Toledo is a quiet provincial city situated about an hourís
drive south of Madrid; yet hardly does a visitor to Spain miss
seeing it, for within its walls there have been preserved the
monuments of diverse cultures and the lessons of history.
"Its beginnings local legends tell, goes back two millennia before
the Christian era and its foundation is attributed to the biblical
descendants of Noah. Its name, many hold, comes from the Hebrew
Toledoth ("Generational Histories"); its olden homes and magnificent
houses of worship bear witness to the Christianization of Spain -
the rise and fall of the Moors and their Moslem dominion and the
uprooting of the splendid Jewish heritage.
Toledo, for Spain, and for all other lands,
1492 was a pivotal
year, for a triple history was made therein. All three events took
place in Spain, a land geographically known as "Iberia" - a name for
which the only explanation can be found in the term Ibri ("Hebrew")
by which its earlier settlers might have been known.
"....Ferdinand of Aragon and
Isabella of Castile married in 1469....
In January 1492 the Moors were decisively defeated with the fall of
Granada, and Spain was made a Christian land. In March of that same
year, the king and queen signed an edict for the expulsion from
Spain, by July 31 of that year, of all Jews who would not convert to
Christianity by that time. And on August 3 of that same year,
Christopher Columbus -
Cristobal Colon to the Spaniards - sailed
under the Spanish flag to find a western route to India.
"....It is now recognized that there had been much more to the
voyage than a search for a new route to India. Strong evidence
suggests that Columbus was a Jew forced into conversion; his
financial backers, likewise converted, could have seen in the
enterprise an avenue of escape to freer lands. Ferdinand and
Isabella had visions of the discovery of the river of Paradise and
everlasting youth. And Columbus himself had secret ambitions, only
which some of them he expressed in his personal diaries. He saw
himself as the fulfiller of ancient prophecies regarding a new age
that shall begin with the discovery of new lands, "at the extremity
of the Earth."
"But he was realistic enough to recognize that of all the
information he had brought back from the first voyage, the mention
of gold was the attention-getter.... The inevitable conflicts (with
various administrators the queen and king had appointed on Columbus
voyages) culminated in the return of Columbus to Spain in chains, on
the pretext that he had mistreated some of his men. Although the
king and queen at once released him and offered him monetary
compensation, they agreed with the view that Columbus was a
admiral but a bad governor - and clearly one who could not force out
of the Indians the true location of the City of Gold.
"Columbus.... He collected all the texts (ancient prophecies) into a
The Book of Prophecies, which he presented to the king and
queen. It was meant to convince them that Spain was destined to
reign over Jerusalem, and that Columbus was the chosen one to
achieve that by being the first to find the place where gold is
"Themselves believers in the Scriptures, Ferdinand and
agreed to let Columbus sail once more.... This last voyage
encountered more hardships and heartbreaks than any of the previous
"Queen Isabella died in November, 1504; Ferdinand.... decided to let
others act on the last memorandum prepared by Columbus.... (now
crippled with arthritis).
"Hispaniola will furnish your invincible majesties, with all the
needed gold," Columbus assured his royal sponsors regarding the
island that is nowadays shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
There, Spanish settlers using local Indians as slave labor, indeed
succeeded in mining gold in fabulous quantities: in less than two
decades the Spanish treasury received from Hispaniola gold
equivalent to 500,000 ducats.
"As it turned out, the Spanish experience in
Hispaniola was to
repeat itself over and over again across an immense continent.... In
1517 a purposeful convoy of three ships under Francisco Hernadez de
Cordoba sailed to Yucatan from Cuba for the purpose of procuring
slave labor. To their amazement they came upon stone buildings,
temples, and idols of goddesses; to the misfortune of the local
inhabitants (whom the Spaniards understood to have called themselves
"Maya") the Spaniards also "found certain objects of gold, which
".... On another expedition to Yucatan they landed on the
Island of Cozumel.... They saw more stone edifices and monuments, felt the
sting of arrows and spears tipped with sharp obsidian stone, and
examined artfully made art objects. Many were made of stone, common
or semiprecious; others shined as gold, but on close examination
proved to be of copper. There were, contrary to expectations, very
few gold objects, and there were absolutely no mines or other
sources for gold, or any other metals, in the land.
"Where then had the gold, as little as there was, come from? They
obtained it by trading, the Mayas said. It comes from the northwest:
there, in the land of the Aztecs, it is plentiful and abundant.
"The discovery and conquest of the realm of the Aztecs, in the
highland heartland of Mexico, is linked historically with the name
of Hernando Cortes, (the year was 1519).
"....It was there that to the Spaniardís great astonishment
emissaries of the Aztec ruler appeared offering greetings and
bearing exquisite gifts.
"....These were gifts, the emissaries explained, of their ruler
Moctezuma to the divine Quetzal Coatl, the "Plumed Serpent"
the Aztecs; a great benefactor who was forced long ago by the God of
War to leave the land of the Aztecs. With a band of followers he
went to Yucatan, and sailed off eastward, vowing to return on the
day of his birth in the year "1 Reed." In the Aztec calendar, the
cycle of years complete itself every fifty-two years, and therefore
the year of the promised return, "1 Reed," could occur once in
fifty-two years. In the Christian calendar these were the years
1363, 1415, 1467 - and 1519, precisely the year in which Cortes
appeared from the waters on the east at the gateway of the Aztec
domain. Bearded and helmeted as Quetzalcoatl was (some also held
that the god was fair skinned), Cortes seemed to fulfill the
"....Whether the Spaniards had grasped the symbolism or not is not
recorded. If they did, they did not respect it. To them the objects
represented one thing: proof of the vast riches that awaited them in
the Aztec realm. These irreplaceable objects were among the artful
treasures that arrived in Seville from Mexico on December 9, 1519,
on board the first treasure trip sent back to Spain by Cortes. The
Spanish king Charles I, grandson of Ferdinand and
sovereign of other
European lands as Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, was
then in Flanders, and the ship was sent off to Brussels. The golden
hoard included in addition to the symbolic gifts golden figurines of
ducks, dogs, tigers, lions, and monkeys; and a golden bow and
arrows. But overwhelming them all was the "sun disk," seventy-nine
inches in diameter and thick as four real coins....
