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Full text of "The works of Hubert Howe Bancroft [microform] : the native races : vol. II, civilized nations"

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Klil.-n-il ;ii-..,i,|iiis: 1.. \il •■(' ('.iiii.-r.i> iii t 

h.. \ ..i! 1>^-, liy 

tui'.Kirr II !'..\N( iioiT 

111 111 ■ 1 

iltl. .■ ..r t!i.> l.ilir.-iriiui i.f r..ii';ir--. ii 

t \V^i-liiii;;lnii. 

AH nhihi- /,'.*,-■.,/. 





Dcliiiiliiiii of tlio 'IVrins -Tin- T' Soul of I'rofjross — Man flio In- 

Mtniiiu'iil iiiiil not (lie I'.Ii'iiit'lit of l'ro;^i' ( hiL'iii of l'ro;;ii'ssi(iniil 

I'lii'iioinciia Tlic Auriicv of i;\il Is Civiii/atioii Condinivi! to 

Ila|i|iin«'ss? ()!ijccii\c ami Siilijci-tivc llinnanity -Conditions K.s- 

Kcnlial 1. 1 l'io;,'i('ss ( 'onlincntal ( 'ctnli;:n rat ions I'ooil and Cliinuli' 

Wealth ami Lcisnrc Association War, Slavcrv, Kcli^^ion, ami 

(jOvermuL'iit — The Dt'vtdopniiMit of rroj;rossi()iuil Law 1 

CHAl'TEll II. 


The Anii'rican Civilization of the Sixteenth t'entnry Its Oisajifiear- 
ance 'I'iie Past, a New Element Dividing,' line lietween Savajie 
and < 'ivilized Trihes — IJonmls of .American ("ivili/ation - I'liysical 
I'"eatnres of theConntry Maya and Nahna llranelies of .Mtori^^i- 
nal t'nitnre The Nalina Civilization The .Aztecs its lie|iresentii- 
tives — lainits of the .Aztec Knijiire -.\ncient History of .Anjihuae 
in <»ntline -The Toltee Kra Tiie Chichinu-c Kra The Aztec I'.ra 
- Kxtent of the Aztec T,ari,t,'na;.'(' Civilized I'eojiles outside of .Aini- 
hnae -Central American Nations 'I'he May.-i Culture- The rrinii- 
tive .Maya l-jnpire Nahini Inllueme in the South — Yucatan and 
tin- Alayas The Nations of Chia|>as 'I'he <,>nichi'' I'.inpire in (iua- 
teniala The Nahuas in Nicaragua and Salvador Ely molo;^fy of 
Names 81 



System of riOveriiinent-Tho .Aztec Confederacy — Order of Snccession 
- I'^Iection of Kin;;s ann)njr the Mt^xicans -Royal l*rero;;atives — 
(tovernment and Laws of Succession ami)ni^ the Tidtecs, and in 
Michoacan. TIascala, Cholula, Hwe.votzinco, and Oajaca— Ma.i:;nili- 
cence of the Nahna .ALniarchs Ci'rein<niy of Anointment .Ascent 
to the Temple The Holy I'nctiou— Addres.s of the Hiyh-1'riowt to 



tlic l\iliu I'ctMllcc iinil l".l^lili^' ill till' lliill--<' <'!lllc(l 'I"lili;ilctr(» - 
lloiiia;.'!' (if (lie Ndlil.-, (iiiu'ial llrjiiifiii;; tliroii;,'lii>iil tlu' Kiii;^- 
(liiiii ( frriiiiiiiy III' < 'iii'iiiialiiiii Tlic I'rociiriii;,' of Saciiliirs - 
I)('^i'ri|it loll iif tlir <'ri>\Nii ( iirniiatioii l''(M>t^ ,iiiil I'.iiti'rtaiiiiiu'iil.s 
- Iliis|iilalit\ cxiciiiliil ID I'.iu'iiiif' < 'unuialiciii S|i('rili nf Niva- 

lllial|>illi, l\ili;.'iif Tc/rllrii, In MuliU'/llllia il. nf Mcxiiii tllalioll 

(if a NdMc to a .New ly florli'l Kin;; \.i^ 

("IfAlTKlJ IV. 

T'vi.Acrs \\n Hot siaiui.Ds or nir. NAiirv kinoh. 
Kxtciit ami liiti'iiiir of tin- (inat I'alacc in Mcvico 'I'lir I'alatc of 
NC/aliiialco\ otl. Kin;;' of 'I'r/.i-iK o Tlic Zo(ilo;:ical ( 'ollci'lions of 
tlic Naliiia Moiiaicli> Moiilc/uiiia'^ <>i;iiiir\ llcisal ( ianlciiv mimI 
rii'a>iin -( iioiiiids 'I'lii' Hill of ( 'iia|iiiltr|ic.- Nc/aiiiialin\oirs 
('.iiiiitiv io'^iiiciK'c at 'rc/id/.iiicci I'lijlfc I'alatcs I he lloyal 
«Iiiaiil Till' KiiiLrV Mral> An A/In- ('iii>iiic Tlic Amliciici! 
I'liaiiilicr Aflci-iliiiiicr Aiiiii.-ciiiciil> I'lic l.'oyal Waiiliolic 'I'lii! 
Kill;,' Anion;,' his i'cii|ilc Mciiiii;.' of Muntc/.iima 1 1, ami < 'oili''* • 
Tlic Kiii;i's Maiciii Kcvciiiics of tlic Koyal lloii>cliol(l i'olic\ of 
A/.tci' Kiii^is |."iS 

CHAl'TKl? V. 

riti; r!:ivn,).iii;ii ( i,\ssi:s amumi tiii: naiii'as. 

Tilics of the Noliiliiy ami (iciiirv I'iir I'oxnci- of the NoMo Tlic 

Ari>tocrai y of Tc/ciico The I'olicy of Kill;; I'cc hot lalat/iii l'ri\i- 

IcLTcs of the NohlcH Monte/imia'N I'olicv I!i\alry hctwceii Nohlcs 

ainl < 'oiiiiiioii' The Kiiii:liti\ ( 'ithr of 'I'ccuhtli 'erciiiony of 

Initiation (lri;:iii of the < (rtler 'i'lie Naliiia I'riesih 1 Tlu; 

I'ricsts of Mexico Heilicatioii of (hihlreii I'riotoses I'lic^t- 
liood of .Mi/.tcca|iaii 'Ihc roiililV of \'o|»aa- -'I'ra'lit imi of \\'i\i|ic- 
cocha The < as e of \'o|paa The /.ajiotcc i'riisls Toilec I'ricsts— 
Toloiiai' l'ric--ts i'ricsts of .Miihoaeaii, i'lielila, ami Tiascaia IsCi 



Infltn'lice of t he ( '.ilillilolier^ < »]i|ircs^iiiii hy Nolilcs 1 le|iri\C(l of ( lllice 
liy .Monlc/iiiiia 11. ('lasses cif Slaves i'ciial Slavo \ (iliiiitais 
Slavery Slave Market at .\/ea|>n/aI('o I'liiiisliiiieiil and l'ii\i- 
levies of Sla\t's -Itivi~ioii of Lands < rowii I aiil- i.amU of the 
Noiiles .Miiiiiii|ial l'ro]icrt\ ri-o]perty of the Teiii|de- reiiiirc 
of Lands ill /ajioteia|ian. Mi/ieca|(aa, M iclioacan, TIaseala, ( Iht- 
liila, and llucNot/.im o Similaiily to I'eiidal System of l".iiro|>c - 
System of Taxation .Muiii(i|ial 'J'axes — lace Trihiitc Trihiiie 
from ("oii'Hiered i'rovim»'.s -Kcvcnnc (Mlici-rs — Injustice of Moiilc- 
zunia li -1(( 



cnArTKii VII. 

KUrtATIoN, MMUUAiir,, (■((XCI'lUN.Uil'., CllinmimTTI, .WT' r.Al'TIsM. 

I'jluiiitiiiii 111" till' Naliiiii \'iiiiili .Manner nl" I'lini.Hliiiit'iil Miirriii'/i' 
I'rtliMiiiiiiiii's Niijitial ('ciL-iiKinj -( Hiscrvancc ai'lrr Mania;;*' 
Ma,\al('i', Olumi, ( 'liicliinic', ami 'rultcc Mariia;,'(> 1 >i\iric 
Cmih iiliii:a;,'t'('cr('iii(iiiic.s I'ri'liiiiiiiary In < 'liildltirili 'I'icatniciil 
of l'ri';^nanl Womi'ii I'lcH'cnliiins oi' Miilwil'c Sii|i('i-stii inns w itli 
r(';:aiil In Wnnirn wim hied in (Jiiliiipi'd Aluniinn Maiiti-ni 
SiH'cilii's (if Miilwifc N'ainin;,' uf Cliildicn l'..i|'t' in anion;,' tin- 
'J'lascalici's, Miztt'cs, and Zaiititccn— ('in'uinci^i.Mi and Scarilifatinn 
of Infants iMO 

('HAPTi:i{ vrn. 


T'lvccssivo Fondness fnr I'rasts — Manner of (iivin;.' I'^easts — Sorvin;; 
tile Meal I'l'tifessional .iv'sters -I'artin;,' I'lesents tn ( iuests Itnyal 
l>aii(|iiets— 'I'oliaceo Sinnlviii;;- I'lihlie Dance-* Manner lit Sinudn;,' 
and Daiieiii;; 'I'iie Netcieli/tli Till' Drama aiimn;; tiie Nalnias — 
Mn^i^•and Mn-ieal Inslrninents Naliiia I'netiy Aimliat ie I'eats 
'I'lie Netolnlizlii, ur "llird Danee' I'l'it'es-imial llnnneiv 'I'ln 
(lanie (if Tlai'tli (iaine^ nf Clianie Tliij I'atnliztli, ur 'lieaii 
(iaine'— Tololiimiu, .Moiitoziiiiia's J-'avoritc Gaiiio ln;! 


I'flil.U' I'r.STlVAI.S, 

Frei[ni'nt • )t( iirrence rif i'e]i;,'iiius I\'a>t> Unman Saeriliees - Fea>ts 
(if tlie I'diirtli Vear — Mnntiily l'"estivals Saeriliee nf ('liiidreii 
I'ea-t n\ .\i|ie -Manner nf Saeriliee l''ea-^(s ni <'ama\t!i, nf the 

l'"ln\\ er 1 'ealels, nf ( 'en tent 1, nf Te/eal lipnea, and nf 1! Ilitzilnpnilil i i 

Festival of the Salt Mai<ers -The Saeriliee liy Fire -Feast of tlie 
Dead 'i'lie Cniniii;^ of tlie ( <ods Tlie Fnntpriiits nn the Mat — 
Uniitin;.; I''east -'I'lu? Month nf Love -Hard limes Nalma i.iiper- 
ealia I'ea^ts nf the Sun, i<( the Winter Siil.-,tiee Harvest and 
Ei;,dit-Vear Festuai- Tlie lliiidin- ni I'le Sheaf ."Iirj 



Origin nf Aurieiiltiire I'lnatiii;; ( lardens A.L;riiiilt nral i^rndiiets — 
Manner nf prepariii;;- the Snii I )es('riptinn nf Ai^rieiiltnral Inijile- 
iiieiit-- Irri;4ati(iii- (iranaries (Jardens 'I'lie Harvest I'east — 
Manner of Hnntin;; [''ishiiiLC .^^et hods nf iiroeiiriiiLr Salt - Nalma 
CnnkiTy - \'arioiis kinds of Dread— I5eaiis -IVpper l'ruit--Ta- 


liiiiK'H-Misccllaiii'.iii-. .\itiili-> of I'oMil - I'.atiit;: III' Ihiiiiaii lli'-li 
Mamifjiiliin' i>f l'iili|ii(' rri|iai-.ilioii nf ( 'liuinlall ()|lnr UrNcr- 
fljr,.^..-Iu(,,\icatiii^' DiiiilvN l>niiilu'iiiirss 'I'iinc ami .Maiimr of 
Takiii- Mcal^ 'MI 


DRKSS Ol' Tin; N\lll \ NATIONS. 

1'ru;j'r('>« ill I)rps'«- On's.-. of tin- I'rc A/irf Natioii"^ (iariiH-iit-^ of tin' 

( 'liiiliiiiii'i'.s aiiil 'rt>lti'c> !iilni(liiiiiiiii of CoiioM Till- Maslli • 

'I'll.' Tiliiialli Dif'- of till' Ai'o!iuias ( »ri;:iM oi ilic 'I'ara-^iMii Cos- 

tiiiiii' I)rcx-< of till' Zapoli'i'-i anil 'l'alia>i'aii- i'i'c-<-i of W'oiiifii 

'I'Ik' lliiiliil aiiiM'uciil Sainlal^ Manner of WcaiinL'llif Hair - 

I'aiiitiiiit ami 'I'atlooin;,' i iriiainciit- iimm! Iiv ilir N,ilii!,i- < lor- 

^'(■oiis Dress of the Nnlili'-. Hrcss of the lJo\al .\lii'miaiii> Nairn's 

of tin- Variolic Maiillcs Tlu' IJoyal jtiailcin I'iu- i!o>al Wanliolw 

L'ostly Decorations. '.tCA 

CH.VPTKK xir. 

cv.MMna i; or Tin; nviii v nvtions. 

1 111' Main I''L\itin\'-< of Naliiia 'ouiiiii rrr ( 'uimniTri' in, Prc-.V/lrc 
Times -(Jut rai,'('s Coiumitteil li.\ \/.li'i' .Mrnlianl^ I'lix ili';ii's of 
tlir MiTi'liaiit-* of 'riatcliili'o -.K-; Itclwct'ii MiTi'liaiit^ ami 
Nol'les -Articles iiseil as ('iirreiicy Tlie Markets of Aiiaimac 
Arraii^'piiioiit luitl ile^'iilatioiis of tin- Maikct-l'Iarc- Nnnil'i'i- of 
I'liiy.'rs ami Sellers Transiiortatioii of Wares 'I'laM'Iini.' .Mi'r- 
cliaiiN -('i)niiiiorcial Umites Setti";^ out on a .loiinii-v <'aia\aiis 
of Trailers Tlic Itchirn ('iistoiii- vinl I'easts of tlie .Meieiiants 
>.aliua i»i>at- and NaviLjatioii ']'H 


WAR-crsT( iM.s (ii Tin; nmii \s. 
Iiiiliortance of tlu' Military I'lofes^ion Imliiaiioii> of ilank riim-a- 
tioii of Warriors newarils for ^'aIo^ .Military »>r,l,is ainl llieir 
I>r('Ns — (iorj,'eoiis War- Dresses of .Moiite/iima ami ilie .\/iee No- 
Itiiity — Dress of tlie ('omiiion Soliliers Armor ami |)efen~i\e 
W eapoiis- Otl'easivc Weajioiis Stamlanls .\iuliasNiilors ainl 
Couriers l''ortiiiiation^ Tiie Miiiiary ( 'onmil .\ilicle-^ of War 
- Dei'laratioii of War—Spies dider of Marcli ami iiatlle War 
Cn>toms of the TIascaltees and Taraseos- Uetiirn of the ( 'om|iier- 
iii^' Army— Cclclirafiou of I'"eats of Aims 4(HJ 


N.vnr.v i..v\vs and i.wv coiiits. 
General IJeiiiarks— the Cihiiaeoatl, or Siipreiiie .liidf^e— the Court of 
tlK'Tlai.alecutl -Jurisdictioiiof theTeeiilu lis tlie ('en tert la Jii Mines 



mill Ti>|til!is Liiw « dii'ts aii<l .Jinl.;cs nf Tr/nicn— Ki;,'li(y-I),iy 
(Kiiiiril 'riilMiiml of tli(! Kin;,' ('oiiit I'riM'i't'diiij,'^ — l,awv<'is 
W'illicsx'r. l!i'llli|ll('l'iltiiiii III' .)inl;;cs .F II slice ii|' Kill.,' \c/iiilllill- 
|iilli ill- (iiilcis his Siiii"s I'.Ni'i iiiiiiii .Mctiilc/.iiiiia ami llu- I'aniifr 
- .lails Law s aitai list Tiicft, Miinlcr, 'riciisiui, Kiiliia|i|tin^', 
F>riiiiki"(ii( ss, N^'i'i l|( rail, AdiiitiTV . Iiui-sl, Sciiidiiiy, I'ciiiiiral imi, 
mill otiic- »_!inK'M -Story «t" Niv.aliiiultKyull ami iIil- ]Juv j.'l.'i 


cir.vpTi:ii XV. 

N.\nr.\ AIM'S AM> MAM lArri'iirs. 
Mflals Iscil ami MaiiiuT of nliiaiiiiii;.' 'I'ln-iii Work in;; of (ml. I ami 
Silvi'i- WoiiiliTfiil Skill ill liiiilaliii'j, tiililiii;. Mini I'laliii;; Work- 
in;,' ill Stone Lapiilary Vt'oik Wnml ('ar\iiij4 liiniuailiin' of 
I'ollery N'arioiiH Kiiiils of Clotli Maimfarliii" of i'a]irr ami 
I.eallier I'lejiaraliiiii of Ityes ami I'aiiils I'Ik. Art of I'aiiilimj; 
- I'eatlier Mosaie Work l.caf-Mats M,i i t m' Iv'iii.llin liro 
— 'rnrclii's Soa|> ( 'oliucil of Arls in Tr/eiiro ~t (|.;ior\ ..imI i'oet- 
" Ne/alinalioyoll's Oilcs on llir Miilaliilily of I.: ••. ami llie Ty- 
rant re/.n/onioe — Aztec Ariilum-tieal S_\ >tciii 17,} 




AstHMMHiiifal Know Inl^c of llic A/lees ( 'oiil lailirlions of Alilliors re- 
speeliiiL; tiic < 'aiinilar - Naliie of tlie Koeanlics of Naiioiis W* Tit- 
ers Till' I'iisl !!e,::nlar < 'alemlar Tlie Meviran < yrle Tlie<'ivil 
\'i'ar 'I'lie A/lec .Moiillis Nanus of tlie l!a,\sanil tlieii Si^nilira- 
lioii The ('oinineiicenieiit of the A/.lec \ ear Tin' llilnal ('ak'iiilar 
(iania's Arian;,'('ineiit of I lie Mom lis Tin; ( "alcmlar-Sloiie I'lic 
roiir l»i'striielions of ilie Worlil Tlio ('aK'inlav of .Miilioaeaii - 
lie. kuiiiii.i; of llic Za|Milees fiicj 


TUf: A/TIOO I'RTl l!l>\Vi;iTlNl(. 

IIicroj,'lyi(hie T'prnnls Tlie Native Hooks Aalhorities — Destnii'tioii 
of the Nali\(' Anhi\es liy Xmmina.^a ami liis ( 'onfri'ies — Picture- 
Writings iiseil after the ( 'oiinnest for < 'iHifession ami— 
\ alile of the Ueconls -I >oc!iMieiils sent to Snaiii ill the Si\|eent ii 
<'entiir> I'.nroiiean Collections Lonl Kin;;slioroiiuirs Work — 
riitiiie Writin;;s retaineil in Mexieo-ColliM-tions of Ixllilxorliill, 
Si;iiieii/a. (Jeiiielli Careri, lUitiiriiii, Veytiu, liCoiiy (iaina, Pichanlo, 
Aiil'in, ami the National .Miisi .\ii of .Mexieo— I'roeoss of Hiero- 
;;ly])liic Development — lte|iresenlative, Syiiiholic. ami riionetie 
I'ietiire-Writin;.'- <)ii;.'iii of Moileni Alphaiie. -Tin- A/tee System 
— Siieeimeii from the ("oilex Meiuloza — Sjiecinieii froiii (ieiiielli 
Careri Specimen from the Uotnriiii Collection Pmlialile iiitnre 
Success of Interpitiers — The Ne|iolnialtzit/:n rr_'3 






cifUTi:!: xvrii. 

\i;rinTiiTri;r. wp I' di' 'iin: N\m \><. 
An liittctmr «ii' iljr Am inil N.iiiciis (icnciMl I'catiirc- n|' N.iliiia Aii'li- 
ilciiiir.' 'I'lir \rrli 1 '.\l riinr ami liitninr I )('riiial iun- MninMl 
111 liiiiltliii^ Inclined riant ^ Scall'uhN 'i'lic ii-c <if tlic rininnul 
—r»iiil(lin;r Materials I'lp-ition ami I'culiliiai imi nt 'I'owm- Mr\- 
iiM riiiiMliliilan 'I'lic ( Ircat Caiix'wavs t^Miaili'is ami \\'aril> of 
Mexico 'riic Market I'laee i'liuntain- ami Ac|neilmt> l.i;j:lit- 

Imu^e-- a'hl Slliet -\\ nils ( it \ nf Te/eue^i jlwelli.ij^ A/lee (laf- 
ilen- Tiiniile ul' f |tiit/.ilii|iiielilli 'I'euil'le el' Mexieci ( M InT Teia- 
lilfs— Teiii alii at < liehil.i ami I'e/eneci 

(HAi'ir.K X!\. 

Ml.PI' |\l \M' I'IM.llvl. l;l-n> AMiiNi. Tin; WillAS. 
^lesieaa ( 'inl rilinl inn-- I I Me. Ileal Seieiiie 'I'lie IJiilaiiieal (iaiileiH — 
I,on;,'e\ il> l'ii\aleiit I >i-ea-i's IniriMiiiei inn ni MnalM'cix ainl 
Syjiliili^ rreatlielit The- Tenia/i alii Al"ili ;inal l'li\-i- 
eiaii> The A/iee ia'iilty SiaiiilaiU llemeilie- Siir;:er\ — Snper- 
.-titiiili-. ( 'eieliiiniie-- ill Iji'aliii^ I'lineral l;lli>n'" A/Iee- < rellia- 
tiiiii Kiiyal < llive.|uie^ laiilialniiii;^ 'I lii' I'uiielal I'vii lliliiiail 
Saeriliee I)i-|m>al iif tile A>lie-- and nnianient> Mnmner^ i'li- 

nei'al ( 'ercMlceiie- 111" I lie l'eo]ile I ', i lain t l.i^^e- lllliied I i i!e-- I'.ir 
till' >lain in Italtle liiirial aiiiniiLr the I'eu-t 'liiehiiiiei - ami 'I'alias- 
eaiis t'reiiiaiiiiii ( 'eri'inniiies in Mielieaeaii — Uuiial liy the .Mi/.tees 
ill • lajaea .'I'.ll 

(■fi\i''n:i; \x. 

(iuVl.KNMrNT, s()(l\l M.\--l ^. I'leU'l.l; IV, WD T.WVS (iT Tlir. M W \ 


lui !iiiliie|ii;y IJi'iiiark-- — Ndlan'-- I'.miMre - /aiiin;!"-' HeiLrii — Tlii' ieiyal 

l''lllllilie> 111 ^ llealall. ('iieiiiiie-, TlltuI Xill--, lt/,i^. and ('hele> — 
Tiller and ( Mder nf Siieee.-^ioil ( 'la----e- iil' Nulile> 'I'lie (^>iiiehe- 
('aUelii(|iiel raii|iire in ( iiiatemala The Ahau Aliimjw ami Siiei es- 

sinll t'l llie 'riliiilH' I'lix ilejed ( 'la^se- ( lii\ einimiil iil' the l'ru\-- 
iliee~ I he KiiNal ' iiiiiieil The ( Ida jiaiiees I'lie I'il'iles Natiiilis 
nf Nieara'jiia The Ma\ a I'l ie-lliiiiid I'leheiaii Cla-x > Slaves- 
leiinie 111 l,and~ inliei-.tame 111 I'lojierty — 'I'axat imi - I (elitms 
and ( 'ndilm- - Law > and I he Adiiiiiii-tialinii ni .lii-tiee Ci.'U* 


]:iir( \Tiii.N AMI lAMii.v M\iri.i;s sMoMi Tin: M was. 
I'dnealiiiti 111' N'mitli I'liMie Sehiii,ls,,t' ( lnnicmala lliamheMil' Siinly 
in ^'ll^atan Mai ryiiiLT- A;^e 1 ii rrees ul" ( niisaiiuniniiy allow ed ill 
.MaiTia.Lie -rieliiniiiaiie-- ul' .Mairia;:e - Maiiiaue < 'eifimiiiie-- 'riiu 




('ii-.1iini 111' till' Pniil ilii Sriuiii'iir in \iiMr;ii;iiii -^Vi(^l\^•s- -Minmu- 
JIIIIV ( oiHiiliillilur l>i\ii|,i' l.;iws ( 'iiliccl nin;^' AilllltclV l''iillli- 

cMiicHi i;.i|>c I'lo^liniliiiii I iiiuitiiiiil (liiiic- Dc-ir.' I'm- ' hil- 

illi'li ( hilil-liillll * 'rlcliMillii'^ Kile III' ('ircllllicisiiili Miililiri- (if 
Naiiiiiiu I'liiMrrii l;.i|iii>in:il ( riri ics ti(il 


ciiArrKU xxii. 

IT.ASTS Wli \Mrs;;Mi:N'rs nl' Till' MAYAS. 
S|)cii:il < lli^crv;mrcs l"i\.i| l'r;i-l- SaiTilirr of Shivos Mmilhly 
I'cM.-t-^ of llli' \ lliMli'fs llclicw :ll (if l!l(' liiiil- i'r.l^l iil tin' 
Ciiai-- lliihtiiiu' l'csli\;il 'I'lir 'I'liiiiik.-ik I'cM^I <if tlw I '.icaii- 
ri:iiilci- \N:il I'cast The M:i\a Ni'w N'cars |>,iy I'ca-i- nf tin' 
II iiiitci-~, l''i-lii'i-. :iiiii Ajiiaii-I- ('ci-ciiKinic- ill Ihiunrdf ( 'ul^iii'-an 
I'l'asi .if ill,- Mmiili (if Mill l'ca>i-^ ni the ^'(■a^■- Kan, Mulac l\. 
iind ('aiiar ^ iicatcc Sai-rilicfs 'i'lir I'it nf ('liiclii'M Saiiiliii's nt 
llic l'i]iil(~ l'Va-1 (if \ i(i(i|-y l"ca>ls ami Saciitico in N icafa.u'iia 
• rian.nicl^ haiiccs Mn-^ical Inst innicnl^ (iaiiio tiST 


Vddli. IHIKSS, COMMl-Kcr., AMI WAK CISTuMS i il" Till: M \V A.S. 

Iiiti'o'lnri j.iii (,f A'^iiculiiirc tjMiiclic I'railiiidii nf llic 1 )i-i'ii\ crv (li 
Mai/c Mai/c t'lilinrr Sn|iii-I it imi- nl I'armci- Ilnntin.i: aid 
|-'is!iiim- Diiinc^lic Animals, I'nwl, and lice-' ricscrNaiidii ami 
( 'iiiiUiiiu' iif l'"ii'iil Meal- Drinks, mil I hiiikinu-lialiits I'annilial- 
i-m Dress (if ilic M,i\llis, .\l,iiit!c-, .iml Sandals Dn-s 
(if Kiii;:s and I'licsts Wdincn's Dic-.s Hair and licanl I'cisdnal 
Dccdiatinii llrad-i'lattcniiiu, inn, ■raitimiiiL:', ,aml I'aint- 
inu I'dsiiiial llaliil- ( 'iimmcrcc t'uricnc\ .Market- Sii|ier-~ti- 
timi- (if Traveler^ ( 'ami. s ,im| |!als,is War Milit.nv Leaders - 
lii-iu'iiia Arnmr \\'c,i|iiin~ I '(irt iliiat imis llatlle- 'I'realimnt 
(if t antives 




AIAVV AKI'S, CVLI'MiAK, VM' 1 1 1 i :;• li .I.VI'HlCs, 
."sciii'ity (if Infnrniatidii I'-cdf Mel,iU tinld and rreeidiis Stmies - 
l!n|ileineiil- (if Stone S(!d|itiire roltery Mamifaeture of Clolli 

D>ein;: Sysieni (if Niinieratiiiii Ma\a<'alend r in ^'^(•atan 
Da\ s, \N(ck-, Mdiillis. and N'ears Indict ion- and Kat line- I'ere/" 
!s\s|eni (if .Miaii KtitiiiU's Statements of l^anda and < 'oudllndo 
intercalary Da.\s and ^'ears l»a.\s and Mmitlis in ( liiatein.ila. 
( liiajias, and .Sni'diiiisCd Maya 1 1 iero^dv pliic System 're-liimniy 
of I'.arly Writers (111 tlie I'se (if I'ictiire- Writiii.u Desiinctidii of 
Ddeiinients ,S|ieciniens whicli lia\ c Siir\ i\ cd 'I'lie Dresden ( 'odex 

- .Mannscri|it Trdaiid 'I'alilet- of l'alem|ii.', * 'ti|ian, and ^' 

— I'li-lmii l,amla's l\es - Urasseiir de rxiiirlioiiru's Inteiiireiatidii ., 7IS 






Scanty Int.. mint ion {riven hy the Karly Voyn^^ers — Private Houses of 
the Interior Arran;;enient, Decoration, and Furniture — ■ 
Maya Cities— I )eserii)tion of I'tatlau — ratinuniit, the Cake.hi<iuel 
Capital — Cities of Niearajjua -Maya lloads- Temples at Chieheii 
Itza and Cnzuniel— Temples of Niearajj;ua and (Juatennila— Dis- 
eases of tlie Mayas — Medicines used Treatment of the Sick — Pro- 
pitiatory Oflerinj^s and V(»\V8 — Superstitions — Dreams — Omens— 
Witihfrat't — Snake-Charmers — Funeral Kites and Ceremonies — 
I'hysical Peculiarities — Character 783 



or TBI 





Deftnition ok the Terms— Force and Nature— The Universal 
Soul ok PitouREss— Man the Instrument anij not the Element 
OF Proorkss— Origin of ProgressionalPhenomena— The Agencv 
OF Evil— Is Civilization Conducive to Hai'imness?— Orjective 
AND SriiJKcTiVE Ht^MANiTY- Conditions Essential to Progress 
— Continkntal Configurations— Food and Climate— Wealth 
and Lkisi i:i; -Association — War, Slavery, Religion, and (Iov- 
ERNMENT Morality and Fashion— The Development of Pro- 


The terms Savage and Civilized, as applied to races 
of men, are relative aad not absolute terms. At best 
these words mark only broad shifting stages in human 
j)rc)gress; tlie onv near the point of departure, the other 
fartlier on toward the unattainable end. This progress 
is one and universal, though of varying rapidity and 
extent; there are dejjrees in savajjism and tliere are 
degrees in civilization; indeed, though placed in opposi- 
tion, the one is but a degree of the other. The Hai- 
dah, whom we call savage, is as much superior to the 
Shoshone, the lowest of Americans, as the Aztec is 
superior to tlie Haidah, or the European to the Aztec^ 

Vol. II. 1 


LoDkln;^ back some thousands of ages, we of to-day 
are civilized; looking forward through the same dura- 
tion of time, we are savages. 

Nor is it, in the absence of fixed conditions, and 
amidst the many shades of difference presented by the 
nations along our western seaboard, an easy matter to 
tell where even comparative savagism ends and civil- 
ization begins. In the common acce})tation of these 
terms, we may safely call the Central Californians 
savage, and the Quiches of Guatemala civilized; but 
between these two extremes are hundreds of peo[>les, 
each of which presents some claim for both distinctions. 
Thus, if the domestication of ruminants, or some knowl- 
edge of arts and metals, constitute civilization, then 
are the ingenious but half-torpid Hyperboreans civil- 
ized, for the Eskimos tame reindeer, and the Thlinkeets 
are skillful carvers and make use of copper; if the 
cultivation of the soil, the building of substantial 
houses of adobe, wood, and stone, with the manufacture 
t)f cloth and pottery, denote an exodus from savagism, 
then are the Pueblos of New Mexico no longer savages; 
yet in both these instances enough may be seen, eitlier 
of stupidity or brutishness, to forbid our ranking them 
with the more advanced Aztecs, Mayas, and Quiches. 

We know what savages are; how, like wild animals, 
tliey depend for food and raiment upon the spontane- 
ous products of nature, migrating with the beasts and 
birds and fishes, burrowing beneath the ground, hiding 
in caves, or throwing over themselves a shelter of bark 
or skins or branches or boards, eating or starving as 
food is abundant or scarce; nevertheless, all of them 
liave made some advancement from their original 
naked, helpless condition, and have acquired some aids 
in the procurement of their poor necessities. Prime- 
val man, the only real point of departure, and hence 
the only true savage, nowhere exists on the globe to- 
day. Be the animal man never so low — lower in skill 
and wisdom than the brute, less active in obtaining 
food, less ingenious in building his den — the first step 



out of his liouseless, comfc>rtless condition, the fiivt 
fashionin^j; of a tool, the first attempt to cover naked- 
ness and wall out the wind, if this endeavor spring' 
from intellect and not from instinct, is the first step 
toward civilization. Hence the modern savage is not 
the j)re-historic or primitive man; n'or is it among the 
harharous nations of to-day that we must look for the 
rudest harharism. 

Often is the question asked, What is civilization ? 
and the answer comes. The act of civilizing; the state 
of heiuir civilized. What is the act of civilizing? To 
reclaim from a savage or barbarous state ; to educate ; 
to refine. What is a savage or barbarous state? A 
wild uncultivated state; a state of nature. Thus i'ar 
the dictionaries. The term civilization, then, poi)ular- 
ly implies both the transition from a natural to an artifi- 
cial state, and the artificial condition attained. The 
derivation of the word civilization, from ciris, citizen, 
viritas, city, and originally from actus, union, seems 
to indicate that culture which, in feudal times, distin-* 
guished the occupants of cities from the ill-mannered 
boors of the country. The word savage, on the other 
hand, from silra, a wood, points to man primeval ; 
si/re.stres homuH's, men of the forest, not necessarily 
ferocious or brutal, but children of nature. From 
these simple beginnings both words have gradually 
ac(]uired a broader significance, until by one is under- 
stood a state of comfort, intelligence, and refinement; 
and by the other, humanity wild and bestial. 

Guizot defines civilization as an "improved condi- 
tion of man resulting from the establishment of social 
order in place of the individual independence and 
lawlessness of the savage or barbarous life;" Buckle 
as "the triumph of mind over external agents;" A^irey 
as "the development more or less absolute of the moral 
and intellectual faculties of man united in society;" 
Burke as the exponent of two principles, "the spirit of 
a gentleman and the spirit of religion." "V hatever 
be the characteristics of what we call savage I* fe," says 


John Stuart Mill, "the contrary of these, or the 
quulities which society puts on as it throws off tliose, 
constitute civilizatioti;" and, remarks Emerson, "a 
nation that has no clothinj,'*, no iron, no alpha! »et, no 
marriaj»e, no arts of peace, no abstract thought, wo 
call barbarous." 

Men talk of civilization and call it liberty, reli<jfion, 
f^^overnment, morality. Now liberty is no nnjre a siiju 
of civilization than tyranny; for the lowest sava«,a's are 
the least governed of all people. Civilized liberty, it 
is true, marks a mere advanced stage than savjigo 
liberty, but between these two extremes of lil)eity 
there is a necessary age of tyranny, no less signiHcaiit 
of an advance on primitive liberty than is constitu- 
tional liberty an advance on tyranny. Nor is religion 
civilization, exee})t in so far as the form and machinery 
of sacerdotal rites, and the al)andonment of feticliism 
for monotheism become sij^niHcant of intenser tliouyfht 
and expansion of intellect. No nation ever practiced 
grosser immorality, or what we of the i)resent day 
hold to 1)0 immorality, than Greece during the height 
of her intellectual refinement. Peace is no more 
civilization than war, virtue than vice, good than evil. 
All these are the incidents, not the essence, of civili- 

That which we commonly call civilization is not an 
adjunct nor an acquirement of man; it is neither a 
creed nor a polity, neither science nor philosophy nor 
industry ; it is rather the measure of progressional 
force implanted in man, the general fund of the 
nation's wealth, learning, and refinement, the store- 
house of accumulated results, the essence of all best 
worth preserving from the distillations of good and 
the distillations of evil. It is a something between 
men, no less than a something within them ; for neither 
an isolated man nor an asociation of brutes can by 
any possibility become civilized. 

Further than this, civilization is not only the meas- 
ure of aggregated human experiences, but it is a living 


working' j)riiH'ij»lc. It is a social transition; a niovin;^ 
forward rather than an end attained; a developin*^ 
vitahty ratlier tlian a fixed entity; it is tiie eH'ort or 
aim at reHnenient ratlier than retineineiit itself; it is 
lalior with a view to inij)rovenient and not improve- 
ment consummated, altliou«;h it may he and is the metru 
of snch improvement. And this accords with latter- 
day teachings. Although in its infancy, and, moreover, 
unahle to exjilain things unexplainahle, the science of 
evolution thus far has proved that the normal condi- 
tion of the human race, as well as that of physical 
nature, is j)rogressional ; that the plant in a congenial 
soil is not more sure to grow than is humanity with 
favorahle surroundings certain to advance. Nay, more, 
we speak of the progress of civilization as of some- 
thing tliat moves on of its own accord; we may, if wo 
will, recognize in this onward movement, the same 
j)rinciple of life manifest in nature and in the individual 

To things v^ do not understand we give names, 
with which hy frequent use we become familiar, when 
we fan«'y that we know all about the things themselves. 
At the first glance civilizatitHi a])|)ears to be a simple 
matter; to be well clad, well housed, and well fed, to 
be intelligent and cultured are better than nakedness 
and ignorance; therefore it is a good thing, a thing 
that men do well to strive for, — and that is all. 
But once attempt to go below this placid surface, 
and investigate the nature of progressional phenomena, 
and we find ourselves launched ujton an eternity of 
o(!ean, and in pursuit of the same occult Cause, which 
has been sought alike by philosophic and barbaric of 
every age and nation; we find ourselves face to face 
witli a great mystery, to which we stand in the same 
relation as to other great mysteries, such as the origin 
of things, the principle of life, the soul-nature. When 
Kuch (juestions are answered as What is attraction, 
heat, electricity ; what instinct, intellect, soul ? Why 
are plants forced to grow and molecules to conglomer- 


ntc and ^o whirliiijLj in Inijjfc niaHHcH through Hi»aoe? — 
thon wo may know wliy Hocioty niovoH over onward 
liko a rivor in nhannelH predutunuined. At prosont, 
tht'Ho i)]ion«)niona wo may undorHtand in their action 
jmrtially, in their essence not at all; we u»ay mark 
ertects, we may reco«»ni7x' the same principle under 
widely dirt'erent conditions tliou<,di we may not he ahle 
to discover what that principle is. Science tells us 
that these thin<^s are so; that certain comhinations of 
certain elements are inevital)ly followed hy certain 
results, hut science does not attempt to explain why 
they are so. Nevertheless, a summary of such few 
simj)le thouj^hts as I have heen able to jj^ather upon 
the subject, may be not wholly valueless.- 

And first, to assist our reflections, let us look for a 
moment at some of the primal j)rinciples in nature, not 
with a view to instruct in that direction, but rather to 
compare some of the ener<>ies of the material world 
with the intellectual or pro<^ressional enerj»-y in man; 
and of these 1 will mention such only as are currently 
accepted by latter-day science. 

Within the confines of the conceivable universe one 
clement alone is all-})otential, all-perva(lin<jf, — ^Force. 
Throughout the realms of s})ace, in and round all 
forms of matter, binding minutest atoms, l)alancing sys- 
tems of worlds, rioting in life, rotting in death, under 
its various aspe -ts mechanical and chemical, attractive 
jind repulsive, t is mighty power is manifest; a unify- 
ing, coalescing xnd flowing power, older than time, 
quicker than th ight, saturating all suns and i)lanets 
and filling to i})letion all molecules and masses. 
Worlds and sy (.ems of worlds are sent whirling, 
worlds round wi ilds and systems round systems, in a 
mazy jdanetary dance, wherein the slightest tripping, 
the least excess of momentum or inertia, of tension or 
traction, in any part, and chaos were come again. 
Every conceivable entity, ponderable and impondera- 
ble, material and immaterial, is replete with force. 


By it all niovin«jf ImmHoh are sot in motion, all niotion- 
ioHs ImkUos held at roHt; hy it the iuHnitoHinml atom 
is hold an atom and the maHs in held conerete, vapory 
moisture overHpreads the land, li;^dit and heut animate 
HenseK'ss Hulwtance; V)y it fornm of matter t'han;iife, 
rofivs j^^row and disHolve, mountain.s are made and 
unmade, the (>cean heaven and swellH, the eternal hills 
pulsate, the foundations e*' the deep rise up, and seas 
dis])lace continents. 

One other thin«^ wg know, which with the first 
comprises all our knowledtjfe, — Matter. Now force and 
matter are interdependent, one cannot exist without 
the other; as ft)r example, all suhstance, unless held 
to<,'et]jer — which term obviously implies force — would 
speedily dissolve into inconceival)le nothinjjfness. But 
no less force is recpiired to annihilate suhstance than to 
create it; force, therefore, is alike necessary to tlie ex- 
istence or non-existence of matter, which reduces the 
idea of a jiossible absence of either force or matter to 
an absurdity; or, in other words, it is im|)ossible for 
the human mind to conceive of a state of thiriijfs where- 
in there is no matter, and consequently no force. 

Force has been called the soul of nature, and matter 
the body, for by force matter lives and moves and has 
its beiuiyf. 

Force like matter, is divisible, infinitely so, as far as 
human experience goes; for, though ultimates may 
exist, they have never yet been reached; and it would 
seem that all physical j>henomena, endlessly varied 
and bewildering as they may api)ear, spring fi-om a few 
simple incomp- ehen8ii)le forces, the bases of which are 
attraction and repulsion ; which may yet, indeed, 
derive tlieir origin from One Only Source. In the 
morphological and geometrical dis])lays of matter 
these phenomena assume a multitude of pluises; all 
are interactive and interdependent, few are original or 
l»ri!nary, — for example, heat and electricity are tlie 
offspring of motion which is the result of attractive 
and repulsive force. 



Wliat is force and what matter, whether the one is 
the essence of a self-conscious Creator and the other 
his handiwork, or whether both are the offsprinj:*- of a 
bhnd chance or fate — which latter hypothesis is simply 
unthinkable — it is not my purpose here to consider. 
I propose in this analysis to take things as I find 
tliem, to study the operations rattier than the origin 
of plienomena, to determine what man does rather 
than what he ought to do, and to drop the subject at 
the confines of transcendentalism. When, therefore, I 
speak of force as the life of matter, it no more implies 
a self-existant materialism in man, than the soul of 
man implies a pantheistic self-existant soul in nature. 
Onmijiotence can as easily create and sustain a universe 
through the media of antagonistic and interdepend- 
ent forces as throuTh any other means, can as easily 
j)lace nature and man under the governance of fixed 
laws as to hold all under varying arbitrary dis])ensa- 
tions, and can reconcile these laws with man's volition. 
Wells of bitterness are dug by disputants under mean- 
ingless words; scientists are charged with materialism 
and religionists with fanaticism, in their vain attem])ts 
to fathom the ways of the Almighty and restrict his 
powers to the limits of our weak understanding. 

