ANCIENT BOOKS: Mixtec Group Codices
History of the Codex
The history of Mixteca Codex Bodley is unknown to us before the beginning of the 17th century when it reached the Bodleian library at the University of Oxford, England. British archaeologist J. Eric Thompson proposed to Alfonso Caso that the manuscript had once belonged to Bishop Heronymous Osorius of Faro, Portugal. Thompson suggested that Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, had looted the manuscript during a raid along the coast of Portugal and given it to his friend Thomas Bodley. Whatever the specific circumstances, the basic premise of English seizure seems plausible. It was the time of the "counter-armadas" sent in retaliation for Phillip II's failed invasion of England in 1588. West Indies fleets and their home ports were being looted all along the Continental Atlantic coast, climaxing with the attack on Cadiz, Spain in 1596.
The question of when the codex itself was painted is unresolved, but certainly sometime after A.D. 1500, because the persons who marry at the end of each narrative are alive at that time. Page 20 concludes the genealogy of the obverse. It names Lord Four Deer as the last lord of the Tilantongo dynasty. The Relación de Tilantongo confirms that Four Deer was ruling Tilantongo when the Spaniards arrived but states that he was too old to be baptized. Page 21 concludes the genealogy of the reverse pages (40-21). The reknowned Mexican ethnohistorian Wigberto Jiménez Moreno identified the last king on Band III, Lord Eight Grass, as being the famous Lord Malinalli (Nahuatl for "grass") of Tlaxiaco who was killed in a war with the Aztecs during 1503-1504. The style of the codex is a variant of the Mixteca-Puebla style shared with other Mixtec historical manuscripts. The formal composition of the figures, the relative lack of multiple narratives that we find by combining history, legend, and ritual in Codex Zouche-Nuttall for example, and the close affinities Codex Bodley shares with Codex Selden, which was painted nearly forty years after the Spanish invasion, suggest an early Colonial date.
Codex Selden and Codex Bodley share a simplified form of historical and genealogical recounting; human figures lack elaborate details of ritual dress, and full page geographical vistas or expansive ritual scenes so characteristic of Codex Zouche-Nuttall or Codex Vindobonensis are entirely absent. This does not mean that Codex Bodley was necessarily Colonial in date however. In her now classic study of Mixtec pictographic writing, Picture Writing from Ancient Southern Mexico, Mary Elizabeth Smith suggests that the Bodley style was wide-spread throughout the Mixteca at the time of the Conquest and that it was then absorbed as a prevalent style for many subsequent genealogies, maps, and lienzos in the Mixteca throughout the Colonial period. Nevertheless, there is also no denying that the Bodley's uniform designs as well as the highly restricted reading pattern would make it appealing to the Spanish audiences in Colonial courts where such documents were presented in land claims.
Alfonso Caso described the codex as a long strip of deerskin approximately 22 feet long and 10 inches wide. The skin was then folded to create individual pages. These were painted with a white base coat and then divided with extended horizontal red bands. The obverse is divided into five bands (Figure 1). The reverse is divided into four bands. The numeration of the pages and bands was established by Lord Kingsborough in his 1831 publication of the manuscript and codex scholars continue to use this numeration today even though it creates some confusion as to the beginning and end of the narratives.
Figure 1. Basic reading order in Codex Bodley is guided by horizontal red lines that form four Bands on the reverse (Pages 40-21) and five Bands on the obverse (Pages 1-20). Narratives can be followed on four pages simultaneously.
The narrative of the obverse of Bodley is fairly straightforward; it begins on page 1, Band V, and ends on page 20, Band III. The reverse on the other hand is more complex and includes two sections of notes in the upper bands. The core reverse narrative begins with page 40, Band V, and continues through Bands V, VI, and III to page 34. Band I supplies a series of notes to accompany this text. On page 23, the text continues across Bands V-I up to page 28. On page 28 the narrative splits again. Bands I and II provide the notes for one story, while Bands III-V continue the core genealogy up to page 22.
