions arose, and the two surviving brothers were
assassinated. Either before this event, or immediately afterward, there
arrived from the west a great prince named Cuculcan who, "after his
departure, was regarded in Mexico as a god and was called Cezalcouati;
and he was venerated as a divinity in Yucatan also because of his
zeal for the public good." He quieted the dissensions of the people
and founded the city of Mayapan, where he built a round temple, with
four entrances opening to the four quarters, "entirely different from
all those that are in Yucatan"; and after ruling in Mayapan for seven
years he returned to Mexico, leaving peace and amity behind him. The
family of the Cocomes succeeded to the rule, and shortly afterward
came Tutul-Xiu and his followers, who had been wandering in the
interior for forty years. These formed an alliance with Mayapan;
but eventually the Cocomes, by introducing Mexican mercenaries (who
brought the bow, previously unknown there) were able to tyrannize over
the people. Under the leadership of the Xius, rising in revolt, the
Cocomes were overthrown, only one son out of the royal house escaping;
and Mayapan, after five centuries of power, was abandoned. The single
Cocom who escaped gathered his followers and founded Tibulon calling
his province Zututa, while the Mexican mercenaries settled at Canul.
Achchel, a noble who had married the daughter of the Ahkin-Mai, chief
priest of Mayapan and keeper of the mysteries, founded the kingdom of
the Cheles on the coast; and the Xius held the inlands. "Between these
three great princely houses of the Cocomes, Xivis, and Cheles there
were constant struggles and cruel hatreds, and these endure even now
that they have become Christians. The Cocomes say to the Xivis that
they assassinated their sovereign and stole his domains; the Xivis
reply that they are neither less noble nor less ancient and royal than
the others, and that far from being traitors, they were the liberators
of the country in slaying a tyrant. The Cheles, in turn, claim to be as
noble as any, since they are descended from the most venerated priest
of Mayapan. On another side, they mutually reviled each other in the
matter of food, since the Cheles, dwelling on the coast, would not give
fish or salt to the Cocomes, obliging them to send far for these, while
the Cocomes would not permit the Cheles the game and fruits of their

[Illustration: PLATE XVIII.]

 Temple 3, ruins of Tikal. After _Memoirs of the Peabody Museum_, Vol.
 V, Plate II.

Such is the picture which Bishop Landa gives of the conditions in the
north of the peninsula at the time of the Conquest, about a century
after the fall of Mayapan; and native records and archaeology alike
sustain its general truth.[74] At Chichen Itza the so-called Ball
Court is regarded as Mexican in inspiration, while in the same city
exist the ruins of a round temple similar to those which tradition
ascribes to Kukulcan, different in character from the normal Mayan
types. Reliefs representing warriors in Mexican garb also point to
Nahuatlan incursions, which may in fact have been the occasion for the
dissolution of the Mayan league of the cities of the north--Chichen
Itza, Uxmal, and Mayapan--in the _Books of Chilam Balam_ represented as
powerful in the day of the great among the Maya of Yucatan.

These "Books" are historical chronicles written after the Conquest
by members of native families--chiefly the Tutul-Xiu--and from
them, as key events of Yucatec history, a few events stand forth so
conspicuously that possible dates can be assigned to them. "This is
the arrangement of the _katuns_ [periods of 7200 days] since the
departure was made from the land, from the house of Nonoual, where
were the four Tutul-Xiu, from Zuiva in the west; they came from the
land of Tulapan, having formed a league."[75] So begins one of the
chronicles, indicating a remote migration of the Xiu family from the
west--an event which Spinden and Joyce place near 160 A. D.[76] The
next event recorded is a stay, eighty years later, at Chacnouiton (or
Chacnabiton), where a sojourn of ninety-nine years is recorded; and
thence the migration was renewed, Bakhalal, near the Gulf of Honduras,
being occupied for some sixty years. Here it was that the wanderers
"learned of," or discovered, Chichen Itza, and hither the people
removed about the middle of the fifth century, only to abandon it
after a century or more in order to occupy Chacanputun, on the Bay of
Campeche. Two hundred and sixty years later this seat was lost, and
the Itza returned, about the year 970 A. D., to Chichen Itza, while a
member of the Tutul-Xiu founded Uxmal, these two cities joining with
Mayapan to form the triple league which, for more than two centuries,
was to bring peace and prosperity and the climax of its civilization
to northern Yucatan. This happy condition was ended by "the treachery
of Hunac Ceel," who introduced foreign warriors (Mexicans, as their
names indicate) into Chichen Itza, overthrew its ruler, Chac Xib Chac,
and caused a state of anarchy. For a brief period power centred in
Mayapan, which ruled with something like order, until "by the revolt
of the Itza" it also lost its position and was finally depopulated in
1442, this disaster being closely followed by plagues, wars, and a
terrific storm, accompanied by inundation, all of which carried the
destruction forward.

This reconstruction of northern Yucatec history, however, gives no clue
to the origin or life of the cities of the south--Palenque, Piedras
Negras, and Yaxchilan in the lower central valley of the Usumacintla;
Seibal on its upper reaches, not far from Lake Peten, near which are
the ruins of Tikal and Naranjo; while, south-east of these, Copan,
on the river of the same name, and Quirigua mark the boundaries of
Mayan power toward Central America. These cities had been long in
ruins at the time of the Conquest; their builders were forgotten, and
their sites were hardly known; nor do the sparse traditions which
have survived in the south--the Cakchiquel _Annals_ and the _Popul
Vuh_--throw light upon them. Were it not for the ingenuity of scholars,
who have deciphered the numeral and dating system of their many
monuments, their period would have remained but vague surmise; nor
would this have sufficed without the aid of the Tutul-Xiu chronicles
to bring the readings within the range of our own chronological
system. The problem is by no means a simple one, even when the dates
on the monuments have been read; for the southern centres employed
a system--the "long count," as it is called--of which only a single
monumental specimen, a lintel at Chichen Itza, has been discovered in
the north. Nevertheless, with the aid of this inscription, and with
the probable identification of its date in the light of the _Books of
Chilam Balam_, scholars have arrived at something like consensus as to
the period of the southern floruit of Mayan culture. This falls within
the ninth Maya cycle (160 A. D. to 554 A. D., on Spinden's reckoning),
for it is a remarkable fact that practically all the monuments of the
south are of this cycle; and as the archaeological evidence indicates
an occupancy of nearly two centuries for several of the cities, it
is clear that the southern civilization, like the northern of a later
day, was marked by the contemporaneous rise of several great centres.
Morley[77] suggests that the south may even have been held by a
league of three cities, as was later the case in the north, Palenque
dominating the west, Tikal the centre and north, and Copan the south
and east. Two archaic inscriptions--on the Tuxtla Statuette and the
Leiden Plate, as the relics are called--bear dates of the eighth cycle,
the earlier falling a century or more before the beginning of our era;
and these, no doubt, imply a nascent civilization which was to reach
the height of its power in the fifth century, when the cities of the
south produced those masterpieces of sculpture which mark the climax of
an American aboriginal art, which was to disappear, a century later,
leaving scarcely a memory in the land of its origin.

As restored by Morley,[78] the history of Mayan civilization falls
into two periods of imperial development, each subdivided into several
epochs. The older, or parent empire is that of the south; the later,
formed by colonization begun while the old civilization was still
flourishing, is that of the peninsula. Morley's scheme is as follows:


 I.     Archaic Period       Earliest times ... c. 360 A. D.
 II.    Middle Period        c. 360 A. D. ...   c. 460 A. D.
 III.   Great Period         c. 460 A. D.  ...  c. 600 A. D.


 IV.    Colonization Period  c. 420 A. D.  ...  c. 620 A. D.
 V.     Transitional Period  c. 620 A. D.  ...  c. 980 A. D.
 VI.    Renaissance Period   c. 980 A. D.  ...  c. 1190 A. D.
 VII.   Toltec Period        c. 1190 A. D. ...  c. 1450 A. D.
 VIII.  Final Period         c. 1450 A. D. ...  c. 1537 A. D.

[Illustration: PLATE XIX.]

 Map of Yucatan, showing sites of ancient cities. After Morley, _BBE
 57_, Plate I.

Each of the earlier periods is marked by the appearance of new sites
and the foundation of new cities as well as by advance in the
arts; and as a whole the Old Empire is marked by the high development
of its sculpture and the use of the more complete mode of reckoning,
while in the cities of the New Empire architecture attains to its
highest development.

Such are the more plausible theories of Mayan culture history, although
there are others (those of Brasseur de Bourbourg, for example) which
would place the age of Mayan greatness earlier by many centuries.


From their remote beginnings, as with other peoples whose traditions
lead back to an age of migrations, the Mayan tribes remembered culture
heroes, tutors in the arts as well as founders of empire, priests as
well as kings, who may have been historic,[79] but who in origin were
probably gods rather than men--gods whom time had confused with the
persons of their priestly or royal worshippers, and in whose deeds
cosmic and historic events were distortedly intermingled. Tales of
three such heroes hold a central place in Mayan mythology: Votan, the
hero of Tzental legend, whose name is associated with Palenque and the
tradition of a great "Votanic Empire" of times long past; Zamna, or
Itzamna, a Yucatec hero; and Kukulcan, known to the Quiché as Gucumatz,
who is the Mayan equivalent of Quetzalcoatl. All three of these
hero-deities are reputed to have come from afar--strange in costume and
in custom,--to have been the inventors or teachers of writing, and to
have founded new cults.

The Tzental legend of Votan,[80] describing him as having appeared
from across the sea, declares that when he reached Laguna de Términos
he named the country "the Land of Birds and Game" because of the
abundant life of the region; and thence the Votanides ascended the
Usumacinta valley, ultimately founding their capital at Palenque, whose
older and perhaps original name was Nachan, or "House of Snakes."
Shortly afterward, no less astonishing to the Votanides than had been
their own apparition to the rude aboriginal, came other boatloads of
long-robed strangers, the first Nahuatlans; but these were peaceably
amalgamated into the new empire. Votan ruled many years, and, among
other works, composed a narrative of the origin of the Indian nations,
of which Ordoñez y Aguiar gives a summary. The chief argument of the
work, he says, aims to show that Votan was descended from Imos (one
of the genii, or guardians, of the days), that he was of the race of
Chan, the Serpent, and that he took his origin from Chivim. Being the
first man whom God had sent to this region, which we call America,
to people and divide the lands, he made known the route which he
had followed, and after he had established his seat, he made divers
journeys to Valum-Chivim. These were four in number: in the first he
related that having departed from Valum-Votan, he set out toward the
House of Thirteen Serpents and then went to Valum-Chivim, whence he
passed by the city where he beheld the House of God being built. He
next visited the ruins of the ancient edifice which men had erected at
the command of their common ancestor in order to climb to the sky; and
he declared that those with whom he there conversed assured him that
that was the place where God had given to each tribe its own particular
tongue. He affirmed that on his return from the House of God he went
forth a second time to examine all the subterranean regions which he
had passed, and the signs to be found there, adding that he was made
to traverse a subterranean road which, leading beneath the Earth and
terminating at the roots of the Sky, was none other than the hole of a
snake; and this he entered because he was "the Son of the Serpent."

Ordoñez would like to see in this legend (which he has obviously
accommodated to his desire) a record of historical wanderings in and
from Old World lands and out of Biblical times. Yet the narrative,
even in its garbled form, is clearly a cosmologic myth--at the least a
tale of the sun's journey, and probably this tale set in the general
context of Ages of the World (the four journeys of Votan?) analogous
to those of Nahuatlan myth and of the _Popul Vuh_. When it is added
that Votan was known by the epithet "Heart of the People," that his
successor was called Canam-Lum ("Serpent of the Earth"), and that
both of these were venerated as gods at the time of the Conquest,
no word need be added to emphasize the naturalistic character of
the myth; although there may be truth in a legend of Votanides, or
Votan-worshippers, as founders of Palenque and possibly as institutors
of Mayan civilization.

Zamna (Itzamna, Yzamna, "House of the Dews," or "Lap of the Dews")[81]
was the reputed bringer of civilization into the peninsula and the
traditional founder of Mayapan, which he was said to have made a
centre of feudal rule. Like Votan he was supposed to have been the
first to name the localities of the land, to have invented writing,
and to have instructed the barbarous aborigines in the arts. "With the
populations which came from the East," Cogolludo writes, "was a man,
called Zamna, who was as their priest, and who, they say, was the one
who gave the names by which they now distinguish, in their language,
all the seaports, hills, estuaries, coasts, mountains, and other parts
of the country, which assuredly is an admirable thing if he thus made a
division of every part of the land, of which scarcely an inch has not
its proper appellation in their tongue." After having lived to a great
age, Zamna is said to have been buried at Izamal, where his tomb-temple
became a centre for pilgrimage. In fact, Izamal is but a modification
of a name of Itzamna, since its older form is Itzmatul, which means,
says the Abbé Brasseur, "He who asks or obtains the dew or the frost."
The ancients of Izamal, Lizana declares, possessed a renowned idol,
Ytzmatul, which "had no other name ... although it was said that he was
a powerful king in this region, to whom obedience was given as to the
son of the gods. When he was asked how he was named and how he should
be addressed, he answered only, _Ytzen caan, ytzen muyal,_ 'I am the
dew, the substance, of the sky and clouds.'"

All this is plain euhemerism, for Itzamna was a deity of rain and
fertility; Yucatan, it is said, was without moisture when he came to
it; he rose from the sea; and his temples and his tomb were by the
seaside. His festival, according to Landa, fell in Mac (March), when
he was worshipped in company with the gods of abundance. He caused the
dead to rise and cured the sick; while in his honour a temple was built
with four doors leading to the four extremities of the country, as far
as Guatemala, Tabasco, and Chiapas, this shrine being called Kab-ul,
or "the Potent Hand,"--a striking image of the sky-deity reaching down
from heaven, of which there are analogues in Egypt and Peru. Both Landa
and Lizana state that he was the son of Hunab-Ku ("the Holy One"), "the
one living and true God, who, they said, is the greatest of the gods,
and who cannot be figured or represented because he is incorporeal....
From him everything proceeds,... and he has a son whom they name Hun
Ytzamna." All this indicates a deity of the descending rains and dews,
son of Father Heaven, and, through his association with the East, giver
of life, light, and knowledge. Students of the codices believe that
he is represented by "God D"--the aged divinity with the Roman nose
and toothless mouth, associated (as is Tlaloc) with the double-headed
serpent, which is clearly a sky-symbol. Perhaps, as Seler suggests, he
is the "Grandfather Above," the Lord of life, analogous to the Mexican

As has been indicated, the worship of Kukulcan,[83] to whom tradition
ascribed the latest appearance of the three culture heroes, was
especially associated with Chichen Itza and Mayapan, and perhaps
with Nahua immigrations. His name, like that of the Quiché demiurge
Gucumatz, means "Plumed Serpent" and is a precise equivalent of
"Quetzalcoatl"--the first element referring directly to the long
and iridescent plumes of the quetzal. The frequency of bird-serpent
symbols in Maya art, regarded as emblematic of this deity, as well as
images, both in the codices and on the monuments, of the long-nosed
god himself, indicate a deep-seated and fervent worship, so that it
may indeed be an open question as to whether Kukulcan is the pattern
or the copy of Quetzalcoatl, with the probabilities favoring the Maya
source. Certainly it is significant that, as Tozzer tells us, his name
still survives among the Yucatec Maya, while to the Lacandones he is
a many-headed snake which dwells with the great father, Nohochakyum:
"this snake is killed and eaten only at the time of great national
peril, as during an eclipse of the moon and especially that of the sun."

The importance of Kukulcan in the peninsula is indicated by Landa's
description of his festival, which occurred on the sixteenth day of
Xul (October 24). Upon Kukulcan's departure, says Landa (who clearly
regarded the god as an historical personage), there were some Indians
who believed that he had ascended into heaven, and regarding him as
a god, they built temples in his honour. After the destruction of
Mayapan, however, his feasts were kept only in the province of Mani,
"but the other districts, turn by turn, in recognition of what was due
to Kukulcan, presented each year at Mani sometimes four, sometimes
five, magnificent feather banners with which they celebrated the
_fête_." This festival was observed in the following manner: After
fasts and abstinences, the lords and priests of Mani assembled before
the multitude; and on the evening of the festal day, together with a
great number of mummers, they issued from the palace of the prince,
proceeding slowly to the temple of Kukulcan, which had been properly
adorned. When they had reached it and had prayed, they erected their
banners, setting forth their idols on a carpet of leafage; and having
lighted a new fire, they burned incense in many places, making
oblations of meat cooked without seasoning and of drink made from beans
and the seeds of gourds. The lords and all who had observed the fast
remained there five days and five nights, praying, burning copal, and
performing sacred dances, during which period the mummers went from
the house of one noble to that of another, performing their acts and
receiving the gifts offered them. At the end of five days they carried
their donations to the temple, where they shared all with the lords,
the singers, the priests, and the dancers; and after this the banners
and idols (doubtless household gods) were taken again to the palace of
the prince, whence each returned to his own house. "They say and hold
for certain that Kukulcan descended from the sky the last day of the
feast and personally received the sacrifices, the penitences, and the
offerings made in his honour."


For the names of the Maya gods we are mainly indebted to sparse
notices in the works of Landa and Lizana, who, in obliterating native
writings, destroyed far more than they preserved. Landa[84] gives a
general picture of the aboriginal religion, indicating a ritual not
less elaborate than the Mexican, though with far less human bloodshed.
"They had," he says, "a great number of idols and of sumptuous temples.
Besides the ordinary shrines, princes, priests, and chief men had
oratories with household idols, where they made special prayers and
offerings. They had as much devotion for Cozumel and the wells of the
Chichen Itza as we for pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem; and they went
to visit them and make offerings as we go to holy places.... They had
such a number of idols that their gods did not suffice them; for there
was not an animal nor a reptile of which they did not make images, and
they formed them also in the likeness of their gods and goddesses. They
had some idols of stone, but in small number, and others, of lesser
size, of wood, though not so many as of earthenware. The idols in wood
were esteemed to such a degree as to be counted for inheritances, and
in them they had the greatest confidence. They were not at all ignorant
that their idols were only the work of their own hands, dead
things and without divinity, but they venerated them for the sake of
what they represented and because of the rites with which they had
consecrated them."

[Illustration: PLATE XX. (_A_).]

 Tablet of the Foliated Cross, Palenque. This cross, like that shown in
 Plate XX (_B_), rests upon a monstrous head, doubtless representing
 the Underworld, and is surmounted by the quetzal, the symbol of rain
 and vegetation. It is possible that the greater of the two human
 figures represents a deity, the lesser a priest, or that both are
 divinities as in the analogous figures of the codices (cf. Plate IX,
 upper figure). After drawing in Maudsley [c], Vol. IV.

[Illustration: PLATE XX (_B_).]

 Tablet of the Cross, Palenque. The cross was encountered as an object
 of worship on the Island of Cozumel by the first-coming Spaniards.
 Cruciform figures of several types are of frequent occurrence as
 cosmic symbols in Mexican and Mayan art. With this plate and with
 Plate XX (A) should be compared Plates VI and IX. After drawing in
 Maudsley [c], Vol. IV.

[Illustration: PLATE XX (_C_).]

 Tablet of the Sun, Palenque. The two caryatid-like figures beneath the
 solar symbol doubtless represent the upbearers of the heavens (cf.
 Plate IX, lower figure). After drawing in Maudsley [c], Vol. IV.

Among the deities mentioned by Landa are the Chacs, or "gods of
abundance," whose feasts were held in the spring of the year in
connexion with the four Bacab, or deities of the Quarters; and again in
association with Itzamna at the great March festival designed to obtain
water for the crops, when the hearts of every kind of wild animal and
reptile were offered in sacrifice. The Chacs were evidently rain-gods,
like the Mexican Tlaloque, with a ruler, Chac, corresponding to Tlaloc.
The name was likewise applied to four old men annually chosen to assist
the priests in the festivals, and from Landa's descriptions of the
parts played by them it is clear that they represented the genii of the

Other divinities who are named include Ekchuah (also mentioned by
Cogolludo and Las Casas), to whom travellers prayed and burned copal:
"At night, wherever they rested, they erected three small stones,
depositing upon each of these some grains of their incense, while
before them they placed three other flat stones on which they put more
incense, entreating the god which they name Ekchuah that he would
deign to bring them safely home." There were, again, medicine-gods,
Cit-Bolon-Tum and Ahau-Chamahez, names which Brasseur de Bourbourg[85]
interprets as meaning respectively "Boar-with-the-Nine-Tusks" and
"Lord-of-the-Magic-Tooth." There were gods of the chase; gods of fisher
folk; gods of maize, as Yum Kaax ("Lord of Harvests"), of cocoa; and
no doubt of all other food plants. Of the annual feasts, the most
significant appear to have been the New Year's consecration of the
idols in the month Pop (July); the great medicine festival, with
devotion to hunters' and fishermen's gods, in Zip (September); the
festival of Kukulcan in Xul (October); the fabrication of new idols in
Mol (December); the Ocna, or renovation of the temple in honour of the
gods of the fields, in Yax (January); the interesting expiation for
bloodshed--"for they regarded as abominable all shedding of blood apart
from sacrifice"--in Zac (February); the rain-prayer to Itzamna and the
Chacs, in March (mentioned above); and the Pax (May) festival in which
the Nacon, or war-chief, was honoured, and at which the Holkan-Okot, or
"Dance of the Warriors," was probably the notable feature. The war-god
is represented in the codices with a black line upon his face, supposed
to represent war-paint, and is often shown as presiding over the body
of a sacrificial victim; while with him is associated not only the
death-god, Ahpuch, but another grim deity, the "Black Captain," Ek Ahau.

Celestial divinities were probably numerous in the Maya pantheon, as
was almost inevitable in view of the extraordinary development of
astronomical observation. Xaman Ek was the North Star, while Venus
was Noh Ek, the Great Star. The Sun, according to Lizana,[86] was
worshipped at Izamal as Kinich-Kakmo, the "Fiery-Visaged Sun"; and
the macaw was his symbol, for, they said, "the Sun descends at midday
to consume the sacrifice as the macaw descends in plumage of many
colours." In view of all the fire thus came at noon upon the altars,
after which the priest prophesied what should come to pass, especially
by way of pestilence, famine, and death. "The Yucatec have an excessive
fear of death," says Landa, "as may be seen in all their rites with
which they honour their gods, which have no other end than to obtain
health and life and their daily bread"; and he continues with a
description of the abode of blessed souls, a land of food, drink, and
sweet savours, where "there is a tree which they call Yaxche, of an
admirable freshness under the shady branches of which they will enjoy
eternal pleasure.... The pains of a wicked-life consist in a descent to
a place still lower which they call Mitnal, there to be tormented by
demons and to suffer the tortures of hunger, cold, famine, and sorrow."
The lord of this hell is Hanhau; and the future life, good or bad, is
eternal, for the life of souls has no end. "They hold it as certain
that the souls of those who hang themselves go to paradise, there to be
received by Ixtab, goddess of the hanged"; and many ended their lives
in this manner for but light reason such as a disappointment or an

The image of Ixtab, with body limp and head in a loop, as if hanged,
is one of those recognized in the codices; for in default of mythic
tales, few of which are preserved concerning the Yucatec gods, these
codex drawings and the monumental images furnish our main clues to
the Maya pantheon. Following the suggestion of Schellhas,[87] it is
customary to designate the codical deities (nameless, or uncertainly
named) by letters. Thus, God A is represented with visible vertebrae
and skull head, and is therefore identified as the death-god, named
Hanhau in Landa's account, Ahpuch by Hernández, and Yum Cimil ("Lord
of Death") by the Yucatec of today. Death is occasionally shown as
an owl-headed deity, and is also associated with the moan-bird (a
kind of screech-owl), with the god of war, and with a being that
is dubiously identified as a divinity of frost and of sin. God B,
whose image occurs most frequently of all in the codices, and who
is represented with protruding teeth, a pendulous nose, and lolling
tongue, is closely connected with the serpent and with symbols of the
meteorological elements and of the cardinal points; and is regarded as
representing Kukulcan. God C, the "god with the ornamented face," is
a sky-deity, tentatively identified with the North Star, or perhaps
with the constellation of the Little Bear. God D, the old divinity
with the Roman nose and the toothless jaws, is regarded by Schellhas
as a god of the moon or of the night, although in him other scholars
see Itzamna, regarded as a sun-deity. God E is the maize-god, probably
Yum Kaax, or "Lord of Harvests"; God F is the deity of war; and with
him is sometimes associated God M, the "black god with the red lips,"
perhaps Ekchuah, the divinity of merchants and travellers, for war and
commerce are connected in the New World as in the Old.

These seven deities are those of most frequent occurrence in the
codices, though the full list, which surely gives a general picture
of the Maya pantheon, includes also God G, the sun-god God H, the
Chicchan-god (or serpent-deity); God I, a water-goddess; God K, the
"god with the ornamented nose"; God L, the "old black god," perhaps
related to M; God N, the "god of the end of the year"; God O, a goddess
with the face of an old woman; and God P, a frog-god. Others are animal
deities,--the dog, jaguar, vulture, tortoise, and, in differing shapes
of representation, the panther, deer, peccary, bat, and many forms of
birds and animals.

Not a few of these ancient deities hold among the Maya of today
something of their ancient dignity: they are slightly degraded, not
utterly overthrown by the intervention of Catholic Christianity. At
least this is the picture given by Tozzer as result of his researches
among the Yucatac villagers. According to them, he says,[88] there are
seven heavens above the earth, each pierced by a hole at its center.
A giant ceiba, growing in the exact center of the earth, rears its
branches through the holes of the heavens until it reaches the seventh,
where lives _El Gran Dios_ of the Spaniards; and it is by means of this
tree that the spirits of the dead ascend from heaven to heaven. Below
this topmost Christianized heaven, dwell the spirits, under the rule
of _El Gran Dios_, which are none other than the ancient Maya gods.
In the sixth heaven are the bearded old men, the Nukuchyumchakob, or
Yumchakob, white-haired and very fond of smoking, who are the lords of
rain and the protectors of human beings--apparently the Chacs of the
earlier chroniclers, though the description of them would seem to imply
that Kukulcan is of their number; perhaps originally he was their lord;
now they receive their orders from _El Gran Dios_.

In the fifth heaven above dwell the protecting spirits of the fields
and the forests; in the fourth the protectors of animals; in the third
the spirits ill-disposed toward men; in the second the lords of the
four winds; while in the first above the earth reside the Yumbalamob,
for the special protection of Christians. These latter are invisible
during the day, but at night they sit beside the crosses reared at
the entrances of the pueblos, one for each of the cardinal points,
protecting the villagers from the dangers of the forest. With obsidian
knives they cut through the wind, and make sounds by which they signal
to their comrades stationed at other entrances to the town. Truly, this
description answers astonishingly to the Aztec lord of the crossroads,

Below the earth is Kisin, the earthquake, the evil one, who resents the
chill rains sent down by the Yumchakob, and raises a wind to clear the
sky. The spirits of suicides dwell here also, and all souls excepting
those of war-slain men and women dead of child-birth (which go directly
to heaven) are doomed for a time to this underworld realm.

Other diminished deities are Ahkinshok, the owner of the days; the
guardians of the bees; the spirit of new fire; Ahkushtal, of birth;
Ahmakiq, who locks up the crop-destroying winds; patrons of medicine;
and a crowd of workers of ill to men, among them the Shtabai,
serpentiform demons who issue from their cavernous abodes and in female
form snare men to ruin. Paqok, on the other hand, wanders abroad at
night and attacks women. The Yoyolche are also night-walkers; their
step is half a league, and they shake the house as they pass.

Tozzer makes the interesting observation that in many cases, where
among the Maya is found a class of spirits, the purely heathen
Lacandones recognize a single god. Thus, to the Nukuchyumchakob of the
Maya corresponds the Lacandone Nohochakyum, who is the Great Father
and chief god of their religion, having as his servants the spirits
of the east, the constellations, and the thunder. At the end of the
world he will wear around his body the serpent Hapikern, who will draw
people to him by his breath and slay them. Nohochakyum is one of four
brothers, apparently lords of the four quarters. As is usual in such
groups, he of the east is pre-eminent. Usukun, one of the brothers, is
a cave-dweller, having the earthquake for his servant; he is regarded
with dread, and his image is set apart from the other gods. There
are a number of other gods and goddesses of the Lacandones, several
of which are clearly identifiable as the same as the Maya deities
described by Landa and other early writers. As a whole, the pantheon
is a humane one; it lacks that quality of terror which makes hideous
the congregation of the Aztec deities. Most of the gods, Maya and
Lacandone, are kindly-disposed toward men, and doubtless it was this
kindliness reflected back which kept the Maya altars relatively free of
human blood.


No region in America appears to have furnished so many or such striking
analogies to Christian ritual and symbolism as did the Mayan. It
was here, on the island of Cozumel, that the cross was an object of
veneration even at the first coming of the Spaniard; and when the
rites of the natives were studied by the missionaries, they were
found to include many that seemed to be Christian in inspiration.
Bishop Landa[89] describes at length the Yucatec baptism, which was
designated by a name equivalent, he says, to _renascor_--"for in the
Yucatec tongue _zihil_ means to be reborn"--and which was celebrated
in a complex festival, godfather and all. The name of the rite was
Em-Ku, or "Descent of God"; and, he adds, "They believe that they
receive therefrom a disposition inclined to good conduct and that it
guarantees them from all temptations of the devil with respect to
temporal things, while by means of this rite and a good life they hope
to secure salvation." Sacraments of various sorts, confession of sins,
penitence, penance, and pilgrimages to holy shrines were other ritual
similarities with Catholic Christianity which could not fail to be
impressive and which actually furthered the change of religion with a
minimum of friction.

Along with these analogies of ritual there were likenesses of belief:
traditions of a deluge, a confusion of tongues, and a dispersion of
peoples, as well as reminiscences of legendary teachers of the arts of
life and of the truths of religion in which it was not difficult for
the eye of faith to discern the missionary labours of Saint Thomas. Las
Casas,[90] quoting a certain cleric, Padre Francisco Hernández, tells
of a Yucatec trinity: one of their old men, when asked as to their
ancient religion, said that "they recognized and believed in God who
dwells in heaven, and that this God was Father and Son and Holy Spirit,
and that the Father was called Içona, who had created men and all
things, that the Son was named Bacab, and that he was born of a virgin
called Chibirias, who is in heaven with God; the Holy Spirit they
termed Echuac." The son, Bacab, it is added, being scourged and crowned
with thorns by one Eopuco, was tied upon a cross with extended arms,
where he died; but after three days he arose and ascended into heaven
to be with his father. The name Echuac signifies "merchant"; "and good
merchandise the Holy Spirit bore to this world, for He filled the earth
with gifts and graces so divine and so abundant."

The honesty of this account is no less evident than its distortion,
which may have been due as much to the confused reminiscences of the
old Indian as to the imaginative expectancy of the Spanish recorder.
Bacab and Ekchuah are mentioned by Landa and others, and Las Casas also
states that the mother of Chibirias was named Hischen (_que nosotros
decimos haber sido Sant' Ana_), who must surely be the goddess Ixchel,
goddess of fecundity, invoked at child-birth. The association of the
Bacabs (for there are four of them) with the cross and with heaven is
also intelligible, since the Bacabs are genii of the Quarters, where
they upheld the skies and guarded the waters, which were symbolized in
rites by water-jars with animal or human heads. They are, no doubt,
in the Maya region as in Mexico, represented by caryatid and cruciform
figures, of which, we may suppose, the celebrated Tablet of the Cross
and Tablet of the Foliate Cross at Palenque are examples.

[Illustration: PLATE XXI.]

 Stone Lintel from Menché, Chiapas, representing a Maya priest
 asperging a penitent who is drawing a barbed cord through his tongue.
 After photograph in the Peabody Museum.

The character of the Bacab is best indicated by Landa's[91] description
of the New Year festival celebrated for them; and he calls them "four
brothers whom God, when creating the world, had placed at its four
corners in order to uphold the heaven ... though some say that these
Bacabs were among those who were saved when the earth was destroyed
in the Deluge." In all the Yucatec cities there were, Landa states,
four entrances toward the four points, each marked by two huge stones
opposite one another; and each of the four successive years designated
by a different New Year's sign was introduced by rites performed at
the stones marking the entrance appropriate to the year. Thus Kan
years were devoted to the south. The omen of this year was called
Hobnil, and the festival began with the fabrication of a statue of
Kan-u-Uayeyab which was placed with the stones of the south, while a
second idol, called Bolon-Zacab, was erected at the principal entrance
of the chief's house. When the populace had assembled they proceeded,
along a path well-swept and adorned with greenery, to the gate of the
south, where priests and nobles, burning incense mingled with maize,
sacrificed a fowl. This done, they placed the statue upon a litter
of yellow wood, "and upon its shoulders an angel--horribly fashioned
and painted--as a sign of an abundance of water and of a good year to
come." Dancing, they conveyed the litter to the presence of the statue
of Bolon-Zacab at the chief's house, where further offerings were made
and a banquet was shared by such strangers as might be within the
gates. "Others drawing blood and scarifying their ears, anointed a
stone which was there, an idol named Kanal-Acantun; and they moulded
also a heart of bread-dough and another of gourd-seeds which they
presented to the idol Kan-u-Uayeyab. Thus they guarded this statue
and the other during the unlucky days, smoking them with incense and
with incense mingled with ground maize for they believed that if they
neglected these rites, they would be subject to the ills pertaining to
this year. When the unlucky days were past, they carried the image of
Bolon-Zacab to the temple, and the idol of the other to the eastern
gate of the town, that there they might begin the New Year; and
leaving it in this place, they returned home, each occupying himself
with the duties of the New Year." This was regarded as a year of good
augury; and similar rites were performed in connexion with each of the
other year-signs. Under Muluc the omen was called Canzienal and was
also regarded as good. It was the year of the east, and the gate was
marked by an idol named Chac-u-Uayeyab, while the deity presiding at
the chief's house was termed Kinich-Ahau, the meaning of which must
be "Lord of the Solar Eye" if Brasseur's interpretation be correct.
War-dances were a feature of the celebration, doubtless to _Sol
Invictus_; and offerings made in the form of yolks of eggs further
suggest solar symbolism; while it was believed that eye-disease or
injury would be the lot of anyone who neglected the rites. Ix years
were devoted to the north, with an omen called Zac-Ciui and regarded
as evil. The god of the quarter was named Zac-u-Uayeyab, and he of
the centre Yzamna, to whom were offered turkeys' heads, quails'
feet, etc. Cotton was the sole crop in which abundance was to be
expected, while ills of all sorts threatened. Darker still were the
prognostics of Hozanek, the omen of Cauac years, sacred to the west.
An image of Ek-u-Mayeyab was carried to the portals of the west, while
Uac-Mitun-Ahau presided in the central place; and on a green and black
litter the god of the gate was carried to the centre, having on his
shoulders a calabash and a dead man, with an ash-coloured bird of prey
above. "This they conveyed in a manner showing devotion mingled with
distress, performing dances which they called Xibalba-Okot, which
signifies 'dance of the demon.'" Pests of ants and devouring birds
were among the plagues expected; and among the rites by which they
sought to exorcise these evils was a night of bonfires, through the hot
coals of which they raced with bare feet, hoping thus to expiate the
threatened ills, all ending in an intoxication "demanded both by custom
and by the heat of the fire."


It is probable that the Mexican calendar is remotely of Mayan origin,
especially as the fundamental features of the calendric system are
the same in the two regions; viz., first, the combination of the
_Tonalamatl_ of two hundred and sixty days with the year of three
hundred and sixty-five days in a "round" or "bundle," of fifty-two such
years; and second, the co-ordination of cyclic returns of calendric
symbols with the synodic periods of the planets, serving, along with
purely numerical counts, to distinguish and characterize the major
cycles. It is in this second feature that the Maya calendar is vastly
superior to the Mexican; forming, indeed, by far the most impressive
achievement of aboriginal America in the way of scientific conception.

The Mayan name for the period known to the Aztec as _Xiuhmolpilli_,
or "Bundle of the Years," is unknown; it is customarily designated
as the Calendar Round. In construction it is essentially the same as
the Mexican: the day, _kin_ (literally, "sun"), is combined in the
twenty-day period, or _uinal_ (probably related to _uinic_, "man,"
referring to the foundation of the vigesimal system in the full count
of fingers and toes); and thirteen of these periods are united in the
_Tonalamatl_ (the Maya name is unknown), which Goodman designates the
"Burner Period," believing it to be ceremonially related to incense
burning. As the combination of thirteen numerals with the twenty
day-signs causes the completion of their possible combinations in this
period, the series, as with the Mexicans, begins anew at the end of the
_Tonalamatl_; and is so continued, repeating indefinitely. The names
of the Maya days, corresponding to the twenty signs, are: Imix, Ik,
Akbal, Kan, Chicchan, Cimi, Manik, Lamat, Muluc, Oc, Chuen, Eb, Ben,
Ix, Men, Cib, Caban, Eznab, Cauac, and Ahau. Each of these day-signs
(and probably each of the thirteen numbers accompanying them) had
its divinatory significance; and it is quite certain, from Landa's
references alone, that divination formed a prominent use of calendric

The year, or _haab_, of the Maya, again like the Mexican, consisted of
eighteen _uinals_--Pop, Uo, Zip, Zotz, Tzec, Xul, Yaxkin, Mol, Chen,
Yax, Zac, Ceh, Mac, Kankin, Muan, Pax, Kayab, and Cumhu,--plus five
"nameless days," or Uayeb. This year of three hundred and sixty-five
days is, of course, a quarter of a day less than the true year, and
such astronomers as the Maya must have been could not have failed to
discover this fact. Bishop Landa states explicitly that they were
quite aware of it; but they did not, in all probability, resort to
any intercalation to correct the defect, for the whole genius of the
Mayan calendar consists in their unswerving maintenance of the count
of days. On the other hand, it is probable that the priests who made
the solar observations adjusted the seasonal feasts to the changing
dates as in the precisely similar custom of ancient Egypt, where each
ascending Pharaoh swore to preserve the civil year of three hundred and
sixty-five days without intercalation: the immense power and prestige
given to the priesthood by this custom is a sufficient reason for its
perpetuity. The fact that 20 (_uinal_) and 365 (_haab_) factor with 5
gives, again, the division of the _uinal_ days into groups of five,
each headed by one of the four--Ik, Manik, Eb, and Caban--which alone
could be New Year's days.

The names of the "month," or divisions of the year, like the names of
the _uinal_ days, were symbolized by hieroglyphs, and the days of the
month were numbered 0 to 19, since in their reckoning of time the Maya
always counted that which had elapsed. Thus every day had a double
designation: its position in the _Tonalamatl_, determined by day-sign
and day-number (1 ... 13), and its position in the _haab_, determined
by "month"-sign (_uinal_ or Uayeb) and day-number (0 ... 19), as, for
example, the date-name of the Maya Era, "4 Ahau 8 Cumhu." The possible
combinations of these elements is exhausted only in a cycle of 18,980
days, equal to 73 _Tonalamatls_ and to 52 _haabs_. This is the Calendar
Round, or cycle of date-names, which, like the other elements in the
Maya calendar, is endlessly repeated. It is probable that the Aztec had
no such precision in their dating system even within the Year-Bundle,
evidence for the employment of month-signs in computation of the
day-series being uncertain.

In yet another important respect the Maya were far in advance of the
Mexicans, for the latter had no adequate means of distinguishing dates
of the same name belonging to separate Year-Bundles, in consequence
of which their historic records are full of confusion; whereas the
Maya developed an elaborate method--still, curiously enough, a
day-count--parallel with the Calendar Round series, by which they were
able to record historic dates for immense periods. The system was
essentially mathematical and was based on their vigesimal notation, its
elements being as follows:

 Kin                            1 day
 Uinal                          20 days
 Tun (18 Uinals)                360 days
 Katun (20 Tuns)                7,200 days
 Cycle (20 Katuns)              144,000 days
 Great Cycle, either 13 Cycles  1,872,000 days
   or 20 Cycles                 2,880,000 days

In this series, it will be observed, the third day-group does not rise
from the second by vigesimal multiplication; and it is assumed that
it has been, as it were, psychologically deflected from the regular
ascending series by the attraction of the 18 _uinals_ of the natural
year in order to bring the _tun_ into some kind of conformity with
the _haab_. Beyond the _katun_, the native names for the cycles are
unknown, though their symbols have been determined.

The series of units of time thus composed is that employed by the
Maya of Yucatan, as recovered from the early Spanish records and the
codices. In this region the _katun_ was the historical unit of prime
significance, for both Landa and Cogolludo note the fact that at the
end of every _katun_ a graven stone was erected or laid in the walls
of an edifice to record the event. Study of the sculptured stelae of
the capitals and cities of the Old Empire of the south has convinced
archaeologists that these stelae are similarly, in great part,
monuments erected not primarily to honor men or commemorate events
but to mark the passage of time. The units, however, as recorded from
readings of the dates, are not primarily _katuns_ (of 7200 days), but
halves and quarters of the _katun_. Morley,[93] to whom belongs credit
of the demonstration of the system, gives to these lesser periods
the names _hotun_ ("five _tuns_," or 1800 days) and _lahuntun_ ("ten
_tuns_," or 3600 days). The amazing monumental wealth, therefore, of
the old Maya cities turns out to be chiefly due to the importance
which the Maya peoples attached to the idea of time itself and to the
recording of its passage.

Such an idea could only have reference to religious or
mythico-religious beliefs, of the nature of which something is to be
inferred from the monumental and codical indications of the cycles and
the Great Cycle which entered into Maya computations. The cycle is
clearly a conception induced by the necessities of vigesimal notation,
with, no doubt, mythic associations suggested by its pictographic
notation; it is a period of twenty _katuns_, just as the _katun_
is twenty _tuns_. But the duration of the Great Cycle is matter of
dispute. Bowditch and Goodman, basing their judgment on the fact
that the cycles in the inscriptions are numbered 1 ... 13, and again
upon the fact that the two known starting-points, or eras, of Maya
monumental chronology are just thirteen cycles apart, regard the Great
Cycle as composed of thirteen cycles; Morley, chiefly from evidence
in the codices, believes that it was composed of twenty cycles. It is
possible, of course, that the conception of the Great Cycle changed
from the time of the Old Empire to that of the New, perhaps influenced
by the change in the period of erecting monumental records; but in any
case the immense numbers of days embraced in the Maya reckonings excite
our wonder. Such calculations could have been made possible only by
the use of a highly developed arithmetical system, and this the Maya
possessed; for they had developed a positional notation, employing a
sign for zero, a system of dots and bars for the integers 1 ... 19,
while the conception of positive and negative was achieved through the
use of these elements recorded vertically--units above zero, twenties
above the units, _tuns_ in the third position upward, and so on. The
_tun_ (= 360) is an obvious calendric number, and this makes clear that
the Maya certainly developed the higher possibilities of their mode of
computation in connexion with the needs of their reckoning of time. The
perfection of their achievement is indicated by the fact that through
its use they were enabled to distinguish any date within the range of a
Great Cycle from any other, thus creating a numbered time-scheme which
in our own system would be measured by millenia.

To complete its historical value only one element need be added, the
selection of an era from which to reckon dates. Two such eras are
known, one bearing the name 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu, and the other (found in
only two inscriptions) that of 4 Ahau 8 Zotz, this falling thirteen
cycles earlier than the other. The former, from which nearly all the
monumental inscriptions are reckoned, is some three thousand years
anterior to the period of the inscriptions themselves and probably,
therefore, refers to an event in the third millennium B. C., assuming
that the monuments belong to the first thousand years of our era. It
is altogether unlikely that a date so remote can represent any but a
mythical event, such, we may suppose, as the end of a preceding "Sun,"
or Age of the World, and the beginning of that in which we live; for
the Maya, like the Nahua, possessed the myth of ages of this type.
Cogolludo mentions two of these ages as terminated by annihilation
of the human race through epidemic, and a third as ended by storm
and flood; while Landa's account of the calamities following the
destruction of Mayapan seems clearly to be intermingled with a myth of
world catastrophes. The _Popul Vuh_ shows that the character of the
Quiché legend was not essentially unlike that of the Aztec, who may,
indeed, have received from the Maya their cosmogony along with their
calendric system, of which it is doubtless in some degree a product.

Astronomical data must have entered into the calculation of these great
epochs. Förstemann and other students have discovered in the codices,
particularly in the Dresden Codex, evidences of the reckoning of the
period not only of Venus (five hundred and eighty-four days), but
also of lunar revolutions, of the period of Mars (seven hundred and
eighty days), and possibly of the cycles Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury
as well. Such periods, for astrological and divinatory purposes,
were recorded in the books of the priests; and, as elsewhere in the
world, the synodic revolutions of the planets, and the recurrences of
their stations with respect to the day-signs, gave the material for
the formation of huge cycles of time which their mathematical system
enabled them to compute. Thus it is that Förstemann finds near the
end of the Dresden Codex vast numbers--designated as "Serpent Numbers"
because of the occurrence of the serpent-symbol in connexion with
them--which correspond to such cyclic recombinations of signs and

"In the so-called 'serpent numbers,'" writes Morley,[94] "a grand total
of nearly twelve and a half million days (about thirty-four thousand
years) is recorded again and again. In these well-nigh inconceivable
periods all the smaller units may be regarded as coming at last to a
more or less exact close. What matter a few score years one way or
the other in this virtual eternity? Finally, on the last page of the
manuscript, is depicted the Destruction of the World, for which the
highest numbers have paved the way. Here we see the rain serpent,
stretching across the sky, belching forth torrents of water. Great
streams of water gush from the sun and moon. The old goddess, she of
the tiger claws and forbidding aspect, the malevolent patroness of
floods and cloudbursts, overturns the bowl of the heavenly waters. The
crossbones, dread emblem of death, decorate her skirt, and a writhing
snake crowns her head. Below with downward-pointed spears, symbolic of
the universal destruction, the black god stalks abroad, a screeching
owl raging on his fearsome head. Here, indeed, is portrayed with
graphic touch the final all-engulfing cataclysm."

[Illustration: PLATE XXII.]

 Final page from the _Codex Dresdensis_ showing "Serpent Numbers" and
 typifying the cataclysms destroying the world. See pages 151-2 for
 description, and compare Plates XII, XIII, XIV.

In their sculpture the Maya far surpassed the artistic expression
of all other Americans, attaining not only decorative power, but
such idealization of the human countenance as is possible only among
people whose aesthetic sensibilities have an intellectual background
and guidance. No more convincing evidence of this mental power could
be forthcoming than is shown in their mathematical and astronomical
learning, at once a testimony to the antiquity of their culture and to
the force of their native genius.


Just as the notion of great astronomical cycles shadowed forth
eschatological cataclysms, so it reverted to cyclic aeons of the past
in which the world came to its present form. There is no such wealth
of creation myth preserved from the ancient Maya as from the Nahua,
but enough is recorded to make it clear that the ideas of the two
peoples were essentially one: indeed, they clearly belong to a group
of cosmogonical conceptions extending as far to the north as
the Pueblos of the United States, and not without influence beyond,
into the prairie country. Possibly the whole complex conception had
its first telling with the Maya; it is with them, at least, that the
numerical and calendric ideas with which it is logically associated
received the greatest development and give the most natural _raison
d'être_ to the mythic lore.

Something of the nature of the Maya conception is intimated by
Cogolludo and Landa, as noted in a preceding paragraph. More is given
in Tozzer's account of Maya religion as it is today.[95] According
to information obtained from Mayas of Valladolid, the world is now
in the fourth period of its existence. In the first, there lived the
Saiyamkoob, "the Adjusters," the primitive race of Yucatan, who were
dwarfs and built the cities now in ruins. Their work was done in
darkness, when as yet there was no sun. When the sun appeared they were
turned into stone, and their images are to be found today in the ruins.
In this period there was a living rope extending from earth to sky, by
which food was brought down to the builders. Blood was in this rope;
but the rope was cut, the blood flowed out, and earth and sky were
parted. Water-over-the-earth ended this period. It was followed by the
age of the Tsolob, "the Offenders"; and these, too, were destroyed by
a flood. The third age was that in which the Maya reigned, but their
day likewise passed amid waters of destruction, to give place to the
present age peopled by a mixture of all the races that have previously
dwelt in Yucatan.

It is easy to align these notions with what we know of Mexican myth,
though it is evident that history rather than genesis is its present
significance. But purely cosmogonic is the fragment from the Book of
Chilam Balam of Chumayel published by Martínez Hernández[96] with its
suggestion of the Thirteen Lords of the Day captured by the Nine of the
Night as the first great act:

"During the 11 _ahau_, Ahmucen-cab come [came] to cover the faces of
Oxlahun-ti-ku (thirteen gods); his names were unknown except those of
his sister and of his children: and they said that the faces also were
equally not visible; then, when the world was made, they knew not that
they would be entirely cast away; and Oxlahun-ti-ku was captured by
Bolon-ti-ku (nine gods); then he brought down fire; then he brought
down salt; then he brought down the stones and trees and came to play
with the stones and trees; and Oxlahun-ti-ku was caught and they
broke his head and buffeted him, and also carried him on their backs;
and they despoiled him of his dragon and his _tizne_ [black paint or
soot]; and they took fresh shoots of _yaxum_ and white beans, tuberous
roots cut up small, and the heart of small calabash seeds and of large
calabash seeds cut up small, and of black beans cut up small. This
first Bolon-tsac-cab (nine orders of the world) made a thick covering
of seeds and went away to the thirteenth heaven, and the surface of the
earth remained formed, and the peaks of the rocks of the world.

"And the heart of Oxlahun-ti-ku went away, the hearts of the tuberous
roots refusing to go. And there came women without-fathers, with those
who have hard work, the without-husbands, who, although living have no
heart; and wrapped in dog's grass, they were buried in the sea.

"All at once came the water after the dragon was carried away. The
heaven was broken up; it fell upon the earth; and they say that
Cantul-ti-ku (four gods), the four Bacab, were those who destroyed
it. Then, when the universal destruction was past, they placed as
dweller Kan-xib-yúi, to order it anew. And the tree, the white _ymix_,
was placed standing in the north; and he placed the supporting poles
of the heaven; and it was said that this tree was the symbol of
the universal destruction." Four other trees, each of a different
colour, each symbol of a destruction of the world, were planted at
the remaining quarters and the centre; and the form of the world was
then complete. "'The whole world,' said Ah-uuc-chek-nale (he who
seven times makes fruitful), 'proceeded from the seven bosoms of the
earth.' And he descended to make fruitful Itzam-kab-ain (the female
whale with alligator feet), when he came down from the central angle
of the heavenly region. The four lights, the four regions of the
stars, revolved. As yet there was no light; absolutely there was no
sun; absolutely there was no night; absolutely there was no moon. They
awoke; and from then began the world. At that instant the world began.
Thirteen numeral orders, with seven, is the period since the beginning
of the world."




By some accident of history the most significant literary records
of the Mayan peoples--and, in their way, of any American stock--are
not preserved to us from the builders of the monumental cities, the
Maya themselves, but from two closely related tribes belonging to the
southernmost group of the Mayan race. The Quiché (frequently, Kiché)
and the Cakchiquel (or Kakchiquel) dwelt in the mountains of Guatemala
overlooking the Pacific, where, except for the Nahuatlan Pipil, to the
east of them, their neighbours were other Mayan tribes--the Tzental,
the Mame, and their kindred to the west; the Pokonchi, the Kekchi, and
others to the north; and the Chorti to the east. It is in the lands
of these groups, mountain valleys draining toward the Gulf and the
Caribbean, that the ruins of the monumental cities chiefly lie. At the
time of the Conquest their sites had long been abandoned, though it
must not be supposed that the tribes occupying the land were savage.
On the contrary, they lived in well-built, fortified towns, with fine
residences for the chiefs and pyramid temples for the service of the
gods; but the remains of the cities of the Conquest era have yielded
no such wealth of art as has been revealed by the exploration of the
homes of the ancestral Maya, nor do the traditions of the tribes who
inhabited the region at the coming of the Spaniards throw any light
upon the builders of the ancient cities which, indeed, they seem
scarcely to have known. Rather, when the Quiché and their kindred
entered the land, it appears to have been long deserted: "Only
rabbits and birds were here, they say, when they took possession of
the hills and the plains, they, our fathers and ancestors from Tulan,
O my children,"--so runs the beginning of the Cakchiquel _Annals_.[98]
These _Annals_, like the _Popul Vuh_, or "Sacred Book," of the kindred
Quiché, profess to give a migration-legend of the ancestors of the
tribe and an account of the historic chiefs, but neither the one record
nor the other runs to a remote period; both point to a comparatively
recent entrance into an abandoned country, the date of which Brinton
would set at less than two centuries anterior to the Conquest; nor is
there any certain clue which would associate the Quiché-Cakchiquel
histories with those of the contemporary Maya.

The relationship of the two centres of Mayan culture, Yucatec and
Guatemalan, is, however, more than merely linguistic and racial. When
the Maya of the later days of the Old Empire were pushing northward
into the peninsula, exploring and establishing cities, others of their
kindred were penetrating the mountains to the south, and the last town
of the south to rise and fall (as shown by its dated monuments) was
at Quen Santo in the Guatemalan province of Huehuetenango. Whether
or not something of the old culture was transmitted through these
groups or their descendants, whom, indeed, the Quiché and Cakchiquel
may have been, identities of mythic reference make it certain that
all Maya groups had some primitive community of experience. Moreover,
the southern tribes clearly shared with the northern their literary
and artistic bent. The story of the defeat of the Quiché, in the
Cakchiquel _Annals_,[99] tells how the latter slew "the son of the
chief jeweller, the treasurer, the secretary, and the chief engraver"
of the Quiché monarch--officers whose very character gives the
picture of an accomplished society; and it may well be assumed that
the literary taste and historic feeling manifest in the _Annals_ and
the _Popul Vuh_ are but evidences, literary rather than graphic in
character, of the genius which marks the whole Mayan race. Brasseur de
Bourbourg says[100] of the _Popul Vuh_ that "it is composed in a Quiché
of great elegance, and its author must have been one of the princes
of the royal family," while of the _Annals_ (which he names _Mémorial
de Tecpan-Atitlan_, and which was indeed, in greater part written by
a noble, Don Francisco Ernandez Arana Xahila) he declares that "the
style is varied and picturesque and frequently contains passages of
high animation." The translations of both documents quite sustain these
opinions of their literary excellence.

Las Casas, who was as familiar as any man with the general character
of native American culture, and especially with that of Guatemala
of which he was bishop, gives a general characterization of native
learning in his chapter (_Apologética História_, ccxxxv) on "the books
and religious traditions of Guatemala." In the kingdoms and republics
of New Spain, he says, "among other offices and officials, were those
who acted as chroniclers and historians. They possessed knowledge
of the origin of all things relative to religion and to the gods
and their cult, as well as of the founders of their cities, of the
beginnings of their kings and lords and seignories, of the manner of
their election and succession, of how many and what lords and princes
had passed away, of their works and actions and memorable deeds, good
and bad, and of whatever they had governed well or ill; also, of their
great men and good, and of strong and valorous captains, of the wars
that they had made, and of how they had distinguished themselves.
Moreover, of the first customs and the first comers, of how they had
since changed for good or ill, and of all that pertains to history,
in order that they might have understanding and remembrance of past
events." Furthermore, he adds, these chroniclers kept count of the
days, months, and years, and "although they had no writing similar to
ours, nevertheless they had figures and characters representing all
that they needed to designate, and, by means of these, great books of
such clever and ingenious art that we may say that our letters were of
no great advantage to them." The office of chronicler, it is added,
was hereditary, or belonged to certain families.

After the Conquest many of the natives who had acquired the alphabet
adapted it to their own tongue and recorded their histories in the new
characters. Numbers of such books were known to the Spanish writers of
the sixteenth century, and it is from these that the _Popul Vuh_ and
the Cakchiquel _Annals_ have survived.


The _Popul Vuh_ is the most striking and instructive of the
myth-records of primitive America. Other legends are as comprehensive
in scope, as varied in material, and as dramatic in form; but no other,
in anything like the measure of this document, combines with these
qualities the element of critical consciousness, giving the flavour of
philosophic reflection which lifts the narrative from the level of mere
tale-telling into that of literature. Something of this character is
clearly due to the fact that it was written down after the introduction
of Christianity by an author, or authors, professing the new faith; yet
it is equally clear to a reader of our day that this is not the whole
cause, that there is in the aboriginal material itself such an element
of deliberate reflection as appears in the Aztec rituals recorded by
Sahagun and in some of the Incaic fragments, though scarcely to be
found elsewhere in the New World, at least in the myths as they have
been preserved to us.

The work is divided into four parts, consciously literary in
arrangement. The first recounts the creation of the earth and of the
First Peoples, together with the conflicts of the Hero Brothers with
Titan-like Earth-giants. The second part depicts the duel of the
upper-world heroes with the nether-world demonic powers: an elder pair
of Hero Brothers are defeated, later to be avenged by the younger
Hero Brothers--the slayers of the Earth-giants--who overcome Death in
his own lair and by his own wile. This incident of "the harrowing of
Hell" belongs in mythic chronology to a cycle of events earlier in part
than the gigantomachy, and it is obviously for dramatic reasons that
the longest book of the _Popul Vuh_ is devoted to it. With the third
part the original narrative is resumed, narrating the creation of the
ancestors of the present race of men and the rise of the Sun which now
rules the world; while the fourth and last part continues the tale,
giving myths of cult origins, tribal wars, and finally records of
historic rulers, thus satisfying the feeling for consecutiveness and

[Illustration: PLATE XXIII.]

 Ceremonial precinct or plaza, Quirigua. An altar and three stelae
 of the Old Empire Maya type are shown. Other monuments are still
 _in situ_ on this site, among them the "Quirigua Dragon," Plate I
 (frontispiece). After photograph by Cornell, Lincoln.

"Admirable is the account"--so the narrative opens--"admirable is the
account of the time in which it came to pass that all was formed in
heaven and upon earth, the quartering of their signs, their measure and
alignment, and the establishment of parallels to the skies and upon
the earth to the four quarters, thereof, as was spoken by the Creator
and Maker, the Mother, the Father of life and of all existence, that
one by whom all move and breathe, father and sustainer of the peace of
peoples, by whose wisdom was premeditated the excellence of all that
doth exist in the heavens, upon the earth, in lake and sea.

"Lo, all was in suspense, all was calm and silent; all was motionless,
all was quiet, and wide was the immensity of the skies.

"Lo, the first word and the first discourse. There was not yet a man,
not an animal; there were no birds nor fish nor crayfish; there was no
wood, no stone, no bog, no ravine, neither vegetation nor marsh; only
the sky existed.

"The face of the earth was not yet to be seen; only the peaceful sea
and the expanse of the heavens.

"Nothing was yet formed into a body; nothing was joined to another
thing; naught held itself poised; there was not a rustle not a sound
beneath the sky. There was naught that stood upright; there were only
the quiet waters of the sea, solitary within its bounds; for as yet
naught existed.

"There were only immobility and silence in the darkness and in the
night. Alone was the Creator, the Maker, Tepeu, the Lord, and
Gucumatz, the Plumed Serpent, those who engender, those who give being,
alone upon the waters like a growing light.

"They are enveloped in green and azure, whence is the name Gucumatz,
and their being is great wisdom. Lo, how the sky existeth, how the
Heart of the Sky existeth--for such is the name of God, as He doth name

"It is then that the word came to Tepeu and to Gucumatz, in the shadows
and in the night, and spake with Tepeu and with Gucumatz. And they
spake and consulted and meditated, and they joined their words and
their counsels.

"Then light came while they consulted together; and at the moment of
dawn man appeared while they planned concerning the production and
increase of the groves and of the climbing vines, there in the shade
and in the night, through that one who is the Heart of the Sky, whose
name is Hurakan.

"The Lightning is the first sign of Hurakan; the second is the Streak
of Lightning; the third is the Thunderbolt which striketh; and these
three are the Heart of the Sky.

"Then they came to Tepeu, to Gucumatz, and held counsel touching
civilized life: how seed should be formed, how light should be
produced, how the sustainer and nourisher of all.

"'Let it be thus done. Let the waters retire and cease to obstruct,
to the end that earth exist here, that it harden itself and show its
surface, to the end that it be sown, and that the light of day shine
in the heavens and upon the earth; for we shall receive neither glory
nor honour from all that we have created and formed until human beings
exist, endowed with sentience.' Thus they spake while the earth was
formed by them. It is thus, veritably, that creation took place, and
the earth existed. 'Earth,' they said, and immediately it was formed.

"Like a fog or a cloud was its formation into the material state, when,
like great lobsters, the mountains appeared upon the waters, and in an
instant there were great mountains. Only by marvellous power could
have been achieved this their resolution when the mountains and the
valleys instantly appeared with groves of cypress and pine upon them.

"Then was Gucumatz filled with joy. 'Thou art welcome, O Heart of the
Sky, O Hurakan, O Streak of Lightning, O Thunderbolt!'

"'This that we have created and shaped will have its end,' they replied.

"And thus first were formed the earth, the mountains, and the plains;
and the course of the waters was divided, the rivulets running
serpentine among the mountains; it is thus that the waters existed when
the great mountains were unveiled.

"Thus was accomplished the creation of the earth when it was formed
by those who are the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth; for
so those are called who first made fruitful the heaven and the earth
while yet they were suspended in the midst of the waters. Such was
its fecundation when they fecundated it while its fulfilment and its
composition were meditated by them."

So runs the first chapter of the Quiché Genesis, displaying at the
outset an odd intermingling, which characterizes the whole work, of the
raw actuality of primitive imagination with the dramatic reflection of
the mind of the sage.

The second act of the drama is the creation of denizens, or rather
histrions, for the stage that is set; and the Quiché narrator,
with remarkable ease, casts them in puppet mould, a background of
grandiosity serving still further to belittle the dolls which are the
Creator's experiments. First, the animals are formed and assigned their
dwellings and their habits: "Thou, Deer, shalt sleep on the borders
of brooks and in the ravines; there shalt thou rest in the brushwood,
amid forage; and there multiply; thou shalt go upon four feet, and upon
four feet shalt thou live." This is the style in which the creatures of
land and air and water are severally addressed. Nevertheless--and here
is the philosophic touch--the animals could not speak, as man does;
they had no language; they could only chatter and cluck and croak, each
according to its kind. This is very far from the most primitive stratum
of thought, where all animals are gifted with language.

"When the Creator and the Maker understood that they could not speak,
they said one to another: 'They are unable to utter our name, although
we are their makers and formers. This is not well.' And they spake to
the animals: 'Our glory is not perfect in that ye do not invoke us; but
there shall yet be those who can salute us and who will be capable of
obedience. As for you, your flesh shall be broken under the tooth.'"

