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The Aztec Account of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico
 
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Join date : 2009-05-11
Location : Central Oklahoma

PostSubject: Introduction   Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:01 pm

The native documents describing the long siege of Tenochtitlan present a number of vivid and dramatic scenes. We have selected the account by Sahagun's informants preserved in the Codex Florentino.

During one of the first attacks by the Spaniards, the Aztecs took fifteen prisoners and then sacrificed them within sight of their Comrades, who were watching helplessly from the barkentines. The text also describes the tragic suffering of the besieged inhabitants, the Spanish raid on the Tlatelolco market place, the burning of the temple, and the almost incredible courage with which the Aztecs again and again drove back the invaders.

The narrative continues with a description of how the Spaniards set up a catapult on the platform of the small temple in the Tlatelolco market, and concludes with the final efforts of the Aztecs to save their capital. Cuauhtemoc, who had succeeded his uncle Cuitlahuac when the latter died of the plague, decided to dress a captain named Opochtzin in the regalia of King Ahuitzotl, Motecuhzoma's predecessor. It was believed that this regalia invested its wearer with the attributes of the war god Huitzilopochtli, and that if Opochtzin could wound a Spaniard with the sacred arrow called "the fire-serpent," victory was still possible. The attempt was unsuccessful and was followed by a brief period of calm that ended with the final agonies of the dying city.
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