Content of the Codex
Although the Codex Bodley is not as well known as Codex Zouche-Nuttall and the narrative is at times extremely complex with its back-reaching stories, it has proven invaluable as the most complete surviving genealogy of the royal families for the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, between the 10th and 16th centuries A.D. Despite efforts by some scholars to associate the codex with a specific town, in reality Codex Bodley is a puzzle. It lists genealogies of families that were at different times known to have been in direct conflict with each other. Perhaps a solution as to why the codex was painted can be found in what stories were selected and how these stories were structured as opposing frameworks on the reverse and the obverse (please note that numbers in parentheses below refer to particular positions in the Bodley, marked with corresponding blue numbers).
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
The obverse of Codex Bodley begins with Lady One Death's birth from a tree (1). The tree is surmounted by a flame suggesting that this particular tree was probably located at Place of Flame or Achiutla. Although we often attribute tree birth legends with Apoala, Friar Francisco de Burgoa tells us that there were at least three different creation places for the Mixtec royal ancestors, and Codex Zouche-Nuttall suggests the existence of several more. In 1910, a Mixtec scholar named Abraham Castellanos published an interpretation of Codex Colombino based upon stories that he had recorded while in the Achiutla and Tilantongo valleys. Although the interpretation diverges from what is actually portrayed in the Codex Colombino, the stories Castellanos recorded among the Mixtec are invaluable.
Castellanos learned that there had once been magical trees growing along the banks of two rivers that flow through the Achiutla valley below a mountain called Hill of the Sun. It was from these trees that the first Mixtec man and Mixtec woman were born and from them were descended the great lords. Confirmation of this origin place is found in Codex Zouche-Nuttall page 21 where Lady One Death appears at Hill of the Sun.
Following her emergence from the tree at Achiutla, Lady One Death meets with Lord Six Crocodile (2) who apparently directs her to leave Place of Heaven to join her future husband, Lord Four Crocodile Bloody Eagle, of Rain God Enclosure or Yuhua Dzahui (3). Their daughter is named as Lady One Vulture (4). Subsequently a list of eleven place signs is given including Tilantongo (5), Jaltepec (6), and Rock of Red and White Bundle. Some of the people associated with these places appear in Zouche-Nuttall Page 21 and on the reverse of Codex Vindobonensis.
On Page 2, Band I, we conclude the place sign list with a variant of the Hill That Opens/Hill of the Bee-Wasp place sign (7) and the parents of Lord Four Rabbit who marries Lady One Vulture (8). From this couple are born the three daughters: Lady Five Reed, Lady Ten Crocodile, and Lady Five Jaguar who will eventually marry the founders of Hill of the White Dots, Red and white Bundle, and Tilantongo (page 4 - 9a, 9b, 9c). The subsequent passages on pages 3-4 then recount the marriage of a second couple at Hill of the Bee-Wasp, Lady Twelve Vulture and Lord Twelve Lizard (10), along with an account of their deaths and the execution of their children in the War of Heaven.
With the entombment of Lady Twelve Vulture and Lord Twelve Lizard at Chalcatongo before the oracle priestess Lady Nine Grass (11), the codex diverges to give us an account of the origins of the first king of Tilantongo. According to the narrative, a king and queen were supernaturally born from River of the Serpent, a current archaeological zone lying along the Mitlatongo-Jaltepec border (12). This couple produced a son named Three Eagle who in turn produced two sons named Lord Nine Wind "Stone Skull" and Lord One Monkey (13). The Relación de Mitlatongo states that the first king of that town was named One Monkey and we see that he is seated before the place sign of Mitlatongo on Bodley Page 3, Band II. The other son, Lord Nine Wind performs a series of rituals and then appears at Tilantongo married to Lady Five Reed (9c) who was the daughter of Lady One Vulture (8) and the grandaughter of Lady One Death who was born from the tree (1).