It has been said tliat, in the beginning, the 
sixty and odd supi)osed several elements of matter 
were in a chaotic state ; that matter and force were 
poised in ecpiilibrium or rioted at random throughout 
space, that out of this condition of things sjirang form 
and development; regvdar motion and time be<i^an; 
matter condensed into revolving masses Jind nui^ked 
off the days, and months, and j^ears; organization and 
organisms were initiated and intellectual design became 
manifest. Tiie infinitesimal molecules, balanced by 
universal ecpiilibrium of forces, which before motion 
and time were but chaotic matter and force, were 
finally supposed to have been each endowed with an 
innate individuality. However this may be, we now 
see every atom in the universe athrill with force, and 



possessed of chemical virtues, and, under conditions, 
with the faculty of activity. As to the Force behind 
force, or how or by what means this innate energy 
was or is imj)lanted in molecules, we have here nothing 
to do. It is sufficient for our purpose that we find it 
there ; yet, the teachings of philosoT)hy imply that this 
innate force i.s neither self- implanted nor self-operative; 
that whether, in pre-stellar times, infinitesimal ])ar- 
tides of matter floated in space as nebulou.s fluid or 
objectless vapor without form or consistence, or whether 
all matti!r was united in one mass which was set revolv- 
ing, and became broken intt> fragments, which were sent 
whirling as suns and planets in every directioJi; that 
in either case, or in any other conceivable case, matter, 
whetlier as molecules or masses, was primordially, and 
is, endowed and actuated l)y a Creative Intelligence, 
which implanting force, vitality, intellect, soul, pro- 
gress, is ever acting, moving, mixing, unfolding, and 
this in every j)art and in all tlie multitudinous cond)i- 
nations of matter; and tliat all forces and vitalities 
nuist liavo co-existed in the mass, innate in and around 
every atom. 

Thus, in liis great tlieory of the projectile imj)ulse 
given to lioiivenly bodies in counteraction of the attrac- 
tive iuij)ulso, Sir Isaac Newton assumes that both 
im])ulst's wore given from without; that some power 
foreign to tliemselves projected into space these heav- 
enly bodies and holds them there. So, too, wlien 
Lajilace jtromulgated the idea that in j)re-planetary 
times space was filled witli particles and va])ors, solar 
systems existing only in a nebulous state and this 
nebula set revolving in one mass upon its own axis 
from west to east, and that as the velocity of tliis 
mai-s inert uised suns and j)lanets were, by centrifugal 
force, tlirown off and condensed into habitable but still 
wliirling worlds, some imjudse foreign to the revolvhig 
mass setting ii in motion is implied. 

Witli organization and motion, tlie jihases of force, 
called lieat, light, electricity and magnetism, hitherto 



lield dormant in molecules are engendered; composi- 
tion and decomposition ensue; matter assumes new 
and x'arying forms ; a progressional development, which 
U nothing but intelligently directed motion, is initiated, 
and motion becomes eternal. 

It is a well-established principle of physics that 
force cannot be created or lost. The conservation of 
force is not affected by the action or energies of 
moving bodies. Force is not created to set a body in 
motion, nor when expended, as we say, is it lost. The 
sum of all potential energies throughout the universe 
is always the s.ame, whether matter is at rest or in 
motion. It is evident that so long as every molecule 
is charged with attractive force no atom can drop out 
into the depths of unoccupied and absolute space and 
become lost or annihilated ; and so long as force is 
dependent on matter for its perceivable existence, force 
cannot esca])e beyond the confines of space and become 
lost in absolute void. 

Not only are forces interdependent, but they are 
capable of being metamorphosed one into another. 
Thus intellectual energy invents a U'lachine which 
drives a steamship across the ocean. This invention 
or creation of the mind is nothing else than a vitaliza- 
tion or setting at liberty of mechanical forces, and 
without this vitalization or applied intellectual force 
sucli mechanical force lies dormant as in so-called dead 
matter. Gravitation is employed to turn a water- 
wheel, caloric to drive a steam-engine, by means of 
eitlier of which weights may be raised, heat, electricity, 
and light })roduced, and these new-created forces 
husbanded and made to produce still other forces or 
turned back into their original channels. And so in 
chemical and capillary action, the correlation of forces 
everywhere is found. 

Between mind and matter there exists the most 
intimate relaticmship. Immateriality, in its various 
l)hases of force, life, intellect, so far as human con- 
sciousness can grasp it, is inseparable from materiality. 








The body is but part of the soil on which it treads, 
and the mind can receive no impressions exee}>t 
through the organs of the body. The brain is the 
seat of thought and the organ of tliought; neither 
can exist in a normal state apart from the other. As 
a rule, the power of the intellect is in proportion to 
tlie size and quality of the brain. Among animals, 
those of lowest order have the least brains; man, the 
most intellectual of animals, has relatively, if not 
absolutely, the largest brain. True, in some of the 
largest animals the cerebral mass is larger than in 
man, but, in its chemical comjiosition, its convolutions, 
shape, and quality, that in man is superior; and it is 
in tlie quality, rather than in the quantity of the nerv- 
ous tissues, thft their superiority consists. Intelli- 
gence enters tlie brain by the organs of the senses, and 
through the nervous system its subtle influence radiates 
to every part of the body. All human activities are 
either mental or mechanical; nor will it be denied 
tliat mental activity is produced by mechanical means, 
or, that mechanical activity is the result of mental 
force. Corporeal motion is mental force distributed to 
the various parts of the body. 

The action of immaterial forces on the material suli- 
stances of the human body manifestly accords witli 
the action of immaterial forces elsewhere. All the 
l)hysical and mechanical actions of the human body 
accord with the physical and mechanical forces else- 
where displayed. Man, we are told, was the last of 
all created things, but in the making of man no new 
matter was emj)loyed; nor in setting the botly in 
motion can we discover that any new force was in- 
vented. Thus the heart beats upt)n mechanical princi- 
l>les; the eye sees, and the voice speaks in accordance 
with the general laws of optics and acoustics. 

To the observer, organic activity is but the product 
of combined inorganic forces. The same processes are 
at Work, and in the same manner, in living and in so- 
called dead matter. Life, to all appearance, is but the 



result of combined chemical and meclianical processes. 
Assimilation, digestion, secretion, are explainable by 
chemistry, and by chemistry alone. The stomach is a 
chemical retort, the body a chemical laboratory. Car- 
bon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, combine and separate 
in the body as out of the body. The blood circulates 
upon purely mechanical principles; all muscular action 
is mechanical. In the phenomena of life, the only 
perceptible difference is in the combinations of funda- 
mental elements; yet chemistry and mechanics cannot 
produce a live body. 

With the foregoing well-recognized principles before 
us, let us now notice some few parallelisms between 
mechanical and social energetics. 

Man, like every other natural substance, is a com- 
pound of force and matter. ** Respiration," says Liebig, 
"is the falling weight, the bent spring, which keeps 
the clock in motion; the inspirations and respirations 
are the strokes of the pendulum wliich regulates." 
Atoms of matter, through the instrumentality of liv- 
ing force, cohere and coalesce under endless complex 
conditions into endless varieties of form and substance ; 
so also the activities of man, corporeal and intellectual, 
result in vast accumulations of experiences, which accu- 
mulations become the property of the whole society. 
Society, like matter, is composed of units, each possess- 
ing certain forces, attractive and repulsive; societies 
act upon each other, like celestial bodies, in proportion 
to their volume and proximity, and the power of the 
unit increases with the increase of the mass. In asso- 
ciation tliere is a force as silent and as subtle as that 
which governs atoms and holds worlds in equii)oise; 
its grosser forms are known as government, worship, 
fashion, and the like; its finer essence is more delicate 
than thouglit. It is this social force, attractive and 
repulsive, that binds men together, tears them asun- 
der, kneads, and knits, and sliapes, and evolves; it is 
the origin of every birth, the ultimate of every activity. 
Mechanical forces are manifest in machines, as the 



lever, the wheel, the inclined plane; pror^ressional force 
is manifest in intellectual ingenuity, literature, art, 
science, which are the machines of human i)rogress. 

How many of all our joys and sorrows, our loves 
and hates, our good and evil actions, spring from 
pliysical causes only? Even material substances dis- 
])lay moods and affections, as when heated, electrified, 
decom})osed, or set in motion ; the sea at rest pre- 
sents a different mood from the sea raging. Jean- 
Jac(pies Rousseau's idea that the soul might he gov- 
erned for its good by material things working through 
tlie media of the senses, is not so extravagant after all. 
'The gospel according to Jean- Jacques,' as Carlyle 
|)uts it, runs as follows on this point — and, indeed, the 
great Genevan evangelist at one time intended to 
devote a book to the subject under the title of La 
Monde Scit.sifire: — "The striking and numerous obser- 
vations that I had collected were beyond all dispute ; 
and, in their physical origin, they a])i)eared to me 
proper for furnishing an exterior regimen, wliich, varied 
according to circumstances, should be able to })lace or 
maintain the soul in the state most favorable to virtue. 
How many wanderings one might save the reason, 
how manv vices might be hindered birtli, if one could 
but force the animal economy to favor the moral order 
that it troubles so often. Climates, seasons, sounds, 
colors, darkness, light, the elements, food, noise, silence, 
movement, repose, all act on our bodily frame, and, 
by conseipience, on our soul; all ofler us a thousand 
firm holds to govern, in their origin, those sentiments 
by wliich we allow ourselves to be dominated." 

In contemplating the numerous activities by which 
we are surrounded, again and again we are called upon 
to wonder at the marvelous regularity which charac- 
terizes all their movements. So remilar are these 
movements, so sure are certam conditions to accompany 
certain results, that in physics, in chemistry, in l)hysi- 
ology, and even in society, facts are collected and 
classified, and from them laws are discovered as fixed 





and Irrevocable as the frets themselves, which laws, 
indeed, are themselves lacts, no less than the facts 
from which they are deduced. 

Highly cultivated nations frame laws that pro- 
vide for many contingencies, but the code of nature 
has yet finer provisions. There are conditions that 
neither political nor social laws reach, there are none 
not reached by physical law ; in society, criminals some- 
times evade the law; in nature, never. So subtle 
are the laws of nature, that even thought cannot follow 
them; when we see that every molecule, by virtue 
of its own hidden force, attracts every other molecule, 
up to a certain point, and then from the same inherent 
influence every atom repels every other atom; when 
by experiments of physicists it has been proved that 
in polarization, crystallization, and che^'ical action, 
there is not the slightest deviation from an almost 
startling regularity, with many other facts of like im- 
I)ort, how many natural laws do we feel to be yet un- 
revealed and, from the exquisite delicacy of their na- 
ture, unrevealable to our present coarse understanding. 

It would be indeed strange, if, when all the universe 
is under the governance of fixed l^ws — laws which 
regulate the motion of every molecule, no less than 
the revolutions of suns — laws of such subtle import, 
as for instance, regulate the transformations of heat, 
the convertibility and correlation of force ; it would l)e 
strange, I say, if such laws as these, when they reached 
the domain of human affairs should pause and leave 
the world of man alone in purposeless wanderings. 

To continue our analogies. As, latent in the atom, 
or in the mass, there are energies releasable only by 
heat or friction, — as in charcoal, which holds, locked 
up, muriatic acid gas equivalent to ninety times its vol- 
ume ; or in spongy platinum, which holds in like manner 
oxygen, equal to eight hundred times its volume ; so, 
latent in every individual, are numberless energies, 
which demand the friction of society to call them out. 

Force comprises two elements, attraction and repul- 



it pro- 

ns that 

re none 

Is some- 

) subtle 

)t follow 

^ virtue 



q; when 

ved that 

I action, 

a almost 
like im- 

e yet un- 

their na- 


) universe 

vs which 

less than 
e import, 
i of heat, 
would be 
y reached 
ind leave 
the atom, 
e only by 
ds, locked 
les its vol- 
e manner 
(lume; so, 
Ithem out. 
,nd repul- 

sion, analagous to the principles conmionly called good 
and evil in the affairs of human society ; take away 
from mechanical force either of these two oppugnant 
elements, and there could be neither organism nor life, 
so without both good and evil in human affairs there 
could be no progress. 

If none of the forces of nature are dissipated or lost, 
and if force can no more be extinguished than matter, 
and like matter passes from one form into another, we 
may conclude that intellectual force is never dissi])ated 
or lost, but that the potential energies of mind and soul 
perpetually vibrate between man and nature. 

Or, again, if, as we have seen, energy of every kind 
is clothed in matter, and when employed and expended 
returns again to its place in matter ; and if the mind 
draws its forces from the body, as it a})pears to do, 
both growing, acting, and declining sinndtaneously ; 
and if the body draws its energy from the earth, which 
is no less possible ; then may not intellectual and })ro- 
gressional force be derived from man's environment, and 
return thither when expended? Every created being 
borrows its material from the storehouse of matter, and 
when uncreated restores it again; so every individual 
born into society becomes charged with social force, 
with progressional energy, which, when expended, 
rests with society. Winslow's 0})inion on this sul)- 
ject is, that "all electric and magnetic currents origi- 
nate in — are inducted from — and radiate either di- 
rectly or indirectly out of the glol)e as tlie fountain 
of every form and constituency of meelianieal forte, 
and that abstract inmiaterial mechanical energy, as we 
have thus far discussed and developed its dual i)rinii- 
ples, is absolutely convertible through molecular mo- 
tion into every form and expansion of secondary force, 
})assing successively from heat through electricity, 
magnetism, etc., and vice versa, it follows that tiiis 
same mechanical energy itself, as hypostatical motive 
power, must proceed out of the globe also." 

Thus is loaded with potential energy the universe of 



matter, g-enerating life, mind, civilization, and lience we 
may conclude that whatever else it is, civilization is a 
force; that it is the sum of all the forces em})loyed to 
drive humanity onward ; that it acts on man as me- 
chanical force acts on matter, attractinjjf, repellinj*-, 
j)ressing forward yet holding in equilibrium, and all 
under fixed and determined laws. 

From all which it would appear that nothin;[f is found 
in man that has not its counterpart in nature, and that 
all things that are related to man are related to each 
other; even immortal mind itself is not unlike that sub- 
tle force, inherent in, and ^vorking round every atom. 

In this respect physical science is the precursor of 
social science. Nature i>roduces man; man in his 
earlier conception of nature, that is in his g<Kls, repro- 
duces himself; and later, his knowledge of intrinsic 
self depends upon his knowledge of extrinsic agencies, 
so that as the laws that govern external nature are 
better understood, the laws that govern society are 
more definitely determined. The conditions of human 
progress can be wrouglit into a science only by pur- 
suing the same course that raises into a science any 
branch of knowledge ; that is, by collecting, classil'ying, 
and comparing facts, and therefrom discovering laws. 
Society must be studied as chemistry is studied; 
it must be analyzed, and its component j)arts — the 
solubilities, interactions, and crystallizitions of religions 
governments and fashions, ascertained. As in the 
earlier contemplations of physical nature, the action of 
the elements was deemed fortuitous, so hi a superficial 
survey of society, all events ap])ear to ha})pen by 
chance; but on dee})er investigation, in society as in 
physics, events apparently fortuitous, may be reduced 
to immutable law. To this end the life of mankind 
on the globe must be regarded as the life of one man, 
successions of societies as successions of days in that 
life; for the activities of nations are but the sum of 
the activities of the individual members thereof. 





o man, 
111 that 
sum of 

Wo have seen tliat man's oro^anism, as far as it may 
he ])r(ju<iflit under exact ohservation, is j^overned l)y 
the same processes tliat govern elemental principles in 
in«jrganic nature. The will of man attempting to 
exert itself in antajjfonism to these laws of nature is 
wholly ineffectual. We are all conscious of a will, 
conscious of a certain freedom in the exercise of our 
will, Init wholly unconscious as to the line of sej)aratiou 
hctween volition and environment. Part of our ac- 
tions arise from fixed necessity, i)art are the result of 
free will. Statistics, as they are accumulated and ar- 
ranged, tend more and more to show that hy far the 
greater part of human actions are not under individual 
control, and that the actions of masses are, in the main, 
wholly heyond the })rovince of tlie human will. 

Take the weather for a single day, and note tlie 
effect on the will. The direction of tlie wind not un- 
frecjuently governs one's train of thought; resolution 
often depends upon the dryness of the atmosphere, 
benevolence upon the state of the stomach; misfor- 
tunes, arising from physical causes, have ere now 
changed the character of a ruler from one of lofty 
self-sacrifice, to one of peevish fretfulness, whereat his 
followers became estranged and his em})ire lost in 
conseijueiice. In the prosecution of an enterprise, how 
often we find ourselves drifting far from the antici- 
pated goal. The mind is governed hy tlie coiulitioii 
of the body, the body by the conditions of climate and 
food; hence it is that many of our actions, whirh we 
conceiv^; to be the result of free choice, arise from 
accidental circumstances. 

It is only in the broader view of humanity that 
general laws are to be recognized, as ])r j)raj)er 
remarks: "He who is immersed in the turmoil of a 
crowded city sees nothing but the acts of men; and, if 
he formed his opinion from his ex{)erience alone, must 
conclude that the course of events altogether depends 
on the uncertainties of human volition. But he who 
ascends to a sufficient elevation loses sis^ht of the iiass- 

Vol. 11. 'J. o 1 




jlin I 

in2f conflicts, aiul no lonp^er hoars tlie contentions. Ho 
discovers that the importance of individual action is 
(Hniinisliinj^ as the i)anorania beneath him is extend- 
in;L;; and it' he could attain to the truly jjhilosophical, 
tile ly^eneral j)oint of view, disentj^aj^e himself from all 
terrestrial influences and entanglements, risin*'' hit^h 
eiioujji'h to see tlie whole at a li^lance, his acutest vision 
would fail to discern the slightest indication of man, 
his free will, or his works." 

Let us now glance at some of the manifestations of 
this ])rogressional influence; first in its general aspects, 
after which we will notice its hearin«»' on a few of the 
more important severalties intimately affecting human- 
ity, such as religion, morality, government, and com- 
merce, — for there is nothing that touches man's 
welfare, no matter how lightly, in all his long journey 
from naked wildness to clothed and cultured intelli- 
gence, that is not placed upon him by this pro- 
gressional impulse. 

In every living thing there is an element of continu- 
ous growth; in every aggregation of living things 
tliere is an element of continuous improvement. In 
the first instance, a vital actuality a})pears; whence, 
no t)ne can tell. As the organism matures, a new germ 
is formed, which, as the parent stock decays, takes its 
place and becomes in like manner the i)arent of a suc- 
cessor. Thus even death is but the door to new 
forms of life. In the second instance, a body cor})orate 
appears, no less a vital actuality than the first; a 
social organism in which, notwithstanding ceaseless 
birtlis and deaths, there is a living ])rinci])le. For while 
individuals are born and die, families live; while fam- 
ilies are born and die, species live; while species are 
born and die, organic being assumes new forms and 
features. Herein the all-pervading principle of life, 
while flitting, is nevertheless permanent, while tran- 
sient is yet eternal. But fibove and independent of 
perpetual birth and death is this element of continuous 




ion is 
)iu all 

' man, 

ions of 
of the 
1 coni- 
is pro- 


ikes its 
a sue- 
o new 
first; a 
)r while 
ile fam- 
cies are 
rnis and 
of life, 
le tran- 
dent of 


jjffowtli, whicli, like a spirit, walks ahroad and niinL^ks 
in the atliiirs of men. "All our j)roi,ness," says Kni- 
ersini, "is an nnf<)ldin<;', like tlie veu^etahle hud. V«mi 
ha vo first an instinet; then an opinion, tlien a knowl- 
ed'^e, as tiie ])lant has r<M)t hud and i'ruit." 

Hnder favorable conditions, and up to a certain 
jfoint, stocks inij)rovc; hy a law of natural selection 
the stronijcest and fittest survive, while the iil-favond 
and <k'forineil perish; under conditions unfavorahle to 
development, stocks remain stationary or deteriorate. 
l*arado.\ically, so far as we know, ortj^ans and t»rij^an- 
isnis are no more perfect now than in the heiifinninu'; 
animal instincts are no keener, nor are their hahitudes 
essentially chanij^ed. No one denies that stocks im- 
piove, fi)r such improvement is perceptible and perma- 
nent; many deny that orji^anisms improve, for if there 
he imjtrovement it is impercej)tihle, and has thus far 
escaped proof. But, however this may he, it is })alj>a- 
hle that the mind, and not the hody, is the instrument 
and object of the proi»Tessional impulse. 

Man in the duality of his nature is brought nnder 
two distinct dominions; materially he is subject to 
the laws that govern matter, mentally to the laws 
thato-overn mind; physioloufically he is perfectly made 
and non-pro«:fressive, |)sychologicaIly he is emhrycjnic 
and proij^ressive. Between these internal and external 
i'orces, between moral and material activities there 
may he, in some instances, an apparent antagonisnu 
The mind may be developed in excess and to the detri- 
ment of the body, and the body may be developed in 
excess and to the detriment of the mind. 

The animal man is a bundle of organs, with instincts 
implanted that set them in motion; man intellectual 
is a bundle of sentiments, with an implanted soul that 
keeps them effervescent; mankind in the mass, so- 
<^^it^ty,— we see the fermentations, we mark the transi- 
tions; is there, then, a soul in aggregated humanity as 
there is in individual humanity? 

The instincts of man's animality teach the organs 



to porfonii tliuir fuiicti«)ns as neifectly at the first as at 
tlio last; tlio ir»stiin;ts of man s intcllet'tiialitv iirj^'o liiiii 
on ill an eternal race tor sonietliin*^ better, in wliicli 
]»erfeetion is never attained nor attainable; in socit'ty, 
^ve see the constant jj^rowth, the hijj^herantl yet hiylitr 
development; now in this ever-onward movement are 
tlusre instincts which orij^inate and <,'overn action in 
tlie hody social as in the body individual? Is not 
Hocioty a bundle of or<jfans, with an im])lanted Soul of 
3*roirress, which moves mankind aloni,'' in a resistless 
l>rL'(letermined inarch i 

Nations are born and die; they appear first in a 
Htate of infancy or savaufism ; many die in their child- 
liood, some j^row into manhood and rule for a time tlia 
destinies of the world; finally, by sudden extinction, 
or a lin_ijferin<^ decrepitude, they (lisa])pear, and others 
take their ])lace. J^ut in this ceaseless coming' and 
jjfoini^ there is somewhere a mysterious ai^ency at woik, 
makini'' men better, wiser, nol)ler, wliether they will 
or not. This improvement is not the elTect of volition ; 
the plant does not will to unfold, nor the immature 
animal to i;rt)w; neither can the world of human kind 
cease to advance in mind and in i.ianners. Develop- 
ment is the inevitable incident of beintif. Nations, 
under normal conditions, can no more help advaiic- 
ini*- than they can throw themselves into a state of 
non-existence; than can the individual stop liis cor- 
poreal si^rowth, or shut out from the intellect every 
l)erception of knowledjjfe, become a living petrifi- 
cation. And in whatevei- i>ertains to intellectual man 
this fundamental principle is apparent. It underlies 
all moralities, governments, and religions, all indus- 
tries, arts, and commerce; it is the mainsjjring of every 
action, the consequence of eveiy cause; it is the great 
central idea toward which all things converge ; it is 
the object of all efiforts, the end of all successes; it 
absorbs all forces, and is the combined results of innu- 
merable agencies, good and evil. 

Before the th *ry of Dr von ^lartius and his follow- 



nurTF.s cannjH' im:(k;im;ss. 


as at 
J liini 

it are 
ion in 
Is not 

iOlll of 


t in a 
ne tlio 
no- and 
t work, 
t'V will 
m kind 


tate of 
is cor- 
il man 
)f every 
le u^reat 
o; it is 
sses; it 
f innu- 



crs, that thi' sava-^c state is hut a doLTeneratlon fn)ni 
soMuthiiiLf hi;,'lu'r, laii heionio tonahle, tiie wiiole order 
of nature nuist he reversed. Kaees may deteriorate, 
<iviiized peoples relapse into harharisin, hut sueh 
rela]tse eannot take jilate except under ahnornial eon- 
ditioiis. We eaimot hi'lieve that anv nation, onee 
leaniiu''- the use of iron would east it away for stone. 
Driven from an iron-yieldinuf land, the knowledy-e of 
iron minht at last he forgotten, hut its use would 
never he voluntarily relin(|uished. And so with any 
of the arts or inventions of man. Societies, like indi- 
viduals, are horn, mature, and decay; they i^row old 
and die; thoy may pause in their i)ro<^ress, hecomo 
diseased, and therehy lose their stren;nth and retro<jfade, 
hut they never turn arountl and ^^low hack ward or 
unorow, — they could not if they wouUl. 

In the hrute creation this element of progress is 
wanting. The hird huilds its nest, the hee its cell, 
the heaver its dam, with no more skill or elahoratioii 
to-<lay, than did the hird or hee or heaver ])rimeval. 
The instinct of animals does not with time hecomo 
intellect; their comforts do not increase, their sphert,; 
of action does not enlarge. By domesticatit)n, stocks 
may he improved, hut nowhere do we see animals 
uniting for nuitual improvement, or creating for them- 
selves an artiticial existence. So in man, whose nature; 
c()mj)rises hotli the animal and the intellectual, the 
jihysical organism neither jterceptihly advances nor 
deteriorates. The features niav, indeed, heam hriyhter 
from the light of a purer intellectuality cast upon them 
from within, hut the hand, the eye, the heart, so far as 
we know, is no more perfect now than in the days or" 

As viewed hy ]\rr Bagehot, the hody of the ucconi- 
jilished man "hecomes, hy training, different from 
wiiat it once was, and different from that of the rude 
man, heco nes charged with stored virtue and acquired 
faculty which come away from it unconsciously." But 
the hody of the accomi)lished man dies, and the son can 




ill no wise inherit it, whereas the soul of his accomplish- 
ments does not die, but lives in the air, and becomes 
])art of the vital breath of society. And, again, "power 
that has been laboriouslyacquired and stored up as stati- 
cal in one generation" sometimes, says Maudsley, 
"becomes the inborn fticulty of the next; and the 
development takes place in accordance with that law of 
increasing speciality and complexity of adaption to 
external nature which is traceable through the animal 
kingdom ; or, in other words, that law of progress, 
from the gerteral to the special, in development, which 
the a})pearance of nerve force amongst natural forces 
and the complexity of the nervous system of man 
both illustrate." On the other side John Stuart Mill 
is just as positive that culture is not inherent. "Of 
all vulgar modes," he remarks, "of escaping from the 
consideration of the effect of social and moral influences 
on the human mind, the most vulgar is that of attribut- 
ing the diversities of conduct and character to inherent 
natural differences;" and, says Mr Buckle, "we cannot 
safely assume that there has l)een any permanent im- 
j^rovement in the moral or intellectual faculties of man, 
nor have we any decisive ground for saying that those 
faindties are likely to be greater in an infant born in 
the most civilized part of Europe, than in one born in 
the wildest region of a barbarous countrv." 

Whether or not the nervous system, which is the 
connective tissue between man's animal ity and his 
intellectuality, transmits its subtle forces from one 
generation to another, we may be sure that the mind 
acts on the nerves, and the nerves on every [)art of the 
system, and that the intelligence of the mind influences 
and governs the materialism of the l)ody, and the con- 
sequences in some way are felt by succeeding genera- 
tions; but that the mind becomes material, and its 
qualities transmitted to i)osterity, is an hypothesis yet 

Moreover we may safely conclude that the improve- 
ment of mankind is a ]»heiiomenon purely intellectual. 




is the 
i)d his 
|)ni one 


of the 
le con- 
vene ni- 
,nd its 

sis yet 


Not tliat the improvement of the mind is wholly inde- 
pendent of the condition of the hody; for, as we shall 
hereafter see, so intimate is the coimection between 
the mind and the hody, that the first step toward 
iiitelleotual advancement cannot he taken until the 
dt'inands of the body are satisfied. Nervous phe- 
nomena aredependent upon the same nutritive })rocesses 
that g-overn j)hysical development; and that this nerv»j 
force, tlirou«)^h whose aij^ency the system is charged 
Avitli intellectuality, as the molecule is charged witli 
mechanical force, does exist, is capable, to some extent, 
of transmitting acquirements or artificial instincts 
I'roni })arent to child, we have every reason to believe; 
l)ut, so far as we know, intellectual force, per .sr, is no 
more a transmittable entity than is the tiesh-quivering 
of the slain ox life. 

The strangest pai"t of it all is, that though wrought 
out by man as the instrument, and while acting in the 
ca])acity of a free agent, this spirit of progress is 
wholly independent of the will of man. Though in 
our individual actions we imagine ourselves directed 
only by our free will, yet in the end it is most 
dirticult to determine what is the result of free will, 
and what of inexorable environment. While we think 
we are regulating our attairs, our affair*-; are regulating 
us. We plan out improvements, predett;rmine the 
l)est course and foll(.\v- it, sometimes; yet, for all that, 
tlie principle of social progress is not tlie man, is not 
in the man, forms no constituent of his ]>hy!sical or 
psyciiical indix idual being; it is tl'.e social atmosphere 
into whicli the man is born, into nhit-h lie brings n(jth- 
ing and Iroiu \\\m\\ he takes noching. Wliile a mem- 
ber of stH'iety lie adds liis oiiota to tlie general fund 
and there leaves it; while acting as a free agent he 
^■' forms his part in working out this ])roblem of .social 
(levelopnient, i)eiforms it unconsciously, willing or 
unwilling he ])erforms it, his !)aser ]iu>sions being as 
]»owerfiil instruments of progress as his iioi)ler; for 
avarice dri\es or, intellect as effecvualb' as benevolence, 




liate as ove, and selfishness cV^es infinitely more for 
tho ])rogress of mankind than philanthropy. Thus is 
hunicinity played upon by this principle of progress, 
and the music sometimes is wonderful ; green fields as 
if by magic take the place of wild forests, magnificent 
cities rise out of the ground, the forces of nature are 
brought under the dominion of man's intelligence, and 
senseless substances endowed with speech and action. 

It is verily as Carlyle says; "under the strangest 
new vesture, the old great truth (since no vesture can 
hide it) begins again to be revealed: That man is w'hat 
we call a miraculous creature, with miraculous power 
overmen; and, on the whole, with such a Life in him, 
ruid such a World round him, as victorious Analysis, 
with her Physiologies, Nervous Systems, Physic and 
Metai)hysic, will never completely name, to say noth- 
ing of ex])laining." 

Thus, to sum up the foregoing premises: in society, 
between two or more individuals, there is at work a 
mysterious energy, not unlike that of force lietweeu 
molecules or life in the organism ; this social energy is 
under intelligent governance, not fortuitous nor cause- 
less, buv reducible to fixed law, and capable of being 
wrought into a science; is, moreover, a vital actuality, 
not an incident nor an accident, but an entity, as 
attraction and repulsion are entities; under this agency 
society, perforce, develois like the plant from a germ. 
This energy acts ou the intellect, and through the intel- 
lect on the organism; acts independently of the will, 
and cannot be created or destroyed by man ; is not 
found in the brute creation, is not transmittalile by 
generation tlirough individuals, is wrought out by 
man as a free-will ao-ent, tliouoh acting unconsciouslv, 
and is the product alike of g'>od and evil. 

As to the causes which originate progressional i»]ie- 
nomena there are differences of opinion. One sees in 
the intellect the germ of an eternal unfolding; another 
recognizes in the soul-element the vital principle of 




re for 
iius is 
;lds as 
re are 
e, and 
ire can 
s what 
in him, 
sic and 
y noth- 

work a 
leroy is 
itity, as 
a oenn. 
\e intel- 
he will, 
is not 
table by 
out by 

onal phe- 
le sees in 
; another 
niciple of 


pro^rress, and attributes to religion all the benefits of 
cnliglitennient; one builds a theory on the ground-work 
of a fujidaniental and innate morality ; another dis- 
c;)vers in the forces of nature the controlling infiuence 
u])()n man's destiny; while yet others, as we have seen, 
believe accumulative and inherent nervous force to be 
the media through which culture is transmitted. 
Some believe that moral causes create the physical, 
others that })hysic'al causes create the moral. 

Thus Mr Buckle attempts to prove that man's 
development is wholly dependent upon his physical 
surroundings. Huxley j)()ints to a system of reflex, 
actions, — mind acting on matter, and matter on mind, — 
as the i)ossible cultin'e-l)asis. JJarwin advances tlie 
doctrine of an evolution from vivified matter as the 
l)rincij)le of progressive development. In the trans- 
nuition of nerve-element from parents to children, 
Bagelujt sees "the continuous force which binds ajxe 
to age, which enables each to bemn with some im- 
])r()vemeiit on the last, if the last did itself improve; 
which makes each civilization not a set of detached 
dots, but a line of color, surely enhancing shade l)y 
shiule." Some see in human nroyfress the ever-rulinir 
hand of a divine providence, others the results of m m's 
.'-.kii!; witii some it is free will, with others necessity; 
swuiu believe that intellectual development spi-ings 
i'ro'.'i better systems of government, others that wealth 
l.i3^ at the foundation of all culture; every phih>so[)her 
! ;';;^r,':es s( ne cause, invents some system, or Itrings 
Ju..i.;rii actions undjr the dominion of some si)ecies 
of law. 

As in animals of the same genus or species, inhab- 
iting widely ditt'erent localities, we see the results of 
connnon instincts, so in the evolutions of the human 
race, divided by time or sjtace, we see the same gen- 
eral principles at work. So too it would seem, wliether 
species are one or many, whether nian is a ]>erfectly 
.'n.'.iied being or an evolution from a lower form, that 
all the human races of the globe are formed on one 



model and governed by tlie same laws. In the cus- 
toms, ]an*(uages, and myths of ages and nations far 
removed from each other in social, moral, and mental 
cliaracteristics, innumerable and striking analogies 
exist. Not only have all nations weapons, but many 
who are separated from each other by a hemisphere 
use the same weapon; not only is belief universal, but 
many relate the same myth; and to suppose the bow 
and arrow to have had a common origin, or that all 
ilood-myi; s pnd myths of a future life are but off- 
shoots froia jhic mid Biblical narratives is scarcely 

1 1 is easier to tell what civilization is not, and what 
it does not spring from, than what it is and what its 
origin. To attribute its rise to any of the principles, 
ethical, political, or material, that come under the 
cognizance of man, is fallacy, for it is as nuich an entity 
as any otlier primeval principle; nor may we, with 
Arcli bishop Whately, entertain the doctrine that civ- 
ilization never could have arisen had not the Creator 
ap})eared upon earth astlie tirst instructor; for, unfor- 
tunately for this hypothesis, the aboriginals supposedly 
St) taught, were scarcely civilized at all, and compare 
unfavoral)ly with the other all-perfect works of crea- 
tion; so that this sort of reasoning, like innumerable 
»)ther attemi>ts of man to limit the powers of ()nmij)o- 
tence, and narrow them down to our weak understand- 
ings, is little else than puerility. 

Nor, as we have seen, is this act of civilizing the 
effect of volition ; nor, as will hereafter more clearly 
appear, does it arise from an inherent principle of good 
any more than from an inherent principle of evil. 
The ultimate result, though difficult of proof, we take 
for granted to be good, but the agencies em}»loyed for 
its consammati<^)n numljer among them more of those 
we call evil tban of those we call good. The isolated 
individual never, by any i)ossibility, can become civil- 
ized like the social man; he cannot even speak, and 
without a flow of words there can be no complete flow 




of tliouglit. Send him fortli away from his fellow-man 
to r(5am the forest with tlie wild beasts, and he would 
1)e almost as wild and heastlike as his coni])anions; it 
is doubtful if lie would ever fashion a tool, but would 
not rather with his elaws alone procure his food, and 
forever leniain as he now is, the most impotent of 
animals. The intellect, by which means alone man 
list's above other animals, never could work, because 
the intellect is quickened only as it comes in contact 
with intellect. The ^erm of development therein 
implanted cam.^t unfold simply any more than the 
organism can bear ihiit sinylv. It is a well-established 
fact that the mind without lan*^uage cannot fully de- 
velop; it is likewise estal)lished that lanouaiii'e is not 
inherent, that it sitrinu^s uj) between men, n t in them. 
] ^an<^ua_<ice, like civilization, belongs to society, and is 
in no wise a part or the propeity of the individual. 
"For stranyelv in this so solid-seemino- World," savs 
(arlvle, "which nevertheless is in continual restless 
iiux, it is ai)j)ointed that Sound, to a})]>earance the 
most Heeting, should be the most continuinijf of all 
thinj^-s." A. id further, as remarked by Herbert Spen- 
cer: "Xowthat the transformation and e(|uivalence of 
ibrces is seen by men of science to hold not only 
throus^hout all inorn^anic actions, but throughout all 
orLfanic actions; now that even mental changes are 
recognized as the correlatives of cerebral chan^-es, 
which also conform to this prmcple; and now that 
there nuist be admitted tiie corollary, that all actions 
«4()in]n^ on in a society are measured by certain aiiteccdent 
energies, wliich disappear in etlectinn^ them, wliiie they 
themselves become actual or potential eneryies from 
wliicli subse(juent actions arise; it is strange tliat there 
should not have arisen the consciousness that these 
higher jthenomena are to be studied as lower phe- 
nomena have been studied— not, of course, after the 
same i»hysical methods, but in conformity witli the 
siinie jtrinciples." 

^^ e may hold then, a i>riuri, that this progressional 



jirinciple exists; that it exists not more in the man 
than around him; that it requires an atmos})here in 
which to live, as Hfe in the hody recjuires an atmos- 
j)here whioli is its vital breath, and that this atmos- 
l)here is jj^enerated only by the contact of man with 
man. Under analysis this social atmosphere appears 
to be com})osed of two opposinjj;' principles — jjfood antl 
evil — which, like attraction and rei)ulsion, or positive 
and noiifative electricity, underlie all activities. One 
is as essential to progress as the other; either, in excess 
or disj)ro]»ortionately administered, like an excess of 
oxygen or of hydrogen in the air, becomes pernicious, 
engenders social disruptions and decay which continue 
until the equilibrium is restored; yet all the while 
with tliv progress of humanity the good increases while 
the evil diminishes. Every impulse incident to hu- 
manity is born of tlie union of these two opposing 
j)rinci})les. For example, as 1 have said, and will 
attemf)t more fully to show further on, association is 
the tirst re(juisite of progress. But what is to bring 
about association ? Naked nomads will not voluntarily 
yield up their freedom, quit their wanderings, hold 
conventions and pass resolutions concerning the great- 
est good to the greatest ninnber; patriotism, love, 
benevolence, brotherly kindness, will not bring savage 
men together; extrinsic force must be enq)loyed, an 
iron hand must be laid upon them which will conq)el 
them to unite, else there can be no civilization; and to 
acconq)lish this first great good to man, — to compel 
mankind to take the initial step toward the ameliora- 
tion of their condition, — it is ordained that an evil, or 
what to us of these latter times is surely an evil, come 
forward, — and that evil is War. 

Primeval man, in his social organization, is })atri- 
archal, spreading out over vast domains in little bands 
or families, just large enoi:gh to be able successfidly 
to cope with wild beasts. And in that state human- 
ity would forever remain «.lid not some terrible cause 
force these bands to confederate. War is an evil, 



ut to hu- 


and will 

ociatuni m 

s to bring 


ngs, hold 

:he great- 

i«ni, love, 

ig savago 

loyed, an 

11 c'onii)el 

>n; and to 

)o conipul 


evil, or 

jvil, (,H)nio 


is })atri- 
ttlc bands 
e luinian- 
ible causo 
; an evil, 

originating in hateful passions and ending in dire 
misery; yet without war, without this evil, man would 
forever remain })rimitive. But something more is 
necessary. War brings men together for a pur])ose, 
but it is insufficient to hold them together; for when 
the cause which comi)acted them no longer exists, they 
speedily scatter, each going his own way. Then 
comes in superstition to the aid of progress. A suc- 
cessful leader is first feare'l as a man, then reverence«l 
as a supernatural being, and finally himself, or his 
descendant, in the Hesh or in tradition, is worshiped 
as a god. Then an unearthly fear comes upon man- 
kind, and the ruler, perceiving his ])ower, begins to 
tyiamiize over his fellows. Both superstition and 
tyramiy are evils; yet, without war superstition and 
tyranny, dire evils, civilization, which nuniy deem the 
highest g«)od, never by any pos ibility, as lunnau 
nature is, could be. But more of the conditions of 
]>rogress hereafter; what 1 wish to establish here is, 
that evil is no less a stimulant <»f d'jvelo])ment than 
good, and that in this princi])le of progress are mani- 
fest the same antagonism of forces apparent through- 
out ])hysical nature; the same op})Ugnant energies, 
attractive and repulsive, j>ositive and negative, evt-ry- 
where existing. It is impossible for two or more 
individuals to be brought into contact with each other, 
whether through causes or for purposes good or evil, 
without ultimate improvement to both. 1 say whether 
through causes or for purposes good or evil, for, to the 
all-])ervading principle of evil, civilization is as nuich 
indebted as to the all-j)erva(ling principle of good. 
Indeed, the beneficial hiHuences of this unwelcome 
element have never been generally recognized. What- 
ever be this j)rinci])leof evil, whatever man would le 
without it, the fact is clearly evident that to it civiliza- 
tion, whatever that may be, owes its existence. "The 
whole tendency of political economy and philosojihical 
history," says Lecky, "which reveal the jihysiology 
of society, is to show that the happiness and welfare 




of mankind arc evolved nuicli more from our selfisli 
than what are ten.iod our virtuous acts." No wonder 
that devil-worship obtains, in certain parts, wlien to 
Ids demon the savajure tinds liimself indebted for skill 
not only to overthrow subordinate deities, but to cure 
diseases, to will an enemy to death, to minister to the 
welfare of departed friends, as well as to add mate- 
rially to his earthly store of comfoils. The world, such 
as it is, man tinds himself destined for a time to 
inhabit. Within him and aroimd him the involuntary 
occupant perceives two aijencies at work; agencies 
a])i)arently o[)pugnant, yet both tending to one end — 
imju'ovement; and Night or Day, Love or Crime, 
leads all souls to the CJood, as Emerson sings. The 
})rinciple of evil acts as a perpetual stimulant, the 
principle of good as a reward of merit. United in 
their operation, there is a constant tendency toward a 
better condition, a higher state; a}>art, the result 
would be inaction. For, civilization being a progres- 
sion and not a fixed condition, without incentives, that 
is without something to escape from and something to 
escape to, there could be no transition, and hence no 

Had man been placed in the world perfected and 
sinless, obviously there would be no such thing as 
l)rogress. The absence of evil implies perfect gootl, 
and perfect good perfect hai>}>iness. Were man sinless 
and yet capable of increasing knowledge, the incentive 
would be wanting, for, if perfectly happy, why should 
he struggle to become happier? The advent of civili- 
zation is in the appearance of a want, and the first act 
of civilization springs from the attempt to supj)ly the 
want. The man or nation that wants nothing remains 
inactive, and hence does not advance; so that it is not 
in what we have but in what we have not that civiliz- 
ation consists. These wants are forced upon us, ini- 
])lanted within us, inseparable from our being; they 
increase with an increasing supply, grow hungry from 
what they feed on; in quick succession, aspirations, 



einuliitioiis, and ainlutions sjn-iiiu: uj) nud cliaso cadi 
otlior, keei)in<j: tliu Hrc of tli-scoiitciit ever flowing, and 
tliu wliole human raco otiervescont. 

