Unknown: Codex Borgia, page 56 - the gods of Life, Death and the 260-day ritual calendar (13th-15th Century)

(Vatican Library, Rome, Italy)

The codex Borgia one of the most famous books from Meso-America and was made by the Indians from confederacies of Tolteca-Chichimeca (modern Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala). The book itself contains no text, only 'pictures'. This codex Borgia shows various divisions of the sacred 260 day calendar or tonalpohualli. This page is an example of this. In the center there are 2 Gods. On the left there is the skeletal God Mictlantecuhtli. He is the god of the dead and ruler over Mictlan, the lowest underworld, the northern realm of the dead. He holds a scepter formed from a pustule-covered human arm. On the right you can see Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl a combination of the Wind-God Ehecatl and Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent and God of Wind, Life and wisdom. Around them you can see the 20 day-signs of the Tonalpohualli. The dots are the numbers 1 to 12, the number 13 is the large symbol below the 2 gods. The combination of the numbers and day-sign form the 260-day calendar. The first day is 1-Cipactli (Caiman)  the second day is 2-Ehecatl (wind), Third day is 3-Calli (house), fourth day is 4-Cuetzpalin (lizard) etc. In this way you'll get 20 so-called 13-day periods or trecenas. The book itself was acquired by Cardinal Stefano Borgia (hence the name) who left it to the church. the exact date of this book is not known but probably between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.

See also these links to other pages from the codex Borgia:
- page 14: The 9 Lords of the Night
- page 25: the five cardinal directions
- page 71: The sun, moon and 13 birds

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