Page 5 | Page 6
Pages 5 through 6 portray the genealogy of the kings of Tilantongo who were descended from Lord Nine Wind (13). These include Lord Ten Flower (14), Lord Twelve Lizard "Arrow Legs" (15), Lord Five Earthquake (16), and Lord Two Rain (17), the ill-fated prince who died by suicide without leaving an heir. All of these kings also appear in Codex Zouche-Nuttall pages 23-24 and Codex Vindobonensis Reverse pages 4-5. On Bodley Page 5, Band I, a deceased Lord Two Rain appears at River of the Serpent before a ñuhu priest named Lord Seven Vulture, "Snake" and committing auto-sacrifice before ascending into the stars (18). Ñuhu priest Seven Vulture is probably the same as ñuhu priest Six Vulture "Digging Stick" in Codex Selden Page 6, Band III, who directs Lady Six Monkey to consult Lady Nine Grass. The term for "digging stick" ("coo" in Mixtec) also means "snake".
| Page 7 | Page 8
Pages 6 through 7 describe the life of Lord Five Crocodile, father of the famous Lord Eight Deer. Lord Five Crocodile is shown being born from Mouth of the River, or Ayuta in Mixtec, which is the name of the town of Atoyaquillo lying adjacent to Achiutla today (19). We know that the appearance of Five Crocodile's biography is a flash back. He served as high priest at Tilantongo under Lord Twelve Lizard "Arrow Legs." According to Zouche-Nuttall Page 23, Five Crocodile's grandmother was Twelve Lizard's sister. Bodley Page 7, Bands I-III, describe Five Crocodile's life as a priest (20). When he retired he was then allowed to marry and produced at least a half-dozen children by two different wives (21). His daughter by his first marriage, Lady Six Lizard, marries Lord Eleven Wind of Red and White Bundle (22). His son by his second marriage is Lord Eight Deer, the usurper to the rulership of Tilantongo after the mysterious suicide death of Lord Two Rain (23).
| Page 10
Pages 8 through 10 illustrate an abbreviated biography of Lord Eight Deer. The main events include the performance of rituals in coordination with priests and deity impersonators such as Lord One Earthquake (24), Lady Nine Grass (25), and Lord Four Jaguar (26) who awards Lord Eight Deer with the tecuhtli nose ornament (symbol of highest authority). Finally, on Page 9, Band I (27), his sacred bundle and staff are placed at Tilantongo. Bodley shows him residing at Place of Tobacco Bundle-Eagle as well (28).
Page 11 | Page 12 |Page 13 | Page 14
Pages 11 through 14 portray Lord Eight Deer's numerous marriages and principal offspring. His sons include Lord Six House who succeeds to the throne of Tilantongo (29), Lord Four Dog "Taming Coyote" (30) who founded a new dynasty at Teozacoalco, and Lord Ten Earthquake who, together with Lady Two Grass, is taken to Tulancingo (31) near Coixtlahuaca to marry - perhaps in return for Eight Deer's having been elevated to Tecuhtli of Tulancingo. Page 14, Band V to Band IV, portrays Eight Deer's execution and subsequent burial at Chalcatongo (32).
Eight Deer's descendants rule at Tilantongo for four generations. The kings include Lord Six House (33), Lord Five Water (34), Lord Eight Reed (35), and Lord Two Earthquake (36). However by the beginning of the thirteenth century, a dispute over the succession leads to the overthrow of Lord Two Earthquake and his son Eight Grass, by Lord One Lizard. A fight between One Lizard and Eight Grass is portrayed on Page 14, Band I (37). Lord Two Earthquake leaves in exile.
Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17
Codex Bodley implies that One Lizard did not actually succeed as ruler; instead, control of Tilantongo passed to his son, Lord Twelve Reed (38). Twelve Reed in turn had a son named Five Rain (39). Lord Five Rain marries on Page 15, Band II. The transition of power is again interrupted. Five Rain's son is apparently Lord Thirteen Wind but again he does not appear to rule at Tilantongo (40). Thirteen Wind marries a princess of Teozacoalco and produces a son named Nine Lizard (41). From this point on, the Tilantongo place sign disappears and Bodley recounts a succession of rulers at Teozacoalco. It is possible that Teozacoalco has now emerged as the senior site in a partnership with Tilantongo.
Lord Nine Lizard marries and produces a son named Four Water (42). Four Water then rules at Teozacoalco. When Four Water dies, he leaves no heir and his wife marries Lord Four Death of Tlaxiaco on Page 15, Band V (43). This seems to conclude Eight Deer's descendants through the royal house of Teozacoalco which now dominates the Tilantongo throne. Bodley Page 17, Band V, shows Lord Nine House of Teozacoalco to be ruler of Tilantongo.
Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20
Lord Nine House marries Lady Three Rabbit, a daughter from Lady Three Water's second marriage (44). A son is born and named Lord Two Water (45). Two Water is shown as ruler of Tilantongo on Page 17, Band IV (46) and as ruler of Teozacoalco on the Mapa de Teozacoalco. His son, Lord Five Reed Ocoñaña ("Twenty Jaguars"), inherits control of Teozacoalco (47). Two Water's daughter marries a lord of Suchixtlán. The couple is shown as the rulers of Tilantongo on Page 18, Band III (48). Lord Two Water had another son named Six Deer. Lord Six Deer is shown as ruler of Tilantongo on Page 17, Band IV (49). Six Deer has a son named Four (or Five?) Flower (50). Lord Four/Five Flower then has a son named Ten Rain (51). Ten Rain married a woman of Suchixtlán and had two sons (52). The first was named Four Deer (53). He was ruler of Tilantongo when the Spaniards arrived. The second was named Eight Death (54). He was ruling Yanhuitlán when the Spaniards arrived.
Page 40 | Page 39 | Page 38 | Page 37 | Page 36 | Page 35
Bodley Page 40, Band V, illustrates the birth of Lord One Flower and Lady Thirteen Flower from the rivers of Apoala (1). The same couple appears on Codex Zouche-Nuttall Page 36 and on Codex Vindobonensis obverse, Page 35. This couple has a daughter, named Lady Nine Crocodile, who marries Lord Five Wind of Sweatbath-Cacaxtli Temple (2). Their son, Lord Five Reed, marries and has a daughter named Lady Thirteen Eagle (3). Thirteen Eagle marries (3b) and has a daughter named Six Eagle (4a). Six Eagle marries (4b) and has a son named Ten Earthquake (5). Ten Earthquake becomes the first Lord of Red and White Bundle (6). Bodley Pages 38, Band V through Page 35, Band IV, depict the succession at Red and White Bundle (7), a place that can be correlated with an archaeological zone today called Huachino, on the Tilantongo-Jaltepec border. The third and last lord of this place is Eleven Wind (8). Pages 40-35, Band I, illustrate the birth of the first ancestors of several different kingdoms (9). Upon their emergence, they enter the earth and re-emerge to pay homage to the deceased Lady Twelve Vulture and Lord Twelve Lizard of Hill of the Bee-Wasp, the principal victims of the War of Heaven (10). Priestess Lady Nine Grass appears on Page 34 as a warrioress behind the platform where the mummies are displayed (11).
Page 36 | Page 35 | Page 34 | Page 33
Bodley Pages 36 through 34 depict the birth of Lady Six Monkey, the heroine of Codex Selden (12). On Bodley Page 36, Band II, Lady Six Monkey and Lord Eleven Wind of Red and White Bundle meet with the oracle priestess Lady Nine Grass (13). On Page 34 Band II, they marry (14). Their son is Lord Four Wind (15). On Pages 34 through 33, Band II, Lord Eight Deer attacks the site of Red and White Bundle, and captures Lord Ten Dog and Lord Six House, his half-nephews and the sons of Lord Eleven Wind's first marriage (16). While Codex Zouche-Nuttall Page 83 suggests that Eight Deer also captured Lord Four Wind, Bodley suggests that Four Wind participated in the war with Eight Deer and received his captive half-brothers at a cave for execution (17).