The tendency of civilizin*,'- foree, like the tendency of 
mechanical force, is toward an e(|uilil)riuni, toward a 
never-attainahle rest. Obviously there can he no 
j)erfect etjuilihriuni, no perfect rest, until all evil dis- 
appears, hut in that event the end of progress would 
he attained, and humanity would he perfect and sinless, 

Man at the outset is not what he may he, he is 
cajjahle of improvement or rather of growth; hut 
childlike, the savage does not care to improve, and 
I'onsecjuently must be scourged into it. Advancement 
is the ultimate natural or normal state of man; hu- 
manity on this earth is destined some day to be rela- 
tively, if not absolutely, good and hapj>y. 

The healthy body has appetites, in the gratification 
of which lies its chiefest enjoyment; the healthy mind 
has proclivities, the healthy soul intuitions, in the exer- 
cise and activities of which the happiest life is attaina- 
ble; and in as fai' as the imm;. erial and immoi-tal in our 
nature is sujjcrioi to the material and mortal, in so far 
does the education and development of our higher 
nature contribute in a higher degree to our i)resent 
benefit and our future well-being. 

There is another thought in this connection well 
worthy our attei»tion. In orthodox and popular pai'- 
lance, labor is a curse entailed on man by vindictive 
justice; yet viewed as a civilizing agent, labor is 
inan's greatest blessing. Throughout all nature there 
is no such thing found as absolute inertness; and, as 
in matter, so with regard to »)ur faculties, no soo!ier do 
they l)egiu to rest than they begin to rot, and even in 
the rotting they can obtain no rest. One of the chief 
objects of labor is to get gain, and ])r Johnson holds 
that "men are seldom more innocently enn)loyed than 
when they are making money." 

Human experience teaches, that in the effort is 
greater pleasure than in the end attained ; that labor 



is tile noniuil condition of man; that in acquisition, 
tliat is ]»ro<j^ress, is tliu hi^'liost happiness; that })assive 
enjoyment is inferior to the exhihiration of active 
attempt. Now imagine the ahsence fr<Mn the world 
«)f this s]>irit of evil, and what would he the result? 
Total inaction. But hef(L)re inaction can hecome more 
jdeasurahle than action, man's nature nuist he chanjii'ed. 
Not to say that evil is a good thing, clearly there is a 
goodness in things evil; and in as far as the state of 
escaj>ing from evil is more ])leasurahle than the state of 
evil escajjod from, in so far is evil conducive to h;q. 

The effect of well-directed lahor is twofold; hy exer- 
cise our faculties strengthen and ex})and, and at the 
same time the returns of that lahor give us leisure in 
which to direct our improved faculties to yet higher 
aims. By continual ettbrts to increase material com- 
forts, greater skill is constantly accpiircd, and the min<l 
asserts more and more its in(l<3pendence. Increasing 
skill yields ever increased delights, which encourage 
and reward our lahor. This, up to a certain point ; hut 
with wealth and luxury comes relaxed energy. With- 
out necessity there is no lalior; without lal)or no ad- 
vancement. Corjioreal necessity fii'st forces cor])oreal 
activitv; then the intellect lifoes to work to conti'ive 
means wherel)y lahor may he lessened and made more 

The discontent which arises from discomfort, lies 
at the root of every movement; hut then condbrt is a 
relative term and complete satisfaction is never 
attained. Indeed, as a rule, the more scjualid and 
miserable the race, the more are they disposed to 
settle down and content themselves in their state of 
discomfort. What is discomfort to one is luxury to 
another; "the mark of rank in nature is capacity for 
pain"; in following the intellectual life, the higher the 
culture the greater the discontent; the greater the 
accjuisition, the more eagerly do men ])ress forward 
toward some higher and greater imaginary good. Wo 



riu more 

all know that Mossiiiu^s in excess become the direst 
curses; hut few are conscious where the henetit of a. 
hlessiiii,' terminates and the curse l)ejL,nns, and fewer 
still of those who are ahle thus to disrrimiiuite have 
the moral strentj^th to act upon that knowh;d<,'e. As 
a <rin)d in excess is an evil, so evil as it eidar^es out- 
<1(HS itself and tends toward self-amiihilation. If we 
hut look ahout us, we nnist see that to hurn u|> the 
world in order to rid it of i>toss evil — a doo-ina held hy 
some — is unnecessary, for accunndative evils ever tend 
towards reaction. Excessive evils are soonest remedied ; 
the e(|uilil)rium of the evil nuist he maintained, or the 
anniliilaticm of the evil ensues. 

Institutions and principles essentially good at one 
time are essential evils at another time. The veiy 
aids and ai^encies of civilization become afterward the 
greatest drags upon j»r()gress. At one time it would 
seem that bhnd faith was essential to improvement, at 
anotlur time skepticism, at one time order and moral- 
ity, at another time lawlessness and raj)ine; for so it 
has ever been, and whether peace and smiling plenty, 
or fierce upheavals and dismend)erments j)redominate, 
from every social spasm as well as fecund leisure, 
civilization shoots forward in its endless course. The 
V(Ty evils which are regarded as infamous by a hiuher 
culture were the necessary steppmg-stones to that 
higlier life. As we have seen, no nation ever did or 
can emerge from barbarism without first ])lacing its 
neck under the yokes of despotism and su])erstition ; 
therefore, despotism and superstition, now dire evils, 
were once essential benefits. No religion ever attained 
its full development exce])t under persecution. Our 
present evils are constantly working out for humanity 
unft)rseen good. All systems of wrongs and fanati- 
cisms are but preparing us for and urging us on to a 
liigher state. 

J f then civilization is a predestined, ineluctable, and 
eternal march away from things evil toward that 
which is good, it must be that throui»-hout the world 

Vol. II. a 



tlio |nIiH'ij)lo of "jfood is ever iiicrenHinjif and tliat <if 
evil (leereusiiijif. And this is true. Not only does 
evil decrease, but the tendency is ever toward its 
disaj)|»earanc'e. (Jradually the confines of civilization 
broaden; the central j»rincij)le of human prot^ress 
attains ^^reater intensity, and the mind assumes more 
and more its lordly |M)\ver over matter. 

The moment we attemi»t to search out tlie cause of 
any onward movement we at once encounter this prin- 
ciple of evil. The old-time aphorism that life is a 
])erpetual strujjfjjfle ; the first maxim of social ethics 
' the *,M*eatest hap])ir.;jss to the «jfreatest nundter' ; indeed, 
every thou«,dit and action of our lives points in the 
same direction. From what is it mankind is so 
eaj^er to escape; with what do we wrestle; for what 
do we strive? We fly from that which j^ives j»ain to 
that which gives })leasure; we wrestle with agencies 
which bar our escajje from a state of infelicity; wo 
long for happiness. 

Then comes the «}uestion. What is happiness? Ts 
man ]»olished and refined hap})ier than man wild and 
unfettered; is civilization a blessing or a curse? 
llousseau, we know, held it to be the latter; but not 
so Virey. "What!" he exclaims, "is he hapj)ier than 
the social man, this being abandoned in his maladies, 
uncared for even by his children in his im})rovident 
old age, exposed to ferocious beasts, in fear of his own 
kind, even of the cannibal's tooth? The civilized man, 
surrounded in his feebleness by affectionate attention, 
sustains a longer existence, enjoys more pleasure and 
daily comforts, is better ])rotected against inclemencies 
of weather aid all external ills. The isolated '"an 
must suffice for himself, must harden himself to endure 
any privation; his very existence depends u})on his 
strength, and if necessity requires it of him, he must 
be ready to abandon wife and children and life itself 
at any moment. Such cruel misery is rare in social 
life, where the sympathies of humanity are awakened, 
and freely exercised." 



[lUSe i)t* 

,H ]>riu- 

tb is '^ 

in the 
I is so 
or Nvluit 

pain to 
•ity; wo 

:iUl and 



I curso 
but not 

tier than 

his own 

f.Kid man, 
saro and 
tod '-'siu 
,o onduro 
upon his 
ho uuist 
lUtb itsolt 
in social 

r«»Mtiinu' thcso siinjtlo iiitrrroi^'atorii's a littli' {'arthir 
juhI si'i- NvluTo wo Ian«l. Is tlio wild hinl, tbrct'd to 
lont,' niii^rations tor I'luhn-altk' chnuiti's and food, liap- 
|>i( r tlian tlu; i-aj^^t'd hird wliicli huys a daily plontiful 
supply for !i soni,''^ Is the wild heast, ot'ttinies huni,M-y 
and liunt.'d, happier than its chained hrotlur of tlio 
nienaLjerie ? Is tlie wild liorst', «;allopin^' with its fel- 
lows ovir tlu! hroad prairie, happier than the eivilizi'd 
horse of carriaye. eart, or plow i May we not <|uestion 
whether the nierehant, deep in his speeulatinjx ven- 
tures, or the man of law, ])orin«j^ ovor his hrain-tear- 
ini( hrief, derives a. keener sense of t^njoynu'iit than 
does the free forest-native, following the war-path or 
pursuing his game? 

As I have attempted to show, civilization is not an 
end attained, for man is never wholly civilized, — hut 
only the effort to escape from an evil, or ;im imaginary 
evil -^savagism. I say an evil real or imaginary, for 
as we have soon, the <piestion has been seriously dis- 
cussed whether civilization is bettor or worse than 
savagism. For every advantage which culture atibrds, 
a ])rice nmst be paid, -some say too great a ])rice. 
The growth of the mind is dei)endent uixtn its cultiva- 
tion, but this cultivation mav bo vohmtarv or involun- 
tary, it may bo a thing desired or a thing abhorred. 

Every nation, every society, and every jterson has 
its or his own standard of happiness. The miser delights 
in wealth, the «'ity hello in finery, tho scholar in learn- 
ing. The Christian's heaven is a s])iritual city, where 
they neither marry, nor are given in marriage ; 
the Norse-man's a Valhalla of alternate battle and 
wassail; tho Mahometan's, a paradise of houris and 
lazy sensuality. Tho martyr at tho stake, triumphant 
in his faith, may be happier than the man of fashion 
dying of omuii and gout; tho savage, wandering through 
forest and over j)lain in pursuit of game, or huddled in 
his hut with wives and children, may be hai)pier than 
the care-laden speculator or tho wrangling politician. 
Content, the essence of all happiness, is as prevalent 



amonij the poor and ill-mannered, as among the rich, 
refined and civilized. Uhi bene, ibi patria, where it is 
well with me, there is my (;ountry, is the motto of the 
Indian,— and to he well with him signifies only to he 
beyond the reach of hunger and enemies. Ask the 
savage which is preferable, a native or a cultured state, 
and he will answer the former; {isk the civilized man, 
and he will say the latter. 1 do not see any greater 
absurdity in the wild man saying to the tamed one: 
Give up the despotisms and diseases of society and 
throw yourself with me upon beauteous, bounteous 
nature; vhan in the European saying to the American: 
If yt)U would find happiness, al)andon your fii^h and 
naked freedom, !i('c»n»t (jhristiai'.ity and cotton sliiits, 
go to work in a mission, rut on a reservation, or beg 
and starve in civilized fashion! 

Of all animals, man alone has broken down the bar- 
riers of his nature in civilizing, or, as Kousseau 
expresses it, in denaturalizing himself; and for this de- 
naturalization some natural good must be relimpiished; 
to every iiifringnient of nature's law, there is a pen- 
alty attached; for a more delicate organism the ])rice 
is numberless new diseases; for ])olitical institutions 
the i)rice is native freedom. With })olished manners 
the candidate for civilization must accept affectation, 
social desjiotism; with increasing woalth, increasing 
wuits; civilization engenders complexity in society, 
and in its turn is engendered tliereby. Peo})les the 
most highly cultured are moved by the most delicate 
springs; a finer touch, the result of greater skill, M'ith a 
finer t(>ne, the result of greater experience, produces 
music more and yet luore excjuisite. 

Were man only an animal, this denaturalization 
and more, would be true. The tamed brute gives up 
all the lienefits of savagism for few of the blessings 
of civilization; in a cultured state, as compared to a 
state of wild freedom, its ills are nund)erless, its ad- 
vantages infinitesimal. But human nature is two-fold, 
objective and subjective, the former tyi)ical of the 





ic rich, 
)re it is 
.) (^t* the 
[y to ho 
^sk the 
id state, 
,ed niiiu, 
• oTcater 
led one: 
ioty and 
lueriean : 
til+h and 
m shirts, 
n, or 


n the bar- 
'or this de- 
is a pen- 
the price 
id maimers 
\i\ society, 
:»eoples the 
)st dehcate 
jkill, with a 
e, produces 

ite gives up 
le blessings 
npared to a 
rless, its ad - 
. is two-fold, 
,i,-al of the 


sava^'o state, the latter of the civilized. ^NFan is not 
wholly animal; and l»y cultivatinL*' the mind, that is, 
hy civilizing himself, he is no more denaturalized than 
hy cultivntifig the hody, and thereby aecpiiring greater 
jtliysieal perfection. We cannot escape onr nature; wo 
cannot re-create ourselves; we can only submit our- 
selves to be polished and impi'oved by the eternal spirit 
of })rogress. The moral and the intellectual are as 
nuich constituents of human nature fis the i)hysical; 
civilization, therefore, is as nuich the natural state of 
man as savagism. 

vVnother more plausihle and j)artially correct asser- 
tion is, that by the development of the subjective j)art 
of our nature, objective humanity becomes <legen^'rated. 
The intellectual cannot be wrought u[) to the highest 
state of cultivation exce])t <\t the expense of the ]>hys- 
ical, nor the i)hysical fully developed without limiting 
the mental. The etloi'ts of the mind di'aw from the 
energies of the body; tlie highest and healthiest vigor 
of the body can only b'.' attained when the mind is at 
rest, or in .t state of careless activity. In answer to 
which 1 should say that beyond a certain ]H)int, it is 
true; one would har<lly train successfully for a prize 
fight and the trij)os at che same time; but that the 
non-intellectual savage, as a race, is physically superior, 
capablo of enduring greater fatigue, or more skillful in 
nniscular exercise than the civilized man is inconsistent 
wit I facts. Civilization has its vices as well as its 
virtues, savagism has its advantages as well as its 

The evils of savagism are not so great as we imagine ; 
its pleasures more than we are ajjt t(» think. As we 
become more and more removed from evils their mag- 
nitude enlarges; the fear of sutlering increases as 
suH'ering is less experienced and v.itnessed. If savag- 
ism holds human life in light esteem, civilization 
makes death more hideous than it really is; if savag- 
ism is more cruel, it is less sensitive. Combatants 
armstomed to freipient encounter think lightly of 

!'! : 1 i 



wounds, and those whose Hfe is oftenest imperiled 
think least of losing it. Indifference to pain is not 
necessarily the result of cruelty; it may arise as well 
from the most exalted sentiment as from the basest. 

Civilization not only engenders new vices, but i)roves 
tlie destroyer of many virtues. Among the wealthier 
classes energy gives way to enjo3'ment, luxury sa})s 
the foundation of labor, progress becomes jjaralyzed, 
and with now and then a noble exception, but few 
earnest workers in the paths of literature, science, or 
any of the dej)artments which tend to the improve- 
ment of mankind, are to be found among the i)owerful 
and the atHuent, while the middle classes are absorbed 
in money-getting, ui^consciously thereby, it is true, 
working toward the envls of civilization. 

That civilization is expedient, that it is a good, that 
it is better than savagism, we who })rofess to be civilized 
entertain no doubt. Those who believe otherwise nnist 
be ready to deny that health is better than disease, truth 
than sujierstition, intellectual power than stui)id ignor- 
ance ; but whether the miseries and vices of savagism, or 
those of civilization are the greater, is another (juestion. 
The tendency of civilization is, on the whole, to j)urify 
the morals, to give etjual rights to man, to distribute 
more ecpuilly among men the benefits of this world, to 
melioriate wholesale misery and degradation, oft'er a 
higher aim and the means of accomj)lishing a nobler 
destiny, to increase the power of the mind and give it 
dominion over the forces of nature, to place the mate- 
rial in subservience to the mental, to elevate the 
individual and regulate society. True, it may be 
urged that this heaping u]) of intellectual fruits tends 
toward mono})oly, toward making the rich richei" and 
the poor i)oorer, Imt I still hold that the benefits of 
civilization are for the most part evenly distributed; 
that wealth bevond one's uecessitv is genorallv acurse 
to the })ossessor greater than the extreme of })overty, 
and that the true blessings of culture and refinement 
like air and sunshine are free to all. 




Civilization, it is said, multiplies wants, but then 
they are ennobling wants, better called aspirations, and 
many of these civilization satisfies. 

If civilization breeds new vices, old ones are extin- 
guished by it. Decency and decorum hide the hide- 
ousness oi' vice, drive it into dark corners, and thei'el)y 
raise tlie tone of morals and weaken vice. Thus 
civilization promotes eluistity, elevates woman, breaks 
down the barriers of hate and superstition between 
ancient nations and religions; individual energy, the 
influence of one over the many, becomes less and less 
felt, and the ])ower of the [)eoi>le becomes stronger. 

Civilization in itself can not but l)e beneficial to 
man; that which makes society more refined, more 
intellectual, less bestial, more courteous; that which 
cures physical and mental diseases, increases the com- 
forts and luxury of life, purifies religions, makes juster 
governments, nuist surely be beneficial: it is the uni- 
versal i)rinciple of evil which impregnates all human 
art'airs, alloying even current coin, which raises the 
question. That there .are evils attending civilization as 
all other benefits, none can deny, but civilization itself 
is no evil. 

If I liave succeeded in presenting clearly the fore- 
going thoughts, enough has l)een said as to the nature 
anil essence of civilization; let us now examine st>me 
of the conditions essential to intellectual development. 
For it must not be forgotten that, while every de})art- 
ment of liunian ]m)gi-ess is but the unfolding of a 
genu; wliile every tendency of our life, every custom 
and creed of our civilization finds its rudiment in 
savagisiii; while, as man devel(»]is, no new elements of 
human nature are created by the jirocess; wliile, as the 
organism of tJie child is as conij>lex and cMnijdete as the 
i»rg!Uiisr. of the man, so is humanity in a savage state 
tlu' jierfect germ of humanity civilized, — it must not 
l»e forgotten in all this, that civilization cannot unfold 
except under favorable conditions. Just as the plant, 




tlioui>h endowed witli life which corresponds to tlie 
niind-[)rinci[)le in progress, requires for its growth a 
suitable soil and climate, so this progressional phe- 
nomenon must have soil and sunshine before it yields 
fruit; and this is another proof that civilization is not 
in the man more than around him; for if the principle 
were inherent in the individual, then the Hyperl)orean, 
with his half year of light and half year of under- 
ground darkness, must of necessity become civilized 
eipially with the man born amidst the sharj)ening 
jostles of a European capital, for in all those parts that 
a|»j)ertain solely to the intrinsic individual, the one 
develo})S as ])erfectly as the other. A people ujidergo- 
ing the civilizing process need not necessarily, does not 
indeed, advance in every species of imj)rovement at 
the same time; in some respects the nation may bo 
stationary, in otliers even retrograde. Every age and 
every nation has its special line of march. Literature 
and the tine arts reached their height in pagan (J recce; 
monotheism among the Hebrews; science unfolded in 
Egypt, and government in Ro;ne. 

In every individual there is some one talent that can 
be cultivated more advantageously than any other; so 
it is with nations, every j)eo})le possesses some natural 
advantage for develojtment in some certain direction 
over every other people, aiid often the early liistory 
of a nation, like the precocious proclivities of the cliild, 
points toward its future; and in such arts and indus- 
tries as its climate and geograj)hical ])osition best 
enable it to develop, is discovered the germ t)f national 
character. Seldom is the commercial sj)irit developed 
in the interior of a continent, or the despotic spirit 
on the border of the sea, or the predatory spirit in a 
country wholly devoid of mountains and fastnesses. 
It cannot be said tliat one nation or race is inherently 
better fitted for civilizatit)n than another; all may not 
be e(|ually fitted for exactly tlie same civilization, but 
all are alike fitted for that civilization which, if left to 


each w'ill wor 

ik out. 




to tlie 
owth a 
[il phe- 

1 is not 

rts that 
the one 
loos not 
nent at 
may l)o 
a^e and 
(J recce; 
jlded in 

bliat can 

thcr; so 



le cliild, 

)n best 
(• spirit 
lit in a 

n.iy ii(>fc 
ion, but 
f left to 


^Nfankind, moreover, advances spasmodically, and in 
certain directions only at a time, which is the lifreatest 
drawbMck to })rogress. As Lecky remarks: "S})ecial 
a_u^encies, such as reliij^ious or jK)litical institutions, 
y-eotjcrajjliical conditions, traditions, antipathies, and 
afKuities, exercise a certain retarding, acceleratini*-, or 
tleHectin^' influence, and somewhat modify the normal 
])n)nress." Perfect develoi)ment only is permanent, 
ami tliat alone is perfect which develops the whole 
man and the whole society ecpially in all its ])arts; all 
the activities, mental, moral, and i)hysical, nuist needs 
grow in unison and simultaneously, and this alone is 
j)erfect and pennanent develo])ment. Shoul«l all the 
world become civilized there will still be minor differ- 
ences; suViW. will advance further in one direction and 
some in another, all together will form the complete 

Civilization as an exotic seldom flourishes. Often 
has the attempt been made by a cultivated ])eoj)le to 
civilize a barbarous nation, and as often has it failed. 
True, one nation may force its arts or religion upon 
another, but to civilize is neither to subjugate nor anni- 
hilate; foreigners may introduce new in lustries and 
new i)iiilos()])hies, which the uncultured may do well 
to acce[)t, but as civilization is an unfolding, and not 
a creation, he wlu) would advance civilization nmst 
teach society how to grow, how to enlarge its better 
self; must teach in what direction its highest inter- 
ests he. 

Thus it appears that, while this germ of ]n-ogress is 
innate in every human society, ceitain conditions are 
more favorable to its development than others, —con- 
ditions which act as stimulants or imi)ediments to pro- 
gress. ( )ften we see nations remain ajtparently sta- 
tionary, the elements of progress evenly balanced by 
opjiosing influences, and thus they remain until by 
internal force, or exterr d pressure, their system 
exi)ands or explodes, until they absorb or are absorbed 

i ' 




by antagonistic elements. The intrinsic force of the 
body social appears to demand extrinsic prompting 
before it will manifest itself Like the grains of wheat 
ill the hand of Belzoni's mummy, which held life 
slumbering for three thousand years, and awoke to 
growth when buried in the ground, so the element of 
human progress lies dormant until j)lanted in a con- 
genial soil and surrounded by those influences which 
])rovoke development. 

This stinmlant, which acts upon and unfolds the 
intellect, can be administered only through the mediuu) 
of the senses. Nerve force, which precedes intellectual 
force, is sujiplied by the body ; the cravings of man's 
corporeal nature, therefore, must be quieted before the 
mind can fix itself on higher things. The first step 
toward teaching a savage is to feed him; the stomath 
satisfied he will listen to instiiiction, not before. 

Cultivation of at least the most necessary of the 
industrial arts invariably precedes cultivation of the 
fine arts ; the intellect nmst be implanted in a satisfied 
body Ijefore it will take root and grow. The mind must 
be allowed some resj^ite from its attendance on the body, 
before culture can commence ; it must abandon its state 
of servitude, and become master; in other words, leis- 
ure is an essential of culture. 

As association is the primal condition of progress, 
let us see how nature throws societies together or 
holds them asunder. In some directions there are 
greater facilities for intercommunication (another essen- 
tial of improvement) than in other directions. Wher- 
ever man is most in harmony with nature, there he 
progresses most rapidly; wlierever nature o:Ters the 
greatest advantages, such as a sea that invites to com- 
merce, an elevated plateau lifting its occupants above 
tlie malaria of a tropical lowland, a sheltering mountain 
range that wards off inclement winds and bars out 
hostile neighbors, there culture flourishes best. 

So that humanity, in its two-fold nature, is depend- 




I of the 
»f wheat 
leld hfe 
woke to 
sment of 
n a con- 
!s which 

bids the 
of man's 
efore tht 
irst step 

y of the 
•n of the 
. satisfied 
ind must 
the body, 
its state 
ds, leis- 

ether or 
lere are 
ler essen- 
there he 
iers the 
to com- 
its above 
bars out 

i depend- 

ent for its development upon two distinct species of 
stimulants, objective and subjective. Material causa- 
tions, or those forces which minister to the requirements 
of man's material nature but upon which his intellect- 
ual projrress is de})endent, are configurations of surface, 
soil, climate, and food. Those physical conditions 
which, when favorable, give to their possessors wealth 
and leisure, are the inevitable precursors of culture. 
1 nimaterial causations are those forces which act more 
directly upon man's inuuaterial nature, as association, 
religion, wealth, leisure, and government. Continuing 
the analysis, let us first examine i)hysical stinnilants. 
Athnitting readily two of M. Taine's primordial hu- 
manity-moving forces, *le milieu' or environment, and 
his 'le moment' or inherited impulse, we will pass over 
third force 'la race'; — for inherent dift'erences in race, 
iu the present stage of science, are i)urely hyi)othetioal ; 
it remains yet to be proved that one nation is j)rimarily 
inherently inferior or suj)erior to another nation. That 
man once created is moulded and modified by his 
enviroiunent, there can be no doubt. Even a cursory 
survx'y of the globe presents some indications favorable 
and unfavoral)le to the unfolding of the diflierent forms 
of orjranic beinjj. 

Great continents, for instance, appear to be conge- 
nial to the development of animal life; islands and 
lesser continents to the growth of exuberant vegeta- 
tion. Thus, in the eastern hemisphere, which is a 
compact oval, essentially continental, with vast areas 
far removed from the influence of the ocean, flourish 
the elephant, the hippopotamus, the rhinoceros, the 
courageous lion, the fierce tiger, the largest and lord- 
liest of animal kind, while in the more oceanic 
A\estern hemisphere inferior types- Tevail. Cold and 
dryness characterize the one ; heat and humidity the 
other; in one are the greatest deserts, in the other the 
greatest lakes and rivers. Warm oceanic currents 
bathe the frosty shores of the northern extremities of 
the continents and render them habitable; the moist- 



urc-l.uloii equiitoriiil atraospliore clotlies the adjacent 
islaiuls and Hnn land in emerald verdnre. Upon the 
same parallel of latitude are the i^reat Sahani Desert 
of Africa, and the wilderness of luxuriant billowy fo- 
liaL^e of the American Isthmus. In warm, moist 
climates, such species of animal life attain the fullest 
development as are dependent upon the aipieous and 
herhous asj^encies. In tropical Anieri«'a are seen the 
larijj'est reptiles, the most gorii^eous insects, — there the 
inhahitants of warm marshes and slui^gish waters 
assume gigantic proportions, while only upon the 
hroad inland i)rairies or upon elevated mountain ranges, 
away from the influences of warm waters and humid 
atmospheres, are found the buffalo, bear, and elk. The 
very com})lexion and temperament of man are affected 
by these vegetative and umbrageous elements. Unj)ro- 
tected from the perpendicular rays of the sun, the 
African is black, muscular, and cheerful; under the 
shadow of primeval forest, man assumes a coppery hue, 
lacking the endurance of the negro, and becomes in 
disposition cold and melancholy. 

And again, if we look for the natural causes which 
tend to promote or retard association, we find in 
climates and continental configurations the chief 
agencies. The continent of the two Americas, in its 
greatest length, lies north aiul south, the eastern con- 
tinental group extends east and west. Primitive 
people naturally would sj)read out in those directions 
which offered the least change of climate from that of 
the })riniitive centre. Obviously, variations of climate 
are greater in following a meridian than along a paral- 
lel of latitude. Thus, the tropical man jiassing along 
a meridian is driven back by unendurable cold, wliile a 
continent may be traversed on any parallel, elevations 
excepted, with but little variation in temperature. A 
savage, exposed and inexperienced, not knowing how to 
protect himself against severe changes of climate, 
could not travel far in a northerly or southerly direc- 
tion without suflering severely from the cold or heat; 



1 adjacent 
[T|)()ii tlio 
ra J^osort 
illowy fo- 
111, moist 
lio fullest 
leous and 
! seen the 
-there the 
>h waters 
upon the 
in ranjj^es, 
lid liuniid 
elk. Tlie 
:'e affected 
. Unj)ro- 
sun, the 
under the 
ipei'Y hue, 
econies in 

ises whicli 
find in 
the chief 
[cas, in its 
stern con- 
)m that of 
of cHmate 
i!f a paral- 
m\g along 
I, while a 
ture. A 
inu' how to 
L!rly direc- 
1 or heat; 

hence, otlier thini»'s hcinsf equal, the inhahitants of a 
countrv whose greatest length lay east and west, would 
inturminglu more readily tiian those whose territory 
extended north and south. 

That the eastern hemi.s])herc attained a higher de- 
gree of civilization than the western, may he ])artly 
due to the fact, that the former presents wider sj)aces 
of uniform climate than the latter. The climatic zones 
<)fthu New World, hesides heing shorter, are inter- 
sected hy mountain harriers, which tend to retard 
the intercourse that would otherwise naturally follow. 
Thus the Mexican table-land, the seat of Aztec civili- 
zation, is a ticvi'it friti situated above the insalubrious 
ttcn-d citVunttc of either coast and the healthful ficrra, 
t('tii/>/i«ht of the sloj)es, but below the mountain ranges 
whicli rise from this table-land, forminir a (irrra 
Jn';/i(f((, a region of perpetual snow. To this day, the 
natives of the Mexican plateau cannot live on the 
sea-coast, though less than a day's journey distant. 

Between the climatic zones which extend through 
Eurojte and Asia, there are contrasts as marked and 
changes as sudden, but these differences are between 
the different zones rather than l>etween longitudinal 
sections of the same zone. Hence, in the old world, 
when; climatic zones are separated by mountain ranges 
which make the transition from one to the other suddei 
and abrupt, we see a greater diversity of race than ii> 
America, where the natural barriers extend north and 
south and intersect the climatic zones, thereby bringing 
the inhabitants along a meridian in easier communica- 
tion than those who live in the same latitude but who 
are separated by mountains, table-lands at- ' large riv- 
ers. That is, if color and race are dependent on (tlimate, 
America should offer greater varieties in color and 
race than Europe, for America traverses the most 
latitudes; but the mountain barriers of America extend 
north and south, thereby forcing its peo])le to inter- 
mingle, if at all, in that direction, while the chief 
ranges of the eastern continent extend east and west, 



parallel with climatic zones, thereby forminj^ in them- 
sulves distinctly marked lines between peoples, forcinjj^ 
the African to remain under his burning sun, and the 
northmen in their cooler latitudes; so that in the 
several climatic zones of the old world, we see the 
human race distinctly marked, Aryan, Semitic, and 
Turanian — white, black, and yellow— while throujjfhout 
the two Americas, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, 
type and color are singularly uniform. 

Who can picture the mighty tide of humanity, 
which, while the eastern hemisphere has been develoj)- 
ing so high a state of culture, in America has ebbed 
and Howed between barbarisms and civilizations? 
Tlirough what long and desperate struggles, continuing 
aue after ajje through the lives of nations, now ad vane- 
ing, now receding, have these peoj)les passed? Asia, 
from its central i)osition and favoral)le climate, would 
seem naturally to encourage a redundant population 
and a spontaneous civilizaticm ; the waters of the 
Mediterranean invite connnerce and intercommunica- 
tion of nations, while the British Isles, from their 
insular situation and distance from hypothetical prim- 
itive centres, would seem necessarily to remain longer 
in a state of barbarism. In the Pacific States of 
North America we find the densest })opulation north 
along the shores of the ocean, and south on the Cordil- 
lera table-land, from the fact that the former ofl^ers 
the best facilities for food .and locomotion until the 
latter is reached, when the interior presents the most 
favorable dwelling-place for man. 

Climate affects both mental and moral endowments, 
the temperament of the body, and the texture of the 
brain; physical energy, and mental vigor. Temperate 
climates are more conducive to civilization, not for the 
reason given by Mr Harris, "as developing the higher 
<|ualities, and not invigorating the baser feelings," for 
the Hyperborean is as unchaste and as great a slave 
to passion as the sub-equatorial man — but because a 



in thcm- 
s, forein*? 
,, and the 
it in the 
e Hee the 
iiitic, and 
el Fuego, 

n deveU)l>- 
has eiibed 
)W advanc- 
3d? Asia, 
latc, would 
31-8 of the 
from their 
tical prini- 
lain longer 
; States of 
ition north 
the cordil- 
iner offers 
1 until the 
,s the most 

:,ure of the 
not for the 
the higher 
elings," for 
eat a slave 
; because a 

temperate climate, while it lures to exertion, rewards 
the laborer. 

Next, let us consider the agency of food in human 
develitpment. The ettect of food is to supply the body 
with caloric, which is essential to its life, and to repair 
the nuiscular fibres Avhich are constantly undergoing 
waste in our daily activities. These two etiects are 
produced by two difftjrent kinds of diet; carbonized 
Ibod, such as animal Hesh, fish, oils and fats, and oxi- 
dized food, which consists chieHy of vegetables. Jn hot 
climates, obviously, less carluMiized food is recpiired to 
keep uj> the necessary tenij)erature of the body than 
in cold climates. Hence it is, that hyperborean nations 
subsist on whale's blubber, oil, and flesh, while the 
tropical man confines himself almost exclusively to a 
vegetable diet. 

1 1 is not my puqiose here to enter into the relative 
effects of the different kinds of food on physiological 
and mental development; I desire, however, to call 
attention to tlie comparative facility with which car- 
bonized and oxidized food is j)rocured by man, and to 
note the effect of this ease or difhcultv in obtaininyf a 
food suj)}tly, ui)on his ju'ogress. In warm, humid 
t'limates vegetation is s])ontaneous and abundant; a 
plentiful suj)ply of food may, therefore, be obtained 
witli tlie smallest expenditure of labor. The inhabitants 
of cold climates, however, are obliged to ])ursue, by 
land and water, wild and powerful animals, to ]>ut 
forth all their strength and skill in order to secure a 
])recarious sui)})ly of the necessary food. Then, again, 
i)esides being more difficult to obtain, and more uncer- 
tain as to a steady supply, the (piantity of food con- 
sumed in a cold climate is nnich greater than that 
consumed in a hot climate. Now as leisure is essen- 
tial to cultivation, and as without a surplus of food 
and clothing there can be no leisure, it would seem to 
follow naturally that in those countries where food 
and clothing are most easily obtained culture should 



1 ^if 



be tlio hijn^host; Hince, ho littlo time and labor arc 
iiocL'ssarv to satislV the necessities of the hodv, the 
mind would have opjjortunitv to expand. It wiadd 
seem that a fertile soil, an exuberant vegetation, Kof't 
skies and balmy air, a ecnmtry where raiment was 
Hcarcely essential to comfort, and where lor food the 
favored inhabitant had but to pluck and eat, should 
beccnne the seat of a numerous poi)ulation and a hi^^h 
development. Is this the fact ^ "Wherever snow 
I'alls," Emerson remarks, "there is usually civil free- 
dom. Where the banana jLjrows, the animal system is 
indolent, and pampered at the cost of hii^her <|ualities; 
the man is sensual aiul cruel;" and we may add that 
where wlieat ^rows, thei'e is civilization, where rice is 
the staple, there mental viijor is relaxed. 

Heat and moisture beinsjc the jj^ieat veoetativo 
stimulants, tropical lands in ja-oximity to the sea are 
covered with eternal verdure. Lit Lie or no lahor is 
recjuired to sustain life; for food t.iere is the ))eipet- 
ually ripening- fruit, a few hours' ])lantino-, sometimes, 
beinijf sufficient to supply a family for months; for 
shelter, little more than the dense folia L;e is necessary, 
while scarcely any clothiniif is recpiired. 

But althoui'h heat and moisture, the oreot vei^-eta- 
tive stimulants, lie at the root of ])rimitive iiro^ress, 
these elements in su})eral)undance defeat their own 
ends, iUid in two wavs: First, excessive heat enervates 
the hody and prosti'ates the mind, lani>iu)r and inertia 
becoiue clironic, while cold is invii»oratin<j^ and ]ii<)ni}>ts 
to activity. And in tro})ical climates certain hours of 
the day are too hot for work, and are, cons' uc ly, 
devoted to sleej). The day is broken int< 



continuous a})})lication, which alone ])rod nn])or- 

tant results, is ])revented, and habits of sla u'ss .-i d 
laxity become the rule of life. Satisfied, nioi*eo er, 
with the provisions of nature for their support, tlic 
people live without labor, vejjcetatin<*',]>lant-like,throunli 
a listless and objectless life. Secondly, vey-etation, 
stimulated by excessive heat and moisture, grows with 

'■ Ml 



Uor arc 
)(ly, the 
t \\o\\\i\ 
ion, H«iit 

iL'llt NVllS 

lodd tilt' 
t, shouUl 
id 11 lii;il» 
cr sn<»NV 
•ivil i'lvc- 
Kystom is 
juUl that 
Dve vu'o is 

[Mi fiviv arc 
o hilior is 
ic iierpct- 
,)nths; iov 

t vejj^cta- 
heir own 
nd inertia 
id i)roinpts 
In hours of 
. wv ly, 

rSS •.' il 

niore( er, 
Import, the 
<>ro\vs with 

BUeli strcMiLjtli and rapidity as to doty tlie eflurts of 
inexi>erien<'ed primitive man; nature Itet-omes domi- 
neering;, innnanau'eahle, and man sinks into insi^niifi- 
canee. Indeed the most skillful industry of armed 
and disciplined civilization is unahle to keej) under 
control this redundancy of tropical vi-^i-etation. The 
patli cleared hy the piom-er on peiietratinj; the dense 
nnderL,M'o\vth, clost.'s alter him like the waters of the sea 
hehind a ship; hetore the j^-rain has time to sprinjr nj), 
the plowi'd Held is covered with rank weeds, wild Howers, 
and poisonous plants no less heautiful than pernicious. 
1 have seen the v !ry fence-posts Hproutin^*- up and 
yrowiny into trees. So destructive is the veiictation 
of the ( 'entral American lowlands, that in their 
triumphal march the j)ersistent roots penetrate the 
crevices of masoni'v, demolish strouj; walls, and ohlit- 
erate stupendous tunuili. The people whose climate 
makes caihonized fo(»d a necessitv, are oblit»'ed to call 
lilt ' action their holder and stronger faculties in order 
I ) .)Utain their sujiplies, while the vei»'etahle-eater may 
traiKjuilly rest on hounteous nature. The Eskimo 
struijfnles manfully with whale, and hear, and ice, and 
darkness, nntil his capacious stomach is well tilled 
with heat-j)roducinfi^ food, then he dozes torpidly in 
his den while the su]»ply lasts; the etjuatorial man 
jthicks and eats, hasks in the o))en air, and sleejts. 

, i [ere we have a medley of heteroi;-eneous and an- 
ta<i()nistic elements. Leisure is essential to culture; 

[ before leisure there nuist he an accuuiulation of wealth ; 
the accunudation of wealth is depentlent uj)on the food- 
supply; a surjilus of food can only he easily obtained 
in warm climates. But labor is also essential to devel- 
opment, aiitl excessive heat is opj)osed to labor. Labor, 
moreover, in order to produce leisui'e nuist be remu- 
iie'-ative, and excessive cold isoi)]K).sed to accunudation. 
It aj)p.ars, therefore, that an excess of labor and an 
ext ess [■ leisure are alike detrimental to improvement. 
Ao-ain, heat and moisture are essential to an abun(hint 
.supply of oxidized food. But heat and moisture. 

Vol. II. 4 




especially in tropical climates, act as a stimulant upon 
other rank prcductions, engenderinj^ dense forests, 
tangled brush-wood, an,! poisonous shrubs, and fillinj; 
miasmatic marshes with noxious reptiles. These ene- 
mies to human progress the weaponless savage is unable 
to overcome. 

It is, therefore, neither in hot and humid countries, 
nor in excessively cold climates, that we are to look for 
a primitive civilization; for in the latter nature lies 
dormant, while in the former the redundancy of nature 
becomes unmanageable. It is true that in the trop- 
ics of America and Asia are found the seats of many 
ancient civilizations, but if we examine them one 
after the other, we shall see, in nearly every in- 
stance, some opposite or counteracting agency. Thus, 
the Aztecs, though choosing a low latitude in j)rox- 
imity to both oceans, occupied an elevated table-land, 
in a cool, dry atmosphere, seven or eight thousand 
feet al)ove the level of the sea. The river Nile, by 
its j)eriodic inundations, forced the ancient Egypt- 
ians to lay by a store of food, which is the very tirst 
step towaid wealth. The rivers of India are, some of 
them, subject to like ovei-Howings, while the more 
elevated parts are dry and fertile. 

Egypt was the cradle of European develoj)ment. 
Long before the advent of Christianity, the fertik- 
banks of the Nile, for their pyramidal tombs, their 
colossi, their obelisks and catacombs and sphinxes and 
temples, were regarded by surrounding barbarians as 
a land of miracles and marvels. Tlience Greece de- 
rived her earliest arts and maxims. The climate of 
Egypt was unchangeable, and the inundations of the 
Nile offered a less uncertain water-supply than the 
rains of many other districts, and thus agriculture, 
while offering to the laborer the greater part of tlie 
year for leisure, was almost certain to be remunerative. 
Common instincts and common efforts, uniformity of 
climate and identity of interch.ts j)roduced a homoge- 
neous people, and forty centuries of such changele!^s 


uUiiit upon 
se forests, 
and fillin^^ 
Those ene- 
re is unable 

I countries, 
i to look for 
nature lies 
•y of nature 
in the trop- 
its of many 
I them one 
i every in- 
iicy. Thus, 
■de in i)rox- 
l table-land, 
lit thousand 
var Nile, by 
ent Egypt- 
he very tirst 
are, some of 
e the more 


, the fertile 
nnbs, their 
)hinxes and 

arbarians as 
Greece de- 

le climate ot" 

itions of the 
ly than the 
part of the 


iinifonnity of 

d a homo*i:e- 



coming and going could not fail to result in in.prove- 

Mr Buckle, in his attempt to establish a universid 
theory that heat and moisture inevitably engender 
civilization, and that without those combined ag-nicies 
no civilization can arise, somewhat overreaches iiim- 
self " In America, as in Asia and Africa," he says, 
"ail the oritifinal civilizations were seated in hot c(Min- 
iries; the whole of Peru, })roper, being withhi the 
southern tro[)ic, the whole of Central America and 
?Texico within the northern tropic." The fact is, that 
Cuzco, the cajjital city of the Incas, is in the Cordil- 
leras, three hundred miles from and eleven thousand 
feet above the sea. For the latitude the climace is 
both cold and dry. The valley of ^lexico is warmer 
and moister, but cannot be called hot and humid, 
l^dencjue and Co[)an a{)proach nearer Mr Buckle's 
ideal than Cuzco or Mexico, being above the tierra 
caliente proper, and yet in a truly hot and humid 

Tlie Hawaiian Islands, — an isolated group of lava 
piles, thrown uj) into the trade winds on the twentieth 
)>arallel, and by these winds deluged on one side with 
rain, while the otlier is left almost dry, with but little 
alluvial soil, and that little exceedingly fertile,— at the 
time of their discovery by Cai)tain Cook ajt})eared to 
have made no inconsiderable advance' toward feudal- 
ism. Systems of land tenure and \ assalai>e were in 
ojH'ration, and some works for the j>ul)lic weal had 
^een constructed. Here were the essentials for a low 
onler of improvement such as was found there, but 
whicli never, in all probability, would have riben nuich 

Again, Mr Buckle declares that, "owing to the 
presence of physical phenomena, the civilization of 
America was, of nei-essity, conHned to those i)arts 
wl.ere alone it was found by the discoverers of the New 
World." An apparently safe postulate; but, upon 
any conceivable hypothesis, there are very many 

1 r-n:! 




places as well adapted to development as those in which 
it was found. Once more: "The two «^reat conditions 
of fertility have not been united in any part of the 
continent north of Mexico." When we consider what 
it is, namely, heat and humidity, upon which Mr Buckle 
makes intellectual evolution dependf.'ut, and that not 
only tlie Mexican plateau lacked both these essentials, 
in the full meanin<>: of the term, but that both are 
i'ound in many })laces north waid, as for instance, in 
some parts of Texas and in Louisiana, a discrepancy in 
liis theory becomes apparent. "The peculiar contiy'- 
ui'ation of the land," he continues, "secured a very 
l:iri;'e amount of coast, and thus <>"ave to the southern 
part of North America the character of an island." An 
island, yes, but, as M. Ciuyot terms it, an "aerial 
island;" bordered on either side by sea-coast, but by 
such sea-coast as formed an almost imi)assable barrier 
between the table-land and the ocean. 

"While, therefore," adds Mr Buckle, "ih • jKosition 
of Mexico near the equator <i^ave it heat, the slia])e of 
tilt! land gave it humidity; and this l)eing tlie only \nirt 
of North America in which these two conditions wen; 
united it was likewise the only jiart which was at all 
<ivilized. Thei'e can be no doubt, that if tlie sandy 
plains of (California and Southern Columbia, instead of 
being scorched into sterility, had been ii'rigated by the 
rivei's of the east, oi' if the rivers of the east had buen 
accompanied by the heat of the west, the result of either 
combination would have been that exuberance of soil, 
by which, as the history of the world decisively proves, 
evoiy early civilization was preceded. But inasmucli 
as, of the two elements of fertility, one was deriiient in 
every j)art of America north of the twentieth parallel, 
it foHowed tliat, until that line was passed, civilization 
euuld gain no resting ])lace; and there never has been 
found, and we may contidently assert nevei- will Ix; 
fbu!i(i, any evidence that even a s'ligle ancient nation, 
i'l tile whole of that enormous continent, was able to 
Uiakc much progress in the arts of life, oi' inganize 

3 in which 
Li-t of the 
ider what 
Ay Buckle 
I that not 
))oth aru 
istance, in 
repancy in 
iar conti.u- 
ed a very 
i southern 
and." An 


" 1 


ist, Imt hy 
ble l)arrier 

li,' ])osition 
lie shape of 
e only part 
tions were 
was at all 
the sandy 
instead of 
itedhy the 
t had been 
ult of either 
nee of wod, 
ely proves, 
t inasmuch 
demient in 
th i)arallel, 
or has been 
\vv will be- 
itnt nation, 
was able to 
or organize 


itself into a fixed and permanent society." This is a 
broad statement endtodyin<»' precipitate deductions 
from false premises, and one which betra3's singular 
ignorance of the countiy and its climate. These same 
"sandy j)lains of California" so far from being "scorche<l 
into sterility," arc to-day sending tlieir cereals in every 
direction — to the east and to the west — and are caj)able 
of feeding all Europe. 

I have often wondered why California was not the 
seat of a primitive civilization; wliy, ui)on every con- 
verging line the race deteriorates as this centre is 
a|)]ii-oache(l ; why, with a cool, salubrious seaboard, a 
hot and healthful interior, with alternate rainy and 
dry seasons, alternate seasons of labor and leisure 
which encourage producing and hoarding and which 
are the primary incentives to accumulation and wealth, 
in this hot and cool, moist and drv, and inviii-oratinuf 
atmos])hcre, with a fertile soil, a climate which in no 
jiart of the year can be <'alled cold or inhosj)itabli', 
should be found one of the lowest phases of humanity 
on the North American continent. The cause nuist be 
sought in periods more remote, in tlie convulsions of 
nature now stilled; in t\\o tunudts of nations whose 
histor}' lies forgotten, forever buried in the past. The- 
ories never will solve the mysterv. Indeed, there is 
n<» reason why the foundations of the Aztec and 
]\raya-Quiche civilizations may n<»t have been laid 
north of the thirtv-Hfth parallel, althouu'li no archi- 
tectural remams have been discovered there, nor other 
]»roof of such an origin; but upon the banks of tlie 
( lila, the Colorado, and the Kio ( Jrande, in Chiluiahua, 
and on the hot dry jtlains of Arizona and New ^fexico, 
far beyond the limits of Mr Buckle's territory wlu're 
"there never has been found, and we mav confidently 
assert never will be found" any evidence of progress, 
are t(t-(lay walled towns iidiabited by an industrial and 
agricultural peojde, whost' existence we can trace back 
\ for nieie than three centuries, besides ruins of massive 
buildings of whose historv nothin-j- is known. 



Tims, that California and many otlicr pai'ts of Xortli 
Aiiiurica c-(jiil(l not liave \)ven thu ssoat of a j)riiniti\ u 
civilization, cannot bu proved upon the basis of any 
physical liyj)othesis; and, indeed, in our attempt to 
elucidate the principles of universal progress, where 
the mysterious and antaL:"onistic activities of humanitv 
have heen fermentiui,^ all unseen for thousands of a^es, 
unknown and unknowahle, amon^' ])eoples of whom our 
utmost knowledi^e can he oidy such as is dei'ivcd iVoni 
a transient <4limj)se of a disa])i)eai'iniL;" race, it is with 
the utmost difhculty that satisfactoiy conclusi(jus can 
in any instance he reached. 

It is in a tem])erate climate, therefore, that man 
attains the highest development. On the })eninsulas 
of (ireece and Italy, where the Mediterranean invites 
intercourse; in li'an and Armenia, where the climate 
is cold enough to stimulate lahoi', hut not so cold as to 
riMjuire the use of all the enei'gies of body and mind in 
order to ac(|uire a bare subsistence; warm enough to 
make leisure j'ossible, but not so warm as to enervate 
and ]>rostrate the faculties; with a soil of sutlicieiit 
fei'tility to yield a sui'plus and })rom(»te the accumulation 
of wealth, without pi'oducing such a ri'dundancy of 
vegetation as to be umnanageable by unskilled, })rimi- 
tive man — there it is that we find the hi'diest intel- 
lectual culture. 

It sometimes happens that, in those climati>s wliich 
aiv too vigorous for the unfolding of the tender genu, 
(•ulti\ation is stinudated into gi'eater activity than in 
its original seats. It sometimes haj)pens that, wIhii 
the shell of savagism is once faii'ly I)roken, a ]h'o])1;' 
may overcome a (lomineerini>' V(!!>etation, and Hourisli 
in a climate whei'e by no itossibilitv could their (\r 

(. 1. * 

velopnient have originated. Even in the frozen regions 



le north, as in Scandanavia, man, 

l)y tl 

le mtensitv 

of his nature, was enabled to suiniount the difficul- 
ties of climate and attain a lierce, iMtde culti\atioii, 
T\w regions of NortJiern iMii'ojte and Xoi'thei'n Anui- 
ica, notwithstanding their <iriginal oj>])osition to man, 


tsof Nortll 
I primitive 
asis of any 
attempt to 
n>ss, wlien^ 
•1" humanity 
luls of ages, 
(f wliom our 
orived from 
}, it is witli 
i-Uisions can 

3, tliat uian 
> peninsulas 
neaii invites 

tlie climate 
so cold as to 

iUid mind in 
n enougli to 
^ to enervate 

of sufficient 

dundancy oi" 
killed, prim i 
li^liest intel- 

imates wliich 
tender o-orni, 
tivity than in 
IS tliiit, when 
ki'U, a ])eopl' 
. and flourish 
)uld their dr- 
frozen rejj^ioiis 
• the intensitv 
t the difficui- 
le cultivation. 
)i-thern Aunr- 
>ition to m:tu, 

are to-day the most fruitful of all lands in industrial 
discoNeries and intellectual activities, hut in the j)olar 
re<(ions, as iu the ecpiatorial, the highest development 
never can he reached. 

The conditions which encourage indigenous civiliza- 
tion ai'(! not always those that encourai>e permanent 
development, and vice versa. Thus, (jreat Britain in 
lier insulation, remained harhurous long after (Ireece 
and Italy had attained a high degree of cultivation, 
yet when once the seed took root, that very insulation 
acted as a wall of defense, within which a mighty 
j)ower germinated and with its inthience overspiead 
the whole earth. 

Thus we have seen that a cond)ination of ])hysical 
conditions is essential to intellectual deyelo])ment. 
Without leisure, there can he no culture, witliout 
wealth no leisure, without lahor no wealth, and w ith- 
out a s:'itahle soil and climate no rennnierative lahor. 
Now, throughout the nia.tei-ial universe, there is no 
ohject or element which holds its place, whether at 
rest or in motion, e\ce})t under fixed laws; no atom of 
matter nor suhtle mysterious force, no hreath of air, 
nor cloudy vaj)or nor streak of light, hut in existing- 
oheys a law. The Almighty fiat: Be fruitful and mul- 
tiply, fruitful in increase, intellectual as well as physi- 
cal, was given alike to all mankind; seeds of progress 
were sown hroads-ast throughout all the races human; 
.^ome I'ell on stony places, othei's were choked with 
weeds, others found good soil. When we see a ])eo})lo 
in the full enjoyment of all these physical essentials to 
|ii'ogress yet in a state of savagism, we may he sure 
tJiat elements detrimental to progivss have, at some 
period of their history, interposed to prevent natui'al 
i^rowtli. War, famine, jjostdence, convulsions of nature, 
have nip]»ed in the hud manyati incijiient civilization, 
whose history lies deep hui'ied in the unrecorded past. 

TIu> ohvious jiecessity of association as a ])iiniarv 
condition of deveh)pment leaves little to he said on 



that subject. To the manifestation of this Soul of 
Prot^ress a l)ody social is requisite, as without an indi- 
vidual body there can be no manifestation of an indi- 
vidual soul. This body social, like the body individual, 
is composed of numberless organs, each liavino* its 
special functions to perform, each acting on the others, 
and all under the general government of the j)rogres- 
sional idea. Civilization is not an individual attribute, 
and though the atom, man, may be charged with stored 
energy, yet progress constitutes no part of individual 
nature : it is somethinof that lies between men and not 
within them; it belongs to society and not to tlie indi- 
vidual; man, the molecule of society, isolate, is inert 
and forceless. The isolated man, as I have said, never 
can become cultivated, never can form a language, 
does not possess in its fullness the faculty of abstrac- 
tion, nor can his mind enter the realm of hi<jfher 
thought. All those characteristics which distinguish 
mankind from animal-kind become almost inojjcrative. 
Without association there is no speech, for speecli is but 
tlie conductor of thoufjlit between two or moie indi- 
viduals; without words abstract thought cannot flow, 
for words, or some other form of expression, ai-e the 
channels of thought, and with the absence of words the 
fountain of thought is in a measure sealed. 

At the A^ery threshold of progress social crystalliza- 
tion sets in; something there is in every man that 
draws him to other men. In the relationsliip of the 
sexes, this principle of human attraction readies its 
heiglit, where the husband and wife, as it were, coalesce, 
like the union of one drop of water with another, form- 
ing one globule. As unconsciously and as positively 
are men constrained to band together into societies as 
are particles forced to unite and form crystals. And 
lierein is a law as pali)ai)le and as fixed as any law in 
nature; a law, which if unfulfilled, would I'esult in the 
extermination of the race. But the law of Jiuinan 
attraction is not perfect, does not fulfill its ])iirposc 
a})art from the law of human repulsion, for as we have 

Soul ()f 
an indi- 
5111 iiidi- 
Lviiiji;" its 
le others, 
til stored 
1 and not 
the indi- 
, is inert 
lid, never 
)f hij^her 
cell is but 
:u>re indi- 
uiot flow, 
ue the 
words the 

iian that 
ip of the 
aches its 
lor, form- 
u'ieties as 

s. And 
iiy law in 
ult in the 
f luinian 


we have 




seen, nntil war and despotism and superstition and 
other dire evils come, there is no pro_<,n-ess. Solitnde 
is insnpportahle, even beasts will not live alone; and 
men arc moi"e depejident on each otlier than beasts. 
SoHtudc carries with it a sense of inferiority and 
iiisufKciency; the faculties are stinted, lacking- com- 
])lcteiicss, whereas volume is added to every individual 
laculty l)y union. 

Ihit association simj)ly, is not enouj^h; nothinjTf 
materially yreat can l)e accomplished without union 
and cooperation. It is only when aj^j^reyations of 
families interminable with other a^',i,^re<jfations, cadi 
contributing its quota of original knowledge to the 
otliei"; when the individual gives up some portion of 
his individual will and [)roperty for the better protec- 
tion of other rights and jjroperty; when he entrusts 
society with the vindication of his rights; when he 
depends ujion the banded arm of the nation, and not 
alone upon his own arm for redress of grievances, that 
])i-ogress is truly made. And with union and cooper- 
ation comes the division of labor by which means each, 
in some special department, is enabled to excel. By 
lixing the mind wholly upon one thing, by constant 
repetition and practice, the father liands down his 
art to the son, who likeM'ise, improves it for his de- 
scendants. It is only by doing a new thing, oi- by 
doing an old thing better than it has ever been done 
before, tliat lu'ogress is made. (Tnder the regime of 
universal mediocrity the nation does not advance; it 
is to the great men, — great in things great or small, 
that progress is due; it is to the few who think, to the 
few who dare t(» face the infinite universe of things and 
stc]), if need be, outside an old-time boundary, that 
tlie world owes most. 

Originally imjdanted is the germ of intelligence, at 
the iirst but little more than brute instinct. This 
germ in unfolding undergoes a double process; it 


irows off its own intuitions 


receives m return 

those (jf another. By an interchange of ideas, the expe 



■ If " 

1111 PI 

riciici's of one are iiiiule known for tlie benefit of another, 
tlie inventions of one are adiled to the inventions of 
aiu)ther; witlujut interconuuunication of ideas the in- 
tellert must He dormant. Thus it is with indivithials, 
and witli societies it is the same. Ac(juisitions are 
eminently reciprocal. In society, wealth, art, litera- 
ture, polity, and religion act and react on each other; 
in science a fusion of antagonistic hypotheses is sure 
to result in important developments. Before much 
j)rogivss can he made, thei'e must be established a 
conunerce between nations for the interchange of 
aggregated human experiences, so that the ai'ts and 
industries ac([uired by each may become the ])roperty 
of all the rest, and thus knowledge become scattered 
by exchange, in j»lace of each having to work out every 
})roblem Ibr himsell". Thus viewed, ci\ilization is a 
partnershij) entered into for nuitual improvement; 
a joint stock operati:Mi, in which the i)roduct of every 
brain contributes to a general fund for the benefit 
of all. No one can add to his own store of knowledye 
without adding to the genei'al store; every invention 
and discovery, however insignificant, is a contribution 
to civil izatioji. 

In savagism, union and cooperation are imperfectly 
displayed. The warriors of one tribe unite against 
the warriors of another; a band will cooperate in })ur- 
suing a herd of buifalo; even one nation will sometimes 
unite with another nation against a third, but such 
combinations are temporary, and no sooner is the })ar- 
ticular object accomplished than the confederation 
disbands, and ever}' man is again his own masti'r. 'I'he 
moment two or more [)ersons unite for the accom])lish- 
nient of some purpose which shall tend })ermanently 
to meliorate the condition of themselves and others, 
that moment progress begins. The wild beasts of the 
foi'est, acting in imison, wei'e physically able to rise up 
and extir])ate primitive man, but could beasts in reality 
confederate and do this, such confederation of wild 
beasts could become civilized. 



ntioiis of 
s the in- 
tioiis aru 
it, litera- 
L-h other; 
js is sure 
)re luufli 
hi i. shed a 
hans^e of 
arts and 
out every 
ition is a 
fovenient ; 
D of every 
le henetit 

la against 
te in pnr- 

l)ut such 
s the par- 
.U'V. The 

ml t)thers, 
asts of the 

to rise up 
s in reality 
)n of wild 

But whv (loos i)i'iniitive man desire to ahandon his 
ori"iiial state juid sot out upon an arduous never-end- 
iny- journey? AVliy does he wisli to ehan^e his mdd 
]»aternal n'overinnent, to relincpiish his title to lands as 
hi-oad as liis arm can defend, with all therein contained, 
the conunon j>ro|»erty of his })eople? Why does he 
Avisli to ,L;ive uj) his wild fi'eedom, his native independ- 
ence, and jilace uj>on his limhs the fetters of a social 
and jiolitiral despotism? He does not. The savai^e 
hates civih/ation as he hates his deadliest foe; its 
choicest heiiotits he hates more tlian the dii'est ills of 
his own unfettei'fd life. He is di-iven to it; drivon to 
it hy extraneous iiiHuences, without his knowled<;e 
and a_<4"ainst his will; he is <ii'iven to it hy this Soul of 
Proyi-ess. it is here that this proj.'Tessional phenome- 
non ai;ain apjiears outside of man and in direct opjio- 
si(ion to tlie will of man; it is here that tlie principle 
oi't'vil ayain comes in antl stirs men up to the accom- 
plishment of a higher destiny. By it Adam, the first 
of recoi'ded savan'cs, was driven from Eden, Avhei'e 
othei'wise lie Would have remained forever, and re- 
mained uncivilized. By it our ancestors were imiielled 
to ahandon their simple state, and organize moiv 
heterogeneous com})lex forms of social life. And it is 
a prohk-m for each natic»n to woi'k out for itself. Mil- 
lions of money are expended for merely proselytini^ 
pui'iioscs, when if tlie first i)rinci]>les of civilization 
wiie Well understood, a more liheial manner of teach- 
ing would prevail. 

Every civilization has its ]>eculiarities, its idiosyn- 
crasies. Two individuals attemptino- the same thing 
differ ill the performance; so civilization evolving uiidei 

incidental and extrai 

leous causes takes an indi\i(lualitv 

m every mstance. Ihis is whv civilizations will not 

coalesce; this is why the Si)an"iai(ls could make tl 
Aztecs accept their <jivilization only at the j)oiut oftli 
I. iXvelopment engendei-ed hy one set of jilu 


noineiia will not suit the develojunents of other cir- 
cumstances. The government, reliuion, and custom.s 




of one po()])le will not Ht iuiotlior })oo|)lc any more than 
the coat of one j»erson will suit the form of another. 
Thought runs in dilierent <'hannels; the happiness of 
one is not the ]iap]»ineHS of another; (leveloj)ment 
spriniji^s from inherent necessity, and one species cannot 
l)e eiii^rafted on another. 

Let UH now examine the phenomena of jL^overnment 
and relij^ion in their ap])lication to the evolution of 
societit!s, and we shall het er understand how tlu! 
Avheels of progress are first set in motion, and hy 
leligion I do not mean creed or credulity, but that 
natural cultus inherent in humanity, Mhich is a verv 
different thing. Government is early felt to he a nee<l 
of society; the enforcement of laws which shall hring 
order out of social chaos; laws which shall restrain the 
vicious, protect the innocent, and i)unish the guilty ; 
which shall act as a shield to inherent budding moral- 
ity. But before government, there nuist arise some 
influence which will band men together. An early evil 
to which civilization is indebted is war; the pro])ensity 
of man unha})pily not yet entirely overcome — I'or kill- 
ing his fellow-man. 

The human race has not yet attained that state of 
liomogeneous felicity which we sometimes imagine; 
ujjon the surface, we yet bear many of the relics of 
barbarism; under cover of manners, we hide still more. 
War is a bai'barism which civilization only intensifies, 
as indeed civilization intensifies ever}' barbarism which 
it does not eradicate or cover up. The iMght of every 
individual to act as his own avenger; trial by combat; 
justice dependent upon the passion or caprice of the 
judge or i-uler and not ui)on fixed law; hereditary feuds 
and mii»Tatorv skirmishes; these and the like are 
deemed barbarous, while every nation of the civilized 
world maintains a standing army, applies all the arts 
and inventions of civilization to the science of killing, 
and upon sufficient provocation, as a disputed boundary 
or a fancied insult, no greater nor more im})ortant than 



OOVKUNMKXT AM» |{i:i,I(iI<)N. 


nore tliiiii 
(jtiiiess of 
iuH ciiniKtt 

Dlution of 

llOW till! 

— and l)y 
but tliiit 
I is Ji very 
1)0 a 1100(1 
Kill brinjj;- 
^strain tlio 
lio j^uilty; 
iiiLi;' moral - 
ii'iso soiiio 
f early evil 
— for kill - 

it state of 


o relics of 

till more. 


sill which 

of overv 
y coiiil )at ; 
Co of the 
tary feuds 

like are 
e civilized 

1 the arts 
of killing, 

rtaiit than 


tliat which nuncd our savaLifo ancestors to like conduct, 
falls to, and ;ifK'r a i-i's|»ectable ci\ ilizcd butchery of 
lifty or a hundred thousand men, ceases lighting, and 
I't'tnrns. jterhaps, to rinlit and reason as a basis for the 
stttlcinent of the dittit'nlty. AVar, like other evils 
vhit'h have proved instruments of s^'oo*!, should by 
this time have had its day, should have sc^rved its 
IMirpost'. Standini;' armies, whose foi'inatioii was i>ne 
of the first and most important ste])s in association and 
partition of labor, ai'o but the manifestation of a lin;«i^or- 
in<j|' necessity for the use of brute force in plact; of 
moral force in the settlement of national dis|»uti'S, 
Siiii'ly, rational being's who retain the most irrational 
prai'tices concerninn' the simplest principles of social 
lii'r ciumot boast of a very liiyh order of what we aro 
pleasi'd to call civilization. ]\b)rality, commerce, lit- 
erature, and industry, all that tends toward elevation of 
intellect, is directly opposed to the warlike sjiirit. As 
intellectual activity increases, the taste for war 
decreases, for an aj)j)eal to war in the settlement if 
<litHciiltics is an ajtpeal from the intellectual to the 
jdiysieal, fi'om reason to brute ibive. 

l)es|)otisni is an evil, but despotism is as essential 
to pronress as any o(,(xl. In some form despotism is 
;m inseparable adjunct of war. An individual or an 
idea may be the (losjxit, hut witlaait cohesion, witlaait 
a strong- central jjower, real or iina,<>inary, there can bo 
no unity, and without unity no protracted warfare. 
In the first stages of <j;-overninent des])otism is as 
cssontial as in the last it is noxious. Jt holds society 
toovther when nothing- ol so would hohl it, and at a time 
when its very existence de|)ends ujton its beiny- so hold. 
And not until a moral inherent strength arises siiHi- 
• ii'nt to burst the fetters of dosiiotism, is a ])eoi)lo fit 
for a hotter or milder form of o-ovornniont; for not until 
this inherent jx.wer is manifest is there sutHcient cohe- 
sive force in society to hold it together witlaait boiiio- 
hoojiod by some such band as despotism. Besides thi;s 
cementing society, war oeneratos many viitues, such 



as couriit^o, (liscij)liiio, <tl)c'(llL'ni'e, cliivali'oiis Ix'ariiijL;, 
iiol»I(j tli()ii;i(lit; aiul tho virtues of war, as well as its 
vices, help to iiioiikl national eharaetei*. 

Slavery to the present day has its deieiulers, and 
I'roni the Hrst it has heen a ])reventivo of a wo'sc; 
evil, -slanj^hter. Savaj^es make slaves of their j)ris- 
oners of war, and if they do nr»t }>reserve them for 
HlaveH they kill them. Tho oriu^in of the woi'd, si-ri'iis, 
from scrrtiiv, to preserve, donote's humane thoui^ht 
rather than cruelty. Diseijdine is always neeessaiv t(> 
(leveloi)nient, and slavery is another form of savage 
discipline. Then, by systems of slaveiy, j^reat woiks 
wore accomplished, which, in the ahsence of arts and 
inventions, would not have been j)ossil)le without slavery. 
And ajL^ain, in early societies wliei'e leisure is so ne'/^- 
sary to mental cultivation and so difficult to obtain, 
slavery, by promoting- leisure, aids elevation and refine- 
ment. Slaves constitute a distinct class, devoted 
Avholly to labor, thereby cnablinj^ another class to live 
without labor, or to labor with the intellect rather 
than with the hands. 

Primordially, society was an au^oTegation of nomadic 
families, every head of a faniily havin«>' ecjual rights, 
and every individual such power and influence as he 
could accjuirc and maintain. In all the ordinary avo- 
cations of savage life this was sufficient; there was 
room for all, and the widest liberty was possessed by 
each. And in this hai)})y state does mankind ever 
remain until forced out of it. In unity and coopera- 
tion alone can great things be accomj)lished; but men 
will not unite until forced to it. Now in times of war 
— and with savages war is the rule and not the excep- 
tion — some closer union is necessary to avoid extinction ; 
for other things being equal, the j)eoj)le who are most 
firmly united and most strongly ruled are sure to ])re- 
vail in war. The idea of unity in order to be effectual 
must 1)0 embodied in a unit; some one mast be made 
chief, and the others must obey, as in a bai)d. of wild 
beasts that follow tho one most conspicuous for its 


uU as its 

iilers, and 

a wo'si! 

lu'ir juis- 

tlieiii tor 
I'd, Kcrriis, 
B thouj^lit 
rossarv to 
of sava^o 
■cat works 
f arts aiul 
lit slaA cry. 
i so m.r„'>^i- 

to obtain, 
and rctinc- 
s, du voted 
lass to live 
left rather 

of nomadic 
ual ri.nlits, 
lenee as he 
linarv iivo- 
there was 
)ssessed by 
kind ever 
; but men 
ines of war 
the exeei>- 
extinetion ; 
lo are iiu)st 
ure to i)rc- 
)e etfettual 
i be made 
i)d of wild 
ous for its 

<;ovi:itNMi:NT loucHi* rroN man. 


]»roW(ssai:d csunn'n'j;'. Ihit the military principle aloiu! 
wonld never la} the foundation of a stronj4';;(>vernment, 
for with ('Very cessation from hostilities tiiere would bo 
a corresjiondinu^ relaxation of o'overnment. 

Another necessity for ^'overnment here arises, but 
which likewise is not the cause of oovcrnment, for 
novt innu'iit sjtriiiijfs from force and not from utility. 
These m-n do not want L''overnment, they do not want 
iiiltnre; how then is an arm to be found suHiciently 
stroll^' to bridle their wild passions? In reason they 
are cliildren, in passion men; to restrain the stroiiLif 
passions of strong;' non- reasoning- men reijuii'cs a jtower; 
wlu'nci! is this power to <-ome ? it is in the earlier 
stan'e of i;'»>vernnient that (lesj)otism assumes its most 
inti'nse forms. The more j)assionate, and lawKss, ami 
cruel the ])eople, the more completely do they submit to 
a passionate, lawless, and cruel pi'inc*'; the moi'e un- 
yoN-ernable their nature, the more slavish ai'e they in 
their submission to i^overnnient; tiie stion^'er the 
element to he •^'overned, the stronger must be the j,^ov- 

The primitive; man, whoever or whatevei- that may 
,be, lives in harmony with nature; that is, he lives as 
other animals live, drawinjjc his supplies immediately 
from the general storehouse oi' nature. His Ibod ho 
plucks from a sheltering' tree, or draws from a spark- 
liui;- sti'eam, or ca])tures from a })rolifie forest. The 
remnants of his cajituro, unfit for food, siipj>ly his 
other wants; with the skin ho clothes Iiimself, and 
with the bones makes imj)lenients and jioints his 
weapons, lu this there are noantai^'onisms, noopjtosini^ 
|)rinciples of i^ood and evil; animals are killed not 
with a view of extermination, but through necessity, 
as animals kill animals in order to suj)})ly actual wants, 
i^ut no sooner does the leaven of j)rogress be^in to work 
than war is declared between man and nature. To 
make room for denser ]H)pulations and increasiiii';' com- 
foits, forests must be hewn down, their ])riineval 
inhabitants extirpated or domesticated, and the soil 



laid iMidjr more direct contribution. Union and coop- 
orati', ii sprini^ uj) for purposes of protection and ai^s^res- 
sion, for the acconiplislnnent of pur})ose.s beyond the 
(•a])aLity of tlie individunl (Jradually manufactures 
and commerc'j increase; the products of one body of 
laborers are exchanged for the j)roducts of anotliei', and 
thus the aii'<jfre*''ate comforts i)roduced are doubled to 
each. Absolute j)Ower is taken from the hands of the 
many and ])lai'etl in the liaiids of one, who becomes the 
r('[)ri'scntative power of all. Men are no longer de- 
pendent upon the chase for a daily suj)j)ly of food; even 
ai^riculture no long-er is a necessity which each must 
follow for himself, for the inlellectual products of one 
jierson or people may be exchanged for the agricultural 
products of another. With these changes of (*ccuj)a- 
tion new institutions spring uj), new itleas originate, 
and now habits are formed. Human life ceases to be 
a pui'ely matej-ial existence; anotlier element finds 
exercise, the other part of man is permitted to grow. 
The energies of society now assume a diiferent shape; 
hitherto tlie daily struggle was for daily necessities, 
now the accumulation of wealth constitutes the chief 
incentive to labor. Wealth becomes a power and 
absorbs all other j^owers. The j)ossessor of unHmited 
wealth commands the products of every other man's 

Ihit in time, and t'- a certain extent, a class arises 
already possessed of wealth sufficient to satisfy even 
the demands of avarice, and something still better, 
sonic; greater go* d is yet sought for. Money-getting 
gives way betbre intellectual cravi igs. The self-(h'- 
nials an.d labor necessa'y to the act uisitit/U of wealth 
are abandoned for the enioyment )f wealth alrejulv 
ai'(juired and the ac(|uisition of a yet higlier g<wKl. 
Sensual ])leasui'e yields in a nieas tre to intelleetual 
pleasui'e, the acipiisition of money to the ac([uisitioii 
of learning. 

Where brute intelligence is the order of the day, 
man ixupiires no more governing than brutes, but when 



ind coop- 

yond the 
J ])ody of 
)thoi', and 
oubled to 
ids of the 
comes the 
oULi'er do- 
VxkI ; even 
iiwh must 
C'ts of one 
3f (.»ccii])a- 
;ases to l)u 
iieiit tinds 
d to grow, 
out shape ; 
^ tlio cliief 
lower and 
jlier man's 

ass arises 
tisfy even 
11 better, 
10 self-dt'- 
of wcaltli 
h alrejtdy 
i'her g«H)d. 

if the day, 
hut when 


lands are divided, and the soil cultivated, when wealth 
iH'n'ins to accumulate and commerce and industry to 
rtouiMsh, then protection and lawful punishment hccome 
necessary. Like the wild hoise, leave him free, and 
he will take care of himself; hut catch him and curh 
liim, and the wildei" and stntnger he is the sti'ou^er 
must he the curl) until he is suhdued and trained, and, 
then he is guided by a light rein. The kind of govern- 
ment makes little difference so that it he sironyf enouiifh. 

(jlranted that it is ahsolutely e ..>ential to the first 
step towai'd culture that society should l)e strongly 
governed, how is the first govermnent to be aceom- 
])lished; how is oik; member of a })assi()nate, unbridled 
heterogeneous community to obtain d(»minion absolute 
over all tlie others^ Here coi.ies in another evil to 
the assistance of tlie former ev'ls, all foi- future trcH^d, — 
Superstition. Never could j»liysical force alone com- 
pi'ess and hold the iiccessaiy jiower witli wlilch to burst 
the shell of savagism. The government is »,';t a reflex 
(»f the governed. .\ot until one ma)i is ])hysicallv <tr 
intellectiialiy stronger than ten thousand, will an inde- 
jwndent piojde sui)mit to a tyrannical government, or 
a humane ])eoj)le submit to a cruel government, or a 
j)eoj»ie accustomeil to free discussion to an intolerant 

At tlie outset, T [iiai> is to l»e governed at all, there 
ii»wst be no division of governnietital force. The cause 
for fear arising iioni both the i>hysical and the 8U])er- 
natural nnist be muted in ojio In the ab- 
>i'Urv of the moral sentiment the feai- of legal and tha^ 
of spiritual punishments are identical, for the s])intual 
I- feared only as it works temjtoral or corporal evil. 
Kreedom of thought at this stage is incompatii^le witli 
j.rogress, for thought without experience is dangerous, 
tending towards anarchy. Before men can govein 
themselves they nuist be subjected to the .sternest (lis 
ei|)liue of governm-nt, and whether this government 
be just or humane or pleasant is of small eonseuuencu 



so that it be only stronq- enouLjli. As with polity so 
Avith morality and relii>ion; cunjoiiitly with dos])otisiii 
there imist he an arbitrary central church novei'nnient, 
or nio)'ai anarchy is the incvitahle consi'(jncnce. At 
the outset it is not for man to rule hut to obey; it is 
not for savaf^es, who a)" children in intellect to think 
and reason, but to beliex' . 

And thus W(; se(' how wonderiully man is jtrovided 
Avitli the essentials of y-rowtli. This tender nerm of 
])roi,''ress is [)reserved in hard shells and ])rickly covei'- 
in^i^s, which, when tliey have served their ]iui'}>ose arc 
thrown aside as not only useless but detrimental to 
further de\ elo]>ment. We know not what will come 
herc^aftei', but up to the present time a state of bondaL;c 
appears to be the normal state of humanity; bondai,^', 
;it tirst severe and ii-rational, then ever looseniny', 
;i;id expandiniif into a f'roader freedom. As maidvind 
I troLTresses, moral anarchy no more follows iVeedom nf 
th(»UL!"ht timu does |)o]itic:d anarchy follow fiee<lom of 
action. Jn ^Jermany. iii Ki»Lrla?id. in AuK'rica, whei' 
ever secular j>ower has in any measure cut loose from 
««ci<-!siastical j#»uer and thrown religion back ujwni 

* "^le sentii»»<:!nt for support, a moi'al as well ;)^ an 
ectual ftiMfjlv;inc( ^,^s always followed. What the 
an<l j«rj'r>-ii^ 'i\ e te.uhin^'s and lax discij)line of 
the pn-Ment epo«-li would have been to the Chiistians 
of the f'wrteenth <i-iitui'v, the free and lax oovcrnment 
■etf re})ubli<an An erica would have been to i«publican 
H'ome. Therefore, \*^. us learn to look charitably upon 
t' • ''^i^i itutions of the f*ast, and not forget how nnidi 
r*) th<.T»i; vhfte we rejoice at our release from 
" lelty arA i^-noran^^-c of medioBval times, let us 
n'* fr^^wet th«^ deV>t which civilization owes to the 
.M.r, ,i M^ teacLiiaffs of both Churrh and State. 

( li ^tianity, oy its exalted un-utilitnrian morality 
and philanthropy, has greatly nid(>d rivilizatiou. In- 
deed so Tiiarked hms been the ert'oct in Kumpe, so ♦jreat 
tibe contrast fcetfreen Christianity and Islamish, an<l 
the pfJytheistic creeds in general, that Churchmen 




th polity s(» 
1 des])(ttisiii 
[Ueiicc. At 
) obey ; it is 
ect to think 

is provided 
Icr oii'iii of 
ickly cove)'- 
ptii'posc ai'i' 
uriinental to 
it will coiiie 

v; lioiulage, 
r l(R)sciiiniL>', 
As maiikind 
< fVoodoin of 
V tVoedom of 
lorica, whoi- 
it looso IVoiii 

1 liack u]ion 
> Well a-^ ail 

What t)R' 
discipline of 
le Cliristians 

o rcpuhlicaii 
.ritably upon 
it how iniuli 
rolcasG from 
times, let us 
3vves to thti 

ian morality 
izaticvu. In- 
•ope, so ixreat 
slamisiu and 

Churcbm* u 

claim civilization as the offspring of their religion. 
But religion and morality must not be confounded 
with civilization. All these and many other activities 
act and react on each other as proximate principles in 
the social organism, but they do not, any or all of them, 
constitute the life of the orijanism. Long before mo- 
rality is religion, and Img after morality religion sends 
the pious penitent to liis knees. It<'ligious culture is a 
great assistant to moral culture as intellectual training 
j)romotes the industrial arts, but morality is no more 
religion than is industry intellect. When Christi- 
anity, as in the early settlement of Mexico and Central 
America, falls into the hands of unprincipled advent- 
urcis or blind zealots who stand up in deadly an- 
tagonism to liberty, then Christianity is a drag upon 
civilization; and therefore we may conclude that in so 
i'ar as Christ ianlty grafts on its code of j)ure morality 
die principle of intellectual fieedom,in so far Is civiliza- 
tion promoted by Christianity, but when Christianity 
engenders persecution, civilization is retarded thereby. 
Then Protestantism sets uj) a claim to the authorship 
of civilization, points to Spain and then to England, 
compares Italy and Switzerland, Catholic America 
and Puritan Anierici, declares that the intellect can 
never attain siij)criority while under the dominion of 
tlic ('Jiiui'i of pome; in other words, that civilization 
i- l*rot iitisni. It is true that protestation 
irratio!,,il dogmas, or any other action that tends 
toward the emancipation of the intellect, is a great 
sti'j) i'l advance; but religious belief has nothing what- 
cvei- to do with intellectual (adture. Religion from its 
\-'!y nature is beyond the limits of reason; it is emo- 
tional I'atiier rlian intellectual, an instinct and not an 
acijuisition. ll'tween reason and religion lies a domain 
of co]nmon ground upon which both may meet and join 
hands, but the boundaries of which neitln r 
niiy pass. The moment tin intellect attempts to pene- 
trate the domain of the Supi'rnatural all intellectuality 
vanishes, and em )tion and imagination fill its place. 

- I 




There can be no real conflict between tlie two, for 
ii'iither, by any possibility, can pass this neutral ground. 
Before the mind can receive Christianity, or Mahoni- 
ctanisni, or any otiier en ed, it nuist be ready to accept 
doiifnias in the analysis of whicli human reason is ijower- 
less. Amono' the most brilliant intellects are found 
i *rotestants, lionianists, Unitarians, Deists, and Athe- 
ists; judging from the experiences of mankind in a^es 
l)ast, creeds and fonnulas, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, 
have no inherent i)()wer to advance or retard the intel- 
lect. Some claim, indeed, that strong doctrinal bias 
stifles thou,i»-ht, fosters su})erstition, and fetters the 
intellect; still reli^'ious tliought, in some form, is inse])- 
aral)le from the human mind, and it would be veiy 
ditfit-ult to prove that belief is more debasing' than 

lleligion at first is a gi'oss fetichism, wliich endows 
every wonder with a concrete i)ersonahtv. Within 
every appearance is a several personal cause, and to 
embody tliis personal cause in some material form is 
the first efibrt of the savage mind. Hence, images arc 
made in representaion of these imaginary supernatural 
))<)wers. ]\Tan, of necessity, must clothe these su})er- 
natui'al powers in tlie elements of some lower form. 
The imagination cannot grasp an object or an idea be- 
yond the realms of human ex})erience. Unlieard-of 
e(>ml»inations of character may be made, but the con- 
stituent jiarts must, at some time and in some form, 
have had an ex.istence in order to be conceivable. It 
is impossi))le for tiie human mind to array in forms of 
thought anytliing wliolly and absolutely new. Thi.> 
state is the fai'thest remove possil)le from a recogni- 
(iiin of tliose universal laws of causation toward whicli 
every dej)artment of knowledge is now so rapidly tend- 
ing, (lods ari! made in the likeness of man and beast, 
endowed with earthly i)assions, and a sensual poly- 
tlieism, in which blind fate is a prominent element, be- 
comes the religious ideal. Ivcligious conceptions arc 



le two, for 
:ral ^niomid. 
or liliihoin- 
ly to acfe})t 
)U is ])owo]'- 
s are ibuiid 
, and Atla- 
ciiid in ai^os 
^d the hitel- 
K-trinal bias 
fetters the 
rni, is inscp- 
uld 1)0 veiy 
basing than 

hich endows 
ty. Witliiti 
ause, and to 
L'rial form is 
images are 
these siqter- 
lower form, 
an idea he- 
l)ut the eon- 
i some form, 
'oivahle. It 
in forms of 
new. Thi> 
n a recogni- 
)ward which 
apidly tend- 
n and heast, 
cnsual poly- 
eh'ment, he- 
leeptions arc 

(ssentially materi;d; all })unishments and rewards are 
such as L'tK'ct man as a material being; morality, the 
innate sense of right and wrong, lies stiHed, almost 

Thrown wholly npon liimsulf, without experience to 
guide liini, the sa\age nmst, of necessity, invest nature 
with his own (jualities, for his niind can grasp uoii(> 
other. l)ut when exjierience disjtels the neai'er illu- 
sions, ()l»jects more I'emote are made gods; in the sun 
and stars he sees his controlling destinies; the nund)er 
of !iis gods is lessened until at last all mei'ge into one 
(iod. tlie author of all law, the great and oril}" rule^* of 
the uiii\erse. In eveiy mvtlioloi'V we see this imiier- 
Bonation of natural ])lu'nomena; frost and fire, earth 
and air and water, in their disp«layf of mysterious 
powirs, are at once' deified and humani/ed. These 
embodiments of physical force are then natnrall}' formed 
into families, and their sujt|)osed de.scendants v.orsliipi'd 
as children of the gods. Thus, in the childhood of so- 
ciety, when incipi(!nt tliought takes up its lodgment 
in old men's brains, sliadows of departed lieroes min- 
gle with shadows <jf mysterious nature, and admiration 
turns to adoration. 

