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X

F I V E D A N C E S W I T H D E A T H

XI

Rain Place: Quiahuixtlan, from quiahui (rain) and the suffix -tlan that indicates “in, with, place of ”. One of the four allied clans of Tlaxcala.

Rich Village: Villa Rica, the first Spanish camp on the Mexican coast. The full name was Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (Rich Town of the True Cross).

Rocky Crags: Tepeticpac, which literally means “on the rocky hill”. One of the four allied clans of Tlaxcala.

Serpent Hill: Coatepetl, from Coatl (serpent) and tepetl (hill). This was a usual name for the Great Pyramid in a city.

Smoking Mountain: Popocatepetl, from popoca (smokes) and tepetl (hill, mountain).

Three Hearts: Totonac, from tu’tu or toto (three) and nacu (heart) in the local language. The name refers to the three main cities, or hearts, of the tribe.

Twenty Waters: Cempoala, from cem-pohualli (twenty) and a(tl) (water). In other words, a place with abundance of water.

Historical Names

Angry Wasp: Xicotencatl Axayacatl, sometimes translated as “he from the place near the jicote wasps”, or “person from between the lips of a jicote wasp”. The metaphoric meaning is “he who’s angry as a wasp”.

disperse water), a(tl) (water) and the suffix -lla(n) that indicates “place of ”. The full traditional translation is “the place of refuge where the water falls”, possibly referring to the fugitives from the war-torn Tula who either found shelter in this city, or conquered it.

Hot Creeks: Atotonilco, from atl (water), totonqui (hot) and the suffix -co that indicates “place”. It was a tiny Tlaxcalteca settlement not far from the Blue Cloak Mountain.

Land of Turkeys: The Mayan lands in and around Yucatan. The full name was “Land of the turkey and the deer” or “Ulumil cuz yetel ceh” in the local Mayan language. I shortened the name for obvious reasons.

Little Willows: Huejotzingo, from huexotl (willow) and -tzingo (a suffix indicating small size).

Merchant Backpack: Cacaxtla, from cacaxtli (the pack with merchandize that the Aztec traders used to carry on their backs).

Moonwalk People: inhabitants of Cactus Rock, the Mexica, from metztli (moon) and xictli (navel, or child). The theory here is that the people named themselves after the ref lection, or child, of the moon in the lake that surrounded them.

Pine Hill: Ocotelulco, from ocotl (ocote pine), teololotli (lump, pile of stones) and the suffix -co that indicates “place”. One of the four allied clans of Tlaxcala.

Place of Bounty: Tlaxcala, from tlaxcalli (tortilla) and the suffix -lla(n) that indicates “place of ”. Some writers render the ancient name of this town as Texcala, meaning “mountainous place” or “place of eagle crags”. The glyph for this town depicts a hand holding a tortilla over either one or two hills, so both interpretations seem valid.

N O T E S

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