Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

History of the Mexicans as Told by Their Paintings
Translated and edited by Henry Phillips Jr.
Read before the American Philosophical Society, October 19, 1883
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society XXI:616-651, 1883.
Edited by Alec Christensen

Table of Contents


Chapter   1
Chapter   2
Chapter   3
Chapter   4
Chapter   5
Chapter   6
Chapter   7
Chapter   8
Chapter   9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Notes 1-16
Note 17
Note 18
Notes 19-48
Notes 49-62

Annotations and Corrections to the Codex Ramirez. [continued]

19 Cintrococopi, qy. from cintli, spindles

20 The story of the falling down. of the heavens appears among the myths of Samoa, where two trees are reported to have grown up and pushed them into proper place. The natives of Vaitupu have a tradition in which two of the sons of the first couple "distinguished themselves by raising the heaven higher." In Nikundu, the legend runs of an universal darkness in the beginning of all things and that the heavens were down and resting upon the earth until raised by two brothers. (Samoa, by George Turner, pp. 198, 283, 291.)

21 The two trees into which the gods changed themselves; more properly, Tezcaquahuitl, the tree of the warrior. Quetzalveixochitl, the beautiful rose tree. - A.H.M., 75.

22 Mixcoatl, a name of Tezcatlipoca. Brinton, A.H.M., 84. Iztac Mixcoatl (A.H.M. 92), white-cloud, twin.

23 Four hundred men created. Brinton considers them to be the stars, especially as they later were translated to the sky. Codex Chimalpopoca (Myths, New World, 207.). Four birds devoured the antediluvian dwellers on earth.

24 They drew blood from their ears, &c. In ch. 8 (seq.) Camaxtil takes a maguey thorn and draws blood from his tongue and ears. The Persians drew blood from ears, arms and face. Cf. Garcia, iv, 301.

25 Talocatecli threw his son into the cinders. Should be Tlaloc. (Cf. Abraham and Isaac.)

26 Chichimecas (Garcia, V, 2, 322), offered no let or hindrance to the immigrants who drove them away, but were filled with fright and astonishment, and hid themselves among the most inaccessible rocks.

But the C. on the other side of the Sierra Nevada, where the Tlascaltecans came, did not behave in this manner, but valiantly resisted the invaders, being of gigantic stature, endeavored to drive them out of the land, but were ultimately overcome by the force of the Tlascaltecans. Then they had resort to stratagem, and feigning peace and submission invited their conquerors to a banquet at which concealed men precipitated themselves upon the Tlascaltecans when they had become drunken and helpless. However, the Tlascaltecans rallied to the assistance of their comrades, and being better armed and disciplined, ultimately defeated the giants, leaving not one man alive. After many generations the barbarous Chichimecas became civilized, wore clothes and became as other people, forming themselves a state. (Cf. Garcia, V, 302.)

Chichimeca. (Clavigero tr. Cullen, I, 91), recording to some from Techichiani, sucking, because they sucked the blood of the animals which they hunted. C. calls them Chechemecatl, (Betancourt), from Chichimi, dogs’ beans. If the name had been one of contempt they would not have prided themselves upon it, as they did. Another point to show it was an indigenous word.

A number of conjectural etymologies have been assigned for this name, but all unsatisfactory. As this people appear to have been aboriginal it seems to me that any attempt to explain its name by means of the language of the conquerors must be futile. Those who speak an alien tongue have always been looked upon by their neighbors as barbarians, and even as not possessed of rational speech, but as using only an unintelligible jargon. The Latin dramatist expresses the feeling in his lines, Barbarus hic ego, quid non intelligor nulli.

According to Garcia (V, 3, 321), the word Nahuatl means the people that speaks distinctly and makes itself understood (Cf. Sahagun X, 29.) (Buschman, 685) "well sounding, clear, distinct."

Boturini, 78. Chichimècatl, el qué chupa, from their sucking the blood of animals. Chichi means mamar, to nurse. Anales 3, 2, 60.

27 Camasale, more properly, Camaxtli, qu., a name of Tezcatlipoca ( A.H.M., 90) la faja noturna (Anales 3, 363). He was worshiped by the Tlascallans, being there the same as Huitzilopochtli. Clavigero I, 2, 111. (Cf. Note 3)

28 Ce acatl, one reed, the day of Quetzalcoatl’s birth, and by which he was often called.. It was a day of evil omen, and no one born on it could hope for success

This year which returns but once in the Mexican cycle of fifty-two years, was the one in which the god Quetzalcoatl was expected to reappear; and it so happened that in this very year Cortez entered the land of Mexico. Gloomy prophecies had preceded his advent, and he met a sovereign predisposed to submission.