"....But whatever unique artistic, religious, cultural, or
historical value "these things" had, to the king they represented
first and last gold - gold with which he could finance his struggles
against internal insurrections and external wars. Losing no time
Charles ordered that these and all future objects made of precious
metals be melted down on arrival as gold or silver bullion.
Cortes.... arrived at the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan
- todayís Mexico City - in November 1519. The city, situated in the
midst of a lake, could be reached only via causeways that could be
easily defended. Yet, still awed by the prophecy of the Returning
God, Montezuma and all the nobles came out to greet Cortes and his
entourage. Only Montezuma wore sandals; all the others were
barefoot, humbling themselves before the white god. He made the
Spaniards welcome in his magnificent palace; there was gold
everywhere; even the table-ware was made of gold; and they were
shown a storage room filled with golden artifacts. Using a ruse, the
Spaniards seized Montezuma and held him in their quarters; for his
release they demanded a ransom in gold. The nobles thereupon sent
out runners throughout the kingdom to collect the ransom; the golden
objects that were handed over were enough to fill a ship that sailed
back to Spain. (It was however seized by the French, causing war to
"....A massacre of the Aztec noblemen and commanders was ordered by
Cortesí second-in-command.... Montezuma was killed and the Spaniards
had a full fledged battle on their hands....
"Mexico, while being conquered, was indeed a New Golden Land; but
once the gold artifacts created and accumulated over centuries, if
not millennia, were hauled off, it was becoming apparent that Mexico
was not the biblical land of Havila, and Tenochtitlan not the
legendary City of Gold. And so the search for gold, which neither
adventurers nor kings were prepared to give up, turned to other
parts of the New World.
"The Spaniards had by
then established a base, Panama, on the Pacific coast of America,
and from there they were sending out expeditions and agents into
Central and South America. It was there that they heard the alluring
legend of El Dorado - short for el hombre dorado, the
Gilded Man. He
was a king whose kingdom was so rich in gold that he was painted
each morning with a gum or oil on which gold dust was sprinkled,
covering him from head to toe. In the evening he dipped in the lake
and washed off the gold and oil, only to repeat the rite the next
day. He reigned in a city that was in the center of a lake, situated
on an island of gold.
"....Reports of El Dorado were brought to
Francisco Pizarro in
Panama.... it was said that an Indian from Colombia heard of "a
country rich in emeralds and gold....Their king disrobed, and went
aboard a raft to the midst of a lake to make oblations to the gods.
His regal form was overspread with fragrant oil, from sole of foot
unto his highest brow, making him resplendent at the beaming of the
sun. To view the ritual many pilgrims had been coming making rich
offerings of golden trinkets and emeralds rare.... throwing them
into the sacred lake.
"....Still another version gave the name of the golden city as
and said it was in the land of Biru - Peru to the Spaniards.
El Dorado spread among the Europeans in the New World like
"....While some went to California, others to
Pizarro and his lieutenants relied entirely on the Indian reports.
Some went indeed to Colombia and searched the waters of
Lake Guatavita - a search that continued on and off for four centuries,
yielded votive golden objects and left ensuing generations of
treasure hunters convinced that if the lake could be completely
drained, the golden riches would be raised from its bottom.
"....Pizarro himself, accepted
Peru as the right location. Two
expeditions launched from their base in Panama along the Pacific
coast of South America yielded enough gold objects to convince them
that a major effort in Peru would pay off. After obtaining a royal
charter for the purpose and the titles Captain General and
(of the province yet to be conquered), Pizarro sailed to
Peru at the
head of two hundred men. The year was 1530.
"How did he expect to take over with such a small force a large
country protected by thousands of warriors fiercely loyal to their
lord, the Inca, whom they considered to be the personification of a
god? Pizarroís plan was to repeat the strategy successfully employed
by Cortes: to lure the ruler, seize him, obtain gold as
release him to be a Spanish puppet.
"The fact that
the Incas, as the people themselves came to be
called, were engaged in a civil war when the Spaniards landed was an
They found out that upon the death of the Lord Inca, his first born
son by a "secondary wife" challenged the legitimacy of the
succession by a son born to the Incaís principal wife. When news of
the advancing Spaniards reached the challenger, Atahualpa by name,
he decided to let the Spaniards advance inland (and thus away from
their ships and reinforcements) while he completed the seizing of
the capital, Cuzco. On reaching a major city in the Andes, the
Spaniards sent to him emissaries bearing gifts and offering peace
talks. They suggested that the two leaders meet in the city square,
unarmed and without military escort, as a show of good will.
Atahualpa agreed. But when he reached the square, the Spaniards
attacked his escort and held the Inca captive.
"To release him they asked for a
ransom: let a room be filled with
gold as high as a manís outstretched hand can reach toward the
ceiling.... but then the Spaniards claimed that the deal was to fill
the room with solid gold.... and for over a month, Inca goldsmiths
were engaged in melting down all the artful objects into ingots.
"As if history insisted on repeating itself, the fate of
was exactly the same as that which befell Moctezuma. Pizarro
intended to release him to rule as a puppet king; but zealous
lieutenants and Church representatives, at a mock trial, sentenced
Atahualpa to death for the crime of idolatry and the murder of his
half brother, his rival for the throne.
Mr. Sitchin mentions, at this point, the
treasures found by the
conquistadores in Cuzco. It was fabulous, just to mention that in an
artificial garden in the Temple of the Sun, there were 180,000
square feet of golden corn: silver stocks and golden ears!