Xext arises tlie desii-t^ to ])ropitiafe these unseen 
powers, to accomj)lish wlnCh some nu'ans of cemmmii- 
tioii nuist be ojiened u|t between man and his deities. 
Kow, as man in his gods re[>i'oduces liimself, as all his 
concc])ti()iis of supernatural power nuist, of iieeessirx-, 
be f trnu'd on the skeleton of human power, na.turally it 
follows tliat the strongest and most cumiing of the 
tribe, he upon wl)om leadersliip most iianirailv falls, 
coni's to be I'egarded as s|M.M'iaily fa\oiV(l of the gods. 
I^)Wers supernatural are joined to powei-s temporal, 
and eiubodied in the cliieftain of the nation. A ^'ratc- 
ful postei'ity I'everesand ]iro|titiates departed aiicestoi's. 
Tlie earlier nders are made' gods, and tlieir descend- 
ants lesser divinities: tlie foundei- of a dynastv, pei-- 
Ivips. the s' ;iieine ginl, his progeny subordinate deities. 
The prii^rhood a-td kiiig-liip thn^ bi'come united; 




ivli^Ion and civil LC'ivcrninoiit join forces to press man- 
I;iiul t '.;et]ier, and the loose sands of the new sti'ata 
coliei'e into the firm rock, that sliall one day bear 
alone the wash of time and tide. 

1 f (.'lice arise divine kin^'shij), and tlie divine ri^'ht 
of'kin;jfs, and with the desire to win the favor of this 
divine kiiiu', ai'ist! the courtesies of societv, the first 
step toward ])olisii of manners. Titles of resj)ect and 
woi'ship an; l^mxi'Ii him, some of which are sMhseipiently 
ajtplied to the Deity, while others droj) down into the 
common-j)lac<; compliments of every-day life. 

Here tlien, we have as one of the tirst essentials of 
pro'i'ress the union of Church and State, of supersti- 
tion and desj)otism, a, union still necessarily ke|)t uj) 
in some of the more backward civilizations. Excessi\ o 
loyalty and Mind faith ever march hand in hand. The 
very basis of association is credulity, blind loyalty to 
]»olitical })o\\'ers and blind faith in sa<'erdotal terrors. 
In all mythologies at some stayv temjjoi'al aiul spirit- 
ual g-overnment are united, the sujiernatural ])ower 
beiiiL'' incarnated in the tem])oral chief; ])olitieal des- 
]>i»tism;nid an awful sauLi'uiiiaryrelii'ion, — ai>'overnment 
a id a belief, to disobey Avhich \\as never .S(^ much as 
thought possible. 

See how every one of these primary essentials of 
ii\'ili/ation becomes, as man advances, a dra<j;' upon 
Ills proi>Tess; see how he now stru^'L^'les to fi'ce himself 
iVom what, at the outset, he; was led bv wavs he knew 
not to (nidure so patiently. (Jovermnent, in early 
sta^'es always stron*,^ aiul despotic, whether monarchi- 
cal, olis^-ai-chical, or re[»ublican, holding' mankind luukr 
the dominion of caste, placlni; restrictions u}v>n eoni- 
merc(3 and manufactures, re^ulatinL'' social custon^. 
l")od, dress, -how men have fought to break louse 
ilu'se bonds! lielio'ion, not that natural cultus iii- 
stineti\e in humanitv, the bond of union as well under 
its most disn'ustiuij;" form of fetichism, as luidei- \\> 
latest, loveliest form of ( "hristianity ; but those t'oiiu^ 
and dogmas of sect and ereed \\hi<h stillc thought 


press inan- 

iiew strata 

lo day licar 

livinc ri^lit 
av<»r of this 
tv, tlie first 
respect aiKi 
Avu into the 

essentials of 
of siipcrsti- 
rilv kei)t ui) 
1. Kxeessive 
I liand. Tlie 
1(1 loyalty tn 
lotal terrors, 
d and spirit- 
itural ])ower 
political des- 
i governinent 
• so much as 

essentials of 
(lrM"4' upon 
i'vrr himself 
avs he knew 
nt, iti earlv 
nkind undt r 
s upon coni- 
a\ custoii'v 
hroak loose 
d cultus in- 
1^ well un«l«'i' 
,!^ under !t> 
1 rho^-c toiiii^ 
till-' thonu!'^ 



and fetter intellect, — how men have lived lives of sac- 
rifice and sfh'-denial as well as died for the ri<^ht to 
llee theliisi'lves I'rom unwelcome hcllci'' 

1 n jtriiiieval a^es, i;-overnment and reli^^ion lay lii^htly 
on tile hiniian race; ethnoloj^y, as well as history, 
discloses the patriarchal as the earliest form of govern- 
ment, and a rude materialism as the earliest religious 
ideal ; tliese two simjde elements, under the form of 
iiion>ttr>, hecame hu^e ahortions, he^'otteu of i_n'noi'ance, 
that held the intellect in ahject slavery i'or thousands 
oi" vcars, and from these we, of this generation, more 
than any other, are (granted emanci[)ation. Even 
wealth, kind giver of grateful leisnre, in the guise of 
avarice heconies a hideons thing, which he who would 
attain the higher intellectual life, must learn to despise. 

(Jovernment, as we have seen, is not an essential 
element of coHective humanity. Civilization must he awakened, must e\en have })assed the pi-inuD'y 
.stages hefore goveriunent ap])ears. .])es])otisni, feudal- 
ism, divine kingship, slavery, war, superstition, each 
niaiks certain stages of development, and as civiliza- 
tion ad\ances all tend to disappear; and, as in the 
early histoiy of nations the state antedates the gov- 
ernment, so the time may come in the })rogres.s of 
mankind wlieii government will he no longer necessary. 
(!o\< rnnient always grows out of necessity; tlie inten- 
sity \>f go\crnmiMit inevitahly following necessitv. The 
fitrm of ^'ovcrnmeut is a natural sehrtion; its .several 
j)hases always the survival of the littest. When the 
fetkialist says to the monarchist, or the monarchist to 
the federaliNt: ^[y goveinnient is hettei' than yours, 
it is a- if the Kskimo said to the Kaihr: My coat, my 
hon^e. my I'ood, is he-tter than yours. 

The yovenniient is made foi the man, and not the 
iiu'»u for the government. Uovermneiit is as the prop 
f.r the ^rowing plant; at first the young shoot stands 
.loll.., then in its raj)id advancement for a time it 
ieiuire,> Mii.[>ort, after which it is ahle aj-ain to stand 


\'.\ \ 



alone. What wo term the evils t)f jrovernnient arc 
rather its necessities, and are, indeed, no evils at all. 
Tho lieavy hit which ccjiitrtjls tlie mouth of an un- 
tamed horse is to that horse an evil, yet to the di'iver a 
necessity wliich may he laid aside as the temper of the 
animal is suhdued. So desj)otism, feudalism, slavei'v, 
are cavils to those under their dominion, yet are they 
as necessary for the prevention of anardiv, for tlic 
restraint of nnhridled passions, as the powerful hit 
to the horse, and will as surely he laid aside when no 
lonnrer required. Shallow-minded jtoliticians talk of 
kinuccraft, arhitrary rule, tyrants, the down-trodden 
masses, the withholdinu;* of just riL^hts; as though the 
gov(;rnnu!nt was some inde[)endent, adverse element, 
wholly foreign to the character of the ])eo]»le; as 
thou^-h one man was sti'ontj;er than ten thousand; a.-> 
thoii'^li, if these ])hases of society were not the fittest, 
they would l)e tolerated for a moment. The days of 
ri'j'orous rule were ever the host days of France and 
Spain, and so it will he until the ])eople hecome 
strontjfer than the strem^th of rulers. He])uhlicanism 
is as unfit for stu})id and unintellectual ])oj)ulations, 
as desj)otism would he for the advanced ideas and lih- 
eral institutions of Anglo-Saxon Amei'ica. The suh- 
ject of a liheral rule sneeringly ciying down to tlu' 
suhject of an ahsolute rule his form of government, is 
like the nss crying to the tiger: Leave hlood and meat : 
feed on grass and tliistles, the only diet fit for civilized 
heasts! Our federal government is the very hest for 
our people, when it is not so it will speedily change; 
it fits the temper of American intelligence, hut hefore 
it can he planted in Japan or China the traditions and 
temper of the Asiatics nuist change. 

We of to-day are undergoing an important epoch in 
tlie history of civilization. Fi'udalisni, (U'spotism, and 
fanaticism have had each its day, have; each acconi- 
])lished its necessary pur})ose, and are fast fading aAvay. 
()urs is the age of democracy, of scientific inxcstiga- 
ticm. and fivedom of religious thought ; what these mav 



iiinoiit arc 
■vils at all. 
of an uii- 
he <lrivcr a 

HptT of tilt-' 

111, slavcrv, 
.'t arc tliL'V 
ly, for the 
Dworful l)it 
lu wlion n<» 
Ills talk of 
though tlio 
so elcmuiit, 
])eo]iU'; as 
lousaiul; a> 
) the fittest, 
riic (lays of 
Francu and 

Jllo 1)C'('()11U' 

as and lil)- 
Tho snl.- 
)\\\\ to tlu' 
ernnii'nt, is 
and meat ; 
or civilized 
ry best for 
ily change; 
)iit belVirc 
iditions and 

lilt epoch in 
)otisin, antl 
ich acconi- 

iding aAvay. 

t these iiiav 

acconi{tlisli for the advancing intelU'ct remains to he 
seen. ( )ur ancestors loved to dwell u})on the jiast, n(»\v 
we all look toward the future. 

The sea of ice, over which our forefatliers glided so 
si'i-ciH'lv in their trustful reliance, is hn-aking up. 
( Mie after another traditions evaporate; in their appli- 
cation to lU'oximato events thev fail us, hi.storv ceases 
to rej»eat itself as in times past. Old things are \n\sH- 
ing away, all things are hccoining new; new philoso- 
jthies, new religions, new sciences; the industrial sjiirit 
springs uj) and o\erturns time-honored customs; 
theories of government nuist he reconstructed. Thus, 
says I'xperience, n-puhlicanism, as a form of govern- 
ment, can exist only in small states; hut steam and 
electiicity step in and annihilatt! time and space, 'i'he 
iJoman repuhlic, from a lack of i-ohesiNe energy, frouj 
failure of central vital j)ower sufHcient to send the 
hlood of th(i nation fi'om the heai't to the extremities, 
died a natural death. The American repuhlic, co\er- 
iiig nearly twice the teri'itoi-y of repuhlican Home in 
her palmlt^st days, is eii(h)Wed with a dirt'ereiit species 
of organism; in its physiological system is found a new 
series of veins and arteries, the railway, the telegra})h, 
and the daily })ress, through which imlsates the life's 
hlood of the nation, millions inhaling and exhaling 
. intelligence as on(> man. .By means of these inven- 
tions all the woild, once e\eiy day, are hrought 
together. By telegraphic wires and railroad iron 
men are now hound as in times past they were hound 
by war, desj»otism, and su])erstition. The remotest 
corners of the largest repuhlit-s of to-day, are bi'ounht 
into closer communication than wi're the adjoining 
states of the smallest confederations of anti(|uitv. A 
united ({ermany, from its past history held to he an 
|inij.<)ssil)ility, is, with the j. resent iacilities of cu\\\- 
|lnunication, an accomi)li.shed I'act. Kngland could 
I as easily liave possessed colonies in the moon, as 
[have held her present possessions, tliret' hundred years 
age. Practically, .'^an Francisco is nearer \Vus'hiu<"- 



toll tli;iii was I'hil;ulc'lj)liia wlicii the louiulatioiis (.f 
tliu Caj)it()l wcru laid. What is to j)rovent r(.[>iil)liis 
IVoiii LifowiMii', so l(»iiij' as iiituinuuiici! kee|)s ]),uc with 
extension? The {general of an army may now sit he- 
Tore liis maps, and maiHi-nvic hall" a scoi-e of armies a 
hundred or a thousand miles a[)art, know hourly the 
situation ot" every division, the sueeess of every Iiattle, 
order an advance or a retreat, lay }»lots and make eom- 
hinations, with more exactness than was onee pos.sihle 
in the conduct of an ordinary cam}>ai,L;i». 

A few words ahout morals, manners, and fashion, 
will further illustrate how man is played upon hy his 
environment, which here takes the sha}>e of hahit. In 
their heai'inn' on civilization, these [>heiiomena all 
come under the same category; and this, without 
re^ai'd to the I'ival theories of iiituition and utility in 
morals. Experience teaches, blindly at lirst yet daily 
with cleai'er vision, that rii^ht conduct is henelicial, 
antl wj'oul;" conduct detrimental ; that the conseipienees 
of sin invariably rest on the evil-doer; that for an 
unjust act, though the knowledge of it he forever 
locked in the bosom of the offender, punishment is 
wure to follow; yet there are those who ([Uestion the 
existence of innate moral j)erce})tions, and call it all 
custom and traininL,^ And if we look alone to ])rimi- 
tive people for innate ideas of moi'ality and justice 1 
fear we shall meet with disa})pointment. Some we iind 
who value female chastity only before marriage, others 
oidy after marriage, -that is, after the woman and 
lier chastity both alike become the tangible propei'ty 
of somebody. Some kindly kill their aged ])arents, 
others their female infants; the successful A])ac-lio 
horse-thief is the darling of his mother, and the heiu 
of the tril)e; often these American Arabs will remain 
fi'om home half-starved for weeks, i-ather than sufllr 
the ignominy of retui'ning em])ty-hande(l. (Jood, in tin; 
mind of the savage, is when he steals wives; bad,is wln'ii 
his own wives are stolen. Where it is that inherent 



lali*>ns <<r 
])ii(c witli 
()\v sit \iv- 
\' iU'inii's ;i 
hourly tlu' 
c'l'v battle', 
make coin- 
L*u possible 

11(1 fashion, 
ipKii l)y hii^ Ill 
loiueiui all 
is, without 
d utility ill 
st yet daily 
, l)eucru'ial, 
that ibr an 
l)u Ibrover 
nishinent is 
question the 
I eall it all 

to i»riini- 

1 justice 1 
>inu Nve iin<l 
ia*4'e, othei -i 
woman and 
h' property 
ed parents, 
ul Apaehe 
id the heiii 
will remain 
than sulK r 

(Jood, in tlu' 
lat inherent 

nioralitv in savai^^cs first makes Its appearan(H\ and in 
what manner, it is nl'ten ditlienit to say; tlu' most 
hidcdiis vices are every where practiced with unhlusliin^^' 

Take tlie jtlienomena of Shame. (Jo l.ack to tlie 
childlinod of onr race, (»r even to our o\\ n childliood, 
and it will be liard to discover any inherent ipiality 
which make men ashamed of one tiling' more than 
aiMithrr. Xor can the wist'st of us ;^'ive any ^dod and 
>utlicient reason wliy we slioidd be aslianii'd of our 
body any more than of our face. Tlu; wliole man was 
fasliioned by one Creator, and all jiarts e(|ually are 
|ieilect and alike hemii-able. \\\' co\er our ]terson 
with drapery, and think thereby to liide our faults 
from (lursclvi's and othei's, as tlie ostrich liidis its 
head under a leaf, and fancies its body concealed 
fiDin the hmiti'r. What is this cpiality of sliaine if it 
be not habits \ feiuale savage will stand unbhish- 
iiiu'ly before you naked, l)ut strij) lier of lier ornaments 
and she will manifest the same ap|)earance of shame, 
tliou'^'h not pi'rhaps so ^reat in dei^i'ee, that a I'airo- 
|)i'an wiiman will manifest if stiM|iped of her clothes. 
It is Well known liow civili/i'd and semi-ci\ ilizeil 
nations reijfal*' this (|iia1ity of proi.riety. ( 'ustom, 
couveutional usa^v, dress and behavior, nvc inllueiices 
as >ubtle and as stronu;' as any that "^'overn us, weav- 
in;.;' thi'ir net-W(»i'k round man more and niori' as lie 
throws otf alleL;'iance to other powers; and wi' know 
liut little luore ot' their origin and nature than we do 
of the orinin and nature of time and space, of lil'e and 
death, of origin and end. 

I'^N'erv a' e and every society has its own standard 
of morality, holds nj» some certain conduct or ipiality 
as a model, sayiiiL,'' to all. Do this, and ii'ceive the much- 
coM'ted })raisi' of your fellows. ( )ften what one peo- 
ple deem virtue is to anotlier vice; what to one ai^c is 
relinioii is to another superstition; but underlyiiiu' all 
this are livino' firt's, kindled by ( )mnij)otence, and des- 
tined to bum throuyhout all time. In the Spartan 














23 WEST rtiMt* f TREET 


(716) 872-4503 




and Roman republics the moral ideal was patriotism ; 
among mediaeval Churchmen it took the form of ascet- 
icism ; after the elevation of woman the central idea 
was female chastity. 

In tliis national morality, which is the cohesive 
force of the body social, we find the fundamental prin- 
ciple of the progressional impulse, and herein is the 
most hopeful feature of humanity ; mankind nuist pro- 
gress, and progress in the right direction. There is 
no lielp for it until God changes the universal order of 
tilings ; man must become better in spite of himself; 
it is the good in us that grows and ultimately prevails. 

As a race we are yet in our nonage; fearful of the 
freedom given us by progress we cling tenaciously to 
our leading-strings; hugging our mother, Custom, wo 
refuse to be left alone. Liberty and high attainments 
must be meted out to us as we are able to receive 
them, for social retchings and vomitings inevitably 
follow over-feedings. Hence it is, that we find our- 
selves escaped from primeval and mediteval tyrannies 
only to fall under greater ones ; society is none the less 
inexorable in her desj)otisms because of the sophistry 
wliicli gives her victims fancied freedom. For do we 
not now set up forms and fashions, the works of our 
own hands, and bow down to them as reverently as 
ever our heathen ancestors did to their g(jds of wood 
and stone? Who made us? is not the first question 
of our catechism, but What will people say ? 

Of all tyrannies, the tyranny of fashion is the most 
implacable; of all slaveries the slavery to fasliion is 
tiie most abject; of all fears the fear of our fellows 
is the most overwhelming; of all the influences tliat 
surround and govern man the forms and customs which 
he encounters in society are the most domineeiing. 
It is the old st«)ry, only another turn of the wlieel 
tliat grinds and sharpens and polishes humanity, at 
the first a benefit, now a drag. Forms and fashions 
are essential; we cannot live without them. If we 


( I 

have worship, government, commerce, or clothes, "vve 
must have forms; or if we have them not we .still must 
act and do after some fashion ; costume, which is hut 
another word for custom, we uuist have, hut is it 
necessary to make the form the chief concern of our 
lives while we pay so little heed to the suhstance? and 
may we not hope while rejoicing over our past eman- 
cijiations, that we shall some day be free from our 
j)resent desjjotisms ? 

Dress has ever exercised a powerful influence on 
morals and on progress; but this vesture-})henomenon 
is a thing but imperfectly understood. Clothes serve 
as a covering to the body of which we are ashamed, 
and protect it against the weather, and those, we infer, 
are the reasons of our being clothed. But the fact is, 
aboriginally, except in extreme cases, dress is not 
essential to the comfort of man until it becomes a 
habit, and as for shame, until told of his nakedness, 
the primitive man has none. The origin of dress lies 
behind all this; it is found in one of the most deep- 
rooted elements of our nature, namely, in our love of 
approbation. Before dress is decoration. The suc- 
cessful warrior, proud of his achievement, besmears 
liis face and body with the blood of the slain, and 
straightway imitators, who also would be thought 
strong and brave, daub themselves in like manner; and 
si> j)ainting and tatooing become fashionable, and pig- 
ments supply the })lace of blood. The n.aked, houseless 
Californian would undergo every hardsliip, travel a 
hundred miles, and fight a round with every ojjposing 
band he met, in order to obtain cinnabar fi'oni the 
New Ahnaden (juicksilver mine. 80 when the Jumter 
kills a wild beast, and with the tail or skin decorates 
his l)ody as a trophy of his ])rowess, others follow his 
cv;ii,mi>le, and soon it is a shame to that savage who 
has neither paint, nor belt, nor necklace of l)ears' claws. 
And so follow head-rtattenings, and nose-piercings, and 
li[»-cuttings, and, later, chignons, and breast-) taddings, 
and bustles. Some say that jealousy prompted the 



first Boncdicks to liide tl>eir wives' charms from their 
rivals, and so oriij^iiiated female dress, which, from its 
heiii^'- so common to all ahorit^ines, is usually regarded 
as the result of innate modesty. But whatever gave 
us <lress, dress lias given nuich to liuman progress. 
Beneath dress arose modesty and refinement, Hke the 
courtesies tinit cliivahy threw over feudalism, covering 
the coarse brutality of the barons, and paving the way 
to real politeness. 

From the artificial grimaces of fashion have sprung 
many of the natural courtesies of life: though here, 
too, we are sent back at once to tiie beginning for the 
cause. From the ages of superstition and despotism 
have (h.'scended the expressions of every-day [)oliteness. 
Thus we have sir, from sicury sire, seij/HCur, signifying 
ruler, king, lord, and aboriginally father. 80 madam, 
ma (Idiiic, my lady, formerly a}>plied only to women of 
rank. I n place of throwing ourselves u})on the ground, 
as bef()re a god or prince, we only i)artially prostrate 
ourselves in bowing, and the hat which we touch to an 
accpiuintance we take off on entering a church in token 
of our humility. Again, the captive in war is made 
a slave, and as such is rf ipiired to do obeisance to his 
master, which forms of servility are copied by the peo- 
j»le ill addressing their superiors, and finally become 
the established usage of ordinary intercourse. Our 
daily salutations are but modified acts of worship, and 
our parting word a benediction ; and from blood, toma- 
hawks, and senseless superstitions we turn and find all 
the world of humanity, with its still strong passions 
and subtle cravings, held in restraint by a force of 
which its victims are almost wholly unconscious, — 
and this force is Fashion. In tribunals of justice, in 
court and camp eticpiette, everywhere these relics of 
barbarism remain with us. Even we of this latter-day 
American republicanism, elevate one of our fellows to 
the chieftainship of a federation or state, and call him 
E.K(;ellency; we set a man uj)on the bench and /tlcad 
our cause before him; we send a loafer to a legislature, 



and straij^htway call him Honorable,— such divinity 
doth hedge all semblance of jKnver. 

Self-denial and abstinence lie at the bottom of eti- 
quette and g(M)d manners. If you would be moral, 
says Kant, you must "act always so that the inune- 
diate motive of thy will may become a universal rule 
for all intelligent beings," and Goethe teaches that, 
"there is no outward sign of courtesy that does not 
rest on a deep, moral foundation." 

Fine manners, though but the shell of the individ- 
ual, are, to society, the best actions of the best men 
crystallized uito a mode; not only the best thing, but 
the best way of doing the best thing, (^ood society 
is, or ought to be, the society of the good ; but fashion 
is more than good society, or good actir)ns; it is more 
than wealth, or beauty, or genius, and so arbitiary in 
its sway that, not unfrequently, the form al)sorbs the 
substance, and a breach of decorum becomes a deadly 

Thus we see in every phase of development the 
result of a social evolution ; we see men coming and go- 
ing, receiving their leaven from the society into which 
l)y their destiny they are projected, only to tling it 
l)ack into the general fund interpenetrated with their 
own quota of force. ^leanwhile, this aggregati(»n of 
human experiences, this compounding of age with age, 
one generation heaping uj) knowledge upon another; 
tliis In'getting of knowledge by knowledge, the seed so 
infi)itesimal, the tree now so raj)idly sending forth its 
brau'hes, whither does it tend ? Kunning the eye 
aloM^- the line of progress, from the beginning to tlie 
en I, the measure of our knowledge seems nearly full; 
resolving the matter, experience assures us that, as 
compared with those who shall come after us, we 
are the veriest barbarians. The end is not yet; not 
until infinity is spanned and eternity brought to an end, 
will mankind cease to improve. 

Out of this conglomeration of intenninable relation- 



ships conroidant and <antafj()nistic laws arc ever 
evolviiij^ tlioinselvos. Like all other itrogressional 
jihenoiueiia, they wait not u\Km man; they are selt- 
ereative, and force themselves ujion the mind aji^e 
after a<,'e, slowly but surely, as the intellect is able 
to receive them; laws without law, laws unto them- 
selves, j^radually api)earing as from behind the mists 
of eternity. At first, man and his universe appear 
to he re<,'ulated by arbitrary volitions, by a multitude 
of individual minds; each governs absolutely his 
own actions; every phenemenon of nature is but tlie 
exjiression of some single will. As these phenomena, 
one after another, become strip[)ed of their mystery, 
there stands revealed not a g(»d, but a law; seasons 
come and go, and never fail ; sunshine follows rain, 
not because a pacified deity smiles, but because the 
rain-clouds have fallen and the sun cannot hel}) shin- 
ing. Proximate events first are thus made godless, 
then the whole host of deities is driven farther and 
farther back. Finally the actions of man himself are 
found to be subject to laws. Left to his own will, he 
wills to do like things under like conditions. 

As to the nature of these laws, the subtle workings 
of M'hic)» we see manifest in every j)hase of society, 
I cannot even so much as s})eak. An infinite ocean 
of j)henomena awaits the inquirer; an ocean bottom- 
less, over whose surface spreads an eternity of i)ro- 
gress, and beneath whose glittering waves the keenest 
intellect can scarcely hope to j)enetrate far. The uni- 
verse of man and matter nuist be anatomized; the 
functions of innumerable and cohplex organs studied; 
the exercise and infiuence of every part on every otlier 
|)art ascertained, and events aj)parently the nu)st ca- 
l»ricious traced to natural causes; then, when we know 
all, when we know as God knoweth, shall we under- 
stand what it is, this Soul of Progress. 



The American Civilization of the Sixteenth CENTiinv— Its Disap- 
PKARANCE— The Past, a New Element— Dividing link hktwken 
Savage and (,'ivilized Trikes — Hounds of American <"iviliza- 
tion — PiivsKAL Features ok the Country— Maya and Nahua 
Branches ok Aroric.inal Culture — The Nahua Civilization — 
The Aztecs its Ukpresextatives— Limits ok the Aztva Kmpire— 
Ancient History ok Anahuac in Outline— The Toltec Kra— The 
Ciiit'HiMEc Era— The Aztec Era— Extent ok the Aztec LANtuAiiE 
— Civilized Peoples outside ok Anahuac — Central A.meuuan 
Nations— The Maya Culture— The Primitive Maya Empire— 
Nahua Influence in the South— Yucatan and the Mayas The 
Nations ok Chiapas — The Quiche Empire in (Juatemala -The 
Nahuas in Nicaragua and Salvador— Etymology ok Names. 

In the preceding volume I have liad occasion sev- 
eral times to remark that, in the delineation of tlie 
Wild Trihes of the Pacific States, no attenn)t is 
made to follow them in their rai)id decline, no at- 
tempt to penetrate their j'ast or pro[)hesy a possil^le 
future, no profitless lingering over those misfortunes 
that wrought amonsf them such swift destruction. To 
us tlie savage nations of America have neither past 
nor future; only a brief j)resent, from which indeed 
we niay judge somewhat of their })ast; for the rest, 
foreign avarice and interference, European piety and 
greed, saltpetre, steel, snudl-l'ox, and syphihs, tell a 
speedy tale. Swifter stil. must he the hand that 
sketches the incipient civilization of the ^Mexican and 

' (81) 

Vol. 11. 6 



Central American tal»le-landa. For altliouj;h here we 
luive more past, there is .still less present, and scarcely 
any future. Those nations raised the hijjfhest hy their 
wealth and culture, were the first to fall before the 
invader, their superior attainments offerin^j^ a more 
shininj^ mark to a rapacious foe; and fallinuc, they 
were the soonest lost, — absorbed by the contpieriui,'' 
rai J, or disai>pearin«*' in the surroundin«jf darkness. 
Althouufh the sava<^e nations were ra])idly annihil- 
ated, traces of savagism lingered, and yet linger; but 
the higher American culture, a plant of more deli- 
cate growth and more sensitive nature, withered at 
the first rude touch of foreign interference. Instead 
of being left to its own intuitive unfoldings, or instead 
of being fostered by the new-comers, who might have 
elevated by interfusion both their own culture and 
that of the conquered race, the spirit of ])r()gress was 
effectually stitied on both sides by fanatical attempts 
to substitute by force foreign creeds and polities for 
tliose of indigenous origin and growth. And now be- 
hold tliem both, the descendants of conijuorors and of 
contpiored, the one scarcely less denaturalized than 
t!ie other, the curse inflicted by the invaders on a 
flourishing empire returning and resting witli crush- 
ing weight on their own head. Scarce four centuries 
ago the em})ire of Charles the Fifth, and the emj)ire 
of Montezuma the Second, were brought by the force 
of prt)gress most suddenly and unexpectedly face to 
face; the one then the grandest and strongest of the 
old world as was the otlier uf the new. Since which 
time the fierce fanaticism that overwhelmed the New 
World emj)ire, has i>ressed like an incubus upon the 
dominant race, and held it fast while all the world 
around were making the most rapid strides forward. 
No indigenous civilization exists in America to-dav, 
yet the ettects of a former cultu;"e are not altogether 
absent. The descendant of the Vztec, Maya, and Qui- 
che, is still of superior mind and haughtier s})irit than his 
roving brother who boasts of none but a savage anccs- 



try. Still, so complete has been the substitution of for- 
ei<^n civil and ecclesiastical polities, and so f'ar-reachinLj 
their influence on native character and conduct; so inti- 
mate the association for three and more centuries with 
the Spanish element; so closely guarded from foreij^n 
i^aze lias been every manifestation of the few surviv- 
iiiLj sparks of abori<(inal modes of thought, that a study 
of tlie native condition in motlern times yields, by it- 
self, few satisfactory results. This study, however, as 
part of an investigation of their original or normal 
condition, should by no means be neglected, since it 
mav furnish illustrative material of no little value. 

Back of all this lies another element which lends to 
our subject yet grander proportions. Scattered over 
the southern j)lateaux are heaps of architectural re- 
uiains and monumental piles. Furthermore, native 
traditions, both orally transmitted and hieroglyph- 
ically recorded by means of legible picture-writings, 
attbrd us a tolerably clear view of the civilized na- 
tions during a period of several centuries jjreceding 
the Sj)anish conquest, together with ])assing glances, 
through momentary clearings in tlie mythologic clouds, 
at historical epochs much more remote. Here we 
have as aids to this analysis, — aids almost wholly 
wanting among the so-called savage tribes, antlcjui- 
ties, tradition, history, carrying tlie student far back 
into the mysterious New World j)ast; and hence it 
is that from its sinudtaneous revelation and eclipse, 
American civilization would otherwise otter a more 
limited Held for investiijfation than American savag- 
ism, yet by the introduction of this new element the 
field is widely extended. 

Nor have we even yet reached tlie limits of our re- 
sources for the investiiration of this New World civil- 
ization. In these relics of architecture and literature, 
of mythology and tradition, tiiere are clear indications 
of an older and higher type of culture than that brouglit 
immediately to the knowledge of the invaders; of a type 
tluit had temporarily deteriorated, i»erhaps through the 



innuenco of lon'jf-continucd and Idoody conflittH, civil 
and forc'iirii, bv which the inoro warlike rather than tho 
more hijjfldy cultured nations had l»een hroujj^ht into 
prominence and power, liut this anterior and superior 
civiliziition, restin*,' lari^ely as it d(»es on vajj^ue tradi- 
tion, and preserved to our knowledvfo in •jceneral allu- 
sions rather than in detail, maA', like the native con- 
dition since the concpiest, he utilized to the hest 
advantai»'e here as illustrative of tlie later and het- 
ter-known, if somewhat inferior civilization of the 
sixteenth century, descrihed liy the con«pieror, tho 
missionary, and the Spanish historian. 

Anti(jue remains of native skill, wliich have been 
preserved for our examination, may also bo largely 
used in illustration of more nuKlern art, whoso products 
liavo disappeared. These relics of the j)ast are also 
of tho hii'-hest value as conHrmiuijf tho truth of tho 
reports made by Spanish writers, very many, or per- 
haps most, of whoso statements respectini; tho wonder- 
ful plionomona of tho New World, without this incon- 
trovf-rtiblo material i)roof, would find few believers 
aimoni'' tho sceptical students of the jirosont day. 
These remains of anti(piitv, however, beini^ fully de- 
scribed in another vohunoof this W()rk, mav bo referred 
to in very general terms for present purposes. 

Of civilization in general, tho nature of its phe- 
nomena, tho causes and processes by which it is 
evolved from savagism, I have spoken sufficiently in 
tho foregoing chapter. As for the many theories re- 
specting tho American civilization in i)articular, its 
origin and growth, it is not my purpose to discuss 
them in this volume. No theory on those questions 
could 1)0 of any practical value in tho elucidation of 
tho subject, save one tliat should stand out among the 
rest so proeminently well-founded as to be generally ac- 
cepted among scientific men, and no one of all the mul- 
titude pro[)osod has acfpiirod any such preeminence. 
A complete resume of all the tlieories on the subject, 
with tho foundations which sujjport them, is given else- 



where in connection with the ancient tratliti.mary his- 
tory of the alK)ri<^inal nations. It is well, however, 
to remark that our lack of definite kno\vle(l«jfe alM)ut 
tlie orij^in of this civilization is not practically so iin- 
jjortant as iai«^ht a})|)ear at first thou«rht. Irue, we 
know not for certain whether it is indij^^enous or exotic; 
and if the former, whether to ascribe its cradle to tlm 
north or south, to one locality or many; or if the lat- 
ter, whether contact with the old world was ett'ected 
at one or many j)oints, on one occasion or at divers 
epochs, through the agency of migrating peoples or 
hy the advent of individual civilizers and teachers. 
Yet the tendency of modern research is to prove the 
great anti(piity of the American civilization as well as 
of the American people; and if either was drawn 
from a foreign source, it was at a time probably so 
remote as to antedate any old-world culture now ex- 
isting, and to j>revent any light being thrown on the 
otfspring by a study of the parent stock; while if in- 
digenous, little ho])e is afforded of following rationally 
their development through the politii'al convulsions of 
the distant past down to even a traditionally historic 

1 may tlien dispense with theories of origin and de- 
tails of p.'ist history as confusing rather than aiding 
my present purpose, and as being i'ully treated else- 
where in this work. Neither am I recpiired in this 
treatment of the civilized races to make an accurate 
division between them and their more savajj^e neiyfh- 
bors, to determine the exact standard by which savag- 
ism and civilization are to be measured, or to vindicate 
tlie use of the word civilized as aj)i)lied to the Ameri- 
can nations in preference to that of semi-civilized, pre- 
ferred by many writers. We have seen that civilization 
is at best only a comparative term, apj)lied to some of 
tlie ever-shifting phases of human progress. In many 
of the Wild Tribes already described some of its charac- 
teristics have been observed, and the opposite elements 
of savagism will not be wanting among what J proceed 



to tlcHcribc as the Civilized Nations. Thoro is not a aav- 
aLfo people between Antihuac and Niearajjfua that hiin 
not neen inHiienced in its institutions by intercourse, 
warlike, social, or commercial, with neighlKus of hij^her 
culture, and has not exerted in its turn a reHex influence 
on the latter. The difficulty of drawinjr division-lines 
between nations thus mutually acting; on each other is 
further increased in America by the fact that two or 
three nati«)ns constitute the central figure of nearly 
all that has been observed or written by the few that 
came in actual ctnitact with the natives. This volume 
will, therefore, deal rather with the native civilization 
tlian with the nations that j)osscssed it. 

While, however, details on all the points mentioned, 
outside of actual institutions found existini^ in the six> 
toenth century, would tend to confusion rather than 
to clearness, be«idea leadin<.j in many cases to endless 
repetition, yet a «jfenend view of the whole subject, of 
the number, extent, location, and nmtual relations of 
the nations occuj>yin^ the central portions of the con- 
tinent at its discovery, as well as of their relations to 
those of the more immediate past, appears necessiiry 
to an inteliiijfent perusal of the followin»>^ paj^es. In 
this jnreneral view I shall avoid all ('scussion of dis- 
puted (juestions, reservinjjf argument, and details for 
future volumes on antiquities and aboriginal history. 

That portion of what we call the Pacific States which 
was the home of American civilization within historic or 
tr;^ditionally historic times, extends along the continent 
from north-west to south-east, between latitudes 22"' 
and 1 1°. On the Atlantic side the territory stretches 
from Tamaulipas to Honduras, on the Pacific from Co- 
1 ima to Nicaragua. Not that these are definitely drawn 
boundaries, but outside of these limits, disregarding the 
New Mexican Pueblo culture, this civilization had left 
little for Europeans to observe, while within them 
lived few tribes uninfluenced or unimproved by con- 
tact with it. No portion of the globe, perhaps, em- 



l)raocH witliin cciuiil latitiulinnl limitH ho j^rent a variety 
of cliiiiatt', Hoil, and ve<;etatioii: a variety whose iui- 
]>ortant hearinjif on the native deveU)|)n»ent can he iin- 
tlenstocKl in some dcyrce, and which would douhtlesrt 
account satisfactoriy *' . Most of the coinpHcations of 
|>ro<,'ressional ])henoinena ohserved within the terri- 
tory, were tlie connection hetwe'.'U environment and 
]»roj,m;ss fully within the j^rasp of our knowIed»(e. All 
the j^radations from a torrid to a temperate clime are 
here found in a region that lies wholly withii il)o 
n(»rthern tropic, altitudinal variations taking* the pLir j 
of and pnMlucitijr all the effects elsewhere attrilmt;il»ie 
to latitude alone. These variations result friu the 
topography of the country an determined by tiie con- 
formation givoTi to the continent hy the central cordil- 
lora. Tlie rMoira JVIadre enters this territory from the 
north "•? two principal ranges, one stretching along the 
coast of the Pacific, while the other and more lofty 
range trends nearer the Atlantic, the two again unit- 
ing lu'fore reaching the isthnms of Tehuantepec. This 
«;astern hranch between 18^' 40' and 20" 30' opens out 
into a tahle-land of some seventy-five hy two hundred 
miles area, w ith an altitude of from six to eight thou- 
sand feet above the sea level. This broad plateau or 
series of j)latoaux is known as the tierra fria, while the 
lower valleys, witli a band of the surrounding slopes, 
at an elevation of from three to five thousand feet, in- 
cluding large portions of the western lands of Micho- 
acan, Guerrero, and Oajaca, between the two mountain 
branches, constitute tlie tierva templada. From tlio 
surface of the upper table-land rise sierras and isolated 
peaks of volcanic origin, the highest in North America, 
their summits covered with eternal snow, which shel- 
ter, temper, and protect the fertile plateaux lying at 
their base. Centrally located on this t'd)le-land, sur- 
rounded by a wall of lofty volcanic cliffs and peaks, is 
the most famous of all the valley plateaux, somet'.'ing 
more than one hundred and sixty miles in circuit, the 
valley of Mexico, Anilhuac, that is to say, 'country by 



the waters,' taking its name from the hikes that form- 
erly occupied one tenth of its area. Anilhuac, with an 
elevation of 7,500 feet, may be taken as representative 
of the tierra fria. It has a mean temperature of 62° a 
cHniate much like that of southern Europe, although 
dryer, and to which the term 'cold' can only be com- 
paratively applied. The soil is fertile and productive, 
though now generally presenting a bare and parched 
surface, by reason of the excessive evaporation on lofty 
plains exposed to the full force of a tropical sun, its 
natural forest-covering having been removed since the 
Spanish conquest, chiefly, it is believed, through arti- 
ficial agencies. Oak and pine are prominent features 
of the native forest-growth, while wheat, barley, and 
all the European cereals and fruits flourish side by side 
with plantations of the indigenous maize, maguey, and 
cactus. B^rom May to October of each your, corres- 
ponding nearly with the hot season of the coast, ruins 
or showers are frequent, but rarely occur during the 
remaininof months. Trees retain their foliatje for ten 
months in the year, and indeed their fading is scarcely 
noticeable. Southward of 18^, as the continent nar- 
rows, this eastern table-land contracts into a mountain 
range proper, presenting a succession of smaller ter- 
races, valleys, and sierras, in place of the broader 
plateaux of the region about Anahuac. Trending 
south-eastward toward the Pacific, and uniting with 
the western Sierra Madre, the chain crosses the 
isthnms of Tehuantepec at a diminished altitude, 
only to rise again and expand laterally into the 
lofty ( Guatemalan ranges which stretch still south- 
eastward to Lake Nicaragua, where for the second 
time a break occurs in the continental cordillera at 
the southern limit of the territory now under con- 
sideration. From this central cordillera lateral sub- 
ordinate branches jut out at right angles north and 
south toward either ocean. As we go southward the 
vegetation becomes more dense, and the temperature 
higher at equal altitudes, but the same gradations of 



*fria' and 'templada' are continued, blendinj^ into each 
other at a lieight of 5,000 to 6,000 feet. The charac- 
teristics of the Cordillera south of the Mexican table- 
land are lofty volcanic peaks whose lower bases are 
clothed with dense forests, fertile plateaux bounded by- 
precipitous cliffs, vertical fissures or ravines of iunnense 
depth torn in the solid rock by volcanic action, and 
mountain torrents flowing in deep beds of porphyry 
and forming picturesque lakes in the lower valleys. 
Indeed, in Guatemala, where more than twenty vol- 
canoes are in active operation, all these characteristic 
features appear to unite in their highest degree of 
perfection. One of the lateral ranges extends north- 
eastward from the continental chain, forming with a 
comparatively slight elevation the back-bone of the 
peninsula of Yucatan. 

At the bases of the central continental heights, on 
the shores of either ocean, is the tierra caliente, a name 
applied to all the coast region with an elevation of less 
than 1,500 feet, and also by the inhabitants to many 
interior valleys of high temperature. So abru})t]y do 
the mountains rise on the Pacific side that tlie western 
torrid band does not perhaps exceed twenty miles in 
average width for its whole length, and has exerted 
comparatively little influence on the history and de- 
velopment of the native races. But on the Atlantic 
or gulf coast is a broad tract of level plain and maish, 
and farther inland a more gradual ascent to the inte- 
rior heiglits. This remon presents all the features of 
an extreme tropical climate and vegetation. In the 
latitude of Vera Cruz barren and sandy tracts are seen; 
elsewhere the tiern. caliente is covered with the dens- 
est tropical growth of trees, shrubs, vines, and Howors, 
forming in their natural state an almost impenetrable 
thicket. Cocoa, cotton, cacao, sugar-cane, indigo, va- 
nilla, bananas, and the various palms are prominent 
anu>ng the flora; while the fauna include birds in infi- 
nite variety of brilliant plumage, with myriads of tor- 
menting and deadly insticts and reptiles. The atmos 



phere is deadly to all but natives. The moist soil, en- 
riched by the decay of vegetable substances, breathes 
pestilence and malaria from every pore, except during 
the winter months of incessant winds, which blow from 
October to March. Southern Vera Cruz and Tabasco, 
the tierra caliente par excellence, exhibit the most luxu- 
riant display of nature's prodigality. Of alluvial and 
comparatively recent fonnation this region is traversed 
by the Goazacoalco, Alvarado, Usumacinta, and other 
noble rivers, which rise in the mountains of Guatemala, 
Chiapas, and Tchuantepec. River-banks are crowded 
with magnificent forest-trees, and the broad savanas 
farther back marked off into natural plantations of the 
valuable dye-woods which abound there, by a network 
of branch streams and canals, which serve both for 
irrigation and as a medium of transi)ort for the native 
products that play no unimportant role in the world's 
commerce. Each year inundations are expected be- 
tween June and October, and these transform the 
whole system of lagoons into a broad lake. Farther 
up the course of the rivers on the foothills of the Cor- 
dillera, are extensive forests of cedar, mahogany, za- 
l>ote, Brazil, and other precious woods, together with 
a variety of medicinal plants and aromatic resins. 

