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Q:

Was Camazotz, the Mayan vampire god, really just a vile dictator before the Mayans learned to write?

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No it was a Cult not a person. The cult of Camazotz began around 100 B.C. among the Zapotec Indians in what is the modern-day Mexican state of Oaxaca. The cult of Camazotz worshiped an anthropomorphic monster with the body of a human, head of a bat (though the exact proportioning varies with account). The bat was associated with night, death, and sacrifice. This god soon found its way into the pantheon of the Quiché, a tribe of Maya who made their home in the jungles of what is now Guatemala. The Quiché identified the bat-deity with their god Zotzilaha Chamalcan, the god of fire. There is some evidence to support that the Camazotz myth may have sprung from actual large, blood-drinking bats of the Mexico, Guatemala, and Brazil areas. Evidence is in the form of fossils of Desmodus draculae, the giant vampire bat. There have also been skeletons of D. draculae found which were sub-fossil, of very recent age. These sub-fossils suggest that the species were still common when the Mayans ... more
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