"....To the Incas, as to
the Aztecs, gold was a gift or the property
of the gods, not a means of exchange. They never used it as a
commodity, as money. To the Spaniards, gold was a means to acquire
whatever their hearts desired. Flashed with gold but short of home
grown luxuries or even daily necessities, the Spaniards were soon
paying sixty golden pesos for a bottle of wine, 100 for a cloak,
10,000 for a horse.
"But back in Europe, the inflow of gold, silver and precious stones
raised the gold fever and encouraged more speculation about El
Dorado. No matter how much treasure was coming in, the conviction
persisted that El Dorado had not yet been found....
Perhaps the most romantic of all of them (clues) on account of his
background and his royal sponsor, was Sir Walter Raleigh, who sailed
from Plymouth in 1595 to find the legendary Manoa and add its golden
glory to Qeenís Elizabethís crown.
"....Yet it was those dreamers, those adventurers, who in their lust
for gold revealed to Western man the unknown peoples and
civilizations of the Americas. And thereby, unknowingly,
reestablished links that had existed in forgotten times.
"Why did the quest for
El Dorado continue so intensively for so long
even after the discovery of the incredible gold and silver treasures
of Mexico and Peru, to say nothing of the other plundered lands? The
continued and intensified search can be attributed mostly to the
conviction that the source of all those riches had yet to be found.
"The Spaniards extensively questioned the natives about the
fountainhead of the amassed treasures and tirelessly followed every
clue. It soon became clear to them that the Caribbean and
were not primary sources at all: the Maya in fact indicated that
they had obtained gold mostly by trading with their neighbors to
the south and the west, and explaining that they had learned the
arts of goldsmithing from earlier settlers (whom scholars nowadays
identify by the name Toltecs).... but where do the others obtain the
gold from? From the gods, the Maya answered. In the local tongues,
gold was called teocuitlatl, literally meaning "the godís
excretion," their perspiration and their tears.
Aztecs too pointed to the Toltecs as their teachers of the art
of goldsmithing. And who had taught the Toltecs? The great
Quetzalcoatl, the Aztecs replied. Moctezuma revealed (to
that the gold came from three provinces of his kingdom.... one
inland in the southwest where the mines were...."There were no
active mines," Cortes wrote in his report.
"....While most experts on mining and metallurgy accept the
conclusions of Cortes - that the Aztecs engaged in placer mining
only (the collection of gold nuggets and dust from surfaces and
river beds) and not in actual mining involving the cutting of shafts
and tunnels into mountainsides - the issue is far from being
resolved. The conquering Spaniards, and mining engineers in
following centuries, persistently spoke of prehistoric gold mines
found at various Mexican sites.
Aztecs) attributed to their predecessors, the
not just the craftmanship but also the knowledge of the hidden place
of gold and the ability to mine it out of the rocky mountains....
"....The Toltecs, most historians agree, had come to the highland of
Mexico in the centuries preceding the Christian era - at least a
thousand years, perhaps fifteen hundred years, before the Aztecs
appeared on the scene. How was it possible that they had known
mining, real mining of gold and other metals as well of precious
stones such as turquoise, where are those who had followed them -
the Aztecs - could only scrape nuggets off the surface? And who was
it that had taught the Toltecs the secrets of mining?
"The answer as we have seen, was
Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent
"The mystery of the accumulated gold treasures on the one hand and
the limited ability of the Aztecs to obtain it, repeated itself in
the land of the Incas.
"....The chronicles relate that after the initial great
obtained from the Inca lord, the plunder of the riches of
the tearing apart of the sacred temple at Pachacamac on the coast,
the Spaniards became expert in "extracting" gold from the provinces
in equally vast quantities.
"....Seeking an answer to the puzzle, Ribero and
von Tschudi wrote,
"The gold, although it was the Peruviansí most esteemed metal, they
possessed in a quantity greater than that of any other. Upon
comparing its abundance, in the time of the Incas, with the quantity
which, in the space of four centuries, the Spaniards have been able
to extract from the mines and rivers, it becomes certain that the
Indians had a knowledge of veins of this precious material which the
conquerors and their descendants never succeeded in discovering."
Mexico, the generally accepted notion regarding the
of the Andes has been (in the words of Del Mar) that "the precious
metals obtained by the Peruvians previous to the Spanish conquest
consisted nearly altogether of gold secured by washing the river
gravels. No native shafts were found. A few excavations had been
made at the sides of hills with outcrop of native gold or silver."
That is true insofar as the Incas of the Andes (and the Aztecs of
Mexico) were concerned; but in the Andean lands, as in Mexico, the
question of prehistoric mining - the hewing of the metal out of
vein-rich rocks - has not been settled.
"The possibility that at a time
long before the Incas someone had
access to gold at its vein sources (at places the Incas did not
disclose or even did not know about), remains a plausible
explanation for the accumulated treasures.... no matter how
obtained, poses still another, yet very basic, question: What for?
"....In the ruins of a pre-Inca culture at
Chimu, on the Peruvian
coast, the great nineteenth-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt
(a mining engineer by profession) discovered a mass of gold buried
alongside the dead in tombs. The discovery of the metal made him
wonder why would gold, being deemed of no practical use, be buried
with the dead? Was it that somehow it was believed that they would
need it in an afterlife - or that in joining their ancestors, they
could use the gold the way their ancestors had once done?
"Who was it that had brought such customs and beliefs, and when?
"Who had caused gold to be so valued, and perhaps gone after it at
"The only answer the Spaniards were given was
"It was of the godís tears that gold was formed, the Incas said. And
in so pointing to the gods they unknowingly echoed the statement of
the biblical Lord through the prophet Haggai:
The silver is mine
and the gold is mine,
So sayeth the Lord of Hosts.
"It is this statement, we believe, that holds the key to unraveling
the mysteries, enigmas, and secrets of gods, men, and ancient
civilization in the Americas.
THE LOST REALM OF
"The Aztec capital,
Tenochtitlan, was an impressive metropolis when
the Spaniards arrived...