Seed-time was approaching, and dawn; and the divine beings said,
"Let us make those who shall be our supporters and nourishers." Then
they formed men out of moist earth, but these proved to be without
cohesion or consistence or power of movement; they could not turn
their heads; their sight was veiled; although they had speech, they
had no intelligence; the waters destroyed them helplessly; and their
makers saw that their handiwork was a failure. Now they consulted with
Xpiyacoc and Xmucané (Mayan equivalents of Cipactonal and Oxomoco, like
whom they were addressed as "Twice Grandmother," "Twice Grandsire");
while Hurakan of the Winds and He of the Sun were also called into the
council. There they divined with kernels of maize and with red berries
of the _tzité_; and when noon came they said: "O Maize, O Tzité, O
Sun, O Creature, unite and join one another! And thou, O Heart of the
Sky, redden that the countenance of Tepeu, of Gucumatz, be not made to
lower!" Then they carved manikins of wood and caused them to live and
to multiply and to engender sons and daughters who were also manikins,
carved and wooden. But these had neither heart nor intelligence nor
memory of their creators; they led a useless and animal existence; they
were only experimental men; they had no blood, no substance, no flesh;
and their faces and their limbs were dry and desiccated. They thought
not of their Makers, nor did they lift their heads to them.

The gods, again disappointed, resolved upon the destruction of the
manikin race and caused a heavy, resinous rain to descend day and
night, darkening the face of the earth. Moreover, four great birds were
sent to assail these creatures of wood: Xecotcovach snatched their
eyes from their orbits; Camalotz attacked their heads, and Cotzbalam
their flesh, while Tecumbalam broke their bones, and animals great
and small turned against them. "Ye have done ill to us," cried their
dogs and their fowls; "now we shall bite you; in your turn ye shall
be tormented." Even the pots and cooking utensils arose in rebellion.
The metates said: "We were tortured by you; daily, daily, night and
day, always it was _holi, holi, huqui, huqui,_ grinding our surfaces
because of you. This we have suffered from you; now that ye have ceased
to be men, ye shall feel our power; we shall grind you and reduce your
flesh to powder;" and the bowls and pots followed with similar threats
and imprecations. The victims ran everywhere in desperate efforts to
escape: they ascended to the roofs of their houses, but the houses
collapsed; they wished to climb the trees, but the trees drew away from
them; they sought to enter the caverns, but these closed against them.
All were destroyed, and there remained of their descendants only the
little monkeys that live in the trees, which is token that "of wood
alone their flesh was formed by the Creator and Maker."

After the destruction of the manikins is narrated, the _Popul Vuh_
digresses to recount the deeds of the Hero Brothers, Hunahpu and
Xbalanqué; and it is only in the third part of the work that the tale
of creation is resumed, the beginnings of the present "Sun" of the
world being its theme.

Once more the demiurgic gods meditated the creation of man, and once
more they gathered for counsel in the cosmic dusk, for though the dawn
was near, the world was not yet illuminated. It was then that they
heard of the white and the yellow maize in the Place of the Division
of the Waters; and it was decided that from these should be made
the blood and the flesh of man. "Then they began to grind the white
maize and the yellow, while Xumucané concocted nine broths; and this
nourishment entering in, generated strength and power, giving flesh
and muscles to man.... Only yellow maize and white entered into their
flesh, and these were the sole substance of the legs and arms of man;
thus were formed our first fathers, the four brothers, who were formed
of it," whose names were Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Agab, Mahucutah, and
Iqi-Balam. "Men they were; they spake and they reasoned; they saw and
they understood; they moved and they had feeling; men perfect and fair,
whose features were human features."

These beings, however, were too highly endowed; they lifted up their
eyes, and their gaze embraced all; they knew all things; nothing in
heaven or earth was concealed from them. The Maker asked: "Is not your
being good? Do ye not see? Do ye not understand? Your speech and your
movement, are they not admirable? Look up, are there not mountains
and plains under the sky?" Then the created ones rendered thanks
to their Creator, saying: "Truly, thou gavest us every motion and
accomplishment! We have received existence, we have received a mouth,
a face; we speak, we understand, we think, we walk; we perceive and
we know equally well what is far and what is near; we see all things,
great and small, in heaven and upon the earth. Thanks be to you who
have created us, O Maker, O Former!" But the Makers were not pleased
to hear this. "This is not well! Their nature will not be that of
simple creatures; they will be as gods.... Would they perchance rival
us who have made them, whose wisdom extendeth far and knoweth all
things?" Thus spoke Hurakan, and Tepeu, and Gucumatz, and the divine
pair Xpiyacoc and Xmucané. Then the Heart of the Sky breathed a cloud
upon the eyes of the four men, veiling itself so that it appeared like
a mirror covered with vapour; and their vision was obscured, so that
they could clearly see only what was near them. Thus their knowledge
and their wisdom were reduced to mortal proportions; and being caused
to slumber, during their sleep four beautiful women were brought to
be their wives, so that when they awoke, they were filled with joy of
their espousals.

The generations of humanity increased, men living together in joy and
peace. They had but a single language and they prayed neither to wood
nor to stone, but only to the Maker and Former, Heart of the Sky and
Heart of the Earth, their prayer being for children and for light, for
the sun had not yet risen. As time passed and no sun appeared, men
became disquieted, so that the four brothers set forth for Tulan-Zuiva,
the Place of Seven Caves and Seven Ravines, where they received their
gods, a deity for each clan, Tohil being the divinity of Balam-Quitzé,
Avilix of Balam-Agab, Hacavitz of Mahucutah, and Nicahtagah of
Iqi-Balam. Tohil's first gift was fire, and when rains extinguished
the first flame, he kindled it anew by striking upon his foot-gear,
whereupon men of other tribes, their teeth chattering with cold, came
to the brothers praying for a little of their fire. "They were not well
received, and their hearts were filled with sadness," is the rather
brutal comment; but the motive turns out to be yet more brutal, for as
a price of fire Tohil demanded that these strangers "embrace me, Tohil,
under the armpit and under the girdle," a euphemism which can refer
only to the customary form of human sacrifice.

Even yet the sun had not appeared, and the race of man was saddened
by the delay. They fasted and performed expiations, keeping continual
watch for the Morning Star, which should herald the first sunrise.
Finally in despair they resumed their migration: "Alas!" they said,
"here we shall never behold the dawn at the moment when the sun is born
to lighten the face of the earth!" The journey led through many lands
until finally they came to the mountain of Hacavitz, where the brothers
burned incense which they had brought from "the place of sunrise" and
where they watched the Morning Star ascend with waxing splendour on
the dawn of the rising sun. As the orb appeared, the animals, great
and small, were filled with joy, while all the nations prostrated
themselves in adoration. The new sun did not burn with the heat of the
sun of today, but was like a pale reflection of ours; nevertheless
it dried the dank earth and made it habitable. Moreover, the great
beast-gods of the first days--lion, tiger, and noxious viper--together
with the gods Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz, were changed into stone as
the sun appeared--"their arms cramped like the branches of trees ...
and in all parts they became stone. Perhaps we should not be in life
at this moment because of the voracity of the lions, the tigers, the
vipers, the _qantis_, and the White Fire-Maker of the Night; perchance
our glory would not now exist had not the first animals been petrified
by the sun."

Nevertheless sorrow mingled with joy, for though the ancestors of the
Quiché had found their mountain home, illumined by the sun, the moon,
and the stars, they remembered their kindred left behind; and even
when they sang the song _Ka-mucu_ ("We behold"), the anguish in their
hearts came also to expression. "Alas! we were ruined in Tollan; we
were parted from our brethren, who still remain behind! True, indeed,
we have beheld the Sun, but they, where now are they, when at last
the day hath come?" Years afterward, when the Quiché had become great
under the leadership of the four heroes, the brothers foresaw the day
of their death drawing near; and again, with dolour of soul, they sang
the song _Ka-mucu_, bidding farewell to their wives and their sons, and
saying: "We return to our people; even now the King of the Deer riseth
into the sky. Lo, we make our return; our task is performed; our days
are complete." Thereupon they disappeared, vanishing without trace,
excepting that in their place was left a sacred bundle which was never
to be opened and which was called "Majesty Enveloped."


The deeds of the Hero Brothers in the _Popul Vuh_ take place in an
epoch of the world previous to the rise of the present Sun. Apparently
they fall in an Age of Giants just succeeding the destruction of the
manikins, for the narrative proceeds from the tale of the annihilation
of these beings to the overthrow, by the twins Hunahpu and Xbalanqué,
of the Earth Titans, stating that the events occurred in the days of
the inundation. Vukub-Cakix was the first of the Giants, and his sin
was the sin of _hubris_, for he boasted: "I shall be yet again above
all created beings; I am their sun, I am their dawn, I am their moon.
Great is my splendour; I am he by whom men move. Of silver are the
balls of my eyes, gleaming like precious stones; and the whiteness of
my teeth is like the face of the sky. My nostrils shine afar like the
moon; of silver is my throne, and the earth liveth when I step forth
from it. I am the sun, I am the moon, the bringer of felicity. So be
it, for my gaze reacheth afar!" This is obviously a hymn to the sun;
and it is possible that it refers to a mythic "Sun of Giants," although
the narrator clearly takes it in another sense: "In reality his sight
ended where it fell, and his gaze did not embrace the entire world." It
was, in fact, because of his riches (metals and precious stones) that
Vukub-Cakix thought to emulate the sun and the moon.

[Illustration: PLATE XXIV.]

 Image of a youthful deity with elaborate head-dress seated in the
 mouth of the "Dragon of Quirigua" (see frontispiece). After a
 photograph in the Peabody Museum.

It was for their pride and arrogance that Vukub-Cakix and his sons,
Zipacna and Cabrakan, were successively overcome and destroyed by the
hero brothers. "Attention, it is I who am the sun," cried Vukub-Cakix;
"it is I who move the earth," said Zipacna; "and it is I that shake the
sky and overturn the the whole earth," quoth Cabrakan. Indeed, such
was their strength that they could move mountains, great and small, at
will; and since such orgulous Titans could be overcome only by craft,
even with demi-gods for their adversaries, it was by craft that Hunahpu
and Xbalanqué conquered them.

Vukub-Cakix possessed a tree the fruit of which was his food, and the
twins, concealing themselves in its branches, shot the giant in the
cheek with a poisoned arrow when he came for his meal, though they
did not escape uninjured, for he tore away one of Hunahpu's arms. The
monster went home, roaring with pain, and the two plotters, disguising
themselves as physicians, came offering to cure his malady and saying:
"You suffer from a worm but you can be cured if your jaw is altered by
removing the bad teeth." "It is by my teeth alone that I am king; all
my beauty comes from my teeth and the balls of mine eyes." "We will
put others in their place," they said; and so they substituted teeth
of maize for the emerald teeth of the giant and flayed the splendour
from his eyes. The splendour faded from him; he ceased to appear like
a king; and soon he died, while Hunahpu recovered his arm, which
Chimalmat, the wife of Vukub-Cakix, was basting on a spit; and the
twins turned away in triumph. Zipacna was the next victim. First, the
brothers conspired with four hundred youths (doubtless the same as
the "Four Hundred Southerners" of the Huitzilopochtli myth) to lure
Zipacna into a pitfall, where they tried to destroy him by hurling
huge trees upon him; and when all was quiet, the plotters erected
a house on the spot, making merry with drink and celebrating their
triumph. But the giant was only craftily biding his time, and, rising
suddenly, he cast house and revellers high into the heavens, where the
four hundred became stars and constellations. The twins then decided
upon another decoy. Since the food of Zipacna was sea-food, especially
crabs, they modelled a great crab, and painting it cunningly they put
it into a deep ravine. Encountering the giant on his food search, they
pointed out this fine crab; he leaped after it, and they--wiser by
experience--hurled mountains upon him, thus imprisoning him, though
so desperate were his struggles for freedom that they turned him into
stone to quiet him. The third giant, Cabrakan, was also made the victim
of his own gluttony and pride. The brothers challenged him to shift a
certain mountain, for he boasted that he could remove the greatest; but
as he was preparing to show his strength, they suggested that he first
partake of food, and shooting a bird, they cooked it for him, taking
care to poison it in the process. The giant devoured the bird the more
greedily in that it was his first taste of cooked meat; but immediately
his strength began to fail, and his eyes to dim; and while the brothers
twittingly urged him to make good his boasts, he sank to earth dead.

The great adventure of the heroic twins, however, was their triumph
over the Lords of Death, and to this the second part of the _Popul
Vuh_ is devoted. The tale begins with the story of an earlier pair
of Hero Brothers, Hunhun-Ahpu and Vukub-Ahpu, sons of Xpiyacoc and
Xmucané. Hunhun-Ahpu, in turn, was father of Hunbatz and Hunchouen, two
youths who seem to be little more than foils for the hero twins later
to be born; although they are described as wise in all the arts, as
players of the flute, singers, blow-gun shooters, painters, sculptors,
jewel-workers, and smiths.

Hunhun-Ahpu and his brother, Vukub-Ahpu, being devoted to _tlachtli_,
exercised themselves at this sport every day. As they played, they
journeyed toward Xibalba, the underworld, whose lords, Hun-Camé and
Vukub-Camé, also were clever at the ball game. Therefore, thinking to
trap the upper-world champions, they of the nether realm sent them a
challenge--four owls were their messengers--to meet in an underworld
match; and the brothers accepting the challenge, set out for Xibalba.
Passing down a steep descent, they soon crossed a river in a deep
gorge, next a boiling river, and then a river of blood, after which,
beyond a fourth river, they came to cross-roads, red, black, white,
and yellow. The guardian of the black road said: "I am the way to the
king"; but it led them to a place where two wooden images were seated.
These the brothers saluted; and receiving no response except the ribald
laughter of the Xibalbans, the heroes knew that they had been made
butts of ridicule. The brothers angrily issued their challenge, and
the Xibalbans invited them to seats on the throne of honour; but this
proved to be a heated stone, and when they burned themselves, the
princes of Xibalba could scarcely contain their merriment. The brothers
were then given torches and conducted to the House of Gloom, with
injunctions to keep the lights undiminished until the dawn; but the
torches were speedily consumed, and when, next day, they were brought
before Hun-Camé and Vukub-Camé who demanded the lights, they could only
reply, "They are consumed, Lords." Thereupon, at the command of the
underworld-gods, the brothers were sacrificed, and their bodies were
buried; only, the head of Hunhun-Ahpu was placed in a fruit-tree, where
it was immediately transformed so as to be indistinguishable from the
gourd-like fruits which the tree bore.

The Xibalbans were prohibited from approaching this tree, but a certain
maiden, Xquiq ("Princess Blood"), having heard of it, said to herself:
"Why should I not go to see this tree; in sooth, its fruits should
be sweet, according to what I hear said of it." She approached the
tree in admiration: "Are such the fruits of this tree? And should I
die were I to pluck one?" Then the head in the midst said: "Do you
indeed desire it? These round lumps among the branches of the tree
are only death's-heads!" Nevertheless, Xquiq was insistent, whereupon
Hunhun-Ahpu's head demanded that she stretch forth her hand, and,
by a violent effort, he spat into it, saying: "This saliva and foam
which I give thee is my posterity. Behold, my head will cease to
speak, for it is only a death's-head, with no longer any flesh. So it
is also with the head of even the greatest of princes; for it is the
flesh alone that adorneth the visage, whence cometh the horror which
besetteth men at the moment of death." He then directed the maiden
to flee to the upper world, knowing that she would be pursued by the
underworld-powers; and these, indeed, when they heard that Xquiq was
_enceinte_, demanded that she be sacrificed, sending Owl-Men to
execute their doom. But the princess beguiled the Owls, inducing them
to substitute for her heart the coagulated sap of the bloodwort, the
odour of which they took to be the scent of blood, while she herself
fled to the protection of the mother of Hunbatz and Hunchouen. The
latter demanded proof that the new comer was indeed her daughter-in-law
and sent Xquiq into the field for maize. There was but one hill in
the field, whereupon the maiden appealed for aid to the gods, by
whose miraculous help she was enabled to gather a full burden without
disturbing the single hill. This miracle satisfied the mother-in-law;
who said: "It is a sign that thou art indeed my daughter-in-law, and
that those whom thou dost carry will be wise"; and shortly after this,
Xquiq gave birth to the twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanqué.

The new comers were welcomed by all excepting Hunbatz and Hunchouen,
who regarded their half-brothers as rivals and plotted their death;
but Hunahpu and Xbalanqué, who from birth had shown their prowess as
magicians, transformed the two flute-players into monkeys, condemning
them to live in the trees. Hunbatz and Hunchouen, says the chronicler,
"were invoked by musicians and singers aforetime, and also by painters
and sculptors; but they were changed into beasts and became monkeys
because of their pride and their maltreatment of their brothers." It is
probable that the two were monkey-form gods of the arts, though it is
also possible that the transformation is associated with that of the
primeval age which ended with the metamorphosis of men into monkeys.

The next episode in the career of the two youths was the clearing of
a field by means of magic tools which felled trees and dug the soil
while their owners amused themselves at the chase; but at night the
animals restored the vegetation. Accordingly the brothers concealed
themselves to watch for the undoers of their work; and when by night
the lion (puma) and the tiger (jaguar), the hare and the opossum, the
deer, the coyote, the porcupine, and the peccary, together with the
birds, appeared and called to the felled trees to raise themselves,
the brothers attempted to trap them. They succeeded only in seizing
the tails of the deer and the rabbit (which, of course, explains the
present decurtate state of these animals), but finally they captured
the rat, which, to save its life, revealed to them the hiding-place
of the rings and gloves and rubber ball with which their fathers had
played _tlachtli_, and which their grandmother had concealed from them
lest they, too, become lost through the fatal lure of the game. By a
ruse the twins succeeded in getting possession of the apparatus, and
like their fathers became passionately devoted to the sport.

When the Lords of Xibalba learned of this, they said: "Who, then, are
these that begin again to play above our heads, shaking the earth
without fear? Are not Hunhun-Ahpu and Vukub-Hunahpu dead, who wished
to exalt themselves before us?" Forthwith they dispatched a challenge
to the new champions which the twins accepted; but before they
departed for the underworld, each planted a reed in the house of their
grandmother, saying that if any ill befell either of them, his reed
would wither and die. They passed the underworld rivers, and coming to
the four roads (here named black, white, red, and green), they set out
upon the black path, though they took the precaution to send in advance
an animal called Xan, with instructions to prick the leg of each lord
in the realm below. The first two throned beings made no response,
being manikins of wood; but the third uttered a cry, and his neighbour
said: "What is it, Hun-Camé? What has pricked you?" The same thing
happened to Vukub-Camé, Xiqiripat, Ahalpuh, Cuchumaquiq, Chamiabak,
Ahalcana, Chamiaholom, Patan, Quiqxic, Quiqrixgag, and Quiqré (for
such were the names of these princes): "it is thus that they revealed
themselves, calling one another by name," each in turn. When the hero
twins came, refusing to salute the wooden men, they addressed the Lords
of Xibalba each by his title, much to the chagrin of these; and,
further, they declined a place on the heated stone, saying, "It is not
our seat."

In succeeding episodes Hunahpu and Xbalanqué underwent the ordeals of
the houses of the underworld. The House of Gloom was first; but the
twins substituted red paint for the fire on the torches given them and
thus preserved these undiminished. "Whence indeed, are you come?" cried
the astonished Xibalbans; "who are you?" "Who can say whence we are,"
they answered; "we ourselves do not know." So they refused to reveal
themselves and in the game of ball which followed they altogether
defeated the Xibalbans; but since this only augmented the desire of the
latter for the lives of the pair, the underworld lords demanded of the
two heroes that they bring them four vases of flowers. Accordingly they
sent the youths under guard to the House of Lances; but the brothers
overcame the demons of this abode by promising them the flesh of all
animals, while at the same time they persuaded the ants to bring the
needed flowers from the gardens of Hun-Camé and Vukub-Camé. Having
failed with this test, the Xibalbans then dispatched their guests to
the House of Cold, which they survived by kindling pine-knots. The next
trial was the House of Tigers, but its ferocious denizens were diverted
by bones which the brothers cast to them. The House of Fire was also
harmless to them; but in the sixth, the House of Bats, or House of
Camazotz, as its lord was called, they met their first discomfiture.
All night the heroes lay prone, longing for the dawn; but at last
Hunahpu for a moment raised his head, which was instantly shorn off by
the vigilant Camazotz. Xbalanqué, in desperation, summoned the animals
to his assistance; and the turtle, chancing to touch the bleeding neck
of Hunahpu and becoming attached to it, was transformed into a head
with the magic aid of the animals. The real head the Lords of Xibalba
had suspended in the ball court, where they were reviling it when
Xbalanqué and Hunahpu, with his turtle's head, appeared for the last
round at the game; and with the assistance of the animals Xbalanqué
succeeded in winning the victory once more, and recovering Hunahpu's
head, he restored it in place of the turtle's.

Having now met the ordeals set by the Xibalbans, the brothers undertook
to show their own prowess, and, first of all, their contempt of death.
Anticipating the action of the Lords of Xibalba in condemning them to
death, they sought the counsel of two magicians, Xulu and Pacam, with
whom they arranged for their resurrection; after which, sentenced to
be burned, they mounted the funeral pyre and met their death, whereat
all the Xibalbans were filled with joy, crying, "We have triumphed,
indeed; and none too soon!" The bones, ground to powder at the advice
of the two magicians, were cast upon the underworld waters; wherein
on the fifth day two fish-men were to be seen, while the next day
a pair of wretched beggars, poor and miserable, appeared among the
Xibalbans. These beggars, however, were wonder-workers: they burned
houses and immediately restored them; they even sacrificed and then
resuscitated one another. Their fame soon reached the ears of Hun-Camé
and Vukub-Camé, and when the mendicant-magicians were brought before
these lords, they were implored by the Xibalban kings to perform their
miracles. Thereupon the beggars began their "dances": they killed and
revivified the dog of the underworld princes; they burned and restored
the royal palace; they sacrificed and brought to life a man--each deed
at the command of Hun-Camé and Vukub-Camé. Finally, overcome with
excitement, the Lords of Xibalba cried, "Do likewise with us; immolate
us also!" "Can death exist for you?" asked the beggars ironically.
"Nevertheless, it is your right that we amuse you." But when they
had sacrificed Hun-Camé and Vukub-Camé, they restored them no more
to life. "Then fled all the princes of Xibalba, seeing their kings
dead, and their bodies laid open; but in a moment they themselves were
sacrificed, two by two, a chastisement which was their due." A single
prince escaped, begging for pity, while the host of their vassals
prostrated themselves before their conquerors.

Then the heroes revealed themselves, disclosing their names and the
names of their fathers, saying, "We are the avengers of the sufferings
of our sires; harken, now to your doom, ye of Xibalba! Since your
fame and your power are no more, and ye merit no clemency, your race
shall have little rule, and never again shall ye play the Game of
Ball. Yours it shall be to make objects of burnt clay, pots and pans,
and maize-grinders; and the animals that live in the brushwood and in
solitude shall be your share. All the happy, all the cultivated, shall
cease to be yours; the bees alone will continue to reproduce before
your eyes. Ye, perverse, cruel, sad, wretched, who have done ill,
now lament it!" Thus were degraded those who had been of bad faith,
hypocritical, tyrannical; thus their power was ruined.

Meanwhile, in the upper world, the grandmother of the twins watching
the two reeds, had mourned and rejoiced in turn, twice seeing them
wither and twice revive. "The Living Reeds, the Level Earth, the Centre
of the House, shall be the names of this place," she said. The twins
talked with the heads of their father and uncle, paying them funeral
honours and elevating them to the sky, the one to become the sun, the
other the moon; and they raised up also the four hundred youths buried
by Zipacna, to become stars in heaven, saying: "Henceforth ye shall be
invoked by civilized peoples; ye shall be adored; and your names shall
not perish."

Such, in its general character, is the mythic portion of the _Popul
Vuh_. It is built up of elements found far and wide in North
America and it reflects ideas practically universal among the
civilized Nahuatlan and Mayan tribes; but it possesses one great
distinction--that of presenting these concepts with an imaginative
intensity unmatched by any other version, a quality which in some
measure argues that the whole cycle is original with the Mayan stock.
The myth certainly gives a broad view of the south Mayan pantheons;
and most of the elements in the proper names which can be interpreted
are indicative of the cosmic nature of the personalities. According
to Brasseur de Bourbourg, Hun signifies "one," Vukub is the word for
"seven"; Hunahpu is "One Blowgun-Shooter," and it is quite likely that
the blowgun was associated with celestial phenomena, as the game of
_tlachtli_ certainly is; Hunbatz is "One Monkey"; Hun-Camé is "One
Dead," and so on. Vukub-Cakix ("Seven Macaws"), Vukub-Hunahpu ("Seven
One-Blowgun-Shooter"), and Vukub-Camé ("Seven Dead") are clearly
corresponding, or complementary, cosmic powers. The Abbé believes
that Hurakan (from which comes our word "hurricane") and Cabrakan
("Earthquake") are deities imported from the Antilles. Camazotz
("Ruler of Bats,"--Brasseur; "Death Bat,"--Seler) is clearly the
Elder of the Bats--the bat-god known to have been a dread and potent
deity among the Maya, and, as the vampire, feared and propitiated far
into South America.[102] Balam means "tiger"--that is, the jaguar,
which, perhaps because of its spots, is symbol of the star-studded
night and of the west. The four Quiché ancestors are clearly cosmic
deities--Balam-Quitzé ("Smiling Tiger") perhaps of the east; Balam-Agab
("Night Tiger") of the west; Iqi-Balam ("Moon Tiger"); and Mahucatah
("Renowned Name," an epithet, in the Abbé's opinion). The Hero Brothers
are, of course, familiar figures everywhere in American myth.


The Cakchiquel _Annals_ do not, like the _Popul Vuh_, form a work of
primarily literary or historical intent, but are, both in form and in
content, part of a brief, the purpose of which is to establish certain
territorial rights of members of the family of Xahila, thus falling
into the class of native _titulos_, written in Spanish, several of
which have been published. From its nature the composition has not,
therefore, the dramatic character of a mythic narrative; nevertheless
its very purpose, as founding a title to lands anciently held, leads
to the effort to establish this by the right of first occupation, and
hence to stories of the first comers. That such accounts are reproduced
more or less exactly from mythic narratives there can be no manner of
doubt, internal traits showing near affinity with the tales of the
_Popul Vuh_ and kindred cycles.

The narrative begins with a record of "the sayings of our earliest
fathers and ancestors, Gagavitz the name of one, Zactecauh the name of
the other ... as we came from the other side of the sea, from the land
of Tulan, where we were brought forth and begotten....

"These are the very words which Gagavitz and Zactecauh spake: 'Four men
came from Tulan; one Tulan is at the sunrise, and one is at Xibalbay,
and one is at the sunset; and we came from this one at the sunset; and
one is where is God. Therefore there are four Tulans, they say, O our
sons; from the sunset we came; from Tulan from beyond the sea; and it
was at Tulan that, arriving, we were brought forth; coming, we were
produced, as they say, by our fathers and our mothers.

"'And now the Obsidian Stone is brought forth by the precious Xibalbay,
the glorious Xibalbay; and man is made by; the Maker, the Creator.
The Obsidian Stone was his sustainer when man was made in misery and
when man was formed; he was fed with wood, he was fed with leaves; he
wished only the earth; he could not speak, he could not walk; he had
no blood, he had no flesh; so say our fathers, our ancestors, O ye my
sons. Nothing was found to feed him; at length something was found
to feed him. Two brutes knew that there was food in the place called
Paxil, where these creatures were, the Coyote and the Crow by name.
Even in the refuse of maize it was found when the creature Coyote was
killed as he was separating his maize and was searching for bread to
knead, killed by the creature named Tiuh Tiuh; and from within the sea,
by means of Tiuh Tiuh, was brought the blood of the serpent and of the
tapir with which the maize was to be kneaded; the flesh of man was
formed of it by the Maker, the Creator; and well did they, the Maker
and the Creator, know him who was born, him who was begotten; they
made man as he was made, they formed man as they made him; so they
tell. There were thirteen men, fourteen women; they, talked, they
walked; they had blood, they had flesh. They married, and one had two
wives. They brought forth daughters, they brought forth sons, those
first men. Thus men were made, and thus the Obsidian Stone was made,
for the enclosure of Tulan; thus we came to where the Zotzils were at
the gates of Tulan; arriving, we were born; coming, we were produced;
coming, we gave the tribute in the darkness, in the night, O our sons.'
Thus spake Gagavitz and Zactecauh, O my sons; and what they said hath
not been forgotten. They are our great ancestors; these are the words
with which they encouraged us of old."

[Illustration: PLATE XXV.]

 Monumental stela, Piedras Negras. This superb relief shows a divinity
 with quetzal-plume crest to whom a priest is presenting the group of
 bound captives, shown at the base. After photograph in the Peabody

These extracts indicate the style of the _Annals_, full of repetition
and almost without relational expressions, but now and again lighted
with passages of extraordinary vividness. The Obsidian Stone, Chay
Abah, represented an important civic fetish or oracular talisman, if
we may credit the description of Iximche, the Cakchiquel capital,
transmitted by Fuentes y Guzman and quoted by Brinton.[104] On the
summit of a small hill overlooking the town--so goes the account--"is
a circular wall, not unlike the curb of a well, about a full fathom in
height. The floor within is paved with cement, as the city streets. In
the centre is placed a socle or pedestal of a glittering substance,
like glass, but of what composition is not known. This circular
structure was the tribunal or consistory of the Cakchiquel Indians,
where not only was public hearing given to causes, but also the
sentences were carried out. Seated around this wall, the judges heard
the pleas and pronounced the sentences, in both civil and criminal
cases. After this public decision, however, there remained an appeal
for its revocation or confirmation. Three messengers were chosen as
deputies of the judges, and these went forth from the tribunal to a
deep ravine, north of the palace, to a small but neatly fitted-up
chapel or temple, where was located the oracle of the demon. This
was a black and semi-transparent stone, of a finer grade than that
called _chay_ (obsidian). In its transparency, the demon revealed to
them what should be their final decision." This passage is not the
only indication of the employment of divination by crystal gazing in
primitive America; and it is even possible that the translucent green
stones so widely valued were primarily sacred because of divinatory
properties. Not all sacred stones were of the emerald hue, however; for
in the Cakchiquel narrative one of the deeds of Gagavitz is the ascent
of a volcano where, it is said, he conquered the fire, bringing it
captive in the form of a stone called Gak Chog, which, the chronicler
is at pains to state, is not a green stone.

The mythic affinities of the Cakchiquel narrative are already apparent
in the passages quoted. The city of Tulan (frequently "Tullan" in the
text) is clearly become a name for certain cosmic stations, namely
the houses of sunrise, sunset, zenith ("where is God"), and nadir
(Tulan of Xibalbay, the underworld). The successive creations of men,
experimental men first, and finally maize-formed men, is certainly
the same myth as that of the _Popul Vuh_, which is briefly described
also by Las Casas and which is probably intimately associated with
a cult of the maize-gods. "If one looks closely at these Indians,"
says an early writer quoted by Brinton,[105] (manuscript known as the
_Crónica Franciscana_), "he will find that everything they do and say
has something to do with maize. A little more, and they would make a
god of it. There is so much conjuring and fussing about their corn
fields, that for them they will forget wives and children and any other
pleasure, as if the only end and aim of life was to secure a crop of

There are numerous mythic incidents in the continuation of the
narrative after the creation. At Tulan the peoples were divided into
seven tribes, and it was from Tulan that, with idols of wood and of
stone, they set out at the oracular command of the Obsidian Stone. The
auguries were mostly evil: "A bird called 'the guard of the ravine'
began to complain within the gate of Tulan, as we were going forth
from Tulan. 'Ye shall die, ye shall be lost, I am your portent,' the
creature said to us. 'Do ye not believe me? Truly your state shall be
a sad one.'" The owl prophesied similar disaster, and another bird,
the parroquet, "complained in the sky and said, 'I am your portent;
ye shall die.' But we said to the creature, 'Speak not thus; thou art
but the sign of spring. Thou wailest first when it is spring; when
the rain ceaseth, thou wailest.'" They arrived at the sea-coast, and
there a great number perished while they awaited a means of crossing,
which finally came when "a red tree, our staff, which we had taken in
passing from the gate of Tulan," was thrust into the sands, whereupon
the waters divided, and all passed over. Then it was that Gagavitz
and Zactecauh were elected leaders; and next they fought with the
people of Nonoualcat and Zuyva, but though at first successful in the
fight, they were eventually defeated: "Truly, it was fearful there
among the houses; truly, the noise was great, the dust was oppressive;
fighting was going on in the houses, fighting with the dogs, the wasps,
fighting with all. One attack, two attacks we made, and we ourselves
were routed; as truly as they were in the air, they were in the earth;
they ascended and they descended, everywhere against us; and thus they
showed their magic and their sorcery." After this defeat, the various
tribes received the gods which were to be their protectors. "When we
asked each other where our salvation was, it was said to us by the
Quiché men: 'As it thundered and resounded in the sky, truly the sky
must be our salvation'; so they said, and therefore the name Tohohil
was given them." The Zotzil received Cakix, the macaw, as their deity;
and the Cakchiquel said: "'Truly, in the middle of the valley lieth our
salvation, entering there into the earth.' Therefore the name Chitagah
was given. Another, who said salvation was in the water, was called
Gucumatz"; and so on, down the roll. The tribes then set forth and
encounter "the spirit of the forest, the fire called Zakiqoxol," who
kills many men. "Who are these boys whom we see?" says the spirit (who,
it seems, is a giant); and Gagavitz and Zactecauh replied: "Let us see
what kind of a hideous mole thou art? Who art thou? We shall kill thee.
Why is it that thou guardest the road here?" "Do not kill me; I, who am
here, I am the heart of the forest," and he asked for clothing. "They
shall give to thee wherewith to clothe thyself," they answered; and
"then they gave him wherewith to clothe himself, a change of garment,
his blood-red cuirass, his blood-red shoes, the dying raiment of

The narrative continues with episodes that may be historical. There
are encounters, friendly and militant, with various tribes; Zactecauh
is killed by falling down a ravine; the wanderers are delayed a year
by the volcano which Gagavitz conquers; a certain being named Tolgom,
son of "the Mud that Quivers," is captured and offered by the arrow
sacrifice, this being the beginning of an annual festival at which
children were similarly slain; and afterward the people come to the
place where their dawn is to be and there they behold the sunrise.
The warriors took wives from neighbouring tribes and "then also they
began to adore the Demon.... It is said that the worship of the Demon
increased with the face of our prosperity." To Gagavitz were born two
sons, Caynoh and Caybatz, who were to be his successors; and "at that
time King Gagavitz died, the same who came from Tulan; his children,
our ancestors, Caynoh and Caybatz, were still very young when their
father died. They buried him in the same place where their dawn
appeared, in Paroxene."

Here the mythical part of the _Annals_ ends. Caynoh and Caybatz may be
a pair of heroes like Hunahpu and Xbalanqué, as some authorities deem;
but the situation in which they are presented, subjects of a Quiché
King, Tepeuh, indicates an historical situation, finally reversed, as
the narrative later shows, in sanguinary wars in which the Cakchiquel
threw off the Quiché yoke. And here, as elsewhere in the New World,
the coming Spaniard was enabled to profit by local dissensions; for
Alvarado, whose entrance into Iximche is described as by an eyewitness,
first allied himself with the Cakchiquel for the destruction of their
neighbours and then destroyed his allies for the sake of their gold.
So out of this broken past speaks the Xahila narrative--the one native
voice from a lost civilization.


South of the Mayan peoples, in the territories formed by the projection
of Central America between the Gulf of Honduras and Lake Nicaragua, the
aboriginal inhabitants were represented by some ten linguistic stocks.
On the western coast were several groups of Nahuatlan tribes who had
come from far in the north, probably in recent times; on the other
hand, the large Ulvan stock, back from the Mosquito Coast, are regarded
as probably of Chibchan kinship, and their territories were contiguous
with the Chibchans of Costa Rica, who brought the influence of the
southern continent as far northward as the southern shores of the lake;
the remaining tribal groups--Lencan, Subtiaban, Payan, Mosquitoan,
Chiapanecan, etc.--have no certain linguistic affinity with any other
peoples. Culturally, the whole region was aboriginally marked by an
obvious inferiority both to the Mayan peoples to the north and the
Chibchan to the south; though at the same time it reflected something
of the civilization of each of these regions. As a whole, however, it
possessed no single level, but ranged from the primitive savagery of
the Mosquito Coast to something approaching a native culture in the
western highlands.

The mythic lore of these peoples (not extensively reported) is in no
way remarkable. The Nahuatlan tribes--Pipil and Niquiran--worshipped
gods whose kinship with those of the Aztec is apparent. Of the Pipil,
Brasseur says[107]: "They adored the rising sun, as also statues of
Quetzalcohuatl and Itzcueye, to whom they offered almost all their
sacrifices," Itzcueye being a form of the earth goddess. Similarly the
Niquiran deities mentioned by Oviedo, especially the creator pair,
Tamagostad and Cipattonal, are identified with Oxomoco and Cipactonal
of the Mexicans; while the calendar of the same tribe is Mexican in
type. The chief centre of worship of the Pipil was named Mictlan, but
the myth which Brasseur narrates in connexion with the establishment
of this shrine is curiously analogous to certain Chibcha tales. The
sacred city was on a promontory in Lake Huixa, and "it was there that
one day a venerable old man was beheld to advance, followed by a girl
of unequalled beauty, both clad in long blue robes, while the man was
crowned with a pontifical mitre. They arose together from the lake, but
they did not delay to separate; and the old man seated himself upon a
stone on the summit of a high hill, where, by his order, was reared a
beautiful temple called Mictlan." Similar cults of lake-spirits are
indicated on the island of Zapatero, in Lake Nicaragua, where Squier
discovered a whole series of remarkable idols, pillars surmounted by
crudely carved crouching or seated figures, while statues of a similar
type were found on another island, Pensacola. In several of these the
human figure is hooded by an animal's head or jaw, or appears within
the mouth of the monster--a motive which probably comes from the Mayan

The Chiapanecan people north of the Niquirian Nahua consulted an
oracular Old Woman, who appears, as Oviedo relates the story,[108] to
have been the spirit of the volcano Masaya. The caciques went in secret
to consult her before undertaking any enterprise and sacrificed to
her human victims, who, says Oviedo, offered themselves voluntarily.
When Oviedo asked how the Old Woman looked, they replied that "she was
old and wrinkled, with pendant breasts, thin, dishevelled hair, long
teeth like those of a dog, a skin darker than that of the Indians,
and glowing eyes," a description which scarcely makes the voluntary
sacrifice plausible. With the coming of the Christians her appearances
were more and more rare.

Of such character were the ideas of the more advanced tribes of the
western coast. The Sumo (of the Ulvan stock) tell a tale of their
origin, reported by Lehmann[109]: "Between the Rio Patuca and the Rio
Coco is a hill named Kaun'ápa, where is a rock with the sign of a human
umbilical cord. There in olden time the Indians were born; there is the
source of the people. A great Father, Maisahána, and a great Mother,
Ituána, likewise existed, the latter being the same as Itóki, whom the
Mosquito know as Mother Scorpion. First, the Mosquito were born and
instructed in all things; but they were disobedient to their elders
(as they still are) and departed toward the coast. Thereafter the
Tuáchca were born, and then the Yusco who live on Rio Prinzapolca and
Bambana; but since the Yusco were bad and lewd, the rest of the Sumo
fought against them and killed all but a few, who live somewhere around
the source of Rio Coco, near the Spaniards. Last the Ulua were born,
who are indeed the youngest; and they were instructed in all things,
especially medicine and song, wherefore they are known as 'Singers.'"

The Mother Scorpion of this myth is regarded by the Mosquito as
dwelling at the end of the Milky Way, where she receives the souls of
the dead; and from her, represented as a mother with many breasts, at
which children take suck, come the souls of the new-born--a belief
which points to a notion of reincarnation. The Mosquito[110] possess
also a migration-myth, with stories of a culture hero named Wakna,
and an ancient prophecy that they shall never be driven back from
the coasts to which he led them. Along with this are reminiscences
of the coming of cannibals--doubtless Carib--from overseas; and the
usual quota of superstitions as to monsters of forest and waters. They
are said, moreover, to have vague notions of a supreme or superior
god--which is altogether likely--and, in general, these Central
American religions are, doubtless, as the early writers describe them,
formed of an ill-defined belief in a Heaven Father, with deities of sun
and stars as objects of worship, and spirits of earth and forest as
objects of dread.




From the Isthmus of Panama the western coast of South America is marked
by one of the loftiest and most abrupt mountain ranges of the world,
culminating in the great volcanoes of Ecuador and the high peaks of
western Argentina. A narrow coastal strip, dry and torrid in tropical
latitudes; deep and narrow valleys; occasional plateaux or intramontane
plains, especially the great plateau of central Bolivia--these are
the primary diversifications from the high ranges which, rising
precipitously on the Pacific side, decline more gradually toward
the east into the vast forested regions of the central part of the
continent and into the plains and pampas of the south.

Throughout this mountain region, from the plateau of Bogotá in the
north to the neighbourhood of latitude 30º south, was continued
in pre-Columbian times the succession of groups of civilized or
semi-civilized peoples of which the most northerly were the Nahua of
Mexico, or perhaps the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico. The ethnic boundary
of the southern continent is to be drawn in Central America. The
Guetare of Costa Rica, and perhaps the Sumo of Nicaragua, constitute
northerly outposts of the territorially great Chibchan culture, the
centre of which is to be found in the plateau of Bogotá, while its
southerly extension leads to the Barbacoa of northern Ecuador. South
of the Chibcha, in the Andean region lying between the Equator and
the Tropic of Capricorn, is the aboriginal home of the Quechua-Aymara
peoples, nearly the whole of which, at the time of the Conquest was
embraced in the Empire of the Incas. This empire had even reached into
the confines of the third culture area of the southern continent; for
the Calchaqui of the mountains of northern Argentina, who were the most
representative and probably the most advanced nation of the Diaguité
group, had even then passed under Inca subjection. Other tribes of
this most southerly of the civilized peoples of America had never been
conquered; but bounded, as they were, by the aggressive empire of the
north, by the warlike Araucanians to the south, and by the savages
of the Gran Chaco to the east, their opportunities for independent
development were slight; indeed, it is not improbable that the peoples
of this group represent the last stand of a race that had once extended
far to the north and had played an important part in the pre-Inca
cultures of the central Andes. Beyond the Diaguité lay the domains of
savagery, although the Araucanians of the Chilean-Argentine region were
not uninfluenced by the northward civilizations and in most respects
were superior to the wild tribes that inhabited the great body of the
South American continent; but the indomitable love of liberty, which
has kept them unconquered through many wars, gave to their territory a
boundary-line marked no less by a sharp descent in culture than by its
untouched independence.

In Columbian times these three Andean groups--the Chibchan tribes, the
Quechua-Aymara, and the Diaguité-Calchaqui--possessed a civilization
marked by considerable advancement in the arts of metallurgy (gold,
silver, copper), pottery, and weaving, by agriculture (fundamentally,
cultivation of maize), and by domestication of the llama and alpaca.
In the art of building, in stone-work, and, generally, in that plastic
and pictorial expression which is a sign of intellectual advancement,
the central group far excelled its neighbours. Nor was this due to the
fact that it alone, under Inca domination, had reached the stage of
stable and diversified social organization; for the archaeology of Peru
and Bolivia shows that the Empire of the Incas was only the last in a
series of central Andean civilizations which it excelled, if at all, in
political power rather than in the arts, industrial or aesthetic.

Our knowledge of the religious and mythic ideas of these various groups
reflects their relative importance at the time of the Spanish conquests
more than their natural diversity. Of the Chibchan groups, only the
ideas of a few tribes have been described, and these fragmentarily; of
the mythology of the Calchaqui, who had yielded to Inca rule, even less
has come down to us; while what is known of the religious conceptions
of the pre-Inca peoples of the central region is mainly in the form of
gleanings from the works of art left by these peoples, or from such
of their cults as survived under the Inca state or in Inca tradition.
Inevitably the central body of Andean myth, as transmitted to us, is
that of the Incas, who, having reached the position of a great imperial
clan, naturally glorified both their own gods and their own legendary


The Isthmus of Panama (and northward perhaps as far as the confines of
Nicaragua) was aboriginally an outpost of the great Chibchan stock.
Tribes of other stocks, some certainly northern in origin, dwelt
within the region, but the predominant group was akin to the peoples
of the neighbouring southern continent; although whether they were
immigrants from the south or were parents of the southern stem can
scarcely be known. So far as traditions tell, the uniform account given
by the Bolivian tribes is of a northerly origin. The tales seem to
point to the Venezuelan coast, and perhaps remotely to the Antilles,
rather than to the Isthmus, and it is certain that there are broad
similarities in culture--especially in the forms and use of ceremonial
objects--pointing to the remote unity of the whole region from Haiti to
Ecuador, and from Venezuela to Nicaragua. It is entirely possible that
within this region the drift of influence has been southerly; though it
is more likely that counter-streams, northward and southward, must give
the full explanation of the civilization.

On the linguistic side it is agreed that the Guetare of Costa Rica
represent a branch of the Chibchan stock, while neighbouring tribes
of the same stock are either now extinct or little known. The Spanish
conquests in the Isthmian region were as ruthlessly complete as
anywhere in America, and for the greater part our knowledge of the
aborigines is the fruit of archaeology. In the writings of Oviedo and
Cieza de León some facts may be gleaned--enough, indeed, to picture the
general character of the rituals of the Indian tribes--but there is no
competent contemporary relation of the native religion and beliefs.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVI.]

 Jade pendant representing a Vampire. After Hartman, _Archaeological
 Researches on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica_, Plate XLIV. For
 reference to the significance of the bat, as a deity, see page 177 and
 Note 102.

Oviedo's description[113] of the tribes about the Gulf of Nicoya, where
the civilizations of the two Americas meet, indicates a religion in
which the great rites were human sacrifices of the Mexican type and
feasts of intoxication. Archaeological researches in the same region
have brought to light amulets and ornaments, some anthropomorphic
in character, but many representing animal forms, usually highly
conventionalized--alligators, jaguars and pumas, frogs, parrots,
vampires, denizens of earth, air, and sea, all indicative of a populous
pantheon of talismanic powers; while cruciform, swastika, and other
symbolic ornamentation implies a development in the direction of
abstraction sustained by Oviedo's mention of "folded books of deerskin
parchment," which are probably the southern extension of the art of
writing as known in the northern civilization. The archaeology of the
Guetare region, in central, and of the Chiriqui region, in southern
Costa Rica, disclose the same fantasy of grotesque and conventionalized
animals--saurians, armadilloes, the cat-tribe, composites--indicative
of a similarly zoomorphic pantheon. Benzoni, speaking of the tribes
of this region, states that they worshipped idols in the forms
of animals, which they kept hidden in caves; while Andagoya declares
that the priests of the Cuna or Cueva (dwelling at the juncture of
the Isthmus and the southern continent) communed with the devil and
that Chipiripa, a rain-god, was one of their most important deities;
they are said, too, to have known of the deluge. Of the neighbouring
Indians, about Uraba, Cieza de León gives us to know that "they
certainly talk with the devil and do him all the honour they can.... He
appears to them (as I have been told by one of themselves) in frightful
and terrible visions, which cause them much alarm." Furthermore, "the
devil gives them to understand that, in the place to which they go
[after death], they will come to life in another kingdom which he has
prepared for them, and that it is necessary to take food with them for
the journey. As if hell was so very far off!"

Peter Martyr devotes the greater part of a book (the tenth of the
Seventh Decade)[114] to a description of the rites and beliefs of the
Indians of the region where the Isthmus joins the continent. Dabaiba,
he says, was the name both of a river and of a divinity whose sanctuary
was about forty leagues from Darien; and thither at certain seasons
the caciques, even of the most distant countries, sent slaves to be
strangled and burnt before the idol. "When the Spaniards asked them
to what divinity they addressed their prayers, they responded that
it is to the god who created the heavens, the sun, the moon, and all
existing things; and from whom every good thing proceeds. They believe
that Dabaiba, the divinity universally venerated in the country, is
the mother of this creator." Their traditions told of a great drought
which, making the rivers dry, caused the greater part of mankind to
perish of thirst, while the survivors emigrated from the mountains to
the sea-coast; for this reason they maintained priests and addressed
prayers to their divinity, who would seem to be a rain-goddess.
Another legend recorded by Peter Martyr tells of a frightful tempest
which brought with it two great birds, "similar to the harpies of
the Strophades," having "the face, chin, mouth, nose, teeth, eyes,
brows, and physiognomy of a virgin." One of these seized the people
and carried them off to the mountains to devour them, wherefore, to
slay the man-eating bird, certain heroes carved a human figure on the
end of a log, which they set in the ground so that the figure alone
was visible. The hunters concealed themselves near by, and when the
monster, mistaking the image for prey, sunk its talons into the wood,
falling upon it, they slew it before it could release itself. "Those
who killed the monster were honoured as gods." Interesting, too, is
Martyr's account of the reason given for the sinfulness of incest: the
dark spots on the moon represent a man cast into that damp and freezing
planet to suffer perpetual cold in expiation of incest committed
with his sister--the very myth that is told in North Greenland; and
the belief that "only nobles have immortal souls" (or, more likely,
that they alone enjoy a paradise) is cited to explain why numbers of
servants gladly throw themselves into the graves of their masters,
since thus they gain the right to accompany their lords into the
afterworld of pleasure; all others, apparently, go down to a gloomy
hades, though there may be truth in Martyr's statement that it is
pollution which brings this fate.

The account of the religion of the Isthmian tribes in later times, by
W. M. Gabb and Pittier de Fábrega,[115] probably represents faithfully
their earlier beliefs. There are deities who are the protectors of
game-animals, suggesting the Elders of the Kinds so characteristic of
North American lore; though they appear to men in human form, taking
vengeance on those who only wound in the chase: "When thou shootest, do
it to kill, so that the poor beast doth not fall a prey to the worms,"
is the command of the King of the Tapirs to the unlucky hunter who is
punished for his faulty work by being stricken with dumbness during
the period in which a cane grows from a sprout to its full height. The
Isthmian peoples recognize (as do most other Americans) a _fainéant_
supreme being, Sibú, in the world above, with a host of lesser, but
dangerous, powers in the realm of environing nature; and there is a
paradise, at least for the noble dead, situated at the zenith, though
the way thither is beset by perils, monsters, and precipices. Las Casas
also mentions the belief in a supreme deity, Chicuna, Lord of All
Things, as extending from Darien to Nicaragua; and he says that along
with this god the Sun, the Moon, and the Morning Star were worshipped,
as well as divinities of wood and stone which presided over the
elements and the sowings (_sementeras_).

The allusion to deities of the _sementeras_ is interesting in connexion
with the Bribri and Brunka (or Boruca) myths, published by Pittier de
Fábrega. According to these tribes of Indians, men and animal kinds
were originally born of seeds kept in baskets which Sibú entrusted to
the lesser gods; but the evil powers were constantly hunting for these
seeds, endeavouring to destroy them. One tale relates that after Surá,
the good deity to whom the seed had been committed, had gone to his
field of maize, Jáburu, the evil divinity, stole and ate the seed;
and when Surá returned, killed and buried him, a cacao-tree and a
calabash-tree growing from the grave. Sibú, the almighty one, resolving
to punish Jáburu and demanding of him a drink of chocolate, the wives
of the wicked deity roasted the cacao, and made a drinking-vessel of
the calabash. "Then Sibú, the almighty god, willed--and whatever he
wills has to be: 'May the first cup come to me!' and as it so came to
pass, he said, 'My uncle, I present this cup to thee, so that thou
drink!' Jáburu swallowed the chocolate at once, with such delight that
his throat resounded, _tshaaa!_ And he said, 'My uncle! I have drunk
Surá's first fruit!' But just at this moment he began to swell, and
he swelled and swelled until he blew up. Then Sibú, the almighty god,
picked up again the seed of our kin, which was in Jáburu's body, and
willed, 'Let Surá wake up again!' And as it so happened he gave him
back the basket with the seed of our kin to keep." In another tale a
duel between Sibú and Jáburu, in which each should throw two cacao-pods
at the other, and he should lose in whose hand a pod first broke, was
the preliminary for the creation of men, which Sibú desired and Jáburu
opposed. The almighty god chose green pods, the evil one ripe pods;
and at the third throw the pod broke in Jáburu's hand, mankind being
then born from the seed. A third legend, of a man-stealing eagle who
devoured his prey in company with a jaguar (who is no true jaguar, but
a bad spirit, having the form of a stone until his prey approaches),
is evidently a version of the story of the bird-monster told by Peter


Not the quest of the Golden Fleece itself and the adventures of the
Argonauts with clashing rocks and Amazonian women are so filled with
extravagance and peril as is the search for El Dorado.[116] The legend
of the Gilded Man and of his treasure city sprang from the soil of
the New World in the very dawn of its discovery--whether wholly in
the imaginations of _conquistadores_ dazzled with dreams of gold, or
partly from some custom, tale, or myth of the American Indians it
is now impossible to say. In its earlier form it told of a priest,
or king, or priest-king, who once a year smeared his body with oil,
powdered himself with gold dust, and in gilded splendour, accompanied
by nobles, floated to the centre of a lake, where, as the onlookers
from the shore sang and danced, he first made offering of treasure to
the waters and then himself leaped in to wash the gold from his body.
Later, fostered by the readiness of the aborigines to rid themselves of
the plague of white men by means of tales of treasure cities farther
on, the story grew into pictures of the golden empire of Omagua, or
Manoa, or Paytiti, or Enim, on the shores of a distant lake. Expedition
after expedition journeyed in quest of the fabled capital. As early
as 1530, Ambros von Alfinger, a German knight, set out from the
coast of Venezuela in search of a golden city, chaining his enslaved
native carriers to one another by means of neck-rings and cutting off
the heads of those who succumbed to fatigue to save the trouble of
unlinking them; Alfinger himself was wounded in the neck by an arrow
and died of the wound. In 1531 Diego de Ordaz conducted an expedition
guided by a lieutenant who claimed to have been entertained in the city
of Omoa by El Dorado himself; in 1536-38 George of Spires, afterward
governor of Venezuela, made a journey of fifteen hundred miles into
the interior; and another German, the red-bearded Nicholas Federman,
departed upon the same quest. On the plains of Bogotá in 1539 they met
Quesada and Belalcazar, who, coming from the north and from the south
respectively, had subdued the Chibcha realm. Hernan Perez de Quesada,
brother of the conqueror, led an unlucky expedition, behaving with
such cruelty that his death from lightning was regarded as a divine
retribution; while the expeditions of the chivalrous Philip von Hutten
(1540-41) and of Orellana down the Amazon (1540-41) were followed by
others, down to the time of Sir Walter Raleigh's quest in 1595,--all
enlarging the geographical knowledge of South America and accumulating
fables of cities of gold and nations of warlike women. Of all these
adventures, however, the most amazing was the "jornada de Omagua y
Dorado" which set out from Peru in 1559 under the leadership of Don
Pedro de Ursua, a knight of Navarre. Ursua was a gentleman, worthy of
his knighthood, but his company was crowded with cut-throats, of whom
he himself was an early victim. Hernando de Guzman made himself master
of the mutineers, and renouncing allegiance to the King of Castile,
proclaimed himself Prince and King of all Tierra Firme; but he, in turn
fell before his tyrant successor, Lope de Aguirre, whose fantastic
and blood-thirsty insanity caused half the continent to shudder at
his name, which is still remembered in Venezuelan folk-lore, where
the phosphorescence of the swamp is called _fuego de Aguirre_ in the
belief that under such form the tortured soul of the tyrant wanders

The true provenance of the story of the Gilded Man (if not of the
treasure city) seems certainly to be the region about Bogotá in the
realm of the Chibcha. Possibly the myth may refer to the practices of
one of the nations conquered by the Muyscan Zipas before the coming
of the Spaniards, and legendary even at that time; for as the tale is
told, it seems to describe a ceremony in honour of such a water-spirit
as we are everywhere told the Colombian nations venerated; and it
may actually be that the Gilded Man was himself a sacrifice to or
a personation of the deity. Whatever the origin, the legends of El
Dorado have their node in the lands of the Chibcha--a circumstance not
without its own poetic warrant, for from no other American people have
jewelleries of cunningly wrought gold come in more abundance.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVII (_A_).]

 Colombian gold work. Ornaments in the forms of human and monstrous
 beings, doubtless mythological subjects. The originals are in the
 American Museum of Natural History.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVII (_B_).]

 Colombian gold work. The human figure apparently holds a staff or wand
 and may represent Bochica or similar personage. The originals are in
 the American Museum of Natural History.

The Zipa of Bogotá, at the period of the conquest, was the most
considerable of the native rulers in what is now Colombia, having an
empire only less in extent than those of the Peruvian Incas and of the
Aztec Kings. He also was a recent lord, engaged at the very time of the
coming of the whites in extending his power over neighbouring rulers;
it is probable that Guatavita, east of Bogotá had fallen to the Zipa
not many decades before the conquest and this Guatavita is supposed
to have been the scene of the rite of El Dorado; in any case it had
remained a famous shrine. Tunja was another power to the east of Bogotá
declining before the rising power of the Zipas, its Zaque (as the
Tunjan caciques were called) being saved from the Zipa's forces by the
arrival of the Spaniards.

Besides these--the Chibcha proper[117]--there were in Colombia in
the sixteenth century other civilized peoples, akin in culture and
language, whose chief centres were in the elongated Cauca valley
paralleling the Pacific coast. Farthest north were the tribes in
the neighbourhood of Antioquia--the Tamahi and Nutabi; south
of these, about Cartago, were the most famous of gold-workers, the
Quimbaya; while near the borders of what is now Ecuador dwelt the
Coconuco and their kindred. All these peoples possessed skill in
pottery, metal-working, and weaving; and the inhabitants of the Cauca
valley were the most advanced of the Colombians in these arts. Indeed,
the case of Peru seems to be in a measure repeated; for the Chibcha
surpassed their neighbours in the strength of their military and
political organization rather than in their knowledge of the arts.
It is even possible that the Chibcha had been driven eastward by the
western tribes, for the inhabitants of the Cauca valley possessed
traditions of a northern origin, claiming to be immigrants; while
the Chibcha still regarded certain spots in the territories of their
western enemies, the Muzo, as sacred. Little is known of the mythic
systems of any of these peoples save the Chibcha. The Antioquians
preserved a deluge-myth (as doubtless did all the other Colombians);
and they recognized a creator-god, Abirá, a spirit of evil, Canicubá,
and a goddess, Dabeciba, who was the same as Dabaiba, the Darien Mother
of the Creator. Cieza de León says[118] that the Antioquians "carve
the likeness of a devil, very fierce and in human form, with other
images and figures of cats which they worship; when they require water
or sunshine for their crops, they seek aid from these idols." Of the
Quimbaya Cieza tells how there appeared to a group of women making salt
beside a spring the apparition of a disembowelled man who prophesied
a pestilence that soon came. "Many women and boys affirmed that they
saw the dead with their own eyes walking again. These people well
understand that there is something in man besides the mortal body,
though they do not hold that it is a soul, but rather some kind of
transfiguration." The Sun, the Moon, and the Rainbow were important
divinities with all these tribes, and they made offerings of gold and
jewels and children to water-spirits in rivers and in springs. Human
sacrifice was probably universal, and too many of the Indians, as
Cieza puts it, "not content with natural food, turned their bellies
into tombs of their neighbours."


Fray Pedro Simon wrote his _Noticias Historiales_ in 1623, some four
score years from the conquest, giving in his fourth _Noticia_ an
account of the myths and rites of the Chibcha which is our primary
source for the beliefs of these tribes. Like other American peoples the
Chibcha recognized a Creator, apparently the Heaven Father, but like
most others their active cults centred about lesser powers: the Sun
(to whom human sacrifices were made), the Moon, the Rainbow, spirits
of lakes and other _genii locorum_, culture deities, male and female,
and the manes of ancestors. Idols of gold and copper, of wood and clay
and cotton, represented gods and fetishes, and to them offerings were
made, especially of emeralds and golden ornaments. Fray Pedro says
that the Pijaos aborigines and some of those of Tunja had in their
sanctuaries images having three heads or three faces on a single body
which, the natives said, represented three persons with one heart; and
he also records their use of crosses to mark the graves of those dead
of snake-bite, as well as their belief that the souls of the dead fared
to the centre of the earth, crossing the Stygian river on _balsas_ made
of spiders' webs, for which reason spiders were never killed. Like the
Aztec they held that the lot of men slain in battle and of women dying
in child-birth was especially delectable in the other world.

The worship of mountains, serpents, and lakes was implied in many of
the Chibcha rites. Slaves were sacrificed, and their bodies were buried
on hill-tops; children, who were the particular offering to the Sun,
were sometimes taken to mountain-tops to be slain, their bodies being
supposed to be consumed by the Sun; and an interesting case of the
surrogate for human victims was the practice of sacrificing parrots
which had been taught to speak. In masked dances, addressed to the
Sun, tears were represented on the masks as a supplication for pity;
and another curious rite, apparently solar, was performed at Tunja,
where twelve men in red, presumably typifying the moons of the year,
danced about a blue man, who was doubtless the sky-god. The ceremony
of El Dorado is only one of many rites in which the divinities of
the sacred lakes were propitiated; and it is probable that these
water-spirits were conceived in the form of snakes, as when, at Lake
Guatavita, a huge serpent was supposed to issue from the depths to
secure offerings left upon the bank.

The same concept of serpentiform water-deities appears in the curious
and novel creation-myth of the Chibcha, briefly told by Fray Simon. In
the beginning all was darkness, for light was imprisoned in a great
house in charge of a being called Chiminigagua, whom the friar names
as the Supreme God, omnipotent, ever good, and lord of all things.
After creating huge black birds, to whom he gave the light, commanding
them to carry it in their beaks until all the world was illumined and
resplendent, Chiminigagua formed the Sun, the Moon (to be the Sun's
wife and companion), and the rest of the universe. The human race was
of another origin, for shortly after the creation of light, from Lake
Iguaque, not far from Tunja, emerged a woman named Bachue or Turachogue
("the Good Woman"), bearing with her a boy just out of infancy. When
he was grown, Bachue married him; and their prolific offspring--she
brought forth four or six children at a birth--peopled the earth; but
finally the two returned beneath the waters, Bachue enjoining upon the
people to keep the peace, to obey the laws which she had given them,
and in particular to preserve the cult of the gods; while the pair
assumed the form of serpents, in which they were supposed sometimes to
reappear to their worshippers.

The belief that the ancestors of men issued from a lake or spring was
common to many Andean tribes, being found far to the south, where the
Indians of Cuzco pointed to Lake Titicaca as the place whence they had
come. The myth is easy to explain for the obvious reason that lakesides
are desirable abodes and that migrating tribes would hark back to
abandoned lakeside homes as their primal sites; however, another
suggestion is made plausible by various fragments of origin-myths which
have been preserved, namely, that the Andean legends belong to the
great cycle of American tales which make men immigrants to the upper
world from an under-earth realm whence they have been driven by the
malevolence of the water-monster, a serpent or a dragon. There are many
striking parallels between the Colombian tales and those of the Pueblo
tribes of North America--the great underworld-goddess, the serpent and
the spider as subaqueous and subterranean powers, the return of the
dead to the realm below, the importance of birds in cosmogony, the
cult of the rainbow; and along with these there are tales of a culture
hero and of a pair of divine brothers such as are common to nearly all
American peoples.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII.]

 1. Ceremonial dish of black ware with monster or animal forms
 found near Anoire, Antioquia. The original is in the Museum of the
 University of Nebraska.

 2. Image of mother and child, red earthenware, from the coastal
 regions of Colombia. The original is in the Museum of the University
 of Nebraska.

