"In a single day, all was lost. But before the Flood began, Titlachahuan had warned the man Nota and his wife Nena, saying, "Make no more pulque, but hollow a great cypress, into which you shall enter the month Tozoztli. The waters shall near the sky.""
Ancient Aztec mythology recounts a great flood that transpired 4,800 years post-creation. The land of Anahuac was filled with giants, all but seven perished or morphed into fish when the deluge struck. After the water receded, one of these survivors, a giant named Xelhua, also known as the “Architect,” journeyed to Cholula. To honor Tlaloc who saved him, Xelhua constructed an artificial hill resembling a pyramid.
The Universal Tale of a Great Flood
Flood myths with catastrophic consequences echo through virtually all ancient civilizations. The divine flooding of the earth, intended to wipe out civilization as a form of divine punishment, is a common theme. Notable among these is the biblical account of Noah.
Comparing Flood Myths from Around the World
While Noah’s flood account is widely recognized, it is neither the oldest nor the only one. Other tales include the story of Matsya from the Hindu Puranas and Deucalion from Greek mythology. The earliest account, according to scholars, belongs to Utnapishtim from the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Multiple cultures narrate stories of a devastating Great Flood. The similarity among these tales has led some to suggest they evolved from or influenced each other. While evidence of a significant flood exists in the distant past, many scientists dispute a global Great Flood occurrence in the past 6,000 years.
Ancient Records of the Great Flood
Ancient Sumerian tablets like the Nippur provide what is believed to be the oldest account of the Great Flood and the creation of life on Earth. Other Sumerian texts, dating to around 2,300 BC, like the Eridu Genesis, offer early accounts of the great flood, predating even the biblical Genesis.
The Ancient Aztec Flood Myth
When the Sun Age came, there had passed 400 years. Then came 200 years, then 76. Then all mankind was lost and drowned and turned to fishes. The water and the sky drew near each other. In a single day, all was lost. But before the Flood began, Titlachahuan had warned the man Nota and his wife Nena, saying, ‘Make no more pulque, but hollow a great cypress, into which you shall enter the month Tozoztli. The waters shall near the sky.’ They entered, and when Titlachahuan had shut them in he said to the man, ‘Thou shalt eat but a single ear of maize, and thy wife but one also.’ And when they had each eaten one ear of maize, they prepared to go forth, for the water was tranquil. (source) — Ancient Aztec document Codex Chimalpopoca, translated by Abbé Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg.
Aztec mythology introduces several flood accounts. The most notable being that of Nota, their version of Noah. Furthermore, the Five Suns doctrine of the Aztecs speaks of different eras and their respective cataclysms, the fourth one, Nahui-Atl, describes a significant flood.
The Nahui-Atl Era: The World of the Fourth Sun
In the Nahui-Atl era, the world was flooded, turning the inhabitants into fish, with only a couple escaping but later morphing into dogs. Our current world followed this era, Nahui-Ollin, prophesied to end in a massive earthquake.
Giants and the Aftermath of the Great Flood
Post the Great Flood, Xelhua, one of the seven giant survivors, reached Cholula. Here, as a tribute to the Tlaloc who provided refuge during the flood, he constructed a pyramid. The gods, angered by Xelhua’s audacious endeavor, hurled fire upon the pyramid, leading to the demise of numerous workers and the project’s abandonment.
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