Death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which bring about death include aging, malnutrition, suicide, starvation and accidents or major trauma resulting in terminal injury. In most cases, bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Death – the death of humans – has been considered a sad or unpleasant occasion, due to the affection for the being that has died and the termination of social and familial bonds with the deceased. Other concerns include fear of death, anxiety, grief, emotional pain, sympathy, solitude, or saudade. Many cultures and religions have the idea of an afterlife, hold the idea of reward or judgement and punishment for past sin; the word death comes from Old English dēaþ. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European stem *dheu- meaning the "process, condition of dying"; the concept and symptoms of death, varying degrees of delicacy used in discussion in public forums, have generated numerous scientific and acceptable terms or euphemisms for death.
When a person has died, it is said they have passed away, passed on, expired, or are gone, among numerous other accepted, religiously specific and irreverent terms. Bereft of life, the dead person is a corpse, cadaver, a body, a set of remains, when all flesh has rotted away, a skeleton; the terms carrion and carcass can be used, though these more connote the remains of non-human animals. As a polite reference to a dead person, it has become common practice to use the participle form of "decease", as in the deceased; the ashes left after a cremation are sometimes referred to by the neologism cremains, a portmanteau of "cremation" and "remains". Senescence refers to a scenario when a living being is able to survive all calamities, but dies due to causes relating to old age. Animal and plant cells reproduce and function during the whole period of natural existence, but the aging process derives from deterioration of cellular activity and ruination of regular functioning. Aptitude of cells for gradual deterioration and mortality means that cells are sentenced to stable and long-term loss of living capacities despite continuing metabolic reactions and viability.
In the United Kingdom, for example, nine out of ten of all the deaths that occur on a daily basis relates to senescence, while around the world it accounts for two-thirds of 150,000 deaths that take place daily. All animals who survive external hazards to their biological functioning die from biological aging, known in life sciences as "senescence"; some organisms experience negligible senescence exhibiting biological immortality. These include the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii, the hydra, the planarian. Unnatural causes of death include homicide. From all causes 150,000 people die around the world each day. Of these, two thirds die directly or indirectly due to senescence, but in industrialized countries – such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany – the rate approaches 90%. Physiological death is now seen as a process, more than an event: conditions once considered indicative of death are now reversible. Where in the process a dividing line is drawn between life and death depends on factors beyond the presence or absence of vital signs.
In general, clinical death is neither sufficient for a determination of legal death. A patient with working heart and lungs determined to be brain dead can be pronounced dead without clinical death occurring; as scientific knowledge and medicine advance, formulating a precise medical definition of death becomes more difficult. Signs of death or strong indications that a warm-blooded animal is no longer alive are: Respiratory arrest Cardiac arrest Brain death Pallor mortis, paleness which happens in the 15–120 minutes after death Algor mortis, the reduction in body temperature following death; this is a steady decline until matching ambient temperature Rigor mortis, the limbs of the corpse become stiff and difficult to move or manipulate Livor mortis, a settling of the blood in the lower portion of the body Decomposition, the reduction into simpler forms of matter, accompanied by a strong, unpleasant odor. The concept of death is a key to human understanding of the phenomenon. There are many scientific approaches to the concept.
For example, brain death, as practiced in medical science, defines death as a point in time at which brain activity ceases. One of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life; as a point in time, death would seem to refer to the moment. Determining when death has occurred is difficult, as cessation of life functions is not simultaneous across organ systems; such determination therefore requires drawing precise conceptual boundaries between death. This is due to there being little consensus on how to define life; this general problem applies to the particular challenge of defining death in the context of medicine. It is possible to define life in terms of consciousness; when consciousness ceases, a living organism can be said to have died. One of the flaws in this approach is that there are many organisms which are alive but not conscious. Another problem is in defining consciousness, which has many different d
In Aztec mythology, Tlazolteotl is a deity of vice, steam baths, midwives, a patroness of adulterers. She is known by three names,Tlahēlcuāni and Tlazōlmiquiztli, Ixcuina or Ixcuinan, the latter of which refers to a quadripartite association of four sister deities. Tlazōlteōtl is the deity for the 13th trecena of the sacred 260-day calendar Tōnalpōhualli, the one beginning with the day Ce Ōllin, or First Movement, she is associated with the day sign of the jaguar. Tlazolteotl played an important role through her priests. Tlazolteotl may have been a Huaxtec deity from the Gulf Coast who would have been assimilated into the Aztec pantheon. Under the name of Ixcuinan she was thought to be quadrupartite, composed of four sisters of different ages known by the names Tiyacapan, Tēicuih, Tlahco and Xōcotzin; when conceived of as four individual deities, they were called tlazōltēteoh. According to Aztec belief, it was Tlazolteotl who inspired vicious desires, who forgave and cleaned away sin, she was thought to cause disease STDs.
