Mexico Coat Of Arms

April 17, 2012 by staff 

Mexico Coat Of Arms, The current coat of arms of Mexico has been an important symbol of Mexican politics and culture for centuries. The coat of arms depicts a Mexican Golden Eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. To the people of Tenochtitlan this would have strong religious connotations, but to the Europeans, it would come to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. The national coat of arms is also used in the Seal of the United Mexican States, a modified official version used by the federal, state and municipal governments.

The coat of arms recalls the founding of Mexico City, then called Tenochtitlan. The legend of Tenochtitlan as shown in the original Mexica codices, paintings, and post-Cortesian codices do not include a snake. While the Fejérv?ry-Mayer codex depicts an eagle attacking a snake, other Mexica illustrations, like the Codex Mendoza, show only an eagle, while in the text of the Ram?rez Codex, Huitzilopochtli asked the Tenochtitlan people to look for an eagle devouring a snake, perched on an prickly pear cactus. In the text by Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, the eagle is devouring something, but it is not mentioned what it is.

Still other versions show the eagle clutching the Aztec symbol of war, the Atl-Tlachinolli glyph, or “burning water.” The original meanings of the symbols were different in numerous aspects. The eagle was a representation of the sun god Huitzilopochtli, who was very important, as the Mexicas referred to themselves as the “People of the Sun.” The cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica), full of its fruits, called “nochtli” in Nahuatl, represent the island of Tenochtitlan. To the Mexicas, the snake represented wisdom, and it had strong connotations with the god Quetzalcoatl.

The story of the snake was derived from an incorrect translation of the Cr?nica mexic?yotl by Fernando Alvarado Tezoz?moc. In the story, the Nahuatl text ihuan cohuatl izomocayan, “the snake hisses”, was mistranslated as “the snake is torn.” Based on this, Father Diego Dur?n reinterpreted the legend, so that the eagle represents all that is good and right, while the snake represents evil and sin. Despite its inaccuracy, the new legend was adopted because it conformed with European heraldic tradition. To the Europeans it would represent the struggle between good and evil. Although this interpretation does not conform to pre-Columbian traditions, it was an element that could be used by the first missionaries for the purposes of evangelism and the conversion of the native peoples.

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