Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dead Air Church: Cortez the Killer

He came dancing across the water, Cortez, Cortez...

This week for Dead Air Church, I wanted to recognize the Feast of the Assumption (which was the 15th) by commemorating the victims of one Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca. The Aztec Empire fell on August 13, 1521.

One account of the massacre in the Main Temple of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (May 1520):

Here it is told how the Spaniards killed, they murdered the Mexicas who were celebrating the Fiesta of Huitzilopochtli in the place they called The Patio of the Gods

At this time, when everyone was enjoying the fiesta, when everyone was already dancing, when everyone was already singing, when song was linked to song and the songs roared like waves, in that precise moment the Spaniards determined to kill people. They came into the patio, armed for battle.

They came to close the exits, the steps, the entrances [to the patio]: The Gate of the Eagle in the smallest palace, The Gate of the Canestalk and the Gate of the Snake of Mirrors. And when they had closed them, no one could get out anywhere.

Once they had done this, they entered the Sacred Patio to kill people. They came on foot, carrying swords and wooden and metal shields. Immediately, they surrounded those who danced, then rushed to the place where the drums were played. They attacked the man who was drumming and cut off both his arms. Then they cut off his head [with such a force] that it flew off, falling far away.

At that moment, they then attacked all the people, stabbing them, spearing them, wounding them with their swords. They struck some from behind, who fell instantly to the ground with their entrails hanging out [of their bodies]. They cut off the heads of some and smashed the heads of others into little pieces.

They struck others in the shoulders and tore their arms from their bodies. They struck some in the thighs and some in the calves. They slashed others in the abdomen and their entrails fell to the earth. There were some who even ran in vain, but their bowels spilled as they ran; they seemed to get their feet entangled with their own entrails. Eager to flee, they found nowhere to go.

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun

On the shore lay Montezuma
With his cocoa leaves and pearls
In his halls he often wondered
With the secrets of the worlds

And his subjects gathered round him
Like the leaves around a tree
In their clothes of many colors
For the angry gods to see

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones

They carried them to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up with their bare hands
What we still can't do today

And I know she's living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can't remember when
Or how I lost my way

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez

What a killer.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Cortez the Killer


Helen G said...

I <3 that song.
But what a sad story it tells.

screamin puma said...

awesome song

annie said...

I will never forget seeing Neil and Crazy Horse do this at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in 1984. He's always had a great fondness for his Santa Cruz fans, and used to do surprise gigs there in the 80's. No advertising, no warning. All word of mouth and always sold out. The Catalyst has a giant Cortez-like mural downstairs, too. Gives me chills, just remembering! Thanks.

ArrogantWorm said...

Sent you an email, did I fall in the rubbish bin? S'a persistent fear