It was said that Tlazolteotl and her companions would afflict people with disease if they indulged themselves in forbidden love. The uncleanliness was considered both on a physical and moral level, could be cured by steam bath, a rite of purification, or calling upon the Tlazōltēteoh, the deities of love and desires. For the Aztecs there were two main deities thought to preside over purification: Tezcatlipoca, because he was thought to be invisible and omnipresent, therefore seeing everything, it is said. Purification with Tlazolteotl would be done through a priest. One could only receive the "mercy" once in their life, why the practice was most common among the elderly; the priest would be consulted by the penitent and would consult the 260-day ritual calendar to determine the best day and time for the purification to take place. On the day of, he would listen to the sins confessed and render judgment and penance, ranging from fasts to presentation of offerings and ritual song and dance, depending on the nature and the severity of the sin.
Tlazōlteōtl was called "Deity of Dirt" and "Eater of Ordure", with her dual nature of deity of dirt and of purification. Sins were symbolized by dirt, her dirt-eating symbolized the ingestion of the sin, in doing so purified it. She was depicted with ochre-colored symbols of divine excrement around her nose. In the Aztec language the word for sacred, comes from tzintli, the buttocks, religious rituals include offerings of "liquid gold" and "divine excrement", which Klein jocularly translated to English as "holy shit". Through this process, she helped create harmony in communities. Tlazōlteōtl was one of the primary Aztec deities celebrated in the festival of Ochpaniztli, held September 2–21 to recognize the harvest season; the ceremonies conducted during this timeframe included ritual cleaning and repairing, as well as the casting of corn seed and military ceremonies. Centeōtl Xōchiquetzal Xōchipilli Tezcatlipōca Soustelle, J; the Daily life of the Aztecs, London, WI An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya, by Mary Miller & Karl Taube Publisher: Thames & Hudson Bernardino de Sahagun, 1950–1982, Florentine Codex: History of the Things of New Spain and Edited by Arthur J.
O. Anderson and Charles Dibble, Monographs of the school of American research, no 14. 13. Parts Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press Townsend, R. F; the Aztecs Revised Edition, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London Sullivan, T. “Tlazolteotl-Ixcuina: The Great Spinner and Weaver”. The Art and Iconography of late post-Classic Mexico, Ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC. pp. 7-37
In Aztec mythology, Chicomecōātl "Seven Serpent", was the Aztec goddess of agriculture during the Middle Culture period. She is sometimes called "goddess of nourishment", a goddess of plenty and the female aspect of maize. More Chicomecōātl can be described as a deity of food and human livelihood, she is regarded as the female counterpart of the maize god Centeōtl, their symbol being an ear of corn. She is called Xilonen, married to Tezcatlipoca. Chicomecōātl's name, "Seven Serpent", is thought to be a reference to the duality of the deity. While she symbolizes the gathering of maize and agricultural prosperity, she is thought to be harmful to the Aztecs, as she was thought to be of blame during years of poor harvest, her appearance is represented with red ochre on the face, paper headdress on top, water-flowers patterned shirt, foam sandals on the bottom. She is described as carrying a sun flower shield, she is often appeared with attributes of Chalchiuhtlicue, such as her headdress and the short lines rubbing down her cheeks.
