Camazotz

Camazotz

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This is a discussion of a Maya bat god. For the candy by Ambrosoli, see “ZotZ (Candy)
ZotZ (Candy)
ZotZ is a candy with a fizzy, sour center. It is a hard candy that contains a sour powder comprising malic and tartaric acids mixed with sodium bicarbonate. When the powder dissolves the acids and sodium bicarbonate react to produce carbond dioxide bubbles and fizzing sensation. ZotZ flavors...

”. For a discussion of the fictitious planet, see “A Wrinkle in Time”.


In Maya mythology
Maya mythology
Mayan mythology is part of Mesoamerican mythology and comprises all of the Mayan tales in which personified forces of nature, deities, and the heroes interacting with these play the main roles...

, Camazotz (alternate spellings Cama-Zotz, Sotz, Zotz) was a bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

 god. Camazotz means "death bat" in the K'iche' language
K'iche' language
The K’iche’ language is a part of the Mayan language family. It is spoken by many K'iche' people in the central highlands of Guatemala. With close to a million speakers , it is the second-most widely spoken language in the country after Spanish...

. In Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 the bat was associated with night, death, and sacrifice.

Etymology


Camazotz is formed from the K'iche' words kame, meaning "death", and sotz, meaning "bat".

Mythology


In the Popol Vuh
Popol Vuh
Popol Vuh is a corpus of mytho-historical narratives of the Post Classic Quiché kingdom in Guatemala's western highlands. The title translates as "Book of the Community," "Book of Counsel," or more literally as "Book of the People."...

, Camazotz are the bat-like monsters encountered by the Maya Hero Twins
Maya Hero Twins
The Maya Hero Twins are the central figures of a narrative included within the colonial Quiché document called Popol Vuh, and constituting the oldest Maya myth to have been preserved in its entirety. Called Hunahpu and Xbalanque in Quiché, the Twins have also been identified in the art of the...

 Hunahpu and Xbalanque during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba
Xibalba
Xibalba , roughly translated as "place of fear", is the name of the underworld in Maya mythology, ruled by the Maya death gods and their helpers. In 16th-century Verapaz, the entrance to Xibalba was traditionally held to be a cave in the vicinity of Cobán, Guatemala. According to some of the...

. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats where they squeeze themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves from the circling bats. Hunahpu stuck his head out of his blowgun to see if the sun had risen and Camazotz immediately snatched off his head and carried it to the ballcourt
Mesoamerican ballcourt
A Mesoamerican ballcourt is a large masonry structure of a type used in Mesoamerica for over 2,700 years to play the Mesoamerican ballgame, particularly the hip-ball version of the ballgame. Over 1,300 ballcourts have been identified, 60% in the last 20 years alone...

 to be hung up as the ball to be used by the gods in their next ballgame
Mesoamerican ballgame
The Mesoamerican ballgame or Tlatchtli in Náhuatl was a sport with ritual associations played since 1,000 B.C. by the pre-Columbian peoples of Ancient Mexico and Central America...

.