Page 33 | Page 32 | Page 31 | Page 30
Bodley Pages 33 through 30 depict the biography of Lord Four Wind (18). The story has significant parallels to the Eight Deer story on the obverse side of the Bodley codex and in other codices. The story features encounters with many of the same priests and deity impersonators including Lady Nine Grass of Chalcatongo (19), Lord One Death of Achiutla (20), Lady Nine Reed of Tlaxiaco (21), and Lord Four Jaguar of Tulancingo who establishes Lord Four Wind as a Tecuhtli with a nose ornament, in much the same way as he had Eight Deer (22). On Page 31, Band III, Four Jaguar becomes lord of the Place of Flints, an archaeological site on the Tilantongo-Jaltepec border now known as Mogote del Cacique (23).
Page 29 | Page 28
Lord Four Wind marries Lord Eight Deer's daughter (24). The subsequent narrative lists a succession at Place of Flints, through Four Wind's descendants including: Lady Thirteen Flower (25), Lord Seven Eagle (26), Lord Four Jaguar (27), Lord One Eagle (28), and Lord Seven Reed (29). At this point it appears that what power was invested in Place of Flints was absorbed by Teozacoalco.
Page 28 | Page 27 | Page 26 | Page 25 | Page 24 | Page 23 | Page 22 | Page 21
The royal house of Place of Flints was apparently eclipsed sometime around the end of the twelfth century. The narrative suddenly shifts to an account of Lord Seven Water "Red Eagle" (30), Eight Deer's great grandson, together with Eight Deer's great, great grandson, Lord Thirteen Eagle of Teozacoalco. Teozacoalco controlled a kingdom called Ayucu, Hill of the Mouth (Part of what Caso called Hill of the Mask). Page 28, Band II-I, illustrates an attack on, or by, Lord Thirteen Eagle of Teozacoalco (31) against Lord Eight Jaguar (32) of an unknown place. Apparently Eight Jaguar succeeded in taking Hill of the Mouth away from the lords of Teozacoalco because his own grandson, Lord Seven Serpent, is shown ruling there later.
Subsequently, Bodley reverse recounts two branches of the ancestors of the lords and ladies of Tlaxiaco. Bands I and II continue an account of the families descended from Eight Jaguar through Hill of the Serpent and Hill of the Mask, and Bands II-IV recount the descent of Eight Jaguar's family through Tlaxiaco and Achiutla. According to Page 28, Band II, Eight Jaguar's son Lord Four (or Five) Grass ruled at Hill of the Mask (33). Lord Four/Five Grass' first son, Lord Two Wind, became the first lord of Tlaxiaco (34). According to Bodley Page 27, Band I, Four/Five Grass also had a grandson by another child. His name was Seven Serpent and he became lord of Hill of the Serpent, Mouth Hill, and Hill of the Mask. On Page 26, Band I, Lord Seven Serpent marries a woman named Three Jaguar and they have a son named Three Dog of Tlaxiaco (35). Pages 26-22, Band II, relate the adventures of Lord Three Dog as soldier-priest and conclude with his arrival at Hill of the Mask (36). The story of Seven Serpent on the other hand appears on Page 25, Band I, where he is shown at Hill of the Serpent battling Lord Two Grass. Pages 24-23 indicate that Seven Serpent became lord of a series of towns that include Hill of the Jaguar, and possibly Cuquila, a subject of Tlaxiaco. On page 22, Lord Seven Serpent is shown marrying for a second time to Lady Four Serpent. It is here that the stories of Seven Serpent and his son, Three Dog, are rejoined as Three Dog arrives at Hill of the Mask. Seven Serpent apparently also has a son named Seven Rain. On Bodley Page 22, Band I, Seven Rain is attacked at Hill of the Mask by Lord Nine House of Teozacoalco (37). Bodley Pages 26-21, Bands I-II, therefore begin with Eight Jaguar seizing Hill of the Mask from Teozacoalco in Lord Seven Water's time and end with the return of Hill of the Mask to Teozacoalco in Nine House's time (five generations later).