Chicomecōātl is distinguished by being shown carrying ears of maize. She is shown in three different forms: As a young girl carrying flowers As a woman who brings death with her embraces As a mother who uses the sun as a shield She is recognized during Huey Tozoztli, the first of sequence of three festivals held in high season marking the harvest. During the festival, her priestesses designate seed corn, to be planted in the coming season. To appease the deity, as well as to ask for good harvest, priests engaged in child sacrifice. Dried seed maize and retained for the following year, bore the title Chicomecōātl, while maize consumed following harvest season was referred to as Cinteotl. Centeōtl Maya maize god Xilonen god "Maize Deity". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 9 September 2008
In the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli is a deity of war, human sacrifice, the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was the national god of the Mexicas known as Aztecs, of Tenochtitlan. Many in the pantheon of deities of the Aztecs were inclined to have a fondness for a particular aspect of warfare. However, Huitzilopochtli was known as the primary god of war in ancient Mexico. Since he was the patron god of the Mexica, he was credited with both the victories and defeats that the Mexica people had on the battlefield; the people had to make sacrifices to him to protect the Aztec from infinite night. He wielded Xiuhcoatl as a weapon; as noted by the Spaniards during their discovery and conquest of Mexico, human sacrifice was common in worship ceremonies, which took place and in numerous temples throughout the region, when performed they sacrificed multiple victims per day at a given temple. The name means "Hummingbird South" or "Hummingbird Left", yet it has been translated as "Southern hummingbird" or "left-handed hummingbird".
The discrepancy between "left" and "south" in translation stems from the Aztec belief that the south was the left side of the world. Despite the popularity of these interpretations, Huitzilopochtli's name most does not mean "left-handed/southern hummingbird" considering that the Classical Nahuatl huītzilin is the modifier of ōpōchtli in this compound rather than the reverse. In the tlaxotecuyotl, a hymn sung in reverence to Huitzilopotchtli, he is referred to as: the Dart-Hurler, the divine hurler, a terror to the Mixteca. There are a handful of origin mythologies describing the deity's beginnings. One story tells of Huitzilopochtli's role in it. According to this legend, he was the smallest son of four—his parents being the creator couple Tonacatecutli and Tonacacihuatl while his brothers were Quetzalcoatl and the two Tezcatlipocas, his mother and father instructed him and Quetzalcoatl to bring order to the world. Together and Quetzalcoatl created fire, the first male and female humans, the Earth, the Sun.
Another origin story tells of a fierce goddess, being impregnated as she was sweeping by a ball of feathers on Mount Coatepec. Her other children, who were fully grown, were the four hundred male Centzonuitznaua and the female deity Coyolxauhqui; these children, angered by the manner by which their mother became impregnated, conspired to kill her. Huitzilopochtli burst forth from his mother's womb in full armor and grown, or in other versions of the story, burst forth from the womb and put on his gear, he attacked his older brothers and sister, defending his mother by beheading his sister and casting her body from the mountain top. He chased after his brothers, who fled from him and became scattered all over the sky. Huitzilopochtli is seen as the sun in mythology, while his many male siblings are perceived as the stars and his sister as the moon. In the Aztec worldview, this is the reason why the Sun is chasing the Moon and stars, it is why it was so important to provide tribute for Huitzilopochtli as sustenance for the Sun.
If Huitzilopochtli did not have enough strength to battle his siblings, they would destroy their mother and thus the world. Huitzilopochtli was the patron god of the Mexica tribe, he was of little importance to the Nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztecs, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level as Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, making him a solar god. Through this, Huitzilopochtli replaced the solar god from the Nahua legend. Huitzilopochtli was said to be in a constant struggle with the darkness and required nourishment in the form of sacrifices to ensure the sun would survive the cycle of 52 years, the basis of many Mesoamerican myths. While popular accounts claim it was necessary to have a daily sacrifice, sacrifices were only done on festive days. There were 18 holy festive days, only one of them was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli; this celebration day, known as Toxcatl, falls within the fifteenth month of the Mexican calendar. During the festival and slaves were brought forth and slain ceremoniously.
Every 52 years, the Nahuas feared the world would end as the other four creations of their legends had. Under Tlacaelel, Aztecs believed that they could give strength to Huitzilopochtli with human blood and thereby postpone the end of the world, at least for another 52 years. War was an important source of both human and material tribute. Human tribute was used for sacrificial purposes because human blood was believed to be important, thus powerful. According to Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli needed blood as sustenance in order to continue to keep his sister and many brothers at bay as he chased them through the sky. In the book El Calendario Mexica y la Cronografia by Rafael Tena and published by the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, the author gives the last day of the Nahuatl month Panquetzaliztli as the date of the celebration of the rebirth of the Lord Huitzilopochtli on top of Coatepec; the most important and powerful structure in Tenochtitlan is the Templo Mayor.