But the heart of the city and the empire was the vast religious
center - an immense rectangle of more than a million square feet,
surrounded by a wall fashioned to resemble writhing serpents. There
were scores of edifices within this sacred precinct; the most
outstanding of them were the Great Temple with its two towers, and
the partly circular temple of Quetzalcoatl.
Great Temple had the shape of a step-pyramid, rising in
stages to a height of some 160 feet; its base measured about 150 by
150 feet. It represented the culmination of several phases of
construction.... the outer structure was built over a previous
smaller one, and that one enclosed an even earlier structure. In
all, seven structures were encasing each other. Archaeologists were
able to peel the layers back to Temple II, which was built sometime
around A.D. 1400; that one, like the last one, already had the
distinctive twin towers upon its top.
" Representing a curious dual worship, the tower on the northern
side was a shrine dedicated to Tlaloc, god of storms and
earthquakes. The southern tower was dedicated to the Aztec tribal
deity Huitzilopochtli, their war god. He was usually depicted
holding the magical weapon called Fire Serpent with which he had
defeated four hundred lesser gods.... At the base of the pyramid
excavators found a large, thick stone disk whose top was carved with
a representation of the dismembered body of the goddess Coyolxauhqui.
According to Aztec lore, she was a sister of Huitzilopochtli and
came to grief by his own hand, during the rebellion of the four
hundred gods in which she was involved. It seems that her fate was
one of the reasons for the Aztec belief that Huitzilopochtli had to
be appeased by offering him the torn out hearts of human victims.
"The motif of twin towers was further enhanced in the sacred
precinct by the erection of two pyramids topped by towers, one on
each side of the Great Temple, and two more somewhat back, westward.
The latter two flanked the temple of Quetzalcoatl. It had the
unusual shape of a regular step-pyramid in front but a circular
stepped structure in the back, where it spiraled up to become a
circular tower with a conical dome. Many believe that this temple
served as a solar observatory. A.F. Aveni (Astronomy in Ancient
Mesoamerica) determined in 1974 that on the dates of the equinox
(March 21 and September 21), when the Sun rises in the east
precisely on the equator, sunrise could be seen from the
Quetzalcoatl tower right between the two towers atop the
Temple. This was possible only because the planners of the sacred
precinct erected the temple along an architectural axis aligned not
precisely with the cardinal points, but one that shifted to the
southeast by 7 1/2 degrees; this compensated exactly for the
geographical position of Tenochtitlan (north of the equator),
enabling the viewing of the Sun on the crucial dates rising between
the two towers.
"Although the Spaniards may have been unaware of this sophisticated
feature of the sacred precinct, the records they left bespeak their
amazement at encountering not merely a cultured people, but also a
civilization so similar to the Spaniardís own.
"Here, across what had been a forbidden ocean, for all intent and
purposes isolated from the civilized world, was a state headed by a
king - just as in Europe. Noblemen, functionaries, courtesans filled
the royal court. Emissaries came and went. Tribute was extracted
from vassal tribes, taxes were paid by loyal citizens. Royal
archives kept written records of tribal histories, dynasties,
wealth. There was an army with an hierarchical command and perfected
weapons. There were arts and crafts, music and dancing. There were
festivals connected with the seasons and holy days prescribed by
religion - a state religion, just as in Europe. And there was the
sacred precinct with its temples and chapels and residences,
surrounded by a wall - just as the
Vatican in Rome - run by a
hierarchy of priests who, just as in Europe of the time, were not
only keepers of the faith and interpreters of divine will, but also
guardians of the secrets of scientific knowledge. Of that,
astrology, astronomy, and the mysteries of the calendar were
paramount.... to the Spaniardsí astonishment, even the symbol of the
cross was known to the Aztecs and, deemed by them a symbol of
celestial significance as the emblem of Quetzalcoatlís shield.
"Moreover, through the maze of a pantheon of numerous deities, there
could be seen an underlying belief in a Supreme God, a Creator of
All. Some of the prayers to him even sounded familiar; here are a
few verses from an Aztec prayer, recorded in Spanish from the
original Nahuatl language:
You inhabit the heavens,
You uphold the mountains . . .
You are everywhere, everlasting.
You are beseeched, you are entreated.
Your glory is eminent.
"Yet with all the baffling similarities, there was a troubling
difference about Aztec civilization. It was not just the "idolatry,"
of which the flocking friars and padres made a casus belli; not even
the barbaric customs of cutting the hearts of prisoners and offering
the pulsating hearts in sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli (a practice,
incidentally, apparently introduced only in 1486 by the king
preceding Moctezuma). It was, rather, the whole gamut of this
civilization, as though it was the result of a progress that had
been arrested in its course, or an imported higher culture covering,
as a thin veneer, a courser understructure.
"The edifices were impressive and ingeniously laid out, but they
were not built of dressed stones, rather, they were of adobe
construction - field stones crudely held together with simple
"....In their tools and weapons, the Aztecs were in a stone age,
unaccountably devoid of metal tools and weapons although they
possessed the craft of goldsmithing. For cutting they used chips of
the glasslike obsidian stone (and one of the prevalent objects from
Aztec times was the obsidian knife used to cut out prisonerís
"....The writing was neither alphabetical nor phonetic; it was a
series of pictures, like cartoons in a comic strip. By comparison,
in the ancient Near East where writing began circa 3800 B.C. (in
Sumer) in the form of pictographs, it quickly changed through
stylization to a cuneiform script, advanced to a phonetic script
where signs stood for syllables, and, by the end of the second
millennium B.C. to a complete alphabet. Pictorial writing appeared
in Egypt at the beginning of kingship there, circa 3100 B.C., and
quickly evolved into a system of hieroglyphic writing.
"Expert studies, as that by
Amelia Hertz (Revue de Synthese
Historique, vol. 35), have concluded that Aztec picture-writing in
A.D. 1500 was similar to the earliest Egyptian writing, as that on
the stone tablet of king Narmer whom some consider to have been the
first dynastic king in Egypt - four and a half millennia earlier. A.