Other Colombian legends of the origin of men include the Pijaos
belief, recorded by Fray Simon, that their ancestors had issued from
a mountain, and the tradition of the Muzo--western neighbours of the
Chibcha--that a shadow, Aré, formed faces from sand, which became men
and women when he sprinkled them with water. A true creation-story (as
distinguished from tales of origin through generation) was told also by
the people of Tunja. In the beginning all was darkness and fog, wherein
dwelt the caciques of Ramiriqui and of Sogamozo, nephew and uncle. From
yellow clay they fashioned men, and from an herb they created women;
but since the world was still unillumined, after enjoining worship upon
their creatures, they ascended to the sky, the uncle to become the Sun,
the nephew the Moon. It was at Sogamozo that the dance of the twelve
red men--each garlanded and carrying a cross, and each with a young
bird borne as a crest above his head--was danced about the blue
sky-man, while all sang how human beings are mortal and must change
their bodies into dust without knowing what shall be the fate of their

Fray Simon relates an episode of these same Indians which is
enlightening both as to the missionary and as to the aboriginal
conception of the powers that be. After the first missionary had
laboured among the natives of Tunja and Sogamozo, "the Demon there
began to give contrary doctrines; and among other matters he sought
to discredit the teaching of the Incarnation, telling them that such
a thing had not yet taken place. Nevertheless, it should happen that
the Sun, assuming human flesh in the body of a virgin of the pueblo
of Guacheta, should cause her to bring forth that which she should
conceive from the rays of the sun, although remaining virgin. This was
bruited throughout the provinces, and the cacique of the pueblo named,
wishing to prove the miracle, took two virgins, and leading them forth
from his house every dawn, caused them to dispose themselves upon a
neighbouring hill, where the first rays of the sun would shine upon
them. Continuing this for some days, it was granted to the Demon by
Divine permission (whose judgements are incomprehensible) that the
event should issue according to his desire: in such manner that in a
few days one of the damsels became pregnant, as she said, by the Sun."
At the end of nine months the girl brought forth a _hacuata_, a large
and beautiful emerald, which was treated as an infant, and after being
carried for several days, became a living creature--"all by the order
of the Demon." The child was called Goranchacha, and when he was grown
he became cacique, with the title of "Child of the Sun." It is to be
suspected that the story of the virgin-born son of the Sun was older
than the first preaching of the Incarnation, and that Spanish ears had
too eagerly misheard some tale of rites or myths which must have been
analogous to the Inca legends of descent from the Sun and to their
consecration of virgins to his worship.

Like the other civilized American nations the Chibcha preserved the
tradition of a bearded old man, clothed in long robes who came from
the east to instruct them in the arts of life and to raise them from
primeval barbarism; and like other churchly writers Fray Pedro Simon
regarded this as evidence of the preaching of the Gospel by an apostle.
Nempterequeteva, or Nemquetheba, and Xue, or Zuhé, are two of the
names of this culture hero, worshipped as the god Bochica. He taught
the weaving of cotton, the cultivation of fruits, the building of
houses, the adoration of the gods; and then he passed on his mysterious
way, leaving as proof of his mission designs of crosses and serpents,
and the custom of erecting crosses over the graves of the victims of
snake-bite--to Fray Pedro an obvious reminiscence of the brazen serpent
raised on a cross by Moses in the Wilderness. One of the epithets of
this greybeard was Chiminizagagua, or "Messenger of Chiminigagua," the
supreme god; and when the Spaniards appeared they were called Gagua,
after the light-giver; but later, when their cruelties had set them
in a different context, the aborigines changed the name to Suegagua
("Demon with Light") after their principal devil, Suetiva, "and this
they give today to the Spaniards." Piedrahíta says the Spaniards were
termed _Zuhá_, but he identifies the name as belonging to the hero

A curious episode follows the departure of the culture hero. Among the
people appeared a woman, beautiful and resplendent--"or, better to say,
a devil in her figure"--who taught doctrines wholly opposed to the
injunctions of Chiminizagagua. Dancing and carousal were the tenets of
her evangel; and in displeasure at this, Chiminizagagua transformed the
woman (variously known as Chie, Huytaca, or Xubchasgagua) into an owl,
condemning her to walk the night. Humboldt says that Bochica changed
his wife Chia into the Moon (_chia_ signifies "moon" in the Chibchan
tongue, says Acosta de Samper); and it seems altogether likely that in
the culture hero, Messenger of Light, and the festal heroine, with
their opposite doctrines, we have a myth of sun and moon.

The Chibcha, of course, had their deluge-legend. In the version
given by Fray Pedro Simon it is associated with the appearance of
the rainbow as the symbol of hope; and since the rainbow cult was
important throughout the Andean region, it may everywhere have been
associated with some such myth as the friar recounts. Chibchachum,
the tutelary of the natives of Bogotá, being offended by the people,
who murmured against him and indeed openly offended, sent a flood to
punish them, whereupon they, in their peril, appealed to Bochica, who
appeared to them upon a rainbow, and, striking the mountains with his
staff, opened a conduit for the waters. Chibchachum was punished, as
Zeus punished the Titans, by being thrust beneath the earth to take
the place of the lignum-vitae-trees which had hitherto upheld it, and
his weary restlessness is the cause of earthquakes; while the rainbow,
Chuchaviva, was thenceforth honoured as a deity, though not without
fear; for Chibchachum, in revenge for his disgrace, announced that
when it appeared, many would die. In the version of this tale given
by Piedrahíta, Huytaca plays a part, for it is as a result of her
artifices that the waters rise; but Bochica is again the deliverer,
and the place opened for the issuance of the waters was shown at the
cataract of Téquendama--"one of the wonders of the world."

The myth of Chibchachum, shaking the world which he supports, has its
analogue not only in the tale of Atlas but also in the Tlingit legend
of the Old Woman Below who jars the post that upholds the world. It
would seem, however, not impossible that the story is an etymological
myth, for Fray Pedro Simon says that Chibchachum means "Staff of the
Chibcha," a name which might easily lend itself to the mythopoesy of
the deluge-tale; nor is it unreasonable from the point of view of
cultural advancement, for the Chibcha were beyond the stage in which
it is profitable to refer all deifications to natural phenomena.
Chibchachum, says the friar, was god of commerce and industries--a
complex divinity, not a mere hero of myth--and Bochica, the most
universally venerated of Chibchan deities, was revered as a law-giver,
divinity of caciques and captains; served with sacrifices of gold and
tobacco, he was worshipped with fasts and hymns, and his image was that
of a man with the golden staff of authority. There was a fox-god and
a bear-god, but Nemcatacoa, the bear-god, was patron of weavers and
dyers, and, oddly, of drunkards; in his bear's form he was supposed
to sing and dance with his followers. Chukem, deity of boundaries
and foot-races, must have been an American Hermes, and Bachue,
goddess of agriculture and of the springs of life, was, no doubt, a
personification of the earth itself, a Ge or Demeter. Chuchaviva, the
Rainbow, aided women in child-birth and those sick with a fever--and
we think of the images of the rainbow goddess on the sweat lodges of
the Navaho far to the north, and of the rainbow insignia of the royal
Incas in the imperial south. Certain it is that here we have to do with
a pantheon that reflects the complexity of a life developed beyond the
primitive needs of those whom we call nature-folk.


The most picturesque account of the landing of gigantic strangers on
the desert-like Pacific coast, just south of the equator, is that given
by Cieza de León.[120] "I will relate what I have been told, without
paying attention to the various versions of the story current among
the vulgar, who always exaggerate everything." With this proclamation
of modesty, he proceeds with the tale which the natives, he says, have
received from their ancestors of a remote time.

"There arrived on the coast, in boats made of reeds, as big as large
ships, a party of men of such size that, from the knee downwards, their
height was as great as the entire height of an ordinary man, though
he might be of good stature. Their limbs were all in proportion to the
deformed size of their bodies, and it was a monstrous thing to see
their heads, with hair reaching to the shoulders. Their eyes were as
large as small plates. They had no beards and were dressed in the skins
of animals, others only in the dress which nature gave them, and they
had no women with them. When they arrived at this point [Santa Elena],
they made a sort of village, and even now the sites of their houses
are pointed out. But as they found no water, in order to remedy the
want they made some very deep wells, works which are truly worthy of
remembrance, for such is their magnitude that they certainly must have
been executed by very strong men. They dug these wells in the living
rock until they met with water, and then they lined them with masonry
from top to bottom in such sort that they will endure for many ages.
The water in these wells is very good and wholesome, and always so cold
that it is very pleasant to drink it. Having built their village and
made their wells or cisterns where they could drink, these great men,
or giants, consumed all the provisions they could lay their hands upon
in the surrounding country, insomuch that one of them ate more meat
than fifty of the natives of the country could. As all the food they
could find was not sufficient to sustain them, they killed many fish
with nets and other gear. They were detested by the natives, because in
using their women they killed them, and the men also in another way;
but the Indians were not sufficiently numerous to destroy this new
people who had come to occupy their lands.... All the natives declare
that God, our Lord, brought upon them a punishment in proportion to the
enormity of their offence.... A fearful and terrible fire came down
from heaven with a great noise, out of the midst of which there issued
a shining angel with a glittering sword, with which, at one blow, they
were all killed, and the fire consumed them. There only remained a few
bones and skulls, which God allowed to remain without being consumed
by the fire, as a memorial of this punishment."

Cieza de León's story is only one among a number of accounts of this
race of giants, come from the sea and destroyed long ago by flame from
heaven for the sin of sodomy. To these legends recent investigations
have added a new interest; for during excavations in the coast region
to the north of Cape Santa Elena the members of the George G. Heye
Expeditions (1906-08) discovered the remains of a unique aboriginal
civilization in this region, among its monuments being stone-faced
wells corresponding to those mentioned by the early narration. Another
and peculiarly interesting type of monument, found here in abundance,
is the stone seat, whether throne or altar, carved with human or
animal figures to support it, and reminiscent of the _duhos_ of the
Antilles and of carved _metates_ and seats found northward in the
continent and beyond the Isthmus. It is the opinion of the excavators
that these seats were thrones for deities; possibly also for human
dignitaries, especially as clay figures represent men sitting upon
such seats--images, perhaps, of household gods; while the figures of
men, pumas, serpents, birds, monkeys, and other figures crouching
caryatid-like are, no doubt, depictions of supporting powers, divine
auxiliaries or gods themselves. Monstrous forms, composite animals,
and grotesquely frog-like images of a female goddess in bas-relief on
stele-like slabs--mute emblems of a forgotten pantheon--add curious
interest to the vanished race, remembered only in distorted legend when
the first-coming Spaniards received the tale from the aborigines.

[Illustration: PLATE XXIX.]

 Scene from a vase, Truxillo, showing balsa. The drawing is in the
 Chimu style. After Joyce, _South American Archaeology_, page 126.

Juan de Velasco,[121] in the beginning of his history of Quito, places
the coming of the giants about the time of the Christian era; and six
or seven centuries later, he declares, another incursion of men from
the sea appeared on this coast, destined to leave a more permanent
trace, for the present city of Caraques not only marks the site of
their first power, but bears the name of the Cara. These invaders are
said to have come on _balsas_--the strange boats of this coast,
formed of logs bound together, the longest at the centre, into the form
of a hull, on which a platform was built, while masts bore cloth sails;
and it is stated that the Spaniards encountered such craft capable
of carrying forty or fifty men. The Cara were an adventurous people,
and after dwelling for a time upon the coast, they advanced into the
interior until, about 980 A. D., according to Velasco, they eventually
established their power in the neighbourhood of Quito, where the Scyri
(as the Cara king was called) became a powerful overlord. From that
time until Quito was subdued by the Incas Tupac Yupanqui and Huayna
Capac in the latter part of the fifteenth century, the Scyris reigned
over the northern empire, constantly extending their territories by
war; but their power was finally broken when the Inca added the emerald
of the Scyris to the red fringe of Cuzco to complete his imperial crown.

The followers of the Scyris, Velasco says, were mere idolaters, having
at the head of their pantheon the Sun and the Moon who had guided them
on their journeys; and he describes the temples built to these deities
on two opposite hills at Quito, that to the Sun having before the door
two pillars which served to measure the solar year, while twelve lesser
columns indicated the beginning of each month. Elsewhere in their
empire were the usual local cults,--worship of animals and elements,
with tales of descent from serpentiform water-spirits and with
adoration of fish and of food animals--while on the coast the Sea was a
great divinity, and the islands of Puna and La Plata were the seats of
famous sanctuaries, at the former shrine prisoners being sacrificed to
Tumbal, the war-god, by having their hearts torn out. The neighbouring
coast was the seat of the veneration of the great emerald (mentioned by
Cieza de León and Garcilasso de la Vega) which was famous as a god of
healing; and it is altogether probable that the Scyris brought their
regard for the emerald from this region in which the gem abounded,
though this may well have been merely a local intensification of that
belief in the magic of green and blue gems which is broadcast in the
two Americas.

Besides the stories of the giants and the Cara, there is a third legend
of an ancient descent of seamen upon the equatorial coast. Balboa[122]
is the narrator of the tale of the coming of Naymlap and his people
to Lambeyeque, a few degrees south of Cape Santa Elena, and the story
which he tells is given with a minuteness as to name and description
that leaves no doubt of its native origin. At a very remote period
there arrived from the north a great fleet of _balsas_, commanded by a
brave and renowned chieftain, Naymlap. His wife was called Ceterni, and
a list of court officers is given--Pitazofi, the trumpeter; Ninacolla,
warden of the chief's litter and throne; Ninagentue, the cup-bearer;
Fongasigde, spreader of shell-dust before the royal feet (a function
which leads us to suspect that the royal feet, for magic reasons, were
never to touch the earth); Ochocalo, chief of the cuisine; Xam, master
of face-paints; and Llapchilulli, charged with the care of vestments
and plumes. From this account of the _entourage_, one readily infers
that the chieftain is more than man, himself a divinity; and, indeed,
Balboa goes on to say that immediately after the new comers had landed,
they built a temple, named Chot, wherein they placed an idol which they
had brought and which, carved of green stone in the image of the chief,
was called Llampallec, or "figure of Naymlap." After a long reign
Naymlap disappeared, leaving the report that, given wings by his power,
he had ascended to the skies; and his followers, in their affliction,
went everywhere in search of their lord, while their children inhabited
the territories which had been acquired. Cium, the successor of
Naymlap, at the end of his reign, immured himself in a subterranean
chamber, where he perished of hunger in order that he might leave the
reputation of being immortal; and after Cium were nine other kings,
succeeded by Tempellec, who undertook to move the statue of Naymlap.
But when a demon, in the form of a beautiful woman, had seduced him,
it began to rain--a thing hitherto unknown on that dry coast--and
continued for thirty days, this being followed by a year of famine,
whereupon the priests, binding Tempellec hand and foot, cast him into
the sea, after which the kingdom was changed into a republic.

This tale bears all the marks of authentic tradition. We may well
suppose that Naymlap and his successors were magic kings, reigning
during the period of their vigorous years and then sacrificed to
make way for a successor who should anew incarnate the sacred life
of Llampallec. Such rulers, as corn-spirits and embodiments of the
communal soul of their people, have been made familiar by Sir James G.
Frazer's monumental _Golden Bough_; and in this case it would appear
that the sacred king was regarded as a marine divinity, probably as
the son of Mother Sea. Certainly this would not merely explain the
shell-dust spread beneath his feet, but it might also account for the
punishment of Tempellec, who had brought the cataclysm of water to the
land and so was cast back to his own element; while it is even possible
that the worship of the emerald, which all writers mention in connexion
with this coast, may have here received its especial impetus from the
colour and translucency of the stone, suggesting the green waters of
the ocean.




"In this land of Peru," wrote Cieza de León,[124] "are three desert
ranges where men can in no wise exist. One of these comprises the
_montaña_ (forests) of the Andes, full of dense wildernesses where
men cannot live, nor ever have lived. The second is the mountainous
region, extending the whole length of the Cordillera of the Andes,
which is intensely cold, and its summits are covered with eternal snow,
so that in no way can people live in this region owing to the snow and
the cold, and also because there are no provisions, all things being
destroyed by the snow and the wind, which never ceases to blow. The
third range comprises the sandy deserts from Tumbez to the other side
of Tarapaca, in which there is nothing to be seen but sand-hills and
the fierce sun which dries them up, without water, nor herb, nor tree,
nor created thing, except birds which, by the gift of their wings,
wander wherever they list. This kingdom, being so vast, has great
deserts for the reasons I have now given.

"The inhabited region is after this fashion. In parts of the mountains
of the Andes are ravines and dales, which open out into deep valleys
of such width as often to form great plains between the mountains; and
although the snow falls, it all remains on the higher part. As these
valleys are closed in, they are not molested by the winds, nor does the
snow reach them, and the land is so fruitful that all things which are
sown yield abundantly; and there are trees and many birds and animals.
The land being so fertile, is well peopled by the natives. They
make their villages with rows of stones roofed with straw, and live
healthily and in comfort. Thus the mountains of the Andes form these
dales and ravines in which there are populous villages, and rivers of
excellent water flow near them, some of the rivers send their waters to
the South Sea, entering by the sandy deserts which I have mentioned,
and the humidity of their water gives rise to very beautiful valleys
with great rows of trees. The valleys are two or three leagues broad,
and great quantities of _algoroba_ trees [_Prosopis horrida_] grow in
them, which flourish even at great distances from any water. Wherever
there are groves of trees the land is free from sand and very fertile
and abundant. In ancient times these valleys were very populous, and
still there are Indians in them, though not so many as in former days.
As it never rains in these sandy deserts and valleys of Peru, they do
not roof their houses as they do in the mountains, but build large
houses of _adobes_ [sun-dried bricks] with pleasant terraced roofs of
matting to shade them from the sun, nor do the Spaniards use any other
roofing than these reed mats. To prepare their fields for sowing,
they lead channels from the rivers to irrigate the valleys, and the
channels are made so well and with so much regularity that all the land
is irrigated without any waste. This system of irrigation makes the
valleys very green and cheerful, and they are full of fruit-trees both
of Spain and of this country. At all times they raise good harvests of
maize and wheat, and of everything that they sow. Thus, although I have
described Peru as being formed of three desert ridges, yet from them,
by the will of God, descend these valleys and rivers, without which
no man could live. This is the cause why the natives were so easily
conquered, for if they rebelled they would all perish of cold and
hunger. Except the land which they inhabit, the whole country is full
of snowy mountains, enormous and very terrible."

Cieza de León's description brings vividly before the imagination
the physical surroundings which made possible the evolution and the
long history of the greatest of native American empires. Divided
from one another by towering mountains and inhospitable deserts, the
tribes and clans that filtered into this region at some remote period
were compelled to develop in relative isolation; while, further, the
conditions of existence were such that the inhabitants could not be
nomadic huntsmen, nor even fishermen. Along the shores are vestiges of
ancient shell-heaps, indicative of utterly primitive fisher-folk, and
the sea always remained an important source of food for the coastal
peoples; yet even here, as Cieza de León indicates, the growth of
population was dependent upon an intensive cultivation of the narrow
river-valleys rather than upon the conquest of new territories. Thus,
the whole environment of life in Peru, montane and littoral, is
framed by the fact of more or less constricted and protected valley
centres, immensely productive in response to toil, but yielding no
idyllic fruits to unlaborious ease. If the peoples who inhabited these
valleys were not agriculturists when they entered them, they were
compelled to become such in order that they might live and increase;
and while the stupendous thrift of the aborigines, as evidenced by
their stone-terraced gardens, their elaborate aqueducts, and their
wonderful roads, still excites the astonishment of beholders, it is
none the less intelligible as the inevitable consequence of prolonged
human habitation. It is certain that the Peruvian peoples were the
most accomplished of all Americans in the working of the soil; and it
is possible that they were the originators of agriculture in America,
for it was from Peru, apparently, that the growing of maize spread
throughout wide regions of South America, Peru that developed the
potato as a food-crop, and in Peru that the cultivation of cotton and
various fruits and vegetables added greatest variety to the native
farming. Peru, likewise, was the only American centre in which there
was a domestic animal more important than the dog; and the antiquity of
the taming of the llama and alpaca--useful not only for food and wool,
but also as beasts of burden--is shown by the fact that these
animals show marked differentiation from the wild guanaco from which
they are derived. The development of domestic species of this animal
and, even more, the development of maize from its ancestral grasses
(if indeed this were Peruvian)[125] imply many centuries of settled
and industrious life, a consideration which adds strongly to the
archaeological and legendary indications of a civilization that must be
reckoned in millennia.

[Illustration: PLATE XXX.]

 Machu Picchu, in the valley of the Urubamba, north of Cuzco. These
 ruins of an ancient Inca city were discovered by Hiram Bingham, of the
 Yale University and National Geographical Society expedition, in 1911,
 and are by him identified with the "Tampu-Tocco" of Inca tradition
 (see pages 216-18, and Plate XXXVIII). From photograph, courtesy of
 Hiram Bingham, Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition.

The conditions which thus fostered local and intensive cultural
evolutions were scarcely less favourable--once the local valleys had
reached a certain complexity--to the formation of extensive empires. As
Cieza de León remarks, conquest was easy where refuge was difficult;
and the Inca conquerors themselves found that the most effective weapon
they could employ against the coastal cities was mastery of their
aqueducts. The town which lost control of its water, drawn from the
hills, could only surrender; and thus, the segregated valleys fell an
easy prey to a powerful and aggressive people, gifted with engineering
skill, such as the Inca race; while the empire won was not difficult
to hold. At the time of the Spanish conquest that empire was truly
immense. Tahuantinsuyu ("the Four Quarters") was the native name, and
"the Quartered City" (Cuzco), its capital, was regarded as the Navel of
the World. The four quarters, or provinces, were oriented from Cuzco:
the southerly was Collasuyu, stretching from the neighbourhood of Lake
Titicaca southward; the eastern province was Antisuyu, extending down
the slopes of the Andes into the regions of savagery; to the west lay
Cuntisuyu, reaching to the coast and to the lands of the Yunca peoples;
while to the north was Chinchasuyu, following the Andean valleys.
Shortly before the Conquest the Inca dominion had been imposed upon
the realm of the Scyris of Quito, so that the northern boundary lay
beyond the equator; while the extreme southerly border had recently
been extended over the Calchaqui tribes and down the coast to the
edges of Araucania in the neighbourhood of latitude 35º south. The
imperial territories were naturally narrowed to the Andean region,
for the tropical forests to the east offered no allurements to the
mountain-loving race which, indeed, could endure only temporarily the
heat of the western coast, so that Inca campaigners in this direction
resorted to frequent reliefs lest their men be debilitated. On the
other hand, the immense expanse north and south, notwithstanding the
perfection of the roads and fortresses built by astute rulers to
facilitate communication, caused a natural tension of the parts and
a tendency to break at the appearance of even the least weakness at
the centre. Such appears to have been the fatal defect underlying the
conflict of Huascar, at Cuzco, with Atahualpa, whose initial strength
lay in his possession of Quito, and whose career was brought to an
untimely end by the advent of Pizarro. Despite the fact that Inca power
had been clearly crescent within the generation, it is by no means
certain that the political conditions which the Spaniards used to
advantage might not, if left to themselves, have disrupted the great

There is reason to think that such a rupture had occurred at least once
before in the history of Andean civilization. The list of more than
a hundred Peruvian kings given by the Licentiate Fernando Montesinos
(writing about 1650)[126] was formerly viewed with much distrust,
chiefly for the reason that the kings of the pre-Inca dynasties
recorded by Montesinos are almost without exception unnamed by earlier
and prime authorities on Peruvian history (including Garcilasso de la
Vega and Cieza de León). Recent discoveries, however, both scholarly
and archaeological, have brought a new plausibility to Montesinos's
lists, and it appears probable that he derived them from the lost works
of Blas Valera, one of the earliest men in the field, known to have had
exceptional opportunities for a study of native lore; while at the same
time the archaeological investigations of Max Uhle and the brilliant
achievements of the expeditions headed by Hiram Bingham have given a
new definiteness to knowledge of pre-Inca conditions.[127]

It has long been known that Inca civilization was only the last in a
series of Peruvian culture periods. Back of it, in the highlands, lay
the Megalithic Age, so called from the great size of the stone blocks
in its cyclopean masonry, the earliest centre of this culture being
supposed to have been about Lake Titicaca, and especially Tiahuanaco,
at the south of the lake--a site remarkable not only for the most
extraordinary of all ancient American monuments, the monolithic gate
and the surrounding precincts, but also for the importance ascribed
to it in legend as a place of origin of nations. Other highland
centres, however, hark back to the same period, and Cuzco itself, in
old cyclopean walls, shows evidence of an age of Megalithic greatness
upon which the later Inca civilization had supervened. Again, in the
coastal region from Ica to Truxillo--the realms of the Yunca, according
to the older chroniclers--there were several successive culture
periods; and though it is possible that traditions such as that of
Naymlap (see Chapter VI, Section V) indicate a foreign origin for the
Yunca peoples, in any case their differing environment would account
for much. The peoples of the littoral could have no herds of llamas,
since the animal was unable to live in that region; and hence they
looked mainly to cotton for their fabrics, while the sea gave them fair
compensation in the matter of food. In the lesser arts, especially in
that of the potter, they surpassed the highlanders and, indeed, all
other Americans; but their building material was adobe, and they have
left no magnificent monuments, as have the stone-workers of the hills.
Nevertheless at some remote, pre-Inca period the ideas of the coast
and those of the highlands met and interchanged: the art of Tiahuanaco
is reflected in motive at Truxillo, while the vases of Nasca repeat
the bizarre decoration of the monolith of Chavin de Huantar. The hoary
sanctity of the great temple of Pachacamac was such that its Inca
conqueror adopted the god into his own pantheon; and it was just here,
at the Yunca shrine of Pachacamac, that Uhle found evidence of a series
of culture periods leading to a considerable antiquity. The indigenous
coastal art had already passed its climax of expressive skill when the
influence of Tiahuanaco appeared; but this influence lasted long enough
to leave an enduring impress on the interregnum-like period which
followed, awaiting, as it were, the return of the hills' influence,
which came with the advent of the Inca. Such, in brief, is the
restoration, and it seems to fit remarkably with Bingham's discoveries
and with Montesinos's lists.

Of the one hundred and two kings in these lists, the last ten form the
Inca dynasty (a group with respect to which Montesinos is in essential
agreement with other chroniclers), whose beginning is placed 1100-1200
A. D.; back of these are the twenty-eight lords of Tampu-Tocco; and
still earlier the sixty-four rulers of the ancient empire, forty-six
of them forming the _amauta_ (or priest-king) dynasty which followed
after the primal line of eighteen Sons of the Gods. Were this scheme
of regal succession followed out _in extenso_ the beginnings of the
Megalithic Empire of the highlands should fall near the beginning of
the first millennium before Christ, and that of the Tampu Tocco dynasty
in the early years of our Era. Archaeological and other considerations
lead, however, to estimates somewhat more conservative, placing the
culmination of the early empire in the first centuries of the Christian
era, and the sojourn at Tampu Tocco from about 600-1100 A. D.[128]

The Inca dynasty, established at Cuzco toward 1200 A. D., was the
creator of the great empire which the Spaniards found, and its record
is the traditional history of Peru, recounted by Garcilasso and Cieza.
According to the legend, the Inca tribes had come to Cuzco from a place
called Tampu-Tocco, a city of refuge in an inaccessible valley, where
for centuries their ancestors had lived in seclusion, the cause of the
retirement being as follows: in past generations, it was said, the
Amauta dynasty held sway over a great highland realm, extending from
Tucuman in the south to Huanuco in the north, the empire having been
formed perhaps by the earlier royal house, which was called _Pirua_,
after the name of its first King. In the reign of the forty-sixth
Amauta, there came an invasion of hordes from the south and east,
preceded by comets, earthquakes, and dire divinations. The King Titu
Yupanqui, borne on a golden litter, led his soldiers out to battle; he
was slain by an arrow, and his discouraged followers retreated with
his body. Cuzco fell, and after war came pestilence, leaving city and
country uninhabitable, while the remnants of the Amauta people fled
away to Tampu-Tocco, where they established themselves, leaving at
Cuzco only a few priests who refused to abandon the shrine of the Sun.
It was said that the art of writing was lost in this _débâcle_, and
that the later art of reckoning by _quipus_, or knotted and coloured
cords, was invented at Tampu-Tocco. Here, in a city free from pests
and unmoved by earthquakes, the Kings of Tampu-Tocco reigned in peace,
going occasionally to Cuzco to worship at the ancient shrine, over
which, with its neighborhood, some shadowy authority was preserved.
Finally a woman, Siyu-Yacu, of noble birth and high ambition, caused
the report to be spread that her son, Rocca, had been carried off to
be instructed by the Sun himself, and a few days later the youth,
appearing in a garment glittering with gold, told the people that
corruption of the ancient religion had caused their fall, but that
their lost glories should be restored to them under his leadership.
Thus Rocca became the first of the Incas, Cuzco was restored as
capital, and the new empire started on a career which was to exceed the
old in grandeur.

With the removal to Cuzco, Tampu-Tocco became no more than a monumental
shrine where priests and vestals preserved the rites of the old
religion and watched over the caves made sacred by the bones of former
monarchs. The native writer Salcamayhua, who, like Garcilasso, makes
Manco Capac the founder of the Incas (Montesinos regards Manco Capac
I as the first native-born king of the Pirua dynasty), tells how "at
the place of his birth he ordered works to be executed, consisting of a
masonry wall with three windows, which were emblems of the house of his
fathers, whence he descended"; and the name Tampu-Tocco actually means
"Tavern of the Windows," windows being an unusual feature of Peruvian
architecture. As the event proves, the commemorative wall is still

In 1911, Hiram Bingham, the leader of the expedition sent out by
Yale University and the National Geographical Society, discovered
in the wild valley of the Urubamba, north of Cuzco, the ruins of a
mountain-seated city, one of the most wonderful, and (in its natural
context) beautiful ruins in the world. Machu Picchu the place is
called, and its discoverer identifies it with the Tampu-Tocco of Inca
tradition. One of its most striking features is a wall with three great
windows; it contains cave-made graves and temples; bones of the more
recent dead indicate that those who last dwelt in it were priestesses
and priests; and it gives evidence of long occupation. The more ancient
stonework is the more beautiful in execution, seeming to hark back to
the masterpieces of Megalithic civilization; the later portion is in
Inca style. Especially interesting is the discovery of record stones,
associated with the older period, indicating that an earlier method of
chronology had been replaced in later times, for it is to the reign of
the thirteenth King of Tampu-Tocco that the invention of _quipus_ is
ascribed. Ideally placed as a city of refuge in a remote cañon, so that
its very existence was unknown to the Spanish conquerors; seated on a
granite hill unmoved by earthquakes; with its elaborate structures and
complicated terraces indicating generations of residence, Machu Picchu
represents the connecting link between the old and the new empires in
Peru and gives a suddenly vivid plausibility to the traditions recorded
by Montesinos.

[Illustration. PLATE XXXI.]

 Sculptured monolith from Chavin de Huantar, now in the Museum of Lima.
 The design appears to be a deity armed with thunderbolts or elaborate
 wands, with a monster head surmounted by an elaborate head-dress. If
 the figure be viewed reversed the head-dress will be seen to consist
 of a series of masks each pendent from the protruding tongue of the
 mask above, a motive frequent in Nasca pottery (_cf_. Plate XXXII).
 The figure strongly suggests the central image of the Tiahuanaco
 monolithic gateway, but it is to be observed that serpent heads, from
 the girdle, the rays of the head-dress, and in the caduceus-like
 termination of the head-dress, take the place of the puma, fish and
 condor accessories of the Tiahuanaco monument. The relationship of
 this deity to those represented on Plates XXXII, XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV,
 and XXXVII, is scarcely to be doubted. Markham, _Incas of Peru_, page

Thus, in shadowy fashion, the cycles of Andean civilization are
restored. There are two great regions, the highland and the littoral,
Inca and Yunca, each with a long history. The primitive fisher-families
of the coast gave way to a civilization which may have received its
impetus, as traditions indicate, from tribes sailing southward in great
_balsas_; at any rate it had developed, doubtless before the Christian
era, important and characteristic culture centres--Truxillo in the
north, Nasca to the south--and great shrines, Pachacamac and Rimac,
venerable to the Incas; while long after its own acme, and long before
the Inca conquest, the coastal civilization had had important commerce
with the ancient culture of the highlands. The origin of the pre-Inca
empire from the Megalithic culture of Tiahuanaco leads back toward the
middle of the first millenium B. C., perhaps to dimly remote centuries.
It passed its floruit, marked by the rise of Cuzco as a great capital,
and then followed barbarian migrations and wars; the retirement of a
defeated handful to Tampu-Tocco; a long period of decline; and finally,
about the beginning of the thirteenth century, a renaissance of
culture, marked by a religious reform amounting to a new dispensation
and stamping the revived power as essentially ecclesiastical in its
claims,--for all Inca conquests were undertaken with a Crusader's plea
for the expansion of the faith in the beneficent Sun and for the spread
of knowledge of the Way of Life revealed through his children, the Inca.

It is impossible not to be struck with the resemblance between the
development of this civilization and that of Europe during the same
period. Cuzco and Rome rise to empire simultaneously; the ancient
civilizations of Tiahuanaco, Nasca, and Truxillo, excelling the new
power in art, but inferior in power of organization and engineering
works, are the American equivalents of Greece and the Orient. Almost
synchronously, Rome and Cuzco fall before barbarian invasions; and in
each case centuries follow which can only be known as dark, during
which the empire breaks in chaos. Finally, both civilizations rise,
again during the same period, as leaders in a new movement in religion,
animated by a crusading zeal and basing their authority upon divine
will. It is true that Rome does not attain the material power that was
restored to Cuzco, but Christendom, at least, does attain this power.
Such is the picture,--though it must be added that in the present state
of knowledge it is plausible restoration only, not proven truth.


It is not possible to reconstruct in any detail the religions and
mythologies of the pre-Inca civilizations of the central Andes, but
of the four culture centres which have been most studied some traits
are decipherable. Two of these centres are montane, two coastal. Of
the former, the Megalithic highland civilization, whose first home
is supposed to have been the region of Lake Titicaca, is assuredly
ancient; the civilization of the Calchaqui, to the south of this, was
a late conquest of the Incas and was doubtless a contemporary of Inca
culture. On the coast, the Yunca developed in two branches, both,
apparently, as ancient as the Megalithic culture, and both, again,
late conquests of the Incas. To the north, extending from Tumbez to
Paramount, with Chimu (Truxillo) as its capital, was the realm of the
Grand Chimu--a veritable empire, for it comprised some twenty coastal
valleys--while the twelve adjoining southern valleys, from Chancay to
Nasca, were the seat of the Chincha Confederacy, a loose political
organization with a characteristic culture of its own, though clearly
akin to that of the Chimu region. All these centres having fallen
under the sway of conquerors with a creed to impose (the Incas even
erected a shrine to the Sun on the terraces of oracular Pachacamac),
their religious traditions were waning in importance in the time of
the _conquistadores_, who, unhappily, secured little of the lore that
might have been salved in their own day. There are fragments for the
Chimu region in Balboa and Calancha, for the Chincha in Arriaga and
Avila; but in the main it is upon the monuments--vases, burials, ruins
of temples--that, in any effort to define the beliefs of these departed
peoples, we must depend for a supplementation of the meagre notices
recorded in Inca tradition or preserved by the early chroniclers.[129]

Fortunately these monuments permit of some interesting guesses which,
surely, are no unjustified indulgence of human curiosity when the
mute expression of dead souls is their matter; and in particular the
wonderful drawings of the Truxillo and Nasca vases and the woven
figures of their fabrics suggest analogical interpretation. Despite
their family likeness, the styles of the two regions are distinct;
and, as the investigations of Uhle show, they have undergone long and
changing developments, with apogees well in the past. The zenith of
Chimu art was marked by a variety and naturalism of design rivaled, if
at all in America, only by the best Maya achievements; while Chincha
expression realized its acme in polychrome designs truly marvellous in
complexity of convention. That the art of both regions is profoundly
mythological is obvious from the portrayals.

Striking features of this Yunca art are the
monster-forms[130]--man-bird, man-beast, man-fish, man-reptile--and,
again, the multiplication of faces or masks, both of men and of
animals. The repetition of the human countenance is especially frequent
in the art of Nasca, where series of masks are often enchained in
complex designs, one most grotesque form of this concatenation
representing a series of masks issuing, as it were, from the successive
mouths, and joined by the protruding tongues. Again, there are
dragon-like or serpentine monsters having a head at each extremity,
recalling not only the two-headed serpent of Aztec and Maya art, but
also the Sisiutl of the North-West Coast of North America--a region
whose art, also, furnishes an impressive analogue, in complexity
of convention, to that of the Yunca. Frequently, in Nasca art, the
fundamental design is a man-headed bird, or fish, or serpent, whose
body and accoutrements are complexly adorned with representations of
the heads or forms of other animals--the puma, for example, or even
the mouse. Oftentimes heads, apparently decapitations, are borne
in the hands of the central figure; and on one Truxillo vase there
is a depiction[131] of what is surely a ceremonial dance in which
the participants are masked and disguised as birds and animals;
the remarkable Nasca robes in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (see
Plates XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII, XXXIV) also suggest masked forms, the
representations of the same personage varying in colour and in the
arrangement of facial design.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXII.]

 Polychrome vase from the Nasca valley, showing the multi-headed deity
 represented also by Plate XXXI. The succession of masks connected by
 protruded tongues is a striking form of Nasca design. Examples are
 found elsewhere, even into Calchaqui territory. The vase here pictured
 is in the American Museum of Natural History.

The heads which are held in the hands and which adorn the costumes
of these figures are regarded by some authorities as trophy heads,
remotely related, perhaps, to those which are prepared as tokens of
prowess by some of the Brazilian tribes; and, in fact, the discovery
of the decapitated mummies of women and girls, buried in the guano
deposits of the sacred islands of Guañape and Macabi, points to a
remote period when human sacrifices were made, perhaps to a marine
power, and certainly connected with some superstition as to the head.
Another suggestion, however, will account for a greater variety of the
forms. The dances with animal masks irresistibly recall the ancestral
and totemic masked dances of such peoples as the Pueblo Indians of
North America and of the tribes of the North-West Coast; the figures of
bird-men, fish-men, and snake-men, with their bodies ornamented with
other animal figures, are again reminiscent of the totemic emblems of
the far North-West; and surely no image is better adapted to suggest
the descent of a series of generations from an ancestral hero than
the sequence of tongue-joined masks figured on the Nasca vases, each
generation receiving its name, as it were, from the mouth of the
preceding. The recurrence of certain constant designs, both on vases
and in fabrics, is at least analogous to the use of totemic signs
on garments and utensils in the region of the North-West Coast.

It is certain that ancestor-worship was an important feature of Yunca
religion, for Arriaga, speaking of the Chincha peoples, says that
for festivals they gathered in _ayllus_ (tribes or clans), each with
mummies of its kinsfolk to which were offered vases, clothes, plumes,
and the like. They had household gods (called Conopa or Huasi-camayoc),
as distinguished from the communal deities, which were of several
classes; more than three thousand of these Conopas it is said, were
destroyed by the Spaniards. Garcilasso informs us that each coastal
province worshipped a special kind of fish, "telling a pleasant tale
to the effect that the First of all the Fish dwells in the sky"--a
statement which is certainly in tone with a totemic interpretation.

In addition to the special idols of each province, says
Garcilasso,[132] all the peoples of the littoral from Truxillo to
Tarapaca adored the ocean in the form of a fish, out of gratitude for
the food that it yielded, naming it Mama Cocha ("Mother Sea"); and it
is indeed plausible that the Food-Giver of the Sea was a great deity
in this region, although some of the Truxillo vases seem to indicate
that the ocean was also regarded as the abode of dread and inimical
monsters, since they portray the conflicts of men or heroes with
crustacean and piscine monsters of the deep. Antonio de la Calancha,
who was prior of the Augustines at Truxillo in 1619, gives a brief
account of the Chimu pantheon.[133] The Ocean (Ni) and the earth
(Vis) were worshipped, prayers being offered to the one for fish and
to the other for good harvests. The great deity, however, was the
Moon (Si), to which sacrifices of children were sometimes made; and
this heavenly body, regarded as ruler of the elements and bringer of
tempests, was held to be more powerful than the Sun. Possibly the
crescent- or knife-shaped symbol which appears on the head-gear of vase
representations of chieftains, in Truxillo ware, is a token of this
cult, which finds a parallel among the Araucanians of the far south,
among whom, too, the Moon, not the Sun, is the lofty deity.

The language of the subjects of the Grand Chimu was Mochica, which
was unrelated to any other in Peru; but though they regarded the
Quichua-speaking Chincha as hereditary enemies, the religious
conceptions of the two groups were not very different. In Arriaga's
account,[134] the Chincha worshipped the Earth (Mama Pacha) as well
as Mama Cocha (the Sea); and they also venerated the "Mamas," or
Mothers, of maize and cacao. There were likewise tutelary deities
for their several villages--just as each family had its Penates--and
Garcilasso states that the god Chincha Camac was adored as the creator
and guardian of all the Chincha. The worship of stones in fields and
stones in irrigating channels is also mentioned (both for Chimu and
for Chincha), and these may well have been in the nature of herms in
valleys where fields were narrowly limited; while in addition there
were innumerable huacas--sacred places, fetishes, oracles, idols,
and, in short, anything marvellous, for Garcilasso, in explaining the
meaning of the word, says that it was applied to everything exciting
wonder, from the great gods and the peaks of the Andes to the birth of
twins and the occurrence of hare-lip. It is in this connexion that he
speaks of "sepulchres made in the fields or at the corners of their
houses, where the devil spoke to them familiarly," a description
suggestive of ancestral shrines; and it is quite possible that the
word _huaca_ is most properly applied in that sense in which it has
survived, to tombs.

In Chincha territory were located the two great shrines of Rimac
and Pachacamac, whose oracles even the Incas courted. Rimac, says
Garcilasso, signifies "He who Speaks"; he adds that the valley was
called Rimac from "an idol there, in the shape of a man, which spoke
and gave answers to questions, like the oracle of the Delphic Apollo";
and Lima, which is in the valley of Rimac, receives its appellation
from a corruption of this name. A greater shrine, however, and an older
oracle was Pachacamac. According to Garcilasso, the word means "Maker
and Sustainer of the Universe" (_pacha_, "earth," _camac_, "maker");
and he is of opinion that the worship of this divinity originated with
the Incas, who, nevertheless, regarded the god as invisible and hence
built him no temples and offered him no sacrifices, but "adored him
inwardly with the greatest veneration." Markham (not very convincingly)
identifies Pachacamac with the great fish-deity of the coast,
considering him as a supplanter of the older and purer deity, Viracocha.

One of the most interesting of coastal myths, quoted by Uhle, tells how
Pachacamac, having created a man and a woman, failed to provide them
with food; but when the man died, the woman was aided by the Sun, who
gave her a son and taught the pair to live upon wild fruits. Angered
at this interference, Pachacamac killed the youth, from whose buried
body sprang maize and other cultivated plants; the Sun gave the woman
another son, Wichama, whereupon Pachacamac slew the mother; while
Wichama, in revenge, pursued Pachacamac, driving him into the sea,
and thereafter burning up the lands in passion, transformed men into
stones. This legend has been interpreted as a symbol of the seasons,
but it is evident that its elements belong to wide-spread American
cycles, for the mother and son suggest the Chibcha goddess, Bachue,
while the formation of cultivated plants from the body of the slain
youth is a familiar element in myths of the tropical forests and,
indeed, in both Americas. From the story it is clear that Pachacamac is
a creator god, antagonistic (if not superior) to the Sun, who seems to
supplant him in power; but surely it is anomalous that the Earth-Maker
should find his end by being driven into the sea unless, indeed,
Pachacamac, spouse of Mother Sea, be the embodied Father Heaven,
descending in fog and damp and driven seaward by the dispelling Sun.
Such an interpretation would make Pachacamac simply a local form of
Viracocha; and this, certainly, is suggested in the descriptions, by
Garcilasso and others, of the reverence paid to this divinity.

From Francisco de Avila's account[135] of the myths of the Huarochiri,
in the valley of the Rimac, we may infer that Viracocha was known to
the Chincha tribes, at one period probably as a supreme god. An idol
called Coniraya (meaning according to Markham, "Pertaining to Heat")
they addressed as "Coniraya Viracocha," saying, "Thou art Lord of all;
thine are the crops, and thine are all the people"; and in every toil
and difficulty they invoked this deity for aid.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII.]

 Embroidered figure from a Nasca robe in the Boston Museum of Fine
 Arts. Nasca fabrics represent the highest achievement in textile art
 of aboriginal America. Figures of the type here shown are repeated
 with minor variations, each, no doubt, of symbolic significance, in a
 chequered or "all-over" design. The deity represented may be totemic,
 but obviously belongs to the same group as those shown in such pottery
 paintings as are represented in Plates XXXII and XXXIV.

One of the decorative designs that occurs and recurs on the vases of
both the Chimu and Chincha regions--in the characteristic style of
each--is the plumed serpent. What is apparently a modification of this
is the man-headed serpent, or the warrior with a serpent's or dragon's
tail, a further modification representing the man or deity as holding
the serpent in one hand, while frequently, in the other hand, is a
symbolic staff or weapon that in certain forms is startlingly like the
classical thunderbolt in the hand of Jove. Another step shows only the
serpent's head held in the one hand, while the staff, or thunderbolt,
is made prominent; and, finally, in the style known as that of
Tiahuanaco, from its resemblance to the ancient art of the highlands, a
squat deity, holding a winged or snake-headed wand in each hand gives
the counterfeit presentment of the central figure on the Tiahuanaco
arch and the monolith of Chavin. In Central and North America the
plumed serpent is a sky-symbol, associated with rainbow, lightning,
rain, and weather; and it is not too much to follow the guesses
hitherto ventured that this cycle of images, appearing in various forms
in the different periods of Yunca art, is intimately associated with
the ancient and nearly universal Jovis Pater of America--Father Sky.
As in the old world, the eagle, so in South America the condor and the
falcon are the especial ministers of this deity; as also are the
most powerful of the beasts of prey known in the region--the puma,
or mountain lion; and, again, a fish, which we may suppose to typify
lordship over the waters, as the condor and lion symbolize dominion
over air and earth. Thus, as it were, through their grotesque masks
and gorgeous fantasies, the pots and jars of the Yunca peoples mutely
attest the universal reverence of mankind for the great powers of


What were the tales which the Yunca peoples told of their gods? The
little that we know is almost wholly due to the unfinished manuscript
of Francisco de Avila,[136] composed in 1608; but brief and fragmentary
though this treatise be, ending abruptly with the heading of a Chapter
VIII, which was never written, it throws a curiously suggestive
light upon the archaeological discoveries of our own day, with their
revelation of successive civilizations and successive cults in the
coastal valleys.

Avila's narrative tells of a series of ages of the gods, each marked by
its new ruler, which he confesses he did not well comprehend because
of the contradictoriness of the legends. At all events, however,
in the most ancient period there were "certain _huacas_, or idols,...
supposed to have walked in the form of men. These _huacas_ were
called Yananamca Intanamca; and in a certain encounter they had with
another _huaca_, called Huallallo Caruincho, they were conquered and
destroyed by the said Huallallo, who remained as Lord and God of
the land. He ordered that no woman should bring forth more than two
children, of which one was to be sacrificed for him to eat, and the
other,--whichever of the two the parents chose,--might be brought
up. It was also a tradition that, in those days, all who died were
brought to life again on the fifth day; and that what was sown in that
land also sprouted, grew, and ripened on the fifth day; and that all
these three provinces [Huarochiri, Mama, Chaclla] were then a very hot
country, which the Indians call _Yunca_ or _Ande_." The last allusion
probably refers to some recollection of a migration from the coast,
for the Huarochiri region is in the highlands drained by the Rimac and
Lurin rivers.

The story goes on to record the overthrow of Huallallo by another
hero-god, Pariacaca; but before narrating this event, Avila turns aside
to tell the tale of Coniraya Viracocha, whom he regards as certainly
a great deity at one time, though whether before or after the rise of
Pariacaca is not evident.

In ancient times Coniraya appeared as a poor Indian, clothed in rags
and reviled by all. Nevertheless, he was the creator of all things,
at whose command terraces arose to support the fields and channels
were formed to irrigate them--feats which he accomplished by merely
hurling his hollow cane. He was also all-wise with respect to gods and
oracles, and the thoughts of others were open to him. This Coniraya
fell in love with a certain virgin, Cavillaca; and as she sat weaving
beneath a lucma-tree, he dropped near her a ripe fruit, containing his
own generative seed. Eating the fruit unsuspectingly, she became with
child; and when the babe was old enough to crawl, she assembled all
"the _huacas_ and principal idols of the land," determined to discover
the child's father; but as, to her amazement and disgust, the infant
crawled to the beggar-like Coniraya, she snatched it up and fled away
toward the sea. "But Coniraya Viracocha desired the friendship and
favour of the goddess; so, when he saw. her take flight, he put on
magnificent golden robes, and leaving the astonished assembly of the
gods, he ran after her, crying out: 'O my lady Cavillaca, turn your
eyes and see how handsome and gallant am I,' with other loving and
courteous words; and they say that his splendour illuminated the whole
country." But Cavillaca only increased her speed, and plunging into the
sea, mother and child were transformed into two rocks, still to be
seen. Coniraya, distanced, kept on his quest. He met a condor, and the
condor having promised him success in his pursuit, he gave the condor
the promise of long life, power to traverse wildernesses and valleys,
and the right to prey; and upon those who should slay the condor he set
the curse of death. Next he met a fox, but the fox told him his quest
was vain; so he cursed the fox, telling it that it must hunt at night
and be slain by men. The lion next promised him well, and he gave the
lion power over prey and honour among men. The falcon was similarly
blessed for fair promises, and parrots cursed for their ill omen.
Arrived at the seaside, Coniraya discovered the vanity of his pursuit,
but he was easily consoled; for on the beach he met two daughters of
Pachacamac. In the absence of their mother, who was visiting Cavillaca
in the sea, they were guarded by a great serpent, but Coniraya quieted
the serpent by his wisdom. One of the maidens flew away in the form of
a dove,--whence their mother was called Urpihuachac, "Mother of Doves";
but the other was more complaisant. "In those days it is said that
there were no fishes in the sea, but that this Urpihuachac reared a few
in a small pond. Coniraya was enraged that Urpihuachac should be absent
in the sea, visiting Cavillaca; so he emptied the fishes out of her
pond into the sea, and thence all the fishes now in the sea have been

That Coniraya is a deity of sun or sky appears evident from this tale;
and he is, clearly, at the same time a demiurgic transformer, with
not a little of the mere trickster about him. The condor, falcon, and
lion are his servants and beneficiaries; foxes and parrots are his
antipathies; he has something to do with the provision of fish, and he
conquers the serpent of the sea-goddess. Avila says that the tradition
is rooted in the customs of the province: the people venerate the
condor, which they never kill, as also the lion; they have a horror
of the fox, slaying it where they can; "as to the falcon, there is
scarcely a festival in which one does not appear on the heads of the
dancers and singers; and we all know that they detest the parrots,
which is not wonderful considering the mischief they do, though their
chief reason is to comply with the tradition."

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV.]

 Vase from Nasca representing a deity with serpentiform body. The
 commonest motive in Nasca designs is the multiplication, in grotesque
 forms, of human masks. The deity here represented is commonly shown
 with a mask head-dress, masks upon either cheek, with a girdle of
 masks or trophy heads, and with masks elsewhere; while either the
 body is shown as serpentiform or serpent-like wands are wielded by
 the hands. It is probable that a sky-god is represented, possibly a
 local form of Viracocha. Compare Plates XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVII. The vase
 pictured is in the American Museum of Natural History.

Cataclysmic events which apparently followed the deeds of the Demiurge
were a five-day deluge, in which all men were destroyed save one who
was led by a speaking llama to a mountain height where he was safe;
and a five-day darkness, during which stones knocked together, while
both the stones with which they ground grain and the animals of their
herds arose against their masters. It was after these cataclysms, in
the days when there were as yet no kings, that five eggs appeared on a
certain mountain, called Condor-coto: round them a wind blew, for until
that time there had been no wind. These eggs were the birth-place of
Pariacaca and his four brothers; but before the hero had come forth
from his egg, one of his brothers, a great and rich lord, built his
house on Anchicocha, adorning it with the red and yellow feathers of
certain birds. This lord had llamas whose natural wool was of brilliant
colours--some red, some blue, some yellow--so that it was unnecessary
to dye it for weaving; but notwithstanding he was very wise, and even
pretended to be God, the Creator, misfortune befell him in the form of
a disgusting disease of which he was unable to cure himself, though
he sought aid in every direction. Now at this time there was a poor
and ill-clad Indian named Huathiacuri, "who, they say, was a son of
Pariacaca and who learned many arts from his father," whom, in his
egg, he visited in search of advice. This youth, having fallen in love
with a daughter of the rich man, one day overheard foxes conversing
about the great lord's illness. "The real cause," said a fox, "is
that, when his wife was toasting a little maize, one grain fell on
her skirt, as happens every day. She gave it to a man who ate it, and
afterward she committed adultery with him. This is the reason that the
rich man is sick, and a serpent is now hovering over his beautiful
house to eat it, while a toad with two heads is waiting under his
grinding-stone with the same object." When Huathiacuri learned this, he
told the girl that he knew the cure for her parent's malady; and though
she did not believe him, she informed her father, who had the young
man brought before him. Promised the price he demanded--the maiden's
hand--the youth revealed her mother's iniquity and gave orders to kill
two serpents, which were found in the roof, as well as a two-headed
toad, which hopped forth when the grinding-stone was lifted. After
this the rich man became well, and Huathiacuri received his bride. The
sister of this girl, however, was married to a man who, resenting so
beggarly a person in the family as Huathiacuri, challenged the latter
to a series of contests--first, to a drinking-bout; next, to a match
in splendour of costume, at which the youth appeared in a dress of
snow; then to a dance, in lions' skins, wherein he won because of a
rainbow that appeared round the head of the magic lion's skin which he
wore; and, finally, to a contest in house-building, wherein all the
animals aided him at night. Thus having vanquished his brother-in-law,
Huathiacuri in turn issued a challenge to a dance, ending it in a wild
race during which he transformed the brother-in-law into a deer and his
wife into rock. The deer lived for some time by devouring people, but
finally deer began to be eaten by men, not men by deer. Subsequent to
all this, Pariacaca and his brothers issued from the eggs, causing a
great tempest in which the rich man and his house were swept into the
sea. Pariacaca is also said to have destroyed by a torrent a village
of revellers who refused him drink when he appeared among them as a
thirsty beggar, all but one girl who took pity upon him; and there
is a story of his love for Choque Suso, a maiden whom he found in
tears beside her withering maize-fields and for whom he opened an
irrigation-channel, converting the girl herself into a stone which
still guards the headwaters. After this, in Avila's narrative, comes
a heading: "How the Indians of the Ayllu of Copara still worship
Choque Suso and this channel, a fact which I know not only from their
stories, but also from judicial depositions which I have taken on the
subject"--and there the manuscript abruptly ends.

Nevertheless, this fragment has given us enough to see, if not the
system, at least the character of Chincha mythology. There are the
generations of the elder gods, with transformations and cataclysms.
There are the cosmic eggs--perhaps earth's centre and the four winds
symbolized in the five of them. There is the toad-symbol of the
underworld, and the serpent-symbol of the sky-world. The Rich Man, in
his house of red and yellow feathers, is surely a sky-being--perhaps
a sun-god, perhaps a lunar divinity whose ceaseless crescence and
senescence, to and from its glory, may be imaged in his cureless
disease. Pariacaca is clearly a deity of waters, probably a divine
mountain, giving rain and irrigating streams, and clothing his son in
the snow and the rainbow; while the women--Cavillaca, and the Mother of
Doves, and Choque Suso, the Nymph of the Channel--who were turned into
rocks speak again the hoary sanctity of these images of perdurability.


The Yunca peoples, both Chimu and Chincha, recalled a time when
their ancestors entered the coastal valleys to make them their own,
"destroying the former inhabitants,... a vile and feeble race,"
as Chincha tradition has it. In the uplands the followers of the
Scyris of Quito were remembered as coming from the littoral; but for
the rest, highland legends point almost uniformly to a southerly
or south-easterly origin--where, indeed, the tale is not of an
autochthonous beginning--and with general agreement it is to the plains
about Titicaca that the stories lead, as to the most ancient seat of
mankind. These traditions, coupled with the immemorial and wonderful
ruins of the sacred place at Tiahuanaco--whether the precinct of a
city or of a temple--give a special fascination to this region as being
plausibly the key to the solution of the problem of central Andean

Certainly no more puzzling key was ever given for the unlocking of a
mystery, since the basin of Lake Titicaca is a plateau, some thirteen
to fourteen thousand feet above sea-level, where cereals will not
ripen, so that only potatoes and a few other roots, along with droves
of hardy llamas and alpacas, form the reliance for subsistence of a
population which at best is sparse. Yet in the midst of this plateau
are ruins characterized by the use of enormous stones--only less than
the great monoliths of Egypt--and by a skill in stone-working which
implies an extraordinary development of the mason's art. It is the
judgement of archaeologists who have visited the scene that nothing
less than the huge endeavour of a dense population could have created
the visible works; and there is a tradition, derived from an Indian
_quipu_-reader and recorded by Oliva, that the real Tiahuanaco is a
subterranean city, in vastness far exceeding the one above the ground.
The apparent discrepancy between the capacity of the region for the
support of population and the effort required to produce the megalithic
works has led Sir Clements Markham to suggest that these structures
may date from a period when the plateau was several thousand feet
lower than at present (for the elevation of the Andes is geologically
recent); it would seem, however, in view of the huge tasks which Inca
engineers accomplished, and of the fact that sacred cities in remote
sites were venerated by the Andeans, more reasonable to assume that
the ruins of Tiahuanaco and the islands represent, in part at least,
the devotion of distant princes, who here maintained another Delphi or

The speaking monument of this ancient shrine (and there is no more
remarkable monolith in the world) is the carved monolithic gate, now
broken. Above the portal (see Plate XXXV) is the decoration, a broad
band in low relief; while a central figure, elevated above the others,
is a divine image--the god with rayed head and with wands or bolts in
each hand, whose likeness is met in the Yunca region and on the Chavin
stele. On either side, in three ranks of eight each, are forty-eight
obeisant figures--kings, some have called them, but others see in
them totemic symbols of clan ancestors, although it is not impossible
that they are genii of earth and air and water: all are winged, all
bear wands, and those of the middle tier are condor-headed, while
the wand and crest and garb of each is adorned with heads of condor
and puma and fish. In case of the central figure the two wands are
adorned with condors' heads, and some of the rays of the head-dress
terminate in pumas' heads, while on his dress are not only heads of
condors, pumas, and human beings, but centrally, on the breast, is
a crescent design most resembling a fish. Another curious feature,
alike of the forty-eight and of the central god, are circles under the
eyes, seemingly tears, which recall the wide-spread trope that rain
is heaven's tears, and the fact that tears were sometimes painted on
ceremonial masks used in supplications for rain. Beneath the design
just described is a meander, perhaps the symbol of earth,[137] adorned
with the same condor-heads; and framing plaque-like representations of
what are surely celestial divinities (still with tearful eyes); and it
is not beyond reason to suppose that the tiny trumpeter who appears
above one of these rayed masks may be the Morning Star, herald of the

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV.]

 Monolithic Gateway, Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. This is regarded by many
 as the most remarkable prehistoric monument in America. It is
 approximately ten by twelve and a half feet in front dimension, and
 is estimated to weigh nine to twelve tons. The decoration consists
 of a central figure, above the doorway, which is certainly a sky-god
 and probably Viracocha, and a banded frieze showing groups of mythic
 beings. For description see pages 233-34. After a photograph in the
 Peabody Museum.

There is little ground to doubt that this monument is cosmical in
meaning (it may also be totemic, for at least the ruling Andeans became
"Children of the Sun"), and that the central figure is a heaven-god
or a sun-god. The most curious of its emblems, taking into account
the nature of the region, is the fish; for while there are fish in
Lake Titicaca, the natives (at least today) are little given to taking
them. It is possible, as suggested by the crescent on the breast of
the god, that the fish is here a symbol of the moon, which may have
been mistress of the waves; and this would lead us, analogically,
to the capital of the Grand Chimu and the temple of Si An, where were
the great deities, the Moon above and the Sea below. Certainly, if an
animal form were sought to symbolize the crescent of the skies, none
could be found more perfect than that of the fish; or, by extension,
the bark by which man conquers the piscine realm might be conceived and
imaged as symbol of the lunar ship.

Such an hypothesis implies a relation of Tiahuanaco to the coastal
regions as well as to the mountain valleys; and this relationship,
in a period long past, is demonstrated, representations of the deity
of Tiahuanaco being found, drawn in Tiahuanaco style, on the Yunca
vases. But what of its extension in the highlands? The Chavin stone
(see Plate XXXI) from the region of the headwaters of Rio Marañon far
to the north of Cuzco is, as monumental evidence of the ancient cult,
second in importance only to the Tiahuanaco arch. The figure on this
monument is in Nasca rather than in Tiahuanaco style, having as its
head-dress an elaborate structure which, when viewed reversed, is found
to be formed of that series of masks, each depending from the lolling
tongue of its predecessor, which is so common on Nasca vases; while
snakes' heads replace the condor-puma-fish adornments of the southern
monument, and it is interesting to note that the whole structure
terminates in a caduceus-like twist of serpents. The main figure,
however, with its elaborate wands, ending exactly in the form of Jove's
bolt, certainly follows the style of the central figure of Tiahuanaco,
so that we are justified in assuming that it represents a similar
conception--a celestial deity, from which proceed the serpentine rays,
sunlight or lightning. To the far south, in the Calchaqui-Diaguité
region, potsherds have been discovered implying the same central
conception--the deity with mask and bolt, the dragon with head at
each extremity, and a series of dragons' heads united by protruding
tongues (a design whose far extension leads into the country of the
unconquered Araucanians in the Chilean Andes).[138] More remarkable are
the ceremonial and votive objects discovered in this region, among them
certain plaques which include a masterpiece (Plate XXXVI) bearing many
traits that identify it with the monumental images: the rayed head, the
tears beneath the eyes, the crescent-shaped breast-ornament, and, on
either side of the central image, crested dragons which appear to take
the place of the wands in the type figures.

The names of this heaven-god, ancient in origin and wide in the range
of his cult, have doubtless been many in the course of history; but
though several of them have survived in the traditions which have been
recorded, paramount among them all is that by which the divinity was
known to the Inca--Viracocha (or Uiracocha). Montesinos's list of kings
commences, says Markham,[139] "with the names of the deity, Illa Tici
Uiracocha. We are told that the first word, Illa, means 'light.' Tici
means 'foundation or beginning of things.' The word Uira is said to
be a corruption of Pirua, meaning the 'depository or store-house of
creation.'... The ordinary meaning of Cocha is a lake, but here it is
said to signify an abyss--profundity. The whole meaning of the words
would be, 'The splendour, the foundation, the creator, the infinite
God.' The word Yachachic was occasionally added--'the Teacher.'"

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI.]

