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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #21
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Sure. In Pacific area it happened that local populations considered in some way "divine" the US airplanes ...
Indeed. The "cargo cults"
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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #22

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similiar with amazon natives and brazilian air force
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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #23

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Do people believe that Cortes, when he arrived in South America, was really mistaken by the Aztecs for the god Quetzalcoatl, or is this perhaps another historical myth?
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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:54 PM   #24
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We should start trading with the aliens! Discover new minerals, dont do anything stupid, like declaring war....
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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:34 PM   #25

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no, we will enslave them for our plantages
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #26

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Do people believe that Cortes, when he arrived in South America, was really mistaken by the Aztecs for the god Quetzalcoatl, or is this perhaps another historical myth?
I think it is a historical myth. I don't think they were that stupid. I believe they treated him like a guest that had something they wanted.

Btw... that Monty python Clip made me very feel old. The computer graphics were state of the art then and the novelty of synthesizers, very late seventies-early eighties.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:41 PM   #27

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Yes, we should declare ourselves to be their gods and then set out to conquer them without mercy or pity. All for my benefit! Ummm... I mean our benefit.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #28
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I think it is a historical myth. I don't think they were that stupid. I believe they treated him like a guest that had something they wanted.

Btw... that Monty python Clip made me very feel old. The computer graphics were state of the art then and the novelty of synthesizers, very late seventies-early eighties.

Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov gets at this a good bit. According to him, there is an element of truth to that situation, but in such a way that is not readily comphrehensible to us and our Western conception of how the world works.

There's really no way to boil his ideas down without doing them harm. But to put it simply, the Aztecs simply lacked the ability to conceive of Cortez (i.e. the ultimate 'other' that they could not relate to in any meaningful sense) and so pigeonholed him into the position of a god. A god was the only other entity that could ever so alien and indigestible to the central Mexican culture. They knew, in a limited sense, that he was not actually a god but since there was no way for the Aztec culture to interact with the idea of such a completely different person, culture, religion, weaponry and world (e.g. Europe) the result was, for all practical purposes, the same deference they would have for a god.

I suggest everyone pick up the book for themselves.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 08:31 PM   #29

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Do people believe that Cortes, when he arrived in South America, was really mistaken by the Aztecs for the god Quetzalcoatl, or is this perhaps another historical myth?
There are two distinct views on the credibility of the Cortez-Quetzacoatl mythology.
One is that it was a construct of post conquest Spanish invention or misinterpretation. No records of the mythos surrounding Quetzalcoatl and applied to Cortez appear to exist before the Spanish conquest.
The other is based on the legend of a native king who left and promised to return in the year ce acatl or " reed one." A man referred to as Quetzalcoatl Tolpiltzin. Ce acatl is the designation for a specific year in the Aztec calender.
Quetzalcoatl was also a deity associated with knowledge and reputedly described as a white man with a beard. So it would seem natural for the Aztecs to associate Cortez with a white bearded god who promised to return in the very year Cortez had arrived.
Cortez arrived at Vera Cruz in 1519, the precise year referred to as Ce Acatl. This may have caused the Aztecs to view Cortez's arrival as fortuitous. Fulfilling what was believed to be an ancient prophecy.
There is even a famous speech reputedly given by Moctezoma offering Cortez his thrown and that he, Moctezoma, was merely acting as a custodian for it until Cortez/Quetzacoatl's arrival.
This speech is believed to have been misinterpreted and may not have even taken place. It could have been a post conquest invention to legitimize Spanish control over the Aztecs.
However, the saddest part is that most of the Aztec records and codices were destroyed along with the vast majority of those created by the Maya as well. So establishing the veracity of this mythos is particularly difficult.
However, it does seem apparent that Cortez was treated with exceptional deference by Moctezoma. Even to being allowed to safely enter into the very center of Tenochtitlan itself. Something no political leader would ever do without some very important reason. This suggests that Moctezoma saw Cortez as someone either uniquely powerful or very sacred. Moctezoma was very superstitious and may have believed in the Quetzalcoatl prophecy. Cortez even remarked in letters to King Philip of Spain "how gullible and stupid the Aztecs actually were." This attitude may have been imbued by Dona Marina, the native interpreter, who spoke nahuatl, mayan and another tribal language. She quickly learned spanish as well. A natural linguist. Dona Marina basically interpreted the Aztec language and told Cortez what he wanted to hear. Often reporting plots and conspracies to Cortez as well. Dona Marina was no friend to the Aztecs and because of this acquired another name "Malinche." Cortez also would have taken advantage of this Quetzacoatl connection like a duck to water.
So it is a matter of whatever viewpoint you choose to accept. However one of the titles given to high priests of the temple to Quetzalcoatl was Quetzalcoatel Ce Acatl. The feathered serpent of reed one. The year Cortez arrived in Mexico.

Last edited by Zarin; December 11th, 2012 at 08:42 PM.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:35 AM   #30

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Thanks everybody. I thought there was no doubt more to the story than the (even now) generally circulated version, I'll look into some of the writers suggested.

It fascinates me (if true) that the Aztecs already had a god in the form of a bearded white man. It's interesting to speculate on how that might have come about.

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Btw... that Monty python Clip made me very feel old. The computer graphics were state of the art then and the novelty of synthesizers, very late seventies-early eighties.
Sorry Makes me feel old too!

It just popped straight into my head on reading Sylla's comment of course.
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