29 Tlapalla. This is the Tlapallan which Brinton (A.H.M., 89) believes to be the "City of the Sun," the original home of the Aztecs. All this he considers a sun myth. The word signifies "the red land" (Codex Mendoza, Anales I, 4, 173). It was to this country that Quetzalcoatl was to take his journey. (Buschman, p.684)

"Tlapallan, the red land, and Tizapan, the white land, were really the names for the land of the sun. Tizapan from tizatl, white earth, and pan in." (Am Hero Myths, 135.) The idea holds ground among some scholars that this long record is only one of journeyings up and down through the valley of Mexico.

30 Chapultepeque. Monte des Conejos. (Garcia, IV, 203.) Cerro del Chapulin (Bot. 78). See note 43.

31 Culuacan. Colhuacan (A.H.M., 92). The bent or curved mountain, the home of the mother of the gods; on it the old become young and remain at any age they desire; years leave no trace upon them. In the legends of the Choctaws occurs mention of a bending hill (Myths New World, 225). Duran (I, 1) considers it another name for Aztlan. Cf. Buschman, 691.

32 Azclan, regio de garças, land of the heron. (Garcia, 4, 293) Bright or white land. (Brinton A.H.M., 92. Buschman, 612.) The latter the more generally received; cf. Tlapallan, Note 29.

33 Suchimilco, first people (gente de sementeras de Flores), occupied the banks of the great lagoon of Mexico and founded a city of the same name. Garcia, V, § 2, 322.

34 Xochimilco. Place of the field of flowers. (Buschmann, p. 700; Clavigero, 2, 228 Boturini, 78.) Sometimes written Suchimilco.

35 Mixcoatl (Brinton A.H.M., 92. Iztac-Mixcoatl, the white cloud twin), goddess of hunting, Clav., i. 126. Same as Camasale (Note 3, Note 27).

35 [bis] Chalcas. The name signifies Gente de las Bocas. Garcia V, 2, 322.

36 Tenpaneca (Garcia, V, 2, 322). Gente de la puente, settled on the west side of the lagoon. They soon founded a large city, Azcapuzalco (Hormiguero).

37 Tezcuco. Garcia (V, 2, 322) says the Tezcucans were the fourth population of Mexico, coming from Culua (Gente corva), because in their country there was a very crooked Cerro.

These four nations encircled the lagoon, and of them all, the Tezcucans were considered as the most polished.

38 Quausticaca ? lugar de los Pinos.

39 Chicomuxtoque, more properly should be Chicomoztoc, the Seven caverns. (Garcia, V, 325: Boturini, 78. Buschmann, Über die Aztek. Ortsnamen, 688)

40 Coatebeque, more properly Coatepec, the hill of serpents

41 Quatlique, more properly Coatlicue, "one of the serpent skirt" (A.H.M., 77) from whom Huitzilopochtli was born. According to Clavigero (1[,] 257), she was the goddess of flowers.

A similar myth is narrated (A.H.M., 99) of the birth of Quetzalcoatl, "the feathered serpent," which seems more probable from the connection of this name with the bunch of feathers, the virgin is stated here to have placed in her bosom

42 Cuzco means (Garcia, IV, 293) the navel of the earth

* Topó means, first, to meet; second, to strike. It may be that it should read "touched."

43 Bridge of Chapultepeque: this is probably a clerical error of puente for fuente as in the preceding chapter a (fountain or) stream of water (fuente) is spoken of as existing at that place. The word means hill of the locust, from chapulin, locust, and tepec, a hill. (Cf. Note 30.)

44 In the original tes, meaning evidently tres.

45 In the original dos, probably an error for los.

* Mechoacan, El tierra de pescado (Garcia, v, 325).

46 Çiguacoatl, more properly Cihuacoatl: the serpent woman (Myths New World, 120); Cihuacohuatl (Clavigero, I, 246).

47 Tiçapan, Tiçapaa- the same place. (Garcia, 326, Tizaapán, aguas blancas, white water). The general view entertained by scholars is that the word means the white land (A.H.M., 136), and is the same as Tlapallan, the home in the distant sun. See note 29.

47* Here there is something omitted, probably the words "a woman," as the rest of the sentence requires it.

Clavigero (Book II, § 21, Cullen, p. 124), tells a horrible story of a woman’s sacrifice (too long to copy), which may be the one here referred to.

48 Quanmixtitlan, postea Tenustitan. Garcia, 325; Ciudad del popul, Bot. 78. Tenoxtitlan, more correctly Tenochtitlan, from tetl, a stone, and Nochtli, a nopal (meaning the wild fig on the rock. Tunal en piedra, Garcia, V, 326). Buschmann, p. 702.

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