Its importance as the sacred center is reflected in the fact that it was enlarged frontally eleven times during the two hundred years of its existence. The Gr
In Mesoamerican religion, Tonatiuh was as an Aztec sun deity of the day sky and ruled the cardinal direction of east. According to Aztec Mythology, Tonatiuh was known as The Fifth Sun and was created when the Aztec god, sacrificed himself in The Primal Sun Myth, he is first seen in Early Postclassic art of the Pre-Columbian Toltec civilisation and is associated with war. Tonatiuh was thought to be the central deity on the Aztec Calendar Stone but is no longer identified as such. Aztec theology held that each sun was a god with its own cosmic era, the Aztecs believed they were still in Tonatiuh's era. According to the Aztec creation myth, the god demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky, it is said that 20,000 people were sacrificed each year to Tonatiuh and other gods, though this number is thought to be inflated either by the Aztecs, who wanted to inspire fear in their enemies, or the Spaniards, who wanted to vilify the Aztecs. The Aztecs were fascinated by the sun and observed it, had a solar calendar similar to that of the Maya.
Many of today's remaining Aztec monuments have structures aligned with the sun. In the Aztec calendar, Tonatiuh is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 Death to 13 Flint; the preceding thirteen days are ruled over by Chalchiuhtlicue, the following thirteen by Tlaloc. The iconography of Tonatiuh’s attire provides a visual explanation for what his role as the sun god entailed; the deity is depicted with arrows and a shield to show that he is a warrior. Tonatiuh carries a maguey spine in one hand to signify that he takes part in bloodletting practices as a means of sacrifice; the importance of sacrifice is reinforced by depictions of balls of eagle feather or the eagle itself, which were markers of sacrifice. Tonatiuh's connection to the sun leads us to believe that the eagle is a reference to the ascending and descending eagle talons, a visual metaphor for capturing the heart or life force of a person. In some codices, a skull is placed on the end of his garments or on his leg, as a symbol of protection and to emphasize that Tonatiuh was a warrior.
This could be a reference to Xolotl. Xolotl was the god of lightning and death but was responsible for protecting Tonatiuh during his journey into the underworld, he was depicted as the skeleton of a canine. In fact, both gods are considered synonymous, due to syncretism with Nanahuatzin. Aztec calendar stone Five Suns Pedro de Alvarado Windows to The Universe page on Tonatiuh
Nahuatl, known as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico. Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE, it was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico, their influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl became a literary language, many chronicles, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries; this early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl, is among the most studied and best-documented languages of the Americas.
Today, Nahuan languages are spoken in scattered communities in rural areas throughout central Mexico and along the coastline. There are considerable differences among varieties, some are not mutually intelligible. Huasteca Nahuatl, with over one million speakers, is the most-spoken variety. All varieties have been subject to varying degrees of influence from Spanish. No modern Nahuan languages are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are more related to it than those on the periphery. Under Mexico's General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples promulgated in 2003, Nahuatl and the other 63 indigenous languages of Mexico are recognized as lenguas nacionales in the regions where they are spoken, enjoying the same status as Spanish within their regions. Nahuan languages exhibit a complex morphology characterized by polysynthesis and agglutination. Through a long period of coexistence with the other indigenous Mesoamerican languages, they have absorbed many influences, coming to form part of the Mesoamerican language area.
Many words from Nahuatl have been borrowed into Spanish and, from there, were diffused into hundreds of other languages. Most of these loanwords denote things indigenous to central Mexico which the Spanish heard mentioned for the first time by their Nahuatl names. English words of Nahuatl origin include "avocado", "chayote", "chili", "chocolate", "atlatl", "coyote", "peyote", "axolotl" and "tomato"; as a language label, the term "Nahuatl" encompasses a group of related languages or divergent dialects within the Nahuan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The Mexican Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas recognizes 30 individual varieties within the "language group" labeled Nahuatl; the Ethnologue recognizes 28 varieties with separate ISO codes. Sometimes the label is used to include the Pipil language of El Salvador. Regardless of whether "Nahuatl" is considered to label a dialect continuum or a group of separate languages, the varieties form a single branch within the Uto-Aztecan family, descended from a single Proto-Nahuan language.
