Page 51 of Book IX from the Florentine Codex.
The Florentine Codex
is the name given to 12 books
created under the supervision of Bernardino de Sahagún
approximately 1540 and 1585. It is a copy of original source
materials which are now lost, perhaps destroyed by the Spanish
authorities who confiscated Sahagún's manuscripts. The original source
materials were records of conversations and interviews with
indigenous sources in Tlatelolco,
Texcoco, and Tenochtitlan.
The Florentine Codex is primarily a Nahuatl language
text, written by
trilingual Nahuatl, Spanish and Latin Aztec
students of Sahagún. This Nahuatl text is written on the right side
of the codex. Sections of this text were translated into Spanish,
and written in the left column. However, many sections were not
translated and some only summarized in their translation. In their
place, the Florentine Codex has roughly 1,800 illustrations done by
techniques. Some of the Spanish translation was censored or
otherwise rewritten by Sahagún.
Perhaps more than any other source, the Florentine Codex has been
the major source of Aztec life in the years before the Spanish conquest
even though a
complete copy of the Florentine Codex, with all illustrations, was
not published until 1979. Before then, only the censored and
rewritten Spanish translation had been available.
There is also a Spanish-only version of Sahagún's document. This
copy was taken to Europe in 1580 by Rodrigo de Sequera
, and is also referred
to as the Sequera manuscript.
Spanish text was the basis for the Historia General de las
Cosas de Nueva España (General History of the Things of
New Spain) which is kept at the Laurentian Library in Florence.
Matritense is a copy and compilation from the same sources as the
Florentine Codex, corresponding to the material recompiled in
Tlatelolco and Texcoco in Nahuatl.
It has five books, and includes
175 illustrations. It is a very heavily censored translation of the
Florentine Codex by Sahagún himself, done to appeal to the Spanish
authorities. The two codices are housed in the Library of the Royal
Palace and the Royal History Museum, in Madrid. Other names include
the Codices Matritense and the Madrid Codex (not to be confused
with the Maya Madrid
Aztec warriors as shown in the Florentine Codex.
A short version of this document, Breve compendio de los soles
idolátricos que los indios desta Nueva España usaban en tiempos de
("Short Compendium of the Idolatry Used by the
New Spain Indians during their Unfaithfulness"), was sent by
Sahagún to Pope Pius V
- "Sahagún y el nacimiento de la cronica mestiza" by
Enrique Florescano. Relaciones 91, verano 2002, vol XXIII,
- Leon-Portilla, Miguel;
Aztec Thought and Culture; University of Oklahoma Press,