Giants are mentioned all over the world, not just in Western cultures. While ancient giants such as Goliath and the Nephilim have a greater notoriety, there are several documents depicting giants who lived, fought and died in Central and South America.
One such document is the Codex Ríos, also called Codex Vatican A. It is the Italian translation of an older manuscript written during the Spanish colonial era. The codex features an interesting illustration of Aztec warriors subduing and killing a giant. The text next to the illustration tells us that the giant’s name was Quinametzin, meaning ‘One of the Old Ones’.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they encountered more than just myths. Some of them were greeted by actual giants.
Aztec accounts of the Spanish invasion translated by Miguel Leon-Portilla in his book The Broken Spears tell the story of the giant Aztec hero Tzilacatzin. As the conquistadors attempted a hostile takeover of Tenochtitlán, they were hastily dismissed by Tzilacatzin’s intervention. The giant kept them at bay by throwing large stones from the breaches present in the city wall. Needless, to say, this deed outstrips the capacity of regular human beings.
According to the text, the giant was a great captain known for his ruthlessness and strength. As a consequence, the Conquistadors made him their number one enemy. Even though they didn’t manage to conquer the city that day, they lowered its defences and it was only a matter of time untill the city fell, most likely together with Tzilacatzin the Giant.
Knowing the destructive consequences of war, we are fortunate to still have artifacts illustrating the great Aztec giants. Is it possible that they still existed when the Conquistadors conquered the great Aztec Empire?
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