Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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CULTZHAYOTL (cooltz-ay-yot'-l), Aztec poet, born in 1370; died in 1421. He was the son of the Tlaxcaltec prince Xentiple. His first work was a long poem entitled " Zempaxochitl." The Count of Regla, as descendant and heir of Hernan Cortes, has preserved the original, a translation of which was made by Peredo, who calls Cultzhayotl the Aztec Virgil. His second work, "Huitzilopoxtli," is considered superior to the first. Clavijero, a profound scholar, finds in it many features resembling those of Dante's "Divine Comedy." Cultz-hayotl was the first that gave a vigorous character and form to tragedy in Mexico, and had the war-dances replaced by dialogues and tableaux. The Aztec king and nobility attended the performance of his tragedy, "Mihua "; but'the noblelnen thought the play was a satire on religion, and caused the poet to be imprisoned and subsequently buried alive, to the neck, in a field near Chapultepec. According to Netzahualcoyotl, a lady of the court saved him, leaving in place of the victim a Toltec prisoner. He wandered about until the priests of the Mitla temple offered him protection. While in retirement he wrote a powerful satire, called "Cuitlacochitl," against the Moctezuma dynasty and the corrupt nobility. Hearing that the Mitla priests might assassinate him, he took refuge in Cholula, where the people made his arrival the occasion for a magnificent display. But he soon had to leave Cholula also, and hid for the rest of his life in the Cacahuamilpa cave, a description of which is found in his poem, "Cacahuamitl."
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