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The Aztec sun god. The fourth in a series of suns, Tonatiuh gave power to warriors and because of his heat and thirst, he received the hearts and blood offered in the daily sacrifices. The Aztecs conceived of this god as a power being constantly burnt up, threatened by the colossal task of its daytime birth and journey as well as its struggle and death at night. Only through continuous sacrifice and moral virtue would the sun be sustained. The ancient Mexican insight into life, the notion that happiness comes from toil and suffering, was undoubtedly debased in the Aztec use of mass slaughter of ritual victims, but not for one moment can it be suggested that these militaristic tribesmen deviated from their profound beliefs. The coming of Christianity to Mexico had been foretold; this new dispensation was brought by Quetzalcoatl incarnated as Hernardo Cortés.

Subjects: Religion.

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