Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the Aztec poet king. For the modern-day city in the state of México, see Nezahualcóyotl.
Nezahualcoyotl (1402 – 1472) was King of Texcoco (in modern Mexico), the Pre-Columbian state of Alcohuan , a Nahuatl-speaking people. In alliance with Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City), his state became the second most important politically in the Aztec Empire.
Nezahualcoyotl, son of Ixtlixócitl and Matlalcihuatzin (daughter of Huitzilíhuitl), was a noted poet, philosopher, and patron of the arts. He designed a code of law based on the division of power, which created the councils of finance, war, justice and culture (called the council of music). He was also skilled in engineering and practical arts, and said to have personally designed the dike across Lake Texcoco named after him that was still in use over a century after his death. He also built a botanical and zoological garden.
The poem that begins like this is widely attributed to him:
- "All the earth is a grave and nothing escapes it"
But is almost certainly not by him as it contains ideas and language that were totally alien to him.
His authentic poems include:
- In chololiztli (Song of Flight)
- Ma zan moquetzacan (My Friends Stand Up!)
- Nitlayocoya (I Am Sad)
- Xopan cuicatl (Song of Springtime)
- Ye nonnocuiltonohua (I Am Wealthy)
- Zan yehuan (He Alone)
- Xon Ahuiyacan (Be Joyful)
Nezahualcoyotl was succeeded by his son Nezahualpilli.
His great-grandson Juan Bautista de Pomar is credited with the compilations of a collection of Nahuatl poems. Romances de los señores de la Nueva España, and with a chronicle of the history of the Aztecs.
Nezahualcoyotl appears on the current one-hundred peso banknote.
- Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World by Miguel León Portilla, Univ of Oklahoma Press; (October 2000).
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