Nauhyotl (MH499r)

Nauhyotl (MH499r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Nauhyotl ("Having the Quality of Four") is attested here as a man's name. The drawing shows four upright, rectangular boxes.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There was a Nauhyotltecuhtli, the Lord of the Four Directions. So, perhaps Nauhyotl and Nahuyotzin were shorter versions of this, or perhaps they also had some connection with cardinal directions.

The seventh ruler of Culhuacan had the name Nauhyotl Tecuhtlamacazqui. The simpler name Nauhyotl is further attested in at least a couple of censuses for various men after colonization. Here, too, the man bearing this name has the baptismal name Antonio.

The even numbers four and eight were very prevalent in Nahua culture. The suffix "-yotl" is, according to James Lockhart, "an abstract or collective nominal suffix that, when possessed, expresses inalienable or organic possession" (see his Nahuatl as Written: Lessons in Older Written Nahuatl, with Copious Examples and Texts, Stanford: Stanford University Press and UCLA Latin American Studies, 2001, 242). In English, this can be something like the suffix -ness, or -ship, or refer to a design of the type mentioned in the noun. One might think of nauhyotl as referring to a quatrefoil, but the visual is very basic, seeming relating to counting, and nothing like the four-division shield or the shape of the sun. Here, the tlacuilo wished to convey the number and its meaning. See also Omeyotl, "Dualism" or "Two-ness," below. These are probably not numbers that were once companions to day signs from the divinatory calendar that had dropped away (e.g., Macuilli, "Five"), but instead, these had an emphasis on the nature of those certain numbers.

Notice how some tonalli (sun, day, solar energizing force) can appear as four circles (below).

Guy Stresser-Péan (1995, 150) suggests "abstracción del número cuatro" as the translation of Nauhyotl. (See our Bibliography for the full citation of his book.) Magnus Pharao Hansen translates Nauhyotl as "Fourth," in his 2014 blog about the 1544 census of Morelos.

Compare this glyph with the other Nauhyotl glyph below, which has four upright lines connected at the base with a horizontal line. The glyph for the name Nauhtene (also below) has four upright lines that are not connected to one another. So, there are variations. Since four is an even number and a popular one in Nahua culture, one might ponder the name of Fourness or Four-Like as pointing to that inclination toward symmetry.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Antonio Nauhyotl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


four, cuatro, four-ness

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Calidad o Naturaleza de Cuatro, Cuatredad

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 499r, World Digital Library,

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: