John Pohl, THE CODICES John Pohl's

ANCIENT BOOKS: Borgia Group Codices

Ritual Pages

Palace-temple structure at Tizatlan, Tlaxcala.

Pages 29-46 of Codex Borgia have long mystified scholars. Seler proposed a largely astronomical interpretation believing that the pages represented the passage of Venus (personified by Quetzalcoatl) through the underworld. Subsequent studies have shown that these pages also relate to the institution of a cult within a series of adjoining religious precincts. Frescoes relating to the ritual pages on Tlaxcalan altars tend to confirm this hypothesis. Led by their god Camaxtli-Mixcoatl, Eastern Nahua’s moved to the east from the Basin of México into the modern state of Tlaxcala, confederating themselves with Huexotzinco, Cholula, and a score of smaller kingdoms from Puebla to Oaxaca. Tlaxcalan government was dominated by the four highest ranked kingdoms, Tepeticpac, Quiahuiztlan, Ocotelolco, and Tizatlan. Located within a few kilometers of each other, the rulers of these kingoms, called tlatoque, formed a governing council.

Image - Ritual page 1a from Codex Borgia   Image - Ritual page 2a from Codex Borgia
Click on images to enlarge.

An Ocotelolco fresco portrays a ritual from Borgia Page 32 featuring a personified flint set into a ceramic basin surrounded by knife blades. Comparisons such as these suggest that the Borgia pages depict rituals that actually took place in various palaces of the Tolteca-Chichimeca elite.

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