Moctezuma, The emperor of the Aztec Empire, )called Montezuma in English, but whose name was really Motecuhzoma, to difficult to pronounce by either English or Spanish had a foreboding feeling about the future and his superstition was one of the many factors that caused the fall of the Aztecs.
The Aztecs believed the God Quetzalcoatl )The plumed Serpent= was a white skinned god with a red beard and that he had went to the east and disappeared but had left a message that he would return in the year One Cane of the Aztec Calendar.
About ten years before this date many things happened in Tenochitlan that were considered to be ill omens. All of these were recorded in the ¨Florentine Codice¨.
There were eight events that caused great apprehension and fear throughout the empire.
First of all a shining light was seen in the sky to the east that seemed to be a comet with drops of fire falling from it, It could be seen at nightfall till dawn for several months.
The second omen was when the temple of the god of war burst into flames and was reduced to ashes .
The third disaster came when lightning struck the temple of Tzommolco, a part of the Main Temple. It occured on a clear day and the witnesses to it said strangely enough there was no accompaning thunder.
The fourth presage was fire that fell from the sky with a rattling sound. Shortly thereafter a fifth event occured when the water of the lake started boiling and it overflowed the banks damaging many houses.
The sixth omen came on several nights when the emperor could hear a womans voice coming from the lake as he stood on his terrace, crying out mournfully… saying: “ My children, my children, where have they been taken?” Moctezuma sent out search parties but they found nothing. After the conquest this story was told many times and I believe it is the basis for the myth of the crying woman. A tale that is still prevalent and used to scare disobedient children with the threat that the crying woman will come for them if they misbehave.
The seventh and strangest omen came when a group of fishermen caught a crane in their nets that had a shiny mirrorlike stone embedded in its head. It was presented to the King and when he looked at it he said he saw stars, the constellation of Taurus, groups of agitated men and men riding on deers. (note: there were no horses or draft animals in preColombian Mexico) . He looked away and called his astrologers but when he looked again the images had vanished
The eight omen it was said that deformed persons had been found wandering the streets a person with two heads was seen.
Moctezuma asked his astrologers and prophets what all these things meant and they said it signified the end of the empire and the return of Quetzalcoatl. All of these things cast a shadow of depression and gloom upon the land.
The year one cane (1519 A.D.) was fast approaching and the Emperor was sure that the plumed serpent would return. The stage was set for disaster.
So we ask, Did Moctezuma see a vision and forecast of the Spanish coming??