Hertz found another curious analogy between Aztec Mexico and early
dynastic Egypt: In both, while copper metallurgy was yet to develop, goldsmithing was so advanced that the craftsmen could inlay
objects with turquoise (a semiprecious stone cherished in both
"The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City - certainly one
of the worldís best in its field - displays the countryís
archaeological heritage in a U-shaped building. Consisting of
connected sections or halls, it takes the visitor through time and
place, from prehistoric origins to Aztec times and from south and
north to east and west. The central section is devoted to the
Aztecs; it is the heart and pride of national Mexican archaeology,
for "Aztecs" was a name given these people only lately. They called
themselves Mexica, thus giving their preferred name not only to the
capital (built where the Aztec Tenochtitlan had been) but also to
the whole country.
"The Mexica Hall, as it is designated, is portrayed by the Museum as
"the most important hall.... (National Museum of Anthropology in
"The contrast between primitive clay and wood objects and grotesque
effigies on the one hand, and the powerful stone carvings and
monumental sacred precinct on the other hand, is astounding. It is
inexplicable in terms of the less than four centuries of Aztec
presence in Mexico. How could two such layers of civilization be
accounted for? When the answer is sought in known history, the
Aztecs appear as a nomadic, uncouth immigrant tribe that forced its
way into a valley peopled by tribes with a more advanced culture. At
first they made a living by serving the settled tribes, mostly as
hired mercenaries. In time they managed to overpower their neighbours, and borrowed not only their culture but also their
artisans. Themselves followers of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztecs
adopted their neighboursí pantheon, including the rain god Tlaloc
and the benevolent Quetzalcoatl, god of crafts, writing,
mathematics, astronomy, and time reckoning.
"But the legends, what
scholars call "migration myths," put events
in a different light - mainly by beginning the tale at a much
earlier time. The sources for this information are not only verbal
traditions, but the various books called codices. These, such as the
Codex Boturini, relate that the ancestral home of the
was called Azt-lan ("White Place"). It was the abode of the first
patriarchal couple, Itzac-mixcoatl ("White Cloud Serpent") and his
spouse Ilan-cue ("Old Woman"); they gave birth to sons from whom the
Nahuatl-speaking tribes, among them the Aztecs, had come forth. The
Toltecs too were descended of Itzac-mixcoatl, but their mother was
another woman; they were thus half brothers of the Aztecs.
Aztlan was located, no one can say for certain. Of the
numerous studies dealing with the matter (which include theories
that it was the legendary Atlantis), one of the best is Eduard
Selerís Wo lag Aztlan, die Heimat der Azteken? It was a place
apparently associated with the number seven, having been sometimes
called Aztlan of the Seven Caves. It was also depicted in the
codices as a place recognizable by its seven temples: a central
large step-pyramid surrounded by six lesser shrines.
"In his elaborate
Historia de las cosas de Nueva Espana, the Friar
Bernardino de Sahagun, using the original text in the native Nahuatl
language written after the Conquest, deals with the multitribal
migration from Aztlan. There were seven tribes in all. They left
Aztlan by boats.... Sahagun provides various names for the way
stations, calling the place of landfall "Panotlan"; it simply means
"Place of Arrival by Sea," but from various clues scholars conclude
that it was what is nowadays Guatemala.
"The arriving tribes had with them
four Wise Men to guide and lead
them, because they had carried with them ritual manuscripts and also
knew the secrets of the calendar. From there the tribes went in the
direction of the Place of the Cloud-Serpent, apparently dispersing
as they did so. At long last some, including the Aztecs and the
Toltecs, reached a place called Teotihuacan, where two pyramids were
built, one to the Sun and the other to the Moon.
"....How long before the next migratory trek is not clear; but at
some point the tribes began to abandon the holy city. First to leave
were the Toltecs, who left to build their own city,
Tollan. Last to
leave were the Aztecs. Their wonderings took them to various places,
but they found no respite. At the time of their final migration
their leaderís name was Mexitli, meaning "The Anointed." That,
according to some scholars (e.g., Manuel Orozoco y Berra, Ojeada
sobre cronologia Mexicana), was the origin of the tribal name
("The Anointed People").
"Thus it was that the
Aztecs arrived - according to these legends,
for the second time - in the Valley of Mexico.
"....Scholars now generally hold that the
Mexica or Tenochas arrived
in the valley circa A.D. 1140 and established Tenochtitlan in A.D.
"....Like the biblical Hebrews, who traced back their genealogies
not only to patriarchal couples but also to the beginning of
Mankind, so did the Aztecs and Toltecs and other
posses Legends of Creation that followed the same themes.
"....Mesoamerica - held that at the very beginning there was an
Olden God, Creator of All Things, of the Heaven and of the Earth,
whose abode was in highest heaven, the twelfth heaven.
sources attributed the origin of this knowledge to the Toltecs:
And the Toltecs knew
that many are the heavens.
They said there are twelve superimposed divisions;
There dwells the true god and his consort.
He is the Celestial God, Lord of Duality;
His consort is Lady of Duality, Celestial Lady.
This is what it means:
He is king, he is Lord, above the twelve heavens.
sounds like a rendering of Mesopotamian
celestial-religious beliefs, according to which the head of the
pantheon was called Anu ("Lord of Heaven") and who, with his consort
Antu ("Lady of Heaven") resided on the outermost planet,
member of our Solar System. The Sumerians depicted it as a radiating
planet whose symbol was the cross. The symbol was thereafter adopted
by all the peoples of the ancient world and evolved to the
ubiquitous emblem of the Winged Disk. Quetzalcoatlís shield and
symbols depicted on early Mexican monuments are uncannily similar.
