Friday, October 02, 2009

Moctezuma II of Mé-shee-ka

Visited British Museum's Moctezuma exhibition yesterday. Enjoyed it as much as their First Emperor Terracotta Army exhibition last year, and Shah 'Abbas exhibition earlier in the year.

Born in 1467, Moctezuma II, great-grandson of Moctezuma I, was the 9th and last ruler of the Aztecs, Mé-shee-ka. Around the time Henry VIII ruled England (1509-1547), Moctezuma presided over a large empire (central Mexico today), from 1502 till his death, 30 June 1520.

Worshipping the sun, the heart organ was central to Mé-shee-ka religious beliefs. Human hearts were sacrificed to feed the sun.

Sadly, not much remains of their recorded history; most is known through post-Hispanic conquest retrospective codices, including the Codex Mendoza.

Amazing model of Moctezuma II's capital city Tenochtitlan, with its sacred precinct, ceremonial centre which housed the ruler's palace, and the Great Temple scene of blood-letting, human heart sacrificing, is on display in the British Museum Moctezuma II exhibition.

Modern Mexico City is located on the site of Tenochtitlan.

Poem displayed during the last, haunting film scene:

"Proud of itself is Tenochtitlan,
The city in the lake.

Here no one fears to die in war.

With our arrows
With our shields
The city exists
Tenochtitlan endures

Where the eagles are resting,
Where the jaguars are exalted, The sun god is invoked.

This is our glory.

This is your command,
O giver of life.
Have this in mind,
O lords,
Do not forget."

Evenutally defeated by the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés , remembered as an indecisive, weak incumbent by his people, Moctezuma II is seen as an enigmatic, fascinating man in Europe.

Moctezuma II's family lineage lives on in Mexico and Spain.

More on Moctezuma, the man who lost an empire, "a proven military commander yet in just two years his rule and the supremacy of his Mexica people collapsed, conquered by a few hundred Spanish adventurers", can be found in a Telegraph article.

Visit British Museum's Moctezuma Aztec Ruler Exhibition, 24 September 2009 - 24 January 2010, click here for ticket booking and enjoy!

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