The Serpents.

The Serpents.

The outer edge of the Sun Stone is formed by two Serpents, or Xiuhcoatls, which meet at the tails and at the heads. These serpents symbolise the course of the sun through the sky during the day, and through the earth at night time.

It is possible that the images of the gods Xiuhtecuhtli and Tonatiuh within the serpents represent the eternal conflict between opposing forces.

Within the tail of the serpents is the Tlachinolli (Flaming sign) glyph as shown above. "This image has both features of fire (tongues of fire) and of flowers (a stem and leafes). Also, it shows some similarities with the Aztec glyph for water (atl). Since a Nahuatl difrassismo for war is "in atl in tlachinolli", or "the water, the conflagration" it suggest that the glyph refers to the so called "flowery wars" (xochiyaotl).

These flowery wars were carried out with nearby living unconquerred people to obtain victims to sacrifice to the gods. The fifteenth century Aztec leader Tlacaelel, remarked the following on the concept of flowery wars when speaking to Motecuhzoma I about the dedication of the great temple:

There shall be no lack of men to inaugurate the temple when it is finished. I have considered what later is to be done. And what is to be done later, it is best done now. Our god need not depend on the occasion of an affront to go to war. Rather, let a convenient market be sought where our god may go with his army to buy victims and people to eat as if he were to go to a nearby place to buy tortillas... whenever he wishes or feels like it. And may our people go to this place with their armies to buy with their blood, their hearts and lives, those precious stones, jade, and brilliant and wide plumes... for the service of the admirable Huitzilopochtli.

(Leon-Portilla, 1963, p. 162)."

(Rene Voorburg from:

On the ridge of the tail of the serpents are 'flames of intense fire' (above).

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