Enrique Florescano is a Mexican historian and author of several books on the history and culture of Mexico. One of his most famous works is The Myth of Quetzalcoatl, a comprehensive study of the origins, evolution and significance of the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl in Mesoamerican civilizations.
In this book, Florescano traces the origins of Quetzalcoatl to the Olmec culture, where he was associated with rain, fertility and creation. He then follows the diffusion and transformation of Quetzalcoatl's myth among the Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec and other cultures, showing how each one adapted and reinterpreted the god according to their own worldview and historical context.
Florescano also analyzes the impact of Quetzalcoatl's myth on the Spanish conquest and colonization of Mexico, as well as on the modern Mexican identity and nationalism. He argues that Quetzalcoatl is not only a mythical figure, but also a symbol of the cultural diversity and continuity of Mexico.
The Myth of Quetzalcoatl is a fascinating and insightful book that offers a new perspective on one of the most important and influential gods in Mesoamerican history. It is available in PDF format for 24 dollars at Archive.org, where you can also find other books by Enrique Florescano.
Quetzalcoatl was not only a god of culture and civilization, but also a shapeshifter who could take various forms, such as a feathered serpent, a human, a bird, or a wind. He was also associated with different aspects of the planet Venus, such as the morning and evening star, and the patron of the day sign One Reed in the Aztec calendar.
The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatl. In one version, he was born by a virgin named Chimalman, to whom the god Ometeotl appeared in a dream. In another version, he was the son of the god Mixcoatl and the goddess Chimalma. In yet another version, he was one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the dual god of duality.
One of the most famous myths about Quetzalcoatl is his journey to Mictlan, the underworld, to retrieve the bones of the previous humans who had been destroyed by a great flood. He and his twin brother Xolotl descended to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, the lord and lady of death, who agreed to give them the bones if they could pass a series of tests. Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl managed to overcome all the obstacles, such as mountains that crashed together, wild beasts that attacked them, and a wind that blew razor-sharp obsidian knives. However, when they were about to leave with the bones, Mictlantecuhtli changed his mind and ordered his minions to dig a pit and chase them. Quetzalcoatl fell into the pit and dropped the bones, which were broken and scattered by a quail. He managed to gather them up and escape with Xolotl, but the bones were mixed up and damaged. Quetzalcoatl took them to Cihuacoatl, the snake woman, who helped him grind them and put them in a sacred vessel. Then he bled himself over the bones and gave them life. Thus he created the new humans who inhabit the earth. aa16f39245