"The Olden gods of whom the Nahuatl texts related legendary tales
were depicted as bearded men, as befits ancestors of the bearded
Quetzalcoatl. As in Mesopotamian and Egyptian
theogonies, there were
tales of divine couples and of brothers who espoused their own
sisters. Of prime and direct concern to the Aztecs were the four
divine brothers Tlatlauhqui, Tezcatlipoca-Yaotl, Quetzalcoatl, and
Huitzilopochtli, in the order of their birth. They represented the
four cardinal points and the four primary elements: Earth, Wind,
Fire, Water - a concept of the "root of all things" well known in
the Old World from end to end. These four gods also represented the
colors red, black, white, and blue, and the four races of Mankind,
who were often depicted (as on the front page of the Codex Ferjervary-Mayer) in appropriate colors together with their symbols,
trees and animals.
"....Were the gods of the Mexicans original conceptions, or were
memories of beliefs and tales that had their roots in the ancient
Near East? The answer will emerge as we examine additional aspects
of Nahuatl tales of creation and prehistory.
"We find the
Creator of All Things, to continue the comparisons, to
have been a god who "gives life and death, good and evil fortune."
The chronicler Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas (Historia
wrote that the Indians "call to him in their tribulations, gazing
toward the sky where they believe him to be."
"....The early or prehistoric events affecting
Mankind and the
progenitors of the Nahuatl tribes were divided by legends, pictorial
depictions, and stone carvings such as the Calendar Stone, into
ages or "Suns." The Aztecs considered their times to have been the
most recent of five eras. The Age of the Fifth Sun. Each of the
previous four Suns had come to an end through some catastrophe,
sometimes a natural one (such as a deluge) and some times a calamity
triggered by wars between the gods.
Aztec Calendar Stone contains glyphs, among other symbols,
of the past four eras and the calamity that ended each - Water,
Wind, Quake & Storms, and Jaguar.
"....Though versions vary, suggesting a long verbal tradition
preceding the written records, they all agree that the first age
came to an end by a deluge, a great flood that engulfed the Earth.
Mankind survived because one couple, Nene and his wife Tata, managed
to save themselves in a hollow log.
Continuing with the five
ages of the Aztec.
"Either this first age (which ended with the
Deluge) or the second
one was the age of the White Haired Giants. The Second Sun was
recalled as "Tzoncuztique," "Golden Age"; it was brought to an end
by the Wind Serpent. The Third Sun was presided over by the
Serpent; it was the age of the Red Haired People. According to the
chronicler Ixtlilxochitl, they were survivors of the second age who
had come by ship from the East to the New World, settling in the
area he called Botonchan; they encountered there
giants who also
survived the second age, and became enslaved by them.
Fourth Sun was the era of the Black Headed People. It was
during that era that Quetzalcoatl appeared in Mexico - tall of
stature, bright of countenance, bearded, and wearing a long tunic.
His staff, shaped like a serpent, was painted black, white, and red;
it was inlaid with precious stones and adorned with six stars. (Not
by coincidence, perhaps, the staff of Bishop Zumarraga, the
Bishop of Mexico, was fashioned to look like the staff of
Quetzalcoatl). It was during this era that Tollan, the
capital, was built. Quetzalcoatl, master of wisdom, and knowledge,
introduced learning, crafts, laws, and time reckoning according to
the fifty-two-year cycle.
"Toward the end of the Fourth Sun,
wars between the gods were taking
place. Quetzalcoatl left, going east back to the place whence he had
come. The godís wars brought havoc to the land, wild animals overran
mankind, and Tollan was abandoned. Five years later the
tribes, alias the Aztecs, arrived; and the
Fifth Sun, the Aztec era,
"Why were the eras called "Suns" and how long did they last? The
reason is unclear and the length of the various eras is either
unstated or differs according to the version. One that appears
orderly and, as we shall show, astoundingly plausible, is the Codex Vaticano-Latino 3738. It relates that the
first Sun lasted 4,008
years, the second 4,010, the third 4,081. The fourth Sun "began
5,042 years ago," leaving unstated the time of its ending. Be it as
it may, we have here a tale of events going back 17,141 years from
the time the tales have been recorded.
"This is quite a time span for supposedly backward people to recall,
and scholars, while agreeing that the events of the Fourth Sun
contain historical elements, tend to dismiss the earlier eras as
sheer myth. How then explain the tales of Adam and Eve, a global
deluge, the survival of one couple - episodes (in the words of
Alexander, Latin-American Mythology) "strikingly reminiscent of the
creation-narrative in Genesis 2 and of the similar Babylonian
Cosmogony"? Some scholars suggest that Nahuatl texts reflect in some
way what the Indians had already heard from the Bible-spouting
Spaniards. But since not all codices are post-Conquest, the
biblical-Mesopotamian similarities can only be explained by
admitting that the Mexican tribes had some ancestral ties to
"Moreover, the Mexica-Nahuatl timetable correlates events with a
scientific and historical accuracy that ought to make everyone stop
and wonder. It dates the deluge, at the end of the First Sun, to
13,133 years before the time of writing the codex; i.e., to about
11,600 B.C. Now, in our book
The 12th Planet we have concluded that
a global deluge had indeed engulfed the Earth circa 11,000 B.C.;
such a correspondence not only of the tale itself but also of its
approximate time suggests that there is more than myth to Aztec
"We are equally intrigued by the talesí statement that the
era was the time of the "black-headed people" (the earlier ones
having been deemed eras of white-haired giants, then red-haired
people). This is precisely the term by which the Sumerians were
called in their texts. Do the Aztec tales then deem the
to have been the time when the Sumerians appeared on the human
scene? Sumerian civilization began circa 3800 B.C.; we should not,
it would seem by now, be surprised to find that by dating the
beginning of the Fourth Age to 5,026 years before their own time,
the Aztecs in effect date it to circa 3500 B.C. - amazingly correct
for the start of the age of the "black-headed people."
"The feedback explanation (that the Aztecs told the
they had heard from the Spaniards to begin with) certainly does not
hold water where the Sumerians are concerned; the Western world
uncovered the remains and legacy of the great Sumerian civilization
only four centuries after the Conquest.
