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Montezuma I or Motēuczōma Ilhuicamīna (c. 1398 AD – 1469 AD) was the fifth king of Tenochtitlan and the second Aztec emperor. He leads the Aztecs in Civilization V.


Montezuma (Civ5).jpg

Montezuma I speaks Modern Nahuatl instead of Classical Nahuatl, as evinced by Spanish influenced words and often pronouncing the -tl suffix incorrectly. On his diplomacy screen, he is in a dimly-lit court filled with chanting followers, who cheer when Montezuma accepts an offer from the player and boo when he rejects an offer. A tzompantli lines the wall behind him along with two torches, and a disk depicting Coyolxauhqui is set into the wall. Montezuma lacks a cape and wears a feathered headdress and a loincloth.

Capital: Tenochtitlan

Unique Unit: Jaguar

Unique Building: Floating Gardens

Unique Ability: Sacrificial Captives

Voice Actor: Alfredo Camacho

AI Traits[]

Trait Amount
Competitiveness 6 (8-4)
Wonder Competitiveness 2 (4-1)
City-State Influence Competitiveness 5 (7-3)
Boldness 9 (10-7)
Diplobalance 5 (7-3)
Hate Warmongers 1 (3-1)
Willingness to Denounce 6 (8-4)
Willingness to Declare Friendship 3 (5-1)
Loyalty 4 (6-2)
Neediness 4 (6-2)
Forgiveness 4 (6-2)
Chattiness 4 (6-2)
Meanness 5 (7-3)
Offensive Unit Production 9 (10-7)
Defensive Unit Production 3 (5-1)
Defensive Building Production 4 (6-2)
Military Training Buildings Production 4 (6-2)
Recon Unit Production 6 (8-4)
Ranged Unit Production 5 (7-3)
Mobile Unit Production 5 (7-3)
Naval Unit Production 3 (5-1)
Naval Recon Unit Production 3 (5-1)
Air Unit Production 4 (6-2)
Naval Growth 4 (6-2)
Naval Tile Improvements 4 (6-2)
Water Connections 4 (6-2)
Expansion 8 (10-6)
Growth 5 (7-3)
Tile Improvements 5 (7-3)
Infrastructure (Roads) 5 (7-3)
Production Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Gold Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Science Emphasis 4 (6-2)
Culture Emphasis 6 (8-4)
Happiness Emphasis 6 (8-4)
Great People Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Wonder Emphasis 6 (8-4)
Religion Emphasis 7 (9-5)
Diplomacy Victory 4 (6-2)
Spaceship Victory 7 (9-5)
Nuke Production 8 (10-6)
Use of Nukes 8 (10-6)
Use of Espionage 5 (7-3)
Anti-Air Production 5 (7-3)
Air Carrier Production 6 (8-4)
Land Trade Route Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Sea Trade Route Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Archaeology Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Trade Origin Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Trade Destination Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Airlift Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Likeliness to Declare War 8 (10-6)
Likeliness to be Hostile 6 (8-4)
Likeliness to be Deceptive 7 (9-5)
Likeliness to be Guarded 5 (7-3)
Likeliness to be Afraid 7 (9-5)
Likeliness to be Friendly 4 (6-2)
Likeliness to be Neutral 5 (7-3)
Ignore City-States 3 (5-1)
Friendliness to City-States 3 (5-1)
Protection of City-States 3 (5-1)
Conquest of City-States 8 (10-6)
Bullying of City-States 8 (10-6)

Personality and Behavior[]

Montezuma is very aggressive and will most likely seek a domination victory. On the other hand, he may instead attempt a cultural victory later in the game.

Montezuma will often declare war on every civilization and city-state he meets and swarm them with Jaguars. He will also seek to found a religion and acquire nukes as soon as possible. He does not, however, hold up well in defensive combat.

Montezuma is very difficult to make friends with. Even if you can befriend him, don't expect him to keep his words, because he can be disloyal.

Although he is a warlike leader, Montezuma will never become angry at other players for being warmongers. He is one of the leaders most likely to be afraid, as well.

Civilopedia entry[]


A mighty warrior and leader, Montezuma I helped propel the Aztec nation to greatness and glory. He should not be confused with his unfortunate grandson Montezuma II, who watched helplessly as his empire was dismantled by Spanish Conquistadors.

