Who was the Cihuacoatl


The Cihuacóatl (Nahuatlcihuācōātl, IPA [si.waː.ˈkoː.waːtɬ] meaning either "female twin / companion" or "female snake") had the function of a "vice-emperor" of the Aztec empire. Despite the linguistic element “female” in the title, this function was only performed by men. Nothing is known about the earliest holder of the office until Moctezuma I became Tlatoani and his half-brother Tlacaelel I was appointed Cihuacóatl. From then on, the office always remained in the hands of his descendants.

The Cihuacóatl known by name were Tlacaélel I, his sons Tlilpotonqui and Cacama and his grandsons Tlacaélel II and Tlacotzin, who was also Tlatoani from 1525–1526.


The Cihuacóatl was the second most powerful man in the Aztec Empire. The offices of this high dignitary were varied: he was the highest war judge and civil judge, he was responsible for the administration of the crown treasure. It was he who suggested warriors to the emperor for promotions and awards, he set up campaigns and their leaders. When the emperor died he convened the Council of State to elect a successor and filled the office of head of state during the interregnum. When the emperor left Tenochtitlán, the cihuacóatl moved into the imperial palace and represented the tlatoani. Only the emperor received more honors. For example, only the Cihuacóatl was allowed to step in front of the emperor without having taken off his shoes beforehand. All in all, he was a double of the emperor and his black and white coat immediately followed the blue-green des tlatoani as a sign of power.[1]


  • Manuel Aguilar-Moreno: Handbook to Life in the Aztec World, Oxford University Press, USA 2007, ISBN 0195330838

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Manuel Aguilar-Moreno: Handbook to Life in the Aztec World, P. 86


Status of information: 11/22/2020 10:24:48 AM CET

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