"He has appeared! He has come back! He will come here to
the place of his throne and canopy, for that is what he said he
would do when he departed." - Montezuma, on hearing Cortés' description.
Were the Spaniards long-lost rulers or deities of the Aztec pantheon?
An unnerving series of coincidences led Montezuma to believe that
perhaps Cortés was the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who had promised
to return one day to reclaim his kingdom.
feathered serpent," stood for the solar light, the morning
star. He symbolized knowledge, arts, and religion. In his time,
he had been a rich, powerful man, but he had been expelled and
vanished across the sea eastwards, near Veracruz, where Cortés
had landed. Legend had it that Quetzalcoatl was white-skinned, bearded
and he was opposed to human sacrifice. Unnerving as were these similarites
to Cortés, there was one factor that was positively spine-chilling:
for the year in which Quetzalcoatl was born and died, and the
year in which Montezuma's astrologers expected him to "strike at
Kings," was 1-Reed. By a 52-1 chance, 1519, the year that Cortés
arrived, was 1-Reed.