August 31, 2011
Aztec Mythology, dioses
Image via Wikipedia
These are books written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztecs. These codices provide some of the best primary sources for Aztec culture.
Best known are:
1. Madrid Codex: It tackles about the fourth Tlatoani Itzcoatl
(ruling from 1427 to 1440) ordered the burning of all historical codices because they believed that it was “not wise that all the people should know the paintings”. Among other purposes, this allowed the Aztec state to develop a state-sanctioned history and myths that tells about Huitzilopochtli
2. Codex Borbonicus
: It is a codex written by Aztec priests shortly before or after the Spanish conquest of Mexico
. Like all pre-Columbian codices, it was originally entirely pictorial in nature. It was divided into three sections:
a. Tonalamatl or divinatory calendar.
b. Documentation of the Mesoamerican 52 year cycle, showing in order the dates of the first days of each of these 52 solar years
c. Section of rituals and ceremonies, particularly those that end the 52 year cycle, when the “new fire” must be lit.
3. Boturini Codex
: Was a compilation of paintings painted by an unknown Aztec author some time between 1530 and 1541, roughly a decade after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. It tells the story of the legendary Aztec journey from Aztlán
to the Valley of Mexico
4. Codex Mendoza
: Is a pictorial document, with Spanish annotations and commentary, composed circa 1541. It is divided into three sections:
a. A history of each Aztec ruler and their conquests
b. A list of the tribute paid by each tributary province
c. A general description of daily Aztec life.
5. Florentine Codex: It is a copy of original source materials which are now lost, perhaps destroyed by the Spanish authorities who confiscated Sahagún’s manuscripts.