Bodley pages 26-21, Bands III, IV, V portray the genealogical relationships among the successors to Tlaxiaco who were descended from the patriarch Lord Eight Jaguar through Lord Seven Serpent. Returning to Page 28, Band I, we know that Lord Eight Jaguar ruled at Hill of the Wind Mask and married a second wife named Lady Two Vulture. Their son was Lord Two Earthquake who married Lady Two Death of Achiutla (39). Caso believed that Eight Jaguar and his second wife are also the parents of Lord Three Serpent who marries two wives on Page 27, Band IV (40). The subsequent relationships that extend across the lower parts of pages 27 and 26 are more ambiguous and open to interpretation. The key marriage appears to be that of Lord Twelve Rain to Lady One Monkey of Tilantongo (41). According to Bodley obverse Page 15, Band 2, Lord Twelve Rain was considered to be a ruler of Tlaxiaco. Lord Twelve Rain has a daughter named Lady Ten Dog who married Lord Eight Deer of Achiutla (in the first instance of the marriage the artist accidently gave her a daughter's name) (42). Their daughter is Lady Eleven Lizard and she marries Lord Twelve Deer (43) who was a son of Lord Three Dog and Lady Eight Serpent (44). The mummy bundle of Lord Twelve Rain appears on on Page 26, Band 2 (45). This allows Lord Three Dog to marry Lord Twelve Rain's widow, Lady One Monkey. It is here that the stories of Lord Three Dog and the subsequent genealogy of Tlaxiaco diverge (38). Following the dynastic sequence across Band III to Band IV, we see that Lord Twelve Deer married a second time to Lady Six Rabbit of Tilantongo (46).
The relationship of Lord Twelve Deer and Lady Six Rabbit to the subsequent genealogy is unclear as there is a red dividing line on the page. A Lord Six Death is shown marrying Lady Nine Vulture (47). They have a son named Four Earthquake who marries Lady Two Eagle. This is followed by a second marriage between Lord Ten Rabbit and Lady Eleven Rabbit (48). They have two sons named Eight Rain and Four Death. Four Death married into Tilantongo. Eight Rain married Lady Seven Flint (49) and they have a son named Eleven Wind, who marries Lady Four Grass of Achiutla. This couple has a son named One Monkey (50). A series of marriages follow until we find that One Monkey marries Lady Five Flint (51). They have a son named Thirteen Eagle (52) and a daughter named Lady One Reed. Lady One Reed marries Lord Six Water of Cuilapan-Zaachila (53). Lord Thirteen Eagle marries Lady Eight Jaguar of Achiutla and they rule at Tlaxiaco on Page 23, Band IV (54). Their second daughter, Lady Eight Deer, inherits Tlaxiaco and marries Lord Ten Crocodile of Achiutla (55). Lady Eight Deer has a son named Lord Eight Deer, who succeeds to Cuilapan-Zaachila, but it is not clear how this happens (56). Their second born son, Lord Three Lizard, inherits Tlaxiaco. It was his son, Lord Eight Grass of Tlaxiaco (57), who was defeated by the Aztecs.
What Does the Codex Tell Us?
The great challenge is to unravel all of the different stories in the codices and try to figure out how each saga and genealogy functioned for the kingdom that created it. From this perspective Codex Bodley is the most challenging. The main question we address is why the creators were compelled to include so many different dynasties, and also, why did they structure the histories from two such different perspectives (Tilantongo versus Tlaxiaco) on the obverse and the reverse?
In 1949 Alfonso Caso published his study of the Mapa de Teozacoalco, a Colonial map which accompanied the Relación de Teozacoalco. He used the document to decipher Codex Bodley obverse showing that its primary objective was to calculate the primary line of descent for the royal house of Tilantongo, and its relationship to Teozacoalco following the creation sagas detailed in the War of Heaven and Eight Deer stories in the codices. The Eight Deer story is clearly the pivotal event that links Tilantongo's remote past with its glorious future as the highest ranked dynasty in the Mixteca at the time of the Conquest.