Tlie whole of Yucatan may, by reason of its tem- 
perature and elevation above the sea, be included in 
the tierra caliente, but its climate is one of the most 
healthful in all tropical America. The whole north 
and west of the peninsula are of fossil shell forma- 
tion, showing that at no very distant date this region 
was covered by the waters of the sea. There are no 
rivers that do not dry up in winter, but by a wonder- 
ful system of small ponds and natural wells the country 
is supplied with water, the soil being moreover always 
moist, and supporting a rich and vigorous vegetation. 

Notwithstanding evident marks of oimilarity in 
nearly all the manifestatit>ns of the progressional spirit 
in aboriginal America, in art, thought, and religion, 



there is much reason for and convenience in referrinj^ 
all the native civilization to two branches, the Maya 
and the Nahua, the former the more ancient, the latter 
the more recent and wide-spread. It is important, 
however, to understand the nature and extent of this 
division, and just how far it may be considered real 
and how far ideal. Of all the languages spoken among 
these nations, the two named are the most wide-spread, 
and are likewise entirely distinct. In their traditional 
history, their material relics, and, above all, in their 
methods of recording events by hieroglyphics, as well 
as in their several lesser characteristics, these two 
stocks show so many and so clear points of difforenco 
standing prominently out from their many resem- 
blances, as to indicate either a separate culture from 
the beginning, or what is more probable and for us 
j)ractically tlie same thing, a progress in different 
j)atlis for a long time prior to the coming of the Eu- 
ropeans. Very many of the nations not clearly affili- 
ated with either branch show evident traces of both 
cultures, and may be reasonably supposed to have de- 
veloped their condition from contact and intermixture 
of the parent stocks with each other, and with the neigh- 
boring savage tribes. It is only, however, in a very gen- 
eral sense that this classification can be accepted, and 
then only for practical convenience in elucidating the 
subject; since there are several nations that nuist l)e 
ranked among our civilized peoples, which, particularly 
in the matter of language, show no Maya nor Nahua 
affinities. Nor is too much importance to be attached 
to the names Maya and Nahua by which I designate 
these parallel civilizations. The former is adopted for 
the reason that the Maya people and tongue are com- 
monly regarded as among tlie most ancient in all the 
Central American region, a region where formerly 
flourished the civilization that left such wonderful 
remains at Palenque, Uxmal, and Copan; the latter 
as being an older designation than either Aztec or 
Toltec, both of which stocks the race Nahua includes. 



The civilization of what is now the Mexican Republic, 
north of Tehiiantepec, belonged to the Nahua branch, 
both at the time of tlie conquest and thn)ughout the 
historic period preceding. Very few traces of the 
Maya element occur north of Chiapas, and these are 
chiefly linguistic, appearing in two or three nations 
dwelling along the shores of the Mexican gulf In 
published works upon the subject the Aztecs are the 
representatives of the Nahua element; indeed, what 
is known of the Aztecs has furnished material for nine 
tenths of all that has been written on the American 
civilized nations in general. The truth of the matter 
is that the Aztecs were only the most powerful of a 
league or confederation of three nations, which in the 
sixteenth century, from their capitals in the valley, 
ruled central Mexico. This confederation, moreover, 
was of compjiratively recent date. These three nations 
were the Acolhuas, the Aztecs, and the Tepanecs, and 
tlicir respective capitals, Tezcuco, Mexico, and Tlaco- 
pan (Tacuba) were located near each other on the lake 
borders, w'.ere, except Mexico, they still are found in 
a sad state of dilapidation. Within the valley, in gen- 
eral terms, the eastern section belonged to Tezcuco, 
the southern and western to Mexico, and a limited 
territory in .he north-west to Tlacopan. At the time 
when the confederation was formed, which was about 
one hundred years before the advent of the Spaniards, 
Tezcuco was the most advanced and powerful of the 
allies, maintaining her precedence nearly to the end of 
the fifteenth century. Tlacopan was far inferior to 
the other two. Her possessions were small, and ac- 
cording to the terms of the compact, which seem 
always to have been strictly observed, she received 
but one fifth of the spoils obtained by successful war. 
While keeping within the boundaries of their respect- 
ive provinces, so far as the valley of Mexico was con- 
cerned, these three chief powers united their forces to 
extend their conquests beyond the limits of the valley 
in every direction. Thus under the leadership of a line 



of warlike kings Mexico extended her domain to the 
shores of either ocean, and rendered tlie tribes therein 
tributary to her. During this period of foreign con- 
quest, the Aztec kings, more energetic, ambitious, war- 
Hke, and unscrupulous than their allies, ac(|uired a 
decided preponderance in the confederate councils and 
possessions; so that, originally but a small tribe, one of 
the many which had settled in the valley of Anjlhuac, 
by its valor and success in war, by the comparatively 
broad extent of its domain, by the magnificence of its 
ca[)ital, the only aboriginal town in America rebuilt 
by the conquerors in anything like its }>ristino splen- 
dor, and especially by being the i)eoj)le that came di- 
rectly into contact with the invaders in the desj)erate 
struggles of the conquest, the Aztecs became to Eu- 
roj)eans, and to the whole modern world, the re})re- 
sentatives of the American civilized peoples. Plence, 
in the observations of those who were personally ac- 
(juainted with these peoi)le, little or no distinction is 
made between the many different nations of Central 
Mexico, all being described as Aztecs. Indeed, many 
of the lesser nations favored this error, being j)roud to 
claim identity with the brave find powerful peo))!e to 
wliose valor they had been forced to succumb. While 
this state of things doubtless creates some confusion 
by failing to show clearly the slight tribal differences 
that existed, yet the difficulty is not a serious «>ne, 
from tlie fact that very many of these nations were 
unquestionably of the same blood as the Aztecs, and 
that all dr<3W what civilization they possessed from 
the sa: Nahua source. I may therefore coiitimie to 
speak of the Aztecs in their representative character, 
including directly in this term all the nations perma- 
nently subjected to the three ruling powers in Anii- 
huac, due care being taken to point out such differ- 
ences as may have been noticed and recorded. 

To fix the limits of the Aztec Empire with any ap- 
proximation to accuracy is exceedingly difficult, botJi 
l)y reason of conflicting statements, and because the 



boundaries were constantly changing as new tribes 
were brought under Aztec rule, or by successful revolt 
threw off the Mexican yoke. Clavigero, followed by 
Prescott, gives to the empire the territory from 18° 
to 21° on the Atlantic, and 14° to 19° on the Pacific, 
exclusive, according to the latter author, of the posses- 
sions of Tezcuco and Tlacopan. But this extent of 
territory, estimated at nearly twice that of the state 
of California, gives an exaggerated idea of Anahuac, 
even when that term is applied to the conquered ter- 
ritory of the whole confederacy. The limits men- 
tioned are in reality the extreme points reached by 
the allied armies in their successful wars, or rather, 
raids, during the most palmy days of Aztec rule. 
Within these bounds were several nations that wore 
never conquered, even temporarily, by the arms of 
Anahuac, as for example the Tlascaltecs, the Taras- 
cos, and the Chiapanecs. Many nations, indeed most 
of those whose home was far from the central capitals, 
were simply forced on different occasions by the pres- 
ence of a conquering army to pay tribute and allegi- 
ance to the Aztec kinors, an alleofiance which thev were 
not slow to throw off as soon as the invaders had with- 
drawn. Such were the nations of northern Guate- 
mala and Soconusco, whose conquest was in reality 
but a successful raid for plunder and captives; such 
the nations of Tehuantepec, such the Miztecs and Za- 
potecs of Oajaca, the latter having completely regained 
their independence and driven the Aztecs from their soil 
before the coming of the Spaniards. Other nations 
were conquered only in the years immediately preced- 
ing theSpanish conquest; instance the Matlaltzincas just 
westof Anahuac, and the Huastecs and Totonacsof Vera 
Cruz. By their successful raids among these latter 
peoples, the Aztecs only sealed their own doom, mak- 
ing inveterate foes of the coast nations, whose services 
would have been most efficacious in resisting the fatal 
progress of the Castilian arms. But other tribes less 
warlike and powerful, or nearer the strongholds of 



their conquerors, were, by means of frequent military 
expeditions made to check outbreaking rebellion, kept 
nominally subject to the Aztecs during fifty years, 
more or less, preceding the coming of the Spaniards, 
paying their annual tribute with some regularity. 
Outside the rocky barriers of their valley, the Mexi- 
cans maintained their supremacy only by constant 
war; and even within the valley their sway was far 
from undisputed, since several tribes, notably the Chal- 
cas on the southern lake, broke out in open rebellion 
whenever the imperial irmies were elsewhere occupied. 

The Aztec empire proper, not restricting it to its 
original seat in the valley of Mexico, nor including 
within its limits all the nations which were by the 
fortunes of war forced at one time or anotlier to pay 
tribute, may then be said to have extended from the 
valley of Mexico and its immediate environs, over the 
territories comprised in the present States of ^lexioo 
(with its modern subdivisions of Hidalgo and !More- 
los), Puebla, southern Vera Cruz, and Guerrero, Of 
all the nations that occupied this territory, most of 
them, as I have said, were of one blood and language 
with their masters, and all, by their character and in- 
stitutions, possessed in greater or less degree the Na- 
hua culture. Of many of the multitudinous nations 
occupying the vast territory surrounding the valley of 
Mexico, nothhig is known beyond their names and 
their likeness, near or remote, to the Aztecs. For a 
statement of their names and localities in detail, the 
reader is referred to the Tribal Boundaries followiniy 
the chapter on the Central Mexicans in the first vol- 
ume of this work. Let it be understood, therefore, 
that the description of Aztec institutions contained in 
this volume applies to all th<^ nations of the empire as 
bounded above, except where special limitation is in- 
dicated ; besides which it has a general application to 
a much wider region, in fact to the whole country 
north of the isthm^us of Tehuantepec. 

In this connection, and before attempting a descrip- 



tion of the IMcxican nations beyond the Hmits of the 
empire, nations more or less independent of Aztec 
sway, a glance at ancient Mexican history seems ne- 
cessary, as well to throw light on tlio mutual relations 
of the peoples of Anilhuac, as to partially explain the 
broad extent of the Nahua civilization and of the Az- 
tec idiom. The old-time story, how the Toltecs in 
the sixth century a])peared on the Mexican table-land, 
how they were driven out and scattered in the elev- 
enth century, how after a brief interval the Chichimecs 
followed their footsteps, and how these last were suc- 
ceeded by the Aztecs who were found in possession, — 
the last two, and probably the first, migrating in im- 
mense hordes from the far north-west, — all this is 
sufficiently familiar to readers of Mexican history, and 
is furthermore fully set forth in the fifth volume of 
this work. It is probable, however, that this account, 
accurate to a certain degree, has been by many writers 
too literally construed; since the once iH)pular theory 
of wholesale national migrations of American jteoples 
within historic times, and i)articularly of such migra- 
tions from the north-west, may now be regarded as 
practically unfounded. The sixth century is the most 
remote })eriod to which we are carried in the annals of 
Anahuac by traditions sufficiently definite to be con- 
sidered in any proper sense as historic records. At 
this period we find the Nahua civilization and insti- 
tutions established on the table-land, occupied then as 
at every subsequent time by many tribes more or less 
distinct from each other. And there this culture re- 
mained without intermixture of essentially foreign ele- 
ments down to the sixteenth century; there the suc- 
cessive phases of its development appeared, and there 
the progressional spirit continued to ferment for a 
period of ten centuries, which fermentation constitutes 
the ancient Mexican history. During the course of 
these ten centuries we may follow now definitely now 
vaguely the social, religious, and political convulsions 
through which these aboriginals were doomed to pass. 



From small l)c»,nnnint;^s we sec miLfhty political poweis 
evolved, and these overturned and thrown into oh- 
scurity hy other and rival uni'oldinjL^s. Uelii^ious sects 
in like manner we see succeed each other, colorini^ 
their j>roL;ress with fre(|uent persecutions and reforma- 
tions, not unworthy of old-world medi;eval fanaticism, 
as })artisans of rival deities shaj)e the popular sujjersti- 
tion in conformity with their creeds. Wars, loniLf and 
hloody, are waged for plunder, for territory, and for 
souls; now, to quell the insurrection of a tributary 
prince, now to repel the invasion of outer harharian 
iiordes. Leaders, j)olitical and relij^-ious, rising to 
])()wer with their nation, faction, city, or sect, aie 
1 <hiven at their fall into exile, and therehy forced to 

seek their fortunes and introduce their culture amoim' 
distant tril)es. Outside bands, more or less barbarous, 
but l)rave and powerful, come to settle in Anahuac, 
and to receive, voluntarily or involuntarily, the ben- 
etits of its arts and science, 

1 have no disposition unduly to magnify the New 
World civilization, nor to under-rate old wt)rld cultuie, 
but during these ten centuries of almost universal 
mediieval gloom, the diH'erence between the two civil- 
izations was less than most peo})le imagine. On both 
sides of the Dark Sea humanity lay floundering in be- 
sotted ignorance; the res})ectivc qualities of that ig- 
norance it is hardly i)rofitable to analyze. The history 
of all these complicated changes, so far as it may be 
traced, sei)arates naturally into three chronologic j)e- 
riods, corresponding with what are known as the 'J'ol- 
tec, the Chichimec, and the Aztec empires. Prior to 
the sixth century doubtless there were other periods 
of Nahua greatness, for there is little evidence to in- 
dicate that this was the first ap[»earance in Mexico of 
this })rogressive people, but previous developments can 
not be definitely followed, although attbrding occa- 
sional glimpses which furnish interesting matter for* 
anti(|uarian speculation. 

At the opening then, of the historic times, we find 

Vox,. II. 7 



the Toltecs in possession of Anilliuno and the sur- 
rounding^ country. Thou2fli the civiUzjition was old, 
the name was new, derived prohahly, althoui^h not so 
re<ifarded by all, from Tollan, a capital city of the em- 
pire, hut afterward becominjnf synonymous with all that 
is excellent in art and hi«^h culture. Tradition im- 
])utes to the Toltecs a hi«^her civilization than that 
found amonur the Aztecs, who had dejjenerated with 
the growth of the warlike s[)irit, and esj»ecially by the 
introduction of more cruel and sanffuinary reliuj-ious 
rites. But this superiority, in some respects not im- 
probable, rests on no very stronof evitlence, since this 
people left no relics of that artistic skill which gave 
them so great traditional fame; there is, however, much 
reason to ascribe the construction of the pyrami<ls at 
Teotihuacan and Cholula to the Toltec or a still earlier 
I)eri()d. Among the civilized peoples of the sixteenth 
century, however, and among their descendants down 
to the present day, nearly every ancient relic of archi- 
tecture or sculpture is accredited to the Toltecs, from 
whom all claim descent. In fact the term Toltec be- 
came synonymous in later times with all that was 
wonderful or mysterious in the past; and so confus- 
ing has been the effect of this universal reference of 
all traditional events to a Toltec source, that, while 
we can not doubt the actual existence of this great 
empire, the details of its history, into which the suj)er- 
natural so largely enters, must be regarded as to a 
great extent mythical. 

There are no data for fixing accurately the bounds 
of the Toltec domain, particularly in the south. 
There is, very little, however, to indicate that it was 
more extensive in this direction than that of the Az- 
tecs in later times, although it seems to have extended 
somewhat farther northward. On the west there is 
some evidence that it included the territory of Micho- 
acan, never subdued by the Aztecs; and it probably 
stretched eastward to the Atlantic, including the To- 
tonac territory of Vera Cruz. Of the tribes or nations 




that jnailo up tlio cm[>irc none can he positively idon- 
titieil l)y iiaino with any ')f tho hiter peoples found in 
Anjlhuac, thouji^h there can he little douht that several 
of the latter were descended directly from the Toltecs 
and contenijumiry trihea; and indeed it is believed 
with much reason that the semi-harharous Otomis of 
Anilhuac, and several nations beyond the limits of 
the valley, may date their tribal history back to a pe- 
riod even precedinjj^ the Toltec era. Durinjif the most 
nourishing period of its traditional five centuries of 
duration, the Toltec empire was ruled l)y a confed- 
eracy similar in some respects to the alliance of later 
♦late between Mexico, Tezcuco, and TIacopan. The 
(•aj)itals were C.'ulhuacan, Otonipan, and Tollan, the 
two former corresponding somewhat in tei'ritory with 
Mexico and Tezcuco, while the latter was just beyond 
tho limits of the valley toward the north-west. Each 
of these capital cities became in turn the leading pow- 
er in the confederacy. Tollan reached the highest 
eminence in culture, splendor, and fame, and Culhua- 
(^an was the only one of the three to survive by name 
the bloody convulsions by which the empire was at 
last overthrown, and retain anything of her former 

Long-continued civil wars, arising chiefly from dis- 
sensions between rival religious factions, resulting nat- 
urally in pestilence and famine, which in the aboriginal 
annals are attributed to tiie direct interposition of irate 
deities, gradually undermine the imperial thrones. 
Cities and nations previtmsly held in subjection or 
t)vershadowed by the splendor and power of Tollan, 
take advantage of her civil troubles to enlarge their 
respective domains and to establish independent pow- 
ers. Distant tribes, more or less barbarous, but strong 
and warlike, come and establish themselves in de- 
sirable localities within the .limits of an empire whose 
rulers are now powerless to repel invasion. So the 
kings of Tollan, Culhuacan, and Otompan lose, year 
by year, their prestige, and finally, in the middle of 


(;km:i!ai, vir:w of tiik civimzki) nations. 

tho tilovciiitli tH'ntiirv, ai'<( coinpk'trly oviiitliiowii, K-av- 
iii^' tluj Moxitan tahlc-laixl to l)o nilcMl l>y iiuw n>inl»i- 
iiatioiis of ris'm;^ powi'is. 'J'hu.s uiuls tho T»)ltLr pciioil 
of anciunt An:iluiac history. 

The popular account pictures tho whole Toltoc pop- 
ulation, or such |)art of it as had hccii spared hy war, 
pijstileuce, and famine, as niii;iatin.uf en masse south- 
ward, and leavinj.^ Analnnu' desolate and un|teopled 
for nearly a half century, to he settled anew hy trihes 
that crowded in from the north-west when they learned 
that this fair land had heen so stran^jcelv ahandoned. 
'Phis account, like all (►ther national mij^nat ion-narra- 
tives ])ertainin;Lif to the Americans, has little founda- 
tion in fact or in jirohahility. 

The royal families and leli^'ious leaders of the Tol- 
tees were douhtless driven into perj»etual exile, and 
were accompanied hy such of the nohility as pre- 
ft^rred, rather than ctuiti^nt themselves with suhordi- 
nato ])ositions at home, to try their fortunes in new 
lands, some of which were perhaj)S included in the 
southern jtarts of the emj)ire concerniujL;' which so little 
is known. That there was any essential or imme- 
diate chanu^e in the population of the tahle-land he- 
vond the irruption <»f a ftnv trihes, is hii>hlv im- 
)>rol)al)le. The exiled princes and priests, as I have 
said, went southwaid, where douhtless they played 
an important j)art in the sul)se(|uent histt)ry of the 
Maya -Quid 10 nations of Central America, a history 
less fully recorded than that of Anahuai;. That these 
exiles were the founders of the CV'ntrul Ai lerican civil- 
ization, a })opular helie ' supported hy many writers, 
I cannot hut reijfard a atjother phase of that tend- 
ency ahove-mentioned attrihute all that is undo- 
fined and ill-understood to the ufreat and wonderful 
Toltocs; nor do 1 heliev that the evidence warrants 
su(^h an liyj)othesis. ]{ the pioneer civilizers of the 
south, the huilders of j^deuijue, (\)j)an, and other 
< itios of the more ancient type, were iinl)ued with or 
influenced hy the Nahuu culture, as is not iuiprohable, 

Tui: ciiicniMF.c KMPiin:. 


■'t ccrtMiiily was not that cultiiri' as caniod sotith- 
wanl ill tlic cK'Vc'iith (ciitniv, l>iit a «lt'vi'|(>|(in(iit or 
jiliast' (A' it loriL,' pn'rcdiiii^r that wliicli took tlin 
f Toltrc (111 t\\v Mt'xii-aii |tlat('aiix. With tlic d 

stnutioii of the ('iM|tiri' the term Tohi'*', as applied tn 
an I'xistiiiLj ixMipIc, disapix-arcd. 'I'his disa|>p' aiaiHc 
of the naiiic while the institutions of thi' nation vou- 
tinued to tioiirish, may inchcate that the desiicnation 
of the peopit! or possiMy of the niHiin" t'ainiiy (»t' 
'I'ollan, was not apphed conteiniioianeonsly to tlie 
whole empire, and that in the tra<litions and records 
(tt" later tini's, it has ineideiitally a<(piire«l a tietiti(ais 
importance. ( )t* the Toltt'c citii's, Cnlhuacan, (»n tin; 
lake horder, reco^■L'red under tluj lu-w political comhi- 
natjons soniethini^ of her old prominence; tlu' nam.' 
( 'ulhiias applied to its peopKj a|>peai's nnu'h more 
ancient than that of Toltecs, and indeed the .\rexican 
civilization as a whole minht peihaps as appropriately 
he terme«l Culhua as Xahua. 

The new era succt'edini;' the Toltec rule is that of 
the Chichimec i'm[)ire, which endured with some vari- 
ations down to the comiiin' of CV)rtL's. The or<liaary 
version of the early annals has it, that the Chichimecs, 
a wild trihe livinj^ far in the north-west, learning'' that 
the fertile rei^ions of Central ATexico had heeii ahan- 
(loned hv the Toltecs, came down iti immense hordes 
to occupy the land. Numerous other trihes canu; 
after them at sliort intervals, were kindly received 
and in'ranted lands for settlement, and the more pow- 
erful of the new comers, in confederation with the 
ori^'inal (.'hichimee settlers, developed intt) the so- 
called em})ire. Now, although this occupation of the 
central tahle-lands by sucrcessive nuL^rations of foreign 
trihes cannot he accepted hy the soher historian, and 
althouiifh wo must conclude that very manv of the so- 
called new comers were trihes that had occupied tlie 
countrv duriu''' the Toltec i)eriod, - tluMr names now 
cominuf into notict; witli their increasing- mij»ortauco 
and power, — yet it is probable that sumo new tribes, 



sufficiently powerful to exercise a i^reat if not a oon- 
trolliii'.,^ influence in buildini^ up the new empire, did 
at this time enter Anahuac from the immediately 
Ixjrderini^ rei^ions, and play a prominent part, in con- 
junction with the I'isinjj^ nations within the valley, in 
the overthrow of the kind's of Tollan. Tliese in-com- 
inij;' nations, by alliance with the orii^inal inhabitants, 
infusetl fresh life and vi<^or into tlie w^orn-out mon- 
archies, furnishinj^ the strenj^th by which new powers 
wore built up on the ruins of the old, and receiving 
on the other hand the advantages of the more perfect 
Nahua culture. 

If one, and the most powerful, of these new nations 
was, as the annals state, called the Chichimec, noth- 
ing whatever is known of its race or language. The 
C^hichimecs, their identity, their idiom, and their insti- 
tutions, if any such there were, their name even, as a 
national a})pellation, were m M^r«)cl into those of the 
Nahua nations that accompanied or followed them, 
and were there lost. The ease and rapidity with 
which this tribal fusion of tongue and culture is rep- 
resented to have been accomplished would indicate at 
least that the Chichimecs, if a separate tribe, were of 
the same race and language as the Toltecs; but how- 
ever this may be, it must be conceded that, while tliey 
can not have been tlie Avild cave-dwelling barbarians 
painted by some of the historians, they did not intro- 
duce into Anahuac any new element of civilization. 

The name Chichimec at tlio time of the Si)anish 
coiKpiest, anil subseijuently, was used with two sig- 
nitications, first, as a})plied to the lino of kings that 
reigned at Tezcuco, and second, to all the wild hunt- 
ing trihes, particularly in the broad and little-knowi) 
regions of the north. Traditionally or historically the 
name has been aiiplied to nearlv every people men- 

tioned in the ancient history of America. This has 
caused the greatest confusion among writers on the 
subject, a confusion which I believe can only be cloai'od 
up by the supposition that the name Chichimec, like 




that of Toltoc, never was applied as a tiiltal or na- 
tional designation })roper to any })eoi>le, while such 
j)eople were livinj^. It seems probable that among 
the Nahua peo})les that ocoin)ied the country iVom the 
sixth to the eleventh centuries, a lew of tiie leading 
powers appropriated to themselves the title Toltucs, 
which had been at first em})loyed by the inhabitants 
of Tollan, v'hose artistic excellence soon reiidered it 
a designation of honor. To the other Nahua j)eo- 
j)les, by whom these leading powers were surrounded, 
whose institutions were identical but whose j)olish and 
elegance of mar.ner were deemed by these self-consti- 
tuted autocrats somewhat inferior, the term C'hichi- 
mecs, barbarians, etymologically 'dogs,' was applied. 
After the convulsions that overthrew Tollau and re- 
versed the condition of the Nahua nations, the 'dogs' 
ill their turn assumed an air of superiority and re- 
tained their designation Chichimecs as a title of honor 
and nobility. *> 

The names of the tribes represented as entering Ana- 
huac after the Chichimecs, but respecting the order of 
whose coming there is little agreement among authors, 
are the following: ^latlaltzincas, Tepanecs, Acoiiuias, 
Teo-Chichimecs (Tlascaltecs), ]\Ialinalcas, Cholultecs, 
Xechimilcas, ( Hialcas, Huexotzincas, Cuitlahuacs, Cui- 
catecs, Miz(|uicas, TLihuicas, Cohuixcas, and Aztecs. 
Some of these, as I have said, may have entei'eil the 
valley from the inimediate north. Which these were 
1 shall not attempt to decide, l)ut they were nearly 
all of the same race ;ind language, all lived imder 
Xahua institutions, and their descendants were i'ound 
living on and about the Aztec i)lateau in tiie six- 
teenth century, speaking, with one or two exceptions, 
the Aztec tongue. 

In the new era of prosperity that now dawned on 
Audhuar, C'ulhuacan, where some I'emnants even of 
the Toltec nobility i'emained, muU'r C'hicbimec auspi- 
ces regained to a gre-it extent its old positi(»n as a 
centre of culture and ])owei'. Among the new na- 



tions whoso name now first ajipcars in history, tho 
A"(>llnias and Tepanccs soon rose to political promi- 
nenco in tho valley. Tho Acolhuas were the Chi- 
chiniecs par excellence, or, as tradition has it, the 
(yhichiniec nation was absorhed hy them, j,nvin<>' np 
its name, lanjj^uaijfe, and institutions. The caiiitals 
which ruled the destinies of Andhuac down to the 
iit'teentii century, besides C'ulhuacan, were Tenayo- 
can, Xaltocan, Ooatlychan, Tezcuco,and Azca})uzalco. 
These capitals being governed t(<r the most ]>art by 
branches of tho s.amo royal (.'hichimec family, the era 
was one of civil intrigue for the balance of ])o\ver and 
for succession to tho throne, rather than one of foreign 
coiujuest. During the latter part of the i)eri()d, Tez- 
cuco, the Acolhua caj)ital under the Chichimec kings 
proper, Azcapuzalco the capital of the Te})anecs, and 
(Julhuacan held tho country under their sway, some- 
times allied to meet the forces of foreign foes, but 
oftener ])lotting against each other, eiwh, by alliance 
with a, second against the third, aiming at universal 
dominion. At last in this series of political manani- 
vres Culhuacan was ptn-manently overthrown, and 
the Chichimec ruler at Tezcuco was driven from his 
l)osscssions by the warlike chief of the Te})anecs, 
who thus for a short time was absolute master of 

But with tho decadence of the Culhua jiower at 
(Adhuacan, another of the tribes that camu into notice 
in tho valley after the fall of the Toltecs, had boon 
trraduallv L'aining a iiosition amon<» the nations. This 
rising power was the Aztecs, a ])e*)})lo ti'aditionally 
from the far north-W(>st, whose wanderings are tie- 
scribed in ])icture-writings shown in another part of 
this volume. Their migi-ation is more delinitely de- 
scril)ed than that of any other of tlie many wlio are 
said to have come from the same" direction, and has 
been considered by ditferent writi-rs to be a migra- 
tion from California, New ]\[exico, or Asia. Later 
researches indicate that the pictuivd annals are in- 



ten(l("(l simply as a record of the Aztec waiKlorinq-s in 
the valley of Mexico and its vicinity. AVhatiiver tlieir 
origin, hy their fierce and warlike natnre and bloody 
reliiiioiis rites, from the first they made themsclvt-s the 
])t'sts of Aniihnac, and later its tyrants. For some cen- 




>ev ac 

quired no national influence, hut were 

often coiKjuered, enslaved, and driven from jilace to 
place, until early in the fourteenth century, when 
^Texico or Tenochtitlan was founded, and under a line 
of ahic warlike kind's started forward in its career of 
])rosperity unequaled in the annals of aboriginal Ain(M"i- 
ca. At the fall of Culhuacan, Mexico ranked next to 
'iV'Zcuco and Azcapuzalco, and whei< the armies of the 
latter prevailed ai>'ainst the former, ^lexico was the 
most powerful of all the nations that sprang' to arms, 
and ])ressed forward to hund)le the Te[>anec tyrant, 
to reinstate the Acolluia monarch on his throne, and 
to restort; Tezcuco to her former commandiui^' position. 
'I'he result was the utter defeat of the Te}>anecs, and 
the n'lory of Azcapuzalco departed forever. 

Thus ended in the early part of the fifteenth centu- 
ry the Chicliimec empire, — that is, it nominally ended, 
for the C'hichimec kings proper lost nothing" of their 
l)o\vei-. — and, hv the estahlishnient of the confedci'acv 
already descrihed, the Aztec empire was inaunuiated. 
lender the new dis])ensation of affairs, Mexico, hy 
whose aid chieHy Azca{)Uzalco had heen humhled, 
received rank and dominion at least etpial to that of 
Tezcuco, while from motivcss of policy, and in older, 
so far as ])ossil)le, to conciliate the Lj-ood will of a 
stronLic thoui^'h conipiered people, 'J'lacopan, under a 
hranch of the Te])anecs, with a less exteiisivi> domaii 

as admitted to the alliance. The terms of the con- 


eracv seiMu, as 

r 1 

lave said, nevei 


to I 

lave heen 

ojK'iily violated; hut in the first years of the six- 
teentli century tfie Aztecs had not only excited the 
hatred of the most ])owerful nations outsi(K> the 
hounds of Aniihuac hy their forei^'u raids, hut hy their 
arrogant overhearing^- s[»irit had made themselves oh- 



noxious at home. Tlicir aim at supremo })ower was 
ai)i)aroiit, and both Tezcuco and the indej)endent re- 
j)uhlic of Tlascala beoan to tremble at the dangerous 
j)ro<jfress of tlieir mighty neighbor. A desperate strug- 
gle was inuninent, in wliich the Aztecs, pitted against 
all central Mexico, by victory would have grasped the 
coveted j)rize of im})erial power, or cruslied as were 
the Tepanecs l)efore them by a coalition of nations, 
would have yielded their place in the confederacy to 
some less dangerous rival. At this juncture Cortes 
ap})eared. This renowned chieftain aided Montezu- 
ma's foes to triumph, and in turn fastened the shackles 
of European despotism on all alike, with a partial ex- 
ception in favor of brave Tlascala. The nations which 
formed the Aztec empire proper, were the tribes lor 
the most part that have been named as s})ringing into 
existence or notice in Andhuac early in the Chichimec 
j)eriod, and the names of most of them have been 
preserved in the names of modern localities. It will 
be seen, in treating of the languages of the Pacific 
States, that the Aztec tongue, in a pure state, in dis- 
tinct verbal or grammatical traces, and in names of 
places, is spread over a much wider extent of territory 
than can be su])posed to have ever been brouglit imder 
subjection to Anahuac during either the Toltec, Chi- 
chimec, or Aztec phases of the Nahua domination. 
To account for this we have the connnercial connec- 
tions of the Aztecs, whose traders are known to have 
pushed their mercantile ventures far beyond the re- 
gions subjected by force of arms; colonies which, both 
in Toltec and Aztec times, may be reasonably su[»- 
])osed to have sought new homes; the exile of nobles 
and ])riests at tlie fall of the Toltec empire, and other 
probable migrations, voluntary and involuntary, of 
])riiices and teachers; the large detachments of Aztecs 
who acc()mj)anied the S})aniards in the ex{)editions by 
which tlie continent was brought under subjection; 
and finally, if all these are not sufficient, the unknown 



liistory and migrations of tlio Nahua peoples during 
tlie centuries preceding the Toltec era. 

I will now briefly notice the civilized nations beyond 
tlie limits of An.'ihuac, and more or less independent 
of the Aztec rule, concerning whose institutions and 
liistory comparatively little or nothing is known, ex- 
cept what is drawn from the Aztec amials, with some 
very general observations on tlieir condition made by 
their Spanish conquerors. Westward of the Mexican 
valley was tlie flourishing inde})endent kingdom of 
Michoacan, in possession of the Tarascos, whose cap- 
ital was Tzintzuntzan on 'Lake Patzcuaro. Their 
country, lying for the most j)art between the rivers 
Mexcala and Tololotlan, is by its altitude chieHy in tlie 
tierra templada, and enjoys all the advantages of a 
tropical climate, soil, and vegetation. Topogra])hical]y 
it presents a surface of undulating plains, intersected 
by frequent mountain chains and by the characteristic 
ravines, and well watered by many streams and beauti- 
ful lakes; liencc the name Michoacan, which signifies 
'land abounding in fish.' The lake region of Patzcu- 
aro, the seat of tlie Tarasco kings, is described as un- 
smpassed in pictures(]ue beauty, while in the variety 
of its agricultural products and in its yield of mineral 
wealth, Michoacan was equaled by few of the states of 
New Spain. 

If we may credit the general statements of early au- 
thors, who give us but few details, in their institutions, 
their maimers, wealth, and power, the Tarascos were at 
least fully the equals of the Aztecs, and in their phy- 
sical (levelo})ment were even su])eri()r. That they suc- 
cessfully resisted and defeati'd the allied armies of 
Aniihuac is sufficient proof (»f their military prowess, 
although they yielded almost without a struggle to 
the Spaniards after the fall of Mexico. AVith resjK'ct 
to their civilization we must accept the stati'mejits of 
their superiority as the probably correct inq)ressi()n of 
those who came first in contact with tliis ])eople, not- 
withstandinu" which I find no architectural or artistic 




rellos of ii liiucli culture within tlieir torritorv. All that 
is known on the suhject indicates that their civilization 
was of the Nahua tvj»e, altluniiji'h the laniJ-ua^e is al- 
toucether distinct from the Aztec, the representative 
Nahua tontrue. The history of ^Tichoacan, in the 
form of any hut the va<>'uest traditions, does wot reach 
hack farther than the thirteenth century: nevertheless, 
as I have said, there is some reason to su[)jK»se that it 
formed part of the Toltec empire. The theory has 
even heen advanced that the Tarascos, forminu;- a ]>art 
of that empire, were not disturhed hy its fall, and 
were therefore the hest representatives of the oldest 
Nahua culture. Their reported jthvsical suj)eriority 
miij:ht favor this view, hut their distinct lan<>ua<>"e on 


le contrary would renr 

der it 





study of all that is known of this jx^ople convince^' me 
that they had Ion*;' heen settled in the lands where 
they wre found, hut leaves on the mind no deiinite 
idea of their earlier history. Their later annals are 
made up of tales, partakinuc largely of the mar^•elous 
and supernatural, of the doini;-s of certain demi-n'ods 


or priests, and or wai's waL>"ed a^amst the onnn])resont 
Chichimecs. Branches of the "^-reat and ])rimitive 
Otonu' family are mentioned as haviuLT their jioines in 
the mountains, and there are traditions that fraL^nients 
of the jVztecs and other trihi's which followed the Chi- 
chimecs into Aiuihuac, linu'ered on the route of their 
min'ration and settled in the fertile valleys of ^licho- 
acan. Between the Tarascos and the Aztecs, speak- 
a lany'ua<4'e diflerent fi-om either hut alli^'d more 
or less intimately with the former, were tlie ]\ratlalt- 
ziiu'as, whose ca])ital was in the jilateau valley of To- 
luca, ju.'-t outside the hounds of Anahuac. This was 
(>' J of the trihes that have already heen named as 
coming- traditionally from the north-west. For a long- 
time they maintained their independence, hut in the 
last ([uarter of the fifteenth century were forced to 
yield to the victorious arms <.)f Axayacatl, the Aztec 
vv'arrior kinir. 



Tmmixllati'ly l)el()w tlic mouth of the ^Toxriila, on 
the 1)or(.lcr of the Pacitii", woio tlio lands of tlie (,'ui- 
tlatocs, ami also the j)i\)vim'o or kingdom of Zacatollan, 
whose capital was the modern Zacatula. ( )f tiiese two 
|)e<ti)les absolutely nothing" is known, save that tluy 
were trihutary to the Aztec empire, the latter havinLf 
hecn added to the domain of Tezcuco in the very last 

vcars of the tifteenth centurv. 


'riie j>rovinces that extended south-westward from 
Aniihuac to tiie ocean, beloni^ini;" chieHy to the modern 
state of (luerrero aiul inchuled in what 1 have de- 
scrihetl as the Aztec empire pr<>j)er, were those of tlu; 
'riahuicas, wliose capital was Cuernavaca, the Coiuiix- 
cas, ca])ital at Acapulco, the Yop|>i on tlie coast south 
f Acaj)ulco, and the province of ^[az.itian fartlicr in- 
land or north-cast. The name Tlapanecs is also ratlu'r 
indi'Hnitely applied to the peo])le of a portion of this 
territory in the south, includin;;- jirohahly the Yoi)])i. 
( )f tlie names mentioned we have met those of the 
Tlahuicas and C'ohuixcas amonj;' the trihes newly 
sj)riniL;in<j^ into notice at the hc^iimim;" of the Chichi- 
niec jtcriod. It is jirohable that nearly all were mon; 
or less closely alliiul in race and laniifua^e to their 
Mexican masters, their ])olitical subjection to whom 
dates from about tlie middle of the iifteenth centuiy. 

The western slope of the cordillera still farther 
south-west, coni])risinj;- in t^'eneral terms the modern 
state of Oajat'a, was ruled and to a great extent in- 
hal»ited by the ^liztecs an<l Zapotccs, two ])owerful 
nations distinct in tongue from the .\ztecs and from 
each other. Western ( )ajaca, the home of the ]\liz- 
tecs, was divided into Uj)per and Lower ^rizteca])an, 
the latter toward the coast, and the fornu'r luLihcr up 
in the mountains, and sometimes tc.nied Cohuaixtla- 
huacan. The Zapotccs in t\isterp. ( >ajaca, when lii'st 
deilnitely known to history, had exteiuled their ])ower 
over lu'arly all the tribes of Tehuantepec, besides vn- 
croachiuL!^ somewhat on the Miztec boundaries. The 
Miztecs, notwithstandintr the foreisj'n aid of Tluscaltecs 



and otlior eastern foes of the Aztec kinof, were first 
(lefeatecl by the allied forces of Anahuac ahout I4^i^] 
and from that date the conquerors succeeded in hold- 
inuf their stronger towns and more commandinn^ posi- 
tiinis down to the con(juest, thus enforciuij^ the pay- 
ment of tribute and controllin*^ the commerce of the 
southern coast, which was their primary object. Te- 
huantej>ec and Soconusco yielded some years after to 
tlie conquerini:^ Axayacatl, and Zapotecapan still later 
to his successor Ahuitzotl; but in the closinijf years 
of the fifteenth century the Zapotecs recovered their 
country with Tehuantepec, leaving Socunusco, how- 
ever, permanently in Aztec possesi^ion. The liistory 
of the two nations takes us no farther back than the 
fourteenth century, when they first came into contact 
with tlie peoples of Anahuac; it gives a record of their 
rulers and their deeds of valor in wars wajifed against 
each other, against the neighboring tribes, and against 
the Mexicans. Prior to that time we have a few tra- 
ditions of the vaguest character i)reserved by Burgoa, 
the historian of Oajaca. These picture botii IVliztecs 
and Za})otecs as originally wild, but civilized by the 
inHuence of teachers, priests, or beings of supernatural 
powers, who came among them, one from the south, 
and others from the direction of Anahuac. Their civ- 
ilization, however received, was surely Nahua, as is 
shown by the resemblances which their institutions, 
and particularly their religious rites, bear to those of 
the Aztecs, Being of the Nahua type, its origin has 
of course been referred to that inexhaustible source, 
the dispersion of the Toltecs, or to proselyting teach- 
ers sent southward by that wonderful people. Indeed, 
the Miztec and Zapotec royal families claimed a direct 
Toltec descent. It is very probable, however, that 
the Naiua element here was at least contem})oraneods 
in its i 'Production with the same element known as 
Toltec in Anilhuac, rather than implanted in Oajaca 
by missionaries, voluntary or involuntary, frini Tol- 
lan. I have already remarked that the presence of 






Naliua institutions in difTerent re<i;'ions is too often 
attrii)utt'd to tho Tolti'c exiles, and too seldom to 
liistorical events preeedinjjf the sixth eentury. The 
Oajacan eoast re<jfion or tierni oaliente, it' we may 
eiedit the result of researches by the Ahhe Brassour 
de Bourbt)ur<^, was sometimes known as Anahuae Ay- 
otlan, as the opposite coast of Tahaseo was called 
Anahuae Xicalanco. Both these Anahuacs were in- 
habited by enterprising^ connnercial peoples, whose 
riourishinuc centres of trade were located at short in- 
tervals alonuf the IMaterial relics of past excel- 
lence in architecture and other arts of civilization 
abound in Oaiac.a, chief anionic which stand the re- 
markable structures at Mitla. 

AlthouL>h Tehuantepec in the later aboriijinal times 
was subject to the kini^s of Zapotecapan, yet within 
its limits, besides the C-hontales, — a name resemblin«]f 
in its uncertainty of application that of Chichimecs 
farther north, -were the renmants of two old nations 
that still preserved their independence. These were 
the ^rijes, livinijf chietiy by the chase in the mountain 
fastnesses of the north, and the Huaves, who held a 
small territory on the coast and islands of the hiij^oons 
just east of the city of Tehuantepec. The ^Tijes, so 
far as the vau^ue traditions of tho country reveal any- 
thinuf of their past, were once the possessors of Zapo- 
tecajian and the isthmus of Tehuantepec, antedatinijf the 
Zapotecs and perhaps the Nahua culture in this reunion, 
beini>- atHliatetl, as some believe, in institutions and 
])ossiblv in lauijfuaife, with the ^Eaya element of Cen- 
tral America. While this connection nuist be reii^arded 
as somewhat conjectural, we may nevertheless accept 
as probably authentic the anticpiity, civilization, and 
power of this brave j)eo}Ue. The Huaves were tradi- 
tionally of southern origin, having come to Tehuante- 
jiec by sea from Nicaragua or a point still farther south. 
In navigation and in commerce they were enterpris- 
ing, as were indeed all the tribes of this southern -coast 
Andhuac, and they took gradually from the Mijes, 




wljoiii tlu'V I'ound in possisssiou, a larj^o extent ot'tcrri- 
torv, Mliich as we have seen they were tinally I'uived 
to yield uj) to tlieir Zapotee i()n((Uei()is. 

