General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Nov 2017/5 Eagle
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Did the Aztecs use a ‘Mixtec Sabre’?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Victor Somarribas: There is a weapon I am very intrigued about, I was hoping you guys could shed some light on the subject, name, build, if it was used by the Aztecs. I would appreciate any help you guys can provide. It is found here under “mixtec sabre” http://www.dagorhir.com/forums/index.php?topic=17052.0 (Answered by Julia Flood/Mexicolore)

Pic 1: The original image of “Mixtec Sabre”
Pic 1: The original image of “Mixtec Sabre” (Click on image to enlarge)

Thanks very much for your intriguing question! To tell the truth, we have been unable to find evidence of a ‘Mixtec sabre’ of this type. Perhaps the person who made this can shed some light on the matter. It looks like a version of the traditional maquahuitl obsidian sword used in Mesoamerica at the time of the conquest. Here is an image below (pic 2):-

Pic 2: Nezahualcoyotl holding a Maquahuitl in the Codex Ixtlilxochitl, fol. 106r
Pic 2: Nezahualcoyotl holding a Maquahuitl in the Codex Ixtlilxochitl, fol. 106r (Click on image to enlarge)

As there are no remaining maquahuime (plur.) left, it is hard to know what varieties existed in the first place. Ross Hassig has written an interesting book on Aztec warfare that outlines the weapons illustrated in pre-Hispanic and colonial codices. The reference can be found at the end of this answer. We have also noticed that the curvature of your Mixtec sabre is reminiscent of the Xiuhcoatl (Fire Serpent), a mythical weapon used by the Aztec god, Huitziliopochtli. The curvature of the weapon imitates a serpent’s arched neck - could this be the inspiration behind the shape of the Mixtec sabre? The Xiuhcoatl was the weapon Huitzilopochtli used to kill his sister and 400 brothers (Centzonhuitznahua) in the myth of Coatepetl. Here’s an image of Huitzilopochtli brandishing the Xiuhcoatl (pic 3):-

Pic 3: Huitzilopochtli holds a Xiuhcoatl in the Codex Borbonicus
Pic 3: Huitzilopochtli holds a Xiuhcoatl in the Codex Borbonicus

According to the experts, the Xiuhcoatl predates the Aztecs back to Tula (Toltecs) and Teotihuacan. We hope this answer was of some use and would love to hear about anything more you might have learnt about its origins!

Ref: Hassig, Ross Aztec Warfare: imperial expansion and political control. University of Oklahoma Press: Oklahoma, 1988.

Learn more about the ‘maquahuitl’...

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