In studying Codex Zouche-Nuttall I found that movement in dynastic reckoning through two or more places may have been the means by which families in the 16th century calculated a history of genealogical affairs to rationalize primary alliance and economic corridors between kingdoms. If this is so, then Bodley obverse provides us with a variation of the theme I have proposed for Codex Zouche-Nuttall. Rather than emphasizing a royal line of descent through Mixtec Teozacoalco and Zapotec Zaachila, Bodley obverse continues the royal line of Tilantongo up to its conclusion in A.D. 1521. It is only within the last few generations that the codex diverges from the Tilantongo-Teozacoalco focus to include only one marriage with the daughter of Lord Eleven Water of Zaachila, as opposed to the six or more key marriages with other Nochixtlán Valley kingdoms (including Suchixtlán, Chindua, Andua, Jaltepec, Etlatongo, and Tlaxiaco) that are listed. The emphasis is clearly on determining primary relationships between leading kingdoms within the Nochixtlán Valley itself.
The reverse of the Codex Bodley gives us an entirely different interpretation of events. Rather than emphasizing Achiutla as a creation place, it emphasizes Apoala. At the time of the Conquest, Apoala was a subject of Yanhuitlán. Although we cannot identify Sweatbath-Cacaxtli Temple, the primary goal of the early passages is to document the descent of the royal house of Red and White Bundle after the War of Heaven, in other words, the rival faction that succeeded to power along with Tilantongo.
As we have seen, Lord Eleven Wind, the last lord of Red and White Bundle, marries Lady Six Monkey of Jaltepec thereby disrupting the system of marriages between Tilantongo and Jaltepec that linked those kingdoms in earlier generations. When Tilantongo's heir, Lord Two Rain, kills himself, Tilantongo is usurped by Lord Eight Deer who then destroys Red and White Bundle and wipes out the entire royal family with the exception of Lord Four Wind.
Four Wind's biography is then employed on Bodley reverse in the same way that Eight Deer's had been on the obverse. The Four Wind story and the recounting of his decendants at Place of Flints is used as an axis to link the remote sagas of the past, with the future of Tlaxiaco and its traditional marriage partner, Achiutla. It's interesting that the linkage is not depicted in terms of primogeniture. Page 28 indicates that the dynasty of Place of Flints was tragically concluded when the bodies of Lady One Grass and her son, Lord One Eagle, are burned on a pyre on Page 29, Band I. Significantly, Lady One Grass was one of three Achiutla sisters who had married the lords of Place of Flints, so the connection between Place of Flints and Tlaxiaco may have been rationalized through two families at Achiutla. Whatever the details, the fact remains that a surviving Place of Flints heir, Lord Seven Reed, is paired with his distant relative Lord Seven Water of Teozacoalco on page 28 and the narrative then shifts to a recounting of the lords of Tlaxiaco.
Lord Seven Water is shown seated on a place sign consisting of a mouth set into a hill, Hill of the Mouth, meaning Ayucu in Mixtec, indicating that as lord of Teozacoalco, he also controlled this pivotal kingdom as well. It was Hill of the Mouth that then became the subject of an attack by Lord Eight Jaguar of Net Hill-Tlaxiaco. Subsequently, Lord Eight Jaguar seized Mouth Hill and established his own dyansty there. Curiously Eight Jaguar's power, and that of his descendants, is then equated not only with Hill of the Mouth but also four other places, including: Hill of the Wind Mask (Yucu Tachi), Hill of the Serpent, Hill of the Jaguar, and Tlaxiaco as Eye-Over-Crossed-Sticks Temple (Figure 2). What could explain how all of these different place signs came to be associated with one king?
Figure 2. Members of the principal dynasty listed on Bodley Pages 28-21 are associated with several different place signs including Hill of the Wind Mask, Hill of the Mask, and Mouth Hill. In this case the patriarch Lord Eight Jaguar is seated at Hill of the Wind Mask. Later his great grandson, Three Dog, rules there after marrying the wife of the deceased Twelve Rain. However when Twelve Rain is shown in a parentage statement on Bodley obverse, his kingdom is depicted as simply Eye-Over-Crossed-Sticks as if Hill of the Wind Mask is synonymous with the place sign for Tlaxiaco.