 Plaque probably representing Viracocha. The head is surmounted by a
 rayed disk, doubtless the sun; tears, symbolic of rain, stream from
 the eyes; above the hands, on either side, are dragon-like creatures
 which are doubtless the equivalent of the wands or serpents shown in
 the hands of similar figures, and which may represent the two servants
 of the god, as they appear in legend. After _CA_ xii, Plate VIII.

Molina, Salcamayhua, Huaman Poma, all give Inca prayers addressed to
Viracocha--prayers which are our best evidence for the character in
which he was regarded. In the group recorded by Molina[140] the deity
appears as lord of generation of plants and animals and humankind;
and to him are addressed supplications for increase. But he is very
clearly, also, a supreme creator: "O conquering Viracocha! Ever-present
Viracocha! Thou who art in the ends of the earth without equal! Thou
gavest life and valour to men, saying, 'Let this be a man!' and to
women, saying, 'Let this be a woman!' Thou madest them and gavest them
being! Watch over them that they may live in health and peace.
Thou who art in the high heavens, and among the clouds of the tempest,
grant this with long life, and accept this sacrifice, O Creator!" In
other prayers Viracocha is represented as creator of the sun, and
hence as supreme over the great national god of the Incas; and in
the rites which Molina describes, Viracocha (the creator), the Sun,
and the Thunder form a triad, addressed in the order named. The same
supremacy of Viracocha is recognized in the elaborate hymn recorded by
Salcamayhua and translated by Markham after the emended text of Dr.
Mossi and the Spanish version of Lafone Quevado:[141]

    "O Uira-cocha! Lord of the universe;
    Whether thou art male,
    Whether thou art female,
    Lord of reproduction,
    Whatsoever thou mayest be,
    O Lord of divination,
    Where art thou?
    Thou mayest be above,
    Thou mayest be below,
    Or perhaps around
    Thy splendid throne and sceptre.
    Oh, hear me!
    From the sky above,
    In which thou mayest be,
    From the sea beneath,
    In which thou mayest be,
    Creator of the world,
    Maker of all men;
    Lord of all Lords,
    My eyes fail me
    For longing to see thee;
    For the sole desire to know thee.
    Might I behold thee,
    Might I know thee,
    Might I consider thee,
    Might I understand thee.
    Oh, look down upon me,
    For thou knowest me.
    The sun--the moon--
    The day--the night--
    Are not ordained in vain
    By thee, O Uira-cocha!
    They all travel
    To the assigned place;
    They all arrive
    At their destined ends,
    Whithersoever thou pleasest.
    Thy royal sceptre
    Thou holdest.
    Oh hear me!
    Oh choose me!
    Let it not be
    That I should tire,
    That I should die."

It were easy to accept a pantheistic interpretation of a divinity
so addressed; it is plausible to regard that deity as androgynous,
as Lafone Quevado suggests. What is certain is that here we have a
creator-god superior to the world of visible nature, so that he was
represented, according to Salcamayhua, by an oval plate of fine gold
above the symbols of the heavenly bodies in the great temple at Cuzco.
Salcamayhua, moreover, connects with Viracocha two other names, Tonapa
and Tarapaca, which, he declares, are appellatives of a servant (or
servants) of Viracocha; and here we have a glimpse into another cycle
of mythic history.

The story, as Salcamayhua tells it,[142] begins with the remote
Purunpacha--the time when all the nations were at war with each other,
and there was no rest from tumults. "Then, in the middle of the night,
they heard the Hapi-ñuños [harpy-like daemones] disappearing with
mournful complaints, and crying,--'We are conquered, we are conquered,
alas that we should lose our bands!'" This Salcamayhua interprets as
a New-World equivalent of the death-cry of Old-World paganism, "Great
Pan is dead!"--for from their cry, he says, "it must be understood that
the devils were conquered by Jesus Christ our Lord on the cross on
Mount Calvary." Some time after the devils departed, there appeared "a
bearded man, of middle height, with long hair, and a rather long shirt.
They say that he was somewhat past his prime, for he already had grey
hairs, and he was lean. He travelled by aid of a staff, teaching the
natives with much love and calling them all his sons and daughters. As
he went through the land, he performed many miracles. The sick were
healed by his touch. He spoke all languages better than the natives."
They called him, Salcamayhua says, Tonapa or Tarapaca ("_Tarapaca_
means an eagle"), associating these names with that of Viracocha; "but
was he not the glorious apostle, St. Thomas?"

Many tales are told of the miracles performed by Tonapa, among others
the story, which Avila narrates of Pariacaca, of the overwhelming
by flood of a village, the inhabitants of which had abused him; and
similar legends in which the offenders were transformed into stones.
"They further say that this Tonapa, in his wanderings, came to the
mountains of Caravaya, where he erected a very large cross; and he
carried it on his shoulders to the mountain of Carapucu, where he
preached in a loud voice, and shed tears." In 1897 Bandelier[143]
visited the village of Carabuco, on Lake Titicaca, and there saw the
ancient cross, known for more than three centuries, which tradition
associates with pre-Columbian times. "The meaning of Carapucu,"
Salcamayhua continues, "is when a bird called _pucu-pucu_ sings four
times at early dawn." May there not be here a clue to the meaning both
of the myth and of the emblem? At dawn, when the herald birds first
sing, the four quarters of the world, of which the cross is symbol, are
shaped by the light of day--a token and a reminiscence of the first
creation of Earth by shining Heaven.

Molina, Cieza de León, Sarmiento, Huaman Poma[144] tell of the making
of sun and moon, and of the generations of men, associating this
creation with the lake of Titicaca, its islands, and its neighbourhood.
Viracocha is almost universally represented as the creator, and the
story follows the main plot of the genesis narratives known to the
civilized nations of both Americas--a succession of world aeons,
each ending in cataclysm. As told by Huaman Poma, five such ages had
preceded that in which he lived. The first was an age of Viracochas, an
age of gods, of holiness, of life without death, although at the same
time it was devoid of inventions and refinements; the second was an age
of skin-clad giants, the Huari Runa, or "Indigenes," worshippers of
Viracocha; third came the age of Puron Runa, or "Common Men," living
without culture; fourth, that of the Auca Runa, "Warriors," and fifth
that of the Inca rule, ended by the coming of the Spaniards. As related
by Sarmiento the first age was that of a sunless world inhabited
by a race of giants, who, owing to the sin of disobedience, were
cataclysmically destroyed; but two brothers, surviving on a hill-top,
married two women descended from heaven (in Molina's version these are
bird-women) and repeopled a part of the world. Viracocha, however,
undertook a second creation at Lake Titicaca, this time with sun,
moon, and stars; but out of jealousy, since at first the moon was the
brighter orb, the sun threw a handful of ashes over his rival's face,
thus giving the shaded colour which the moon now presents. Viracocha,
we are told, was assisted by three servants, one of whom, Taguapaca,
rebelled against him; for this he was bound and set adrift upon the
lake (an event which, in a different form, is given by Salcamayhua as a
part of the persecution of Tonapa); and then, taking his two remaining
servitors with him, the deity "went to a place now called Tiahuanacu
... and in this place he sculptured and designed on a great piece of
stone all the nations that he intended to create," after which he sent
his servants forth to command all tribes and all nations to multiply.
The last act of Viracocha's career was his miraculous departure across
the western sea, "travelling over the water as if it were land, without
sinking," and leaving behind him the prophecy that he would send his
messengers once again to protect and to teach his people.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII.]

 Vase painting of the sky-god, Tiahuanaco style, from Pachacamac.
 Compare Plates XXXI, XXXIV, XXXV, XXXVI. After Baessler,
 _Contributions to the Archaeology of the Empire of the Incas_, Vol.
 IV, Plate CIV.

The tales are surely explanatory of the monuments; and in both we see
the general outlines of the ancient Peruvian religion. Supreme in the
pantheon was the great creator-god, High Heaven itself, Illa Tici
Viracocha. Attendant upon this divinity (perhaps ancient doublets in
some cases) was a group of two or three servants or sons, who were
assuredly also celestial--Sun and Moon, or Sun and Moon and Morning
Star, or Sun and Thunder (for in Peru _bidentalia_ were everywhere).
Tonapa (whom Markham regards as properly _Conapa_, "Heat-Bearing," and
the same being as Coniraya) is the Peruvian equivalent of Quetzalcoatl
and Bochica[145]--the robed and bearded white man, bearing a magic
staff, who comes from the east and after teaching men the way of life,
departs over the sea. It is no marvel that the first missionaries and
their converts saw in this being, with his cruciform symbol, an apostle
of their own faith who had journeyed by way of the Orient to preach
the Gospel. Yet certainly it is no mere imagination to find another
interpretation of the story--what better image could fancy suggest for
the daily course of the sun than that of a bright-faced man, bearded
with rays, mantled in light, transforming the world of darkness into a
world of beauty and the domain of the concealed into a domain of things
known, before his departure across the western waters, promising to
return, or to send again his messengers of light, to renew the luminous
mission? When the Spaniards came, bearded and white, in shining mail
and weaponed with fire, the Indians beheld the embodied form of the
mythic hero, and so they applied to them the name which, is still
theirs for a white man--_viracocha_. In such devious ways have the
faiths and the fancies of Earth's two worlds commingled.

What ground there is for the ascription of something approaching
monotheism to the Peruvians centres in the sky-deity rather than in
the Sun, whose cult under the Incas, to some extent replaced that of
the elder supreme god. "No one can doubt," says Lafone Quevado,[146]
"that Pachacamac and Viracocha were gods who correspond to our idea
of a Supreme Being and that they were adored in America before the
coming of Columbus; and it is logical to attribute to the same American
soil the idea of such a conception, even when it occurs among the most
savage tribes, since that simply presupposes an ethnic contact to which
are opposed no insuperable difficulties of geography. The solar cult
is farther from fetishism than is the idea of the Yahveh of the Jews
from the solar cult: from this to the true God is a step, and the most
savage nations of America found themselves surrounded by worshippers of
the light of day."


The most striking feature of the Inca conquests is their professed
motive--professed, that is, in Inca tradition, especially as
represented by the writings of Garcilasso de la Vega--for the Incas
proclaimed themselves apostles of a new creed and teachers of a new way
of life; they were Children of the Sun, sent by their divine parent
to bring to a darkened and barbarous world a purer faith and a more
enlightened conduct. Garcilasso tells[147] how, when a boy, he inquired
of his Inca uncle the origin of their race. "Know," said his kinsman,
"that in ancient times all this region which you see was covered with
forests and thickets, and the people lived like brute beasts without
religion nor government, nor towns, nor houses, without cultivating
the land nor covering their bodies, for they knew how to weave neither
cotton nor wool to make garments. They dwelt two or three together in
caves or clefts of the rocks, or in caverns under ground; they ate the
herbs of the field and roots or fruit like wild beasts, and they also
devoured human flesh; they covered their bodies with leaves and with
the bark of trees, or with the skins of animals; in fine they lived
like deer or other game, and even in their intercourse with women they
were like brutes, for they knew nothing of cohabiting with separate
wives.... Our Father, the Sun, seeing the human race in the condition
I have described, had compassion upon them and from heaven he sent down
to earth a son and daughter to instruct them in the knowledge of our
Father, the Sun, that adoring Him, they might adopt Him as their God;
and also to give them precepts and laws by which to live as reasonable
and civilized men, and to teach them to dwell in houses and towns, to
cultivate maize and other crops, to breed flocks, and to use the fruits
of the earth as rational beings, instead of existing like beasts. With
these commands and intentions our Father, the Sun, placed his two
children in the lake of Titicaca, saying to them that they might go
where they pleased and that at every place where they stopped to eat
or sleep they were to thrust into the ground a sceptre of gold which
was half a yard long and two fingers in thickness, giving them this
staff as a sign and a token that in the place where, by one blow on
the earth, it should sink down and disappear, there it was the desire
of our Father, the Sun, that they should remain and establish their
court. Finally He said to them: 'When you have reduced these people to
our service, you shall maintain them in habits of reason and justice by
the practice of piety, clemency, and meekness, assuming in all things
the office of a pious father toward his beloved and tender children;
for thus you will form a likeness and reflection of me. I do good to
the whole world, giving light that men may see and do their business,
making them warm when they are cold, cherishing their pastures and
crops, ripening their fruits and increasing their flocks, watering
their lands with dew and bringing fine weather in proper season. I take
care to go around the earth each day that I may see the necessities
that exist in the world and supply them, as the sustainer and
benefactor of the heathen. I desire that you shall imitate this example
as my children, sent to earth solely for the instruction and benefit
of these men who live like beasts; and from this time I constitute and
name you as kings and lords over all the tribes that you may instruct
them in your rational works and government.'"

Viewed as theology, this utterance is remarkable. Even if it be taken
(as perhaps it should be) rather as an excuse for conquests made than
as their veritable pretext, the story still reflects an advanced
stage of moral thinking, since utterly barbarous races demand no
such justification for seizing from others what they desire; and in
this broader scope the successors of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo soon
interpreted their liberal commission. The third Inca, Lloque Yupanqui,
decided, Garcilasso says,[148] that "all their policy should not be
one of prayer and persuasion, but that arms and power should form a
part, at least with those who were stubborn and pertinacious." Having
assembled an army, the Inca crossed the border, and entering a province
called Cana, he sent messengers to the inhabitants, "requiring them
to submit to and obey the child of the Sun, abandoning their own vain
and evil sacrifices, and bestial customs"--a formula that became
thenceforth the Inca preliminary to a declaration of war. The Cana
submitted, but, the chronicler says, when he passed to the province
of Ayaviri, the natives "were so stubborn and rebellious that neither
promises, nor persuasion, nor the examples of the other subjugated
aborigines were of any avail; they all preferred to die defending
their liberty." And so fell many a province, after vainly endeavouring
to protect its native gods, as the realm of the Incas grew, always
advancing under the pretext of religious reform, the mandate of the Sun.

But while the extension of the solar cult was made the excuse for
the creation of an empire, it was more than a political device; for
the Incas called themselves "children of the Sun" in the belief that
they were directly descended from this deity and under his special
care. Molina[149] tells of an adventure which he ascribes to Inca
Yupanqui, meaning, apparently, Pachacuti, the greatest of the Incas.
While, as a young man, the Inca prince was journeying to visit his
father, Viracocha Inca, he passed a spring in which he saw a piece
of crystal fall, wherein appeared the figure of an Indian. From the
back of his head issued three very brilliant rays, even as those of
the Sun; serpents were twined round his arms, and on his head there
was a _llautu_ [the fringe, symbol of the sun's rays, worn on the
forehead by the Incas as token of royalty] like that of the Inca. His
ears were bored, and ear-pieces, resembling those used by the Incas,
were inserted; he was also dressed in the manner of the Inca. The
head of a lion came from between his legs, and on his shoulders there
was another lion whose legs appeared to join over the shoulders of
the man; while, furthermore, a sort of serpent was twined about his
shoulders. This apparition said to the youth: "Come hither, my son,
and fear not, for I am the Sun, thy father. Thou shalt conquer many
nations; therefore be careful to pay great reverence to me and remember
me in thy sacrifices." The vision vanished, but the piece of crystal
remained, "and they say that he afterward saw in it everything he
wanted." The solar imagery and the analogy of this figure, with its
lions and serpents, to the monumental representations of celestial
deities, are at once apparent; and there is, too, in the tale, with
its prophecy and its crystal-gazing more than a suggestion of the fast
in the wilderness by which the North American Indian youth seeks a
revelation of his personal medicine-helper, or totem. The Incas all had
such personal tutelaries. That of Manco Capac was said to have been a
falcon, called Inti; and the word came to mean the Sun itself in its
character as deity--or, perhaps, as tutelary of the Inca clan, since
the name Inti appears in the epithets applied to the "brothers" of more
than one later Inca. Serpents, birds, and golden images were forms of
these totemic familiars, each buried with the body of the Inca to whom
it had pertained.

Just as individuals had their personal Genii of this character, so each
clan had for ancestor its Genius, or tutelary, which might be a star, a
mountain, a rock, or a spring. The Sun was such a Genius of the Incas,
and it came to be an ever greater deity as Inca power spread by very
reason of the growing importance of their clan; while its recognition
by members of allied and conquered septs came to be demanded very
much, we may suppose, as the cultic acknowledgement of the Genius of
the Roman Emperor was required in expression of loyalty to the reigning

The Inca pantheon was not narrow.[150] Besides the ancestral deities,
there were innumerable _huacas_--sacred places, oracles, or idols--and
whole classes of nature-powers; the generative Earth (Pacha Mama) and
"mamas" of plant and animal kinds; meteorological potencies, especially
the Rainbow and Thunder and Lightning, conceived as servants of the
Sun; and, in the heaven itself, the Moon and the Constellations, by
which the seasons were computed. Remote over all was the heaven-god
and creator, Viracocha, with respect to whom the Sun itself was but a
servitor. Salcamayhua declares that Manco Capac had set up a plate of
fine gold, oval in shape, "which signified that there was a Creator of
heaven and earth." Mayta Capac renewed this image--despising, tradition
said, all created objects, even the highest, such as men and the sun
and moon--and "he caused things to be placed round the plate, which I
have shown that it may be perceived what these heathen thought." In
illustration Salcamayhua gives a drawing which many authorities regard
as the key to Peruvian mythology. At the top is a representation of the
Southern Cross, the pole of the austral heavens. Below this is the oval
symbol of the Creator, on one side of which is an image of the Sun,
with the Morning Star beneath, while opposite is the Moon above the
Evening Star. Under these is a group of twelve signs--a leaping puma,
a tree, "Mama Cocha," a chart of this mountainous Earth surmounted by
a rainbow and serving as source for a river into which levin falls, a
group of seven circles called "shining eyes," and other emblems--the
whole representing, so Stansbury Hagar argues, the Peruvian zodiac.
Salcamayhua goes on to say that Huascar placed an image of the Sun in
the place where the symbol of the Creator had been, and it was as thus
altered that the Spaniards found the great Temple of the Sun at Cuzco.

It would appear, indeed, that the action of Huascar was only a final
step in the rise of the solar cult to pre-eminence in Peru. Doubtless
the sun had been a principal deity from an early period, but its
close relation to the Inca clan made it progressively more and more
important, so that by the time of the coming of the Spaniards it had
risen, as a national divinity, to a position analogous to that of Ashur
in the later Assyrian empire. Meantime the older heaven-god, Viracocha,
presumably the tutelary of the pre-Inca empire and of Tiahuanaco, had
faded into obscurity. To be sure, there was a temple to this god in
Cuzco (so Molina and Salcamayhua attest); but to the Sun there were
shrines all over the land, with priests and priestesses; while Cuzco
was the centre of a magnificent imperial cult, the sanctuary honoured
by royalty itself and served not only by the sacerdotal head of all
Inca temple-service, a high priest of blood royal, but also by hundreds
of devoted Virgins of the Sun, who, like the Roman Vestals, kept an
undying fire on the altars of the solar god.

Yet Viracocha was not forgotten, even by the Incas who subordinated
him officially to the Sun; and few passages in American lore are more
striking than are the records of Inca doubt as to the Sun's divinity
and power. Molina says of that very Inca to whom the vision of the
crystal appeared that "he reflected upon the respect and reverence
shown by his ancestors to the Sun, who worshipped it as a god; he
observed that it never had any rest, and that it daily journeyed round
the earth; and he said to those of his council that it was not possible
that the Sun could be the God who created all things, for if he was, he
would not permit a small cloud to obscure his splendour; and that if he
was creator of all things, he would sometimes rest, and light up the
whole world from one spot. Thus, it cannot be otherwise but there is
someone who directs him, and this is the Pacha-yachachi, the Creator."
Garcilasso (quoting Blas Valera) states that the Inca Tupac Yupanqui
likened the Sun rather to a tethered beast or to a shot arrow than to a
free divinity, while Huayna Capac is credited with a similar judgement.
In the prayers recorded by Molina, Viracocha is supreme, even over the
Sun; and these petitions, it must be supposed, represent the deepest
conviction of Inca religion.


Stories of Inca origins, as told by the chroniclers, present a certain
confusion of incident that probably goes back to the native versions.
There are obviously historical narratives mingled with clearly mythic
materials and influencing each other. The islands of Titicaca and the
ruins of Tiahuanaco appear as the source of remote provenance of the
Incas; a place called Paccari-Tampu ("Tavern of the Dawn"), not far
from Cuzco, and the mysterious hill of Tampu-Tocco ("Tavern of the
Windows") are recorded as sites associated with their more immediate
rise; yet as Manco Capac is associated with both origins, and as the
narratives pertaining to both contain cosmogonic elements, the tales
give the impression of blending and duplication.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII.]

 "Temple of the three Windows," Machu Picchu. Windows are not a
 frequent feature of Inca architecture, and when Bingham discovered at
 Machu Picchu the temple with three conspicuous windows, here shown,
 this discovery seemed to give added plausibility to the theory that
 Machu Picchu is indeed the Tampu-Tocco of the Incas. See pages 248 ff.
 and compare Plate XXX. From photograph, courtesy of Hiram Bingham,
 Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition.

With different degrees of confusion all the chroniclers (Cieza de
León, Garcilasso, Molina, Salcamayhua, Betanzos, Montesinos, Huaman
Porno, and others) tell the story of the coming forth of Manco Capac
and his brothers from Tampu-Tocco to create the empire; but of all
the accounts Markham regards that given by Sarmiento as the most
authentic.[151] According to this version, Tampu-Tocco was a house on
a hill, provided with three windows, named Maras, Sutic, and Capac.
Through the first of these came the Maras tribe, through Sutic came
the Tampu tribe, and through Capac, the regal window, came four Ayars
with their four wives--Ayar Manco and Mama Ocllo; Ayar Auca (the
"joyous," or "fighting," Ayar) and Mama Huaco (the "warlike");
Ayar Cachi (the "Salt" Ayar) and Mama Ipacura (the "Elder Aunt"); Ayar
Uchu (the "Pepper" Ayar) and Mama Raua. The four pairs "knew no father
nor mother, beyond the story they told that they came out of the said
window by order of Ticci Viracocha; and they declared that Viracocha
created them to be lords"; but it was believed that by the counsel of
the fierce Mama Huaco they decided to go forth and subjugate peoples
and lands. Besides the Maras and Tampu peoples, eight other tribes were
associated with the Ayars, as vassals, when they began their quest,
taking with them their goods and their families. Manco Capac carrying
with him, as a palladium, a falcon, called Indi, or Inti--the name of
the Sun-god--bore also a golden rod which was to sink into the land
at the site where they were to abide; and Salcamayhua says that, in
setting out, the hero was wreathed in rain-bows, this being regarded as
an omen of success.

The journey was leisurely, and in course of it Sinchi Rocca, who was to
be the second Inca, was born to Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac; but then
came a series of magic transformations by which the three brothers
disappeared, leaving the elder without a rival. Ayar Cachi (who, Cieza
de León says,[152] "had such great power that, with stones hurled from
his sling, he split the hills and hurled them up to the clouds") was
the first to excite the envy of his brothers; and on the pretext that
certain royal treasures had been forgotten in a cave of Tampu-Tocco, he
was sent back to secure them, accompanied by a follower who had secret
instructions from the brothers to immure him in the cave, once he was
inside. This was done, and though Ayar Cachi made the earth shake in
his efforts to break through, he could not do so. Nevertheless (Cieza
tells us) he appeared to his brothers, "coming in the air with great
wings of coloured feathers"; and despite their terror, he commanded
them to go on to their destiny, found Cuzco, and establish the empire.
"I shall remain in the form and fashion that ye shall see on a hill
not distant from here; and it will be for your descendants a place of
sanctity and worship, and its name shall be Guanacaure [Huanacauri].
And in return for the good things that ye will have received from me,
I pray that ye will always adore me as god and in that place will set
up altars whereat to offer sacrifices. If ye do this, ye shall receive
help from me in war; and as a sign that from henceforth ye are to
be esteemed, honoured, and feared, your ears shall be bored in the
manner that ye now behold mine." It was from this custom of boring
and enlarging the ears that the Spaniards called the ruling caste
_Orejones_ ("Big-Ears"); and it was at the hill of Huanacauri that the
Ayar instructed the Incas in the rites by which they initiated youths
into the warrior caste.

At this mount, which became one of the great Inca shrines, both the
Salt and the Pepper Ayars were reputed to have been transformed into
stones, or idols, and it was here that the rainbow sign of promise was
given. As they approached the hill--so the legend states--they saw
near the rainbow what appeared to be a man-shaped idol; and "Ayar Uchu
offered himself to go to it, for they said that he was very like it."
He did so, sat upon the stone, and himself became stone, crying: "O
Brothers, an evil work ye have wrought for me. It was for your sakes
that I came where I must remain forever, apart from your company. Go!
go! happy brethren, I announce to you that ye shall be great lords. I
therefore pray that, in recognition of the desire I have always had to
please you, ye shall honour and venerate me in all your festivals and
ceremonies, and that I shall be the first to whom ye make offerings,
since I remain here for your sakes. When ye celebrate the _huarochico_
(which is the arming of the sons as knights), ye shall adore me as
their father, for I shall remain here forever."

Finally Manco Capac's staff sank into the ground--"two shots of an
arquebus from Cuzco"--and from their camp the hero pointed to a heap of
stones on the site of Cuzco. "Showing this to his brother, Ayar Auca,
he said, 'Brother! thou rememberest how it was arranged between us
that thou shouldst go to take possession of the land where we are to
settle. Well! behold that stone.' Pointing it out, he continued, 'Go
thither flying,' for they say that Ayar Auca had developed some wings;
'and seating thyself there, take possession of the land seen from that
heap of rocks. We will presently come and settle and reside.' When Ayar
Auca heard the words of his brother, opening his wings, he flew to that
place which Manco Capac had pointed out; and seating himself there, he
was presently turned into stone, being made the stone of possession. In
the ancient language of this valley the heap was called _cozco_, whence
the site has had the name of Cuzco to this day."

Markham placed the events commemorated in this myth at about 1100
A. D., and Bingham's remarkable discoveries of Machu Picchu and of
the Temple of the Three Windows appear to prove the truth of tales
of a Tampu-Tocco dynasty, preceding the coming to Cuzco. The tribal
divisions (in their numbers, three and ten, strikingly suggestive
of Roman legend) are surely in part historical, for Sarmiento gives
names of members of the various _ayllus_ in Cuzco in his own day. Yet
it is clear that the Ayars are mythical beings. Garcilasso says[153]
that the four pairs came forth in the beginning of the world; that
in the various legends about them the three brothers disappear in
allegory, leaving Manco Capac alone; and that the Salt Ayar signifies
"instruction in the rational life," while the Pepper Ayar means
"delight received in this instruction." The association of the two
Ayars with initiation ceremonies and civic destiny points, in fact,
to the character of culture heroes; and their names, Salt and Pepper,
again suggest association with economic life, perhaps, in some way,
as genii of earth and vegetation, though in the myth of Ayar Cachi
the suggestion of a volcanic power is almost irresistible. Ayar Auca
is clearly the _genius loci_ of Cuzco, while Manco Capac himself,
conceived as an Ayar, is little more than a culture hero. Perhaps
the solution is to be found in Montesinos's lists, where Manco Capac
is the first ruler of the dynasty of the oldest emperors, after the
god Viracocha himself, while the first Inca is Sinchi Rocca. The myth
of the Ayars would then hark back to the Megalithic age and to the
cosmogonies associated with Titicaca, while their connexion with the
Incas, after the dynasty of Tampu-Tocco, would be, as it were, but a
natural telescoping of ancient myth and later history, adding to Inca

In Inca lore there are other legends--the tale of the prince who was
stolen by his father's enemies and who wept tears of blood, by this
portent saving his life; the legend of the virgin of the Sun who
loved a pipe-playing shepherd and of their transformation into rocks;
the story of Ollantay, the general, who loved the Inca's daughter,
preserved in the drama which Markham has translated; and along with
these are many fragments of creation-stories and aetiological myths
chronicled by the early writers. History and poetic fancy combine in
these to give materials into which are woven beliefs and practices
far more ancient than the Inca race, just as Hellenic myth contains
distorted reflections of the pre-Greek age of the Aegean. By means of
such tales the ancient shrines are made to speak again, as through




Among earth's great continental bodies South America is second only
to Australia in isolation. This is true not only geographically,
but also in regard to flora and fauna, and in respect of its human
aborigines and their cultures. To be sure, within itself the continent
shows a diversity as wide, perhaps, as that of any; and certainly
no continent affords a sharper contrast both of environment and of
culture than is that of the Andes and the civilized Andeans to the
tropical forests with their hordes of unqualified savages. There are,
moreover, streams of influence reaching from the southern toward
the northern America--the one, by way of the Isthmus, tenuously
extending the bond of civilization in the direction of the cultured
nations of Central America and Mexico; the other carrying northward
the savagery of the tropics by the thin line of the Lesser Antilles;
and it is, of course, possible that this double movement, under way
in Columbian days, was the retroaction of influences that had at
one time moved in the contrary direction. Yet, on the whole, South
America has its own distinct character, whether of savagery or of
civilization, showing little certain evidence of recent influence from
other parts of the globe. _Au fond_ the cultural traits--implements,
social organization, ideas--are of the types common to mankind at
similar levels; but their special developments have a distinctly South
American character, so that, whether we compare Inca with Aztec,
or Amazonian with Mississippian, we perceive without hesitancy the
continental idiosyncracy of each. It is certain that South America
has been inhabited from remote times; it is certain, too, that her
aboriginal civilizations are ancient, reckoned even by the Old World
scale. A daring hypothesis would make this continent an early, and
perhaps the first home of the human species--a theory that would not
implausibly solve certain difficulties, assuming that the differences
which mark aboriginal North from aboriginal South America are due to
the fact that the former continent was the meeting-place and confluence
of two streams--a vastly ancient, but continuous, northward flow from
the south, turned and coloured by a thinner and later wash of Asiatic

The peoples of South America are grouped by d'Orbigny,[155] as result
of his ethnic studies of _l'homme américain_ made during the expedition
of 1826-33, into three great divisions, or races: the Ando-Peruvian,
comprising all the peoples of the west coast as far as Tierra del
Fuego; the Pampean, including the tribes of the open countries of the
south; and the Brasilio-Guaranian, composed of the stocks of those
tropical forests which form the great body of the South American
continent. With modifications this threefold grouping of the South
American aborigines has been maintained by later ethnologists. One
of the most recent studies in this field (W. Schmidt, "Kulturkreise
und Kulturschichten in Südamerika," in _ZE_ xlv [1913]), while still
maintaining the triple classification, nevertheless shows that the
different groups have mingled and intermingled in confusing complexity,
following successive cycles of cultural influence. Schmidt's division
is primarily on the basis of cultural traits, with reference to which
he distinguishes three primary groups: (1) Peoples of the "collective
grade," who live by hunting, fishing, and the gathering of plants,
with the few exceptions of tribes that have learned some agriculture
from neighbours of a higher culture. In this group are the Gez, or
Botocudo, and the Puri-Coroados stocks of the east and south-east of
Brazil; the stocks of the Gran Chaco, the Pampas, and Tierra del Fuego;
while the Araucanians and certain tribes of the eastern cordilleras of
the Andes are also placed in this class. (2) Groups of peoples of the
_Hackbaustufe_, mostly practicing agriculture and marked by a general
advance in the arts, as well as by the presence of a well-defined
patriarchy and evidences of totemism in their social organization. In
this group are included the great South American linguistic stocks--the
Cariban, Arawakan, and Tupi-Guaranian, inhabiting the forests and
semi-steppes of the regions drained by the Orinoco and Amazon and their
tributaries, as well as the tribes of the north-east coast of the
continent. (3) Groups of the cultured peoples of the Andes--Chibcha,
Incaic, and Calchaqui.

The general arrangement of these three divisions follows the contour
of the continent. The narrow mountain ridge of the west coast is the
seat of the civilized peoples; the home of the lowest culture is the
east coast, extending in a broad band of territory from the highlands
of the Brazilian provinces of Pernambuco and Bahia south-westward to
the Chilean Andes and Patagonia; between these two, occupying the whole
centre of the continent, with a broad base along the northern coast and
narrowing wedge-like to the south, is the region of the intermediate
culture group.

Most of what is known of the mythology of South American peoples
comes from tribes and nations of the second and third groups--from
the Andeans whose myths have been sketched in preceding chapters, and
from the peoples of the tropic forests. The region inhabited by the
latter group is too vast to be treated as a simple unit; nor is there,
in the chaotic intermixture of tongues and tribes, any clear ethnic
demarcation of ideas. In default of other principle, it is appropriate
and expedient, therefore, to follow the natural division of the
territory into the geographical regions broadly determined by the great
river-systems that traverse the continent. These are three: in the
north the Orinoco, with its tributaries, draining the region bounded on
the west by the Colombian plateau and the Llanos of the Orinoco, and
on the south by the Guiana Highlands; in the centre the Amazon, the
world's greatest river, the mouth of which is crossed by the Equator,
while the stream itself closely follows the equatorial line straight
across the continent to the Andes, though its great tributaries drain
the central continent, many degrees to the south; and in the south the
Rio de la Plata, formed by the confluence of the Paraná and Uruguay,
and receiving the waters of the territories extending from El Gran
Chaco to the Pampas, beyond which the Patagonian plains and Chilean
Andes taper southward to the Horn. In general, the Orinoco region is
the home of the Carib and Arawak tribes; the Amazonian region is the
seat and centre of the Tupi-Guaranians; while the region extending
from the Rio de la Plata to the Horn is the aboriginal abode of
various peoples, mostly of inferior culture. It should be borne in
mind, however, that the simplicity of this plan is largely factitious.
Linguistically, aboriginal South America is even more complex than
North America (at least above Mexico); and the whole central region
is a _mélange_ of verbally unrelated stocks, of which, for the
continent as a whole, Chamberlain's incomplete list gives no less than


"The aborigines of Guiana," writes Brett,[157] "in their naturally
wild and untaught condition, have had a confused idea of the existence
of one good and supreme Being, and of many inferior spirits, who are
supposed to be of various kinds, but generally of malignant character.
The Good Spirit they regard as the Creator of all, and, as far as we
could learn, they believe Him to be immortal and invisible, omnipotent
and omniscient. But notwithstanding this, we have never discovered
any trace of religious worship or adoration paid to Him by any tribe
while in its natural condition. They consider Him as a Being too high
to notice them; and, not knowing Him as a God that heareth prayer,
they concern themselves but little about Him." In another passage
the same writer states that the natives of Guiana "all maintain the
Invisibility of the Eternal Father. In their traditionary legends they
never confound _Him_--the Creator,--the '_Ancient of Heaven_'--with
the mythical personages of what, for want of a better term, we must
call their heroic age; and though sorcerers claim familiarity with,
and power to control, the inferior (and malignant) spirits, none would
ever pretend to hold intercourse with _Him_, or that it were possible
for mortal man to behold _Him_." A missionary to the same region,
Fray Ruiz Blanco,[158] earlier by some two hundred years, says of the
religion of these aborigines that, "The false rites and diableries
with which the multitude are readily duped are innumerable ... briefly
... there is the seated fact that all are idolaters, and there is the
particular fact that all abhor and greatly fear the devil, whom they
call Iboroquiamio."

Minds of a scientific stamp see the matter somewhat differently.
"The natives of the Orinoco," Humboldt declares,[159] "know no other
worship than that of the powers of nature; like the ancient Germans
they deify the mysterious object which excites their simple admiration
(_deorum nominibus appellant secretum illud, quod sola reverentia
vident_)." From the point of view of an ethnologist of the school
of Tylor, im Thurn describes the religion of the Indians of Guiana:
Having no belief in a hierarchy of spirits, they can have, he says,
"none in any such beings as in higher religions are called gods....
It is true that various words have been found in all, or nearly all,
the languages, not only of Guiana, but also of the whole world, which
have been supposed to be the names of a great spirit, supreme being,
or god"; nevertheless, he concludes, "the conception of a God is not
only totally foreign to Indian habits of thought, but belongs to a much
higher stage of intellectual development than any attained by them."

It is from such contrary evidences as these that the true character
of aboriginal beliefs must be reconstructed. Im Thurn says of the
native names that they "to some extent acquired a sense which the
missionaries imparted to them"; and when we meet, in such passages as
that quoted from Brett, the ascription of attributes like omniscience
and omnipotence to primitive divinities, there is indeed cause for
humour at the missionary's expense. But there are logical idols in more
than one trade; the ethnologists have their full share of them. Im
Thurn gives us a list of indigenous appellations of the Great Spirit of

 Carib Tribes:
 _True Caribs_: Tamosi ("the Ancient One"); Tamosi kabotano
 ("the Ancient One in the Sky").
 _Ackawoi_: Mackonaima (meaning unknown).
 _Macusi_: Kutti (probably only Macusi-Dutch for "God").

 Arawak Tribes: Wa murreta kwonci ("our Maker"); Wa cinaci ("our
 Father"); Ifilici wacinaci ("our Great Father").

 Warrau-Wapianan: Kononatoo ("our Maker"); Tominagatoo (meaning

Of all these names im Thurn remarks that in those whose meanings are
known "only three ideas are expressed--(1) One who lived long ago and
is now in sky-land; (2) the maker of the Indians; and (3) their father.
None of these ideas," he continues, "in any way involve the attributes
of a god...."[160] Obviously, acceptance of this negation turns upon
one's understanding of the meaning of "god."

The Cariban Makonaima (there are many variants, such as Makanaima,
Makunaima, and the like) is a creator-god and the hero of a cosmogony.
It is possible that his name connects him with the class of Kenaima
(or Kanaima), avengers of murder and bringers of death, who are often
regarded as endowed with magical or mysterious powers; and in this
case the term may be analogous to the Wakanda and Manito of the
northern continent. Schomburgk[161] states that Makunaima means "one
who works in the night"; and if this be true, it is curious to compare
with such a conception the group of Arawakan demiurgic beings whom
he describes. According to the Arawak myths, a being Kururumany was
the creator of men, while Kulimina formed women. Kururumany was the
author of all good, but coming to earth to survey his creation, he
discovered that the human race had become wicked and corrupt; wherefore
he deprived them of everlasting life, leaving among them serpents,
lizards, and other vermin. Wurekaddo ("She Who Works in the Dark")
and Emisiwaddo ("She Who Bores Through the Earth") are the wives of
Kururumany; and Emisiwaddo is identified as the _cushi_-ant, so that we
have here an interesting suggestion of world-building ants, for which
analogues are to be found far north in America, in the Pueblos and on
the North-West Coast. There is, however, a _fainéant_ god high above
Kururumany, one Aluberi, pre-eminent over all, who has no concern for
the affairs of men; while other supreme beings mentioned by Schomburgk
are Amalivaca--who is, however, rather a Trickster-Hero--and the group
that, among the Maipuri, corresponds to the Arawakan family of divine
beings, Purrunaminari ("He Created Men"), Taparimarru, his wife, and
Sisiri, his son, whom she, without being touched by him, conceived to
him from the mere love he bore her--a myth in which, as Schomburgk
observes, we should infer European influence.

Humboldt, in describing the religion of the Orinoco aborigines
says[162] of them that "they call the good spirit Cachimana; it is the
Manitou, the Great Spirit, that regulates the seasons and favours the
harvests. Along with Cachimana there is an evil principle, Iolokiamo,
less powerful, but more artful, and in particular more active." On the
whole, this characterization represents the consensus of observation
of traveller, missionary, and scientist from Columbian days to the
present and for the wilder tribes of the whole of both South and North
America. There is a good being, the Great Spirit, more or less remote
from men, often little concerned with human or terrene affairs, but the
ultimate giver of life and light, of harvest food and game food. There
is an evil principle, sometimes personified as a Lord of Darkness,
although more often conceived not as a person, but as a mischievous
power, or horde of powers, manifested in multitudes of annoying forms.
Among shamanistic tribes little attention is paid to the Good Power; it
is too remote to be seriously courted; or, if it is worshipped, solemn
festivals, elaborate mysteries, and priestly rites are the proper
agents for attracting its attention. On the other hand, the Evil Power
in all its innumerable and tricky embodiments, must be warded off by
constant endeavour--by shamanism, "medicine," magic. The tribes of the
Orinoco region are, _ab origine_, mainly in the shamanistic stage. The
peaiman is at once priest, doctor, and magician, whose main duty is
to discover the deceptive concealment of the malicious Kenaima and,
by his exorcisms, to free men from the plague. That the Kenaima is of
the nature of a spirit appears from the fact that the term is applied
to human malevolences, especially when these find magic manifestation,
as well as to evils emanating from other sources. Thus, the avenger of
a murder is a Kenaima, and he must not only exact life for life; he
must achieve his end by certain means and with rites insuring himself
against the ill will of his victim's spirit. Again, the Were-Jaguar is
a Kenaima. "A jaguar which displays unusual audacity," says Brett,[163]
"will often unnerve even a brave hunter by the fear that it may be a
_Kanaima tiger_. 'This,' reasons the Indian, 'if it be but an ordinary
wild beast, I may kill with bullet or arrow; but what will be my fate
if I assail the man-destroyer--the terrible _Kanaima_?'"

The Kenaima, the man-killer, whether he be the human avenger upon
whom the law of a primitive society has imposed the task of exacting
retribution, or whether he be the no less dreaded inflicter of death
through disease, or magically induced accident, or by shifting skins
with a man-slaying beast, is only one type of the spirits of evil.
Others are the Yauhahu and Orehu (Arawak names for beings which are
known to the other tribes by other titles). The Yauhahu are the
familiars of sorcerers, the peaimen, who undergo a long period of
probationary preparation in order to win their favour and who hold it
only by observing the most stringent tabus in the matter of diet. The
Orehu are water-sprites, female like the mermaids, and they sometimes
drag man and canoe down to the depths of their aquatic haunts; yet they
are not altogether evil, for Brett tells a story, characteristically
American Indian, of the origin of a medicine-mystery. In very ancient
times, when the Yauhahu inflicted continual misery on mankind, an
Arawak, walking besides the water and brooding over the sad case of
his people, beheld an Orehu rise from the stream, bearing in her
hand a branch which he planted as she bade him, its fruit being the
calabash, till then unknown. Again she appeared, bringing small white
pebbles, which she instructed him to enclose in the gourd, thus
making the magic-working rattle; and instructing him in its use and
in the mysteries of the Semecihi, this order was established among
the tribes. The "Semecihi" are of course, the medicine-men of the
Arawak, corresponding to the Carib peaimen, though the word itself
would seem to be related to the Taïno _zemi_. Relation to the Islanders
is, indeed, suggested by the whole myth, for the Orehu is surely only
the mainland equivalent for the Haitian woman-of-the-sea, Guabonito,
who taught the medicine-hero, Guagugiana, the use of amulets of white
stones and of gold.


Not many primitive legends are more dramatically vivid than the Carib
story of Maconaura and Anuanaïtu,[164] and few myths give a wider
insight into the ideas and customs of a people. The theme of the tale
is very clearly the coming of evil as the consequence of a woman's
deed, although the motive of her action is not mere curiosity, as
in the tale of Pandora, but the more potent passion of revenge--or,
rather, of that vengeful retribution of the _lex talionis_ which is
the primitive image of justice. In an intimate fashion, too, the story
gives us the spirit of Kenaima at work, while its _dénouement_ suggests
that the restless Orehu, the Woman of the Waters, may be none other
than the authoress of evil, the liberatress of ills.

In a time long past, so long past that even the grandmothers of our
grandmothers were not yet born, the Caribs of Surinam say, the world
was quite other than what it is today: the trees were forever in fruit;
the animals lived in perfect harmony, and the little agouti played
fearlessly with the beard of the jaguar; the serpents had no venom; the
rivers flowed evenly, without drought or flood; and even the waters of
cascades glided gently down from the high rocks. No human creature had
as yet come into life, and Adaheli, whom now we invoke as God, but who
then was called the Sun, was troubled. He descended from the skies,
and shortly after man was born from the cayman, born, men and women,
in the two sexes. The females were all of a ravishing beauty, but many
of the males had repellent features; and this was the cause of their
dispersion, since the men of fair visage, unable to endure dwelling
with their ugly fellows, separated from them, going to the West, while
the hideous men went to the East, each party taking the wives whom they
had chosen.

Now in the tribe of the handsome Indians lived a certain young man,
Maconaura, and his aged mother. The youth was altogether charming--tall
and graceful, with no equal in hunting and fishing, while all men
brought their baskets to him for the final touch; nor was his old
mother less skilled in the making of hammocks, preparation of cassava,
or brewing of _tapana_. They lived in harmony with one another and with
all their tribe, suffering neither from excessive heat nor from foggy
chill, and free from evil beasts, for none existed in that region.

One day, however, Maconaura found his basket-net broken and his fish
devoured, a thing such as had never happened in the history of the
tribe; and so he placed a woodpecker on guard when next he set his
trap; but though he ran with all haste when he heard the _toc! toc!_ of
the signal, he came too late; again the fish were devoured, and the net
was broken. With cuckoo as guard he fared better, for when he heard the
_pon! pon!_ which was this bird's signal, he arrived in time to send
an arrow between the ugly eyes of a cayman, which disappeared beneath
the waters with a _glou! glou!_ Maconaura repaired his basket-net and
departed, only to hear again the signal, _pon! pon!_ Returning, he
found a beautiful Indian maiden in tears. "Who are you?" he asked.
"Anuanaïtu," she replied. "Whence come you?" "From far, far." "Who are
your kindred?" "Oh, ask me not that!" and she covered her face with her

The maiden, who was little more than a child, lived with Maconaura and
his mother; and as she grew, she increased in beauty, so that Maconaura
desired to wed her. At first she refused with tears, but finally she
consented, though the union lacked correctness in that Maconaura had
not secured the consent of her parents, whose name she still refused
to divulge. For a while the married pair lived happily until Anuanaïtu
was seized with a great desire to visit her mother; but when Maconaura
would go with her, she, in terror, urged the abandonment of the trip,
only to find her husband so determined that he said, "Then I will go
alone to ask you in marriage of your kin." "Never, never that!" cried
Anuanaïtu; "That would be to destroy us all, us two and your dear
mother!" But Maconaura was not to be dissuaded, for he had consulted a
peaiman who had assured him that he would return safely; and so he set
forth with his bride.

After several weeks their canoe reached an encampment, and Anuanaïtu
said: "We are arrived; I will go in search of my mother. She will bring
to you a gourd filled with blood and raw meat, and another filled
with _beltiri_ [a fermented liquor] and cassava bread. Our lot depends
on your choice." The young man, when his mother-in-law appeared,
unhesitatingly took the _beltiri_ and bread, whereupon the old woman
said, "You have chosen well; I give my consent to your marriage, but
I fear that my husband will oppose it strongly." Kaikoutji ("Jaguar")
was the husband's name. The two women went in advance to test his
temper toward Maconaura's suit; but his rage was great, and it was
necessary to hide the youth in the forest until at last Kaikoutji was
mollified to such a degree that he consented to see the young man, only
to have his anger roused again at the sight, so that he cried, "How
dare you approach me?" Maconaura responded: "True, my marriage with
your daughter is not according to the rites. But I am come to make
reparation. I will make for you whatever you desire." "Make me, then,"
cried the other contemptuously, "a _halla_ [sorcerer's stool] with the
head of a jaguar on one side and my portrait on the other." By midnight
Maconaura had completed the work, excepting for the portrait; but here
was a difficulty, for Kaikoutji kept his head covered with a calabash,
pierced only with eye-holes; and when Maconaura asked his wife to
describe her parent, she replied: "Impossible! My father is a peaiman;
he knows all; he would kill us both." Maconaura concealed himself near
the hammock of his father-in-law, in hopes of seeing his face; and
first, a louse, then, a spider, came to annoy Kaikoutji, who killed
them both without showing his visage. Finally, however, an army of ants
attacked him furiously, and the peaiman, rising up in consternation,
revealed himself--his whole horrible head. Maconaura appeared with
the _halla_, completed, when morning came. "That will not suffice,"
said Kaikoutji, "in a single night you must make for me a lodge formed
entirely of the most beautiful feathers." The young man felt himself
lost, but multitudes of humming-birds and jacamars and others of
brilliant plumage cast their feathers down to him, so that the
lodge was finished before daybreak, whereupon Maconaura was received as
the recognized husband of Anuanaïtu.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX.]

 1. Stone seat from Manabi, Ecuador. See page 206. After Saville,
 _Antiquities of Manabi, Ecuador_, Vol. II, Plate XXXVIII.

 2. Painted wooden seat from Guiana--such a _halla_ as is referred to
 in the tale of Maconaura and Anuanaïtu, page 264. After _30 ARBE_,
 Plate V.

 3. Central American carved stone metate in the collection of Geo. S.
 Walsh, Lincoln, Neb.

The time soon came, however, when he wished again to see his mother,
but as Kaikoutji refused to allow Anuanaïtu to accompany the youth,
he set off alone. Happy days were spent at home, he telling his
adventures, the mother recounting the tales of long ago which had been
dimly returning to her troubled memory; and when Maconaura would return
to his wife, the old mother begged him to stay, while the peaiman
warned him of danger; but he was resolved and departed once more,
telling his mother that he would send her each day a bird to apprise
her of his condition: if the owl came, she would know him lost. Arrived
at the home of Anuanaïtu, he was met by his wife and mother-in-law,
in tears, with the warning: "Away! quickly! Kaikoutji is furious at
the news he has received!" Nevertheless Maconaura went on, and at the
threshold of the lodge was met by Kaikoutji, who felling him with a
blow, thrust an arrow between his eyes. Meantime Maconaura's mother had
been hearing daily the mournful _bouta! bouta!_ of the otolin; but one
day this was succeeded by the dismal _popopó!_ of the owl, and knowing
that her son was dead, she, led by the bird of ill tidings, found first
the young man's canoe and then his hidden body, with which she returned
sadly to her own people.

The men covered the corpse with a pall of beautiful feathers, placing
about it Maconaura's arms and utensils; the women prepared the _tapana_
for the funeral feast; and all assembled to hear the funeral chant,
the last farewell of mother to son. She recounted the tragic tale of
his love and death, and then, raising the cup of _tapana_ to her lips,
she cried: "Who has extinguished the light of my son? Who has sent him
into the valley of shades? Woe! woe to him!... Alas! you see in me, O
friends and brothers, only a poor, weak old woman. I can do nothing.
Who of you will avenge me?" Forthwith two men sprang forward, seized
the cup, and emptied it; beside the corpse they intoned the Kenaima
song, dancing the dance of vengeance; and into one of them the soul of
a boa constrictor entered, into the other that of a jaguar.

The great feast of _tapana_ was being held at the village of Kaikoutji,
where hundreds of natives were gathered, men, women, and children.
They drank and vomited; drank and vomited again; till finally all were
drunken. Then two men came, one in the hide of a jaguar, the other in
the mottled scales of a boa constrictor; and in an instant Kaikoutji
and all about him were struck down, some crushed by the jaguar's
blows, others strangled in snaky folds. Nevertheless fear had rescued
some from their drunkenness; and they seized their bows, threatening
the assailants with hundreds of arrows, whereupon the two Kenaima
ceased their attack, while one of them cried: "Hold, friends! we are
in your hands, but let us first speak!" Then he recounted the tale of
Maconaura, and when he had ceased, an old peaiman advanced, saying:
"Young men, you have spoken well. We receive you as friends."

The feast was renewed more heartily than ever, but though Anuanaïtu,
in her grief, had remained away, she now advanced, searching among the
corpses. She examined them, one by one, with dry eyes; but at last she
paused beside a body, her eyes filled with tears, and seating herself,
long, long she chanted plaintively the praises of the dead. Suddenly
she leaped up, with hair bristling and with face of fire, in vibrant
voice in-toning the terrible Kenaima; and as she danced, the soul of a
rattlesnake entered into her.

Meantime, in the other village, the people were celebrating the
_tapana_, delirious with joy for the vengeance taken, while the mother
of Maconaura, overcome by drink, lay in her hammock, dreaming of her
son. Anuanaïtu entered, possessed, but she drew back moved when she
heard her name pronounced by the dreaming woman: "Anuanaïtu, my child,
you are good, as was also your mother! But why come you hither? My son,
whom you have lost, is no more.... O son Maconaura, rejoice! Thou
art happy, now, for thou art avenged in the blood of thy murderers!
Ah, yes, thou art well avenged!" During this Anuanaïtu felt in her
soul a dread conflict, the call of love struggling with the call of
duty; but at the words, "avenged in blood," she restrained herself no
longer, and throwing herself upon the old woman, she drew her tongue
from her mouth, striking it with venomous poison; and leaning over her
agonized victim, she spoke: "The cayman which your son killed beside
the basket-net was my brother. Like my father, he had a cayman's head.
I would pardon that. My father avenged his son's death in inflicting on
yours the same doom that he had dealt--an arrow between the eyes. Your
kindred have slain my father and all mine. I would have pardoned that,
too, had they but spared my mother. Maconaura is the cause that what is
most dear to me in the world is perished; and robbing him in my turn, I
immolate what he held most precious!"

Uttering a terrible cry, she fled into the forest; and at the sound
a change unprecedented occurred throughout all nature. The winds
responded with a tempest which struck down the trees and uprooted the
very oaks; thick clouds veiled the face of Adaheli, while sinister
lightnings and the roar of thunders filled the tenebrous world; a
deluge of rain mingled with the floods of rivers. The animals, until
then peaceable, fell upon and devoured one another: the serpent struck
with his venom, the cayman made his terrible jaws to crash, the jaguar
tore the flesh of the harmless agouti. Anuanaïtu, followed by the
savage hosts of the forest, pursued her insensate course until she
arrived at the summit of an enormous rock, whence gushed a cascade; and
there, on the brink of the precipice, she stretched forth her arms,
leaned forward, and plunged into the depths. The waters received her
and closed over her: nought was to be seen but a terrifying whirlpool.

If today some stranger pass beside a certain cascade, the Carib native
will warn him not to speak its name. That would be his infallible
death, for at the bottom of these waters Maconaura and Anuanaïtu dwell
together in the marvellous palace of her who is the Soul of the Waters.

It is not merely the artistic symmetry of this tale--which may be due
as much to the clever rendering by Father van Coll as to the genius
of the savage raconteur--that justifies giving it at length. It is a
wonderfully instructive picture of savage life, emotions, and customs;
and a full commentary upon it would lead to an exposition of most that
we know of the customs and thought of the Orinoco aborigines--such
practices, for example, as im Thurn describes: the putting of red
pepper in one's eyes to propitiate the spirits of rapids one is about
to shoot; the method of Kenaima murder by pricking the tongue with
poison; the perpetual vendetta which to the savage seems to hold not
only between tribe and tribe of men, but also between tribe and tribe
of animals; the _tapana_ feasts in which men become inspired; or again,
such mythic and religious conceptions as the cult of the jaguar and
cayman, extending far throughout South and Central America; the still
more universal notion of a community of First People, part man, part
animal; the ominous birds and animal helpers; the central story of the
visit of the hero-youth to the ogreish father-in-law, and of the trials
to which he is subjected. In these and in other respects the story is
of interest; but its chief attraction is surely in the fact that here
we have an American _Job_ or _Oedipus_, presenting, as _Job_ presents,
the problem of evil; and, like Greek tragedy, portraying the harsh
conflict between the inexorable justice of the law of retribution and
the loves and mercies which combat it, in the savage heart perhaps not
less than in the civilized.


Both creation and cataclysm appear in the story of Maconaura and
Anuanaïtu, but this legend is only one among several tales of the
kind gathered from various groups of Orinoco natives, the fullest
collection, "'old peoples' stories,' as the rising race somewhat
contemptuously call them," being given by Brett. The creation
myths are of the two familiar American types: true creations out
of the void, and migrations of First Beings into a new land; while
transformation-incidents, and especially the doughty deeds of the
Transformer-Hero, a true demiurge, are characteristic of traditions of
each type.

The Ackawoi make their Makonaima the creator, and Sigu, his son, the
hero, in a tale which, says Brett,[165] they repeat "while striving to
maintain a very grave aspect, as befitting the general nature of the
subject." "In the beginning of this world the birds and beasts were
created by Makonaima,--the great spirit whom no man hath seen. They,
at that time, were all endowed with the gift of speech. Sigu, the
son of Makonaima, was placed to rule over them. All lived in harmony
together and submitted to his gentle dominion." Here we have the usual
sequence: the generation of the world, followed by the Golden Age,
with its vocal animals and universal peace; while as a surprise to his
subject creatures, Makonaima caused a wonderful tree, bearing all good
fruits, to spring from the earth--the tree which was the origin of all
cultivated plants. The acouri first discovered this tree, selfishly
trying to keep the secret to himself; and the woodpecker, set by Sigu
to trace the acouri, proved a poor spy, since his tapping warned it
of his presence; but when the rat solved the mystery, Sigu determined
to fell the tree and plant its fruits broadcast. Only the lazy monkey
refused to assist, and even mischievously hindered the others, so that
Sigu, provoked, put him at the task of the Danaïdes--to fetch water in
a basket-sieve. The stump of the tree proved to be filled with water,
stocked with every kind of fish and from its riches Sigu proposed to
supply all streams; but the waters began of themselves to flow so
copiously that he was compelled hastily to cover the top with a basket
which the mischievous monkey discovered; and raising it, the deluge
poured forth. To save the animals, Sigu sealed in a cave those which
could not climb; the others he took with him into a high cocorite
tree, where they remained through a long and uncomfortable night, Sigu
dropping cocorite seeds from time to time to judge by the splash if the
waters were receding, until finally the sound was no longer heard, and
with the return of day the animals descended to repeople the earth. But
they were no longer the same. The arauta still howls his discomfort
from the trees; the trumpeter-bird, too greedily descending into the
food-rich mud, had his legs, till then respectable, so devoured by
ants that they have ever since been bonily thin; the bush-fowl snapped
up the spark of fire which Sigu laboriously kindled, and got his red
wattle for his greed; while the alligator had his tongue pulled out for
lying (it is a common belief that the cayman is tongueless). Thus the
world became what it is.

A second part of the tale tells how Sigu was persecuted by two wicked
brothers who beat him to death, burned him to ashes, and buried him.
Nevertheless, each time he rose again to life and finally ascended a
high hill which grew upward as he mounted until he disappeared in the

Probably the most far-known mythic hero of this region is Amalivaca,
a Carib demiurge, concerning whom Humboldt reports various beliefs
of the Tamanac (a Cariban tribe). According to Humboldt,[166] "the
name _Amalivaca_ is spread over a region of more than five thousand
square leagues; he is found designated as 'the father of mankind,'or
'our great-grandfather' as far as the Caribbee nations"; and he
likens him to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl. It is in connexion with the
petroglyphs of their territory (similar rock-carvings are found far
into the Antilles, the "painted cave" in which the Earth Goddess was
worshipped in Haiti being, no doubt, an example) that the Tamanac give
motive to their tale. Amalivaca, father of the Tamanac, arrived in a
canoe in the time of the deluge, and he engraved images, still to be
seen, of the sun and the moon and the animals high upon the rocks of
Encaramada. From this deluge one man and one woman were saved on a
mountain called Tamancu--the Tamanac Ararat--and "casting behind them,
over their heads, the fruits of the mauritia palm-tree, they saw the
seeds contained in those fruits produce men and women, who repeopled
the earth." After many deeds, in which Amalivaca regulated the world in
true heroic fashion, he departed to the shores beyond the seas, whence
he came and where he is supposed still to dwell.

Another myth, of the Cariban stock,[167] tells how Makonaima, having
created heaven and earth, sat on a silk-cotton-tree by a river, and
cutting off pieces of its bark, cast them about, those which touched
the water becoming fish, and others flying in the air as birds, while
from those that fell on land arose animals and men. Boddam-Whetham
gives a later addition, accounting for the races of men: "The Great
Spirit Makanaima made a large mould, and out of this fresh, clean
clay the white man stepped. After it got a little dirty the Indian
was formed, and the Spirit being called away on business for a long
period the mould became black and unclean, and out of it walked the
negro." As in case of other demiurges, there are many stories of the
transformations wrought by Makonaima.

It is from the Warau that Brett obtains a story of a descent from
the sky-world--a tale which has many replications in other parts of
America, and of which there are other Orinoco variants. Long ago, when
the Warau lived in the happy hunting-grounds above the sky, Okonorote,
a young hunter, shot an arrow which missed its mark and was lost;
searching for it, he found a hole through which it had fallen; and
looking down, he beheld the earth beneath, with game-filled forests
and savannahs. By means of a cotton rope he visited the lands below,
and upon his return his reports were such as to induce the whole Warau
tribe to follow him thither; but one unlucky dame, too stout to squeeze
through, was stuck in the hole, and the Warau were thus prevented
from ever returning to the sky-world. Since the lower world was
exceedingly arid, the great Spirit created a small lake of delicious
water, but forbade the people to bathe in it--this to test their
obedience. A certain family, consisting of four brothers--Kororoma,
Kororomana, Kororomatu, and Kororomatítu--and two sisters--Korobona
and Korobonáko--dwelt beside this mere; the men obeyed the injunction
as to bathing, but the two sisters entered the water, and one of them
swimming to the centre of the lake, touched a pole which was planted
there. The spirit of the pool, who had been bound by the pole, was
immediately released; and seizing the maiden, he bore her to his
sub-aquatic den, whence she returned home pregnant; but the child,
when born, was normal and was allowed to live. Again she visited the
water demon and once more brought forth a child, but this one was only
partly human, the lower portion of the body being that of a serpent.
The brothers slew the monster with arrows; but after Korobona had
nursed it to life in the concealment of the forest, the brothers,
having discovered the secret, again killed the serpent-being, this
time cutting it in pieces. Korobona carefully collected and buried all
the fragments of her offspring's body, covering them with leaves and
vegetable mould; and she guarded the grave assiduously until finally
from it arose a terrible warrior, brilliant red in colour, armed for
battle, this warrior being the first Carib, who forthwith drove from
their ancient hunting-grounds the whole Warau tribe.

This myth contains a number of interesting features. It is obviously
invented in part to explain why the Warau (who are execrated by whites
and natives alike for their dirtiness) do not bathe; and it no doubt
reflects their actual yielding before the invading Carib tribes. The
Kororomana of the story can scarcely be other in origin that the
Kururumany whom Schomburgk states to be the Arawak creator; while the
whole group of four brothers are plausibly continental forms of the
Haitian Caracarols, the shell-people who brought about the flood. The
incident of the corpulent or pregnant woman (im Thurn gives the latter
version) stopping the egress of the primitive people from their first
home appears in Kiowa, Mandan, and Pueblo tales in North America; while
the pole rising from the lake has analogues in the Californian and
North-West Coast regions. Im Thurn states that the Carib have a variant
of this same story, in which they assign as the reason for the descent
of their forefathers from Paradise their desire to cleanse the dirty
and disordered world below--an amusing complement to the Warau notion!

The Warau have also their national hero, Aboré, who has something of
the character of a true culture hero. Wowta, the evil Frog-Woman, made
Aboré her slave while he was yet a boy, and when he grew up, she wished
to marry him; but he cleverly trapped her by luring her into a hollow
tree filled with honey, of which she was desperately fond, and there
wedging her fast. He then made a canoe and paddled to sea to appear no
more, though the Warau believe that he reached the land of the white
men and taught them the arts of life; Wowta escaped from the tree only
by taking the form of a frog, and her dismal croaking is still heard in
the woods.

