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Translating Gods: Tohil and Curicaueri in Mesoamerican Polytheism in the Popol Vuh and the Relación de Michoacán

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Article of journalOlivier, Guilhem; Martínez, Roberto. (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas). Translating Gods: Tohil and Curicaueri in Mesoamerican Polytheism in the Popol Vuh and the Relación de MichoacánAncient Mesoamerica, 2015 vol. 26 no. 2 p. 347-369. Keywords:
Central America
Mexico
Anthropology, Ethnology | Archaeology | Religions, Beliefs
Pre-hispanic period

Abstract:

Although it was common in Mesoamerica to adopt foreign deities from other pantheons, less is known about the processes of “translating” foreign deities as a function of the divinities' attributes. This article analyzes the degree of intelligibility among pre-Hispanic K'iche’, P'urepecha, and Nahua peoples based on the study of patron gods Tohil and Curicaueri and their possible equivalents in the Central Highland pantheon. We can see that the search for divine homologues on the part of Mesoamerican peoples implies, beyond cultural homogeneity, an ongoing exchange of information, and recognition of the religion of the “other” based on equal standing, which tends to be a characteristic of polytheistic peoples in general.

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