5. ZAPOTECA

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Estimated year of foundation: 500 BC

Location of the Zapotec territory: The Central Valleys of Oaxaca, the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and other surrounding areas.

Key Zapotec books: Codex Nuttall.

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Main deities of the Zapotecs:

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The Zapotec culture practiced the polytheistic religion, that is, it believed in multiple gods such as Tlatlauhaqui (god of the sun and the stars), Cocijo (god of thunder), Pitao Cozobi (god of corn ) and Coqui Bezelao (god of the dead. ). However, they worshiped a major and ruling god named Totec.

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The Zapotecs believed in superstitions, the most common being called “Nahualism”. It consisted of placing ashes in the hut of each newborn so that, the next day, they would show the drawing of an animal's footprint that would represent the child's personality.

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Description of the Zapotec religion.

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They were polytheists, worshipers of various gods generally related to nature who influenced the daily life of the Zapotecs. Throughout their history they adopted gods from other cultures.

They believed that the ancestors came from the earth, from caves or were descendants of trees or jaguars turned into people. While the ruling elite descended from supernatural beings that lived among the clouds, and that upon their death they would return to that status. For this reason, the Zapotecs are known as "The People of the Clouds".

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They admired and respected their dead, whom they buried in urns made of clay and adorned with offerings, later they came to build funerary temples. They worshiped them thinking they had another life where their souls resided.

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Convinced that their destiny was linked to an animal, they practiced the "Tonal": on the day of birth ashes were put around the hut where the newborn resided and the next day the footprint of the animal that was formed would be the child's "totem". it would mark his growth and personality, it would represent him in his life.

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They believed in "Nahualism", the sorcerers who took advantage of their "totem" to become animals to do evil at night.

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The great influence of other nearby cultures in space and time made some deities of important civilizations such as the Olmec or the Mayan also appear in Zapotec beliefs, an example being Quetzalcoatl , the "Feathered Serpent".

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They made sacrifices of human beings to worship the gods whom they represented in sculptures -especially urns- buildings and even pictorial representations on walls.

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Reference:

https://arqueologiamexicana.mx/mexico-antiguo/mixtecos-y-zapotecos-en-la-epoca-prehispanica

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https://www.caracteristicas.co/cultura-zapoteca/#ixzz6bdSxjDaM

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https://pueblosoriginario.com/meso/oaxaca/zapoteca/religion.html

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