From the tribes of this region come various other myths, belonging,
apparently, to the cosmogonic and demiurgic cycles. The Arawak tell of
two destructions of the earth, once by flame and once by fire, each
because men disobeyed the will of the Dweller-on-High, Aiomun Kondi;
and they also have a Noachian hero, Marérewána, who saved himself and
his family during the deluge by tying his canoe with a rope of great
length to a large tree. Another Arawak tale begins with the incident
which opens the story of Maconaura. The Sun built a dam to retain the
fish in a certain place; but since, during his absence, it was broken,
so that the fish escaped, he set the Woodpecker to watch, and, summoned
by the bird's loud tapping, arrived in time to slay the alligator that
was destroying his preserves, the reptile's scales being marks made by
the club wielded by the Sun. Another tale, of which there are both
Arawak and Carib versions, tells how a young man married a vulture and
lived in the sky-land, revisiting his own people by means of a rope
which the spiders spun for him; but as the vultures would thereafter
have nothing to do with him, with the aid of other birds he made war
upon them and burned their settlement. In this combat the various
birds, by injury or guile, received the marks which they yet bear; the
owl found a package which he greedily kept to himself; opening it, the
darkness came out, and has been his ever since. In the Surinam version,
given by van Coll,[168] the hero of the tale is a peaiman, Maconaholo,
and the story contains some of the incidents of the Maconaura tale.
Two other traditions given by the same author are of special interest
from the comparative point of view. One is the legend of an anchorite
who had a wonderfully faithful dog. Wandering in the forest, the hermit
discovered a finely cultivated field, with cassava and other food
plants, and thinking, "Who has prepared all this for me?" he concealed
himself in order to discover who might be his benefactor, when behold!
his faithful dog appeared, transformed herself into a human being, laid
aside her dog's skin, busied herself with the toil of cultivation,
and, the task accomplished, again resumed her canine form. The native,
carefully preparing, concealed himself anew, and when the dog came once
more, he slyly stole the skin, carried it away in a _courou-courou_ (a
woman's harvesting basket), and burned it, after which the cultivator,
compelled to retain woman's form, became his faithful wife and the
mother of a large family. It would appear that, from an aboriginal
point of view, both dog and woman are complimented by this tale.

The second tale of special interest is a Surinam equivalent of the
story of Cain and Abel. Of three brothers, Halwanli, the eldest, was
lord of all things inanimate and irrational; Ourwanama, the second, was
a tiller of fields, a brewer of liquors, and the husband of two wives;
Hiwanama, the youngest, was a huntsman. One day Hiwanama, chancing upon
the territory of Ourwanama, met one of his brother's wives, who first
intoxicated him and then seduced him, while in revenge for this injury
Ourwanama banished his brother, lying to his mother when she demanded
the lost son. Afterward Ourwanama's wives were transformed, the one
into a bird, the other into a fish; he himself, seized by the sea,
was dragged to its depth; and the desolate mother bemoaned her lost
children till finally Halwanli, going in search of Hiwanama, whom he
found among the serpents and other reptiles of the lower world, brought
him back to become the greatest of peaimen.


A missionary whom Humboldt quotes declares that a native said to
him:[169] "Your God keeps himself shut up in a house, as if he were old
and infirm; ours is in the forest, in the fields, and on the mountains
of Sipapu, whence the rains come"; and Humboldt remarks in comment that
the Indians conceive with difficulty the idea of a temple or an image:
"on the banks of the Orinoco there exists no idol, as among all the
nations who have remained faithful to the first worship of nature."

There is an echo of the eighteenth century philosophy of an idyllic
primitive age in this statement, but there is truth in it, too; for
throughout the forest regions of tropical America idols are of rare
occurrence, while shrines, if such they may be called, are confined
to places of natural marvel, the wandering tribes being true nature
worshippers, with eyes ever open for tokens of mysterious power.
Fetishes or talismans are, however, common; and in this very connexion
Humboldt mentions the _botuto_, or sacred trumpet, as an object of
veneration to which fruits and intoxicating liquors were offered;
sometimes the Great Spirit himself makes the _botuto_ to resound, and,
as in so many other parts of the world, women are put to death if
they but see this sacrosanct instrument or the ceremonies of its cult
(and here we are in the very presence of Mumbo Jumbo!). Certainly
the use of the fetish-trumpet was widespread in South America and
northward. Garcilasso tells of the use of dog-headed battle-trumpets
by the wild tribes of Andean regions; while Boddam-Whetham affords us
another indication of the trumpet's significance:[170] "Horn-blowing
was a very useful accomplishment of our guide, as it kept us straight
and frightened away the various evil spirits, from a water-mama to a

This latter author gives a vivid picture of the Orinoco Indian in the
life of nature: "Above all other localities, an Indian is fond of an
open, sandy beach whereon to pass the night.... There in the open,
away from the dark, shadowy forest, he feels secure from the stealthy
approach of the dreaded 'kanaima';... the magic rattle of the 'peaiman'
... has less terror for him when unaccompanied by the rustling of the
waving branches; and there even the wild hooting of the 'didi' (the
'didi' is supposed to be a wild man of the woods, possessed of immense
strength and covered with hair) is bereft of that intensity with which
it pierces the gloomy depths of the surrounding woodland. It is strange
that the superstitious fear of these Indians, who are bred and born
in the forest and hills, should be chiefly based on natural forms and
sounds. Certain rocks they will never point at with a finger, although
your attention may be drawn to them by an inclination of the head. Some
rocks they will not even look at, and others again they beat with green
boughs. Common bird-cries become spirit-voices. Any place of difficult
access, or little known, is invariably tenanted by huge snakes or
horrible four-footed animals. Otters are transformed into mermaids, and
water-tigers inhabit the deep pools and caves of their rivers."

This is the familiar picture of the animist, surrounded by
monster-haunted marches, for which, in the works of many writers, the
Guiana aborigines have afforded the repeated model. No description of
the beliefs of these natives would be complete without mention of the
superstitions and adorations associated with Mt. Roraima, by which all
travellers seem to be impressed. Schomburgk[171] says that the native
loves Roraima as the Swiss loves his Alps: "All their festal songs
have Roraima for object.... Each morning and each evening came old and
young ... to greet us with _bakong baimong_ ('good day') or _saponteng_
('good night') ... adding each time the words, _matti Roraima-tau,
Roraima-tau_ ('there, see our Roraima!'), with the word _tau_ very
slowly and solemnly drawled"; and one of their songs, which might be a
fragment out of the Greek, runs:

 "Roraima of the red rocks, wrapped in clouds, ever-fertile source of

On Roraima, says im Thurn, the natives declare there are huge white
jaguars, white eagles, and other such creatures; and to this class
he would add the "didis," half man, half monkey, who may very likely
be a mere personification of the howling monkeys which, as Humboldt
states, the aborigines so heartily detest. Boddam-Whetham, who ascended
the mountain, tells of many superstitions, as of a magic circle which
surrounds it, and of a demon-guarded sanctuary on the summit: "About
half way up we met an unpleasant-looking Indian who informed us that
he was a great 'peaiman,' and the spirit which he possessed ordered
us not to go to Roraima. The mountain, he said, was guarded by an
enormous 'camoodi,' which could entwine a hundred people in its folds.
He himself had once approached its den and seen demons running about as
numerous as quails.... Our Indians were rejoiced to see us back again,
as they had not expected that the mountain-demons would allow us to

Like great mountains, the orbs of heaven excite the native's adoration,
though it is by no means necessary, on that account, to follow certain
theorists and to solarize or astralize all his myths. Fray Ruiz Blanco
states that "the supreme gods of the Indians are the sun and the
moon, at eclipses of which they make great demonstrations, sounding
warlike instruments and laying hold of weapons as a sign that they
seek to defend them; they water their maize in order to placate them
and in loud voice tell them that they will amend their ways, labour,
and not be idle; and grasping their tools, they set themselves to toil
at the hour of eclipse." Of similar reference is an observation of
Humboldt's: "Some Indians who were acquainted with Spanish, assured
us that _zis_ signified not only the sun, but also the Deity. This
appeared to me the more extraordinary since among all other American
nations we find distinct words for God and the sun. The Carib does not
confound _Tamoussicabo_, 'the Ancient of Heaven,' with _veyou_, 'the
sun.'" In a similar connexion he remarks that in American idioms the
moon is often called "the sun of night," or "the sun of sleep"; but
that "our missionary asserted that _jama_, in Maco, indicated at the
same time both the Supreme Being and the great orbs of night and day;
while many other American tongues, for instance Tamanac and Caribbee,
have distinct words to designate God, the Moon, and the Sun." It is, of
course, quite possible that such terms as _zis_ and _jama_ belong to
the class of Manito, Wakan, Huaca, and the like.

Humboldt records names for the Southern Cross and the Belt of Orion,
and Brett mentions a constellation called Camudi from its fancied
resemblance to the snake, though he does not identify it. The Carib, he
says, call the Milky Way by two names, one of which signifies "the path
of the tapir," while the other means "the path of the bearers of white
clay"--a clay from which they make vessels: "The nebulous spots are
supposed to be the track of spirits whose feet are smeared with that
material"--a conceit which surely points to the well-nigh universal
American idea of the Milky Way as the path of souls. The Carib also
have names for Venus and Jupiter; and the Macusi, im Thurn says, regard
the dew as the spittle of stars.

In a picturesque passage Humboldt describes the beliefs connected
with the Grotto of Caripe, the source of the river of the same name.
The cave is inhabited by nocturnal birds, guacharos (_Steatornis
caripensis_); and the natives are convinced that the souls of their
ancestors sojourn in its deep recesses. "Man," they say, "should avoid
places which are enlightened neither by the sun nor by the moon"; and
they maintain that poisoners and magicians conjure evil spirits before
the entrance; while "to join the guacharos" is a phrase equivalent
to being gathered to one's fathers in the tomb. Fray Ruiz records an
analogous tenet: "They believe in the immortality of the soul and
that departing from the body, it goes to another place--some souls
to their own lands (_heredades_), but the most to a lake that they
call _Machira_, where great serpents swallow them and carry them to
a land of pleasure in which they entertain themselves with dancing
and feasting." That ghosts of strong men return is an article of
common credence: the soul of Lope de Aguirre, as reported not only
by Humboldt, but by writers of our own day,[172] still haunts the
savannahs in the form of a tongue of flame; and it may be supposed
that the similar idea which Boddam-Whetham records among the negroes
of Martinique with respect to the soul of Père Labat may be of
American Indian origin. One striking statement, which Brett quotes
from a Mr. M'Clintock, deserves repetition, as being perhaps as clear
a statement as we have of that ambiguity of life and death, body and
soul, from which the savage mind rarely works itself free: "He says
that the Kapohn or Acawoio races (those who have embraced Christianity
excepted) like to bury their dead in a standing posture, assigning
this reason,--'Although my brother be in appearance dead, he (_i.
e._ his soul) is still alive.' Therefore, to maintain by an outward
sign this belief in immortality some of them bury their dead _erect_,
which they say represents life, whereas lying down represents death.
Others bury their dead in a _sitting_ posture, assigning the same
reason." It is unlikely that the Orinoco Indians have in mind such
clear-cut symbolism of their custom as this passage suggests; but it
is altogether probable that the true reason for disposing the bodies of
the dead in life-like postures is man's fundamental difficulty wholly
to dissociate life from the stark and unresponsive body; and doubtless
it is this very attitude of mind which leads them also to what Fray
Ruiz calls the error of ascribing souls to even irrational beings--the
same underlying theory which makes of primitive men animists, and of
philosophers idealists.




On his second voyage Columbus began to hear of an island inhabited by
rich and warlike women, who permitted occasional visits from men, but
endured no permanent residence of males among them. The valour of Carib
women, who fought resolutely along with their husbands and brothers
gave plausibility to this legend; and soon the myth of an island or
country of Amazons became accepted truth, a dogma with wonder-tellers
and a lure to adventurers. At first the fabulous island seemed near
at hand--"Matenino which lies next to Hispañola on the side toward
the Indies"; but as island after island was visited and the fabled
women not found, their seat was pushed further and further on, till it
came to be thought of as a country lying far in the interior of the
continent or--for the notion of its insular nature persisted--as an
island somewhere in the course of the great river of the Amazons. By
the middle of the sixteenth century, explorers from the north, from
the south, from the east, from the west, were all on the lookout for
the kingdom of women and all hearing and repeating tales about them
with such conviction that, as the Padre de Acuña remarks,[174] "it
is not credible that a lie could have been spread throughout so many
languages, and so many nations, with such appearance of truth."

In 1540-41 Francisco de Orellana sailed down the Amazon to the sea,
hearing tales of the women warriors, and, as his cleric companion, Fray
Gaspar Carvajal, is credited with saying, on one occasion encountering
some of them; for they fought with Indians who defended themselves
resolutely "because they were tributaries of the Amazons," and he,
and other Spaniards, saw ten or twelve Amazons fighting in front of
the Indians, as if they commanded them ... "very tall, robust, fair,
with long hair twisted over their heads, skins round their loins, and
bows and arrows in their hands, with which they killed seven or eight
Spaniards." The description, in the circumstances described, does not
inspire unlimited confidence in the friar's certainty of vision, but
there is nothing incredible even in Indian women leading their husbands
in combat. Pedro de Magelhães de Gandavo gives a very interesting
account[175] (still sixteenth century) of certain Indian women who,
as he says, take the vow of chastity, facing death rather than its
violation. These women follow no occupation of their sex, but imitate
the ways of men, as if they had ceased to be women, going to war and
to the hunt along with the men. Each of them, he adds, is served and
followed by an Indian woman with whom she says she is married, and they
live together like spouses. Parallels for this custom, (and for the
reverse, in which men assume the costume, labours, and way of life of
women) are to be found far and wide in America,--indeed, to the Arctic
Zone. Magelhães de Gandavo is authority, too, for the statement that
the coastal tribes of Brazil, like the Carib of the north, have a dual
speech, differing for the two sexes, at least in some words; but this
is no extremely rare phenomenon.

More truly in the mythical vein is the account given in the tale of
the adventures of Ulrich Schmidel. Journeying northward from the city
of Asuncion, in a company under the command of Hernando de Ribera,
Schmidel and his companions heard tales of the Amazons--whose land of
gold and silver, the Indians astutely placed at a two months' journey
from their own land. "The Amazons have only one breast," says Schmidel,
"and they receive visits from men only twice or thrice a year. If a boy
is born to them, they send him to the father; if a girl, they raise
her, burning the right breast that it may not grow, to the end that
they may the more readily draw the bow, for they are very valiant and
make war against their enemies. These women dwell in an isle, which
can only be reached by canoes." In the same credulous vein, but with
quaintly learned embellishments, is Sir Walter Raleigh's account: "I
had knowledge of all the rivers between Orenoque and Amazones, and was
very desirous to understand the truth of those warlike women, because
of some it is believed, of others not. And though I digress from my
purpose, yet I will set down that which hath been delivered me for
truth of those women, and I spake with a cacique or lord of people,
that told me he had been in the river, and beyond it also. The nations
of these women are on the south side of the river in the provinces of
Topago, and their chiefest strengths and retracts are in the islands
situate on the south side of the entrance some sixty leagues within
the mouth of the said river. The memories of the like women are very
ancient as well in Africa as in Asia: in Africa these had Medusa for
queen: others in Scithia near the rivers of Tanais and Thernodon: we
find also that Lampedo and Marethesia were queens of the Amazons: in
many histories they are verified to have been, and in divers ages and
provinces: but they which are not far from Guiana do accompany with
men but once in a year, and for the time of one month, which I gather
by their relation, to be in April: and that time all kings of the
border assemble, and queens of the Amazons; and after the queens have
chosen, the rest cast lots for their Valentines. This one month they
feast, dance, and drink of their wines in abundance; and the moon being
done, they all depart to their own provinces. If they conceive, and be
delivered of a son, they return him to the father; if of a daughter,
they nourish it, and retain it: and as many as have daughters send
unto the begetters a present: all being desirous to increase their sex
and kind: but that they cut off the right dug of the breast, I do not
find to be true. It was farther told me, that if in these wars they
took any prisoners that they used to accompany with these also at what
time soever, but in the end for certain they put them to death: for
they are said to be very cruel and bloodthirsty, especially to such as
offer to invade their territories. These Amazons have likewise great
store of these plates of gold which they recover by exchange chiefly
for a kind of green stones, which the Spaniards call Piedras hijadas,
and we use for spleen stones: and for the disease of the stone we also
esteem them. Of these I saw divers in Guiana: and commonly every king
or cacique hath one, which their wives for the most part wear; and they
esteem them as great jewels."

The Amazon stone, or _piedra de la hijada_, came to be immensely
valued in Europe for wonderful medicinal effects,--a veritable
panacea. Such stones were found treasured by the tribes of northern
and north-central South America, passing by barter from people to
people. "The form given to them most frequently," wrote Humboldt,[176]
"is that of the Babylonian cylinders, longitudinally perforated, and
loaded with inscriptions and figures. But this is not the work of
the Indians of our day.... The Amazon stones, like the perforated
and sculptured emeralds, found in the Cordilleras of New Grenada
and Quito, are vestiges of anterior civilization." Later writers
and investigators have identified the Amazon stones as green jade,
probably the _chalchihuitl_ which formed the esteemed jewel of the
Aztecs; and it has been supposed that the centre from which spread
the veneration for greenish and bluish stones--chiefly jade and
turquoise--was somewhere in Mayan or Nahuatlan territory. Certainly it
was widespread, extending from the Pueblos of New Mexico to the land of
the Incas, and eastward into Brazil and the Antilles. That the South
American tribes should have ascribed the origin of these treasures
(at any rate, when questioned) to the Amazons, the treasure women,
is altogether plausible. Nearly a century and a half after Raleigh's
day, de la Condamine found the green jade stones still employed by the
Indians to cure colic and epilepsy,--heirlooms, they said, from their
fathers who had received them from the husbandless women. That the
Indians themselves have names for the Amazons is not strange--names
with such meanings as the Women-Living-Alone, the Husbandless-Women,
the Masterful-Women,--for the Europeans have been inquiring about such
women ever since their coming; it is, however, worthy of note that
Orellana, to whom is credited the first use of "Amazon" as a name for
the great river, also heard a native name for the fabulous women; for
Aparia, a native chief, after listening to Orellana's discourse on the
law of God and the grandeur of the Castillean monarch, asked, as it
were in rebuttal, whether Orellana had seen the Amazons, "whom in his
language they call _Coniapuyara_, meaning Great Lord."

Modern investigators ascribe the myth of the Amazons, undeniably
widespread at an early date, to various causes. The warlike character
of many Indian women, already observed in the first encounters with
Carib tribes by Columbus, is still attested by Spruce (1855): "I have
myself seen that Indian women can fight ... the women pile up heaps
of stones to serve as missiles for the men. If, as sometimes happens,
the men are driven back to and beyond their piles of stones, the women
defend the latter obstinately, and generally hold them until the
men are able to rally to the combat." Another factor in the myth is
supposed to have been rumours of the golden splendour of the Incaic
empire, with perhaps vague tales of the Vestals of the Sun; and still
another is the occurrence of anomalous social and sexual relationships
of women, easily exaggerated in passing from tribe to tribe.

A special group of myths of the latter type is of pertinent interest.
Ramon Pane and Peter Martyr give an example in the tale of Guagugiana
enticing the women away to Matenino. A somewhat similar story is
reported by Barboza Rodriguez from the Rio Jamunda: the women, led away
by an elder or chief, were accustomed to destroy their male children;
but one mother spared her boy, casting him into the water where he
lived as a fish by day, returning to visit her at night in human
form; and the other women, discovering this, seduced the youth, who
was finally disposed of by the jealous old man, whereupon the angry
women fled, leaving the chief womanless. A like story is reported by
Ehrenreich from Amazonas: The women gather beside the waters, where
they make familiar with a water-monster, crocodilean in form, which
is slain by the jealous men; then, the women rise in revolt, slay the
men through deceit, and fare away on the stream. From Guiana Brett
reports a myth on the same theme, the lover being, however, in jaguar
form. Very likely the story of Maconaura and Anuanaïtu belongs to the
same cycle; and it is of more than passing interest to observe that
the story extends, along with the veneration of green and blue stones,
to the Navaho and Pueblo tribes of North America, in the cosmogonies
of which appears the tale of the revolt of the women, their unnatural
relations with a water-monster, and their eventual return to the

[Illustration: PLATE XL.]

 Vase from the Island of Marajó, with characteristic decoration. The
 funeral vases and other remains from this region have suggested to L.
 Netto that here was the fabled Isle of the Amazons (see pages 286-87).
 The vase pictured is in the American Museum of Natural History.

Possibly the whole mythic cycle is associated with fertility ideas.
Even in the arid Pueblo regions it is water from below, welling up from
Mother Earth, that appears in the myth, and a water-dwelling being
that is the agent of seduction. In South America and the Antilles,
where fish-food is important and where the fish and the tortoise are
recurring symbols of fertility, it is natural to find the fabled
women in this association. And in this connexion it may be well to
recall the discoveries of L. Netto on the island of Marajó, at the
mouth of the Amazon.[178] There he found two mounds, a greater and a
smaller, in such proportion that he regarded them as forming the image
of a tortoise. Within the greater, which he regarded as the seat of
a chieftain's or chieftainess's residence,--commanding the country
in every direction,--he discovered funeral urns and other objects of
a quality far superior to those known to tribes of the neighbouring
districts,--urns, hominiform in character, many of them highly
decorated, and very many of the finest holding the bones of women.
"If the tradition of a veritable Amazonian Gyneocraty has ever had
any _raison d'être_," said Netto, "certainly we see something enough
like it in this nation of women ceramists, probably both powerful and
numerous, and among whom the women-chiefs enjoyed the highest honours
of the country."


"The rites of these infidels are almost the same," says the Padre de
Acuña.[179] "They worship idols which they make with their own hands;
attributing power over the waters to some, and, therefore, place a
fish in their hands for distinction; others they choose as lords of
the harvests; and others as gods of their battles. They say that these
gods came down from Heaven to be their companions, and to do them good.
They do not use any ceremony in worshipping them, and often leave them
forgotten in a corner, until the time when they become necessary; thus,
when they are going to war, they carry an idol in the bows of their
canoes, in which they place their hopes of victory; and when they go
out fishing, they take the idol which is charged with dominion over the
waters; but they do not trust in the one or the other so much as not to
recognize another mightier God."

This seventeenth century description is on the whole true to the
results obtained by later observers of the rites and beliefs of the
Amazonian Indians. To be sure, a certain amount of interpretation is
desirable: the _idolos_ of Acuña are hardly idols in the classical
sense; rather they are in the nature of charms, fetishes, ritual
paraphernalia, trophies,--all that goes under the name "medicine,"
as applied to Indian custom. And it is true, too, that in so vast
a territory, and among peoples who, although all savages, differ
widely in habit of life, there are indefinite variations both in
custom and mental attitude. Some tribes are but hunters, fishers, and
root-gatherers; others practice agriculture also. Some are clothed;
many are naked. Some practice cannibalism; others abhor the eaters
of human flesh. Any student of the miscellaneous observations on the
beliefs of the South American wild tribes, noted down by missionaries,
officials, naturalists, adventurers, professional ethnologists,
will at first surely feel himself lost in a chaos of contradiction.
Nevertheless, granted a decent detachment and cool perspective,
eventually he will be led to the opinion that these contradictions
are not all due to the Indian; the prepossessions and understandings
of the observers is no small factor; and even where the variation is
aboriginal, it is likely to be in the local colour rather than in the
underlying fact. In this broad sense Acuña's free characterization hits
the essential features of Indian belief, in the tropical forests.

More than one later writer is in accord with the implicit emphasis
which the Padre de Acuña places upon the importance on the food-giving
animals and plants in Indian lore and rite. On these food sources in
many parts of South America the abundant fish and other fluvial life
is primary. Hugo Kunike has indeed, argued that the fish is the great
symbol of fertility among the wild forest tribes, supporting the
contention with analysis of the dances and songs, fishing customs,
ornamentation-motives, and myths of these tribes.[180] Certainly he has
shown that the fish plays an outstanding rôle in the imaginative as
well as in the economic life of the Indian, appearing, in one group of
myths, even as a culture hero and the giver of tobacco. Even more than
the fish, the turtle ("the beef of the Amazon"), which is a symbol of
generation in many parts of America, appears in Amazonian myth, where
in versions of the Hare and the Tortoise (here the Deer replaces the
Hare), of the contest of the Giant and the Whale pulling contrari-wise,
and in similar fables the turtle appears as the Trickster. So, also,
the frog, which appears in magical and cosmogonical _rôles_,--as in the
Canopus myth narrated by Teschauer, where a man married a frog, and,
becoming angered, cut off her leg and cast it into the river, where
the leg became the fish _surubim_ (_Pimelodes tigrinus_), while the
body rose to heaven to appear in the constellation. The like tale is
told by other tribes with respect to Serpens and to the Southern Cross.

But important as water-life is to the Amazonian, it would appear from
Père Tastevin's rebuttal of Kunike's contention that the Indian does
not regard the fish with any speaking veneration. The truth would
seem to be that in South America, as in North, it is the Elders of
the Kinds, the ancestral guardians and perpetuators of the various
species, both of plants and animals, that are appealed to,--dimly and
magically by the tribes lower in intelligence, with conscious ritual
by the others. Garcilasso de la Vega's description of the religions
of the more primitive stratum of Peruvian times and peoples applies
equally to the whole of America: "They venerated divers animals, some
for their cruelty, as the tiger, the lion, the bear;... others for
their craft, as the monkeys and the fox; others for fidelity, as the
dog; for quickness, as the lynx;... eagles and hawks for their power
to fly and supply themselves with game; the owl for its power to see in
the dark.... They adored the earth, as giving them its fruits; the air,
for the breath of life; the fire which warmed them and enabled them to
eat properly; the llama which supplied troops of food animals;... the
maize which gave them bread, and the other fruits of their country.
Those dwelling on the coast had many divinities, but regarded the sea
as the most potent of all, calling it their mother, because of the
fish which it furnished with which they nourished their lives. All
these, in general, venerated the whale because of its hugeness; but
beside this, commonly in each province they devoted a particular cult
to the fish which they took in greatest abundance, telling a pleasant
tale to the effect that the First of all the Fish dwells in the sky,
engendering all of its species, and taking care, each season, to send
them a sufficiency of its kind for their good." Père Tastevin bears
witness to the same belief today: "To be successful in fishing, it is
not to the fish that the Indian addresses himself, but to the mother of
the animal he would take. If he goes to fish the turtle, he must first
strike the prow of his canoe with the leaf of a small caladium which
is called _yurará taya_, caladium of the turtle; he will strike in the
same fashion the end of his turtle harpoon and the point of his arrow,
and often he will carry the plant in his canoe. But let him beware lest
he take the first turtle! She is the grandmother of the others; she is
of a size which confounds the imagination, and she will drag down with
her the imprudent fisherman to the bottom of the waters, where she will
give him a fever without recovery. But if he respect her, he will be
successful in his fishing for the rest of the day."

Universal among the tropical wild tribes is the love of dancing. In
many of the tribes the dances are mask dances, the masks representing
animals of all kinds; and the masks are frequently regarded as _sacra_,
and are tabu to the women. In other cases, it is just the imitative
powers of the child of nature that are called upon, and authorities
agree that the Indian can and does imitate every kind of bird, beast,
and fish with a bodily and vocal verisimilitude that gives to these
dances, where many participate, the proper quality of a pandemonium.
Authorities disagree as to the intent of the dancing; it is obvious to
all that they are occasions of hilarity and fun; it is evident again
that they lead to excitement, and especially when accompanied by the
characteristic potations of native liquors, to warlike, sexual, or
imaginative enthusiasm. Whether there is conscious magic underlying
them (as cannot be doubted in the case of the similar dances of North
America) is a matter of difference of opinion, and may well be a matter
of differing fact,--the less intellectual tribes following blindly that
instinct for rhythm and imitation which, says Aristotle, is native
to all men, while with the others the dance has become consciously
ritualized. Cook says[181] of the Bororo _bakororó_--a medley of
hoots, squeaks, snorts, chirps, growls, and hisses, accompanied
with appropriate actions,--that it "is always sung on the vesper
of a hunting expedition, and seems to be in honor of the animal the
savages intend to hunt the following day.... After the singing of the
_bakororó_ that I witnessed, all the savages went outside the great
hut, where they cleared a space of black ground, then formed animals
in relief with ashes, especially the figure of the tapir, which they
purposed to hunt the next day." This looks like magic,--though, to be
sure, one need not press the _similia similibus_ doctrine too far:
human beings are gifted with imagination and the power of expressing
it, and it is perhaps enough to assume that imitative and mask dances,
images like to those described, or like the bark-cut figures and other
animal signs described by von den Steinen among the Bakairi and other
tribes, are all but the natural exteriorization of fantasy, perhaps
vaguely, perhaps vividly, coloured with anticipations of the fruits of
the chase.

If anything, there seems to be a clearer magical association in rites
and games connected with plants than with those that mimic animals.
Especially is this true of the manioc, or cassava, which is important
not only as a food-giving plant, but as the source of a liquor, and,
again, is dangerous for its poison,--which, as Teschauer remarks, must
have caused the death of many during the long period in which the use
of the plant was developed. Père Tastevin describes men and women
gathering about a trough filled with manioc roots, each with a grater,
and as they grate rapidly and altogether, a woman strikes up the song:
"A spider has bitten me! A spider has bitten me! From under the leaf of
the _kará_ a spider has bitten me!" The one opposite answers: "A spider
has bitten me! Bring the cure! Quick, make haste! A spider has bitten
me!" And all break in with _Yandú se suú_, by which is understood
nothing more than just the rhythmic tom-tom on the grater. Similar is
the song of the _sudarari_--a plant whose root resembles the manioc,
which multiplies with wonderful rapidity, and the presence of which in
a manioc field is regarded as insuring large manioc roots: "Permit,
O patroness, that we sing during this beautiful night!" with the
refrain, "_Sudarari!_" This, says Père Tastevin, is the true symbol of
the fertility of fields, shared in a lesser way by certain other roots.

It is small wonder that the spirit or genius of the manioc figures in
myth, nor is it surprising to find that the predominant myth is based
on the motive of the North American Mondamin story. Whiffen remarks,
of the north-western Amazonians:[182] "What I cannot but consider the
most important of their stories are the many myths that deal with the
essential and now familiar details of everyday life in connexion with
the _manihot utilissima_ and other fruits"; and he goes on to tell a
typical story: The Good Spirit came to earth, showed the manioc to the
Indians, and taught them to extract its evils; but he failed to teach
them how the plant might be reproduced. Long afterward a virgin of
the tribe, wandering in the woods, was seduced by a beautiful young
hunter, who was none other than the manioc metamorphosed. A daughter
born of this union led the tribe to a fine plantation of manioc, and
taught them how to reproduce it from bits of the stalk. Since then the
people have had bread. The more elaborate version of Couto de Magalhães
tells how a chief who was about to kill his daughter when he found her
to be with child, was warned in a dream by a white man not to do so,
for his daughter was truly innocent and a virgin. A beautiful white
boy was born to the maiden, and received the name Mani; but at the end
of a year, with no apparent sign of ailing, he died. A strange plant
grew upon his grave, whose fruit intoxicated the birds; the Indians
then opened the grave, and in place of the body of Mani discovered
the manioc root, which is thence called _Mani-oka_, "House of Mani."
Teschauer gives another version in which Mani lived many years and
taught his people many things, and at the last, when about to die told
them that after his death they should find, when a year had passed, the
greatest treasure of all, the bread-yielding root.

It is probable that some form of the Mani myth first suggested to
pious missionaries the extension of the legendary journeys of Saint
Thomas among the wild tribes of the tropics. From Brazil to Peru, says
Granada,[183] footprints and seats of _Santo Tomás Apóstol_, or _Santo
Tomé_, are shown; and he associates these tales with the dissemination
and cultivation of the all-useful herb, as probably formed by a
Christianizing of the older culture myth. Three gifts are ascribed to
the apostle,--the treasure of the faith, the cultivation of the manioc,
and relief from epidemics. "Keep this in your houses," quoth the saint,
"and the divine mercy will never withhold the good." The three gifts--a
faith, a food, and a medicine,--are the almost universal donations
of Indian culture heroes, and it is small wonder if minds piously
inclined have found here a meeting-ground of religions. An interesting
suggestion made by Señor Lafone Quevado would make Tupan, Tupa,
Tumpa,--the widespread Brazilian name for god,--if not a derivative, at
least a cognate form of Tonapa, the culture hero of the Lake Titicaca
region, who was certainly identified as Saint Thomas by missionaries
and Christian Indians at a very early date. That the myth itself is
aboriginal there can be no manner of doubt,--Bochica and Quetzalcoatl
are northern forms of it; nor need we doubt that Tupa or Tonapa is a
native high deity--in all probability celestial or solar, as Lafone
Quevado believes. The union of native god and Christian apostle is but
the pretty marriage of Indian and missionary faiths.

One of the most poetical of Brazilian vegetation myths is told by
Koch-Grünberg in connexion with the Yurupari festival,--a mask dance
(_yurupari_ means just "mask" according to Père Tastevin, although some
have given it the significance of "demon") celebrated in conjunction
with the ripening of fruits of certain palms. Women and small boys are
excluded from the fête; indeed, it is death for women even to see the
flutes and pipes,--as Humboldt said was true of the sacred trumpet of
the Orinoco Indians in his day. The legend turns on the music of the
pipes, and is truly Orphic in spirit.... Many, many years ago there
came from the great Water-House, the home of the Sun, a little boy who
sang with such wondrous charm that folk came from far and near to see
him and harken. Milómaki, he was called, the Son of Miló. But when the
folk had heard him, and were returned home, and ate of fish, they fell
down and died. So their kinsfolk seized Milómaki, and built a funeral
pyre, and burnt him, because he had brought death amongst them. But
the youth went to his death still with song on his lips, and as the
flames licked about his body, he sang: "Now I die, my son! now I leave
this world!" And as his body began to break with the heat, still he
sang in lordly tones: "Now bursts my body! now I am dead!" And his body
was destroyed by the flames, but his soul ascended to heaven. From the
ashes on the same day sprang a long green blade, which grew and grew,
and even in another day had become a high tree, the first paxiuba
palm. From its wood the people made great flutes, which gave forth as
wonderful melodies as Milómaki had aforetime sung; and to this day the
men blow upon them whenever the fruits are ripe. But women and little
boys must not look upon the flutes, lest they die. This Milómaki, say
the Yahuna, is the Tupana of the Indians, the Spirit Above, whose mask
is the sky.

[Illustration: PLATE XLI.]

 Dance or ceremonial masks of Brazilian Indians, now in the Peabody

The region about the headwaters of the Rio Negro and the Yapura--the
scene of Koch-Grünberg's travels--is the centre of the highest
development of the mask dances, which seem to be recent enough
with some of the tribes. In the legends of the Kabéua it is Kuai,
the mythic hero and fertility spirit of the Arawak tribes, who is
regarded as the introducer of the mask dances,--Kuai, who came with
his brethren from their stone-houses in the hills to teach the dances
to his children, and who now lives and dances in the sky-world. This
is a myth which immediately suggests the similar tales of Zuñi and
the other Pueblos, and the analogy suggested is more than borne out
by what Koch-Grünberg[184] tells of the Katcina-like character of
the masks. They all represent spirits or daemones. They are
used in ceremonies in honour of the ancestral dead, as well as in
rituals addressed to nature powers. Furthermore, the spirit or daemon
is temporarily embodied in the mask,--"the mask _is_ for the Indian
the daemon"; though, when the mask is destroyed at the end of a
ceremonial, the Daemon of the Mask does not perish; rather he becomes
_máskara-anga_, the Soul of the Mask; and, now invisible, though still
powerful, he flies away to the Stone-house of the Daemones, whence only
the art of the magician may summon him. "All masks are Daemones," said
Koch-Grünberg's informant, "and all Daemones are lords of the mask."


What are the native beliefs of the wild tribes of South America about
gods, and what is their natural religion? If an answer to this question
may be fairly summarized from the expressions of observers, early and
recent, it is this: the Indians generally believe in good powers and
in evil powers, superhuman in character. The good powers are fewer and
less active than the evil; at their head is the Ancient of Heaven.
Little attention is paid to the Ancient of Heaven, or to any of the
good powers,--they are good, and do not need attention. The evil powers
are numerous and busy; the wise man must be ever on the alert to evade
them,--turn them when he can, placate when he must.

Cardim is an early witness as to the beliefs of the Brazilian
Indians.[185] "They are greatly afraid of the Devil, whom they call
Curupira, Taguain, Pigtangua, Machchera, Anhanga: and their fear of
him is so great, that only with the imagination of him they die, as
many times already it hath happened."... "They have no proper name
to express God, but they say the Tupan is the thunder and lightning,
and that this is he that gave them the mattocks and the food, and
because they have no other name more natural and proper, they call
God Tupan." Thevet says that "Toupan" is a name for the thunder or
for the Great Spirit. Keane says of the Botocudo, perhaps the lowest
of the Brazilian tribes: "The terms Yanchang, Tapan, etc., said to
mean God, stand merely for spirit, demon, thunder, or at the most the
thunder-god." Of these same people Ehrenreich reports: "The conception
of God is wanting; they have no word for it. The word Tupan, appearing
in some vocabularies, is the well-known Tupi-Guaranian word, spread
by missionaries far over South America. The Botocudo understand by
it, not God, but the Christian priest himself!" Neither have they a
word for an evil principle; but they have a term for those souls of
the departed which, wandering among men at night, can do them every
imaginable ill, and "this raw animism is the only trace of religion--if
one can so call it--as yet observed among them." Hans Staden's account
of the religion of the Tupinambi, among whom he fell captive, drops the
scale even lower: their god, he says, was a calabash rattle, called
_tammaraka_, with which they danced; each man had his own, but once a
year the _paygis_, or "prophets," pretended that a spirit come from
a far country had endowed them with the power of conversing with all
Tammarakas, and they would interpret what these said. Women as well
as men could become paygis, through the usual Indian road to such
endowment, the trance.

Similar in tenor is a recent account of the religion of the
Bororo.[186] The principal element in it is the fear of evil spirits,
especially the spirits of the dead. Bope and Mareba are the chief
spirits recognized. "The missionaries spoke of the Bororos believing
in a good spirit (Mareba) who lives in the fourth heaven, and who
has a _filha Mareba_ (son), who lives in the first heaven, but it is
apparent that the priest merely heard the somewhat disfigured doctrines
that had been learned from some missionary."... But why, asks the
reader, should this conception come from the missionary rather than the
Bororo in South America, when its North American parallel comes from
the Chippewa rather than from the missionary?... "In reality Bope is
nothing else than the Digichibi of the Camacoco, Nenigo of the Kadioéo
men, or Idmibi of the Kadioéo women, the Ichaumra or Ighamba of the
Matsikui, i. e., the human soul, which is regarded as a bad spirit....
The Bororo often make images of animals and Bope out of wax. After they
have been made they are beaten and destroyed."

Of the Camacan, a people of the southern part of Bahia, the Abbé Ignace
says that while they recognize a supreme being, Gueggiahora, who
dwells, invisible, above the stars which he governs, yet they give him
no veneration, reserving their prayers for the crowd of spirits and
bogeys--ghosts of the dead, thunderers and storm-makers, were-beasts,
and the like, that inhabit their immediate environment, forming, as it
were, earth's atmosphere. The Chorotes, too, believe in good and in bad
spirits, paying their respects to the latter; while their neighbours,
the Chiriguano, hold that the soul, after death, goes to the kingdom
of the Great Spirit, Tumpa, where for a time he enjoys the pleasures
of earth in a magnified degree; but this state cannot last, and in a
series of degenerations the spirit returns to earth as a fox, as a
rat, as a branch of a tree, finally to fall into dissolution with the
tree's decay. Tumpa is, according to Pierini, the same as Tupa, the
beneficent supreme spirit being known by these names among the Guarayo,
although in their myths the principal personages are the hero brothers,
Abaangui and Zaguaguayu, lords of the east and the west, and two other
personages, Mbiracucha (perhaps the same as the Peruvian Viracocha) and
Candir, the last two, like Abaangui, being shapers of lands and fathers
of men.

D'Orbigny[187] describes a ritual dance of the Guarayo, men and women
together, in which hymns were addressed to Tamoi, the Grandfather or
Ancient of the Skies, who is called upon to descend and listen. "These
hymns," he says, "are full of naïve figures and similitudes. They are
accompanied by sounding reeds, for the reason that Tamoi ascended
toward the east from the top of a bamboo, while spirits struck the
earth with its reeds. Moreover, the bamboo being one of the chief
benefactions of Tamoi, they consider it as the intermediary between
them and the divinity." Tamoi is besought in times of seeding, that he
may send rain to revive the thirsting earth; his temple is a simple
octagonal hut in the forest. "I have heard them ask of nature, in a
most figurative and poetic style, that it clothe itself in magnificent
vestments; of the flowers, that they bloom; of the birds, that they
take on their richest plumage and resume their joyous song; of the
trees, that they bedeck themselves with verdure; all to the end that
these might join with them in calling upon Tamoi, whom they never
implored in vain."

In another connexion d'Orbigny says: "The Guarani, from the Rio de la
Plata to the Antilles and from the coasts of Brazil to the Bolivian
Andes, revere, without fearing him, a beneficent being, their first
father, Tamoi, or the Ancient of the Skies, who once dwelt among them,
taught them agriculture, and afterwards disappeared toward the East,
from whence he still protects them." Doubtless, this is too broad a
generalization, and d'Orbigny's own reports contain numerous references
to tribes who fear the evil rather than adore the good in nature.
Nevertheless, there is not wanting evidence looking in the other
direction. One of the most recent of observers, Thomas Whiffen, says
of the northwest Brazilian tribes:[188] "On the whole their religion is
a theism, inasmuch as their God has a vague, personal, anthropomorphic
existence. His habitat is above the skies, the blue dome of heaven,
which they look upon as the roof of the world that descends on all
sides in contact with the earth. Yet again it is pantheism, this God
being represented in all beneficent nature; for every good thing is
imbued with his spirit, or with individual spirits subject to him."

According to Whiffen's account the Boro Good Spirit, Neva (in the
same tribe Navena is the representative of all evil), once came to
earth, assuming human guise. The savannahs and other natural open
places, where the sun shines freely and the sky is open above, are
the spots where he spoke to men. But a certain Indian vexed Neva, the
Good Spirit, so that he went again to live on the roof of the world;
but before he went, he whispered to the tigers, which up to that time
had hunted with men as with brothers, to kill the Indians and their

It is easy to see, from such a myth as this, how thin is the line that
separates good and evil in the Indian's conception,--indeed, how hazy
is his idea of virtue. Probably the main truth is that the Amazonian
and other wild tribes generally believe in a Tupan or Tamoi, who is on
the whole beneficent, is mainly remote and indifferent to mankind, and
who, when he does reveal himself, is most likely to assume the form
of (to borrow Whiffen's phrase) "a tempestipresent deity." "Although
without temples, altars or idols," says Church, of the tribes of the
Gran Chaco, "they recognize superior powers, one of whom is supreme and
thunders from the sierras and sends the rain." Olympian Zeus himself is
the Thunderer; in Scandinavia Tiu grows remote, and Thor with his levin
is magnified. Similarly, in North America, the Thunderbirds loom huger
in men's imagination than does Father Sky. On the whole for the South
American tribes, the judgement of Couto de Magalhães seems sane; that
the aboriginals of Brazil possessed no idea of a single and powerful
God, at the time of the discovery, and indeed that their languages were
incapable of expressing the idea; but that they did recognize a being
superior to the others, whose name was Tupan. Observers from Acuña
to Whiffen have noted individual sceptics among the Indians; certain
tribes even (though the information is most likely from individuals)
are said to believe in no gods and no spirits; and in some tribes the
beliefs are obviously more inchoate than in others. But in the large,
the South Americans are at one with all mankind in their belief in a
Spirit of Good, whose abode is the Above, and in their further belief
in multitudes of dangerous spirit neighbours sharing with them the Here.


It would be a mistake to assume that all of these dangerous neighbours
are invariably evil, just as it is erroneous to expect even the Ancient
of the Skies to be invariably beneficent. In Cardim's list of the
Brazilian names of the Devil he places first the Curupira.[189] But
Curupira, or Korupira (as Teschauer spells it), is nearer to the god
Pan than to Satan. Korupira is a daemon of the woods, guardian of all
wild things, mischievous and teasing even to the point of malice and
harm at times, but a giver of much good to those who approach him
properly: he knows the forest's secrets and may be a wonderful helper
to the hunter, and he knows, too, the healing properties of herbs.
Like Pan he is not afoot like a normal man; and some say his feet turn
backward, giving a deceptive trail; some say that his feet are double;
some that he has but one rounded hoof. He is described as a dwarf,
bald and one-eyed, with huge ears, hairy body, and blue-green teeth,
and he rides a deer or a rabbit or a pig. He insists that game animals
be killed, not merely wounded, and he may be induced to return lost
cattle,--for he is a propitiable sprite, with a fondness for tobacco. A
tale which illustrates his character, both for good and evil, is of the
unlucky hunter, whom, in return for a present of tobacco, the Korupira
helps; but the hunter must not tell his wife, and when she, suspecting
a secret, follows her husband, the Korupira kills her. In another
story the hunter, using the familiar ruse of pretended self-injury by
means of which Jack induces the Giant to stab himself (an incident in
which Coyote often figures in North America), gets the Korupira to
slay himself; after a month he goes back to get the blue teeth of his
victim, but as he strikes them the Korupira comes to life. He gives
the hunter a magic bow, warning him not to use it against birds; the
injunction is disobeyed, the hunter is torn to pieces by the angry
flocks, but the Korupira replaces the lost flesh with wax and brings
the hunter to life. Again, he warns the hunter not to eat hot things;
the latter disobeys, and forthwith melts away.

Another "devil" mentioned by Cardim is the Anhanga. The Anhanga is
formless, and lives indeed only in thought, especially in dreams; in
reality, he is the Incubus, the Nightmare. The Anhanga steals a child
from its mother's hammock, and puts it on the ground beneath. The child
cries, "Mother! Mother! Beware the Anhanga which lies beneath us!" The
mother strikes, hitting the child; while the laughing Anhanga departs,
calling back, "I have fooled you! I have fooled you!" In another tale,
which recalls to us the tragedy of Pentheus and Agave, a hunter meets
a doe and a fawn in the forest. He wounds the fawn, which calls to its
mother; the mother returns, and the hunter slays her, only to discover
that it is his own mother, whom the wicked sprite (here the Yurupari)
had transformed into a doe.

But even more to be feared than the daemones are the ghosts and
beast-embodied souls.[190] Like most other peoples in a parallel stage
of mental life, the South American Indians very generally believe in
metempsychosis, souls of men returning to earth in animal and even
vegetal forms, and quite consistently with the malevolent purpose of
wreaking vengeance upon olden foes. The belief has many characteristic
modifications: in some cases the soul does not leave the body until
the flesh is decayed; in many instances it passes for a time to a life
of joy and dancing, a kind of temporary Paradisal limbo; but always it
comes sooner or later back to fulfill its destiny as a were-beast.[191]
The South American tiger, or jaguar, is naturally the form in which
the reincarnate foe is most dreaded, and no mythic conception is wider
spread in the continent than is that of the were-jaguar, lying in wait
for his human foe,--who, if Garcilasso's account of jaguar-worshipping
tribes is correct, offered themselves unresistingly when the beast was

It is probable that the conception of the were-jaguar, or of beast
reincarnations, is associated in part at least with the enigmatical
question of tropical American cannibalism.[192] A recent traveller,
J. D. Haseman, who visited a region of reputed cannibalism, and found
no trace of the practice, is of the opinion that it has no present
existence, if indeed it ever had any. But against this view is the
unanimous testimony of nearly all observers, with explicit descriptions
of the custom, from Hans Staden and Cardim down to Koch-Grünberg and
Whiffen. Hans Staden, who was held as a slave among the Tupinambi of
the Brazilian coast, describes a visit which he made to his Indian
master for the purpose of begging that certain prisoners be ransomed.
"He had before him a great basket of human flesh, and was busy gnawing
a bone. He put it to my mouth and asked if I did not wish to eat. I
said to him: 'There is hardly a wild animal that will eat its kind;
how then shall I eat human flesh?' Then he, resuming his meal: 'I am a
tiger, and I find it good.'" Cardim's description of cannibal rites is
in many ways reminiscent of the Aztec sacrifice of the devoted youth
to Tezcatlipoca: the victim is painted and adorned, is given a wife,
and indeed so honoured that he does not even seek to escape,--"for
they say that it is a wretched thing to die, and lie stinking, and
eaten with worms"; throughout, the ritual element is obvious. On the
other hand, the conception of degradation is clearly a strong factor.
Whiffen makes this the foremost reason for the practice. The Indian,
he says, has very definite notions as to the inferiority of the brute
creation. To resemble animals in any way is regarded as degrading;
and this, he regards as the reason for the widespread South American
custom of removing from the body all hair except from the scalp, and
again for the disgrace attendant upon the birth of twins. But animals
are slaughtered as food for men: what disgrace, then to the captured
enemy comparable with being used as food by his captor? Undoubtedly,
the vengeful nature of anthropophagy is a strong factor in maintaining
the custom; from Hans Staden on, writers tell us that while the
captive takes his lot fatalistically his last words are a reminder
to his slayers that his kindred are preparing a like end for them.
Probably the unique and curious South American method of preparing
the heads of slain enemies as trophies, by a process of removing the
bones, shrinking, and decorating, is a practice with the same end--the
degradation of the enemy,--corresponding, of course, to the scalping
and head-taking habits of other American tribes.

[Illustration. PLATE XLII.]

 Trophy head prepared by Jivaro Indians, Ecuador, now in the Peabody
 Museum. In the preparation of such trophies the bones are carefully
 removed, the head shrunken and dried, and frequently, as in this
 example, ornamented with brilliant feathers. The custom of preparing
 the heads of slain enemies or of sacrificial victims as trophies was
 widespread in aboriginal America, North and South, the North American
 custom of scalping being probably a late development from this earlier
 practice. It is possible that some at least of the masks which appear
 upon mythological figures in Nasca and other representations are meant
 to betoken trophy heads.

It is to be expected that with the custom of anthropophagy widespread,
it should be constantly reflected in myth. A curious and enlightening
instance is in the Bakairi hero-tale reported by von den Steinen:[193]
A jaguar married a Bakairi maiden; while he was gone ahunting, his
mother, Mero, the mother of all the tiger kind, killed the maiden,
whose twin sons were saved from her body by a Caesarian section. The
girl's body was then served up to the jaguar husband, without his
knowledge. When he discovered the trick--infuriated at the trick and
at having eaten his wife's flesh,--he was about to attack Mero: "I am
thy mother!" she cried, and he desisted. Here we have the whole moral
problem of the house of Pelops primitively adumbrated.

More in the nature of the purely ogreish is the tale related by Couto
de Magalhães,[194] the tale of Ceiuci, the Famished Old Woman (who he
says, is none other than the Pleiades). A young man sat in a tree-rest,
when Ceiuci came to the waters beneath to fish. She saw the youth's
shadow, and cast in her line. He laughed. She looked up. "Descend," she
cried; and when he refused, she sent biting ants after him, compelling
him to drop into the water. Thence she snared him, and went home with
her game. While she was gone for wood to cook her take, her daughter
looked into the catch, and saw the youth, at his request concealing
him. "Show me my game or I will kill you," commanded the ogress. In
company with the youth the maiden takes flight--the "magic flight,"
which figures in many myths, South American and North. As they flee
they drop palm branches which are transformed into animals and these
Ceiuci stops to devour. But in time all kinds of animals have been
formed, and the girl can help the youth no longer. "When you hear a
bird singing _kan kan, kan kan, kan kan_," she says, in leaving him,
"my mother is not far." He goes on till he hears the warning. The
monkeys hide him and Ceiuci passes. He resumes his journey, and again
hears the warning chant. He begs the serpents to hide him; they do so,
and the ogress passes once more. But the serpents now plan to devour
the youth; he hears them laying their plot and calls upon the macauhau,
a snake-eating bird, to help him; and the bird eats the serpents.
Finally, the youth reaches a river, where he is aided by the herons to
cross. From a tree he beholds a house, and going thither he finds an
old woman complaining that her maniocs are being stolen by the agouti.
The man tells her his story. He had started out as a youth; he is now
old and white-haired. The woman recognizes him as her son, and she
takes him in to live with her. Couto de Magalhães sees in this tale an
image of the journey of life with its perils and its loves; the love
of man for woman is the first solace sought, but abiding rest is found
only in mother love. At least the story will bear this interpretation;
nor will it be alone as a South American tale in which the moral
meaning is conscious.


When the Greeks began to speculate about "the thing the Sophists call
the world," they named it sometimes the Heaven, Ouranos, sometimes
the Realm of Order, Cosmos; and the two terms seemed to them one in
meaning, for the first and striking evidence of law and order in nature
which man discovers is in the regular and recurrent movements of the
heavenly bodies. But it takes a knowledge of number and a sense
of time to be able to truly discern this orderliness of the celestial
sequences; and both of these come most naturally to peoples dwelling
in zones wherein the celestial changes are reflected in seasonal
variations of vegetation and animal life. In the well-nigh seasonless
tropics, and among peoples gifted with no powers of enumeration (for
there are many South American tribes that cannot number the ten
digits), it is but natural to expect that the cycles of the heavens
should seem as lawless as does their own instable environment, and the
stars themselves to be actuated by whims and lusts analogous to their

 "I wander, always wander; and when I get where I want to be, I shall
 not stop, but still go on...."

This Song of the Turtle, of the Paumari tribes, says Steere,[195]
reflects their own aimless life, wandering from flat to flat of the
ever-shifting river; and it might be taken, too, as the image of the
heavenly motions, as these appear to peoples for whom there is no art
of counting. Some writers, to be sure, have sought to asterize the
greater portion of South American myth, on the general hypothesis that
sun-worship dominates the two Americas; but this is fancy, with little
warrant in the evidence. Sun, moon, and stars, darkness and day, all
find mythic expression; but there is little trace among the wild tribes
of anything approaching ritual devoted to these, or of aught save
mythopoesy in the thought of them.

The most rudimentary level is doubtless represented by the Botocudo,
with whom, says Ehrenreich,[196] _taru_ signifies either sun or moon,
but principally the shining vault of heaven, whether illuminated
by either of these bodies or by lightning; further, the same word,
in suitable phrase, comes to mean both wind and weather, and even
night. In contrast with this we have the extraordinary assurance that
the highly intelligent Passé tribe believes (presumably by their
own induction) that the earth moves and the sun is stationary. The
intermediate, and perhaps most truly mythic stage of speculation is
represented in the Bakairi tales told by von den Steinen, in which the
sun is placed in a pot in the moving heaven; every evening, Evaki,
the wife of the bat who is the lord of darkness, claps to the lid,
concealing the sun while the heaven returns to its former position.
Night and sleep are often personified in South American stones,--as in
the tale of the stork who tried to kill sleep,--and here Evaki, the
mistress of night, is represented as stealing sleep from the eyes of
lizards, and dividing it among all living beings.

A charming allegory of the Amazon and its seasons is recorded by
Barboza Rodriguez. Many years ago the Moon would become the bride of
the Sun; but when they thought to wed, they found that this would
destroy the earth: the burning love of the Sun would consume it, the
tears of the Moon would flood it; and fire and water would mutually
destroy each other, the one extinguished, the other evaporated. Hence,
they separated, going on either side. The Moon wept a day and a night,
so that her tears fell to earth and flowed down to the sea. But the
sea rose up against them, refusing to mingle the Moon's tears with
its waters; and hence it comes that the tears still flow, half a year
outward, half a year inward. Myths of the Pleiades are known to the
Indians throughout Brazil, who regard the first appearance of this
constellation in the firmament as the sign of renewing life, after the
dry season,--"Mother of the Thirsty" is one interpretation of its name.
One myth tells of an earthly hunter who pierced the sky with arrows
and climbed to heaven in quest of his beloved. Being athirst he asked
water of the Pleiades. She gave it him, saying: "Now thou hast drunk
water, thou shalt see whence I come and whither I go. One month long
I disappear and the following month I shine again to the measure of
my appointed time. All that beholds me is renewed." Teschauer credits
many Brazilian Indians with an extensive knowledge of the stars--their
course, ascension, the time of their appearance and disappearance,
and the changes of the year that correspond, but this seems somewhat
exaggerated in view of the limited amount of the lore cited in its
support,--legends of the Pleiades and Canopus already mentioned, and
in addition only Orion, Venus, and Sirius. Of course the Milky Way
is observed, and as in North America it is regarded as the pathway
of souls. So, in the odd Taulipang legend given by Koch-Grünberg,
the Moon, banished from its house by a magician, reflects: "Shall I
become a tapir, a wild-pig, a beast of the chase, a bird? All these
are eaten! I will ascend to the sky! It is better there than here; I
will go there, from thence to light my brothers below." So with his two
daughters he ascended the skies, and the first daughter he sent to a
heaven above the first heaven, and the second to a third heaven; but he
himself remained in the first heaven. "I will remain here," he said,
"to shine upon my brothers below. But ye shall illuminate the Way for
the people who die, that the soul shall not remain in darkness!"

On an analogous theme but in a vein that is indeed grim is the
Cherentes star legend reported by de Oliveira.[197] The sun is the
supreme object of worship in this tribe, while the moon and the stars,
especially the Pleiades, are his cult companions. In the festival of
the dead there is a high pole up which the souls of the shamans are
supposed to climb to hold intercourse with kinsfolk who are with the
heavenly spheres; and it is this pole and the beliefs which attach
to it that is, doubtless, the subject of the myth. The tale is of
a young man who, as he gazed up at the stars, was attracted by the
exceptional beauty of one of them: "What a pity that I cannot shut you
up in my gourd to admire you to my heart's content!" he cried; and
when sleep came, he dreamed of the star. He awoke suddenly, amazed to
find standing beside him a young girl with shining eyes: "I am the
bright star you wished to keep in your gourd," she said; and at her
insistence he put her into the gourd, whence he could see her beautiful
eyes gazing upward. After this the young man had no rest, for he was
filled with apprehension because of his supermundane guest; only at
night the star would come from her hiding-place and the young man
would feast his eyes on her beauty. But one day the star asked the
young man to go hunting, and at a palm-tree she required that he climb
and gather for her a cluster of fruit; as he did so, she leaped upon
the tree and struck it with a wand, and immediately it grew until it
touched the sky, whereto she tied it by its thick leaves and they both
jumped into the sky-world. The youth found himself in the midst of a
desolate field, and the star, commanding him not to stir, went in quest
of food. Presently he seemed to hear the sound of festivity, songs and
dances, but the star, returning, bade him above all not to go to see
the dancing. Nevertheless, when she was gone again, the youth could not
repress his curiosity and he went toward the sound.... "What he saw was
fearful! It was a new sort of dance of the dead! A crowd of skeletons
whirled around, weird and shapeless, their putrid flesh hanging from
their bones and their eyes dried up in their sunken orbits. The air was
heavy with their foul odour." The young man ran away in horror. On his
way he met the star who blamed him for his disobedience and made him
take a bath to cleanse him of the pollution. But he could no longer
endure the sky-world, but ran to the spot where the leaves were tied
to the sky and jumped on to the palm-tree, which immediately began to
shrink back toward the earth: "You run away in vain, you shall soon
return," the star called after him; and so indeed it was, for he had
barely time to tell his kindred of his adventure before he died. And
"thus it was known among the Indians that no heaven of delight awaits
them above, even though the stars shine and charm us."

The uniting of heaven and earth by a tree or rock which grows from
the lower to the upper world is found in many forms, and is usually
associated with cosmogonic myths (true creation stories are not
common in Brazil). Such a story is the Mundurucu tale, reported by
Teschauer,[198] which begins with a chaotic darkness from which
came two men, Karusakahiby, and his son, Rairu. Rairu stumbled on
a bowl-shaped stone; the father commanded him to carry it; he put
it upon his head, and immediately it began to grow. It grew until
it formed the heavens, wherein the sun appeared and began to shine.
Rairu, recognizing his father as the heaven-maker, knelt before him;
but Karu was angry because the son knew more than did he. Rairu was
compelled to hide in the earth. The father found him and was about to
strike him, but Rairu said: "Strike me not, for in the hollow of the
earth I have found people, who will come forth and labour for us." So
the First People were allowed to issue forth, and were separated into
their tribes and kinds according to colour and beauty. The lazy ones
were transformed into birds, bats, pigs, and butterflies. A somewhat
similar Kaduveo genesis, narrated by Frič, tells how the various tribes
of men were led from the underground world and successively assigned
their several possessions; last of all came the Kaduveo, but there were
no more possessions to distribute; accordingly to them was assigned the
right to war upon the other Indians and to steal their lands, wives,
and children.

The Mundurucu genesis opens: "In the beginning the world lay in
darkness." In an opposite and indeed very unusual way begins the
cosmogonic myth recorded by Couto de Magalhães:[199] "In the beginning
there-was no night; the day was unbroken. Night slept at the bottom of
the waters. There were no animals, but all things could speak." It is
said, proceeds the tale, that at this time the daughter of the Great
Serpent married a youth who had three faithful servants. One day he
said to these servants: "Begone! My wife desires no longer to lie with
me." The servants departed, and the husband called upon his wife to lie
with him. She replied: "It is not yet night." He answered: "There is no
night; day is without end." She: "My father owns the night. If you wish
to lie with me, seek it at the river's source." So he called his three
servants, and the wife dispatched them to secure a nut of the tucuma (a
palm of bright orange colour, important to the Indians as a food and
industrial plant). When they reached the Great Serpent he gave them
the nut, tightly sealed: "Take it. Depart. But if you open it, you are
lost." They set out in their canoe, but presently heard from within
the nut: "_Ten ten ten, ten ten ten_." It was the noise of the insects
of the night. "What is this noise? Let us see," said one. The leader
answered: "No: we will be lost. Make haste." But the noise continued
and finally all drew together in the canoe, and with fire melted the
sealing of the fruit. The imprisoned night streamed forth! The leader
cried: "We are lost! Our mistress already knows that we have freed
the night!" At the same time the mistress, in her house, said to her
husband: "They have loosed the night. Let us await the day." Then all
things in the forests metamorphosed themselves into animals and birds;
all things in the waters became water-fowl and fishes; and even the
fisherman in his canoe was transformed into a duck, his head into the
duck's head, his paddle into its web feet, his boat into its body. When
the daughter of the Great Serpent saw Venus rise, she said: "The dawn
is come. I shall divide day from night." Then she unravelled a thread,
saying: "Thou shalt be cubuju [a kind of pheasant]; thou shalt sing as
dawn breaks." She whitened its head and reddened its feathers, saying:
"Thou shalt sing always at dawn of day." Then she unravelled another
thread, saying: "Thou shalt be inambu" [a perdrix that sings at certain
hours of the night]; and powdering it with cinders: "Thou shalt sing at
eve, at midnight, and at early morn." From that time forth the birds
sang at the time appropriate to them, in day or night. But when the
three servants returned, their mistress said to them: "Ye have been
unfaithful. Ye have loosed the night. Ye have caused the loss of all.
For this ye shall become monkeys, and swing among the branches for all


Purchas's translation of Cardim begins:[200] "It seemeth that this
people had no knowledge of the beginning and creation of the world, but
of the deluge it seemeth they have some notice: but as they have no
writings nor characters such notice is obscure and confused; for they
say that the waters drowned all men, and that one only escaped upon a
Janipata with a sister of his that was with child and that from these
two they have their beginning and from thence began their multiplying
and increase."