Early Life[]

Montezuma (whose name means "he frowns like a lord") came from a royal family. His father Huitzilihuitl was the second Aztec "tlatoani" or emperor, and his mother, Miahuaxihuitl, was the daughter of the ruler of the city of Cuauhnahuac. Following his father's death, Montezuma's uncle Itzcoatl was elected. Montezuma's older brother Tlacaelel was one of Itzcoatl's closest advisors, while Montezuma served as a general in the Aztec army.

Following Itzcoatl's death in 1440, Montezuma was elected emperor. Tlacaelel did not seem at all unhappy about being bypassed (perhaps he thought he'd live longer if he didn't get the crown), and by all accounts he served his brother faithfully. Montezuma's coronation was a huge ceremony involving the sacrifice of many prisoners.

A Modest Lifestyle[]

Despite the opulence of his political title, it appears that Montezuma himself lived modestly, in a simple palace with "just a few wives." When not engaged in religious duties or matters of state, he spent much of his time in consultation with his friends and advisors.

Domestic Policy[]

During his reign Montezuma and his brother Tlacaelel worked to improve the Aztec city Tenochtitlan. Among other improvements they constructed an aqueduct system which brought a good deal of fresh water into the city. Of course as Tenochtitlan grew, in addition to fresh water it required ever greater amounts of food to sustain its hungry population. Since Central America lacked draft animals, every single morsel of food had to be transported to the city on somebody's back. Montezuma's government employed state inspectors to ensure that every piece of arable land within walking distance was planted and maintained. He also ordered the construction of a dike system to alleviate flooding and to provide more farmland.

Montezuma and his brother also constructed many temples in and around the city, including a new temple to Huitxilopochtli, the god of battle. The temple of Huitxilopochtli was consecrated in 1455 with the sacrifice of a large number of Huaxtec prisoners of war.

Sumptuary Laws[]

Probably at the urging of his brother, Tlacaelel, Montezuma instituted Sumptuary Laws which codified and reinforced the already-stratified Aztec class system. A person's station in life determined what he or she could wear and how he or she could speak. The poor were not allowed to wear cotton cloth, sandals or any clothing that extended below the knee. Only the nobility could live in homes of greater than one story. Crimes were punished by slavery, the lowest of all classes, or by being sacrificed.

Religious Changes[]

During Montezuma's rule, his brother Tlacaelel worked on reforming the Aztec religion. He rewrote the Aztec religious texts, ordering the destruction of many others which did not agree with his interpretations of the Aztec history and religion. Under Tlacaelel the Aztec religion became more militaristic, demanding ever more sacrifices of captured enemy soldiers. The need for prisoners for sacrifice would over time become one of the driving forces behind Aztec foreign policy.

Foreign Policy[]

As ruler Montezuma sought to strengthen the "Triple Alliance" between the Central Mexican city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan. He also expanded the Aztec empire by conquering Panuco, the Totonacs, Coatzocoalcos and the Chalca. Some theorize that he conquered the tribes for their tribute, hoping to ensure a continuous food supply for Tenochtitlan, which despite his best efforts continued to suffer from periodic famine. Another theory is that he did so to feed the Aztec religion's ever-chronic need for prisoners of war to sacrifice. Yet another theory is that he did it because that's what Aztec Emperors did - conquer stuff. The answer is likely to be something of a combination of all three theories.


Montezuma died in 1469. He was succeeded by his 19-year-old cousin, Axayacatl, who would be the father of Montezuma I's namesake, the unfortunate Montezuma II who would lose everything to Spain.

Judgment of History[]

Generally, Montezuma was a successful ruler. He expanded his empire, personally led his armies to victory, and worked hard to improve the lot of his people. He certainly was a bloody man, personally sacrificing thousands of prisoners to his thirsty gods. But his religion said such barbarity was necessary - blood was required to ensure that the sun would rise, the crops would grow, and the Aztec nation would continue to prosper.

Could he have cut back on the ritualized murder? Possibly. But the thought might never have occurred to him - or anybody else in the area at the time. It's useful to remember that the more "enlightened" people of Europe would execute some heretics at the same time. While this doesn't in any way make Montezuma's actions any better, at least it puts them in some kind of context.