Crussinn' now to tlie Athmtic or ( Jult' hIioivs we liavo 
from the past nothinjjc hut a eonfusi-d aieoiint of ( )1- 
niecs, Xicahincas, and NonoliuaU-as, \vho may liave 
heen (hstinet peoples, or the same j)eople undi r diller- 
ent names at dilterent ej»o(hs, and who at some time 
inhahited the lowlands of Tehuantej)ee and Vera Cruz, 
as well as those of Tahasco farther south. At the 
time of the eontjuest we know that this region was 
thiekly inhahited hy a people seareely loss advanced 
than of Anahuac, and dotted with tlouri.shin:j^ 
towns devoted to eonuneree. But neither in the six- 
teenth nor inunediately ])recedin<jf centuries can any 
one civilized nation he detinitelv named as occupy- 
ini>' this Anahuac Xicalanco. We know, however, that 
this country north of the (Joazacoalco lliver formed a 
portion of the Aztec em[)ire, and that its inhal>itants 
spoke for the most i)art the .Vztec tongue. These 
provinces, known as Cuetlachtlan and (Joazacoalco, 
Avero conipiered, chiefly with a view to the extension 
of the Aztec connnerce, as early as the middle of the 
Hfteenth century, notwithstanding the assistance ren- 
dered hy the armies t>f Tlascala. 

The plateau east of Anahuac sometimes known as 
Huitzilaj)an was found hy the Spaniards in the |)os- 
session of the independent re])ul)lics, or cities, of Tlas- 
cala, Huexotzinco, and C'holula, The jteople who 
occupied this part of the tahle-land were the Teo-Chi- 
chimecs, of the same language and of the same tradi- 
tional noi-th-western origin as the Aztecs, whom they 
preceded in Anahuac. Late in the thirteenth century 
they left the valley of Mexico, and in several detach- 
ments estahlished themselves on the eastern })lateau, 
where they successfully maintained their inde))endence 
of all foreign powers. As allies of the C'hichimec 
king of Tezcuco they aided in overturning the Tej>anec 
tyrant of Azcapuzalco; hut after the subsequent dan- 

Tin: Ti,AS(Ai;ri:i:s. 


j^'crous (lt'V(I()|nnc!it of A/trc aiiiMtion, the Tlascalti't; 
armies aidfd in in-arly oncit attempt «)!" otluT nations 
to aiit'st the jiioyrcss of the Mexicans towaid uni- 
versal dominion. 'J'heir assistance, as we have seen, 
was unavaiHiin" except in tlie final successful alliance 
with thi' foites t>f Cortes; for, although secure in their 
small domain against I'orei^n invasion, theii- ai'mies. 
were often defeated ahroad. Tlascala has ntaiued 
very lu-arly its oriLjinal hounds, and the details of its 
historv iVom the foundation of the citv are, hy the 
writings of the native historian ( amart^o, nunc fully 
known than those of most other nations outside of 
.Vn;ihuac. Tliis author, howevi-r, i>;i\t's us tiie annals 
of his own and the surrounding' peoples I'rouj a 'I'las- 
caltec stand-point only. l>efore the Teo-t "hichimec 
invasion of Iluit/.ilapan, Cholula had ah'eady acquired 
jU'reat [irominence as a Toltec city, and as tlu' ixsidence 
(»f the i;reat Xaluui apostle Quetzalcoatl, of which era, 
or a pi'ccedinn" one, the famous pyi'amid remains as a 
memento. Outside of Cholula, however, the ancient 
history ol' this rei^ion ])resents hut a hlaidi J^ai^e, ov one 
va^'uely tilled with tales of oiants, its tirst rej)uted in- 
hahitants, and of the mystei'ious ( )lmecs, from some 
remaining;' frat^monts of which people the Tlascaltecs 
are said to have won their nt'W homes. These Olmecs 
seem to have been a very ancient ])eoj)le who occupied 
the whole eastern region, horderin^- on or nuAi'd witli 
tht! Xicalancas in the south; or rathei- the name ( )lmec 
seems to have heen thi^ designation of a phase or era 
of the Xahua civilization preceding,' that known as 
the Toltec. It is imj)ossil)ie to determine accui'ately 
whether the Xicalancas sln)uld he classed with tht^ 
Xahua or Mava element, although probahly with the 

The coast rct^ion cast of Tlascala, comprising" the 
northern half of the state of Vera Cruz, was the honu; 
of the Totonacs, whose capital was the famous Cem- 
]>oala. and who were conciuered hy the Aztecs at the 
close of the liftcenth century. They were probably 

Vol. n. S 


cKNKKAL vii;w OF Till: riviMzr.o ^;^TI()^•s. 


one of tlic iincioiit pro-Tolt(U' peoples Iik«» tlio (^tonifs 


I ol 

lili;cs, JilH 

Ion Ml T tillK'S 

1 tluy cljiiint'd to \\a\v (iicupiid i 



UKU! am 

1 til 

lo adjoiiiini,^ ti'iritoiy, 

vvlicic tlii'V erocti'd tho pyramids of the sun and moon 
at 'I'cotiliiiacan. Their institutions when Hist ohst-rved 
by Kuropcans seem to have heeii essi-ntially Nahiia, 
and t\\c alnindant arehiteetural remains found in To- 
tiniac territory, as at l'aj)arithi, Misantla, and Tusapan, 
show no well-iletined dillerences from Aztec eonstruc- 
titiiis ju-oper. Wlustlier tliis Naluia culture was that 
()riL,Mnally possi>ssed l»y them or was intro(hiced at a 
conqiaratively lati; period tliroui,di the iiiHueiu'e of the 
Teo-Chicliimecs, with whom they hecame largely con- 
sohdited, is uncertain. The Totonac hmyua^e is, 
however, distinct from tho A/tec, and is tlioui^lit to 
hav(! some altinitv witli tho ISFaya. 

North of the 'I'otonacs on tlio cjulf coast, in tlii^ 
present state of Tamaulipas, lived the lluastecs, con- 
(terniuL!^ whose early history nothiniic whatever is 
known. Their laniruaw is allied to tho Mava dia- 
lects. They were a bravo [)eo|)le, looked upon hy the 
Mexicans as semi-harharous, hut were defeated and 
forced to pay trilmto hy the king of Tozeuco in the 
middle of tho fifteenth century. 

Tho difficulties experienced in rendering to any de- 
gree satisfactory a general view of the northern na- 
tions, are very greatly augmented now that I come to 
treat of tho Central American tribes. Tho causes of 
this increased difficulty are maiiv. I have already 
noticed the })romincnco of the A/tc« s in most that has 
been recorded of American civil '/iicion. During the 
con(piest of the central portions oX the continent fol- 
lowing that of Mexico, tho Spaniards found an ad- 
vanced culture, great cities, magnificent temples, a 
complicated system of religious and ])olitical institu- 
tions; but all those had been met before in the north, 
and consequently mere mention in generr.l terms of 
these later wonders was deemed sufficient by tho con- 

1 -1 



rnKMors, who wcic a class of inoii not disjxjsod to inako 
iiiiiiutt! olisiTvatioiis or comparisons ivsjicitiiiL,'" what 
Kccnictl to tlicni uniiuportant details. As to tho 
j)ri(sts, tlicir ihity was clearly to destroy rather than 
to closely investigate these institntions of the devil. 
And in the years t'ollowinL;' the coixjuesi, the associa- 
tion hetwi-en the natives and the comiuiMors was nuich 
less intimate than in Analmac. Tlu-se nations in matiy 
instances lout»ht until nearly aiuiihilated, or alter de- 
feat retired in national fra<ri lentH to the inaccessihh) 
fastiu'sses of the <'ordillera, retainiiiLj for si'veral gen- 
erations some of them permanently their independ- 
ence, and allordinuf the Spaniards little opportunity of 
hcconiiiii^ accjuainted with their ahoriyinal institutions. 
in the south, as in Anahuac, native writers, after their 
lanijcuau^e had been fitted to the Spanish alphabet, 
wrote more or less fully of their national history; hut 
all such writings whose existence is known are in tin; 
possession of one or two individuals, and, excej)tinLi^ 
the Popol Vuli translated hy Ximenes as well as 
Brasseur do Bourhouriif, and the IVrez Mava nianu- 
scrij>t, their contents are only vaiL^uely known to the 
))ul)lic throuLjh the writinj^s of their owners. Another 
diliiculty respectinu^ these writing's is that their de- 
pendence on any original authority more trustworthy 
than that of orally transmitted traditions, is at least 
doubtful. The key to the hieroglyphics eni^raved on 
the stones of l^den(ple and Copan, and painted on the 
))aLrcs of the very few ancient manuscripts ])reserved, 
is now practically lost; that it was possessed by the 
writers referreil to is, althouij^h not impossible, still far 
from proven. Ai'-ain, ehronoloucy, so com])licated and 
uncertain in the aimals of Anahuac, is here, throui^-h 
the absence of leij^ible written recortls, almost entirely 
wanting, so that it is in many cases absolutely impos- 
sible to tix even an approximate date for historical 
events of uci-eat im])ortance. The attempts of authors 
to attach some of these events, without sufficient data, 



to the Naliu.a chronology, have done niucli to compli- 
cate the matter still further. 

The only author who has attempted to treat of tlie 
subject of Central American civilization and anti(juity 
(•om})rehensively as a whole is the Abbo Brasseur do 
JJourbourg. The learned abbe, however, with all his 
research and undoubted knowledge of the subject, and 
with his well-known enthusiasm and tact in antiquari- 
an engineering, by which he is wont to level difficul- 
ties, apparently insurmountable, to a grade which offers 
no obstruction to his theoretical construction-trains, 
has been forced to acknowledge at many points his 
inability to construct a perfect whole from data so 
meagre and conflicting. Such being the case, the fu- 
tility must be apparent of attempting liere any outline 
of history which may throw light on the institutions 
of the sixteenth century. 1 must be content, for the 
purposes of this chapter, with a mention of the civil- 
ized nations found in possession of the country, and a 
brief statement of such prominent j)oinis in their past 
as seem well-autlienticated and important. 

Closely enveloped in the dense forests of Cliiapas. 
< Guatemala, Yucatan, and Honduras, the ruins of sev- 
eral ancient cities have been dis(!overed, which are far 
superior in extent and magnificence to any seen in Aztec 
territory, and of which a detailed description may be 
found in the iourth volume of this work. Most of these 
cities were abandoned and more or less unknown at the 
time of the coiupiest. They bear hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tions apparently identical in character; in other respects 
they resemble each other more than they resemble the 
Aztec ruins — or even other and apj)arently laler works 
if) Guatmiala and Honduras. All these remains bear 
evident marks of great antiquity. Their existence 
and similarity, in the absence of any evidence to the 
contrary, would indicate the ociuipation of the whole 
country at some remote jieriod by nations far advanced 
in civilization, and closely allied in manners arid cus- 
toms, if not in blood and language. Furthermore, the 



traditions of several of tlie most advanced nations 
j)()int to a wide-si)read civilization introduced among a 
numerous and i)o\verful peojjle by Yotan and Zamnd, 
who, or their successors, built the cities referred to, 
and founded great allied empires in Chiapas, Yucatan 
and Guatemala; and moreover, the tradition is con- 
lirmed by the universality of one family of languages 
or dialects spoken among the civilized nations, and 
among their descendants to this day. I deem tlio 
grounds sufficient, therefore, for accejiting this Central 
American civilization of the j)ast as a fact, referring 
it not to an extinct ancient race, but to the direct an- 
cestors of the peoples still occupying the country witli 
the Spaniards, and applying to '■ 'le name Maya as 
that of the language which has ruvinis as strong as 
any to be considered the mother tongue of the lin- 
guistic family mentioned. As I have said before, the 
j)henomena of civilization in North America may be 
accounted for with tolerable consistency by the friction 
and mixture of this Maya culture and people with tlie 
Nahua element of the north; while that either, by 
migrations northward or southward, can have been 
the parent of the other within the traditionally his- 
toric past, I regard as extremely improbable. That 
the two elements were identical in their orisrin and 
early develojiment is by no means impossible; all that 
we can safely presume is that within historic times 
they have been practically distinct in their workings. 
There are also some rcit]u;r vague traditions of the 
fu'st a})pearance of the Nahua civilization in the re- 
gions of Tabasco and Chiapas, of its <;rowth, the grad- 
ual establishment of a power rivalling that of the 
people 1 call Mayas, Jind of a struggle by which the 
Niih.uas were scattered in different directions, chiefly 
north wa". *. .o reap})ear in histoiy sonij centuries latei' 
as the Toltecs of Anahuac. While the positive evi- 
dence in favor of this migration from the south is very 
lueagre, it must be admitted that a southoi !i origin of 
the Nahua culture is far more consistent w ith i'a<t and 



tradition than was the north-western origin, so long 
iniplicitl}? acce^ited. There are no data by which to 
fix the period of the original Maya empire, or its 
downfall o. breaking-up into rival factions by civil 
and foreign wars. The cities of Yucatan, as is clearly 
shown by Mr Stephens, were, many of them, occupied 
by the descendants of the builders down to the con- 
quest, and contain some remnants of wood-work still 
in good preservation, although some of the structures 
appear to be built on the ruins of others of a some- 
what different type. Palenque and Copan, on the 
contrary, have no traces of wood or other jierishable 
material, and were uninhabited and probably unknown 
in the sixteenth century. Tlie loss of the key to what 
must li:»ve been an advanced system of hieroglyphics, 
while the spoken language survived, is also an indica- 
tion of great anti(juity, confiimed by the fact that the 
Quichd structures of Guatemala differed materially 
from tliose of the more ancient epoch. It is not likely 
that the Maya empire in its integrity continued later 
tlian the third or fourth century, although its cities 
may have been inhabited much later, and I should fix 
the epoch of its highest power at a date jareceding 
rather than folio 'nng the Christian era. A Maya 
manuscript fixes the date of the first appearance in 
Yucatan of the Tutul Xius at 171 a. d. The Abbe 
Brasseur therefore makes this the date of the Nahua 
dis})ersion, believing, on apparentlv very slight found- 
ation, the Tutul Xius to be one of the Nahua friiu;- 
ments. With tlu breakinj-up of this empire into 
separate nations at an unknown date, the ancient his- 
tory of Central America as a whole ceases, and down 
to a period closely preceding the concpiest we have 
only an occasional event preserved in the traditions of 
two or three nations. 

Yucatan Avas occupied in the sixteenth cc.itury by 
the Mayas proper, all speaking tlie same language, 
and living under practically tlie same institutions, re- 
ligious and political. The chief divisions were the 


Oocomos Tiitnl Y* T 

to have 1,00,, oriWnaiv r' ?*^- ^'"^'<^^. "'"V-I. soom 

' '0 poopio,, ovo; whom tt I I w '""""' 1>"'U of 
those J,a<J tlieir oricnntLif^ "'.H ""'"y- fid, of 
;- toa..I,or« wI,o came i^'tt disf ;"'""'fe'™""ff t,-;!,:, 

'Jeas, ,„ tl,e fertile m"'"' w"^""i ""'" ''''Iwious 

t .o,-» w,tl, Toltec miss,Wfest ox?! "'r*"''^'' ''^ ■»"- 
ihe evidonoe i„ favor of thistu.r* ' ''■"'" ^^"^''"lac. 
^;a*< ;» of oou,-«o unsa&factoJv ^ ^.'," '"'/ l«rti".lar 
."■ d«I m so.„e cases ,-,t„?r^' ",' ,*'"" 't «"» «ell- 
'" i,avin„u,X' 1,1 ' '"■"''.""''--"""'"-■■<^1 

l.orte,l l,y tl,e ,„-eseBce of n! „, """-''''-'"'d « sup- 

'"osts, a„<l of Nahua elc^euK l^f .""T "^ "''^'■•^ ^" <1 

thosa,,-o r'-markappiyi,, t"'|V;^ "f Yucatec ,elioio„, 

aiK'iont liistoiy of tuSn ; ^"'"«' An,erica. The 

t'ons ,„e„tio„e,l. To,nf^.T'''''''.'"'' "'' "'" '•""- 
these successive chan.resso v, ''''"' I" """""^ ^■von, 
cordcl would bo useless ,." "^'."''^ ""'^ «>"'uscdiv ro 
»>'«"■ as ca„ be not ' X't'^''?-"'"''- ""^t'tutfo .^ 

lu,,sju.:ve, a:,l i-ebVion ' '*"?'« "^ the sauie blood, 

I'""-'",!,' ..t a ,„„ch later dt^' '' o "'"" ■■','"' <^'l"^^l'.'« ap- 
!;-"- eras i,. tl,e late, ttorv "7 , ""' ""■''' '"■»'- 
li'cat™, ,s ,-eprese„ted to c ''^c , "'^l'^'""i«ila „f 
7''""f Cuculcau, a,,,;„t^,- •""'"''''"■'••'' ""c appcar- 
;^l"»"',y n his teachiuir a ' : T""T ™"--l"'''.ling 
;■■"";■ «'t!, the Toltec'QueL c,v il' ^■'{/""'•W "f i'S 
■^"■l • : the Cocou,e d,™,; "ii' "^' '"-"""e the 
tlic ^.,.„.,y ,,^ J- , 1,:"^^ "ty at Mayai,au, a,„l ,„|ed 




were overthrown, and Mayapan destroyed l)y a revo- 
lution of the allies. The Tutul Xius now l)eea]ue the 
leading power, a position which they held down to 
the time, not lon<^ before the conquest, when the coun- 
try was divided by war and civil dissensions into nu- 
merous petty domains, each nded by its cjiief and 
independent of the rest, all in a weak and exhausted 
condition compared with their former state, and un- 
al)le to resist by united effort the jiro^^ress of the 
Spanish invaders whom individually tliey fought most 
bravely. Thre *' ^ comparatively recent events 
of some importaiK i Yiicatec history may be no- 
ticed. The Cocomec in tho struggle preceding their 
fall called in the aid of a large force of Xicalancas, 
probably a Nahua people, from the Tal)ascan coast 
region, who after their defeat were permitted l)y the 
conquerors to settle in .the country. A successful raid 
by some foreign people, supjiosed with some reason to 
be tlie Quiches from Guatemala, is reported to have 
been made against the Mayas with, however, no im- 
portant permanent results. Finally a portion of the 
Ttzas migrated southward and settled in the region of 
Lake Peten, establishing their capital city on an island 
in the lake. Here they were found, a powerful and 
advanced nation, by Hernan Cortes in the sixteenth 
century, and traces of their cities still remain, although 
it must be noted that another and older cL'ss of ruins 
are found in the same region, dating back j)erhaps to 
a time wlien the glory of the Maya ejnpire had not 
wholly departed. 

Chiapas, politically a part of the Mexican Republic, 
but belonging geographically to Central America, was 
occupied by the Chiapanecs, Tzendales, and Quelenes. 
The Tzendales lived in the region aliout Palentpie, ..nd 
were j)resuniably the direct descendants of its builders, 
their language having nearly an equal claim with tlie 
Maya to be considered the mother tongue. Tlie Chi- 
apanecs of the interior were a warlike tribe, and had 
before the coming of the Spaniards coiKpiered the 







other nations, forcing tlicra to pay triluito, and ruc- 
cossfiilly resisting the attacks of tlie Aztec allies. 
They also are a very old people, liaving been referred 
even to tho tribes that preceded the establishment of 
Votan's empire. Statements concerning their history 
are numerous and irreconcilable; they have some tra- 
ditions of having come from the south; their linguistic 
affinity with the Mayas is at least very slight. The 
Quelenes or Zotziles, whose past is equally mysterious, 
inhabited the southern or Guatemalan frontier. 

Guatemala and northern Honduras were found in 
possession of the IVlc^T^es in the north-west, the ]*oco- 
manis in the south-east, the Quiches in the interior, 
and the Cakchiquels in the south. The two latter 
were the most powerful and ruled the count)-^^ from 
their capitals of Utatlan and Patinamit, where tuey re- 
sisted the Spaniards almost to the point of annihila- 
tion, retiring for the most part after defeat to live by 
the chase in the distant mountain gorges. Guatema- 
lan history from the Votan empire down to an indefi- 
nite date not many centuries before the conquest is a 
blank. It recommences with tho first traditions of 
the nations just mentioned. These traditions, as in 
the case of every American people, hcgin with the 
innnigration of foreign tribes into the country as the 
first in the series of events leading to the establish- 
ment of the Quiche-Cakchiquel emi>ire. Assuming 
the Toltec dispersion from AnilhujiC in the eleventh 
century as a well-authenti''ated fiict, most wi'iters 
have identified the Guatemalan nations, except per- 
haps the Mames by some considered the descendants 
of the oriiifinal inhabitants, with the mii^ratinu- To]tc<-s 
who fied southward to found a new empire. 1 have 
already made known my scepticism respecting national 
American miifrations in ii^eneral, and the Toltec mitiTa- 
tion southward in particular, and there is nutliing in 
the aimals of Guatemala to modify the views previ 
ously expressed. The Quiche traditions arc vague and 
without chronologic order, nuich less definite than 



those relatihijf to the mytlilcal Aztec wjuidcilni^. 
Tlie sum antl substance of tlio Quiclitj and Toltec 
identity is the traditional statement that tlie former 
people entered Guatemala at an unknown period in 
tlie past, while the latter left Anahuac in the elev- 
entli century. That the Toltecs should have mi- 
grated en masse southward, taken possession of CUia- 
temala, established a mighty empire, and yet have 
abandoned their lanoua;»'c for dialects of the ori<2ri- 
iial Maya tongue is in the highest degree imi)rob- 
able. It is s.ii'er to suppose that the mass of the 
Quiches and other nations of Guatemala, Chiapas, 
and Honduras, were descended directly froni the 
Maya builders of Palenque, and from contemporary 
peoples. Yet the differences between the Quiche- 
Cakchiquel st ucturcs, and the older architectural re- 
mains of the ^laya empire indicate a new era of Maya 
culture, originated not unlikely by the intrcjduction of 
foreign elements. Moreover, the apparent identity in 
name and teachings between the early civilizers of the 
Quiche tradition and the Nahua followers of Quetzal- 
coatl, together with reported resemblances between 
actual Quiche and Aztec institutions as ol)served by 
Eurojieans, indicate farther that the new element was 
engrafted on ISIaya civilization by contact with the 
Nahuas, a contact of which the presence of the exiled 
Toltec nobility may have been a prominent feature. 
After the overthrow of the original empire we may 
su})pose the people to have been subdivided during the 
course of centuries by civil wars and sectarian strug- 
gles into petty states, the glory of their former great- 
ness vanished and partially forgotten, the spirit of 
progress dormant, to be roused again by the j)resence 
of the Nahua chiefs. These gathered and infused new 
life into the scattered renmants; they introduced some 
new institutions, and thus aided the ancient j)eoj)le to 
ri'build their emj)ire on the old foundations, retaining 
the dialects of the original lan>>ua<je. 

In addition to the peoples thus far mentioned, there 




were iiTul()ul)teclly in Nicaragua, and probaMy in Sal- 
vador, nations of nearly pure Aztec blood and lan<j;uaL>o. 
The former arc known anionic different autliorsas Nic- 
araguans, Nitpiirans, or (^holutecs, and they occuj>ied 
the coast between lake Nicaragua and the ocean, with 
tlie lake islands. Their institutions, political and rc- 
ligicais, were nearly the same as those of the Aztecs 
of Aiuilmac, and they have left abundant relics in the 
form of idols and sepulchral deposits, but no archi- 
tecturjil remains. These relics are moreover hardly 
less abundant in the territory of the adjoining tribes, 
nor do they differ essentially in their nature; hence we 
must conclude that some other Nicaraguan peoples, 
either by Aztec or other influence, were considerably 
advanced in civilization. The Nahua hibes of Salva- 
dt)r, the ancient Cuscatlan, were known as l^ipiles, and 
their culture appears not to have been of a high order. 
Both of these nations probably owe their existence to 
a coK)ny sent soutliward from Anahnac; but whether 
in Aztec or pre-Aztec times, the native traditions, like 
their interj)retation by writers on the subject, are in- 
extricably confused and at variance. For further de- 
tails on the location of Central American nations I 
refci* to the stat(3ment of tribal boundaries at the end 
of Chai)ter VII., Volume I., of this work. 

I hero close this general view of the subject, and if 
it is in some respects unsatisfactory, I cannot believe 
that a diiferent method of treatment would have ren- 
dered it less so. To have gone more into detail would 
liave tended to confuse ratlier than elucidate tlu; mat- 
ter in the reiider's mind, uidess with the sup})ort ctf 
extensive quotations from ever-contlicting authorities, 
which would have swollen this general view from a 
chaj)ter to a volume. As far as antiquity is concerned, 
the most intricate element of the subject, I shall at- 
tempt to present — if I cannot reconcile —all the im- 
portant variations of opinion in another division of 
this work. 



In the troiitincnt of my subject, truth and ac- 
curacy aro tlic j)rincij)al aim, and tlieso arc never 
sacrificed to jjfra})liic stylo f>r t»l()win<>^ diction. As 
much of inten'st is thrown into the recital as the au- 
thorities justify, and no more. Often mnv he seen the 
more striking characteristics of these nations dashed 
off with a skill and brilliance eijualed only by their 
distance from the fticts; disputed })oints and unpleas- 
inuf traits olossed over or thrown aside whenever they 
interfere with style and eflect. It is my sincere de- 
sire, above all others, to })resent these j)eople as they 
were, not to make them as 1 would have them, nor to 
romance at the expense of truth; nevertheless, it is 
to be hoped that in the truth cnou<i-h of interest will 
remain to command the attention of the reader. ^Fy 
treatment of the subject is essentially as follows: The 
civilized j)eoj)les of North America naturally grouj) 
themselves in two great divisions, which for conveni- 
ence may be called the Nahuas and the ^NFayas re- 
spectively; the first representing the Aztec civilization 
of ^Mexico, and the second the Maya-Quiche civiliza- 
tion of Central America. In describing their man- 
ners and customs, tive large divisions may be made 
of each group. The first may be said to include the 
systems of ijfovernment, the order of succession, the 
ceremonies (.)f election, coronation, and anointment, 
the magnificence, power, and manner of life of their 
kings; t-ourt forms and observances; the royal pal- 
aces and gardens. The second comprises the social 
system; the classes of nobles, gentry, plebeians and 
slaves; taxation, tenure, and distribution of lands; 
vassalage and feudal service; the inner life of the 
jieople; their fsxmily and private relations, such as 
marriage, divorce, and education of youth; other 
matteis, such as their dress, food, games, feasts and 
dances, knowledge of medicine, and manner of burial. 
Tiie third divisitm includes their system of war, their 
relations with foreign powers, their warriors and oiders 
of knighthood, their treatment of prisoners of war and 



their weapons. The fourtli division enihracos their 
system of trade and eoninieree, the community ttf 
merchants, tlieir sciences, arts, and mauuljuturi's. 
The fifth and hist considers their jndii'iary, hiw- 
courts, and legal officials, I aj)pend as more apj)r()- 
l>riately j)laced here tlian elsewhere, a note on the 
etymological meaning and derivation, so far as known, 
of the names of the Civilized Nations. 


AroMlUAS; — Possibly from rolon, "to Itciiil,' iiicaniii;; with Ihc prefix 
(itl, 'wiiter-roUinas,' or '|)fo|ilo at the IwihI of the wiitor.' Not from uvolli, 
■ >hc)iilili'r,' nor from rolU, 'j^'raiuifather.' Jliisr/iintniii, Ortstiamni, pp. S.">, S'.t. 
'I'nioii, oiiconiar, o ciitortar alj;i>, o rodcar yt'inlo (.'amino.' ' Anilli, onihro.' 
'Ciillmiti, llouar a otro por rodoos a al^^una parte.' Mo/iiia, Vtnithnhirio. 
i'ltlU, '<;ranil-father,' plural rolhuan. ('oUnianiii, or Ci(fiiiniii, may then 
mean "tiic hiuil of our ancestors.' Gallnlin, in Aiiur. Ethiut. Sor., Traiisurt., 
\ol. i., ]»p. 204-5. 'El uonihre lie ucitlhuan, o «ej;un la orto{;rafia niexica- 
na, ncitlliuiii[iii\ en plural, y no ((niUitKirmifs, ni oru/hncs.'' lUci-. I'liir., 
toni. i., p. ;V.>. 'Col, chose eourhe, faisant rtilon, rohiti, on chI/ikii, nom a|i- 
)>iii|U(5 jilns tan! dans le sens d'aneetre, j)aree que du Col/iiiardii primitif, 
des ilos de la (\)url»e, vinrent les emi<,'res qui rivili.s^rent les habitants do la 
valk'c d'Anahuac.' JirtiKSiiir de liniirlioiinf, Qudlir Lfltirx, p. 407. 'Co/- 
/mil, on riil/iiKi, riihxi, dc coitic, courbee. Oe lii Ic nom de la rite de 
I'olliUiiatti, qu'on trailuit inditleremmont, ville de la eourbe, de ehoscs 
riM-ourboe^ (des scri)euts), et aussi des aieux, de roltzin, aieul.' /(/., Po/kiI 
Viih, ]). xxix. 

AzTKCS;— From Azflnii, the name of their uneient liomc, from a root 
Aztll, which is lost. It has no connection with (tzcutl, 'ant,' but may liaM- 
some reference to iztar, 'white.' lUischtitatm, Ortsiianini, pp. 5-ti. 'I>e 
Azflan se deriva el nneional Aztrrntl.' Pimnitrl, Ciiadro, tom. i., )>. l.')S. 
'.Ic, primitif iVdzrntl, fourmi, est le mot qui desi;,'ne, a la fois, d'uiie ma- 
nierc ".^enerale, la vajtenr, le {jaz, ou toute chose leg^re, eomnie le vent on 
lii plnie; c'est I'aile, aztli qui disij;iie aussi la vapenr, c'est le heron dans 
K.-Jiitl. II se retrouve, avee une leyere varianfe, dans le mot nahnatl com- 
jiose, tvin-az-cnUi, bain de vai>eur, dans i-z-lU, le sang ou la lave; dans Ics 
vo;ables quiches atz, bouiree du funu'e, eponvantail, feu-follet. . . . Ainsi Ics 
fourmis de la trad'tion hai'tienne, comme de la tradition niexicaine, sont 
ii la fois des ima.geii des feux intcrieurs tie la terre et de leurs exhalaison.s, 
comme du travail des mines etde raj^riculture. Du meme i)rimitif uz vienl 
Azilitii "le I'ayssur <»u dans le gaz, nz-tmi, nztlan, la terre .seche, soulevio 
liar les !_'a/. ou remplie de vapeurs.'" Rni.sinur </<• Dviirhuunj, Quatic l.i-t- 
tvs, p. 311. 

tlHAiiCVS;— ' II nome Chnlvho vale, Nellu gemma. II P. Acosta dice, dip 
Chulto vu(d dire, Nelle lM>cehe.' Cfuriifrri), Sforin Aiif. ihl Missim, tom. ii. 
j>. -IZ^'i. Duschmuuii believes Acosta's delinitiou 'in the mouths' to be niorr 



correct. Ortminmrn, p, 83. Thairn, Co qtii est Ic calonire; c'est IVxamen 
do t(ms IcH vocables nicxicaiiis, coinmcii\:ant en rhal, qui \\\\\. fail di'cou. 
vrir le sens exact tic ee mot; il so trouvc surtout dan c/ial-c/ii/uiitt, Ic jatle, 
litteraleiiient ce qui est sort! du fond du calouirc.' Brasscur dc Boitibounj, 
Qiialrc Lcttirs, pp. 4()S, A(Wy. 

CllKi.K.s; -*Le Chcl dans la lanfjiie niaya est unc esp^ce d'oi.seaux par- 
ticulicrs i\ ccttc contrtSc' Brasscur dc Bourbvurg, Hist. Xut. Civ., toui. ii., 
p. 19. 

('IIIAPANKCS; — Chiapan, 'locality of the chia'' (oil-seed). Biisrhmann, 
Orfsnaincti, p. 187. 'C/iiajinnt^qiif, du naliiiatl rhiitpniirnitl, c'cst-ii-dire 
hoinnie dc la rivibrc Chiaitan (can douce), n'est pas le noin veritable dc ce 
peuplc; c'cstceluiquc lui donnbrcnt Ics Mcxicains.' Brasscur dc Bonrbourg, 
Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, ii., p. 87. 

CliK-niMKCs;— 'CVu'cAj, pcrro, o pcrra.' Molina, Vocabtdurio. Chichi, 
'''•^o;' perhaps as inhabitants of Chichimrcan, 'place of doys.' Mccull may 
mean 'line,' 'row,' 'race,' and Chichimccatl, therefore 'one of the race of 
dogs.' Bu.frhmann, Ortsuimcn, pp. 79, 81. 'Chichini6quc veut dire, h pro- 

prenient parler, hommo sauvagc Ce mot designe des hommes ([ui inaii- 

tjeut de la viaude cruo et succnt le sang des animaux; cur chichilizll! veut 
dire, en mexicain, sucer; chichinalizlli, la chose que Ton suce, et Chichi- 
hualli, mamelle. . . .Toutcs les autres nations Ics rcdoutaient ct leur don- 

liaicnt le noni de Suceurs, en mexicain, 'Chichimccatrrhinfiiii.^ Les Mexi- 

caius nomment aussi les chicns chichimc, parce qu'ils Ifecheut Ic saii*; des 
animaux et lesucent.' Camargo, Hist. Tlaxcallan, '\n Nouiclks Anindcs des 
Voy., 1843, toni. xcviii., p. 140. ' Tcnchichimcras, que quiere decir del todo 
bnrbados, que por otro nombre se decian Cacachimecas, 6 sea hombres sil- 
vestres.' Sahagun, Hist. Gen., tom. iii., p. UC. 'Chichiiucc o\\ chichi inetl, 
Huceur de majj;uey, et dc Ifi lea Chichimbques.' Brasscur dc Bourboiirg, Hist, 
Nat. Cii\, tom. i., pp. 171, 5G. Other derivations are from Chichcii, a city 
of Yucatan, and from chichiltic 'red,' referring to the color of all Indians. 

Id., Popol Vuh, p. Ixiii. 'CAj scion Vetancourt, c'est une preposition, 

cxprimant ce qui est tout en has, au plus profond, comme aco signilic cc 
qui est au plus \\a,\\t. .. .Chichi est un petit cliien (c/it-en), dc ceux qu'on 
appclle dc Chihuahua, qui sc creusent des tanifcres souterraincs. . . .Chichi 
euouce tout cc qui est amer, aigrc ou Acre tout ce qui fait tache: il a le 
Bcus de sucer, d'absorber; c'est la salive, c'e it le poumon et la mauiclle. Si 
inaintcnant. . . .j'ajoutc inc, primitif dc rmtl, aloiis, chose courbJe, vous au- 
rcz Chichimc, choses courbes, tortueuses, su^antes, absorbantes, amfcres, 
ficres ou aeides, se cachant, comme les petits chicns terriers, sous Ic sol 
oil dies se conccntrent, commes des poumons ou des manielles .... Or, puis- 
qu'il est acquis, d'aprbs ccs pcintures et ces explications, que tout cela doit 
s'appliqucr ?i unc puissance telluriquc, erraute, d'ordinaire, comme les popu- 
lations nomades, auxqucllcs on attacha le nom de Chichinicca.' Id., Quatre 
Lcttrcs, pp. 111-12. 

CnOLULTKCS;— From clioloa, meaning 'to spring,' 'to run,' 'to flee,' or 
'place where water springs up,' 'place of flight,' or 'fugitives.' Bu.ichiuann, 
Orfsnatncn, p. 100. 'C'est du lieu d'oii ils etaient sortis primitivement, ou 
plutOt Ii cause dc Icur qualittS actucUc d'cxiles, qu'ils prireni eusuite Ic nom 


<"'IONTV(KS--'r/ . /, J' "^xt. i\at. Liv., 

'Wr/>.A,;,> ^"'''"«"". f>'-Asv,r,;.o,. p. 15 • I// ,/ ""'""'"'• ''"^•"l- 
IIlvsTi- "LTivation 

""> loni. 1., r,|, r, /.. r, , ^ 

q"e cs 6 tos,.o I.. I ' ' ^""■^"""»», ( 



liiif/iii, cosa torcidii.' Molina, Vncaftii/nrin, ' Afalinnl cM lo nom roinirmn 
<l(! Ill liune, (Ml (k'H <'or(lcs tonliiCM,' ' Mulltin, tordr^^, <[iii fuit vuiUikiI, liiiiii; 
oil <'i)r(U'. Oil Wifii plus litti'Tiileim-iit de cIiomom touriu'-es, |n;rLi^o ii jour, ile 
mid, ])riiiiitif <lu mnmali, percur, tiiraiulur, (>t <lu mil, di; piirt en purt, tt)Ut 
uutour.' Jlriiaitcnr <li: Ihurhoitnj, Qualrc Lcttirs, pp. JOT-S. 

Ma.Mi:s;--'KI viTdiidcri) luuiiliro ilt! In Icii^jim y de Iti trlliu es incin, quo 
rjiiicri; decir ttirtainudii.s porqui; Ioh puoliltm (|U0 priiiicro le.s oycroii liahliir, 
I'lM'iiiitraron Heini'jiui/n ctitrc lus tardus para proiiuiu'lar, y la iiiaueni I'ou 
<|iie ii(|ii(dliM duciau hu li>ii<{ua.' Oruzco i/ lUi-nt, (irot/ra/iii, p. "24. 'A until 
Icii^^ua Hainan Miiiuc, i iiidius iniiincn A los do cista ttiorru, iHtrqiic ordiimri- 
iiiiu'iito liiiiilau y roHpondc!! con vntu pulaltra man, qiio quiure decir yxxZ/r.' 
Jiii/noso, ill Piiiiinlii, Viiadro, toiii. i., i>p. 83-4. 'Afiin veiit dire Iti'giu' ot 
iiiiu't.' * "Mem," iiial i\ propiw di''li;.(iiri5 dans Maiiu; par Ics EMpiijiiiols, servit 
di!|iiiiH ^emiraleiiient 11 designer les nations (^ui coiiHorvcront lour anciunnt; 
]aii;,'uu et deiiiourbront plus ou inoiiis indi'-poiidontCH des unvuiii.sHciirs etraii- 
y,vr».' Mam 'vcutdircancieii, veillanl.' liraiixciirilc Ihuihonrtj, Nal. 
('ii\, loin, ii., If. 111). Mum soniutiiiuis nieans grand-son. /(/., J'njtut Viih, 
p. 41. 

M.\TI.AI,TZINCAS;~'E1 uonibrc Matlaldnratl, tomiisc de Matfatl quo es 

la red con la cual desgranuban el niaiz, y liaiiun otras eosus Taiiibien se 

llaniati MuUatzincas de hundas que so dicen tlrmatlak; y as! Mathilziiivas 
jior otni interprt'tauion quiere decir, hoiideros 6 foiidihiilurius; porque los 
diclius Mdlliilziiiros euaiido niut'liaflios, iisaltan iniiclio truer las liondus, y 
de ordinario las tniiun consij^o, eonio los Vhir.himecas bus areos, y sieinjjre 
undalian tirando eon ellas. Taniliien Ics llunialian del noinbre de red por 
olra ni/on que es la mas prineipal, porque euundo h, su idnio suerillcalian 
algiina persona, le eehaban dciitro en una red, y alii Ic retoreian y estrujii- 
lian eon la dieliu red, lia.sta <|iic le liacian eeliar los intestinos. La eaiisa 
d(! llaiiiarse i'o((^/ (Haniirez dieeiiue "dehe leerse 6V/«?7/ (eabeza). C'oatl si;;- 
iiiticii eulehra," cuando es uno, y quaquatas euando son muclios es, porque 
sieiiipre traian la eabeza eenida eon la lionda; por loeuul el vocablo se deeia 
ijua por abreviatura, ipie quiere deeir quui/l (jue es la calK'za, yfa que (piiere 
deeir /a/«rt^/«</ (Molina says 'Honda para tirar es (emaflail, llalCDKilhiiii- 
/.ii)>r) qucs es la lionda, y asi quiere deeir, quatlatl liombre <pie true la lion- 
da en la eabeza por guirnalda: tambien se interpreta de otra ina?iera, (pie 
quiere deeir bombre de cal)eza de picdra.' SoJukjiiii, Ilist. Gcii., torn, iii., 
lib. X., p. 1'28, and Urozco y Dcrru, Geo<imJ'ia, i)p. 29-30. 'Mullafzinia, 
dar palmadas.' ' Mallatcpito, red pequena.' Molina, Vorabiihrrio. From 
■iititllull, 'net,' meaning' tlierefore 'small plaee of nets.' Jjimchmfiiiii, Oriti- 
vanicn, p. 13. 'Dc Matlatl, le filet, lea mailles.' Bras.iriir de Boarl/oiir;/, 
(Juatrc LcUrcn, p. 408. 'Matlntziiico es una I'lilabra incxicana que siynilii a 
"liigareito de las redes," pucs se compone de ituUlat, red, y la partieula 
tzinco que expresa diminueion. Fiicilmente se eomprendc, pucs, ipic ///'(- 
tlalzincn vieiic de inallatzinco, y que la etimolo;;ia cxiye ipie estas piilabias 
se escriban eon c (nicjor k) y no eon <j eomo huccn alguuos autores,' Pimcn- 
lei, Cuadro, tom. i. , p. 500. 

Mayas;— ' "Mai," unc divinit<5 ou uii personnage dcs temps antiques, suns 
doute celui i I'yccasiyn duquel le pays fut aiqielc' Maya." Brusseurdc Lour- 



Itiiiin/, ill I,in)i/(i, HI. ill- las ('iinas ili- Viiriifnii, ji. 4'J. ' Matfii on Mum, 
iioiii iintirnu' il'iim' p.irtif ilii Viii'iitaii, luiniit hi;;iiitu'r aiisxi In tciic.' /'., 
p. Ixx. 'Maaylii'i, imii mlcst ai|Uii, siiivaiit Onlofii-z, c'fst-ii-ilin', 'I'criv Naiin 
••an.' /(/., ///s/. Sill. I'ir., ttiiii. i., |i. 7ti. Tlie tcrmiiiatioiis (( and u of l\un 
iiaiiii' an* Siianinli. J'ininilrl, i'lntilnt. tmii. ii., |i. ;i.">. 