This is a fair characterization of the general cosmogonical ideas of
the South American wild tribes. There is seldom any notion of creation;
there is universally, it would seem, some legend of a cataclysm,
or series of them, fire and flood, offering such general analogies
to the Noachian story as naturally to suggest to men unacquainted
with comparative mythology the inference that the tale of Noah was
indeed the source of all. Following the deluge or conflagration
there is a series of incidents which might be regarded as dispersal
stories,--tales of transformations and migrations by means of which
the tribes of animals and men came to assume their present form. Very
generally, too, the Transformer-Heroes are the divine pair, sometimes
father and son, but commonly twin brothers, who give the animals their
lasting forms, instruct men in the arts, and after Herculean labors
depart, the one to become lord of the east and the day, the other lord
of the west and the night, the one lord of life, the other lord of
death and the ghost-world. It is not unnatural to see in this hero pair
the sun and the moon, as some authorities do, though it would surely be
a mistake to read into the Indian's thought the simple identification
which such a statement implies: a tale is first of all a tale, with the
primitive man; and if it have an allegorical meaning this is rarely one
which his language can express in other terms than the tale itself.

One of the best known of the South American deluge stories is the
Caingang legend[201] which the native narrator had heard "from the
mother of the mother of his mother, who had heard it in her day from
her ancient progenitors." The story is the common one of people fleeing
before the flood to a hill and clinging to the branches of a tree while
they await the subsidence of the waters,--an incident of a kind which
may be common enough in flood seasons, and which might be taken as a
mere reflection of ordinary experience but for the fact of the series
of transformations which follow the return to dry land; and these
include not only the formation of the animal kinds, but the gift of
song from a singing gourd and a curious process of divination, taught
by the ant-eater, by means of which the sex of children is foretold.

The flood is only one incident in a much more comprehensive cycle of
events, assembled variously by various peoples, but having such a
family likeness that one may without impropriety regard the group as
the tropical American Genesis. Of this cycle the fullest versions are
those of the Yuracare, as reported by d'Orbigny, and of the Bakairi, as
reported by von den Steinen.[202]

In the Bakairi tale the action begins in the sky-world. A certain
hunter encountered Oka, the jaguar, and agreed to make wives for Oka if
the latter would spare him. He made two wives out of wood, blowing upon
them. One of these wives swallowed two finger-bones, and became with
child. Mero, the mother of Oka and of the jaguar kind, slew the woman,
but Kuara, the brother of Oka, performed the Caesarian operation and
saved the twins, who were within her body. These twins were the heroes,
Keri and Kame. To avenge their mother they started a conflagration
which destroyed Mero, themselves hiding in a burrow in the earth. Kame
came forth too soon and was burned, but Keri blew upon his ashes and
restored him to life. Keri in his turn was burned and restored by Kame.
First, in their resurrected lives did these two assume human form.
Now begins the cycle of their labours. They stole the sun and the moon
from the red and the white vultures, and gave order to their way in
the heavens, keeping them in pots, coverable, when the light of these
bodies should be concealed: sun, moon, and ruddy dawn were all regarded
as made of feathers. Next, heaven and earth, which were as yet close
together, were separated. Keri said to the heavens: "Thou shalt not
remain here. My people are dying. I wish not that my people die." The
heavens answered: "I will remain here!" "We shall exchange places,"
said Keri; whereupon he came to earth and the sky rose to where it
now is. The theft of fire from the fox, who kept it in his eye; the
stealing of water from the Great Serpent, with the formation of rivers;
the swallowing of Kame by a water monster, and his revivescence by
Keri; the institution of the arts of house-building, fishery, dancing;
and the separation of human kinds;--all these are incidents leading
up to the final departure of Keri and Kame, who at the last ascend a
hill, and go thence on their separate ways. "Whither are they gone? Who
knows? Our ancestors knew not whither they went. Today no one knows
where they are."

The Bakairi dwell in the central regions of Brazil; the Yuracare are
across the continent, near the base of the Andes. From them d'Orbigny
obtained a version of the same cosmogony, but fuller and with more
incidents. The world began with sombre forests, inhabited by the
Yuracare. Then came Sararuma and burned the whole country. One man
only escaped, he having constructed an underground refuge. After the
conflagration he was wandering sadly through the ruined world when he
met Sararuma. "Although I am the cause of this ill, yet I have pity on
you," said the latter, and he gave him a handful of seeds from whose
planting sprang, as by magic, a magnificent forest. A wife appeared,
as it were _ex nihilo_, and bore sons and a daughter to this man.
One day the maiden encountered a beautiful tree with purple flowers,
called Ulé. Were it but a man, how she would love it! And she painted
and adorned the tree in her devotion, with sighs and hopes,--hopes
that were not in vain, for the tree became a beautiful youth. Though
at first she had to bind him to keep him from wandering away, the two
became happy spouses. But one day Ulé, hunting with his brothers, was
slain by a jaguar. His bride, in her grief like Isis, gathered together
the morsels of his torn body. Again, her love was rewarded and Ulé
was restored to life, but as they journeyed he glanced in a pool, saw
a disfigured face, where a bit of flesh had not been recovered, and
despite the bride's tears took his departure, telling her not to look
behind, no matter what noise she heard. But she was startled into doing
this, became lost, and wandered into a jaguar's lair. The mother of the
jaguars took pity upon her, but her four sons were for killing her. To
test her obedience they commanded her to eat the poisonous ants that
infested their bodies; she deceived three of them by substituting seeds
for the ants, which she cast to the ground; but the fourth had eyes in
the back of his head, detected the ruse and killed her. From her body
was torn the child which she was carrying, Tiri, who was raised in
secret by the jaguar mother.

When Tiri was grown he one day wounded a paca, which said: "You live
in peace with the murderers of your mother, but me, who have done you
no harm, you wish to kill." Tiri demanded the meaning of this, and the
paca told him the tale. Tiri then lay in wait for the jaguar brothers,
slaying the first three with arrows, but the jaguar with eyes in the
back of his head, climbed into a tree, calling upon the trees, the
sun, stars, and moon to save him. The moon snatched him up, and since
that time he can be seen upon her bosom, while all jaguars love the
night. Tiri, who was the master of all nature, taught cultivation to
his foster-mother, who now had no sons to hunt for her. He longed
for a companion, and created Caru, to be his brother, from his own
finger-nail; and the two lived in great amity, performing many deeds.
Once, invited to a feast, they spilled a vase of liquor which flooded
the whole earth and drowned Caru; but when the waters were subsided,
Tiri found his brother's bones and revived him. The brothers then
married birds, by whom they had children. The son of Caru died and was
buried. Tiri then told Caru at the end of a certain time to go seek
his son, who would be revived, but to be careful not to eat him. Caru,
finding a manioc plant on the grave, ate of it. Immediately a great
noise was heard, and Tiri said: "Caru has disobeyed and eaten his son;
in punishment he and all men shall be mortal, and subject to all toils
and all sufferings."

In following adventures the usual transformations take place, and
mankind, in their tribes, are led forth from a great rock, Tiri saying
to them: "Ye must divide and people all the earth, and that ye shall
do so I create discord and make you enemies of one another." Thus
arose the hostility of tribes. Tiri now decided to depart, and he sent
birds in the several directions to discover in which the earth extends
farthest. Those sent to the east and the north speedily returned, but
the bird sent toward the setting sun was gone a long time, and when
at last it returned it brought with it beautiful feathers. So Tiri
departed into the West, and disappeared.




The Rio de la Plata is the third of the great river systems which drain
the South American continent. It combines the waters of the Uruguay,
draining the hilly region of southern Brazil, with those of the Paraná,
which through its numerous tributaries taps the heart of the south
central portion of the continent. The Paraná and its continuation, the
Paraguay, flowing almost due south from the centre of the continent,
form a kind of axis, dividing the hilly lands on the east from the
great woodland plains known as the Chaco, stretching westward to
the Andes, from whose age-worn detritus they were doubtless formed.
The northern boundary of the Chaco is in the neighbourhood of the
Tropic of Capricorn; southward the plains extend far into Argentina,
narrowing with the encroaching mountains, and finally giving way to
the grassy pampas, in the latitude of Buenos Aires. These, in turn,
extend southward to the Patagonian plains--geologically one of earth's
youngest regions,--of which the terminus is the mountain region meeting
the southern straits. Parallel with this stretch of open country, which
diminishes in width as the southern latitudes are approached, is the
Andean ridge, almost due north and south in sense, scarcely varying the
width of the western coastal region which it marks off, but eastward
extending in heavier lines of ridges and broader plateaus as the centre
of the continent is approached. South of latitude 40º the western
coastal region, with the sinking of the Andean range, merges in a long
archipelago leading on to Tierra del Fuego and its satellite islands,
beyond the Straits of Magellan,--an archipelago which is the far
southern counterpart of that reaching along North America from Puget
Sound to the Aleutian Isles.

The aboriginal peoples of the region thus described fall into a number
of groups of exceptional interest to the ethnologist. In the Chaco, to
the north, are to be found, to this day, tribes practically untouched
by the influence of civilization--tribes in the state which for untold
centuries must have been that of the peoples of central South America.
Some of them show signs of having been under the influence of the
cultured peoples of the Andean regions, preserving in their fabrics,
for example, figured designs strikingly like those of Incaic Peru. It
has even been suggested that the region is in no small part peopled by
descendants of Indians who in former times fled from the west, first
before the armies of the Incas, later before the advance of Spanish

This constant pressure, which can in a measure be followed in historic
times, has had its effect in pushing southward peoples whose origin
must be sought in the central region. Such a people are the Abipone--a
group of tribes which owe their especial fame among South American
Indians perhaps more to the fact that they were so faithfully pictured
by Father Dobrizhoffer, during the period in which they were gathered
in missions, than to their own qualities, striking as these are. In
any case, the Abipone, who in the eighteenth century had become an
equestrian people of the open country, had, according to their own
tradition, moved southward out of the forests, bearing with them many
of the traits still to be found among the tribes of the Chaco.

The Calchaqui civilization, of the Andean region just north of latitude
30º was one of the latest conquests of the Inca power, and represents
its southerly extension. The actual dividing line, as recorded by
Garcilasso, was the river Rapel, latitude 34º, where, according to the
historian, the Inca Tupac Yupanqui was held in his southward advance by
the Araucanian (or Aucanian) tribes who formed the population of Chile
and west central Argentina. The Araucanians enjoy the proud distinction
of being to this day an unconquered people; for they held their own
in long and bloody wars with the Spaniards, as before they had held
against the aggressive Incas. Further, in their general culture, and in
intellectual vigor, they stand at the head of the peoples of southerly
South America.

Scarcely less in romantic interest is the group of peoples--the Puelche
and Tehuelche tribal stocks--forming the Patagonian race, whose tall
stature, exaggerated in the imagination of early discoverers, made
of them a race of giants. Like the Pampean tribes they early become
horsemen, expert with the bolas; and with no permanent villages and
no agriculture, they remain equestrian nomads of the southern plains.
The Ona of Tierra del Fuego represent a non-equestrian as they are
also a non-canoe-using branch of the Patagonian race. Altogether
different are the canoe peoples of the southern archipelago, the
Alakaluf and the Yahgan. These have shared with the Australian Blacks,
with the Botocudo, and with one or two other groups of human beings,
the reputation of representing the lowest grade of human intelligence
and attainment. They were long thought to be hopelessly imbruted,
though this judgement is being somewhat revised in the face of the
achievements of missionary workers among them. Still there are few
more striking contrasts in the field of ethnology than is that between
the culture of the peoples of the Pacific archipelago of the northern
America, with their elaborate society, art, and mythology, and the
mentally deficient and culturally destitute savages of the island
region of austral America.


In d'Orbigny's classification the Pampean race is divided into three
groups. Of these the most northerly is the Moxean, comprising tribes
about the headwaters of the Madeira. Next southward is the Chiquitean
branch, with their centre on the divide between the headwaters of the
Madeira and those of the southward flowing Paraguay and Pilcomayo
rivers; hence marking the division of the Amazonian and La Plata
systems. Still south of these is the main Pampean branch, its northerly
reach being represented by the Toba, Lengua, and other Chaco stocks;
its centre by the Mocobi, Abipone, and the Charrua of Uruguay (whom
other authorities ally with the Brazilian stocks); its southerly
division comprising the Puelche and the Tehuelche, or Patagonians
proper. So far as the Pampean branch is concerned, this grouping
corresponds with ideas still received.

D'Orbigny gives scant materials as to the mythic beliefs of the Indians
of the Pampean tribes, yet some are of more than ordinary interest.
Thus, of the Mataguaya, he says[204] that they regard eclipses as due
to a great bird, with spread wings, assailing the star eclipsed,--which
is in harmony with widespread South American notions; so, for example,
in the Chiquitean idea, recorded by Father Fernandez, the eclipsed
moon is darkened by its own blood drawn by savage dogs. Still more
interesting is the statement, drawn from Guevara's _Historia del
Paraguay_, that the Mocobi regard the Southern Cross as the image of a
rhea pursued by dogs. This is the very form in which the Great Wain is
interpreted in North America; as far as north Greenland it is regarded
as a bear or deer pursued by dogs or by hunters. Fragments of a Mocobi
cosmic myth are also given: The Sun is a man, the Moon is a woman.
Once, long ago, the Sun fell from the sky. The Mocobi raised it and
placed it again in the sky, but it fell a second time and burned all
the forests. The Mocobi saved themselves by changing themselves into
caymans and other amphibians. A man and a woman climbed a tree to save
themselves, a flame singed their faces, and they were changed into
apes.... This tale is obviously related to the hero cycle of which the
Bakairi and Yuracare stories are versions.

But among the Indians of this region it is of the Abipone, neighbours
of the Mocobi, that our knowledge is fullest, owing to the classical
narrative of Martin Dobrizhoffer[205] who, in the eighteenth century,
was for eighteen years a Jesuit missionary in Paraguay. In general
Dobrizhoffer's account of the Abipone corresponds so closely with
what is now familiar knowledge of Indian ideas--animism, shamanism,
necromancy, and in their own region belief in were-jaguars and the
like,--that it is valuable rather for verification than interpretation.
In the field of religion, the Father is interested in superstitions
rather than in myth, of which he gives little. His comments, however,
have a quality of personality that imparts an entirely dramatic verve
to his narrative of the encounter of the two minds--Jesuit and savage.

"_Haec est summa delicti, nolle recognoscere quem ignorare non possit,_
are the words of Tertullian, in his Apology for the Christians.
Theologians agree in denying that any man in possession of his reason
can, without a crime, remain ignorant of God for any length of time.
This opinion I warmly defended in the University of Cordoba, where I
finished the four years' course of theology begun at Gratz in Styria.
But what was my astonishment, when on removing from thence to a colony
of Abipones, I found that the whole language of these savages does not
contain a single word which expresses God or a divinity. To instruct
them in religion, it was necessary to borrow the Spanish word for God,
and insert into the catechism _Dios ecnam coagarik,_ God the creator
of things." He goes on to tell how, camped in the open with a party of
Indians, the serene sky delighting the eyes with its twinkling stars,
he began a conversation with the Cacique Ychoalay: "Do you behold the
splendour of the Heaven, with its magnificent arrangement of stars?
Who can suppose that all this is produced by chance?... Who can be mad
enough to imagine that all these beauties of the Heavens are the effect
of chance, and that the revolutions and vicissitudes of the celestial
bodies are regulated without the direction of an omniscient mind?
Whom do you believe to be their creator and governor?" "My father,"
replied Ychoalay, "our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were wont
to contemplate the earth alone, solicitous only to see whether the
plain afforded grass and water for their horses. They never troubled
themselves about what went on in the Heavens, and who was the creator
and governor of the stars."

Such incomprehension of things theological seemed to the missionaries
to argue a sub-human nature in the Indians, and Dobrizhoffer, after
remarking that Paul III was obliged to issue a bull in which he
pronounced Indians to be really men, capable of understanding the
Catholic faith and of receiving its sacraments, goes on himself to
argue that they are in fact intelligent human beings in spite of this
incredible density. And then he continues: "I said that the Abipones
were commendable for their wit and strength of mind; but ashamed of
my too hasty praise, I retract my words and pronounce them fools,
idiots, and madmen. Lo! this is the proof of their insanity! They
are unacquainted with God, and with the very name of God, yet they
affectionately salute the evil spirit, whom they call _Aharaigichi_,
or _Queevèt_, with the title of grandfather, _Groaperikie_. Him they
declare to be their grandfather, and that of the Spaniards, but with
this difference, that to the latter he gives gold and silver and fine
clothes, but to them he transmits valour." Here the lips of the reader
begin to flicker with amusement,--it is easy to see the devil under
the mask of strange gods! Father Dobrizhoffer continues: "The Abipones
think the Pleiades to be the representation of their grandfather; and
as that constellation disappears at certain periods from the sky of
South America, upon such occasions, they suppose that their grandfather
is sick, and are under a yearly apprehension that he is going to
die: but as soon as those seven stars are again visible in the month
of May, they welcome their grandfather, as if returned and restored
from sickness, with joyful shouts, and the festive sound of pipes and
trumpets, congratulating him on the recovery of his health. 'What
thanks do we owe thee! and art thou returned at last? Ah! thou hast
happily recovered!' With such exclamations, expressive of their joy and
folly, do they fill the air."

Dobrizhoffer devotes a learned and amusing chapter to "Conjectures
why the Abipones take the Evil Spirit for their Grandfather and
the Pleiades for the representation of him"; in which, finding no
Scriptural explanation, he concludes that the cult came ultimately
from Peru (the Peruvian's knowledge of God did not come along with
it because "vice is more easily learnt than virtue"). As a matter
of fact the Pleiades cult extends throughout Brazil, its seasonal
reappearance being the occasion, as Dobrizhoffer narrates, of a great
feast of intoxication and joy, a veritable Dionysia. And it is hardly
to be doubted that the Abipone, as their own traditions indicate,
came from the north, probably from the Chaco. It is to a contemporary
missionary, Barbrooke Grubb, who has spent an even longer time in the
Chaco than did the Jesuit among the Abipone, that we owe the completer
interpretation of the ideas which Dobrizhoffer sketched. The Chaco
Indians are as near untouched savages as any people on the globe, so
that their beliefs are essentially uncontaminated.

The mythology of the Chaco tribes, says Grubb,[206] is founded on
the idea of a Creator, symbolized by the beetle. First, the material
universe was made; then the Beetle-Creator sent forth from its hole in
the earth a race of First Beings, who for a time ruled all. Afterward
the Beetle formed a man and a woman from the clay which it threw up
from its hole, the two being joined like the Siamese twins. They were
persecuted by the beings who preceded them, whereupon the Beetle
separated them and endowed them with the power of reproduction, whence
the world was peopled and came to its present state.

Whether or no the First Beings, hostile to man, are to be identified
with the Kilyikhama, a class of nature daemones, Grubb does not
make clear. He does, however, describe numerous of these daemonic
forms,--the white Kilyikhama, heard whistling in his little craft on
the swampy waters; the boy Kilyikhama with lights on each side of his
head, the thieving Kilyikhama; and most dreaded of all the daemon,
immensely tall and extremely thin, with eyes like balls of fire, whose
appearance presages instant death. In addition to these daemones,
Aphangak, ghosts of men, are intensely feared, and there are ghosts
of animals, too, to be dreaded,--though, curiously, none of fish or
serpents. The Milky Way is supposed to be the path of the Kilyikhama,
some of whom, in the form of large white birds, are believed there
to await their opportunity to descend into the bodies of men. A very
curious burial custom is also associated with the Galaxy: when a
person is laid out (sometimes even before the dying has breathed his
last) an incision is made in the side of the body and heated stones
are inserted; these stones are supposed to ascend into the Milky Way
whence they await their opportunity to fall upon the person (wizard or
other) who has caused the death. "Consequently the Indians are very
frightened when they see a falling star." Whirlwinds are believed to be
the passing of spirits, and the whole realm of the meteorological is
full of portents,--the rainbow, oddly enough, conceived as a serpentine
monster, being a sign of calamity rather than an arc of hope.

Of the Pleiades Grubb says that they are known by two
names--Mounting-in-the-South and Holders-Together. "Their rising is
connected with the beginning of spring, and feasts are held at this
time, generally of a markedly immoral character." That they call
the constellation Aksak, Grandfather, is not, in the missionary's
opinion, due to the fact that it is the image or embodiment of the
devil (as Dobrizhoffer supposed of the similar Abiponean custom).
Aksak is rather a term applied to any person or thing whose nature is
not quite understood or with whom power and authority rest: "what is
most important of all, they term the creator beetle _aksak_." Grubb
concludes: "In my opinion, the statement of Dobrizhoffer that the
Abipones looked upon themselves as descendants, or, it may be, the
creation of their 'grandfather the devil,' is nothing more nor less
than the widespread tradition that man was created by the beetle, and,
therefore, their originator, instead of being a devil, was rather a
creating god." Perhaps, after all, Tertullian is right.

The missionary also speaks of "a remarkable theory" held by the
Indians, that among the stars there are countries similar to their own,
with forests and lakes, which he would explain either as tales of the
mirage or as due to "a childlike notion that the sky is solid." The
"childlike notion" is, of course, but another instance of a conception
that prevails among the native tribes of the two Americas, as far as
north Greenland; and along with this notion is that of an underworld
to which ghosts descend, which he elsewhere mentions as characteristic
of the Chaco,--though his account of their varying ideas as to the
habitations of the dead shows well enough that these savage theorists
are as uncertain in their location of the abode of shades as was Homer


The Araucanian, or Auca, tribes--of which the Mapuche, Pehuenche, and
Huiliche are the more important divisions, while the southerly Chono
and Chiloe are remote branches--are the aborigines of the southern
Andean region, inhabiting both slopes of the mountains, extending to
the sea on the Pacific side and out into the Patagonian plains on the
Atlantic side. Of all the extreme austral Indians they represent from
pre-Columbian times the highest culture, though it is evident that the
process of acculturation was recent when the whites first appeared,
resulting from contact with Inca and Calchaqui civilizations. The whole
group of Araucanians proper was organized into a confederacy, with
four principal divisions, uniting for common defence,--an organization
very similar to that of the Iroquois Confederacy in North America,
and equally effective; for the Araucanians not only put a stop to
the southerly aggressions of the Incas, but they also successfully
resisted the Spaniards, establishing for themselves a unique place in
the history of American aborigines in contact with the white race. In
manner of life the Araucanians were originally little if any in advance
of their Patagonian neighbours; but as a result of their contact with
the northerly Andean peoples, their own northern branches had acquired,
when the Spaniards first came, a rudimentary agriculture, the potter's
and the weaver's arts, some skill with gold and silver, and the habit
of domesticating the guanaco,--and this culture was gradually extending
to the south. As a whole, however, Araucanian culture represents a
sharp descent, marked by the boundaries of the Incaic empire.

The romantic history of the Araucanians, and especially their heroic
wars with the Spaniards, have naturally attracted to them an unusual
measure of historical and anthropological investigation, so the
literature is copious. Molina's _History_, written in the middle of
the eighteenth century, is the best-known work in the field, and is,
in a sense, the classic exposition of Araucanian institutions, though
both for extent and accuracy it has been superseded by later works,
pre-eminently those of José Medina and Tomás Guevara.[207] The first
volume of the latter's great _Historia de la Civilización de Araucania_
is devoted to "Antropolojía Araucana," and in it is given a summary of
the native pantheon.

First of the gods is Pillan, often regarded as the Araucanian
equivalent of the Tupan of the forest regions of Brazil, god of thunder
and spirit of fire. "This conception represents a survival of the
prehistoric idea which considers fire as the life-principle, carried
to the point of adoring it as an invisible and personal power ...
forces of nature, such as this, being personified in the mind of the
barbarian." Pillan, however, while a personal, is also a collective
power: caciques at their death and warriors who fall in battle pass
into the category of Pilli, some being converted into volcanic forces,
others ascending to the clouds. "From this source," says Guevara,
"is due the belief, conserved almost to this time, that a tempest is
a battle between their ancestors and their enemies, and the custom
of encouraging their own and imprecating the others according to
the turn of the battle: if the clouds move toward the south victory
pertains to those of their race; if to the north--the country of the
Spaniards--they suppose the latter to be victorious."... Inevitably
one recalls the bodeful thunder-storm in _Julius Caesar_,--

    "Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
    In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
    Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
    The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
    Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
    And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets."

Pillan, as the supreme god of a warlike people, was naturally regarded
as the god of war. "They made his habitation," says our author, "in all
those parts whence breaks the thunder: on the crest of high mountains,
in the clouds, and in the volcanoes, whose eruptions are so often
accompanied by electrical phenomena." The deity's name is, as a matter
of fact, preserved in the names of various peaks.

Molina[208] states that the word Pillan is derived from _pilli_,
meaning "soul," and that the god has various attributive designations,
such as Spirit-of-Heaven (Guenu-pillan), the Great Being, the
Thunderer; and along with these, suspiciously European, such epithets
as the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Eternal. On the whole, it is not
unreasonable to assume that the true aboriginal meaning of the word is
"mysterious power" and that the idea itself belongs with the group of
conceptions of a semi-pantheistic nature power, of which Wakanda and
Manito are the best-known names.

That Pillan stands at the head of a hierarchy of nature powers is the
unanimous testimony of authorities. Molina believes that the government
of Pillan is modelled on that of the Araucanian confederacy. He is the
great chief of the invisible world, having under him his high-chiefs
and under-chiefs to conduct cosmic affairs. As with most primitive
folk, the great majority of these lesser deities are considered as
malignant, or at least as dangerous, rather than as beneficent powers.
The Huecuvu (Guecubu, in Molina) are a group of daemones capable
of assuming animal and human forms. The Indians "attribute natural
phenomena to the implacable hatred of these agents of Pillan. They sow
the fields with caterpillars, weaken animals with disease, quake the
earth, and devour the fish in rivers and lakes. The Huecuvu corresponds
with great exactness to the idea of demon." Evil also is Epunamun (whom
Molina regarded as a war-god, apparently on the strength of the Padre
Olivares's statement that he presided at councils of war, where "though
they have no confidence in his councils, they frequently follow them,
rather than offend through disobedience"). Epunamun is represented as
having deformed legs, and he probably belongs to that extraordinary
group of South American monster-bogeys having feet reversed or
knees that bend backward. The Cherruve are the spirits or senders
of shooting-stars and comets, figured (quite to the taste of the
Mediaeval European) as man-headed serpents. Similar is the Ihuaivilu, a
seven-headed fire-monster, inhabiting volcanic neighbourhoods. Meulen
appears to be anything but the benevolent deity that Molina deemed it;
he is the spirit of the whirlwind, disappearing in the ground in the
form of a lizard when the whirlwind is dissipated; in modern folklore
he appears as El Destolanado, devouring all children who cross his path.

The category of demonic beings is by no means exhausted with these wind
and fire powers. The old Chilean mythic lore is filled with composite
and metamorphosing beast-bogeys and witch-beings, many of which have
been handed on to the modern peasantry; so that it is now often
impossible to tell what elements are native and what communicated. Many
still bear native names. Perimontum is a phantom appearing from the
other world to announce some extraordinary event. The Am is the ghost
of a murdered man; the Alhue is a mischievous sprite whose sport is to
frighten men. Colocolo is a small, invisible or subterranean animal
or bird, whose cry, _colo colo!_ is sometimes heard; anyone drinking
its saliva will die. Negúruvilu, or Guirivilo, is a cat-like monster
armed with a claw-pointed tail; it lives in the depths of the waters,
whence it sallies forth to kill men and animals, assuming a serpentine
form as it envelops them. There are numerous other water-monsters,
some marine, some amphibians, their most various forms being naturally
found among the Chiletes of the southern archipelago. El Caleuche, the
witch-boat, is interesting for the fact that here, in the far Pacific
south, it represents what might almost be called an outcropping of the
similar conceptions found among the Eskimo and the pelagic tribes of
the North-West Coast. The witch-boat is seen at night, illuminated, and
it carries fishermen down to the treasure-houses at the bottom of the
sea. Another monster of this region is Camahueto, capable of wrecking
large boats; while Cuero, known to the Araucanians as Trelquehuecuve,
is a sort of huge octopus, whose arms end in claws and whose ears are
covered with eyes; it has great powers of dilation and contraction, and
seizes and slays all that fall within its reach; when it goes ashore to
sun itself and wishes to return to its element, it raises a gale which
pushes it into the water. Huaillepeñ, or Guallipén, is in the form of
a calf-headed sheep, with deformed legs; it issues from streams and
pools on misty mornings and frightens pregnant women, causing their
children to be born deformed. The Imbunche are monsters into which
babes stolen by witches have been transformed; the Trauco is an old
witch appearing in the form of a child and having the habits of an
incubus; the Pihuicheñ, or Piguchén, is a vampire-like serpent that can
transform itself into a frog, a blood-sucker and death-bringer, while
the Chonchoñ, a vampire having the form of a human head whose huge
ears serve as wings for its nocturnal flights, is reminiscent of the
travelling heads which form so important a group of bogeys on the North
American continent.

With such an array of demons surrounding them, it is small marvel that
for the Chilean peasant of today the devil is not an interesting person
in popular mythology, as Señor Vicuña Cifuentes tells us,[209] playing
a rôle altogether inferior to those of the local demons. Beneficent
powers are rare in the Araucanian pantheon. Pillan may be regarded
in this light, as also Ngúnemapun, a higher power recognized by the
Araucans of today, says Guevara, although not mentioned in the older
chronicles. He seems to be a doublet of Pillan, and may represent an
epithet of this god, or even a still higher power to whom invocations
were formerly addressed which the Spaniards supposed to be addressed to
Pillan. Like the latter, Ngúnemapun dwells on high mountains, has the
power of rendering himself invisible, and is given the customary form
of a warrior. Beneficent also is Huitranalhue, friend of strangers and
the protector of herds from thieves.

A curious feature of Araucanian religion is the absence of any cult of
the sun. Possibly this is due to the fact that the sun was the great
deity of their enemies, the Incas; so that even if it had been adored
in the primitive period, it might have been degraded after the Incaic
defeat on the same principle that caused a Florida tribe to establish a
cult of the Devil, because he was the enemy of the Spaniard. The fact
that the Araucanians had measured the solar year, which they divided
into twelve months of thirty days each, adding five intercalary days
or epagomenae, argues a sun-cult. Molina tells us that they began
their year immediately after the December solstice, which they called
the Head-and-Tail-of-the-Year, while the June solstice was called the
Divider-of-the-Year. Dobrizhoffer says that the Picunche, or Moluche
(Araucanians), like the Puelche, had no name for God.[210] "These
ascribe all the good things they either possess or desire to the sun,
and to the sun they pray for them"; and one of their priests, he says,
when told of God, said: "Till this hour we never knew nor acknowledged
anything greater or better than the sun." This certainly points to the
probability that in primitive times the sun was an Araucanian god,
though it appears that the moon has assumed the place of celestial
importance in the later pantheon. Her ancient name, Anchimalguen,
signifies, says Guevara, Woman (i. e., wife)-of-the-Sun; Anchimallen
is the contemporary form. She is implored in adversity and praised in
prosperity, say the chroniclers. Sometimes Anchimallen is of ill omen,
appearing at night in the form of a stray guanaco and luring travellers
to vain pursuit; but she also serves to give warning of enemies and to
frighten away evil spirits. Molina gives a very interesting suggestion,
namely, that all the female powers of the invisible world form a class
of beneficent nymphs called Amchi-malghen. "There is not an Araucanian
but imagines he has one of these in his service. _Nien cai gni
Amchi-malghen_, 'I keep my nymph still,' is a common expression when
they succeed in any undertaking."

The mythic tales of the Araucanians are (judging from somewhat meagre
materials) of a class with those prevalent in neighbouring regions,--a
cosmogony in which volcanic forces destroy the world by fire, while a
deluge causes all to perish save a few who flee to the three-peaked
mountain Thegtheg, the Mount of Levin, which moves upon the waters;
a hero cycle in which two brothers, Konkel and Pediu, figure as
transformers; and there are stories of a Sky-World above, and of
seaward Islands of the Dead.[211] One of the most interesting elements
of their mythology is their version of the oft-recurring conception of
a Way Perilous to the abode of the departed. An old woman, in the form
of a whale, bears the soul out to sea; but before his arrival in the
Araucanian Hades he is obliged to pay toll for passing a narrow strait,
where sits another malignant hag who exacts an eye from any poor
wretch who has nothing better to pay.


Few peoples have had fame thrust upon them with so little reason as
have the Patagonian Indians, and few myths have been more widely
credited than that Patagonia was the home of a race of giants. The
Tehuelche are, as a matter of fact, men of large size, probably
averaging above six feet; and they are noted for the large development,
especially of the upper parts of their body. Keane states that they
are second in size among South American peoples, being exceeded by the
Bororo. Possibly it was due to the fact that the first navigators of
this region were men of south Europe, themselves short, which gave rise
to the myth of Patagonian giants. Pigafetta,[212] the chief chronicler
of Magellan's voyage, says of one of these "giants" that he was "so
tall that our heads scarcely came up to his waist," and the anonymous
"Genoese pilot" who has left an account of the same navigation reports
that where they wintered, in 1520, "there were people like savages, and
the men are from nine to ten spans in height, very well made." It is,
indeed, possible that the stature of the modern Tehuelche is modified
slightly from that of the _Patagon_, or "Big-Foot" ("the captain named
this kind of people Pataghom," wrote Pigafetta); for since the middle
of the eighteenth century the Tehuelche have been an equestrian people,
living on horseback, one might say; and a recent observer says of them
that "the lower limbs are sometimes disappointing, being, in fact,
the lower limbs of a race of riders." Such an influence may well have
produced a small diminution of the average stature over that at the
time of the first observations.

In no other respect is the Patagonian remarkable. The race is divided
into two great divisions, the northerly Puelche and the Tehuelche,
of Patagonia proper, now both equestrian peoples. Across the Strait
of Magellan, in eastern Tierra del Fuego, dwell the Ona, still a
pedestrian branch of the Patagonian race.

The Patagonians are a sluggish and peaceable people, quite
self-sufficient when left to themselves, and in the south little
influenced by the arts of civilization. Except for the changes which
the introduction of horses has brought into their life, the description
of the Genoese pilot is essentially true to this day:[213] "They have
not got houses; they only go about from one place to another ... and
eat meat nearly raw: they are all archers and kill many animals with
arrows, and with the skins they make clothes.... Wherever night finds
them, there they sleep; they carry their wives along with them with all
the chattels they possess."

Accounts of Patagonian religion are all meagre; perhaps because the
ideational content of their belief is itself meagre, for authorities
agree that they are slow and unimaginative. The little information
given by Pigafetta, chronicler of Magellan's voyage, has, to be
sure, a moving background. Two of the "giants," he says, were lured
on shipboard, and there, while being entertained with gauds, were
clamped with irons, the intention being to take them for a show to the
Castilian king. "When they saw the trick which had been played them,
they began to be enraged, and to foam like bulls, crying out very loud
_Setebos_, that is to say, the great devil, that he should help them."
It is from this passage that Shakespeare derived his conception of the
god of Caliban. Pigafetta adds that the lesser devils, under Setebos,
are called Cheleule. "This one who was in the ship with us, told us
by signs that he had seen devils with two horns on their heads, and
long hair down to their feet, who threw out fire from their mouths and
rumps,"--but we can hardly doubt that the navigators' imaginations
were here potent interpreters of the signs. Dobrizhoffer's eighteenth
century description of Patagonian beliefs is essentially the same as
that of Prichard in the twentieth century.[214] "They are all
acquainted with the devil, whom they call Balichù [_Valichu, Gualichu,_
are variants found in other sources]. They believe that there is an
innumerable crowd of demons, the chief of whom they name El El, and
all the inferior ones Quezubû [probably a form of the Araucanian
_Huecuvu_]. They think, however, every kind of demon hostile and
mischievous to the human race, and the origin of all evil, regarding
them in consequence with dread and abhorrence." Dobrizhoffer goes on
to state that the Puelche and the Araucanian Picunche alike revere the
Sun, indicating the affinity of the beliefs of the two groups, which
are probably at least remotely related. He continues: "The Patagonians
call God Soychù [_Soucha_ is Pennant's variant], to-wit, that which
cannot be seen, which is worthy of all veneration, which does not live
in the world; hence they call the dead _Soychuhèt_, men that dwell with
God beyond the world. They seem to hold two principles in common with
the Gnostics and Manichaeans, for they say that God created both good
and evil demons. The latter they greatly fear, but never worship. They
believe every sick person to be possessed of an evil demon; hence their
physicians always carry a drum with figures of devils painted on it,
which they strike at the beds of sick persons, to drive the evil demon,
which causes the disorder, from the body."

Prichard's description adds nothing to this.[215] The religion of the
Indians consists "in the old simple beliefs in good spirits and devils,
but chiefly devils.... The dominant Spirit of Evil is called Gualicho.
And he abides as an ever-present terror behind their strange, free,
and superstitious lives. They spend no small portion of their time in
either fleeing from his wrath or in propitiating it. You may wake in
the dawn to see a band of Indians suddenly rise and leap upon their
horses, and gallop away across the pampa, howling and gesticulating.
They are merely scaring the Gualicho away from their tents back to
his haunts in the Cordillera--the wild and unpenetrated mountains,
where he and his subordinate demons groan in chosen spots the long
nights through." The Good Spirit of the Tehuelche, says Prichard, is
far more quiescent. Long ago he made one effort to benefit mankind,
when he created the animals in the caves of "God's Hill" and gave them
to his people for food, but since then he has shown little interest
in earthly matters. Of the practices of the Tehuelche shaman--perhaps
an innovation since the day of Dobrizhoffer--Prichard gives an odd
instance, narrated by another white observer: "In the middle of the
level white pampa two figures upon galloping horses were visible. As
we came nearer we saw that one was a man clothed in a _chiripa_ and a
_capa_ in which brown was the predominating colour. He was mounted on
a heavy-necked powerful _cebruno_ horse, his stirrups were of silver,
and his gear of raw-hide seemed smart and good. As he rode he yelled
with all his strength, producing a series of the most horrible and
piercing shrieks. But strange as was this wild figure, his companion,
victim or quarry, was stranger and more striking still. For on an
ancient _zaino_ sat perched a little brown maiden, whose aspect was
forlorn and pathetic to the last degree. She rode absolutely naked in
the teeth of the bitter cold, her breast, face and limbs blotched and
smeared with the rash of some eruptive disease, and her heavy-lidded
eyes, strained and open, staring ahead across the leagues of empty
snow-patched plain. Presently the man redoubled his howls, and bearing
down upon the _zaino_ flogged and frightened it into yet greater speed.
The whole scene might have been mistaken for some ancient barbaric and
revolting form of punishment; whereas, in real truth, it was an anxious
Indian father trying, according to his lights, to cure his daughter of
measles!" Devils are known to dislike noise and cold, says Prichard;
hence, the unlucky patient without a shred to protect her and "the
almost incredible uproar made by the old gentleman upon the dark brown

D'Orbigny says[216] of the Tehuelche, "they fear rather than revere
their Achekanet-kanet, turn by turn genius of ill and genius of
good," and of the Puelche that, like the Patagonians, they believe
in a genius of ill, named Gualichu, or Arraken, who sometimes becomes
beneficent, without need of prayer. Falkner (cited by King in _The
Voyage of the Beagle_, vol. ii, p. 161) mentions "at the head of their
good deities," Guayarakunny, lord of the dead. "They think," he says,
"that the good deities have habitations in vast caverns under the
earth, and that when an Indian dies his soul goes to live with the
deity who presides over his particular family. They believe that their
good deities made the world, and that they first created the Indians
in the subterranean caverns above mentioned; gave them the lance, bow
and arrows, and the balls [_bolas_], to fight and hunt with, and then
turned them out to shift for themselves. They imagine that the deities
of the Spaniards created them in a similar manner, but that, instead of
lances, bows, etc., they gave them guns and swords. They say that when
the beasts, birds, and lesser animals were created, those of the more
nimble kind came immediately out of the caverns; but that the bulls and
cows being the last, the Indians were so frightened at the sight of
their horns, that they stopped the entrances of their caves with great
stones. This is the grave reason why they had no black cattle in their
country, till the Spaniards brought them over; who, more wisely, had
let them out of their caves."

A more recent account of what is a kindred, if not the same myth is
given by Ramon Lista.[217] The creator-hero, in this version, is named
El-lal. "El-lal came into the world in a strange way. His father
Nosjthej (a kind of Saturn), wishing to devour him, had snatched him
from his mother's womb. He owed his rescue to the intervention of the
_terguerr_ (a rodent) which carried him away to its cave; this his
father tried in vain to enter. After having learned from the famous
rodent the properties of different plants and the directions of the
mountain-paths, El-lal himself invented the bow and arrow, and with
these weapons began the struggle against the wild animals--puma, fox,
condor,--and conquered them all. But the father returned. Forgetting
the past El-lal taught him how to manipulate the bow and the sling,
and joyfully showed him the trophies of the chase--tortoise shells,
condor's wings, etc. Nosjthej took up his abode in the cave and soon
acted as master of it. Faithful to his fierce instincts, he wanted
to kill his son; he followed him across the Andes, but, when on the
point of reaching him, he saw a dense forest arise between him and his
son. El-lal was saved; he descended to the plain, which meanwhile had
become peopled with men. Among them was a giant, Goshy-e, who devoured
children; El-lal tried to fight him, but he was invulnerable; the
arrows broke against his body. Then El-lal transformed himself into a
gadfly, entered the giant's stomach, and wounded him fatally with this
sting. It was not until he had accomplished all these feats, and had
proved himself a clever huntsman, that El-lal thought of marrying. He
asked the hand of the daughter of the Sun, but she did not think him
worthy of her and escaped him by a subterfuge. Disenchanted, El-lal
decided to leave the earth, where, he considered, his mission was at an
end, since man, who had in the meantime appeared in the plain and in
the mountain valleys, had learned from him the use of fire, weapons,
etc. Borne on the wings of a swan across the ocean towards the east, he
found eternal rest in the verdant island which rose among the waves at
the places where the arrows shot by him had fallen on the surface of
the water."

This cosmogony is of the familiar primitive Indian type. Falkner, in
the passage cited, goes on to describe Patagonian beliefs in regard to
the fates of human souls: "Some say that the stars are old Indians;
that the Milky Way is the field where the old Indians hunt ostriches
[more likely, this myth attaches to the Southern Cross, as Guevara
says it does with the Indians of Paraguay; and as, in North America,
it attaches to the Ursa Major], and that the Magellan clouds are the
feathers of the ostriches which they kill. They have an opinion that
the creation is not yet exhausted; nor is all of it yet come out to
the daylight of this upper world. The wizards, beating their drums,
and rattling their hide bags full of shells or stones, pretend to see
into other regions under the earth. Each wizard is supposed to have
familiar spirits in attendance, who give supernatural information,
and execute the conjurer's will. They believe that the souls of their
wizards, after death, are of the number of these demons, called
Valichu, to whom every evil, or unpleasant event is attributed."

_Mutatis mutandis_ this description would apply perfectly to the
shamanistic beliefs and practices of the Polar North, and it is not
without significance that Prichard is drawn to point the essential
analogy between the austral and boreal aborigines of America.
Substitute the kayak for the horse, the seal for the guanaco, with such
differences in habit as these imply, and the differences of the two
peoples (psychologically, for it must be owned that in stature they are
antipodes) become slight. Certainly their beliefs are almost identical:
a beneficent, but precarious food-giver; a host of spiteful and
dangerous powers of wind and weather; a sky-world and an underworld,
with hunter-souls pursuing their earthly vocation; fey-sighted wizards
and medicine-men with drums. To be sure this represents the foundation
stratum of Indian ideas throughout the two Americas, the simplest form
of American religious myth; but there is surely a dramatic propriety
in finding this simplest form, almost in its first purity, at the wide
extremes of the two continents.

Have the conceptions travelled, from pole almost to pole? or are they
separate inspirations to a universal human nature from a never vastly
varying environmental nature? This is a riddle not easy to solve;
for while it is not difficult to imagine unrelated peoples severally
framing the notion that men and animals are born out of the womb of
Earth or that the image of their own hunting parties is written in
the constellations--for, as Molina remarks, more than one people have
"regulated the things of heaven by those of the earth,"--still it is
odd to find such particular agreements constant from latitude to
latitude throughout a hemisphere.


The Yahgan and Alakaluf tribes of Tierra del Fuego and the adjacent
archipelago enjoy the unenviable distinction of being rated as among
the lowest of human beings both as to actual culture and possible
development. The earlier navigators regarded them as little more than
animals--and often, unfortunately, treated them no better. Even Darwin,
viewing them with the naturalist's eye, saw little but annoyance in
their presence and formed a dismal estimate of their powers. "We were
always much surprised at the little notice, or rather none whatever,
which was evinced respecting many things, even such as boats, the use
of which must have been evident. Simple circumstances,--such as the
whiteness of our skins, the beauty of scarlet cloth or blue beads,
the absence of women, our care in washing ourselves,--excited their
admiration far more than a grand or complicated object, such as the
ship."[218] Darwin, however, noted that the Indians had a sense of
fairness in trade, and when missionaries settled among them other
good qualities appeared. Thomas Bridges, who lived with the Yahgan as
missionary for years, wrote of them, in 1891: "We find the natives work
well and happily when assured of adequate reward. They shear our sheep,
make fences, saw out boards and planks of all kinds, work well with the
pick and spade, are good boatmen and pleasant companions." With such a
tribute from one who had lived long with them it can hardly be doubted
that the Yahgan are better than the common report of them,--indeed,
quite the children of nature which the not unaffecting anecdotes of
York Minster and Jemmy Button, among the voyages of the _Beagle_,
should lead us to expect.

"Jemmy Button," says Captain Fitzroy,[219] "was very superstitious and
a great believer in omens and dreams. He would not talk of a dead
person, saying, with a grave shake of the head, 'no good, no good
talk; my country never talk of dead man.' While at sea, on board the
_Beagle_, about the middle of the year 1832, he said one morning to Mr.
Bynoe, that in the night some man came to the side of his hammock, and
whispered in his ear that his father was dead. Mr. Bynoe tried to laugh
him out of the idea, but ineffectually. He fully believed that such
was the case, and maintained his opinion up to the time of finding his
relations in the Beagle Channel, when, I regret to say, he found that
his father had died some months previously. He did not forget to remind
Mr. Bynoe (his most confidential friend) of their former conversation,
and, with a significant shake of the head said, it was 'bad--very bad.'
Yet these simple words seemed to express the extent of his sorrow."...
Here is surely as good a case of the "veridical" apparition as any
Researcher could desire.

"Ideas of a spiritual existence--of beneficent and evil powers,"
describes the nearest notion Captain Fitzroy could get of Fuegian
religion. The powers of evil are especially the powers of wind and
weather--naturally enough in a part of the globe world-famous for its
bitter gales and treacherous waters. "If anything was said or done that
was wrong, in their opinion it was certain to cause bad weather. Even
the shooting of young birds, before they were able to fly, was thought
a heinous offence. I remember York Minster saying one day to Mr.
Bynoe, when he had shot some young ducks with the old bird--'Oh, Mr.
Bynoe, very bad to shoot little duck--come wind--come rain--blow--very
much blow.'" Primitive as they are, here are moral ideas---whether
one explain, reconditely, the sparing of the young of game as an
instinctive conservation of the food supply, or, simply, as due to a
natural and chivalrous pity for the helpless young.

Our information in regard to the spirit-beings believed in by the
Fuegians is at best nebulous. Captain Fitzroy tells of "a great black
man ... supposed to be always wandering about the woods and mountains,
who is certain of knowing every word and action, who cannot be escaped,
and who influences the weather according to men's conduct," and again
of thin wild men, "who have no belly," (surely, the "skeleton men" of
the Eskimo and of other North American tribes). Dr. Hyades,[220] in
his report of the gleanings of the French Mission to Cape Horn, half a
century after the famous expeditions of the _Adventure_ and _Beagle_,
gives a fuller, though still meagre description of these wild folk
of Yahgan fancy,--irresistibly reminiscent of the Fog People and the
Inland Dwellers of the Eskimo at the other extreme of the hemisphere.
The Oualapatou, Wild Men from the West, are ever-present terrors. They
are heard in the noises of the night, and hearing them, the Yahgan
incontinently flee. These Wild Men, they say, enter their huts at
night, cut the throats of the occupants and devour their limbs. From
their confused accounts, says Dr. Hyades, it would appear that the
Oualapatou are the dead returned to earth to eat the living; they are
invisible, except at the moment of seizing their victims, but they
are heard imitating the cries of birds and animals. Another class of
wild beings are the Kachpikh, fantastic beings that live in desert
caves or in thick forests. These, too, are invisible, but they hate
man and cause disease and death. Still another class (reported by the
Missionary Bridges) are called Hannouch. Some of these are supposed
to have an eye in the back of their heads; others are hairless and
sleep standing up supported by a tree; they hold in hand a white stone
which they hurl with inevitable aim at any object soever, and they
sometimes attack and wound men. One man, said to have been stolen
away as a child by the Hannouch, was named _Hannouchmachaaïnan_,
"stolen-by-the-Hannouch." Any man who goes off to live by himself is
called a Hannouch, while a demented person is regarded as tormented by
one of these beings.

The Fuegian's equivalent for the Eskimo's Angakok is the Yakamouch.
Bridges' account is quoted by Hyades: "Nearly every old man of the
people is a Yakamouch, for it is very easy to become one; they are
recognizable at a glance from the gray colour of their hair, a colour
produced by the daily application of a whitish clay. They make frequent
incantations in which they appear to address a mysterious being named
Aïapakal; they claim to possess, from a spirit called Hoakils, a
supernatural power of life and death; they recount their dreams, and
when they have eaten in dream any person, this signifies that that
person will die. It is believed that they can draw from the bodies of
the sick the cause of their ill, called _aïkouch_, visible in the form
of an arrow or a harpoon point of flint, which they cause, moreover,
to issue from their own stomachs at will.... They seem to believe that
these sorcerers can influence the weather for good or bad; they throw
shells into the wind to cause it to cease and they give themselves over
to incantations and contortions." Women also may be Yakamouch, and
there is even a report that formerly none but women professed the art.

The Fuegians are a vanishing people,--even in a vanishing race.
They have long and often been cited as a people without religion.
After recounting what is here narrated of their beliefs, Dr. Hyades
concludes: "In all these legends, we see no reason seriously to admit a
_belief_ in supernatural beings or in a future life, and consequently
a religious sentiment, among the Fuegians." This judgement, however,
is not wholly supported by the observations of others. According to
the fathers of the Salesian mission[221] the Alakaluf believe in "an
invisible being called Taquatú, whom they imagine to be a giant who
travels by day and night in a big canoe, over the sea and rivers,
and who glides as well through the air over the tops of the trees
without bending their branches; if he finds any men or women idle or
not on the alert he takes them without more ado into his great boat
and carries them far away from home." Captain Low, of the Fitzroy
expedition, asserted that there was not only a belief in "an immense
black man" (Yaccy-ma) responsible for all sorts of evil, among the
west Patagonian channel natives, but also that they believed in "a good
spirit whom they called Yerri Yuppon," invoked in time of distress
and danger. On the other point, of belief in a future life, there
is no doubt but that the Fuegians recognize some form of ghost, or
breath-spirit, which haunts the walks of men. One missionary says of
the Yahgan that he thinks that "when a man dies, his breath goes up to
heaven"; nothing similar occurs in the case of animals.

Of myth in the legendary form only meagre fragments have been gathered
from the Fuegians, and of these the greater part come from the Ona, who
are akin to the Tehuelche.[222] According to Ona lore there formerly
"lived on earth bearded white men; the sun and moon were then husband
and wife; when men began to war, the sun and moon returned to the sky
and sent down a red star, the planet Mars, which turned into a giant on
the way; the giant killed all men, then made two mountains or clods of
clay, from one of which rose the first Ona man and from the other the
first Ona woman." The same tribe have a tradition of a cataclysm which
separated the island on which they dwell from the mainland. Both the
Ona and the Yahgan have traditions of a flood and tales of earth-born
men; and each of these peoples has also a mythic hero (Kuanip is the
Ona, Oumoara the Yahgan name) concerning whom tales are told. Some
of their stories appear to relate to historical transformations in
the mode of tribal life, as the tradition (maintained by both tribes)
that in former times the women were the tribal rulers, that the
men rebelled, and invented initiation rites and the ruse of masked
spirits in order to keep the women in subjection--a type of myth
which, however, is rather more plausibly of an aetiological than of
an historical character. In the main, nature is the theme of mythic
thought, and there is perhaps no more unique a group of ideas among
these peoples of the Far South than the Yahgan conception of the
relations of the celestial beings: the moon, they say, is the wife of
the rainbow, while the sun is elder brother to the moon and to shining

       *       *       *       *       *

There is much in the culture and fancies of these peoples of austral
America to recall the culture and fancies of their remote kinsmen of
the Polar North. The two Americas measure, as it were, the longitude
of human habitation, marked off zone by zone into every variety
of climate and terrain to which men's lives can be accommodated.
Moreover, the native peoples of this New World show a oneness of race
nowhere else to be found over so great an area; so that, in spite
of differences in culture almost as great as those which mark the
heights and depths of human condition in the more anciently peopled
hemisphere, there is a recognizable unity binding together Eskimo and
Aztec, Inca and Yahgan. Now what is surely most impressive is that this
unity is best represented neither by physical appearance nor material
achievement (where, indeed, the differences are most magnified),
but by a conservation of ideas and of the symbolic language of myth
which is at bottom one. Not that there is any single level of thought
common to all, for there is surely a world of intelligence between
the imaginative splendour of Mayan art and science and tradition
and the dimly haunted soul of the Fuegian who "supposes the sun and
moon, male and female, to be very old indeed, and that some old man,
who knew their maker, had died without leaving information on this
subject";[223] but that no matter what the failure to build or the
erosion of superstructure, or indeed no matter what the variety of
superstructures as, for example, made apparent in the characteristic
colours of North American and South American mythologies, there is
still _au fond_ a single racial complexion of mind, with a recognizable
kinship of the spiritual life. Through vast geographical distances,
among peoples long mutually forgotten if ever mutually known, in every
variety of natural garb, polar and tropical, forest and sea, this
kinship persists, not favoured by, but in spite of, environments
the most changing. It is not necessary here invariably to assume
migrations of ideas, passed externally from tribe to tribe, although
evidence of these, recent and remote, is frequent enough; it is not
sufficient to postulate merely the psychical unity of our common human
nature, although this, too, is a factor which we should not neglect;
but along with these we may reasonably conceive that the American
race, through its long isolation, even in its most tenuously connected
branches retains a certain deep communion of thought and feeling, a
lasting participation in its own mode of insight and its own quest of
inspiration, which unites it across the stretches of time and space.
The arctic tern is said to summer in the two polar zones, arctic and
antarctic, trued to its enormous flight by the most mystifying of all
animal instincts. Perhaps it is some human instinct as profound and as
mystifying which joins in one thought the scattered peoples of the two
continents, charting in modes more subtle than their obvious forms can
suggest the impulses which lead men to see their environmental world
not as their physical eyes perceive it, but, belied by their eyes, as
inner and whispering voices proclaim it to be.


[1] That there is an ultimate community of culture and thought between
the Andean and Mexican regions can hardly be doubted. Furthermore, it
is not merely primitive, but belongs to an era of some advancement
in the arts. Spinden (_Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central
America_ [New York, 1917], and elsewhere) has termed the early
stage the "archaic period," and he plausibly argues for its Mexican
origination and southward migration. But at any rate since near the
beginning of the Christian Era the civilizations of the two regions
have developed in virtual independence.

[2] The most admirable general introduction to the whole subject of
American ethnography is Wissler, _The American Indian_ (New York, 1917).

[3] The transition from the Antilles to Guiana is, however, rather
more marked than is that from the Orinoco to the Amazonian regions.
Virtually the whole South American region bounded by the Andes, the
Caribbean Sea, and the Argentinian Pampas is one ethnographically; so
that, in the present work, Chapters VIII and IX are descriptive of
a single region. However, the great rivers have always been natural
routes of exploration, and this has given to the river systems an
ethnographically factitious, but bibliographically real differentiation.

[4] Wm. Henry Brett, _Legends and Myths of the Aboriginal Indians of
British Guiana_ (London, no date).

[5] For a history of this interesting movement in certain phases of
European culture see Gilbert Chinard, _L'Exotisme américain_ (Paris,

[6] Among early writers on Antillean religion the most important
are Christopher Columbus, Ramon Pane, and Peter Martyr d'Anghiera.
Columbus left Fray Ramon Pane in Haiti with instructions to report
on the religious beliefs of the natives; and in Fernando Columbus's
_Historie_, ch. lxii, Pane's narrative is incorporated, introduced by a
brief quotation from Christopher Columbus, describing Zemiism. After
Pane, the account of Haitian religion in Peter Martyr's "First Decade"
is the most important source, although Benzoni, Gómara, Herrera, Las
Casas, and Oviedo give additional or corroborative information. Of
recent writings those of J. W. Fewkes, embodying the results of careful
archaeological studies, form the most important contribution. Part
ii of Joyce's _Central American and West Indian Archaeology_ gives a
general survey of the field, which is more briefly treated in livre ii,
3e partie, of Beuchat's _Manuel_, and in its comparative aspects by
Wissler, _The American Indian_.

[7] Beuchat, Joyce [a], and Fewkes [b] describe the condition of the
Antilleans at the time of the discovery as reconstructed from early
accounts and archaeological investigations. Of the early writings,
the descriptions of Las Casas are the most detailed. The use of
_Taïno_ to designate the island Arawakan tribes follows Fewkes [b],
p. 26: "Among the first words heard by the comrades of Columbus when
they landed in Guadeloupe were '_Taïno! taïno!_'--'Peace! peace!' or
'We are friends.' The designation '_taïno_' has been used by several
writers as a characteristic name for the Antillean race. Since it is
both significant and euphonious, it may be adopted as a convenient
substitute for the adjective 'Antillean' to designate a cultural type.
The author applies the term to the original sedentary people of the
West Indies, as distinguished from the Carib." The incident to which
reference is made is described in _Select Letters of Columbus (HS)_, p.
28. It is perhaps worth while to note that Peter Martyr (tr. MacNutt,
i. 66, 81) says that _taïno_ signifies "a virtuous man." The word
_carib, caniba,_ is the source of our _cannibal_. It is possible that
it means "man-eater" and is of Taïno origin. Columbus, in the _Journal_
of the first voyage (tr. Bourne, p. 223), is authority for the
statement that "Carib" is the Hispaniolan form of the name. Im Thurn
(p. 163) says that the Guiana Carib call themselves _Carinya_, which
would seem to show that the word is an autonym, in which case it may
mean, as Herrera says (III. v), "valiant." It is rather curious, if the
insular Carib were the inveterate cannibals the earlier writers make
them to be, that those of the mainland should have held the practice in
abhorrence, for which we have Humboldt's statement, _Voyage_ (tr. Ross,
ii. 413).

[8] A term of some interest is _cacique_, which is generally regarded
as Haitian in origin, being, says Peter Martyr (tr. MacNutt, i. 82)
their word for "king." Bastian, however, affirms that it is Arabic (ii.
293, note): "Das Wort Cazique ist nicht amerikanisch, sino arabigo,
usado entre los alarabes de Africa en el Reyno de Mazagan, con el qual
nombran al principal y cabeças de los aduares, como tambien le nombran
Xeque (meint Simon)."

[9] The literature of the discovery is summarized by Beuchat,
"Bibliographie," ch. iv. Christopher Columbus's _Letters_ and
_Journal_, tr. Major, Markham, and Bourne, are here quoted.

[10] The question of Amazons (cf. _infra_, Ch. IX, i), is a curious
commingling of Old and New World myth, with, perhaps, some foundation
in primitive custom, especially linguistic. Thus Beuchat, p. 509
(citing Raymond Breton and Lucien Adam; cf. also Ballet, citing du
Tertre, pp. 398-99), states that the Caribs of the Isles had separate
vocabularies, in part at least, for men and women, and that the women's
speech contained a majority of Arawak words. This argument should not
be pushed too far, however, for there are a number of South American
languages with well-differentiated man-tongue and woman-tongue, where
a similar origin of the difference is not shown. On his first voyage
Columbus (letters to de Santangel and Sanchez), though he did not meet
them, heard of "ferocious men, eaters of human flesh, wearing their
hair long like women." On the second voyage--as described by Chanca in
his "Letter to the Chapter of Seville" (_Select Letters_)--the Caribs
were encountered and found to be holding in slavery many Taïno women:
"In their attacks upon the neighbouring islands, these people capture
as many of the women as they can, especially those who are young and
beautiful, and keep them as concubines; and so great a number do they
carry off, that in fifty houses no men were to be seen" (p. 31). It is
added that the Caribs ate the children born of these captive women (a
custom ascribed also to some South American cannibalistic tribes); but
as it is said in the same connexion that captive boys were not devoured
until they grew up, "for they say that the flesh of boys and women is
not good to eat," the story is scarcely plausible. Herrera repeats that
the Caribs ate no women, but kept them as slaves, in association with
the statement that the natives of Dominica ate a friar, and dying of a
flux caused by his flesh, gave over their cannibalism. These stories
seem to point to a ritualistic element in the cannibalism, for to the
Carib the flesh of warriors was the only man's meat. Of course, in the
notion of Amazons there was an element of myth as well as of custom,
and the myth was certainly known to Columbus, if we may trust the
authenticity (and there is small reason to doubt it) of the paragraph
with which Ramon Pane's narrative is introduced. For the myth in
question see _supra_, pp. 31-32, and cf. Pane, chh. iii-v.

[11] The story of the search for the Fountain of Youth and of the
colony of Antillean Indians in Florida is to be found in Fontaneda, pp.
17-19. The influence of Antillean culture has been traced well to the
north of Florida, where it may have been extended by the pre-Muskhogean
population; see also Herrera, III. v.

[12] The story of Hathvey, or Hatuey, is given by Fewkes [b], pp.
211-12, and by Joyce [a], p. 244; its source is Las Casas [a], III. xxv.

[13] West Indian idolatry, called Zemiism, is earliest described in
the passage attributed to Christopher Columbus (Fernando Columbus,
ch. lxi); other authorities here quoted are Benzoni, pp. 78-80; Peter
Martyr, "First Decade," ix (tr. MacNutt, i. 167-78); Ramon Pane,
ch. xix-xxiv (tr. Pinkerton, xii. 87-89); and Las Casas [b], chh.
clxvi-vii; cf. also Fewkes, especially [b], [e], Joyce [a], and Beuchat.

