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Re: "plumed" serpents [off-topic]



On Sun, 8 Feb 1998, Betty Cunningham wrote:

> D.I.G. wrote:

[snip]

> > (personally, except for Quetzcoatl, I've never heard of a "feathery
> > dragon" and it's doubtful whether old Quetz was considered a dragon.Wasn't
> > it a bird?" The one that lives in the Chrysler Building here in NY doesn't
> > look like a dragon.)
> 
> that bird was named after the raingod, not the other way round

Linguistic point of information: Quetzalcoatl is a compound word of the
Nahua roots _quetzal_, meaning the quetzal bird, also meaning plumes
because of the prized nature of quetzal plumes; and _coatl_, meaning
serpent. The roots are also found in different deities, such as
Xochi-Quetzal and Coatlicue. So yes, the god's name is derived from the
bird.

Mythological point of information: Quetzalcoatl was not a rain god. His
cult seems to originate more or less in Tula (the Toltec capital), and it
is thought that he may have been based on a semi-historical figure in
Tula, who perhaps appeared during the political upheavels at the end of
the first millenium CE, although images of the plumed serpent appear much
earlier in Mesoamerican religious statuary. He is seen as an imparter of
learning, culture, and piety. His mask is Wind (II). In Mesoamerican
cosmology, he is also often seen as a creative principle, and associated
with the planet Venus (which is said to be his heart).

The rain god under the Toltecs, Aztecs, and other Mesoamerican tribes
was known as Tlaloc, who held the mask of Rain (XIX). His temple was
one of the great twin towers in the heart of Tenochtitlan. The adjacent
temple was that of the solar war god, Huitzilapochtli. Quetzalcoatl was
accorded an appreciably smaller (but still large) temple nearby the twin
temples.

[snip]

Bibliography:

Brotherston, Gordon. "Middle America," _Mythology: An Illustrated
Encyclopedia_. ed. Richard Cavendish. Little, Brown, and Company, 1992.

Comte, Fernand. _Mythology_. Chambers, 1991

Cotterell, Arthur. _A Dictionary of World Mythology_. Oxford, 1986.


Desperate grasp for a link to dinosaurs: hrm, darn, there is none.
One message so off-topic is bad enough; replies to my mailbox only,
if you don't mind.

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[Charles W. Johnson <cwj2@eskimo.com> - http://www.eskimo.com/~cwj2]
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