Within Mexico, the question of whether to consider individual varieties to be languages or dialects of a single language is political. This article focuses on describing the general history of the group and on giving an overview of the diversity it encompasses. For details on individual varieties or subgroups, see the individual articles. In the past, the branch of Uto-Aztecan to which Nahuatl belongs has been called "Aztecan". From the 1990s onward, the alternative designation "Nahuan" has been used as a replacement in Spanish-language publications; the Nahuan branch of Uto-Aztecan is accepted as having two divisions: "General Aztec" and Pochutec. General Aztec encompasses the Pipil languages. Pochutec is a scantily attested language, which became extinct in the 20th century, which Campbell and Langacker classify as being outside of general Aztec. Other researchers have argued that Pochutec should be considered a divergent variant of the western periphery."Nahuatl" denotes at least Classical Nahuatl together with related modern languages spoken in Mexico.
The inclusion of Pipil into the group is debated. Lyle Campbell classified Pipil as separate from the Nahuatl branch within general Aztecan, whereas dialectologists like Una Canger, Karen Dakin, Yolanda Lastra and Terrence Kaufman have preferred to include Pipil within the General Aztecan branch, citing close historical ties with the eastern peripheral dialects of General Aztec. Current subclassification of Nahuatl rests on research by Canger and Lastra de Suárez. Canger introduced the scheme of a Central grouping and two Peripheral groups, Lastra confirmed this notion, differing in some details. Canger & Dakin demonstrated a basic split between Eastern and Western branches of Nahuan, considered to reflect the oldest division of the proto-Nahuan speech community. Canger considered the central dialect area to be an innovative subarea within the Western branch, but in 2011, she suggested that it arose as an urban koiné language with features from both Western and Eastern dialect areas. Canger tentatively included dialects of La Huasteca in the Central group, while Lastra de Suárez places them in the Eastern Periphery, followed by Kaufman.
The terminology used to describe varieties of spoken Nahuatl is inconsistently applied. Many terms are used with multiple denotations, or a single dialect grou
In Aztec mythology, Huehuecóyotl is the auspicious god of music, dance and song of Pre-Columbian Mexico. He is the patron of uninhibited sexuality and rules over the day sign in the Aztec calendar named cuetzpallin and the fourth trecena Xochitl He is depicted in the Codex Borbonicus as a dancing coyote with human hands and feet, accompanied by a human drummer; the name "Very old coyote" conveyed positive meanings for the Aztec populace. The prefix "huehue" which in Nahuatl means "very old" was attached to gods in Aztec mythology that were revered for their old age, philosophical insights and connections to the divine. Although appearing in stories as male, Huehuecóyotl can be gender changing, as many of the offspring of Tezcatlipoca, he can be associated with male sexuality, good luck and story-telling. One of his prominent female lovers was Temazcalteci, the goddess of bathing and sweat baths known as Mexican sauna and Xochiquetzal, the goddess of love, female sexuality, prostitutes and young mothers.
As all Aztec deities, Huehuecóyotl was dualistic in his exercise of evil. He was perceived as a balanced god. In most depictions of Huehuecóyotl, he is followed by a human drummer or groups of humans that appear to be friendly to him, exceptional in Mesoamerican culture. Stories derived from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis make him a benign prankster, whose tricks are played on other gods or humans but tended to backfire and cause more trouble for himself than the intended victims. A great party-giver, he was alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom, he is a part of the Tezcatlipoca family of the Mexica gods, has their shapeshifting powers. Those who had indications of evil fates from other gods would sometimes appeal to Huehuecóyotl to mitigate or reverse their fate. Huehuecóyotl shares many characteristics with the trickster Coyote of the North American tribes, including storytelling and choral singing; the fourth day of the thirteen day Mexican week belonged to Huehuecóyotl.
He was the only friend to Xolotl, the god of twins and deformity and accompanies the dead to Mictlan. Their association is born from the canine nature of both gods. Karl Young, The Continuum of Life in Codex Borbonicus