[14] The most interesting artifacts from the Antilles are the stone
rings, triangles, and elbows, which must be regarded as certainly
ritualistic in character, and probably as used in fertility rites. This
is not only indicated by Columbus and Ramon Pane, but is supported by
numerous analogies. Ramon Pane (ch. xix) says: "The stone _cemis_ are
of several sorts: some there are which, they say, the physicians take
out of the body of the sick, and those they look upon as best to help
women in labour. Others there are that speak, which are shaped like a
long turnip, with the leaves long and extended, like the shrub-bearing
capers. Those leaves, for the most part, are like those of the elm.
Others have three points, and they think they cause the yucca to
thrive." It is perhaps not far-fetched to see in the triangular stones
analogues of the mountain-man images of the Tlaloque in Mexico, or of
the similar images from South America, certainly used in connexion
with rain ceremonies. Very likely separate forms were employed for
different plants, as maize or yucca. The stone rings, again, could
very reasonably be those which were supposed to help women in labour,
as seems to have been the case with the analogous rings and yokes from
Yucatan (see Fewkes, _25 ARBE_, pp. 259-61). Even if the two types of
stones were combined, as seems altogether likely, at least for magic
and divination, there is congruity in the relationship of both types
to fertility, animal and vegetable respectively. Señor J. J. Acosta
has suggested that the Antillean stone rings represent the bodies, and
the triangular stones the heads, of serpents; and this is not without
plausibility in view of the frequency with which serpents are regarded
as fertility emblems. It may be worth recalling, too, that an Antillean
name for doctor, or medicine-man, signified "serpent."

[15] There is no reason to assume any essential difference in character
in the shamans or medicine-men of the North and South American Indians.
In general, the lower the tribe in the scale of political organization,
the more important is the shaman or doctor, and the more distinctly
individual and the less tribal are the offices which he performs; as
organization grows in social complexity, the function of priest emerges
as distinct from that of doctor, the priest becoming the depository of
ritual, and the doctor or shaman, on a somewhat lower level, attending
the sick or practising magic and prophecy. Apparently in the Antilles
the two offices were on the way to differentiation, if, indeed, they
were not already distinct. The _bohutis, buhuitihus, boii,_ or, as
Peter Martyr latinizes, _bovites_ of this region were evidently both
doctors and priests. Certainly both Ramon Pane's and Peter Martyr's
descriptions imply this; though there are some hints which would seem
to point to a special class of ritual priests, who may or may not
have been doctors, as when priests are said to act as mouthpieces of
the cacique in giving oracles from hollow statues, or as when Martyr
(following Pane) says that "only the sons of chiefs" are allowed to
learn the traditional chants of the great ceremonials (p. 172). The
term _peaiman_, applied to the shamans of the Guiana tribes, is, says
im Thurn (p. 328), an Anglicized form of the Carib word _puyai_ or
_peartzan_. The _peaiman_, im Thurn states, "is not simply the doctor,
but also, in some sense, the priest or magician." As matter of fact,
the priestly element is slight among the continental Caribs, their
practice being pure shamanism; and Fewkes ([b], p. 54) says that they
"still speak of their priests as _ceci-semi_"--a term clearly related
to _zemi_. "The prehistoric Porto Ricans," he says again (ib. p. 59),
"had a well-developed priesthood, called _boii_ (serpents), _mabouya_,
and _buhiti_, which are apparently dialect or other forms of the same
word." It was in Porto Rico, of course, that Carib and Taïno elements
were most mixed. Brett [a], p. 363, in a note, derives the word _piai_
from Carib _puiai_, which, he says, is in Ackawoi _piatsan_; while
the Arawak use _semecihi_, and the Warau _wisidaa_, for the same
functionary. Certainly the resemblance of _boye_ and _puiai_, and of
_zemi_ and _semecihi_, or _ceci-semi_, indicates identities of origin,
though the particular meanings are not altogether the same.

[16] Little is preserved of Antillean myth, and that little is
contained almost wholly in the narrative of Ramon Pane. The authorities
here quoted are Ramon Pane, chh. i, ix-xi, ii-vii (tr. Pinkerton, xii);
Peter Martyr (tr. MacNutt, i. 167-70); Benzoni; and Ling Roth, in _JAI_
xvi. 264-65. Stoddard gives free versions of several of the tales.

[17] Peter Martyr, _loc. cit._ (quoting pp. 166-67, 172-76).

[18] Gómara [a], ch. xxvii, p. 173, ed. Vedia (tr. Fewkes [b], pp.
66-67); cf. Benzoni, pp. 79-82; Las Casas [b], ch. clxvii. The plate
representing the Earth Spirit ceremony is taken from (cf. Fewkes [b],
Plate IX) Picart, _The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Several
Nations of the known World_, London, 1731-37, Plate No. 78.

[19] Im Thurn, pp. 335-38; cf. Fewkes [e], p. 355.

[20] Ramon Pane, chh. xiv, xxv; Gómara [a], ch. xxxiii, pp. 175-76, ed.
Vedia, gives supplementary information.

[21] Authorities cited for Carib lore are Columbus, _Select Letters_,
pp. 29-37; im Thurn, pp. 192, 217, 222; Fewkes [b], pp. 27, 217-20,
68; Ballet, citing du Tertre and others, pp. 421-22, 433-38, 400-01;
Davies, cited by Fewkes [b], pp. 60, 65; Currier, citing la Borde, pp.

[22] Holmes, "Areas of American Culture" (in _AA_, new series, xvi,
1914) gives a chart of North America showing five culture areas
for Mexico and Central America, in general corresponding to the
grouping here made. The _American Indian_ of Wissler, the _Ancient
Civilizations_ of Spinden, the _Manuel_ of Beuchat and the _Mexican
Archaeology_ of Joyce follow approximately the same lines. E. G.
Tarayre's "Report" in _Archives de la commission scientifique du
Mexique_, iii (Paris, 1867) contains "Notes ethnographiques sur les
régions mexicaines." For linguistic divisions the standard works
are Orozco y Berra [b], Nicolás León [a], and especially Thomas and
Swanton, _Indian Languages of Mexico and Central America (44 BBE)_; cf.
Mechling [b]. Contemporary ethnography is described in Lumholtz [a],
[b], [c], in McGee, and in Starr [a], [b].

[23] Doubtless it should be stated at the outset that there is serious
and reasonable question on the part of not a few students of aboriginal
Mexico as to whether Aztec institutions merit the name "empire" in
any sense analogous to those of the imperial states of the Old World.
"A loose confederacy of democratic Indians" is the phrase employed by
Waterman [a], p. 250, in describing the form of the Mexican state as
it is pictured by Morgan, Bandelier, Fiske, and others (see Waterman,
_loc. cit._, for sources); and it is altogether reasonable to expect
that Americanist studies will eventually show that the great Middle
American nations were developed from, and retained characteristics
of, communities resembling the Pueblos of our own Southwest rather
than the European states which the Spaniards had in the eye when they
made their first observations. It is to be expected, too, that a
changed complexion put upon the interpretation of Mexican society will
eventually modify the interpretation of Mexican ritual and mythology,
giving it, for example, something less of the uranian significance upon
which scholars of the school of Förstermann and Seler put so great
weight, and something more, if not of the Euhemerism of Brasseur de
Bourbourg, at least of reliance upon social motives and historical

[24] Of all regions of primitive America, ancient Mexico is represented
by the most extensive literature; and here, too, more has been
transmitted directly from native sources than is the case elsewhere.
The hieroglyphic codices, the anonymous _Historia de los Mexicanos por
sus pinturas_ and _Historia de los Reynos de Colhuacan y de Mexico_
(better known and commonly cited as _The Annals of Quauhtitlan_), and
the writings of men of native blood in the Spanish period, notably
Ixtlilxochitl, Tezozomoc, and Chimalpahin, are the most important
of these sources; unless, as is doubtless proper, the works of
Sahagun, originally written in Nahuatl from native sources, be here
included--undoubtedly the single source of greatest importance. Among
Spanish writers of the early period, after Sahagun, the most important
are Cristobal del Castillo, Diego Durán, Gómara, Herrera, Mendieta,
Motolinia, Tobar, and Torquemada. Boturini, Clavigero, Veytia,
Kingsborough, Prescott, and Brasseur de Bourbourg are important names
of the intermediate period; while recent scholarship is represented by
Brinton, Bancroft, Hamy, García Icazbalceta, Orozco y Berra, Peñafiel,
Ramirez, Rosny, and most conspicuously by Seler. The most convenient
recent introductions to the subject are afforded by Beuchat, _Manuel_;
Joyce, _Mexican Archaeology_; Spinden, _Ancient Civilizations of
Mexico_; while the best guide to the whole literature is Lehmann's
"Ergebnisse und Aufgaben der mexikanistischen Forschung," in _Archiv
für Anthropologie_, new series, vi, 1907 (translated as _Methods and
Results in Mexican Research_, Paris, 1909). But while the material is
relatively abundant, it is so only for the dominant race represented by
the Aztec. For the non-Nahuatlan civilizations of Mexico the literature
is sparse, especially upon the side of mythology. Sahagun gives certain
details, mainly incidental, except in X. xxix, which is devoted to
a brief description of the peoples of Mexico. Gómara, Herrera, and
Torquemada afford added materials, touching several regions. For the
Totonac-Huastec region the sources are particularly scanty, except for
such descriptions of externals as naturally appear in the chronicles
of Cortez, Bernal Diaz, and other _conquistadores_ who here made their
first intimate acquaintance with the mainland natives. Fewkes [g] deals
with the monuments of the Totonac region, and expresses the opinion
(p. 241, note) that the Codex Tro-Cortesianus, commonly said to be
Maya, was obtained in this region, near Cempoalan; Holmes [b], and
Seler, in numerous places, are also material sources for interpretation
of the monuments. For the Tarascans of Michoacan the most important
source is an anonymous _Relacion de las ceremonias, rictos, poblacion
y gobernacion de los Indios de Michuacan hecha al illmo. Sr. D. Ant.
de Mendoza_ (Madrid, 1875; Morelia, 1903), while of recent studies
Nicolás León's _Los Tarascos_ (see León [c]) is the most comprehensive.
The Mixtec-Zapotec area fares better, both as to number of sources and
later studies. Burgoa, Juan de Córdoba, Gregorio García, Balsalobre,
Herrera, Las Casas, and Torquemada are the primary authorities; while
the most significant later studies are doubtless those of Seler, "The
Mexican Chronology with Special Reference to the Zapotec Calendar,"
and "Wall Paintings of Mitla," both in _28 BBE_. Brasseur de Bourbourg
[a], bk. ix, deals with the Mixtec-Zapotec and Tarascan peoples, and
is still a good introduction to the literature. Cf. also Alvarez;
Castellanos (himself a Zapotec); Génin; León [d]; Mechling; Portillo;

[25] The works of Clavigero, Helps, Prescott, Orozco y Berra [b], and
Veytia are the best-known histories narrating the Spanish conquest
of Mexico. Of the earlier writers Bernal Diaz, who took part in the
expeditions of Cordova and Grijalva, as well as in that of Cortez, is
the most important (of his work there are several English translations
besides that of Maudsley in _HS_--by Maurice Keatinge, London, 1800,
by John G. Lockhart, London, 1844, and a condensed version by Kate
Stephens, _The Mastering of Mexico_, New York, 1915).

[26] Bernal Diaz, ch. xcii (quoted), describes the ascent of the temple
overlooking Tlatelolco. Seler [a], ii. 769-70, says that on the upper
platform were two shrines, one to Tlaloc, the other to the three idols
described by Bernal Diaz, of which the principal was not "Huichilobos"
(Huitzilopochtli), but Coatlicue, the earth goddess. The "page" Seler
regards as the tutelary of Tlatelolco, called Tlacauepan. The great
temple of Huitzilopochtli was in the centre of the city, on the site of
the present Cathedral. See León y Gama; Seler [a], _loc. cit._; and cf.
Zelia Nuttall, "L'Évèque Zumárraga et les principales idoles du Templo
Mayor de Mexico," in _SocAA_ xxx (1911).

[27] General descriptions of the Aztec pantheon are given by Beuchat,
livre ii, Ie partie, chh. v, vi, and by Joyce [b], ch. ii. The most
important early source is Sahagun, bk. i; other primary sources are
Mendieta, bk. ii (derived from de Olmos), León y Gama (in part from
Cristobal del Castillo), Ruiz de Alarcón, Jacinto de la Serna, the
_Tratado de los ritos y ceremonias y dioses_ of the _Códice Ramirez_
(see Tobar, in Bibliography), and the explanations of the Codices
Vaticanus A and Telleriano-Remensis (Kingsborough, v, vi). Of recent
works the most significant are Seler [a] (collected essays), and [b],
[c], [d], [e] (analyses of divinatory or astrological codices).

[28] For data concerning the use of these numbers by American peoples
north of Mexico, see _Mythology of All Races_, Boston, 1916, x, Ch.
IX, iv, and Notes 11, 31, 42, 50, with references there given. Further
allusions to the nine and thirteen of Mexican cosmology will be found
_infra_, Ch. III, i, iii. The origin of the peculiar uses of the number
thirteen is a puzzle without satisfactory solution. In the explanation
of Vaticanus A (Kingsborough, vi. 198, note), it is said--referring
to the statement that "Tonacatecotle" presides over the "thirteen
causes"--that "the causes are really only nine, corresponding in
number with the heavens. But since four of them are reckoned twice in
every series of thirteen days, in order that each day might be placed
under some peculiar influence, they are said to be thirteen." This,
however, is probably assuming effect for cause (cf. Ch. III, iii).

[29] Sahagun, VI. xxxii. Other references to Sahagun are, III, Appendix
i; X. xxi.

[30] Seler [b], p. 31; [c], pp. 5, 10, 14.

[31] Seler [c], pp. 5-31, where he discusses the whole problem of
cruciform and caryatid figures; as also in [e], ii., 107, 126-34; [d],
pp. 76-93.

[32] Seler [a], index, _s. w_., is a guide to the manifold attributes
of the Aztec gods. The most important myths concerning them are related
by Sahagun, bk. iii, and by the authorities cited with respect to
cosmogonies, _infra_, Ch. III, i, ii.

[33] See especially Seler [a], ii, "Die Ausgrabungen am Orte des
Haupttempels in Mexico"; [c], p. 112; Sahagun, III. i; _Tratado de los
Ritos_, etc. (see Tobar, in Bibliography); Robelo [a], _s. v._; and
Charency, _L'Origine de la légende d'Huitzilopochtli_ (Paris, 1897);
cf. also _infra_, Ch. III, v. The story of Tlahuicol is given by
Clavigero, V. vi.

[34] See Seler [b], p. 60; [c], pp. 33, 205; [d], pp. 77, 95-96; [e],
index. The prayers quoted are in Sahagun, VI. i, iv, v, vi; while the
famous sacrifice is described in II. v, xxiv (also by Torquemada, VII.
xix and X. xiv; and picturesquely by Prescott, I. iii). The myths are
in Sahagun, III. iv ff.; a version with a different list of magicians
(Ihuimecatl and Toltecatl are the companions of Tezcatlipoca) is given
by Ramirez, _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_, pp. 17-18.

[35] See Seler, indexes, and the picturesque and romantic treatment by
Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], iii. The more striking early sources are
Sahagun, III. iii-xv; VI. vii, xxv (quoted), xxxiv (quoted); IX. xxix;
X. iii, iv; Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, I. i, ii; _Anales de
Cuauhtitlan_, pp. 17-23; Mendieta, II. v; and _Explicación del Codex
Telleriano-Remensis_ (Kingsborough, v). For later discussions see Léon
de Rosny, "Le Mythe de Quetzalcoatl," in _Archives de la société des
américanistes de France_ (Paris, 1878); Seler [a], iii, "Ueber die
natürlichen Grundlagen mexikanischer Mythen"; [b], pp. 41-48 (p. 45
here quoted); and Joyce [b], pp. 46-51. Duplicates or analogues of
Quetzalcoatl are described in _Mythology of All Races_, Boston, 1916,
x, Ch. IX, iii, v; Ch. XI, ii (p. 243); and _infra_, Ch. IV, ii; Ch. V,
iv; Ch. VI, iv; Ch. VII, iv; Ch. VIII, ii.

[36] For Tlaloc see especially Seler [a], iii. 100-03; [b], pp. 62-67;
Sahagun, I. iv, xxi; II. i, iii, xx (quoted), and Appendix, where is
given the description of the curious octennial festival in which the
rain-gods were honoured with a dance at which live frogs and snakes
were eaten; the feast was accompanied by a fast viewed as a means of
permitting the deities to resuscitate their food-creating energies,
which were regarded as overworked or exhausted by their eight years'
labour. See also _Historia de los Mexicanos for sus Pinturas_, chh.
ii, vi; and Hamy [b]. References to Chalchiuhtlicue will be found in
Seler [a], index; [b], pp. 56-58; etc. The ritual prayer is recorded by
Sahagun, VI. xxxii.

[37] Sahagun, bk. i; Seler [a], index; and Robelo [a], are guides to
the analysis and grouping of the Aztec deities.

[38] See Seler [d], pp. 130-131.

[39] Seler [a], ii. 1071-78, and _CA_ xiii. 171-74 (hymn to Xipe Totec,
here freely rendered). See, also, Seler [b], pp. 100-104, and [a], ii,
"Die religiösen Gesänge der alten Mexikaner" (cf. Brinton [d], [e]),
where a number of deities are characterized by translations and studies
of hymns preserved in a Sahagun MS. A description of the Pawnee form of
the arrow sacrifice will be found in _Mythology of All Races_, Boston,
1916, x. 76 (with plate), and Note 58. The Aztec form is pictured in
Codex Nuttall, No. 83, as is also the famous _sacrificio gladiatorio_
(as the Spaniards called it), of which Durán, _Album_, gives several
drawings. The _sacrificio gladiatorio_ was apparently in some rites a
first stage leading to the arrow sacrifice (see Seler [e], i. 170-73,
where several figures are reproduced).

[40] Tonacatecutli is treated by Seler [d], pp. 130 ff. See also,
_supra_, Ch. II, iii; _infra_, Ch. III, i.

[41] Seler [d], p. 133; and for discussion of Xochiquetzal, Seler [b],
pp. 118-24.

[42] Sahagun, I. vi, xii. Seler [b], pp. 92-100, discusses Tlazolteotl,
on p. 93 giving the story of the sacrifice of the Huastec, taken from
Ramirez, _Anales_, pp. 25-26.

[43] The conception of sacrifice as instituted to keep the world
vivified, and especially to preserve the life of the Sun, appears in
a number of documents, particularly in connexion with cosmogony (see
Ch. III, i, ii), as Sahagun, III, Appendix, iv; VI. iii; VII. ii;
_Explicacion del Codex Telleriano-Remensis_ (Kingsborough, v. 135); and
especially in the _Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas_; see
also Payne, i. 577-82; Seler [a], iii. 285; [b], pp. 37-41; "Die Sage
von Quetzalcouatl," in _CA_ xvi (Vienna, 1910).

[44] Sahagun, III, Appendix, i (quoted); cf. Seler [b], pp. 82-86. See
also Sahagun, _loc. cit._, ch. ii, for a description of Tlalocan, and
ch. iii. for a description of the celestial paradise (cf. I. x and VI.

[45] The meaning of _Tamoanchan_ is discussed by Preuss, "Feuergötter,"
who regards it as an underworld region; by Beyer, in _Anthropos_, iii,
who explains it as the Milky Way; and by Seler [a], ii, "Die religiösen
Gesänge der alten Mexikaner," and [e] (see index), who identifies
it with the western region, the house of the evening sun. Xolotl is
discussed, in the same connexions, by Seler; see especially [b], pp.
108-12. The myth from Sahagun is in VII. ii; those from Mendieta in II.
i, ii.

[46] The limbo of children's souls is described in the _Spiegazione
dette tavole del Códice Mexicano_ (here quoting Kingsborough, vi. 171).

[47] Mexican cosmogonies are discussed by Robelo [a], art.
"Cosmogonia," in _AnMM_, 2a época, iii; Bancroft, III. ii (full
bibliographical notes); R. H. Lowie, art. "Cosmogony and Cosmology
(Mexican and South American)," in _ERE_; Brühl, pp. 398-401; Brinton
[a], vii; Charency [a]; Müller, pp. 510-12; Spence [b], iii. A literary
version of some of the old cosmogonic stories is given by Castellanos

[48] Herrera, III. iii. 10 (quoted by León, in _AnMM_, 2a época, i.

[49] Mixtec and Zapotec myth are studied by Seler, _28 BBE_, pp.
285-305 (pp. 289, 286 are here quoted); the source cited for the Mixtec
myth is Gregorio García, _Origen de los Indios_, V. iv; for Zapotec,
Juan de Córdoba, _Arte del Idioma Zapoteca_.

[50] Sahagun, VI. vii, with reference to the Chichimec (elsewhere he
speaks of Mixcoatl as an Otomian god); X. xxix. I, with reference to
the Toltec; III. i, ii, and VII. ii, with reference to the origin of
the sun, etc.

[51] Seler [b], p. 38.

[52] Mendieta (after Fray Andrés de Olmos), II. i-iv.

[53] The fullest versions of the Mexican cosmic ages, or "Suns," are:
(a) Ixtlilxochitl (_Historia Chichimeca_, I. i; _Relaciones_, ed.
Kingsborough, ix. 321 ff., 459); (b) _Historia de los Mexicanos por
sus Pinturas_, i-viii--the narrative which most resembles a primitive
myth; (c) _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_ (ed. Ramirez, pp. 9-11), partly
translated into French by Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], i. Appendice, pp.
425-27, where the version of the deluge myth is given; (d) _Spiegazione
dette tavole del Codice Mexicano_ (i.e. Codex Vaticanus A), where
Plates VII-X are described as symbols of the Suns; though a discordant
explanation is given in connexion with Plate V. Other authorities are
Gómara [b], p. 431; Muñoz Camargo, p. 132; Humboldt [a], ii, Plate
XXVI; and especially Charency [a], who makes a comparative study of
the myth. Monumental evidences are discussed by Seler [a], ii, "Die
Ausgrabungen am Orte des Haupttempels in Mexico," and by MacCurdy [a].
Maya forms of the myth are sketched _infra_, pp. 153-55; cf. pp. 159

[54] The _Spiegazione_ contains the description of the deluge
(Kingsborough, vi. 195-96), chiefly in connexion with Plate XVI.
Similar material, briefly treated, is in the _Explicación del Codex

[55] The literature dealing with the Mexican calendar is voluminous.
Summary treatments of the subject, based on recent studies, are to be
found in Beuchat, II. i. 5; Joyce [b], iii.; Preuss, art. "Calendar
(Mexican and Mayan)," in _ERE_. The primary sources for knowledge of
the calendar are three: (1) writings of the early chroniclers, among
whom the most noteworthy are Sahagun, books ii, iv, vii, and León y
Gama, who derives in part from Cristobal del Castillo; (2) calendric
codices, the more important being Codex Borgia, studied by Fábrega, in
_AnMM_ v, and by Seler [a], i, and [e]; Codex Borbonicus, studied by
Hamy [a], and de Jonghe; Codex Vaticanus B (3773), studied by Seler
[d]; Codex Ferjérváry-Mayer, studied by Seler [c]; Codex Bologna
(or Cospianus), studied by Seler [a], i; Codex Nuttall, studied by
Nuttall; and the _Tonalamatl of the Aubin Collection_, studied by
Seler [b]; (3) monuments, especially calendar stones: León y Gama,
_Dos Piedras_; Chavero [a]; MacCurdy [a]; and Róbelo [b] are studies
of such monuments. Recent investigations of importance, in addition to
papers by Seler ([a] and elsewhere), are Z. Nuttall, "The Periodical
Adjustments of the Ancient Mexican Calendar," in _AA_, new series, vi
(1904), and Preuss, "Kosmische Hieroglyphen der Mexikaner," in _ZE_
xxxiii (1901). Studies of the Maya calendar (especially the important
contributions of Förstemann, in _28 BBE_) and of that of the Zapotec
(Seler, "The Mexican Chronology, with Special Reference to the Zapotec
Calendar," ib.) are, of course, intimately related to the Aztec system.
For statement of current problems, see Lehmann [a], pp. 164-66.

[56] For Mexican astronomy, in addition to the studies of the codices,
see Sahagun, bk. vii; Tezozomoc, lxxxii; Seler, _28 BBE_, "The Venus
Period in the Picture Writings of the Borgian Codex Group" (tr. from
art. in _Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und
Urgeschichte_, 1898); Hagar [a], [b]; Chavero [b]; and Nuttall [a],
especially pp. 245-59. On the question of the zodiac, advocated by
Hagar, see H. J. Spinden, "The Question of the Zodiac in America," in
_AA_, new series, xviii (1916), and the bibliography there given.

[57] Accounts of the archaeology of Tollan, or Tula, are to be found
in Charnay [a], iv-vi, and in Joyce [b], especially in the Appendix.
Sahagun's description of the Toltec is in X. xxix. 1. The _Spiegazione_
of Codex Vaticanus A, Plate X, gives interesting additions (here
quoted from Kingsborough, vi. 178). The chief authority, however, is
Ixtlilxochitl, whose accounts of the Toltec, Chichimec, and especially
Tezcucan powers have frequently been regarded with suspicion, as
coloured by too free a fancy. Nevertheless, as Lehmann points out ([a],
p. 121), it is certain that Ixtlilxochitl had at his command sources
now lost. Much of his material is clearly in a native vein, and there
is no impossibility that it is a version of history which is only
slightly exalted.

[58] Spanish and French versions of the elegy of Nezahualcoyotl (here
rather freely adapted) are in _TC_ xiv. 368-73.

[59] The Aztec migration is a conspicuous feature of native tradition,
and is, therefore, prominent in the histories, being figured by several
of the codices, as well as in Durán's _Album_. An early narration of
the Aztec myth forms chh. ix ff. of the _Historia de los Mexicanos
por sus Pinturas_, while the _Historia de los Reynos de Colhuacan y
de México_, the narrative of the "Anónimo Mexicano," and Tezozomoc,
i-iii, give other native versions. Mendieta, Sahagun, and Durán, are
other sources for the myth. Seler [a], ii, "Wo lag Aztlan, die Heimat
der Azteken?" gives a careful study of the mythical elements in the
migration-story as displayed in the Codex Boturini and elsewhere.
Orozco y Berra [a], iv, presents a comparative study of the Aztec
rulers, drawn from the various accounts. Buelna's _Peregrinación_ is
generally regarded as the completest study of the migration from both
legendary and archaeological evidence. Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], VI.
iv, contains an account of the Aztlan myth, while VII sketches the
development of Nahuatlan power in Tezcuco and Mexico; in ii. 598-602,
the Abbé gives his chronological restoration of the history of Anahuac.
Motezuma's _Corona Mexicana_ should be mentioned as a partly native
source for the records of the Aztec monarchs; while Chimalpahin
represents not only a native record, but one composed in the native

[60] Mendieta, II. xxxiii-xxxiv.

[61] Sahagun, X. xxix. 12.

[62] Best known is the Codex Boturini (reproduced in Kingsborough, i;
see also García Cubas [b], where Codex Boturini is compared with a
supplementary historical painting; interesting reproductions of related
Acolhua paintings, the "Mappe Tlotzin" and the "Mappe Quinatzin," are
in Aubin [a]).

[63] Durán, xxvii.

[64] Accounts of the portents that preceded the coming of Cortez are
conspicuous in nearly all the early narratives; among them Acosta, VI.
xxii; Clavigero, V. xii, etc.; Chimalpahin, "Septième relation"; Durán,
lxi, lxiii, etc.; Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, II. lxxii;
Sahagun, XII. i; Tezozomoc, xcvii; Torquemada, III. xci.

[65] The Papago myth is given by Bancroft, III. ii (after Davidson,
_Report on Indian Affairs_ [Washington, 1865], pp. 131-33); cf.
Lumholtz [c], p. 42.

[66] For identification of the Nicaraguan divinities (originally
described by Oviedo) see Seler [a], ii. 1029-30. Phases of contemporary
pagan myth in Mexico are treated by Lumholtz (_passim_), Preuss,
Mechling [a], Mason, and Radin. Interesting ritualistic analogies are
suggested by Fewkes, Evans, Génin, Nuttall, and Preuss.

[67] Preuss [a], [b], and Lumholtz [b], I. xxix.

[68] Preuss, "Die magische Denkweise der Cora-Indianer," in _CA_ xviii
(London, 1913), pp. 129-34.

[69] Seler [a], iii. 376, regards the Huichol Tamats as the Morning
Star, which is certainly plausible in view of his similarity to
Chuvalete of the Cora. Huichol myth and deities are described by
Lumholtz [a], ii (p. 12 here quoted); [b], II. ix; cf., also, Preuss.

[70] Lumholtz [b], i. 356.

[71] The physiography and ethnography of the Maya region are summarized
in Spinden [a]; Beuchat, II, ii; and in Joyce [b], ch. viii. Wissler,
_The American Indian_ in this, as in other fields, most effectively
presents the relations--ethnical, cultural, historical--to the other
American groups. Recent special studies of importance are Tozzer [a];
Starr, _In Indian Mexico_, etc.; Sapper [b]; and the more distinctively
archaeological studies of Holmes, Morley, Spinden, and others.

[72] It is unfortunate that the region of Maya culture was the subject
of no such full reports, dating from the immediate post-Conquest
period, as we possess from Mexico. The more important of the Spanish
writers who deal with the Yucatec centres are Aguilar, Cogolludo,
Las Casas, Landa, Lizana, Nuñez de la Vega, Ordoñez y Aguiar, Pio
Pérez, Pedro Ponce, and Villagutierre, with Landa easily first in
significance. The histories of Eligio Ancona and of Carrillo y Ancona
are the leading Spanish works of later date. Native writings are
represented by three hieroglyphic pre-Cortezian codices, namely, Codex
Dresdensis, Codex Tro-Cortesianus, and Codex Peresianus, as well as by
the important _Books of Chilam Balam_ and the _Chronicle_ of Nakuk Pech
from the early Spanish period (for description of thirteen manuscripts
and bibliography of published works relating to their interpretation,
see Tozzer, "The Chilam Balam Books," in _CA_ xix [Washington, 1917]).
Yet what Mayan civilization lacks in the way of literary monuments
is more than compensated by the remains of its art and architecture,
to which an immense amount of shrewd study has been devoted. The
more conspicuous names of those who have advanced this study are
mentioned in connexion with the literature of the Maya calendar,
Note 92, _infra_. The region has been explored archaeologically
with great care, the magnificent reports of Maudsley (in _Biologia
Centrali-Americana_) and of the Peabody Museum expeditions (_Memoirs_),
prepared by Gordon, Maler, Thompson, and others, being the collections
of eminence. Brasseur de Bourbourg can scarcely be mentioned too often
in connexion with this field. His fault is that of Euhemerus, but he
is neither the first nor the last of the tribe of this sage; while for
his virtues, he shows more constructive imagination than any other
Americanist: probably the picture which he presents would be less
criticized were it less vivid.

[73] Landa, chh. v-xi (vi, ix, being here quoted).

[74] The sources for the history of the Maya are primarily the native
chronicles (the _Books of Chilam Balam_), the _Relaciones de Yucatán_,
and the histories of Cogolludo, Landa, Lizana, and Villagutierre.
The deciphering of the monumental dates of the southern centres has
furnished an additional group of facts, the correlation of which to
the history of the north has become a special problem, with its own
literature. The most important attempts to synchronize Maya dates with
the years of our era are by Pio Pérez (reproduced both by Stephens
[b] and by Brasseur de Bourbourg [b]); Seler [a], i, "Bedeutung des
Maya-Kalenders für die historische Chronologie"; Goodman [a], [b];
Bowditch [a]; Spinden [a], pp. 130-35; [b] (with chart); Joyce [b],
Appendix iii (with chart); and Morley [a], [b], [c] and [d]. Bowditch,
Spinden, Joyce, and Morley are not radically divergent and may be
regarded as representing the conservative view--here accepted as
obviously the plausible one. Carrillo y Ancona, ch. ii, analyzes some
of the earlier opinions; while the first part of Ancona's _Historia de
Yucatán_ is devoted to ancient Yucatec history and is doubtless the
best general work on the subject.

[75] Brinton [f], p. 100 ("Introduction" to the _Book of Chilan Balam
of Mani_).

[76] Spinden [b]; Joyce [b], ch. viii. But cf. Morley's chronological
scheme, _infra_; and Spinden [a], pp. 130-35.

[77] Morley [c], ch. i.

[78] Morley [b], p. 140. In this connection (p. 144) Morley summarizes
the various speculations as to the causes which led to the abandonment
of the southern centres, as reduction of the land by primitive
agricultural methods (Cook), climatic changes (Huntington), physical,
moral and political decadence (Spinden). He adds: "Probably the decline
of civilization in the south was not due to any one of these factors
operating singly, but to a combination of adverse influences, before
which the Maya finally gave way."

[79] The culture heroes of Maya myth have taken possession of the
imaginations of the Spanish chroniclers, and indeed of not a few later
commentators, rather as clues to native history than to mythology.
Bancroft, iii. 450-55, 461-67, summarizes the materials from Spanish
sources; which is treated also, from the point of view of possible
historical elucidation, by Ancona, I. iii; Carrillo y Ancona, ii, iii;
Comte de Charency [b]; García Cubas, in _SocAA_ xxx, nos. 3-6; and
Santibáñez, in _CA_ xvii. 2.

[80] The primary sources for the Votan stories are Cogolludo, Ordoñez y
Aguiar, and Nuñez de la Vega, whose narratives are liberally summarized
by Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], I. i, ii (pp. 68-72 containing the
passages from Ordoñez here quoted).

[81] For Zamna (or Itzamna) the sources are Cogolludo, Landa, and
Lizana, summarized by Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], I. pp. 76-80.
Quotations are here made from Cogolludo, IV. iii, vi; Brasseur de
Bourbourg [f], ii, "Vocabulaire générale"; and Lizana (ed. Brasseur de
Bourbourg), pp. 356-59; cf. also Seler [a], index; Landa, chh. xxxv,

[82] Identifications of images of Itzamna and Kukulcan are discussed by
Dieseldorff, in _ZE_ xxvii. 770-83; Spinden [a], pp. 60-70; Joyce [b],
ch. ix, and Morley [c], pp. 16-19.

[83] Cogolludo, Landa, and Lizana are the chief sources for the
Kukulcan stories,--especially Landa, chh. vi, xl, being here quoted.
Tozzer [a], p. 96, is quoted; cf., for Yucatec survival, p. 157.

[84] Citations from Landa in this section are from chh. xxvii, xl
(which records the new year's festivals), xxxiii (describing the future
world), and xxxiv. Landa is our chief source for knowledge of the
Yucatec rites and of the deities associated with them; additional or
corroborative details being furnished by Aguilar, Cogolludo, Lizana,
Las Casas, Ponce, and Pio Pérez.

[85] Interpretations of the names of the Maya deities, as here given,
are from Brasseur de Bourbourg [f], ii, "Vocabulaire"; and Seler [a],

[86] Lizana (ed. Brasseur de Bourbourg), pp. 360-61.

[87] Schellhas [b] gives his identifications and descriptions of the
gods of the codices; additional materials are contained in Fewkes [i];
Förstemann [b]; Joyce [b], ch. ix; Morley [c], pp. 16-19; Spinden [b],
pp. 60-70; and Bancroft, iii, ch. xi.

[88] Tozzer [a], pp. 150 ff.; also, for the Lacandones, pp. 93-99. The
names of the deities, Maya and Lacandone, are here in several cases
altered slightly from the form in which Tozzer gives them, for the sake
of avoiding the use of unfamiliar phonetic symbols; the result is, of
course, phonetic approximation only.

[89] Landa, chh. xxvi, xxvii.

[90] Las Casas [b], ch. cxxiii.

[91] Landa, ch. xxxiv. In chh. iii, xxxii, he gives information in
regard to the goddess Ixchel.

[92] The literature of the Maya calendar system is, of course,
intimately connected with that of the Mexican (see Note 55). The native
sources for its study are the Codices and the monumental inscriptions,
while of early Spanish expositions the most important are those of
Landa and Pio Pérez. In recent times a considerable body of scholars
have devoted special attention to the Maya inscriptions and to the
elucidation of the calendar, foremost among them being, in America,
Ancona, Bowditch, Chavero, Goodman, Morley, Spinden, Cyrus Thomas,
and in Europe, Brasseur de Bourbourg, Förstermann, Rosny, and Seler.
The foundation of the elucidation of Maya astronomical knowledge is
Förstermann's studies of the Dresden Codex, while the study of mythic
elements associated with the calendar is represented by Charency,
especially "Des ages ou soleils d'après la mythologie des peuples de la
Nouvelle Espagne," section ii, in _CA_ iv. 2; and by J. H. Martínez,
"Los Grandes Ciclos de la historia Maya," in _CA_ xvii. 2. Summary
accounts of the Maya calendar are to be found in Spinden [a], Beuchat,
Joyce [b], Arnold, and Frost, while Bowditch [b] and Morley [c] are in
the nature of text-book introductions to the subject.

[93] Morley [d], "The Hotun," in _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

[94] Morley [c], p. 32.

[95] Tozzer [a], pp. 153-54.

[96] J. Martínez Hernández, "La Creación del Mundo según los Mayas," in
_CA_ xviii (London, 1913), pp. 164-71. Señor Hernández notes that the
tense of the verb in the first sentence of the myth is for the sake of
literal translation.

[97] For ethnic analysis Thomas and Swanton is followed here and
throughout the chapter. Of the earlier Spanish authors Las Casas
(especially [b], chh. cxxii-cxxv, clxxx, ccxxxiv ff.) is the most
weighty. See also Morley [e], "The Rise and Fall of the Maya
Civilizations," in _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

[98] Brinton [h], p. 69.

[99] ib. p. 149.

[100] Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], pp. lxxx-lxxxiii.

[101] The _Popul Vuh_, described by Brasseur de Bourbourg in
his _Histoire du Mexique_ under the title _Manuscrit Quiché de
Chichicastenango_ ([a], i. pp. lxxx ff.), is a Quiché document, part
myth and part legendary history, supposed to have been put in writing
in the seventeenth century, when it was copied and translated into
Spanish by Francisco Ximenes, of the Order of Predicadores. The
manuscript was found by C. Scherzer in 1855 in the library of the
university of San Carlos, Guatemala. The Spanish text of Ximenes
was published at Vienna in 1856, and again, with French translation
and notes, by Brasseur de Bourbourg, Paris, 1861; a second Spanish
version, by Barberena, appeared in San Salvador, 1905. None of these
translations is regarded as accurate, or indeed as other than filled
with error and misinterpretation; but pending the appearance of a
scholarly rendering from the native text they are our only sources for
a document of profound interest. The edition of Brasseur de Bourbourg
is that here employed, translations being from parts i, ii, and iii,
while interpretations of names are drawn chiefly from Brasseur's
footnotes. Las Casas [b], ch. cxxiv, contains some account of the gods
and heroes mentioned in the _Popul Vuh_.

[102] For discussion of the bat-god, Zotz, see Seler, _28 BBE_, pp. 231
ff., "The Bat God of the Maya Race"; also, Dieseldorff, ib., p. 665, "A
Clay Vessel with a Picture of a Vampire-headed Deity"; cf. Giglioli,
_CA_ xvi (Vienna and Leipzig, 1910).

[103] The _Manuscrit Cakchiquel_, or _Mémorial de Tecpan-Atitlan_, as
he calls it, was given to Brasseur de Bourbourg by Juan Gavarrete, of
the Convent of Franciscans of Guatemala. Its author, says the Abbé
([a], i. p. lxxxiii) was Don Francisco Ernandez Arana Xahila, of the
Princes Ahpotzotziles of Guatemala, grandson of King Hunyg, who died of
the plague, five years before the Spaniards set foot in this country,
in 1519. The manuscript was brought down to 1582 by this author, and
thence carried forward to 1597 by Don Francisco Diaz Gebuta Queh, of
the same family. Brinton published his translation under the title,
_The Annals of the Cakchiquels_, in Philadelphia, 1885, and the work
now commonly is referred to under this name. It is Brinton's version
which is here followed, with some inconsequential alterations of
phraseology. In his introduction Brinton gives (pp. 39-48) interesting
comments on the "Religious Notions."

[104] Brinton [h], pp. 25-26.

[105] ib. p. 14.

[106] Of works dealing with the religious beliefs of the natives
of Honduras and Nicaragua, the writings of Oviedo and of Las Casas
(especially [b], ch. clxxx) are the most important of early date. Among
works of later date Squier's books are of the first significance.
Bancroft, iii, ch. xi, gives a summary of most that is known of the
myths of this region; Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], livre v, ch. iii,
livre viii, ch. iv, contains additional materials. The archaeology is
described by Squier [a], [b], [c], _passim_; Joyce [a], part i; Brinton
[h], introduction; and, with ethnological analysis, Lehmann [c].

[107] Brasseur de Bourbourg [a], ii. p. 556. The Mictlan myth is given,
ib. p. 105.

[108] Oviedo, _TC_ xiv, p. 133.

[109] Lehmann [c], p. 717.

[110] See Lehmann [c], pp. 715-16.

[111] The ethnology of the Andean region is treated by Joyce [c],
Wissler, _The American Indian_, and Beuchat, II. iv. Bastian,
_Culturländer_, and Payne, _History_, give more extended views;
while tribal distribution in its cultural relations is probably
best presented by Schmidt, in _ZE_ xlv. Spinden, "The Origin and
Distribution of Agriculture in America," and Means, "An Outline of the
Culture-Sequence in the Andean Area," both in _CA_ xix (Washington,
1917), are significant contributions to the problem of origins and
history; with these should be placed, "Orígenes Etnográficos de
Colombia," by Carlos Cuervo Márquez, in the _Proceedings of the Second
Pan American Scientific Congress_, i (Washington, 1917). Spinden
conceives an archaic American culture, probably originating in Mexico
and thence spreading north and south, which was based upon agriculture
and characterized by the use of pottery, textiles, etc., and which, in
the course of time, made its influence felt from the mouth of the St.
Lawrence to that of La Plata. This hypothesis admirably accounts for
the obvious affinities of the civilizations of the two continents.

[112] The linguistic and cultural affinities of the Isthmian tribes are
described by Wissler, Beuchat, Joyce [c], and Thomas and Swanton; and
on the archaeological side especially by Hartman [a], [b], and Holmes
[c], [d]. For the broader analogies of the Central American, North
Andean, and Antillean regions see also Saville, Cuervo Márquez, and
Spinden's article mentioned in Note 111, _supra_. Spinden, _Maya Art
(MPM)_, argues against the conception of extensive borrowing. Of the
earlier authorities for this region, the important are Peter Martyr,
Benzoni, Oviedo, Herrera, and Las Casas. Among writers of later times,
Humboldt holds first place.

[113] Oviedo (_TC_), pp. 211-22. Other references in this paragraph
are: Benzoni (_HS_), ii; Andagoya (_HS_), pp. 14-15; Cieza de León
(_HS_),1864, ch. viii.

[114] Peter Martyr, 1912, ii (pp. 319, 326 quoted).

[115] Gabb, pp. 503-06; Pittier de Fábrega [b], pp. 1-9; Las Casas [b],
ch. cxxv.

[116] The most recent work, summarizing the legend of El Dorado, is
Zahm [b]; and the earliest versions of the tale are those of Simon,
Fresle, Piedrahíta, Cavarjal, and Castellanos, the latter of whom
incorporated the story in his poetical _Elejias de Varones Ilustres de
Indias_, which was printed at Madrid, in 1850. Critical accounts, in
addition to Zahm, are Bollaert's "Introduction" to Simon's _Expedition
of Pedro de Ursua_ (Spanish in Serrano y Sanz, _Historiadores de
Indias_, ii) and in Bandelier's _The Gilded Man_. On the historical
side, especially as regards the period of the Conquest, Andagoya,
Castellanos, Carvajal, Fresle, Simon, give unforgettable pictures of
the adventurous extravagance and _bizarrerie_ of a time scarcely to be
paralleled in human annals. Father Zahm's _Quest of El Dorado_ is an
inviting introduction to this literature.

[117] For Chibchan ethnology and archaeology, see Joyce [c], Acosta de
Samper, and Cuervo Marquez.

[118] Cieza de León (_HS_), 1864, pp. 59, 88, 101.

[119] The primary sources for the mythology of the Chibchan tribes at
the time of the Conquest are Pedro Simon, Lucas Fernandez Piedrahíta
(especially I, iii, iv), and Cieza de León. Simon's "Cuarta Noticia,"
in eighteen chapters, is the fullest exposition of Chibcha beliefs
and history; along with the "Tercera Noticia" it is printed in
Kingsborough, viii, which is here cited (pp. 244, 263-64 quoted). Other
authorities include Humboldt, Joyce [c], chh. i, ii; Acosta de Samper,
ch. viii; Sir Clements Markham, art. "Andeans," in _ERE_; and Beuchat,
pp. 549-50. On the deluge myth see also Bandelier [c].

[120] The story of the giants is given by Cieza de León [a], ch. lii;
see also Velasco, p. 12; Bandelier [b], where the literature of the
subject is assembled; and Saville, 1907, p. 9. The archaeology of the
region, with numerous plates, is presented in Saville's reports; ii.
88-123 (1910) contains a description and discussion of the stone seats;
while brief accounts are to be found in Beuchat and in Joyce [c].

[121] Velasco is the chief authority for the career of the people of
Cara. The discoveries of Dorsey on the island of La Plata give an added
significance to these tales of men from the sea.

[122] Balboa (_TC_), ch. vii; cf. Joyce [c], ch. iii.

[123] The history and archaeology of aboriginal Peru is summarized
by Markham, _The Incas of Peru_ (1910), to which his notes and
introductions to his many translations of Spanish works, published
by the Hakluyt Society, form a varied supplementation. Among earlier
authorities E. G. Squier, _Travel and Exploration in the Land of
the Incas_ (1877), and Castelnau, _Expédition_ (1850-52), are
eminent; while of later authorities the more conspicuous are: for
Inca monuments, Bingham, of the Yale Expedition, and Baessler; for
Tiahuanaco, Créqui-Montfort, of the Mission scientifique française
à Tiahuanaco, Bandelier, Gonzalez de la Rosa, Posnansky, Uhle and
Stübel; for the coastal regions, Baessler, Reiss and Stübel, Uhle,
Tello; and for the Calchaqui territories, Ambrosetti, Boman, and
Lafone Quevado. General and comparative studies are presented in
Wissler, _The American Indian_; Beuchat, _Manuel_; Joyce, _South
American Archeology_; Spinden, _Handbook_; while a careful effort to
restore the sequences of cultures in Peru is Means, "Outline of the
Culture-Sequence in the Andean Area," in _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

[124] Cieza de León [a], ch. xxxvi.

[125] The origin of agriculture in America is regarded by Spinden,
"The Origin and Distribution of Agriculture in America," _CA_ xix
(Washington, 1917), as probably Mexican. From Mexico it passed north
and south, reaching its limiting areas in the neighbourhoods of the St.
Lawrence and of La Plata. Cf. Wissler, _The American Indian_.

[126] Montesinos's lists are analyzed by Markham [a]. See, also, Means;
cf. Pietschmann.

[127] Uhle, especially [a], [c], and art., _CA_ xviii (London, 1913),
"Die Muschelhügel von Ancon, Peru"; Bingham [b], [c].

[128] Means, _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917), p. 237, gives as the general
chronological background of Peruvian culture:

 ?-_circa_ 200 B. C.          Preliminary migrations.
 _circa_ 200 B. C.-600 A. D.  Megalithic Empire.
 _circa_ 600-1100 A. D.       Tampu-Tocco Period, decadence.
 _circa_ 1100-1530 A. D.      Inca Empire.

He also gives in the same article, p. 241, a most interesting
comparative restoration of the chronologies of the sequence of culture
in the several Peruvian and Mexican centres, namely:


[129] For the myths and religion of the coastal peoples of Peru the
important early authorities are Arriaga, Avila, Balboa, Cieza de León,
and Garcilasso de la Vega. Markham [a], especially chh. xiv, xv, is
the primary authority here followed. For archaeological details the
authorities are Baessler; Bastian; Joyce [c], ch. viii; Squier [e];
Tello; Putnam; and Uhle. It is from this coastal region that the
most striking Peruvian pottery comes, the Truxillo and Nasca styles
respectively typifying the Chimu and Chincha groups.

[130] Tello, "Los antiguos cementerios del valle de Nasca," p. 287,
suggests three criteria by means of which the mythological nature
of such figures is to be inferred: When symbolical attributes are
indicated by the animal's carrying mystical or thaumaturgical objects;
when the figure retains, through a variety of representations, certain
constant, individualizing traits; and when the same image is used
repeatedly on the more notable types of cultural and artistic objects.
Señor Tello believes Nasca religion to have been totemic in character.

[131] It is reproduced by Joyce [c], p. 155.

[132] Garcilasso's accounts of the coastal religion are scattered
through his inchoate work, the more important passages being bk. ii,
ch. iv; bk. vi, chh. xvii, xviii.

[133] Summarized by Markham [a], p. 216.

[134] Summarized by Markham [a], pp. 235-36.

[135] Avila [b].

[136] Avila's _Narrative_ in _Rites and Laws of the Yncas (HS)_,
1883, pp. 121-47, is the authority for the myths given in the text;
but several of the stories appear also in Molina, Salcamayhua, and
Sarmiento, showing that the mythic cycle was widespread, extending into
the highlands as well as along the coast. The people from whom Avila
received his tales were of a tribe that had migrated from the coast to
higher valleys.

[137] The Tiahuanaco monolith is interpreted by Squier [e], ch. xv;
Markham [a], ch. ii; Gonzalez de la Rosa, "Les deux Tiahuanaco,"
_CA_ xvi (1910); and by Posnansky, "El signo escalonado," _CA_ xviii
(1913). The latter regards the meander design, or its element, the
stair-design in its various forms, as a symbol of the earth; and he
believes Tiahuanaco to be the place of origin of this symbol, whence
it spread northward into Mexico. It is, of course, among the Pueblo
Indians of the United States an earth-symbol. If this be the correct
interpretation, the central figure is the sun, rising or standing above
the earth. Bandelier [e] gives ancient and modern myths in regard to
Titicaca and its environs.

[138] Representations of pottery and other designs from the Diaguité
region showing the influence of Tiahuanaco and possibly Nasca
influence are to be found in the publications of Ambrosetti, Boman,
Lafone Quevado and others. Perhaps the most interesting is the potsherd
showing the figure of a deity (?) bearing an axe with a trident-like
handle, while near him is what seems clearly to be a representation of
a thunderbolt; a trophy head is at his girdle.


[139] Markham [a], pp. 41-42. Caparó y Pérez, _Proceedings of the
Second Pan American Scientific Congress_, section i, pp. 121-22,
interprets the name "Uirakocha" as composed of _uira_, "grease," and
_kocha_ "sea"; and, since grease is a symbol for richness and the sea
for greatness, it "signified that which was great and rich."

[140] Molina (Markham, _Rites and Laws_), p. 33.

[141] Markham [a], ch. viii; another version is given by Markham [c];
while the text and Spanish translation are in Lafone Quevado [a]. Cf.
the fragments from Huaman Poma given by Pietschmann [b], especially the
prayer, p. 512: "Supreme utmost Huiracocha, wherever thou mayest be,
whether in heaven, whether in this world, whether in the world beneath,
whether in the utmost world, Creator of this world, where thou mayest
be, oh, hear me!"

[142] Salcamayhua (Markham, _Rites and Laws_), pp. 70-72.

[143] Bandelier [d], [e], especially pp. 291-329.

[144] Molina, _op. cit._; Cieza de León [b], ch. v, pp. 5-10;
Sarmiento, pp. 27-39; and for summary of the narrative of Huaman Poma,
Pietschmann, _CA_ xviii (London, 1913), pp. 511-12.

[145] Viracocha and Tonapa obviously belong to the group, or chain, of
hero-deities of a like character, extending from Peru to Mexico, and,
in modified forms, far to the north and far to the south of each of
these centres. This personage, as a hero, is a man, bearded, white,
aided by a magic wand or staff, who brings some essential element of
culture and departs; as a god, he is a creator, who appeared after
the barbaric ages of the world and introduced a new age (there are
exceptions to this, as the narrative of Huaman Poma); further, he is
a deity of the heavens, the plumed- or the double-headed serpent is
his emblem, perhaps his incarnation, and he is closely associated with
the sun, which seems to be his servant. Is it not entirely possible
that this interesting mythic complex is historically associated, in
its spread, with the spread of the cultivation of maize at some early
period? In the Navaho representations of Hastsheyalti, the white god of
the east, bearded with pollen, and himself creator and maize-god, with
the Yei as his servants, and his two sons (in the tale of "The Stricken
Twins") genii respectively of rain (vegetation) and of animals (see
_Mythology of All Races_, Boston, 1916, x, ch. viii, sections ii, iv)
we have the essential attributes of this deity and at the same time an
image of his probable function, as sky-god associated especially with
the whiteness of dawn, with rain-giving, and hence with growing corn.
The staff, which is the conspicuous attribute of Tonapa and Bochica in
particular, may well bear a double significance: in the hands of the
hero, as the dibble of the maize-planter; in the hands of the god, as
the lightning. In any case, there are a multitude of analogies, not
only in the myths, but also in the art-motives and symbolisms of the
group of tribes which extends from the Diaguité to the North American
Pueblo regions that powerfully suggest a common origin of the ideas
which centre about the cult of heaven and earth, of descending rain
and upspringing maize. Many partial parallels for the same group of
ideas are to be found among the less advanced tribes of the plains and
forest regions of both South and North America. Possibly, the myth, or
at least the rites upon which it rests, accompanied the knowledge of
agriculture into these regions.

[146] Lafone Quevado [a], p. 378.

[147] Garcilasso de la Vega, bk. i, chh. xv, xvi. The myth is also
given by Acosta, bk. i, ch. xxv; bk. vi, ch. xx; by Sarmiento, chh.
xi-xiv; and by Salcamayhua (Markham, _Rites and Laws_), pp. 74-75.

[148] Garcilasso de la Vega, bk. ii, ch. xviii; bk. viii, ch. viii; cf.
bk. ix, ch. x.

[149] Molina, pp. 11-12.

[150] The Inca pantheon is described by Markham [a], chh. viii, ix, and
by Joyce [c], ch. vii. The primary sources are Garcilasso de la Vega,
Cieza de León, Molina, Salcamayhua, and Sarmiento, and perhaps most
important of all Blas Valera, the "Anonymous Jesuit" whose writings
were utilized by various early narrators. Salcamayhua's chart is
published by Markham, in a corrected form, in _Rites and Laws of the
Yncas_, p. 84. The literal reproduction accompanies Hagar's discussion
of it, _CA_ xii, and it has been several times reproduced. Its
interpretation is discussed by Hagar, _loc. cit._; Spinden, _AA_, new
series, xviii (1916); Lafone Quevado [b], and "Los Ojos de Imaymana,"
with a reproduction of the chart which he characterizes as "the key
to Peruvian symbolism"; cf., also, Ambrosetti, _CA_ xix (Washington,

[151] The myth of the Ayars is recorded by Sarmiento, x-xiii; it is
discussed by Markham [a], ch. iv, where are the interpretations of the
names adopted in this text.

[152] Cieza de León [b], chh. vi-viii (pp. 13, 16, quoted).

[153] Garcilasso de la Vega, bk. i, ch. xviii.

[154] The argument for the antiquity of man in South America rests
mainly upon the discoveries and theories of Ameghino, especially,
_La Antigüedad del hombre en la Plata_ (2 vols., Buenos Aires and
Paris, 1880) and artt. in _AnMB_, who is followed by other Argentinian
savants. Ales Hrdlicka, _Early Man in South America (52 BBE_,
Washington, 1912), examines the claims made for the several discoveries
and uniformly rejects the assumption of their great age, in which
opinion he is generally followed by North American anthropologists; as
cf. Wissler, _The American Indian_ (New York, 1917). The theory favored
by Hrdlicka and others is of the peopling of the Americas by successive
waves of immigrants from north-eastern Asia, with possible minor
intrusions of Oceanic peoples along the Pacific coasts of the southern

[155] The sketch of South American ethnography in d'Orbigny's _L'Homme
américain_ is, of course, now superseded in a multitude of details;
it appears, however, to conform, in broad lines, to the deductions of
later students. In addition to d'Orbigny and Schmidt (_ZE_ xlv, 1913),
Brinton, _The American Race_, Beuchat, _Manuel_, and Wissler, _The
American Indian_, present the most available ethnographic analyses.

[156] "Linguistic Stocks of South American Indians," in _AA_, new
series, xv (1913); also, Wissler, _The American Indian_, pp. 381-85,
listing eighty-four stocks. It must be borne in mind, however, that
the tendency of minute study is eventually to diminish the number of
linguistic stocks having no detectable relationships, and that, in any
case, classifications based upon cultural grade are more important for
the student of mythology than are those based upon language alone.

[157] Brett [a], p. 36; other quotations from this work are from pp.
374, 401, 403.

[158] King Blanco, pp. 63-64. The lack of significant early authorities
for the mythologies of the region of Guiana and the Orinoco (Gumilla
is as important as any) is compensated by the careful work of later
observers of the native tribes, especially of Guiana. Among these,
Humboldt, Sir Richard and Robert H. Schomburgk, and Brett, in the
early and middle years of the nineteenth century, and im Thurn, at a
later period, hold first place, while the contributions of van Coll,
in Anthropos ii, iii (1907, 1908), are no less noteworthy. Latest of
all is Walter Roth's "Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the
Guiana Indians," in 30 _ARBE_ (1915), which, as a careful study of the
myth-literature of a South American group, stands in a class by itself;
it is furnished with a careful bibliography. The reader will understand
that the intimate relation between the Antillean and Continental Carib
(and, to a less extent, Arawakan) ideas brings the subject-matter of
this chapter into direct connexion with that of Chapter I; while it
should also be obvious that the Orinoco region is only separated from
the Amazonian for convenience, and that Chapter X is virtually but a
further study of the same level and type of thought. The bibliographies
of Chh. I, VI, and X are supplementary, for this same region, to that
given for Chapter VIII.

[159] Humboldt [b] (Ross), iii. 69; im Thurn, pp. 365-66.

[160] Surely one may indulge a wry smile when told that "heavenly
father" and "creator" are no attributes of God, and may be reasonably
justified in preferring Sir Richard Schomburgk's judgment, where
he says (i. 170): "Almost all stocks of British Guiana are one in
their religious convictions, at least in the main; the Creator of
the world and of mankind is an infinitely exalted being, but his
energy is so occupied in ruling and maintaining the earth that he can
give no special care to individual men." This unusual reason for the
indifference of the Supreme Being toward the affairs of ordinary men
is probably an inference of the author's. Roth commences his study of
Guiana Indian beliefs with a chapter entitled, "No Evidence of Belief
in a Supreme Being," and begins his discussion with the statement:
"Careful investigation forces one to the conclusion that, on the
evidence, the native tribes of Guiana had no idea of a Supreme Being in
the modern conception of the term," quoting evidence, from Gumilla and
others, which to the present writer seems to point in just the opposite
direction. Of course, the phrase "in the modern conception of the term"
is the key to much difference in judgement. If it means that savages
have no conception of a Divine Ens, Esse, Actus Purus, or the like,
definable by highly abstract attributes, _ça va sans dire_; but if the
intention is to say that there is no primitive belief in a luminous Sky
Father, creator and ruler, good on the whole, though not preoccupied
with the small details of earthly and human affairs, such a conclusion
is directly opposed to all evidence, early and late, North American
and South American, missionary and anthropological. Cf. _Mythology of
All Races_, x, Note 6, and references there given; and, in the present
volume, not only Ch. I, iii (Ramon Pane is surely among the earliest),
but also--passing over the numerous allusions in descriptions of the
pantheons of the more advanced tribes (Chh. II-VII)--Ch. IX, iii (early
and late for the low Brazilian tribes); Ch. X, ii, iii, iv.

[161] Sir Richard Schomburgk, ii. 319-20; i. 170-72. Roth gives legends
from many sources touching these deities and others of a similar

[162] Humboldt [b] (Ross), ii. 362.

[163] See above, note 157.

[164] This tale is translated and abridged from van Coll, in
_Anthropos_, ii, 682-89; Roth, chh. vii, xviii, affords an excellent

[165] Brett [a], ch. x, pp. 377-78.

[166] Humboldt [b] (Ross), ii. 182-83, 473-75. Descriptions of the
petroglyphs are to be found in Sir Richard Schomburgk, i. 319-21, and
im Thurn, ch. xix.

[167] Boddam-Whetham, _Folk-Lore_, v. 317 (im Thurn, p. 376, misquoting
Brett, calls this an Arawakan tale); for other creation legends, see
Roth, ch. iv.

[168] Van Coll, _Anthropos_, iii. 482-86.

[169] Humboldt [b] (Ross), iii. 362-63; other citations from Humboldt
in this section are, _id. op._, iii. 70; ii. 321; iii. 293, 305; ii.
259-60, in order.

[170] Boddam-Whetham, _Folk-Lore_, v. 317-21.

[171] Sir Richard Schomburgk, i. 239-41; im Thurn, p. 384. Other
quotations are from Ruiz Blanco, pp. 66-67; Brett [a], pp. 278, 107,

[172] For contemporary beliefs about Lope de Aguirre, see Mozans (J. A.
Zahm), [a], pp. 264-67.

[173] The myth of the Amazons is not only the earliest European legend
to become acclimated in America (cf. Ch. I, ii [with Note 5], iv;
Ch. VIII, iii), it is also one of the most obstinate and recurrent,
and a perennial subject of the interest of commentators. For general
discussions of the question, see Chamberlain, "Recent Literature on
the South American Amazons," in _JAFL_ xxiv. 16-20 (1911), and Rothery,
_The Amazons in Antiquity and Modern Times_ (London, 1910), which
reviews the world-wide scope and forms of the myth, chh. viii, ix,
being devoted to the South American instances. Still more recent is
Whiffen, _The Northwest Amazons_ (New York, 1916), pp. 239-402.

[174] Markham [e], p. 122. Carvajal is cited in the same work, pp. 34,

[175] Magalhães de Gandavo, ch. x (_TC_, pp. 116-17); Schmidel
(Hulsius), ch. xxxiii; Raleigh (in _Hakluyt's Voyages_, vol. x), pp.

[176] Humboldt [b] (Ross), ii. 395 ff.; iii. 79. Lore pertaining to
the Amazon stone is hardly second to that dealing with the Amazons
themselves. Authorities here cited are La Condamine, pp. 102-113;
Spruce, ii, ch. xxvi (p. 458 quoted); Ehrenreich [b], especially pp.
64, 65, with references to Barbosa Rodrígues and to Brett [b]. Others
to consult are Rothery, ch. ix; T. Wilson, "Jade in America," in _CA_
xii (Paris, 1902); J. E. Pogue, "Aboriginal Use of Turquoise in North
America," in _AA_, new series, xiv (1912); and I. B. Moura, "Sur le
progrès de l'Amazonie," in _CA_ xvi (Vienna, 1910).

[177] See _Mythology of All Nations_, x. 160, 203, 205, 210, and Note

[178] Netto, _CA_ vii (Berlin, 1890), pp. 201 ff.

[179] Acuña (Markham [e]), p. 83. The literature of a region so vast
as that of the basin of the Amazon and the coasts of Brazil is itself
naturally great and scattered. The earlier narratives--such as those
of Acuña, Cardim, Carvajal, Orellana, Ortiguerra, de Léry, Ulrich
Schmidel, and Hans Staden--are valuable chiefly for the hints which
they give of the aboriginal prevalence of ideas studied with more
understanding by later investigators. Among the more important later
writers are d'Orbigny, Couto de Magalhães, Ehrenreich, Koch-Grünberg,
von den Steinen, Whiffen, and Miller; while Teschauer's contributions
to _Anthropos_, i, furnish the best collection for the Brazilian region
as a whole.