"The Genesis-like tales, one must conclude, had to be known to the
Nahuatl tribes from their own ancestral sources. But How?
"If not the originator, then the one who expounded it first in a
detailed manuscript, was the Dominican Friar Diego Duran, who was
brought to new Spain in 1542 at the age of five.... It is in his
second book that Duran, citing the many similarities, stated
emphatically his conclusion regarding the natives "of the Indies and
the mainland of this new world": that "they are Jews and Hebrew
people." His theory was confirmed, he wrote, "by their nature: These
natives are part of the ten tribes of Israel which Shalmaneser,
of the Assyrians, captured and took to Assyria."
"....Such reports increased, the theory of the
Ten Lost Tribes
became the favorite one of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
the assumption being that, somehow, wondering eastward through the
Assyrian domains and beyond, the Israelites reached America.
"The notion of the Ten Lost Tribes, at its height sponsored by
Europeís royal courts, came to be ridiculed by later scholars.
Current theories hold that Man initially arrived in the New World
from Asia across an icy land bridge to Alaska some 20,000-30,000
years ago, spreading gradually southward. Considerable evidence
consisting of artifacts, language and ethnological and
anthropological evaluations indicates influences from across the
Pacific-Hindu, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian.
Scholars explain them by periodic arrival of such people in the
Americas; but they are emphatic in stating that these occurred during
the Christian era, just centuries before the conquest and not in any
"....Indeed, legends of a global deluge and the creation of Man out
of clay or similar materials have been themes of mythologies all
over the world, and one possible route to the Americas from the Near
East (where the tales had originated) could have been Southeast Asia
and the Pacific Islands.
"But there are elements in the Nahuatl versions that point to a
early source, rather than to relatively recent pre-Conquest
centuries. One is the fact that the Nahuatl tales of the creation of
Man follow a very ancient Mesopotamian version that did not even
find its way into the Book of Genesis!
"We find it highly
significant that it is this version - which is not in the Bible -
that is repeated in the Aztec myth. The text is known as
of 1558; it relates that after the calamitous end of the Fourth Sun
the Gods assembled in Teotihuacan.
As soon as the gods came together, they said:
"Who shall inhabit the Earth?
The sky has already been established
and the Earth has been established;
but who; oh gods, shall live on Earth?"
"The gathered gods "were grieved." But
Quetzalcoatl, a god of wisdom
and science, had an idea. He went to Mictlan, the Land of the Dead,
and announced to the divine couple in charge of it: "I have come for
the precious bones which you keep here." Overcoming objections and
trickery, Quetzalcoatl managed to get hold of the "precious bones."
"....He carried the dry bones to Tamoanchan "Place of our Origin" or
"Place from which we are descended." There he gave the bones to the
goddess Cihuacoatl ("Serpent Woman"), a goddess of magic.
She ground up the bones
and put them in a fine earthern tub.
Quetzalcoatl bled his male organ on them.
"As the other gods looked on, she mixed the
ground bones with the
godís blood from the claylike mixture the Macehuales were fashioned.
Mankind was re-created!
Temple of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan
"....It is truly amazing to find all these elements in the
tales - a god of knowledge known as the Plumed Serpent, a goddess of
magical powers called Serpent Woman; a bathtub of foam in which
earthly elements are mixed with a godís essence (blood); and
fashioning of Man, male and female, out of the mixture.
"....Coupled with the other Sumerian-related data and terminology,
contacts at a very early time is indicated. The evidence, it
appears, also challenges the current theories about Manís first
migrations to the Americas. By that we do not mean simply the
suggestions (made earlier this century at the International
Congresses of Americanists) that the migration was not
from Asia via
the Bering Strait in the north, but from Australia/New Zealand
Antarctica to South America - an idea revived recently after the
discovery in northern Chile, near the border with
Peru, of buried
human mummies 9,000 years old.
"The trouble we have with both arrival theories is that they require
the trekking by men, women, and children over thousands of miles of
"But how could they know what was beyond the endless ice if they had
not been there yet, nor anyone else before them - for, by
definition, they were the first men to cross over to the Americas?
"....The Aztec god described their
Promised Land to them as one of
"houses with gold and silver, multicolor cotton and cacao of many
hues." Would the early migrants to America have undertaken their
impossible trek had not someone - their god - told them to go and
described to them what to expect? And if that deity was not a merely
theological entity, but a being physically present on Earth, could
he have helped the migrants overcome the hardships of the journey,
just as the biblical Lord had done for the Israelites?
Since the First Sun had ended with the
Deluge, that era had to be
the final phase of the last Ice Age, for we have concluded in
12th Planet that the Deluge was caused by the slippage of the
Antarctic ice sheet into the oceans, thereby bringing the last Ice
Age to an abrupt end circa 11,000 B.C.
The Migration of
the Aztecs Boturini Manuscript.
prehistoric arrivals by sea and landing on the Pacific coast are not
confined to the Mexican peoples. Farther south the Andean people
retained memories of a similar nature told as legends. One, the
Legend of Naymlap, may relate to the very first settlement on those
coasts by people from elsewhere. It tells of the arrival of a great
fleet of balsa-reed boats (of the kind used by Thor Heyerdahl to
simulate Sumerian seafaring in reed boats). A green stone that could
utter the words of the peopleís god, placed in the lead boat,
directed the migrantís leader, Naymlap, to the chosen beach. The
deity, speaking through the green idol, then instructed the people
in the arts of farming, building, and handicrafts.
"....The time then came when the leader,
Naymlap, his mission
accomplished, had to depart. Unlike his successors , he did not die:
he was given wings and flew away, never to be seen again - taken
heavenward by the god of the speaking stone. (Reminiscent of Enoch).
"....In believing that divine instructions could be received through
a Speaking Stone, the American Indians were in good company: all the
ancient peoples of the Old World described and believed in oracle
stones, and the Ark that the Israelites had carried during the
Exodus was topped by the Dvir - literally, "Speaker" - a portable
device through which Moses could hear the Lordís instructions.