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (Nahuatl) Notes
Attacked Excellent! Let the blood flow in raging torrents!
(lit. "Yes, it is good! Strongly??????, let your blood flood in vain like a river!")
Hueli qui qualli! Chicahuac "-can”, ma in nen eztli!, moch la-loca ni-ameya “ateh” hueiatl!
Declares War Die, die, die! Xi-miqa-can! Xi-miqa-can! Xi-miqa-can!
Defeated <shocked> Monster! Who are you to destroy my greatness?  ?
Hate Hello What do you want? Tleino tic nequi?
Hate Let's Hear It 01 What? Tleino?
Hate Let's Hear It 02 What do you say? Tleino ti qui itoa?
Hate Let's Hear It 03 Go on.
(lit. "Besides this, very much.")
Oc tequi.
Hate No 01 Certainly not!
(lit. "Not true/right!")
Melahuac amo!
Hate No 02 Are you crazy?  ?
Hate No 03 I would rather pierce my bowels with hot skewers!  ?
Hate Yes 01 Oh, very well.  ?
Hate Yes 02 I suppose I must.
(lit. "I consider it true.")
Nic-nemilia quema!
Hate Yes 03 Yes, it is good! Hueli qui qualli!
Intro I am Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs... Nicuani Montezuma, Imperator de los Aztecas... Possibly ends with "Who dares to enter my august presence?" or "What manner of creature are you?" Less likely is "What do I see before me? Another beating heart for my sacrificial fire." The first part of the quote would have been "Nicuani Motecuhzoma, Uey Tlatoani ina Aztecatl..." in Nahuatl derivations with less Spanish.
Neutral Hello Welcome, friend.  ?
Neutral Let's Hear It 01 Go ahead.  ?
Neutral Let's Hear It 02 Proceed.
(lit. "I'm listening.")
Neutral Let's Hear It 03 I'm listening.  ?
Neutral No 01 AND 03 Certainly not!
(lit. "Not true/right!")
Melahuac amo!
Neutral No 02 No! Amo!
Neutral Yes 01 Certainly!
(lit. "True/right!")
Neutral Yes 02 Yes, it is good. Hueli qui qualli ca.
Neutral Yes 03 Yes, it is good. Hueli qui qualli.
Peaceful Curses! I will sacrifice ten thousand citizens to expiate this humiliation!  ?
Request Accept this agreement or suffer the consequences. OR Here are my terms. It would be an unfriendly gesture to refuse them.  ?


Montezuma Loading Screen (Civ5).jpg

Welcome, o divine Montezuma, we grovel in awe at your magnificence, may the heaven shower all manner of good things upon you all the days of your life! You are the leader of the mighty Aztec people, wandering nomads from a lost home in the north who in the 12th century came to live in the mesa central in the heart of what would come to be call Mexico. Surrounded by many tribes fighting to control the rich land surrounding the sacred lakes of Texcoco, Xaltocan, and Zampango. Through cunning alliances and martial prowess, within a mere two hundred years, the Aztecs came to dominate the Central American basin, ruling a mighty empire stretching from sea to sea. The empire at last fell under assault from foreign devils. The accursed Spaniards, wielding fiendish weapons the likes of which your faithful warriors had never seen.

O great king Montezuma, your people call upon you once more, to rise up and lead them to glory, bring them wealth and power, and give them dominion over their foes and rivals. Will you answer their call, glorious leader? Will you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?


Civilization V Leaders [edit]
Ahmad al-Mansur BNW-only.pngAlexanderAshurbanipal BNW-only.pngAskiaAttila GodsKings5 clear.pngAugustus CaesarBismarckBoudicca GodsKings5 clear.pngCasimir III BNW-only.pngCatherineDarius IDido GodsKings5 clear.pngElizabethEnrico Dandolo BNW-only.pngGajah Mada BNW-only.pngGandhiGenghis Khan1Gustavus Adolphus GodsKings5 clear.pngHaile Selassie GodsKings5 clear.pngHarald Bluetooth1Harun al-RashidHiawathaIsabella1Kamehameha1Maria I BNW-only.pngMaria Theresa GodsKings5 clear.pngMontezumaNapoleonNebuchadnezzar II1Oda NobunagaPacal GodsKings5 clear.pngPachacuti1Pedro II BNW-only.pngPocatello BNW-only.pngRamesses IIRamkhamhaengSejong1Shaka BNW-only.pngSuleimanTheodora GodsKings5 clear.pngWashingtonWilliam GodsKings5 clear.pngWu Zetian
1 Requires a DLC

GodsKings5 clear.png Valid only in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
BNW-only.png Valid only in the Brave New World expansion pack.