Moctezuma I

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Moctezuma I (c. 1398–1469), also known as Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina, Huehuemotecuhzoma or Montezuma I (Classical Nahuatl: Motēuczōma Ilhuicamīna [moteːkʷˈsoːma ilwikaˈmiːna], Classical Nahuatl: Huēhuemotēuczōma [weːwemoteːkʷˈsoːma]), was the fifth Aztec emperor. During his reign the Aztec Empire was consolidated, major expansion was undertaken and Tenochtitlan started becoming the dominant partner of the Aztec Triple Alliance. His brother Tlacaelel held the position of Cihuacoatl "First councillor" during his reign and some sources ascribe a lot of the success of Moctezuma to Tlacaelel, but this may be a postconquest invention (Gillespie 1989:132).

Contents

Name

His first name, pronounced [moteːkʷˈsoːma] in Classical Nahuatl, means "he frowns like a lord". It is also written Montezuma, Motecuhzoma, and several other spellings. Ilhuicamina, pronounced [ilwikaˈmiːna], means "he shoots a bolt into the sky". In Aztec writing, he can be indicated by either a diadem representing or an arrow piercing a stylized representation of the sky.


Huehemotecuhzoma means "old man Moctezuma" or "Moctezuma the Elder", to distinguish him from Moctezuma II.

Ethnohistorian Susan D. Gillespie (1989) has suggested that his actual name while alive was not Moctezuma but only Ilhuicamina, and that he was later renamed Moctezuma by the postconquest chroniclers in order to describe him as a parallel to the later Moctezuma. The nahua view of history was cyclic and it was seen as fitting that the first and the last rulers of a dynasty would live parallel histories. The assumption of a posthumous namechange is supported by the sources some of which state that his original name was Ilhuicamina but that it was changed by his father. Pictographic sources also support the notion since the Tlatoanis name glyph only reads Ilhuicamina and never Moctezuma.

Family

Moctezuma was the son of Huitzilihuitl, the second Aztec emperor, and Miahuaxihuitl, the daughter of Tezcacohuatzin, (also called Ozomatzin or Ozomatzinteuctli in some sources), the tlatoani of Cuauhnahuac who was also a sorcerer. According to legend, after Huitzilihuitl's request for Miahuaxihuitl, was refused by Tezcacohuatzin, he fired a hollow arrow containing jewels into Miahuaxihuitl's palace, and Miahuaxihuitl miraculously became pregnant with Moctezuma after swallowing a jewel. This may be the origin of the name Ilhuicamina. Moctezuma would later wed Chichimecacihuatzin, his mother's niece.

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