[180] Kunike, "Der Fisch als Fruchtbarkeitssymbol," in _Anthropos_
vii (1912), especially section vi; Teschauer [a], part i, texts
(mainly derived from Couto de Magalhães); Tastevin, sections iii, vi;
Garcilasso de la Vega, bk. i, chh. ix, x (quoted).

[181] Cook, p. 385; cf. Whiffen, chh. xv, xvi, xviii; and von den
Steinen [b], pp. 239-41.

[182] Whiffen, pp. 385-86. The myths of manioc and other vegetation are
from Teschauer [a], p. 743; Couto de Magalhães, ii. 134-35; Whiffen,
_loc. cit._; and Koch-Grünberg [a], ii. 292-93.

[183] The legends of St. Thomas are discussed by Granada, ch. xv,
especially pp. 210-15 (cf. also, ch. xx, "Origen mítico y excelencias
del urutaú," with accounts of the vegetation-spirit Ñeambiú). The
suggested relationship of Brazilian and Peruvian myth is considered
by Lafone Quevado in _RevMP_ iii. 332-36; cf., also, Wissler, _The
American Indian_, pp. 198-99. It may be worth noting that there is
a group of South American names of mythic heroes or deities which
might, in one form or another, suggest or be confounded with _Tomás_,
among them the Guarani _Tamoi_ (same as Tupan, and perhaps related to
Tonapa), the Tupi _Zume_. The legend has been discussed in the present
work in Ch. VII, iv.

[184] Koch-Grünberg [a], ii. 173-34; for details regarding the use of
masks and mask-dances, see also Whiffen; Tastevin; M. Schmidt, ch. xiv;
Cook, ch. xxiii; Spruce, ch. xxv; von den Steinen [b]; and Stradelli.

[185] Cardim (Purchas, xvi), pp. 419-20; Thevet [b], pp. 136-39; Keane,
p. 209; Ehrenreich [c], p. 34; Hans Staden [b], ch. xxii.

[186] Frič and Radin, p. 391; Ignace, pp. 952-53; von Rosen, pp.
656-67; Pierini, pp. 703 ff.

[187] D'Orbigny, vii, ch. xxxi, pp. 12-24; iv, 109-15; cf. also pp.
265, 296-99, 337, 502-10.

[188] Whiffen, ch. xvii (p. 218 quoted); Church, p. 235. The subject
here is a continuation of that discussed in Ch. VIII, ii (with Note
160); in connexion with which, with reference to Brazil, the comment
of Couto de Magalhães is significant (part ii, p. 122): "Como quer que
seja, a idéa de un Deus todo poderoso, e único, não foi possuida pelos
nossos selvagens ao tempo da descoberta da America; e pois não era
possival que sua lingua tivesse uma palvra que a podesse expressar. Ha
no entretanto um principio superior qualificado com o nome de Tupan a
quem parece que attribuiam maior poder do que aos outras." The real
question to be resolved is what are the necessary attributes of a
"supreme being." Cf. _Mythology of All Nations_, x, Note 6.

[189] On wood-demons and the like, in addition to Cardim, see Teschauer
[a], pp. 24-34; Koch-Grünberg, [a], i. 190; ii. 157; and Granada, ch.
xxxi, "Demonios, apariciones, fantasmas, etc."

[190] On ghosts and metamorphoses, see Ignace, pp. 952-53; Frič and
Radin; Frič [a]; von Rosen, p. 657; and Cook, p. 122.

[191] On were-beasts, see Ambrosetti [b]; cf. Garcilasso de la Vega,
bk. i, ch. ix.

[192] _Loci citati_ touching cannibalism are Haseman, pp. 345-46;
Staden [a], ch. xliii; [b], chh. xxv, xxviii; Cardim (Purchas), ii.
431-40; and Whiffen, pp. 118-24.

[193] Von den Steinen [b], p. 323.

[194] Couto de Magalhães, part i, texts.

[195] Steere, "Narrative of a Visit to the Indian tribes on the Purus
River," in _Report of the U. S. National Museum, 1901_ (Washington,

[196] _Loci citati_ are Ehrenreich [b], pp. 34-40; [c], p. 34; Markham
[d], p. 119; von den Steinen [a], p. 283; [b], pp. 322 ff.; Teschauer
[a], pp. 731 ff. (citing Barbosa Rodrígues and others); Koch-Grünberg
[b], no. 1.

[197] Feliciano de Oliveira, _CA_ xviii (London, 1913), pp. 394-96.

[198] Teschauer [a], p. 731. The Kaduveo genesis is given by Frič, in
_CA_ xviii, 397 ff. Stories of both types are widespread throughout the
two Americas.

[199] Couto de Magalhães, part i, texts. This is among the most
interesting of all American myths; it is clearly cosmogonic in
character, yet it reverses the customary procedure of cosmogonies,
beginning with an illuminated world rather than a chaotic gloom.
Possibly this is an indication of primitiveness, for the conception of
night and chaos as the antecedent of cosmic order would seem to call
for a certain degree of imaginative austerity; it is not simple nor

[200] Cardim (Purchas), p. 418.

[201] Adam [b], p. 319. Other sources for tales of the deluge are Borba
[b], pp. 223-25; Kissenberth, in _ZE_ xl. 49; Ehrenreich [b], pp.
30-31; Teschauer; and von Martius.

[202] D'Orbigny, iii. 209-14; von den Steinen [a], pp. 282-85; [b], pp.
322-27; and cf. the Kapoi legends in Koch-Grünberg [a]. The Yuracara
tale narrated by d'Orbigny is one of the best and most fully reported
of South American myths.

[203] On the physical and ethnological conditions of the Chaco and
the Abiponean districts the important authorities are Dobrizhoffer;
Grubb [a], [b]; Koch, "Zur Ethnographie der Paraguay-Gebiete," in
_MitAGW_ xxxiii (1903); for the southern region important are,
_Voyages of the Adventure and the Beagle_; the publications of the
_Mission scientifique du Cap Horn_; Cooper, _Analytical and Critical
Bibliography of the Tribes of Tierra del Fuego and Adjacent Territory
(63 BBE)_, with map; and _El Norte de la Patagonia_, with map,
published by the Argentine Ministry of Public Works, Buenos Aires, 1914.

[204] D'Orbigny, _L'Homme américain_, p. 233; J. Guevara, _Historia_,
pp. 32, 265 (citing Fernandez, _Relación historial_, p. 39).

[205] Dobrizhoffer, ii, ch. viii (pp. 57-59, 64-65 quoted); ch. x (p.
94 quoted).

[206] Grubb [b], chh. xi, xii, xiv (pp. 139-41 quoted), xvi (p. 163
quoted); cf. Karsten, sections i, iii.

[207] T. Guevara [a], i, ch. viii, "Los mitos y las ideas relijiosas
de los Indios," pp. 223-25. Latcham, _JAI_ xxxix, gives an account of
Araucanian ideas, in general corresponding to Guevara, to whom he is
apparently indebted.

[208] Molina, ch. v (pp. 84, 86, 91 quoted).

[209] Vicuña Cifuentes, especially sections vi-xi, xiv-xvi, xxi-xxiii.
This work is particularly valuable in that it collects the statements
of many authorities in regard to the creatures of Chilean folk-lore.

[210] Dobrizhoffer, ii. 89-90.

[211] The cosmogony is in Molina, ch. v; the tale of the two brothers
in Lenz, p. 225.

[212] Pigafetta, in _The First Voyage Around the World by Magellan_
(_HS_, series i, 1874), pp. 50-55.

[213] Ib., p. 5.

[214] Dobrizhoffer, ii. 89-90.

[215] Prichard, pp. 85-86, 97-98. To Prichard's evidence may be added
that of Captain R. N. Musters, another recent traveller, quoted by
Church, _Aborigines of South America_, pp. 294-95: "The religion of the
Tehuelches is distinguished from that of the Araucanians and Pampas
by the absence of any trace of sun worship.... There is no doubt that
they do believe in a good Spirit, though they think he lives 'careless
of mankind'"; Captain Musters regards the _gualichu_ as a class of
daemonic powers--an altogether probable interpretation.

[216] D'Orbigny, _L'Homme américain_, pp. 220, 225; _Voyage of the
Beagle_, ii. 161-62; cf. also i, ch. vi.

[217] Deniker [b] gives the myth of El-lal, after Lista.

[218] Darwin, pp. 240-42; Bridges, in _RevMP_ iii, p. 24.

[219] Fitzroy, ch. ix, pp. 180-81.

[220] Hyades and Deniker, ch. v, pp. 254-57.

[221] Cooper, _63 BBE_, pp. 145 ff., summarizes the scanty gleanings
from the notes of travellers and missionaries touching Fuegian
religious conceptions. The reference to the Salesian fathers (p. 147)
is quoted from Cojazzi (p. 124); that to Captain Low is from Fitzroy
(p. 190).

[222] Cooper, _op. cit._, pp. 162-64, citing various authorities.

[223] Despard, quoted by Cooper, _op. cit._, p. 148.



_AA_      American Anthropologist.

_AnMB_    Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires.

_AnMM_    Anales del Museo Nacional de México.

_AnMG_    Annales du Musée Guimet.

_ARBE_    Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington.

_BBE_     Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington.

_CA_      Comptes rendus du Congrès des Américanistes.

_ERE _    Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.

_HS_      Works issued by the Hakluyt Society.

_JAFL_    Journal of American Folklore.

_JAI_     Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain
          and Ireland.

_JSAP_    Journal de la Société des Américanistes de Paris.

_MitAGW_  Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien.

_MPM_     Memoirs of the Peabody Museum, Cambridge.

_PaPM_    Papers of the Peabody Museum.

_RevMP_   Revista del Museo de La Plata.

_SocAA_   Memorias y Revista de la Sociedad científica "Antonio Alzate."

_TC_     Voyages, Relations et Mémoires originaux pour servir à
         l'histoire de la découverte de l'Amérique.
         H. Ternaux-Compans, editor.

_ZE_     Zeitschrift für Ethnologie.


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series ii, Vol. xxii. Cambridge, 1907.

_Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima._ By H. HARISSE. New York, 1866.
Additions, Paris, 1872.

_Bibliothèque américaine ou catalogue des ouvrages relatifs à
l'Amérique qui ont paru depuis sa découverte jusqu'à l'an 1700._ By H.

_Catalogue de livres rares et précieux, manuscrits et imprimés,
principalement sur l'Amérique et sur les langues du monde entier,
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_Dictionary of Works Relating to America from the Discovery to the
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bibliography); CLEMENTS MARKHAM, _Journal of Christopher Columbus
(HS)_, London, 1893; JOHN BOYD THACHER, _Christopher Columbus_, 2
vols., New York, 1903-04; EDWARD GAYLORD BOURNE, "The Voyages of
Columbus and John Cabot," in _The Northmen and Columbus (Original
Narratives of Early American History)_, New York, 1906 (with
bibliographical notes). For bibliography, see BEUCHAT, _Manuel_, pp.

COLUMBUS, FERNANDO, _Historie del S. D. Fernando Colomb: Nelle quali
s'ha particolare, e vera relatione della vita, e de' fatti dell'
Ammiraglio D. Christoforo Colombo suo padre: Et dello scoprimento, ch'
egli fece dell' Indie Occidentali, dette Mondo-Nuovo, hora possedute
dal Sereniss. Re Católico: Nuovamente di lingua Spagnuola tradotte
nell' Italiana dal S. Alfonso Ulloa_. Venice, 1871. English tr. in
CHURCHILL'S _Voyages_, London, 1704, (3d ed., 6 vols., 1744-46), and in
PINKERTON'S _Voyages and Travels_, Vol. xii, London, 1812; Spanish tr.,
2 vols., Madrid, 1892.

CORNILLIAC, J. J. J., "Anthropologie des Antilles," in _CA_ i. 2
(Nancy, 1875).

CURRIER, CHAS. W., "Origine, progrès et caractères de la race caraïbe,"
in _CA_ xi (Mexico, 1897).

DAVIES, J., _The History of the Caribby Islands_. London, 1666.

DOUAY, LÉON, [a] "Affinités lexicologiques du Haïtien et du Maya," in
_CA_ x (Stockholm, 1897).

DU TERTRE, JEAN BAPTISTE, [a], _Histoire générale des îles de
Saint-Christophe, de la Guadeloupe, de la Martinique et autres, dans
l'Amérique_. Paris, 1654.

DU TERTRE, JEAN BAPTISTE, [b], _Histoire générale des Antilles habitées
par les Français_. 4 vols. Paris, 1667-71.

EDWARDS, BRYAN, _Histoire civile et commerciale des colonies anglaises
dans les Indes Occidentales_. Paris, 1801.

FEWKES, J. W., [a], "Preliminary Report of an Archaeological Trip
to the West Indies," in _Smithsonian Institution: Miscellaneous
Publications_, xlv (Washington, 1903).
 ----[b], "Aborigines of Porto Rico," in _25 ARBE_ (Washington, 1907).
 ----[c], "Prehistoric Porto Rican Pictographs," and "Precolumbian
 West  Indian Amulets," in _AA_, new series, v (1903).
 ----[d], "Further  Notes on the Archaeology of Porto Rico," in _AA_,
 new series, x  (1908).
 ----[e], "An Antillean Statuette with Notes on West Indian
 Religious Beliefs," in _AA_, new series, xi (1909)
 ----[f], "A  Prehistoric Collar from Porto Rico," and "Porto-Rican
 Elbow-Stones,"  in _AA_ xv, new series (1913).

FONTANEDA, HERNANDO D'ESCALENTE, _Mémoire sur la Floride (TC)_. Paris,

GÓMARA, FRANCISCO LÓPEZ DE, [a], _Hispania Victrix. Primera y segunda
parte de la historia general de las Indias_. Medina del Campo, 1553;
also, _Historia de las Indias_, Anvers, 1554; and in _Historiadores
primitivos de Indias_, Tomo i (ed. VEDIA), Madrid, 1858.

HARISSE, H., _The Discovery of America._ London, 1892.

HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, ANTONIO DE, _Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del mar Océano.... En
quatro decadas desde el año de 1492 hasta el de 1531_. 4 vols. Madrid,
1601-15; also, Madrid, 1726-30.

HUCHERBY, THOMAS, "Petroglyphs of St. Vincent, British West Indies," in
_AA_ xvi, new series (1914).

IM THURN, EVERARD, _Among the Indians of Guiana_, London, 1883.

JOYCE, T. A., [a], _Central American and West Indian Archaeology_.
London, 1916.

LABAT, JEAN BAPTISTE, _Nouveau voyage aux Isles de l'Amérique_. The
Hague, 1724; also, Paris, 1743.

LA BORDE, LE SIEUR DE, _Voyage qui contient une relation exacte
de l'origine, moeurs, coutumes, religion, guerres et voyages des
Caraïbes_. Amsterdam, 1704.

LAS CASAS, BARTOLOMÉ DE, [a], _Historia de las Indias_. 5 vols. Madrid,
1875-76. (The first complete edition of this work. An account of
editions of this and other works of Las Casas will be found in the
preface to _Bartholomew de las Casas_, by FRANCIS MACNUTT, New York and
London, 1909; which also contains an English tr. of the _Brevissima
relación de la destruycion de las Indias_.)
 ----[b], _Apologética historia de las Indias_ (_Historiadores de las
 Indias_, Tomo i). Ed. MANUEL SERRANO Y SANZ. Madrid, 1909.

LING ROTH, H., "Aborigines of Hispaniola," in _JAI_ xvi (1887).


MARTYR D'ANGHIERA, PETER, _De Orbe Novo._ Alcalá de Henares, 1516.
FRANCIS AUGUSTUS MACNUTT, _De Orbe Novo: The Eight Decades of Peter
Martyr D'Anghera_, 2 vols., New York, 1912 (with bibliography of
previous editions); also, ed. JOAQUÍN TORRES ASENSIO, 2 vols., Madrid,
1892; PAUL GAFFAREL, French tr. with notes, Paris, 1907.

OBER, F. A., "The Aborigines of the West Indies," in _Proceedings of
the American Antiquarian Society_ (1894).

OVIEDO Y VALDÉS, GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ DE, _Historia general y natural
de las Indias, islas y tierra-firme del mar Océano_. 4 vols. Madrid,
1851-55; also, _Sumario de la natural historia de las Indias_, in
_Historiadores primitivos de Indias_, Tomo i (ed. VEDIA), Madrid, 1858.

PANE, RAMÓN. Pane's Narrative is incorporated in FERNANDO COLUMBUS,
_Historie_, ch. lxxii.

_Report of the Census of Porto Rico._ Washington, 1899.

ROCHEFORT, H. DE, _Histoire naturelle et morale des îles Antilles de
l'Amérique_. Rotterdam, 1658.

ROTH, WALTER E., "An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-lore of the
Guiana Indians," in _30 ARBE_ (Washington, 1915).

STAHL, AUGUSTIN, _Los Indios Borinqueños_. Porto Rico, 1889.

STODDARD, FLORENCE JACKSON, _As Old as the Moon: Cuban Legends:
Folklore of the Antilles_. New York, 1909. (Not critical.)


ACOSTA, JOSÉ DE, S. J., _Historia natural y moral de las Indias._
Seville, 1590; also, 2 vols., Madrid, 1894. Tr. CLEMENTS MARKHAM, _The
Natural and Moral History of the Indies (HS)_, 2 vols., London, 1880.

ALVAREZ, MANUEL FRANCISCO, _Las ruinas de Mitla y la arquitectura_.
Mexico, 1900.

_Anales de Cuauhtitlan_, or _Annals of Quauhtitlan_. See _Historia de
los Reynos de Colhuacan, infra_.

_Anales del Museo Nacional de México._ Vols. i-vii, Mexico, 1877-1903;
second series, Vols. i-iv, Mexico, 1903-09; third series, Vols. i ff.,
Mexico, 1909 ff.

"ANÓNIMO MEXICANO," in _AnMM_ vii (Mexico, 1903). (Nahuatl historical
fragment, in part with Spanish tr.)

_Antigüedades Mexicanas, publicadas por la Junta Columbina de México._
Mexico, 1892. See CODEX, _infra_.

AUBIN, J. M. A., [a], _Mémoires sur la peinture didactique et
l'écriture figurative des anciens Mexicains._ (_Mission scientifique au
Mexique_, etc.) Paris, 1885. With reproductions of codices.
 ----[b], _Histoire de la nation mexicaine depuis le départ d'Aztlan
 jusqu'à l'arrivée des conquérants espagnols. Manuscrit figuratif
 accompagné de texte en langue náhuatl ou mexicaine, suivi d'une
 traduction en français._ Paris, 1893. See CODEX, _infra_.

BALSALOBRE, GONÇALO DE, _Relación autentica de las idolotrías,
supersticiones, vanas observaciónes de los Indios del obispado de
Oaxaca_. In _AnMM_ vi (Mexico, 1892). (Written in 1654.)

BANCROFT, H. H., _The Native Races of the Pacific States_. 5 vols. New
York, 1875.

BASTÍAN, A., _Die Culturländer des alten America_. 3 vols. Berlin,

BATRES, LEOPOLDO, _Teotihuacán, ô la ciudad sagrada de los Tolteca_.
Mexico, 1906. (Spanish and English; the author has produced also guides
to Mitla, Palenque, etc.)

BEYER, HERMANN, [a], "Tamoanchan, das altmexikanische Paradies," in
_Anthropos_, iii (1908); "Uber die mythologischen Affen der Mexikaner
und Maya," in _CA_ xviii (London, 1913); etc.
 ----[b], _El México Antiguo: Disertaciones sobre arqueología,
 etnología, folklore, prehistoria, historia antigua y lingüística
 mexicanas_, Tomo i, num. 1: "Explicación de un fragmento de un antiguo
 plato decorado de Cholula." Mexico, 1919.

BOTURINI, LORENZO BENADUCCI, _Idea de una nueva historia general de
la America septentrional, fondada sobre material copioso de figuras,
symbolos, caracteres y geroglíficos, cantares y manuscritos de autores
Indios_. Madrid, 1746.

nations civilisées du Mexique et de l'Amérique-centrale, durant les
siècles antérieurs à Christophe Colomb_. 4 vols. Paris, 1857-59.
 ----[b], _Collection de documents dans les langues indigènes pour
 servir à l'étude de l'histoire et de la philologie de l'Amérique
 ancienne_. Tomes i-iv. Paris, 1861-68.
 ----[c], _Bibliothèque Mexico-Guatémalienne, précédée d'un coup d'oeil
 sur les études américaines._ Paris, 1871.

BRINTON, DANIEL G., [d], _Ancient Nahuatl Poetry_ (_Library of
Aboriginal American Literature_, vii). Philadelphia, 1887.
 ----[e], _Rig Veda Americanus_ (_Library of Aboriginal American
 Literature_, viii). Philadelphia, 1890.

BRÜHL, GUSTAV J., _Die Culturvölker Alt-Amerikas_. Cincinnati, 1875-87.

BUELNA, EUSTAQUIO, _Peregrinación de los Aztecas_. 2d ed. Mexico, 1892.

BURGOA, FRANCISCO DE, [a], _Palestra historial de virtudes, y
exemplares apostólicos._ Mexico, 1670.
 ----[b], _Geográfica descripcion de la parte septentrional del polo
 artico de la America_. 2 vols. Mexico, 1674.

BUTLER, JOHN W., _Sketches of Mexico in Prehistoric, Primitive and
Colonial Times_. New York, 1894. ¶Bibliography.

CAPITAN, LE DOCTEUR, "Les sacrifices dans l'Amérique ancienne," in
_AnMG_ xxxii (1909).

CASTELLANOS, ABRAHAM, [a], _El rey Iukano y los hombres del oriente,
Leyenda indígena inspirada en los restos del "Codice Colombino."_
Mexico, 1910.
 ----[b], _Al Caer el Sol. Desde mi calsa. Teogonias Mexicanas._ Mexico,


CERVANTES DE SALAZAR, FRANCISCO, _Crónica de la Nueva España_. Madrid,

CHARENCY, LE COMTE DE, [a], "Des ages ou Soleils d'après la mythologie
des peuples de la Nouvelle Espagne," in _CA_ iv. 2. Author of numerous
other studies of Mexican religion in _CA, JSAP, Actes de la Société
philologique_, etc.

CHARNAY, DÉSIRÉ, [a], _Ancient Cities of the New World._ New York,
 ----[b], _Manuscrit Ramirez. Histoire de l'origine des Indiens_.
 Paris, 1903.

CHAVERO, ALFREDO, [a], "La Piedra del Sol," in _AnMM_ ii (1882).
 ----[b], "Los Dioses Astronómicos de los Antiguos Mexicanos, Apéndice
 á la interpretación del Códice Borgiano," in _AnMM_ v (1899).

See SIMEON [b].

CLAVIGERO, FRANCISCO XAVIER, _Storia antica del Messico_. 4 vols.
Cesena, 1780-81. Tr. CHARLES CULLEN, _The History of Mexico_, 2 vols.,
London, 1787.

CODEX. Mexican codices include, (a) hieroglyphic manuscripts, pre-
and post-Columbian, chiefly (1) mytho-historical and (2) calendric
and divinatory, and (b) post-Columbian writings, Nahuatl and Spanish,
sometimes accompanied by drawings. References to codices and
expositions of them in the present bibliography are: _Antigüedades
Mexicanas_ (containing reproductions of Manuscripts in the Mexican
National Museum); AUBIN ("Codex Aubin"); BUELNA; DURÁN ("Album");
FÁBREGA; GARCÍA CUBAS [b] (reproductions); HAMY [a]; _Historia de los
Mexicanos por sus pinturas; Historia de los Reynos de Colhuacan y
bibliography of the more important reproductions of Mexican codices
will be found in M. H. SAVILLE, "Mexican Codices, a List of Recent
Reproductions," in _AA_, new series, iii (1901), and in LEHMANN [a],
below; while a detailed bibliography, covering the earlier collections
and publications, is given by JESÚS GALINDO Y VILLA, "Las Pinturas y
los Manuscritos Jeroglíficos Mexicanos," in _AnMM_, segunda época,
ii (Mexico, 1903): cf. BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG [a], Introduction, for
analysis of sources and account of his own discoveries.

_Códice Ramirez._ See TOBAR, _infra_

CORTÉS, (CORTEZ) HERNANDO, _Cartas de relación_ (_Historiadores
primitivos de Indias_, Tomo i). Madrid, 1858. Tr. F. MACNUTT, _Letters
of Cortés to Charles V_, London, 1908.

CÓRDOBA, JUAN DE, _Arte del idioma Zapoteca_. Mexico, 1578; also,
Morelia, 1886.

DÍAZ DEL CASTILLO, BERNAL, _Historia verdadera de la conquista de la
Nueva España_. Madrid, 1632. Tr. A. JOURDANET, _Histoire véridique de
la conquête de la Nouvelle-Espagne_, 2d éd., Paris, 1877; tr. A. P.
MAUDSLEY, _The True History of the Conquest of New Spain_ (_HS_, series
ii, Vols. xxiii-v, xxx, xl), London, 1908-16.

DURÁN, DIEGO, _Historia de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de tierra
firme_. 2 vols. and album. Mexico, 1867-1880.

FÁBREGA, JOSÉ LINO, S. J., _Interpretación del códice Borgiano_.
Italian text with Spanish tr. and notes by A. CHAVERO and F. DEL PASO Y
TRONCOSO, in _AnMM_ v (Mexico, 1899).

FEWKES, J. W., [g], "Certain Antiquities of Eastern Mexico," in _25
ARBE_ (Washington, 1907).
 ----[h], "Ancient Pueblo and Mexican Water Symbol," and "A Central
 American Ceremony which suggests the Snake Dance," in _AA_ vi (1893).

GAMIO, MANUEL, "Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Mexico, 1914-15," in
_CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

GARCÍA, GREGORIO, _Origen de los Indios del Nuevo Mundo y Indias
occidentales_. Ed. BARCIA. Madrid, 1729.

GARCÍA CUBAS, ANTONIO, [a], _Atlas geográfico, estadístico y histórico
de la República Mexicana._ Mexico, 1858.
 ----[b], "Estudio comparativo de dos documentos históricos," in _CA_
 xvii. 2 (Mexico, 1912).

GARCÍA ICAZBALCETA, JOAQUÍN, [a], _Colección de documentos para la
historia de México._ 2 vols. Mexico, 1858-1866. (Contains writings of
Cortés, Las Casas, Motolinia, and other sixteenth-century authors.)
 ----[b], _Nueva colección de documentos para la historia de México_.
 5 vols. Mexico, 1886-1892. (Writings of early missionaries, of Pomar,
 Zúrita, and Mendieta, native manuscripts, etc.)

GÉNIN, AUGUSTE, "Notes sur les danses, la musique et les chants des
Mexicains anciens," in _Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie_, (1913).

GÓMARA, FRANCISCO LÓPEZ DE, [b], _Historia de México, con el
descubrimiento de la Nueva España, conquistada por el muy illustre y
valeroso principe Don Fernando Cortés, marques del Valie_. Anvers,
1554. Also, _Segunda parte de la crónica general de las Indias, que
trata de la conquista de Méjico (Historiadores primitivos de Indias_,
Tomo i). Madrid, 1858.

HAEBLER, KONRAD, _Die Religion des mittleren Amerika_. Münster in
Westfalen, 1899.

HAGAR, STANSBURY, [a], "Elements of the Maya and Mexican Zodiacs," in
_CA_ xvi (Vienna and Leipzig, 1910).
 ----[b], "Zodiacal Symbolism of the Mexican and Maya Month and Day
 Signs," in _CA_ xvii. 2 (Mexico, 1912).

HAMY, E. T., [a], _Codex Borbonicus._ Paris, 1899.
 ----[b], "Croyances et pratiques religieuses des premières Mexicains,"
 and "Le culte des dieux Tlaloques," in _AnMG_ xxv (1907).

HELPS, ARTHUR, _The Spanish Conquest in America_. 4 vols. New York,

HERRERA, ANTONIO DE. See Bibliography to Chapter I.

_Historia de los Mexicanos por sus pinturas._ Published by ICAZBALCETA
in _AnMM_ ii (Mexico, 1882), and in _Nueva colección de documentos para
la historia de México_, Tomo iii (Mexico, 1897), from a manuscript
entitled _Libro de oro y thesoro Indico_, and also known as _Codex
Zumárraga_ and _Codex Fuenleal_. Tr. HENRY PHILLIPS, "History of the
Mexicans as Told by their Paintings," in _Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society_, xxi (1884).

_Historia de los Reynos de Colhuacan y de México._ Nahuatl text with
Latin tr. by WALTER LEHMANN, in _JSAP_, new series, iii (1906). The
first part of this important document was published with Spanish trs.
by JOSÉ FERNANDO RAMÍREZ in _AnMM_ iii (Mexico, 1885), under the
title _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_ (_The Annals of Cuauhtitlan_ is the
usual English form) by which it is usually cited. The ABBÉ BRASSEUR
DE BOURBOURG gives the text and translation of a small portion of
the document, called by him, _Codex Chimalpopoca_, in [b], Tome I,
_Appendice_. An analysis and bibliographical discussion of the document
is given by LEHMANN in _ZE_ xxxviii (1906), pp. 752-60.

HOLMES, WM. H., [a], _Archaeological Studies Among the Ancient
Cities of Mexico_ (_Publications of the Field Columbian Museum,
Anthropological Series_, i). Chicago, 1895-97.

HUMBOLDT, ALEXANDER VON, [a] _Vues des Cordillères_. Paris, 1802. Tr.
by HELEN M. WILLIAMS, _Researches Concerning the Institutions and
Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants of America_. 2 vols. London, 1814.


IXTLILXOCHITL, HERNANDO DE ALVA, _Historia Chichimeca_ and
_Relaciones._ In Kingsborough, ix; also, ed. A. CHAVERO, Mexico,
1891-92. Tr., _Histoire des Chichimèques_ (_TC_ xii, xiii), Paris, 1840.

JONGHE, E. DE, "Le calendrier mexicain," in _JSAP_, new series, iii
(1906); also in _ZE_ xxxviii (1906).


JOYCE, T. A., [b]. _Mexican Archaeology_. London, 1916.

KINGSBOROUGH, LORD, _Antiquities of Mexico_,9 vols. London, 1830-48.
(Reproductions of Mexican codices, among them Codex Boturini, C.
Vaticanus A (3738), C. Telleriano-Remensis, together with explications
and other writings by early authors.)

KRUMM-HELLER, ARNOLFO, "El Zodíaco de los Incas en comparación con el
de los Aztecas," in _CA_ xvii. 2 (Mexico, 1912).

LA SERNA, JACINTO DE, _Manual de ministros de Indios para el
conocimiento de sus idolotrias, y extirpación de ellas. _ In _AnMM_
vi, Mexico, 1892; also, in _Colección de documentos inéditos para la
historia de España_, civ, Madrid, 1892. (Written in 1656.)

LAS CASAS. See Bibliography to Chapter I.

LARRAINZAR, MANUEL, _Estudios sobre la historia de America, sus ruinas
y antigüedades_. 5 vols. Mexico, 1875-78.

LEHMANN, WALTER, [a], "Ergebnisse und Aufgaben der mexikanistischen
Forschung," in _Archiv für Anthropologie_, neue Folge, vi (1907).
 ----[b], "Traditions des anciens Mexicains," in _JSAP_, new series,
 iii (1906). See _Historia de los Rey nos de Colhuacan, supra_.

LEÓN, NICOLÁS, [a], _Familias lingüísticas de México._ Mexico, 1902.
 ----[b], _Compendio de la historia general de México, desde los
 tiempos prehistóricos hasta el año de 1900_. Mexico, 1902.
 ----[c], _Los Tarascos. Notas históricas, étnicas y antropológicas._
 Mexico, 1904. Also in _Boletín del Museo Nacional_, segunda época,
 i-ii, with continuation in _AnMM_, segunda época, i (Mexico, 1903).
 ----[d,] _Lyobsa ó Mictlan, Guía histórico-descriptiva_. Mexico, 1901.
 (Handsomely illustrated; Spanish and English text.) Also articles in
 _AnMM, CA_, and elsewhere, dealing with the antiquities of the Zapotec
 and Tarascan regions.

LEÓN Y GAMA, ANTONIO DE, _Descripción histórica y cronológica de las
dos piedras que con ocasión del nuevo empedrado que se está formando en
la plaza principal de México, se hallaron en el año de 1790_. Mexico,

LOUBAT, LE DUC DE. Chromophotographic reproductions of Codices
Vaticanus 3773, Borgia, Bologna, Telleriano-Remensis, Vaticanus 3738,
Tonalamatl Aubin, Ferjérváry-Mayer, etc. Paris, 1896-1901.

LUMHOLTZ, CARL, [a], "Symbolism of the Huichol Indians," in _Memoirs of
the American Museum of Natural History_ iii (New York, 1900).
 ----[b], _Unknown Mexico_. 2 vols. New York, 1902.
 ----[c], _New Trails in Mexico_. New York, 1912.

MACCURDY, GEO. G., [a], "An Aztec 'Calendar Stone' in Yale University
Museum," in _CA_ xvii. 2 (Mexico, 1912).

MCGEE, W. G., "The Seri Indians," in _17 ARBE_, part i.

MASON, J. ALDEN, "Folk-Tales of the Tepecanos," in _JAFL_ xxvii (1914).

MAYER, BRANTZ, _Mexico: Aztec, Spanish and Republican_. 2 vols.
Hartford, 1853.

MECHLING, WM. H., [a], "Stones from Tuxtepec, Oaxaca," in _JAFL_ xxv
 ----[b], "The Indian Linguistic Stocks of Oaxaca, Mexico," in _AA_,
 new series, xiv (1912). (Contains some corrections of _44 BBE_.)

MENDIETA, GERÓNIMO DE, _Historia eclesiástica Indiana, obra escrita á
fines del siglo XVI por Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta de la Orden de San
Francisco. La pública por primera vez_. Ed. J. GARCÍA ICAZBALCETA.
Mexico, 1870.

MENDOZA, G., "Cosmogonía Azteca," in _AnMM_ i (Mexico, 1877); "Mitos de
los Nahoas," in _AnMM_ ii (Mexico, 1882).

_Mexican and Central American Antiquities, Calender Systems, and
History (28 BBE)._ Papers, mostly by E. SELER and E. FÖRSTEMANN,
translated from the German under the supervision of CHARLES P.
BOWDITCH. Washington, 1904.

_Mission scientifique au Mexique et dans l'Amérique Centrale._
Including _Archives_, 5 vols. (Paris, 1865-75), and _Recherches
historiques, archéologiques, et linguistiques_, 5 vols. (Paris,

MOTEZUMA, DIEGO LUIS, _Corona Mexicana; ó Historia de los nueve
Motezumas_. Madrid, 1914. (The author, a descendant of the last
Montezuma, died in 1699.)

MOTOLINIA, TORIBIO DE BENAVENTE, _Historia de los Indios de la Nueva
España_. In GARCÍA ICAZBALCETA [a], Mexico, 1858; also, in part, in
KINGSBOROUGH, ix, under the title _Ritos antiguos, sacrificios y
idolotrías de los Indios de la Nueva España_. An earlier and nearly
identical work is _Memoriales de Fray Toribio de Motolinia_, ed. L.
GARCÍA PIMENTEL, Paris, 1903. For bibliographical detail see LÉON
LEJEAL, in _CA_ xiv (Stuttgart, 1906), pp. 193 ff.

MUÑOZ CAMARGO, DIEGO, _Historia de Tlaxcala_. Ed. A. CHAVERO. Mexico,
1892. French tr. in _TC_ xcviii-ix, 1843.

NUTTALL, ZELIA, [a]. See Bibliography, IV. Also author of numerous
studies of Mexican mythology and religion in _AA, CA, SocAA,_ and
 ----[b], _Codex Nuttall_. Cambridge, 1902.

OLMOS, ANDRÉS DE. Author of a compendious work, now lost, prepared
shortly after the Conquest. He is cited as source by Mendieta, II, i,
for his account of the native religion; and apparently fragments of his
work are incorporated in THEVET, _Histoire du Mechyque_ (see DE JONGHE,
"Thévet, Mexicaniste," in _CA_ xiv [Stuttgart, 1906]; also, _JSAP_, new
series, ii [1905]).

OROZCO Y BERRA, MANUEL, [a], _Ojeada sobre cronología Mexicana_.
Mexico, 1878. With the _Crónica Mexicana_ of Tezozomoc.
 ----[b], _Historia Antigua y de la conquista de México_. 4 vols.
 Mexico, 1880.
 ----[c], "Le calendrier mexicain," in _CA_ iii. 2 (Brussels, 1880).
 ----[d], "Códice Mendozino. Ensayo de descifracion geroglifica," in
 _AnMM_ ii (Mexico, 1882).

PASO Y TRONCOSO, F. DEL, [a], _Histoire mexicaine de Cristóbal del
Castillo_. Paris, 1902.
 ----[b]. See SAHAGÚN.

PAYNE, E. J., _History of the New World called America_. 2 vols. Oxford,

PEÑAFIEL, ANTONIO, [a], _Nombres geográficos de México_. Mexico,
 ----[b], _Monumentos del arte Mexicano antiguo. _ Berlin, 1890.
 ----[c], _Colección de documentos para la historia Mexicana_.
 Parts i-vi. Mexico, 1897-1903. (Nahuatl and Spanish texts.)
 ----[d], _Cantares en idioma Mexicano_. Mexico, 1905. (Facsimile
 reproduction of manuscript in the Mexican National Library.)
 ----[e], _Principio de la época colonial. Destrucción del templo mayor
 de México antiguo, y los monumentos encontrados en la ciudad en las
 escavaciones de 1897 y 1902_. Mexico, 1910.

PHILLIPS, HENRY, "Notes upon the Codex Ramírez, with a translation of
the same," in _Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society_, xxi.
See _Historia de los Mexicanos_, etc., _supra_.

PIMENTEL, FRANCISCO, _Obras Completas_. Mexico, 1903-04.

PÍ Y MARGALL, FRANCISCO, _Historia de la América antecolumbiana_. 2
vols. Barcelona, 1892.

POMAR, J. B., _Relación de Tezcoco_. Mexico, 1891. (Written in 1582.)

PORTILLO, ANDRÉS, _Oaxaca en el centenario de la independencia
nacional_. Oaxaca, 1910.

PRESCOTT, WM. H., _History of the Conquest of Mexico_. 3 vols. New
York, 1844.

PREUSS, KONRAD THEODOR, [a], _Die Nayarit-Expedition, Textaufnahmungen
und Beobachtungen unter mexikanischen Indianern_. Vol. I. Leipzig,
 ----[b], "Die Feuergötter als Ausgangspunkt zum Verständnis der
 mexikanischen Religion," in _MitAGW_ xxxiii (1903). Also artt. in _CA,
 ZE,_ and elsewhere.

RADIN, P., "Folk-Tales from Oaxaca," in _JAFL_ xxviii (1915).

RAMÍREZ, JOSÉ FERNANDO. See _Historia de los Reynos de Colhuacan,
supra_; TOBAR, _infra_.

_Relación de las ceremonias y ritos, población y gobierno de los Indios
de la provincia de Mechuacan hecha al III. 'mo Dr. D. Antonio de
Mendoza, virey y gobiernador de Nueva España_ (_Colección de documentos
inéditos para la historia de España_, liii). Madrid, 1875; also,
Morelia, 1903.

RÉVILLE, A., _Les religions du Mexique, de l'Amérique centrale et du
Pérou_. Paris, 1885.

RAYNAUD, GEORGES, [a], _L'Histoire maya d'après les documents en langue
yucatèque (Archives de la Société Américaine de France_, nouvelle
série, VIII. i). Paris, 1892. Tr. of _Books of Chilam Balam_.
 ----[b], _Les Manuscrits précolumbiens_. Paris, 1894.
 ----[c], _Introduction à l'étude des anciennes religions du Mexique_
 (_Mémoires de la Société d'Ethnographie_). Paris, 1894(?).

RÓBELO, CECILIO A., [a], "Diccionario de mitología Nahoa," in _AnMM_,
segunda época, ii-v.
 ----[b], "Origen del calendario Nahuatl," in _CA_ xvii. 2, Apéndice
 (Mexico, 1912).

ROCHA, DIEGO ANDRÉS, _Tratado único y singular del origen de los Indios
del Perú, Méjico, Santa Fé y Chile_. 2 vols. Madrid, 1891.

ROMÁN Y ZAMORA, JERÓNIMO, _Repúblicas de Indias: idolotrías y gobierno
en México y Perú antes de la conquista_. Madrid, 1575; also, 2 vols.,

ROSNY, LÉON DE, [a], _L'Amérique précolumbienne, études d'histoire,
de linguistique et de paléographie sur les anciens temps du
Nouveau-monde_. Paris, 1904.

RUIZ DE ALARCÓN, HERNANDO, _Tratado de las supersticiones y costumbres
gentílicas que oy viuen entre los Indios naturales desta Nueva España,
escrita en Mexico ... año 1629_. In _AnMM_ vi, Mexico, 1892.

RUIZ, EDUARDO, _Michoacán. Paisajes, tradiciones y leyendas_. Mexico,

SAHAGÚN, BERNARDINO DE, _Historia de las cosas de la Nueva España_. 3
vols. Mexico, 1829. Tr. with introduction and notes, D. JOURDANET and
RÉMI SIMÉON, _Histoire générale des choses de la Nouvelle-Espagne_,
Paris, 1880. Sahagún's Spanish text is translated from Nahuatl
originals, published in part, with translations, by E. SELER in
_Veröffentlichungen aus dem Königlichen Museum für Völkerkunde_
(1890-99), and in "Die religiösen Gesänge der alten Mexikaner," (Seler
[a], ii). An edition of the whole is long promised by PASO Y TRONCOSO.
Cf., also, W. SCHMIDT, "Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, O. Fr. M., 'Un
breve compendio de los ritos ydolotricos que los yndios desta nueva
España usavan en el tiempo de su infidelidad,'" in _Anthropos_ i (1906).

SAUSSURE, HENRI, _Antiquités mexicaines_. Geneva, 1891.

SAVILLE, M. H., [a]. See CODEX, _supra_.

SELER, CAECILIE, _Auf alten Wegen in Mexiko und Guatemala_. Berlin,

SELER, EDUARD, [a], _Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen
Sprach- und Alterthumskunde_. 3 vols. Berlin, 1902-08. _Register._
Berlin, 1914. Also artt. in _CA, ZE_, etc.; cf., _supra, Mexican and
Central American Antiquities_ and SAHAGÚN.
 ----[b], _The Tonalamatl of the Aubin Collection_. Berlin and London,
 ----[c], _Codex Fejérváry-Mayer_. Berlin and London, 1901-02.
 ----[d], _Codex Vaticanus No. 3773 (B)_. Berlin and London, 1902-03.
 ----[e], _Codex Borgia_. 3 vols. Berlin, 1903-06.

SIMÉON, RÉMI, [a], _Dictionnaire de la Langue Nahuatl_. Paris, 1885.
 ----[b], _Annales de San Anton Muñón Chimalpahin Quahtlehuanitzin_.
 Paris, 1889. (The sixth and seventh relations, from the manuscript in
 the Bibliothèque National, Paris.)
 ----[c]. See SAHAGÚN.

SOLÍS Y RIVADENEYRA, A. DE, _Historia de la Conquista de Mexico_.
Madrid, 1684; also, _Conquesta de Mexico_. Paris, 1844.

SOTOMAYOR, DÁMASO, _Tablas cronológicas de los siglos jeroglíficos_.
Mexico, 1897.

SPENCE, LEWIS, [a], _The Civilization of Ancient Mexico_. Cambridge,
 ----[b], _The Myths of Mexico and Peru_. London and New York, 1914.

SPINDEN, H. J., [a], _Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central
America_ (_American Museum of Natural History, Handbook Series, No._
5). New York, 1917.

STARR, FREDERICK, _In Indian Mexico_. Chicago, 1908.

TEZOZOMOC, HERNANDO DE ALVARADO, _Crónica Mexicana_. Mexico, 1878. The
volume contains also the _Relación_ of Juan Tobar, and the _Ojeada_ of
Orozco y Berra; cf. TOBAR, _infra_.

THEVET, ANDRÉ, _Cosmographie universelle_. Paris, 1575. See OLMOS,

TOBAR, JUAN DE, _Relación del origen de los Indios que habitan esta
Nueva España según sus historias_. Mexico, 1878. See TEZOZOMOC. A
prefatory memorandum by JOSÉ F. RAMÍREZ to the _Relación_ (with which
are included _Tratado de los ritos y ceremonias y dioses que en su
gentilidad usaban los Indios desta Nueva España_ and _Fragmentos_ under
the general title _Códice Ramirez_) doubts the authorship of Tobar, to
whom the work is commonly attributed.

TORQUEMADA, JUAN DE, _Monarquía Indiana_. 3 vols. Madrid, 1723. (First
edition, 1613.)

TYLOR, E. B., _Anahuac_. London, 1861.

VETANCURT, A. DE, _Teatro Mexicano_. Mexico, 1698; also, 4 vols.,

Méjico_. 3 vols. Mexico, 1836. Also, in part, under title "Historia del
origen de las gentes que poblaron la America Septentrional," etc., in
Kingsborough viii.

WATERMAN, T. T., [a], "Bandelier's Contribution to the Study of
Ancient Mexican Social Organization," in _University of California
Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology_, xii. 7 (Berkeley,
1917). ¶Bibliography, especially for earlier sources.
 ----[b], "The Delineation of the Day-Signs in the Aztec Manuscripts,"
 _ib._ xi. 6 (Berkeley, 1916).

ZURITA, ALONZO DE, _Breve y Sumaria relación de los señores de la Nueva
España_ (_Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España_,
iii). Madrid, 1891. French tr. in _TC_ xi (Paris, 1840).


AGUILAR, PEDRO SANCHEZ DE, _Informe contra idolorum cultores del
Obispado de Yucatan_. Madrid, 1639; also, in _AnMM_ vi (Mexico, 1900).

ALVARADO, PEDRO DE, _Relación hecha por Pedro Albarado á Hernando
Cortés_. In _Historiadores primitivos de Indias_, ed. Vedia, Madrid,

ANCONA, ELIGIO, _Historia de Yucatán_. 4 vols. Merida, 1878. 2d ed.
Barcelona, 1889.

_Annals of the Cakchiquels_. See BRINTON, _infra_.

ARNOLD, (C.) AND FROST (F. J. T.), _The American Egypt: a Record of
Travel in Yucatan_. New York, 1909.

BANCROFT, H. H. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

BARBERENA, SANTIAGO IGNACIO, _El Popul Vuh, ó libro sagrado de los
antigás Votanides_. 3 vols. San Salvador, 1905.

BOWDITCH, CHARLES P., [a], "Memoranda on the Maya Calendars used in
the Books of Chilan Balam," and "On the Age of Maya Ruins," in _AA_,
new series, iii (1901).
 ----[b], _The Numeration, Calendar Systems and Astronomical Knowledge
 of the Mayas_. Cambridge, 1910.

BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG, [a]. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.
 ----[b]. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III. Vol. iii contains LANDA,
 _Relación_, LIZANA, _Del Principio_, PÍO PÉREZ, _Cronologia antigua_,
 and other documents pertinent to Yucatan.
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 historiques des Quichés._ Paris and Brussels, 1861.
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 Ti-Hoo (Merida) et d'Izamal_; also, _Rapport sur les ruines de Mayapan
 et d'Uxmal du Yucatan_. In _Archives de la Commission Scientifique au
 Mexique et dans L'Amérique Centrale_, ii (Paris, 1866).
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 langue des Mayas._ In _Recherches historiques, archéologiques et
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 Paris, 1869-70. See CODEX, _infra_.

BRETON, A., "The Wall Paintings of Chichen Itza," in _CA_ xv. 2
(Quebec, 1907); "Preliminary Study of the North Building, Great Ball
Court, Chich'en Itzá, Yucatan," in _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

BRINTON, DANIEL G., [f], _The Maya Chronicles (Library of Aboriginal
American Literature_, i). Philadelphia, 1882. See _Chilam Balam_; NAKUK
 ----[g] _The Güegüence; a Comedy Ballet in the Nahuatl-Spanish Dialect
 of Nicaragua_ (_Library_, iii). Philadelphia, 1883.
 ----[h], _The Annals of the Cakchiquels_ (_Library_, vi).
 Philadelphia, 1885.

CABRERA, PAUL FELIX, _Palenque, Description of the Ruins of an Ancient
City ... translated from the Original Manuscript Report of Captain Don
Antonio Del Rio; followed by Teatro Critico Americano; or a Critical
Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans_. London,

CARRILLO Y ANCONA, CRESCENCIO, [a], _Historia antigua de Yucatán.
Seguida de las disertaciones del mismo autor relativas al proprio
asunto_. Merida, 1881.
----[b], _El Rayo de sol. Leyenda Yucateca._ Merida, 1892.

CHARENCY, H. DE, [b], _Le mythe de Votan; étude sur les origines
asiatiques de la civilisation américaine_. Alençon, 1871.
 ----[c], _Des animaux symboliques dans leur relation avec les points
 de l'espace chez les Américains_. Paris, 1878.
 ----[d], "Deux contes des Indiens Chontales," in _CA_ xv. 2 (Quebec,

CHARNAY, DÉSIRÉ. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

CHAVERO, ALFREDO, [C], "Palemke Calendar, the Signs of the Days," in
_CA_ xiii (Easton, 1905).

_Chilam Balam_ (or _Chilan Balam_), _Books of_. Native chronicles of
Yucatec villages, written in roman script shortly after the Conquest.
The most considerable publication of such of these as have been
preserved is in BRINTON, _Maya Chronicles_. A facsimile reproduction
of _The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel_ forms Vol. v, of the
_Anthropological Publications_ of the Museum of the University of
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1913). For analysis and bibliography of the
subject, see TOZZER [b].

_Chronicle of Chac Xulub Chen_. See NAKUK PECH, below.

CODEX. Three Maya codices, in native picture-writing, have been
preserved. (1) _Codex Dresdensis_, Royal Library, Dresden, is
reproduced in KINGSBOROUGH, iii, and in two editions by FÖRSTEMANN
(1880, 1892). FÖRSTEMANN, _Commentary on the Maya Manuscript in the
Royal Public Library of Dresden_ forms _PaPM_, iv, 2 (Cambridge, 1906);
with which cf. numerous artt. in _28 BBE_. (2) _Codex Tro-Cortesianus_,
Museo Arqueologico Nacional, Madrid, comprises the _Codex Troano_,
published by BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG [f]; and the _Codex Cortesianus_,
published by LÉON DE ROSNY (1883) and again by RADA Y DELGADO (1892);
the two parts are from a single original, hence the present name of the
codex. (3) _Codex Peresianus_, Librairie Nationale, Paris, published by
LÉON DE ROSNY (1887, in colors; 1888, black and white).

COGOLLUDO, DIEGO LÓPEZ DE, _Historia de Yucatan, escrita en el siglo
XVII_. 2 vols. Madrid, 1688; also, Merida, 1867-68.

CORTÉS (CORTEZ). See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

DÍAZ DEL CASTILLO. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

DÍAS, JUAN, _Itinéraire du voyage de la flotte du Roi Catholique à
l'île de Yucatan dans l'Inde. Fait en l'an 1518, sous les ordres du
capitaine général Juan de Grijalva_ (_TC_ x). Paris, 1838.

DIESELDORFF, E. P., "Das Gefäss von Chama," "Reliefbild aus Chipolem,"
and "Cuculcan," in _ZE_ xxvii (1895). Also artt. in _ZE_ xxiv, xxv, and
in _28 BBE_.

FEWKES, J. W., [i], "The God D in the Codex Cortesianus," in _AA_ viii

FÖRSTEMANN, E., [a], _Die Maya-Handschrift der Königlichen Bibliothek
zu Dresden_. Leipzig, 1880; 2d ed., Dresden, 1892. Cf. CODEX,
 ----[b], "Aids to the Deciphering of Maya Manuscripts," and
 translations of other artt., in _28 BBE_.
 ----[c], _Commentary on the Maya Manuscript in the Royal Public
 Library of Dresden_ (_PaPM_ iv, 2). Cambridge, 1906.

GANN, THOMAS, [a], "The _Chachac_, or Rain Ceremony, as Practised by
the Maya of Southern Yucatan," in _CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).
 ----[b], _The Maya Indians of Southern Yucatan and Northern British
 Honduras (64 BBE)_. Washington, 1918.

GATES, W. E., [a], _Codex Perez. Maya-Tzendal_. Point Loma, 1909.
 ----[b], _Commentary upon the Maya-Tzental Pérez Codex_ (_PaPM_ vi,
 I). Cambridge, 1910.

GARCÍA, MANUAL R., _Supersticiones y leyendas Mayas_. Merida, 1905.

GARCÍA CUBAS, A., [c], "La Légende de Votan," in _Soc AA_ xxx (1911).

GOODMAN, J. T., [a], _The Archaic Maya Inscriptions (Biología
Centrali-Americana. Archaeology. Appendix)._ London, 1897.
 ----[b], "Maya Dates," in _AA_, new series, vii (1905).

GORDON, G. B., [a], _Prehistoric Ruins of Copan, Honduras_ (_MPM_ i,
I). Cambridge, 1896.--_Researches in the Ulloa Valley, Honduras_ (_MPM_
i, 4). 1898.--_Caverns of Copan, Honduras_ (_MPM_ i, 5). 1898.--_The
Hieroglyphic Stairway Ruins at Copan_ (_MPM_ i, 6). 1902.
 ----[b], "On the Interpretation of a Certain Group of Sculptures at
 Copan," and "On the Use of Zero and Twenty in the Maya Time System,"
 in _AA_, new series, iv (1902).
 ----[c], _The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel_. University of
 Pennsylvania, _Anthropological Publications of the University Museum_,
 part v. Philadelphia, 1913. See _Chilam Balam, supra_.

GUNCKEL, L. W., "An Analysis of the Deities of the Maya Inscriptions,"
in _AA_ x (1897).

HAEBLER, K. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

HAGAR, STANSBURY, [c], "Izamal and its Celestial Plan," in _AA_, new
series, xv (1913); "The Maya Zodiac of Acanceh," in _AA_, new series,
xvi (1914); "The Maya Zodiac at Santa Rita," in _CA_ xix (Washington,

HARTMANN, C. V., [a], "Mythology of the Aztecs of Salvador," in _JAFL_
XX (1907).

HUNTINGTON, ELLSWORTH, "Maya Civilization and Climatic Changes," in
_CA_ xix (Washington, 1917).

JOYCE, T. A. [b], _Mexican Archaeology_. London, 1914.

KINGSBOROUGH, LORD. See Bibliography, IV. Vol. iii contains the Codex
Dresdensis, in reproduction.

KUNST, J., "Some Animal Fables of the Chuh Indians," in _JAFL_ xxviii

LAS CASAS. See Bibliography to Chapter I.

LANDA, DIEGO DE, _Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán_. Published by
BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG, [b], with French tr., in Tome iii, _Collection_;
also in Tomo ii, _Relaciones de Yucatan_ (see _infra_).

LEHMANN, W., [a] See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.
 ----[c], "Ergebnisse einer Forschungsreise in Mittelamerika und
 Mexico," in _ZE_ xlii (1910).
 ----[d], "Einige Probleme des centralamerikenischen Kalendars," in
 _CA_ xviii (London, 1913).

LE PLONGEON, AUGUSTUS, _Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx_. New York,

LIZANA, BERNARDO DE, _Historia de Yucatán_. Valladolid, 1633. Reprint
by Museo Nacional de Mexico, 1893. Extracts, with French tr., in
BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG [b], under title, _Del principio y fundacion
destos cuyos omules deste sitio y pueblo de Ytzmal, sacada de la parte
primera de la obra del Padre Lizana, titulada Historia de Nuestra
Señora de Ytxamal_.

MACCURDY, GEO. G., [b], "Notes on the Ancient Art of Central America,"
in _AA_, new series, xiv (1912).

MALER, TEOBERTO, _Researches in the Central Portion of the Usumatsintla
Valley_ (_MPM_ ii, I). Cambridge, 1901.--Part Second, of same (_MPM_
ii, 2). 1903.--_Explorations of the Upper Usuma-tsintla and Adjacent
Region (MPM_ iv, I). 1908.--_Explorations of the Department of Peten,
Guatemala, and Adjacent Region_ (_MPM_ iv, 2), 1908.--Same, continued
(_MPM_ iv, 3). 1910.--_Explorations in the Department of Peten,
Guatemala. Tikal._ (_MPM_ v, i). 1911.

MARTÍNEZ HERNÁNDEZ, JUAN, "Los grandes ciclos de la historia Maya," in
_CA_ xvii. 2 (Merida, 1910); "La creación del mundo según los Mayos.
Páginas inéditos del manuscrito de Chumayel," in _CA_ xviii (London,

MAUDSLEY, A. P., [a], "Explorations in Guatemala," in _Proceedings
of the Royal Geographical Society_, new series, v (1883).
 ----[b], "Explorations of the Ruins and Site of Copan," in
 _Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society_, new series, viii
 ----[c], _Biologia Centrali-Americana. Archaeology._ 4 vols., text and
 plates. London, 1889-1902.

MAUDSLEY, A. C. AND A. P., _A glimpse at Guatemala_. London, 1899.

MOLINA SOLÍS, JUAN F., _Historia del descubrimiento y conquista de
Yucatán con una reseña de la historia antigua de este península_.
Merida, 1897.

MORLEY, SYLVANUS G., [a], "Correlation of Maya and Christian
Chronology," in _American Journal of Archaeology_, second series, xiv
 ----[b], "The Historical Value of the Books of Chilan Balam," in
 _American Journal of Archaeology_, second series, xv (1911).
 ----[c], _An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs (57
 BBE)_. Washington, 1915.
 ----[d], "The Rise and Fall of the Maya Civilizations in the Light
 of the Monuments and the Native Chronicles," and "The Hotun as the
 Principal Chronological Unit of the Old Maya Empire," in _CA_ xix
 (Washington, 1917).

NORMAN, B. M., _Rambles in Yucatan_. New York, 1843.

NAKUK PECH. _Chronicle_, translated into English and published by
Brinton [f], under the title "The Chronicle of Chac Xulub Chen, by
Nakuk Pech," and, with French tr., by BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG [f], Tome
ii, pp. 110-20.

NÚÑEZ DE LA VEGA, _Constituciones diocesaneas del Obispado de Chiapas_.
Rome, 1702.

NUTTALL, ZELIA, [c], "The Island of Sacrificios," in _AA_, new series,
xii (1910).

ORDOÑEZ Y AGUIAR, RAMON DE, _Historia de la creación del cielo y
tierra_. Manuscript, composed about 1780, utilized by BRASSEUR DE

OVIEDO Y VALDÉS. See Bibliography to Chapter I.

PALACIO, DIEGO GARCÍA DE, _Carta dirijida al Rey de España_. See
SQUIER, [d], _infra_. Tr., with notes, A. VON FRANTZIUS, _San Salvador
und Honduras im Jahre 1576_; Berlin, 1873.

PAYNE, E. J. See Bibliography, IV.

PÉREZ, JUAN PIO, _Cronologia antigua de Yucatan y examen del método
con que los Indios contaban el tiempo, sacada de varios documentos
antiguas_. In BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG [b].

PONCE, PEDRO, _Relación breve y verdadera de algunas cosas de las
muchas que sucedieron al Padre Fray Alonso Ponce en la Nueva España_. 2
vols. Madrid, 1873.


RADA Y DELGADO, JUAN DE DIOS DE LA, _Códice Maya denominado
Cortesiano_. Madrid, 1892. (Color reproduction.)

_Relaciones histórico-geográficas de las provincias de Yucatan._ 2
vols. Madrid, 1898, 1900.

REMESAL, ANTONIO DE, _Historia de la provincia de San Vicente de Chyapa
y Guatemala del Orden de Santo Domingo_. Madrid, 1619.


ROSNY, LÉON DE, [b], _Essai sur le déchiffrement de l'écriture
hiératique de l'Amérique Centrale_. Paris, 1876. Also, tr. with
introduction by RADA Y DELGADO, appendices, plates, etc., _Ensayo sobre
la interpretación de la escritura hierática de la América Central_,
Madrid, 1884.
 ----[c], _Codex Cortesianus_. Paris, 1883. See CODEX.
 ----[d], _Codex Peresianus_. Paris, 1887, 1888. See CODEX.

SALISBURY, S., ed., _The Mexican Calendar Stone_ (by VALENTINI),
_Terra Cotta Figure from the Isla Mujeres_ (by A. LE PLONGEON), etc.
Worcester, 1879.

SANTIBÁÑEZ, ENRIQUE, "Votan y el origen de la civilización Americana,"
in _CA_ xvii. 2 (Mexico, 1912).

SAPPER, C., [a], "Die Gebräuche und religiösen Anschauungen der
Kekchi-Indianer," in _Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie_, viii
 ----[b], "Independent Indian States of Yucatan," in _28 BBE_
 (Washington, 1904).
 ----[c], _Mittelamerikanische Reisen und Studien_. Braunschweig, 1902.

SCHELLHAS, P., [a], "Vergleichende Studien auf dem Felde der Maya
Alterthümer," in _Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie_, iii (1890).
English tr. in _28 BBE_.
 ----[b], _Representation of Deities of the Maya Manuscripts_. 2d ed.,
 revised. _PaPM_ iv, 1. Cambridge, 1904.


SELER, E., [a]. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.
 ----[f], "Die Ruinen von Chich'en Itzá in Yucatan," in _CA_ xvi. I
 (Vienna and Leipzig, 1910).
 ----[g], "Die Tierbilder der Mexicanischen und der
 Maya-Handschriften," in _ZE_ xli (1909) and xlii (1910).

SPENCE, LEWIS, [c], _The Popul Vuh. The Mythic and Heroic Sagas of the
Kichés of Central America._ London, 1908.

SPINDEN, H. J., [a]. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.
 ----[b], _A Study of Maya Art_ (_MPM_ vi). Cambridge, 1913.
 ----[c], "The Question of the Zodiac in America," in _AA_, new series,
 xviii (1916).
 ----[d], "Recent Progress in the Study of Maya Art," in _CA_ xix
 (Washington, 1917).

SQUIER, E. G., [a], _Nicaragua; its People, Scenery, Monuments_. 2
vols. New York, 1852.
 ----[b], _Archaeology and Ethnology of Nicaragua (Transactions of the
 American Ethnological Society_, iii, part i).
 ----[c], _The States of Central America_. New York, 1858.
 ----[d], _Collection of Rare and Original Documents and Relations
 Concerning the Discovery and Conquest of America. No. I. "Carta
 dirijida al Rey de España, por el Licenciado Dr. Don Diego García de
 Palacio."_ New York, 1860. (No more numbers were published.)

STARR, FREDERICK. See Bibliography to Chapters II-III.

STEPHENS, J. L., [a], _Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas,
and Yucatan_. 2 vols. New York, 1841-42.
 ----[b], _Incidents of Travel in Yucatan_. 2 vols. New York, 1843.

THOMAS, CYRUS, [a], "Notes on Certain Maya and Mexican Manuscripts,"
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