In fact the association of so many of Eight Jaguar's descendants with all of these places suggests that these different royal houses were probably terriotrial sub-units of the same kingdom that came to be known as Tlaxiaco. When I have asked Ronald Spores about what archaeological site could be represented by Tlaxiaco as Eye-Over-Crossed-Sticks, he pointed out that every hill surrounding Tlaxiaco has a Postclassic site on it. This is exactly what we would expect in cases where the same people are shown ruling so many of the same place signs. (Figure 3)
Figure 3. Lord Eight Jaguar's grandson, Lord Seven Serpent, marries Lady Three Jaguar. They move to Hill of the Serpent along with their son Lord Three Dog. Later Seven Serpent and his wife are shown as rulers of Hill of the Mask. Hill of the Mask is then inherited by another son named Seven Rain. Seven Serpent and Three Jaguar also rule at Hill of the Mouth. Here their son Three Dog marries and has a son named Eleven Deer. In a parentage statement on Bodley obverse Twelve Deer is shown as ruler of Tlaxiaco. Again it seems as if the sites ruled by Twelve Deer and his family were thought to be synonymous with Tlaxiaco.
The Tlaxiaco location for these places is also confirmed by the fact that Hill of the Jaguar probably represents Cuquila, a kingdom named on the Lienzo de Ocotepec and which was once subject to Tlaxiaco. The same lienzo names a Hill of the Serpent on Ocotepec's eastern boundary. A Hill of the Serpent is also found on the Lienzos de Philadelphia and Peñafiel. Ross Parmenter proposed that these documents were associated with Atlatlauca, a kingdom that borders both Tlaxiaco-Ocotepec on the east and Teozacoalco on the west. Confirmation of Place of Flint's early participation in local events is found on the Lienzo de Zacatepec, a community lying about 40 miles south of Tlaxiaco. The lienzo depicts Lord Four Wind at Place of Flints directing Lord Eleven Jaguar to journey to Zacatepec and found the first dynasty there (Figure 4). The implication then is that the ruling families of Tlaxiaco and Achiutla linked themselves through generations of intermarriage, supplied marriage partners to Cuilapan, and claimed a divine heritage through Lord Four Wind's descent from the original ancestors of Apoala, Lord One Flower and Lady Thirteen Flower.
Figure 4. The Lienzo de Zacatepec shows Lord Four Wind and his wife Lady Ten Flower (Eight Deer's daughter) meeting with Lord Eleven Jaguar and directing him to go to rule at Zacatepec.
The key to understanding why the painters of Codex Bodley were compelled to include all of the highest ranking families in the Mixteca Alta probably lies in the nature of socio-political affairs at the time of the Conquest. Despite a 500 year history of factional strife documented in the codices, there is considerable evidence that the royal families of Tilantongo, Teozacoalco, Achiutla, and Chindua were beginning to close ranks. Alfonso Caso and Ronald Spores were able to link the last members of these royal families into a single unit, possibly reflecting a consolidation of interests on the part of these kingdoms, in the face of outside pressure from the Aztec empire initially, and the Spanish invaders only a short time later. (Figure 5)
Figure 5. The multiple marriages between Achiutla and Tlaxiaco from the 13th through 16th centuries suggest an institutionalized alliance corridor. The families declared divine heritage through the Achiutla relationship with the family of Lord Four Water, at Place of Flints - the archaeological site of Mogote del Cacique, who in turn was a direct descendant of the lords and ladies of Jaltepec, Red and White Bundle, and Apoala.
The genealogy of Tilantongo, Jaltepec, and Red and White Bundle is plotted in this chart. These lines of descent sprouted from the marriages of the two princesses from Hill of the Wasp following the War of Heaven. Eight Deer started a new family line.
Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Return to top of page