"....Scholars have a problem with a crossing of the oceans by boats
15,000 or 20,000 years ago: Man they hold, was too primitive then to
have oceangoing vessels and navigate the high seas.
Sumerians.... there had been, they stated and restated, a
high civilization upon Earth before the Deluge - a civilization
begun on Earth by those who had come from the planet of Anu and
continued through a life of long-living "demigods," the offspring of
intermarriage between the Extraterrestrials (the biblical
and the "daughters of Man." Egyptian chronicles, such as the
writings of the priest Manetho, followed the same concept. So of
course did the Bible, which describes both rural life (farming,
sheepherding) and urban civilization (cities, metallurgy) before the
"....The Book of Genesis begins with
creation tales that are concise
versions of much more detailed Sumerian Texts. In these it
consistently speaks of "the Adam," literally "the Earthling." But
then it switches to the genealogy of a specific ancestor named
"This is the book of the generations of Adam" (Genesis 5:1). He had
two sons at first, Cain and Abel. After Cain killed his brother, he
was banished by Yahweh. "And Adam knew his wife again and she bore a
son and called his name Sheth." It is this line, the line of Sheth,
that the Bible follows through a genealogy of patriarchs to Noah,
the hero of the Deluge story. The tale then focuses on the
"But whatever happened to
Cain and his line? All we have in the
Bible are a dozen verses. Yahweh punished Cain to become a nomad, "a
fugitive and a vagabond on the Earth."
"And Cain went away from the presence of Yahweh
and dwelt in the land of Nod, East of Eden.
And Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch;
and he built a city
And called the name of the city by his sonís name, Enoch.
"Several generations later,
Lamech was born. He had two wives. Of
one Jabal was born.... of the other, two sons were born. One
the other son, Tubal-Kain, was "an artificer of gold and copper and
"...."Cain took Awan his sister to be his wife and she bare him
Enoch at the fourth jubilee (Book of Jubilees). And in the first
year of the first week of the fifth jubilee, houses were built on
Earth, and Cain built a city and called its name after the name of
his son, Enoch."
"Biblical scholars have long been puzzled by the name of a
descendant of Adam through Sheth and through Cain "Enoch" (meaning
"Founding," "Foundation"), as well as other similarities in
descendantsí names. Whatever the reason, it is evident that the
sources on which the Bibleís editors had relied attributed to both Enochs - who were
perhaps one prehistoric person - extraordinary
deeds. The Book of Jubilees states that Enoch "was the first among
men that were born on Earth who learnt writing and knowledge and
wisdom who wrote down the signs of heaven according to their months
in a book." According to
the Book of Enoch, this patriarch was
taught mathematics and knowledge of the planets and the calendar
during his heavenly journey, and was shown the location of the
"Seven Metal Mountains" on Earth, "in the west."
"The pre-biblical Sumerian texts known as
King Lists also relate the
story of a pre-Deluvial ruler who was taught by the gods all manner
of knowledge. His epithet-name was EN.ME.DUR.AN.KI - "Lord of the
Knowledge of the Foundations of Heaven and Earth" - and a very
probable prototype of the biblical Enochs.
Nahuatl tales of wandering , arrival at a final destination,
settling marked by the building of a city; of a patriarch with two
wives and sons of whom tribal nations have evolved; of one that
became renowned for being a craftsman in metals - do they not read
almost as the biblical tales? Even the Nahuatl stressing of the
number seven is reflected in the biblical tales, for the seventh
descendant through the line of Cain, Lamech, enigmatically
proclaimed that "Seven fold shall Cain be avenged, and Lamech
seventy and seven."
"Are we, then, encountering in the traditions of the
tribes echoes - olden memories - of the banished line of Cain and his
"The Aztecs called their capital
Tenochtitlan, the city of Tenoch,
so naming it after their ancestor. Considering that in their dialect
the Aztecs had prefixed many words with the sound T,
have originally been Enoch if the prefixed T is dropped.
"A Babylonian text based in the opinion of scholars on an
Sumerian text from the third millennium B.C. enigmatically relates a
conflict, ending in murder, between the earth-tilling and a
shepherding brother, just as the biblical Cain and Abel were. Doomed
to "roam in sorrow," the offending leader, called
Kaíin, migrated to
the land of Dunnu and there "he built a city with twin towers."
"Twin towers atop the temple-pyramids were a hallmark of
architecture. Did this commemorate the building of a "city with twin
towers" by Kaíin? And was Tenochtitlan, the "City of Tenoch," so
named and built because Cain, millennia earlier, "built a city and
called the city his sonís name, Enoch?"
"Have we found in
Mesoamerica the lost realm of Cain, the city named
after Enoch? The possibility certainly offers plausible answers to
the enigma of Manís beginnings in these domains.
"It may also shed light
on two other enigmas - that of the "Mark of Cain" and the hereditary
trait common to all the Amerindians: the absence of facial hair.
"According to the biblical tale, after the Lord had banished
from the settled lands and decreed that he become a wanderer in the
East, Cain was concerned about being slain by vengeance seekers. So
the Lord, to indicate that Cain was wandering under the Lordís
protection, "set aside unto Cain, that any one finding him should
not smite him." Although no one knows what this
"sign" had been, it has been generally assumed that it was some kind
of a tattoo on Cainís forehead. But from the ensuing biblical
narrative it appears that the matter of vengeance and the protection
against it continued into the seventh generation and beyond. A
on the forehead could not last that long nor be transmitted from
generation to generation. Only a genetic trait, transmitted
hereditarily can fit the biblical data.
"And, in view of the particular genetic trait of
the Amerindians -
the absence of facial hair - one wonders whether it was this
change that was the "mark of Cain" and his descendants. If our guess
is right, then Mesoamerica, as a focal point from which Amerindians
spread north and south in the New World, was indeed the Lost Realm