Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/137

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105
MEXICANS.

Tizoc began the construction of a great temple in honor of Huitzilopochtli, a superb edifice, according to the chronicles, the most lofty in the city, covering all the site of the present cathedral, and moreover extending over much of the ground now occupied by the Plaza Mayor. Tizoc was poisoned, at the instigation of some neighboring kings, by women who brought him a fatal drink. He died suddenly, after a brief reign of four years.

Ahuitzotl, his brother and successor, hastened to bring the great teocalli to completion, and its dedication was the occasion of a great feast and celebration. Kings and caciques of the allied people came, bringing rich offerings to the Mexican monarch, who displayed the greatest magnificence in receiving his guests. The chief feature of the occasion was the great slaughter of four days of victims made prisoners of war on purpose for the sacrifice to the god to whom the temple was reared.

Ahuitzotl was troubled with inundations of the lake, and by the advice of Nezahualpilli the Wise, he caused huge dikes to be constructed, which averted the danger. The monarch himself was overtaken by water bursting into one of the lower chambers of his palace. As he rushed suddenly out of the room to avoid the flood, he received a blow on the head by striking a beam, which caused his death a few years after.

This monarch was passionately devoted to war, and by his conquests he extended widely the dominions of the crown. He was violent, vengeful, and cruel, the terror of the people he conquered, jealous