Like many other ancient cultures around the globe, the ancient Maya had a very developed religion where they worshipped numerous ancient gods and supernatural beings. These alleged deities played a crucial role in the Classic, Post-Classic, and Contact period in the ancient Maya religion.
Some of the more famous gods are Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent, a deity that was strangely worshiped across Central and South America, going, of course, by different names. The ancient Maya also worshiped Kars, the god of fitness and space. They worshiped Ixmucane, one of the thirteen creator gods according to ancient Maya mythology which helped create humanity. the ancient Maya also worshiped Alom, the god of the sky and Bahlam, the jaguar god of the underworld.
But they also worshiped a strange god called Camazots, the Batman god.
According to ancient Maya Mythology, the Camazotz was a god half man half bat. Camazotz translates to death bat according got the K’iche language. Across entire Mesoamerica, the bat was a creature associated with the night, death and sacrifice.
In K’iche, Camazotz is formed by the words kame, which means death, and sotz, which means bat.
The mythology surrounding Camazotz may be rich but was poorly recorded. Most of what we know about the Batman god comes from the ancient Maya book called Popol Vuh, one of their most sacred writings.
In it, Camazotz are a series of bat monsters that the Maya Hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque encountered during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba. During their journey to the underworld, Hunahpu and Xbalanque spent their night in the House of Bats. To defend themselves from the Bats, it is said that the two brothers squeezed themselves into their blowguns, attempting to defend themselves.
But Hunahpu eventually stuck out his head from the blowgun to see whether the sun had finally risen, and it was then when Camazotz snatched off his head, carrying it to the ballcourt to be used as the ball by the gods in their next ballgame.
Camazotz appears again in chapter II of the Popol Vuh where we see that a messenger from the underworld in the form of a man with the wings of a bat, comes to the surface in order to broker a deal between Lord Tohil and mankind. In the deal, in exchange for fire, mankind promises their armpits and their waists to the gods (sacrifice).
Camazotz is believed to have lived in the underworld, inside a cave. There are some speculations that the ancient Maya god of death was related to an extinct species called Desmodus Draculae, a leaf-nosed vampire bat that was native to both Central and Southern America.
It is argued among scholars that the Maya may have created the myth surrounding the Batman god Camazotz based off of De. draculae, which was one of the largest bats on Earth, having a wingspan of perhaps 50 cm and a mass of about 60 g. De. draculae – sometimes referred to as a ‘giant vampire’ – was about 25% bigger than a modern Common vampire, notes Scientific American.
But although the Maya greatly worshiped the Camazotz, it is believed that the cult worshiping a Batman god started among the Zapotec peoples of Oaxaca, and the worship was eventually transferred to the Maya.
In addition to appearing in the Popol Vuh as a god that decapitates people, the ancient Maya Batman god is recognized as one of the four animal demons that is responsible for destroying mankind during the age of the first sun.
In modern age
But although the Maya worshipped the batman god more than 2,500 years ago, its influence continues in modern times. In Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series, Camazotz is portrayed as one of the beam guardians who takes the form of a bat.
In the Silverwing books series, Camazotz appears as the god of the underworld who takes on a bat-like form.
And in honor of the 75th anniversary of Batman, Warner Home Entertainment from Mexico created a stunning promotion. Working with the Mexican Museum of Design, Warner Home invited a number of artists that were tasked with reworking the Dark Knight how they saw fit.
One of the artists had an obvious love for history and knew pretty well one of the ancient civilizations that eventually gave rise to the country of Mexico: the ancient Maya. He created a historic portray of the Batman. Basing his design of the god Camazotz, the artists created a stunning representation of an ancient creature, half-human half-bat.
Essentially, this is precisely what the modern Batman is, a weird mixture of a human and the traits of a bat.
Although Camazotz didn’t fight crime 2,500 years ago, the ancient Maya god was a well-respected and feared god.
Essentially, before the likes of Keaton, Clooney, and Bale picked up Batman’s mantle, there was the ancient Batman god of the Maya, Camazotz.
The intricate design of Camazotz, fused with the image of the modern Batman, was made by Christian Pacheco, owner of a design agency in Yucatan. In fact, it was his examples that stood out the most. With his piece, Pacheco reminded everyone that DC Comics was not the first to actually have their very own Batman.