Ml/i;ilfA.s; '.lA/;'/(/(V/, arliol ilc;,'(iiiia paratiiita.' Mnlhin, Viinilnildrio. 
Mi'zi/iiifl, a ti'Of yicldin;,' tlii- pure yiini araliif, a spfcii'tn of ucaria. Jliisr/i- 
niniiii, Orl.siiiiiiini, p. 104. , 

Ml/l'Kcs; 'La palalira niexicaiia Mi.rlrrnll, cs iiiiiii1ir<> narimial, ilt-riva- 
(In lit! iiii.r/liiii, liij;ar «le iiulii!s ('( lu'lailiiso, loiiipucsto de nii.iili, iiiilic, y do 
la ItTiiiinaciim llmi.' I'iinriili'l, Ciiiu/ro, toni. i., p. '.\'.). Mi.iilnn, 'pliitc of 
cliMids.' liiisriniiiiiiii, Ort.siiiniioi, ]i. IS. ' Mi jtiritjiiiii ... .\ti\yH tlva lirouii- 
lards.' ISrii.s.siiir ilv Iloiirlioiirij, Xiit. Cir., toiii. i., p. 1l(i. 

NaiU'AS;- -'TodoH ids (|Ut' lialilan claro la lenj^iia nicxicana (luc Ics lla- 
inaii iict/iOiis, son dt'sccndiontcs de lo.s Tultfcas.' Sd/nn/mi, II, n., toin. 
iii., lil». X., p. 111. ' \(i/ionll it mihiiiill, Nfj,'uii td dinimiario iK' Miiliiia. mI^'- 
iiilicaTO.vo f/iieniienii hint, de ni<Klo<pie vienea ser iiii adjctivu iiuc aplirado al 
siisiaiitivo uliniiifi, ercotiut' i)uede tradiieirse \ntr nrniiniiusi).'' J'iiiinilil, ('mi. 
ilrii, toin. i., p. I."),S. SoiiK'tliiii^ of line, or elear, or load sonud; lui/uiiilliifo 
MH-ans an interpreter; nahiiuli, to Hpeak lond; nii/nniliu, to roniniand. 
Till' name has no eonnectiun whatever with Aiuihiiiir. liu.irhuiiniii, Ort.siiii- 
mrii, pp. 7-H. 'Molina lu tradnit par Linliiio, inslrnit, expert, eivilise, et 
Ini donne anssi nn sens qui bo rapporte aux scienees 0( enlteH. On n'en 
tronve pas, toutefois, la racine dans h; niexieain. \m lan^^ne qnieliec en 
donne nne exi)ruatioii parfaite: 11 vient dii verlie Nao on Xnii; connaitre, 
seutir, savoir, penser; Tin iiuo, jo sais; Xno/i, saj;esse, inlel'i;4cn<,'e. II y n 
eneore lo verlie radical Xfi, .sentir, sonpv<>iiner. Le mot Xnlnml dans son 
sens primitif et veritalde, mgniiie done litteralemcnt "(pii suit tout;" eVst 
la memo chose ahsolnincnt que lo mot anj;lais Kiiuir-all, avec leijuel il a 
tant d'identite. l.n C^uiche et lo Cakchiquel reni|>loient fr('(|ueinment aussi 
dans le sens de niysterioux, extraordinaire, niervoilleux.' Brusscitr ile Bum- 
lioiirr/, Ili.'it. Xal. Cir., torn, i., pp. 101-'2, l!»t. 

NoNolliAl.cA.s;— The Tutul-Xius, chiefs of a Nahuatl house in Tnlan, 
seem to have home the uauic ol Nonoiial, which may have };iven rise to 
Xoiio/iimiro or OiiohiKtli'u. ' Xonoiial ne ^erait-il pas une alteration do 
Xiiiiiiual on Xanahnatlf^ Bransciir ilc BuurOourij, in Luiula, lid. ilc Iks 
L'ljsdH lie Yiiciiliin, p. 420. 

OlmkcS; — (')lmeeatl was the name of their first traditionary leader. Brn.t' 
.inir ilr Uniirhoiir'j, Hint. Xat. Civ., toin. i., [>. l.VJ. Olincnitl nniy mean an 
inhaliitaiit of the town of Olitiaii; hut as iiirrd/l is also used for 'shoot.' 
'oll'sprin;,',' 'hranch,' tho word prohahly conies from oHi, and means 'peojilo 
of the j,'um.' Ihisvhinuun, Ort.Hiutiiuii, ji. 1(5. 

Oto.mI.S; — 'Kl vocahlo OtomitI, que es el nonihre de los O'omiifi, toii;:i- 
rnnlo do su caudillo, cl eual se llanuiha Oton.'' Suhiifjuii, G:n., toin. iii , 
lib. x., j>. \'1'2. Not a native word, hut Mexican, derived perhaps from oil.', 
'road,' and toinitl, 'animal hair,' referring possibly to some peculiar mode 
of wearing the hair. Biisrlniumn, Orl.snnnini, pp. 18-19. 'Of/io en la mis- 
ma longua olhonii quiere decir iiui/ii, y mi, quicto, OBCiitado, de luuncraquo 
Yul. II. U 



traditrida litoralnicnto la tialahra, sigiiifica nada-quioto, niya idi-a pudic'ra- 
inos exprcsar <liciundo pcirgrino 6 cfrantc.' I'iniciitcl. Ctiiidvo, toiii. i., p. 
118; Xi'txcrtt, Dinrrtuviuii, j). 4. 'Si-i etyiiiologie iiiexicaiiic, Otoiiiill, isi^- 
uil'io la llochc irOton.' Bmsscur ilc Boiirboiirg, Hist. Nal. Vic, toiu. i., 
p. ir)8. 

Pirn.KS; — A reduplication of piUi, which luiH twonieaiiiiifr-*, 'noble' and 
'diiUl,' the latter Iteing <,'cnerally rcj,'arded as its nicaiiinj,' in tho tribal 
name. Jliischiiiaini, Orfxnitiiicn, j»[>. 137-8. So called because they spoke 
the Mexican language with a childish pronunciation. Juarro.s'' Hint. Gmtl., 
p. 2-.M. 

PoKOM.VMS; — 'Pokom, dont la racinc j)ok di^signc uno sorte de tnf blaiic 

ct sablonneux La ternii.iation ojii est un particijie i)rcsent. De Poloin- 

vieiit U; noni de Pokoniani et de I'okouK^hi, qui fut <lonne a ces tril)us de la 
(pialite du sol ou ils bfitirent lour ville.' Bt asscur dc Bourboiirg, iVo/. 
Cir., toni. ii., p. 122. 

QnriiK.S; — 'La pali'i)ra quichf, kirhf, 6 qiiif-r, signillca Niiir/io-: drho/is.' 
Piinctitd, Ciiudro, torn, ii., p. 124. 'De ^Miheaucoup, plnsie'.;i>i, et de fAe, 
urbre; ou de ijkccIic^ 'jKerkduh, qcchdah, la foret.' X'.niuirz, in Brasscitr 
de Poiu-huiirff, Popol Viih, p. cclxv. 

TAUAStOS; — 'Tarasco vicne de tnrhancnc, que en la lengua de Miihoacan 
eignifica suegro, 6 yerno segun dice el P. Lagunaseii sn ( UiUiuitica.' I'inicii- 
tcl, Ciiadro, toni. i., p. 273. ' Tarns en la lengua niexicaiia m' dice Mixroatl, 
que era el dios dc los Chidiiincva.s.' Sahmjioi, Hist. (!ni., <oni. iii., lib. x., p. 
138. 'A (juienes dieroii el noinbrc de tarascos, por el sonidociue les hacian 
las i)artes genitaies en los inuslos al andar.' Vnjtia, Ant. Mrj., toni. 
ii., p. lO."); Brasscur dc Boitrbnurtj, Hist, drs Xiif, Cic, toin. iii., p. r>7. 

'ri;i'ANi;t'S; — Tr/inn, 'stony place,' from fetf, or fi'rpan, 'royal palace.' 
Biisrfihiaini, Ort.sii iiiieii, p. 92. 'Trrpantlan signilie aupres ties palais.' 
Bru.t.'triir dr Boiirhoiirff, Popol Viih, p. ex. 'Cailloux roules sur la roche, 
tc-pa-nc-cd, litteralenient ce qui est niele ensemble sur la pierre; «>u bien tc- 
jHia-r-ed, e'est-a-dire avcc des petites pierres sur la roche ou le soiide, <\ pour 
ctl, le haricot, frijol, (5tant yiris souveut dans le bciis d'une i>etito pi-rre sur 
une surface, etc.' Id., Quatrc Lcttirs, p. 408. 

TLAHUICAS;^From tlahuitl, 'cinnabar,' from this mineral being jilenti- 
ful in their country. Bu.fchmatiu, Ortstiaiiini, p. 93. Tlitliuilli, 'poudrcs 
brillantes.' Brasscur dc Boiir/joiinj, Qiiatrc Lctlirs, j). 422. 'Tlouiii, ahini- 
brar a otros con candelu o hacha.' MoHn \ Vorabiifuno. 

Tlai'ANKcs; — 'Y Ihlmanlos taini)ien tlaiianccas que quiche decir I'otii- 
hrc.i (diiKujrados, porquc se ombijaban con color.' Sa/uvfiiii, Hi it. (ini., toni. 
iii., lib. X., p. 135. From tlnlpnntli, 'ground;' may also come fron. tUdll, 
'laud.' Buschmtttin, Orfttnninoi, p. 102, TlapaUdti, 'terre ccdoree.' Brn.'i- 
sr.urih- Bourtioiii'fj, Pojwl Vnh, p. Ixiii. Tla, 'feu.' /</., Qiiiilir Lcttirs, p. 41(». 
'Tlapnni, quchrarse algo, o el tintorero que tine pafios.' Molina, Vocnbuln- 
rio. Probably a syimuym of Yoppi, q. v. Orozco y Bcrra, Gcografia, i)p. 

Tlascaltkcs; — ' TlaxcnlU, tortillas do niayz, o pan generalmente.' Moli- 
na, Vocahulario. Tla.rcalli, 'place of bread i>r tortillas,' the past particip'e 
of ixca, 'to bake or broil.' Buschnuinn, Orfsiianun, p. 93. 



Toi.TKCS;— ' 7'o//rcr^//o//, maostriii ilc arto riu'caiiioa. ToUrratl, ofl'irial 
de arte mccanira. To/frrniiin, faUricar o lia/or alyio ol maestro.' Molina, 
Voi-nbnhirio. 'Lo.s fii//r.rns toilos se nomhrahaii rhichiiiirnis, y no toiii- 
nn otro iioinbro particular siiio e.ste quo tointiroii de la euriosiihul, y i>riiiit)r 
«le liiH oWras que liaeiau, (lue se llainaroii ohra.s tidtcras (, ca oomo si <li;,'e- 
seuios, otii'iale.s puliilo.s y enri(Hos ooino alioni los de Flaudes, y eon razoii, 
porque craii sutiles j- priiiinrosos en euanto ellos ponian la niano, que totlo 
era niuy l)ueno.' Sahoffitii, Hist. Orn., toni. iii., lib. x., j). 107. Toltecs, 'i)ei)- 
pleof Tolian.' Tollan, 'place of M'illows or reeds,' from foiiii, 'willow, reed.', Orf.siidincii, p. 70. 'To/li'cd/l etait le litre (ju'on donnait a un 
artiste habile.' Brn.s.srHv <fe Buiirltoinv/, Ilist. Nat. dr., tom. i., j). I'.U. 
Tollan: 'Kile est frapjiaiite. . . .par I'identitt' qu'elle jiresente avec le nom 
de Mifzfli ou le C"rois.sant. En cH'et, ce qu'elle exprime, tl'ordiiiaire, c'est 
riilee d'uii "pay.s reeonrljo" ou incline. Sa. iirenuere syllabe fol, prim.lif 
Ac lufon, "abaxar, iudinar laealK;{,'a," dit Molina, "eiit.ortar, encorvar," dit- 
il aillonrs, siynilie done baisser, ineliner la teto, se tortuer, courber, ce (jui, 
avec la particnle locale /an pour flmi on tan, la terrc, I'endroit, annoiinco 
nne ferre ou un pays recourbi'- sens exact du mot toflaii. Du meme vei I o 
vieut tulliii, le jonc, le roseau, dont la tete s incline an nu)in(lre vent; de la, 
le sens de .Ion([niJ're, de limiie, quo peut j)rendre tollan, dont. le hieroylyiibo 
rcprcseiite jireciseiuciit le son et la eliose, et. qui parait I'xprimer donbleiiient 
ridue de cette (erre famense de la Courbe on tin Croissant, basse et mareca- 
{^cuseen l)cauconpd''enilroitssuivfint In tradition. . . .Danssa (the word toloa) 
sij,'iiiticatiou active, Molina le tradiiit par "tra;4ar," avaler, en<^loutir, co 
(pii donne alors pour tollan, le sens de terre eiigloutio, abiniee, qui, cuuimo 
vous le voyez, convient ou no punt mieux dans Ic eas present. Mais si /«/- 
hilt est la terr(> eugloutie, ki c't'st en incine temi>s le pays de la Courbe, 
Metztli ou le Croissant, ces deux noni.M, vcm(rir(iue/-le, peuvent s'appliquer 
uii.ssi bien an lieu oii il a <5t« englouti, :«. I'eau qui so courbait le long dea ri- 
va,i;es du Croissant, soit il riulerieni dvs grande.s golfes du nord et du iiiidi, 
soil au rivage eonve\e, tourae comme It; genou d<^ la janibe, vers I'Orieut. 
< "est ainsi qu'oii retronvo I'ldentificution coutiiiuelli^ do I'idt'e m;Uo unco 
I'iili'e feiiielle, liu c.onteuu ot du contenaiit, d(? talhiii, le pay.s englonti, avec. 
liiJImi, I'oceai! engloutia,^(!nr, de I'eau qui est contenue et des continents* qui 
Tcnscrreut dans lenrs limites. Ajoutons, jtour completer cette analyse, qi'o 
tol, dans la laugne tiuiclice, est im verbe, dout tnlau <'st le jiasse, et qii'aiusi 
que tiilmi il sigiiilie I'abandon, la nudite, etc. Do tol, taites tor, dans laiiie- 
nie langue, et vous aurez avec toraii. vi^ qui est tourne ou retourne, comme en 
niexicain, de meuie que dans liiraii (touran) vous trouverez ce (pii a etc rcu- 
verse, bonleverse de fond en comble, no; e les eaux, etc. Dans la lan- 
gue niaya, /(^/signifio remplir, condiler, et an, t-unnie en qiiieho, est Ic jiasse 
du verbe: niais si a //// on ajoute ha ou a, I'eau, nousavous Tnllia ou Tula, 
rcin])li, subnu-rgo d'eau. I-Ji derniJ'r*' analyse, tol ou tiil jiarait avoir jiour 
rorigine ol, ul, eonler, vonir, suivtiut le quiche encore; primitif tVolli, ou 
bien tVitlli, en langue nahiuitl, la gomnie elastique liquide, \iv boule noire du 
jeu de i)au:ue, <(ui deviout lo hieroglyphe do I'eau, remplissant los deujr, 
golfes. Le ]irelixe t pour ti serait iiiio i)repositlou; fai.saut to, il ■'i^iiiiic 
I'orbite do I'leil, en quiche, imago do Tabime <iue la bonlo noire remplit com- 



rue aa pruiiellc, cc dont voiis pouvoz vous assurer (Inns hi fi,'ure tli' lii paj^o 
suivaiite; to est, en outre, I'aidc, i'instruinent, devenaiit tool; iiiais en niexi- 
eain, to, i)riinitif de ton, est hi cliah'ur de I'oau houilhuite. Tol, contraite de 
to-ol, pourrait done avoir signilie "le lii{<ii<le iMHiillant," ou hi venue «U.' lu 
chiileur houilhinte, de renibrasenient. Avec tint, etendre, le mot entier tul- 
trrn, nous aurions done, etendre le courlie, ete., et fof-'irufl, le tolte(jue, 
serait re (jui etend le eourbeou I'englouti, ou bieu I'eau boitillante, etc. Ces 
etymologies rentrent done toutcs duna la menie idee i|^ui, sous bien des rap- 
ports, fait des Tolteques, une des puis.sanees tellnri(iiies, destruetrices de la 
terre du Croissant.' /(/., Qiialrc Lcttrrs, j)j). IIS-'JO. 

ToTOX.VCS;— From tototl and iiacntl, Mdrd-llesli;' or from tnini, 'to 1m> 
warm.' Ihisrhmfuin, Ortsnamni, p. 13. ' Totoiioro sigiiiHca li la letn<., tres 
eora/oncs en iin sentido, y tres panales en otro,' from tot», 'three,' and iiari), 
'heart,' in the Totonae language. Dumiiif/urz, in Pinirulrl, Cimdro, tom. i., 
pp. *2'JG-7. ^Tutotiftl, el .'^igno, en iiue uigunu ua.see, o ci alma y espiritu.' 
Molina, Vombuliirio. 

Tt'TUL-Xirs; — 'Le nom des Tutul-Xin parait d'origine nahuatl; il serait 
derive de totol, tototl, oiscan, et de xixi'l, ou j-ihnill, horlte.' limstsiur <li: 
liouroounj, in Luiidn, lid. de hin ile. ^ tirntun. ■>. 47. 

XlCALANCAS; — 'Xicidli, vaso de eahibava.' Molinn, Vucatndario. Xi- 
mill, 'place of this species of eahibasli or drinklng-shell.' Unxrlinniiiii, Ort.'i- 
vnmfti, J). 17. 'Xicalanco, la Ville des courges ou des tasses faites de la 
courge et appelee Xicalli dans ces contrees, et dout les Kspaguois out fait 
Xi(7ira.' linis.srur df lionrljoiirf/, llifst. Nat. ('ir., torn, i., p. 110. 

Xoi;illMlLC'.VS; — Vvwn xorliill, 'llower,' and /;/////, 'piece of land,' mean- 
ing 'place of llower-tields.' litinr/niifnin, Oi'tsiutntrii, p. 94. ' Xovhiiiiirijin: 
c.iptiuoa en guerra.' Molina, Vomhidurin. Worhiniilrn, habitants de Xo- 
rhiitiili'o, lieu ou '.'on seme tout en has <lo la Ihise, nom de la terre vege- 
talc et fertile oil Ton ensemeii(,'ait, ,/('//, qu'on retoiirne, d'oii le mot mil on 
milli, chamit, terre ensemencce, et sans doute aussi le latin iiiilitnn, notie 
mil et millet.' ' .I'ajouterai seulenient que ce nom signilie dans le langage 
ordinaire, ceux <ini cultiventde lleurs, do jorhill, Ih'ur, litteralement, ce qui 
vit sous la base.' Bra.'i.HCur dc Jloiirb<jiir(/, Qiintn' Lcttnn, ]([». 40(>-8. 

YoPlM; — 'Lh'imanles ijoiics porqiie su tierra se llama Yo/iinzinrn.' S'tihn- 
ffUH, 11 f. Gen., torn, iii., lib. x., p. l'^'^. 'Infcrimos. . . .cjiie yope, yoi>i, jojie, 
segnn seencuentni escrita la pahibra en varios lugares, es sinonimo de tlapa- 
neca.' Orozro i/ Bcrra, Giografia, pj). 'ICt T. Yojiaa, 'Lanilof Tombs.' llrn.s- 
■sriir de lionrbvitrg, Xat. dr., tom. iii., j). *.). 

'/j\nytVA'»;- ' Tzojmtl, cierta fruta conocida.' Muliiid, Voriihuhn'io. Tzo- 
jinflan, 'placeof the zapotes, trees or fruits.' Dn-irlimami, Ort-siidinrii, j). 1(>. 
' Uerivadode la [talabra mexicana t.:iijit>ll(iii, qiu- si^^nilica "lugar de los znji'i- 
fi:i," nombre castellanizado de una fruta may conocida.' l'im< itiel, Cniidro, 
torn, i., p. 310. 'Zdjtoteeajxoi est le nom que les Mexieains a\aient donne 
a cette contree, a cause de hKiuantite ot de la (|ualifi'' supi'ricure i!e ses . ..its. 
lirassev^- de liourboiivi], Hist. Xof. Cir., tom. iii., p. 38. 

ZoTZlLK.s;— 'Zo/i//, murcielago.' I'imriitcl, Cuoilro, tom. ii., p. '21."). 
/ot/iiha 'signilie la ville des Cliauves-Sonris.' lirtis.niir de Hoiuhoiirij, Hist. 
Xat. Civ., torn, ii., p. 88, 


System of (Jovernment — The Aztec roxKEnEn.vrY— Orper of Sur- 


TioN -Address ok the High-Puiest to the Kixg— Pexan'ce and 


OK CoitKXATiox — The Procirixi; ok Sacrifices— Descrii-tiox of 


rii.Li, Kixo ov Tezcico, to Moxtezima II. ok Mexico— Oration 
•jK a Noni.i: to a Newly elected Kixi;. 

The prevailing- form of government among the civ- 
ilized nations of Mexico and Central America was 
nionarcliical and nearly absolute, although some of the 
!<niailer and Ivss j>owcrful states, ns for instance, Tlas- 
c.ila, affected an aristocratic rci)uhlican system. The 
three great confederated states of ^Fexico, Tezcuco, and 
Tlat'opan were each governed l>y a king, who had su- 
juvme authority in his own dominion, and in matters 
t.)Uiliing it alone. AVhcrc, however, the welfare of 
the whole alliec' connnunitv was involved, notnie kuvj; 
could act without the concurrence of the others ; never- 
theless, the judgment of one who was held to be 
especially skih'ul and wise in any <piestion under con- 




.sidoration, was usually defoiTod to by his colleagues. 
Thus ill matters of war, or foreign relations, the o})in- 
iou of tho kiuLj- of Mexico had most weight, while in 
the administration of home government, and in deci- 
sions respecting the rights of persons, it was customary 
during the reigns of the two royal sages of Tezcuco, 
Nezahualcoyotl and Nezahualpilli, to respect tlieir 
counsel above all other.^ The relative importance of 
tliese three kingdoms must, however, have shown 
greater disparity :ifj fresh ctaupies^s were made, since 
in the division of territory acquired by force of arms, 
Tlacopan received onl}'^ one fifth, and of the remainder, 
judging by the relative power and extent of the states 
when the Sjianiards arrived, it is probable that ^lex- 
ico took the larger share.'^ 

In Tezcuco and Tlacopan the order of succession 
was lineal and hereditary, in IVIexico it was collateral 
and elective. In the two former kingdoms, however. 

1 Ln^ Cnxas, Hist. Apologctirn, M>^., cap. ccxi.; Ziirita, lia/i/iorf, in Trr- 
vaux-Coni/Kiiis, Vol/., SL'iie ii., torn, i., j). y.j; Turquv.nuulii, Moitan/. Iiul., 
toiii. ii.. i>. ;i")4. 

'•^ I.xtlil.xocliitl, for whose ])iitrii)tisni ilue iillownnc must Itc made, writi's: 
'Ivs vi-rdad, ((110 el tie iMe.\.ii'() y Ti-zcin'o fiienm i^nialcs vn di;,Mii(lail 
wfuirio y ivutas; y t'l ile Tiacoiiaii solo ti'iiia fierta iiaiie coiiio la ([uiii- 
ta, en lo (|iic era rentas y despues en los otros dos.' llisf. C/iir/iiinrfu, in 
Kliiifshoroii(ih\-i Mi\v. .Infii/., vol. i.\., p. '2',iS. Znrita also allirnis this: 
'Dans eertainos, les trilints elaient repartis en portions ej^ales, et dans 
d'antres on en faisait ein([ parts: le souverain de ^lexieo et celni de Tez- 
eiico en prelevaient eiiaeun ueu.x, celni de Tacnt)a nne seule.' jLnjtporf, in 
I'l riiiniu'-Conijxiii.s, Toy., serie ii., toni. i., j). 1'2. 'Qnodo ]»nes deterniinado 
(\ne ii los estados de Tlacopan so a^^regase la qiiinta parte de las tierras 
nue\ainente comjuistadas, i;;nalnieiite entre el |)riiM'i]io 
vel reyde .Mejico.' Vci/fiit, Hist.Aiit. Mij. ,Xwn. iii., p. 1()4. lirassenrdellour- 
iionr^i agrees with anil takes his information from Ixtlilxocliitl. Sal. 
Cir., toni. iii., p. 11)1. Torijueniada makes a fardilU'rent division: 'Coikmu- 
rienilo los tres, .se diese la (piinta parte al Hei de 'J'lacnpa, y d Tercio de lo 
(jne ([uedase, a Ne(,'allinalcoiotl; y los denias, a Itzcoluiat/in, como a ("ahcca 
iSlaior, y Sn]ireina.' Miniani. IniL, toni. i., p. 14(i. As also does Clavi;:cro: 
'Si diede (|iiella Corona (llacopaii) a Toto(iniliuatzin sotto la coiidizioiie 
*ne triippe al He di Messico, (>;,'ni volta clie il ricliie- 

di servir con tntte 

si ave 


;naiido a li 
dai neinici. 

inedesiino per cio la tininta iiarte delle spoglic. clie 
Similniente Nezalinalcojotl fn in posscsso 
del trono d'.Vcolhiiacan sotto la condizione di dover soccorrere i Messicaiii 
iiclla ifiierra, e ])crcio;;li fn assejfnata la terza narte dclla preda, ca\ataiie 
prima (luella del lie di Tacnha, restaiido I'altre (lue terze ])arti pel lie ^!^■•- 
.sicano. S/nr/it Aiif. i/rf J/c.v.v/co, toni. i., ]>. '224. I'rcscott says il \va^ !i;,'rr(il 
that 'one lifth should he assinjiiod to Tlacopan, and tlie remainder he di\ itlcl, 
in what proiiortion is uncurtain, hetween (he otiier j»owers.' Mix., \u\. i., 
p. IS. 




altlioiii^^li tlio sons succeeded their fathers, it was not 
aceordinL*- to birth, hut aceordin;^' to rank; tlie st)iis 
of the (|ueen, or principal uife, who was Generally a 
daughter of the royal liouse of ^NTexico, heiny' al- 
ways })referred to the rest.^ In ^lexico, the eldest 
survivinif brother of the deceased monarch was g'en- 
erally elected to the throne, and when there were no 
more brothers, then the nephews, connnencini;" with 
the eldest son of the first l)rother that had dii-d; l)ut 
this order was not necessarily observed, since tlie elec- 
tors, tliough restricted in their choice to one faniil}-, 
could set aside the claims of those wliom tlicy con- 
sidered ini'ompetent to reign; and, indeed, it was 
their })articular duty to select from among the rela- 
tives of the deceased kini«f the one l)est fitted 
to I)ear the dignity .and responsibility of supreme 
lord.* During the early days of the Mexican mon- 

"3 TorifiirDiniffi, Motinrq., toin. ii., p. S.'tfi; Ziiritn, liii/i/tiir/, in Tcr- 
vni.r-CoMjiniis, I'oi/., sorio ii., torn, i., i)]). l'J-i;{; ('/nr/i/rru, Sttiv!<i Aiil.ilvl 
Mcxiiiro, toiii. ii., ji. IIG; Brussetif dc htiiirlmunj. Hist. S'at. tV/;., toiii. iii., 

1) 577. 

(irnuoniada wri 


4 1 

0('l'i()!U'?i, ([11 

itcs: 'cstii flic costimilpro do pstos Mcxicaiios. en I, 


(' iiai-iiiii, (lue fiu'scii lleiiiaiiilo succsivaiiKiiti', lus HcriiiaiKis, 

viios (icsimr 

(Ic (ill 

V afaliando ik' Itciiiari'l vltiimi, oiitral 

)a en sii liiiiar. 

c'l Ifiji) (lt> |[(.'riiiaii() Maior, (lue iiriiuent avia lioiiiailo, <jiie cia S^ihiino do 
Ills otiDs Ivt'it's, ([iii ;i su Padre avian Micodido.' Miniiir<i. Iml., toiii. i., p. 
I<t7, 'I. OH Ki'ics (of Mexico) no licicdalian, siiio epic cniii cic,L;idos, y conio 
viiiios en el l.iliro de los ivcies, (iitando v\ IJei iiioria. si tenia lieiinaiio, en- 
tralta lieredando; y ninei'to cste, olio, si lo avia; y ^iiando faltalia, le .siicc- 
dia cl .soliriiio, llijo do .sii licrniaiio maior, a (|iiieii. por su niuerle, avia sii- 
ccdido, y liie^o el liennano de este, y asi discnriian por los deiiias.' Id., 
torn, ii., p. 177. Zurita states that in Te/cin'o and 'i'lacopaii, ami their 
dcppinlent provinecs, 'Ic droit de successimi le pins ordinaire etait eelui 

tla sai 

1 lij;iie direete de iiere en Ids; iiiais tons les Ills n'lieritaient point 
' Ills aiiie do repoiise principale i|Ue le souveiain a\ait 

11 11 y avail o 

clioisic daii.< ectte intention. 

le joMissai 

t d' 

iiiK! iiliis "laiiilc c;)iisi(lera 


tioii ipic les antics, et les snjets la respectaii'iit ila\aiitap'. I.orsiine lo 
souveiain jirenaient line de ses feimiies i!aii> la t'amille de Mexico, cllc occu 


ireinicr ran'', et sou lil 

ucccdait, s 1! etaiUcapalir 


icii, without 

(Icliiiitcly statin.;^ whether he is speaking' of all lu- part of the three kin;,'- 
doms ill (|nestioii, the author ;.;oes on to say, that in default of diicrt heirs 
the succession hecanie collateral; and liiially. spcakin;,' in this instance of 
Mexico alone, he says, that in the event of tin' kin;;' dyiii;;' wiihout hciis, 
his successor was elected hv the iirinciiial iiohics. I 

II a previous p.iraurajili 

IC writes: 'L'oidre de successiiui vjiiiait sui\aiit les proviuces; les nuMues 

ii--a.L;('s,' a pen <lc diUV'icnce ]tn''s, efaicut rcciis 


exico, a 'I'ezcnco et il 

:i 'Uha. 


erward we re; 

d: 'Daii 



lies lirovinecs, eoniliie 

par ex- 

cinnlc ."i Mexiro, les freres ('taiciit admis u hi iicicssioii, (|iioii|u"il v cut des 

liLs, el il 

s jfoiivernaient successivenieiit. 



/, in 'J cniKiu-C 



arcliy tlie king was elected liy vote of the wliole peo- 
j)le, who were j^uided in their choice l)y their leaders; 
even the women appear to have had a voice in the 

!'/>//., surio ii., toni. i., pp. 12-18. M. l'Al)l)i' Uiiv-ssoiir de Roiirlxmry, tak- 
iiifj; lii.H inf(>nimtii>ii from Ziirita, and, imlcod, almost (niotinj^ literally from 
the Fri'iicli translation of that author, agrees that tlu' direct line of micccs- 
sion (il)taiiK'd in Tlaeopan and Te/eueo, hut as.sorts, re;;anlini; Mi'xico, that 
tiie soverei;,ni was elected hy tlie live principal ministers of the state, who 
were, however, restricted in their choice to the hrothcrs, nephews, or sons 
of the ileceased moiiari'h. Hist. \tif. dr., t(nn. iii., pp. .")7() 7. J'inientcl 
also follows Zurita. Mnunria, p. 2(5. Prescott atlirnis that 'the sovereij;n 
was selet'ed from the hrothers of the deceased ])rince, or, in default of 
them, from his nephews.' M<x., vol. i., p. '2.1. Saha^iiin merely says: '!Csco- 
<X\i\\\ uno de los mas nobles de la linea de los senores ante|pasa(ios,' who 
should he a valiant, wise, and accom|)lished man. Hint. <iiii., toni. ii., lil». 
viii., p. :ns. 'IV'r non lasciar trop]>a liherfa a;L,di I'.lettori, e per imjx'diri', 
(|uanto fosse jiossihile, <;rinconvenieiiti de' nartiti, o fa/ioni, lissarono la I'o- 
rona nella casa d'.Vcamapitzin; c i>oi stabilirono per lejr;.:(', die al lie morto 
dovesse suci'edere uno de'suoi fratelli, e mancando i fratelli, uno deVuoi 
nipoti, e s(! mai non ve ne fossero iiep])ur di (piesti, uno de'suoi cu;;iui res- 
tando in halia dej;li Klettori lo ,sce;j;liere Ir i fratelli, o tra i nipoti dtd He 
niortocfdui, che ri<'onoscessi'ro piii idoneo pel ^'overno, schivaiido con si fatta 
le^i,'e ]iare(;chj iuconvenienti da noi altrove accennati.' ( 'A/c/'/'/v*, Slon'ii, 
Ant. (Id Mcssivo, tom. ii., p. 112. Leon Cartiajiil nuotcs this almost 
literally. DLsnifsn, pp. .54-.'). That the eldest son could jiiit forward no 
claim to the crown by ri;,dit of primo;;eniture, is evident from the following;: 
'(jluando al;;un Senor nmria y de.vava muchos hijos, si al;^uno se al/.ava en 
])alacio y se ([ueria i)referir a los ofros, auni(ue fues(> el mayor, no lo eon- 
sent la el Senor iupiieu ]ierteneciala coiitirmacion, y menosel pueblo. Antes 
dexavan i)asar uu afio, (') mas de ofro, en el <iual considcravaii bien (jue era 
mejor ])ara rej^iro ;;overnar el estado, y a<|uel ])ermanecia por sefior.' I.ii!t 
(.'(t.i((s, Jfi'.sf. A/)o/()i/rtir<i, .lA.S'., cap. ee.xiii. Senor ("arbajal F.spinosa says 
tliat from the election of Chimalpopoca, who succeeded his brother Iluit- 
zilihuitl, and was the third kin;f ot Mexico, '(juedi) establecida la ley de 
elej,nr uno de los hermanos del rey difunto, y a falta de estos un so- 
brino, cuya ]ir,ictica se observo constantemente, como lo harenios ver, 
hasta la ruina del imperio mexicano.' ilc Mr.r., tom. i., ]>. X\A. 'Kl 
Imperio era nionanjuico, jhm'o no hereditario. Muriendo el Kmperador 
los nefes did Imperii) anti;4'uamente se juntaban v elcLjian eutrc si mismos 
al (]ue creian mas di;j:no, y ])or el eual la intris^a, el manejo, la super- 
siicion, eran mas felizmeute reconocidas.' Cuili, ('((rtus, j)t i., p. 114. 
'Tambien auia suco.xion ])or sanifre, sucedia el hiio mayor, sii'ndo ]iarii 
ello, y sino el otro: en defeto de los hijos sucedian nielo>, y en defeto 
ilellos yua por elecion.' llcrnni, (Itii., dec. iii., lil». iv,, c.i)i. xv. As 
the order in which the Mexican kiujjs actually did follow eai'h other should 
be stron;4-er proof of what was the law than any other evidence, I t;ike from 
the Codex Mendo/a the following list: .\caniapiclitli, who is us;ially spoken 
of as the first kin_!_', succe(>(leil Tenuch, althoujjh it is not stated that ho 
was related to him in any way; then came lluicilyhuitl, son oi' Acaniaiiich- 
tli; (']iimali)upuca, son o? lluicilyhuitl; ^'zcoaci, sou of .Acaiiiapiclilli; llue- 
hueiuoteccuma, son of lluicilyhuitl; Axayacaci, .son of 'recocomochtli, and 
grandson of \'zcoaci; Tivocicat/i, son of Axayaeat'i; ^Ahiiicociu, brother of 
Tieocicatzi; Moteccuma, sou of .Vxayacaci; thus, acconllML;- to this author, 
we see. out of nine monarchs, three succeeded directly liy their sons, and 
three by their brothers. J'Js/i/iriiriiin, in Kiii<i>iluinnt(jli\'< .Mcr. Anli'i,, vid. v., 
pp. 42 .").'?. See further, I'ciftiti, Hist. Ant. Mr/., and I'ru.t.trnr ffr l'„)iir- 
hijin-'f. Hist. \(it. Cii: 'I'hese writers ditl'er slightly from the collection above 
(quoted, but in no important respect. 



matter at tliis period.^ Afterwards, tlic duty of elect- 
ini»' tlie ]\'n\'^ of Mexieo devolved ii])on four or tixe of 
the eliief luon of the empire. The k\\vj;s of Trzeiu-o 
and Thu'0})a!i were also electors, hut with merely au 
honorary rank; they ratified the decision of the others, 
hut ])i-ol)al)]y took no direct j)art in the election, al- 
thouij;]i their influence and wishes douhtless carried 
o-reat weight with the council. As .soon as tlie new 
kinof had heen chosen the hodv of electors was dis- 
solved, and others were apjwinted in their j)lace, whose 
duties also terminated with their first electoral vote." 

5 Aftor tlio tloiith of Aciimapirlitli, tho first kiiip of Mexico, a jri'iicral 
comu'il was licld, ami the pt'ople were addressed as follows: ' Va es fallido 
inicstro rcy A('aiiia]iielitli, a »iuieii poiidreinus en sii liij;ar, (|iie rija v;;i>lii<T- 
jie I'ste jmelilo MexicaiioV l'ol)res de los viejos, iiinirs y iniij;en's viejas (jue 
liay; ([lie ser.i de iiosotros adoiide ireiiios a deiiiaiidar ny([iie sea de iiiii'.-.tia 
]iatria y naeioii Mexieaiia? liaMeii todos para de eual iKU'e ele^in'Muos rev, e 
iiiiiu'iiiio i>iiede ilejar de liablar, pties a todos iios iiniiorta ]>ara v\ reparo. y 
calie/a de imestni patriu Mexieaiia este.' 1'|kiii lliiit/ililiuill lieiiii;- ijro- 
jiosed, 'toilos jiiiitos, iiiaiK'elHts, viejos y viejas res[K(iidieron a una: (pu' se:i 

iit'lio de enliiirabueiia, (pie li el (piieren jwr senor y rey.' 7 



Mix., in J\'/iiiis/)orijii/f/t\s M<\r. Aiitit/., vol. ix., ji. 10. Salia;:iiii's de- 
si'riptiou of tlieir iiuiiiner of eleetinj,' kiiij,'s, appears also to lie nioie ajipro- 
piiate to this early jwriod than to a later date: 'Cuamlo nioria id sefioro rev 


:ira ele<;ir otrt), jiintalianse los seiiadores iiuo Ilaniahau trrn//(if(i//iii\ y t 
lien los viejos ilel piieltlo ipie llaniahan iirhniraiihli, y tanihien los capifanes 

Idados viejos de la ;;;uerra que llanialian IiiKirijKiiturj^iir, v otros eapitani 

eran ]ii ineipales en las eosas de la ;;uerra, y taniluen ios Sat 

anas (iiie 

llaniahan T/rtiiiiiiin'iiziiiir 6 jxi/xioinjiir: todos estos se juntahau en las (■a>as 
reales, y alii deliheraoau y deterniinahan (piieu hahia de ser si'fior.' 
(Int., toni. ii., lih. viii., p. 318; Arostn, Hist. <lr Ins Yiid., \\. A',V.) 


le exact nundier and rank of electors is hard to determine. 

'Si 1 

1 le souveram ( 

le M 


inourait sans heritier, les iiri 



t un successeur dont I'eleetiou etait i 

neijiaux ciu 

onlirmee |iar l( 

f> 1 



rs de Tezcuco et 'I'aeuhu.' /iirita, Jiiiji/iorf, in Tiriiini.i-t'diKii'inx 


III. siiiii r III 


i/i'/i'iKi, p. "Jti: 'Tntti e due i IJe (of Tezcuco and Tlacopan) funmo crcati 
Klettori onorarj del l!e di Messico, il ipud onore soltanto ridncevasi a rat- 

rie ii., tom. i., pp. l.")-l(). Pimenfel f(dlows this, .1/. 

ilicare I'ele/ion fatta <la<iuattro Nidiili Messicani, clferaiio i veri 


iiriifiro, ,^'iirit 



t Aiil. ilrl Mrs.sicu, ti 



opiies en ticiiipo de 

l/coatl (piarto Ivey, por eonsejo y orden <le vn sahio y \;de^l^o homlir 
tuuieron llamado Tlaeaellel se senalaron quatro idectorcs, y a e.--tos jiiKla- 
mcnte eon dos sefiores, o Reyes snjetos al Mi'siciino, (pie eran el de Tez- 

cuco, V el (ic 

Tacuha, toeaua hazer la elecion.' Ai 

II .1. ill- las Villi., 
iiaricutcs iiiiiv 

]i. 4,S0. .These four tdectors 'de oidinario eran hiTinai .. 
cercanos d(d Key. Llanuinan a estos Tlacohecahatl, ipie si;:nilica el Prin- 
cipe de las lancas arrojadizas, (jue era vn <,'enero de armas (pie i^ilos mii- 
clio vsauan.' ///. ]). 441. 'Seis elei'tores eleuian el Kniperador, dos de 

les eran sieni])re los priucipes de Tes( 


cuha, V un 

le A 

colhuacan v <le 


princijie de la saiijjre real." I'nrli, Cnrtiis, \>t i., p. 1 14. 'Four of 
the principal lioUles, who had Ix'en chosen hy their own hody in the ]U-e- 
cediui.' reiiru, lilhMl the olliee of electors, to whom were addeil, with merely 

uii honurar 

v rank however, the two roval allies of Tezei 

d Th 



Tills ])ljin of election was not without Its .•nlvaiitaij^es. 
As the i>ersons to whom the cliolce was entrusted were 
^reat iiiinisters or lords who lived at court, they had 
hotter oi)j)ortunltles of ol)servlnj4' the true character of 
the future candidates for tlie throne than tlie coinnion 
])eo|)le, Avho are e\er too a})t to jud<4e, hy pleasinn' ex- 
terior rather than hy real merit, those with whose 
private life tliey can Jiavo no ac(juainta!ice. In the 
next i)lace, the high private rank of the ^fexican 
electors [daced them heyond the ordliuiry inllueiuio of 
brihery or threats; and thus the state was in a meas- 
ure free from that system of corruption which makes 
the voice of the peoi)le a mockery in moi'e democratic 
comnumities, and which would have i)revailed to a far 
greater extent in a country where feudal lelatlons ex- 
isted between lord and vassal. Then again, tlie free- 
dom of choice accorded to electors cnaiiled tluin to 
prevent imbeciles from assuming the responsibilities 
of kingship, and thus the most conspicuous evil of an 
hereditary monarchy was avoideel. 

The almost absolute authority vested in tlic person 

Pi-r.fco/r.i Mi\r., vol. i., p. 23. IJrassour do rourlioiirfr iiwo^ (lio stylo imd 
titlo (if oacli cloi'tor, and says tlioy wore livo in miiiilior, iiiit doos mil stato 
Jiis autliiirity: 'J-os ]irini'i|iaii\ di;;'iiitairos du loyaiiiiio, lo Cilmacnliuatl mi 
Wiiiisirc sii|>roiiic do la jiistioo ot »lo la iiiai.son du roi, lo Tlacoi'licaloatl, 
(ioiKM-alissiiiio oil .Maitri! do la iiiaisoii dos Ariiios, IWtoiiiiiaiioiall, <iii 
(Iraiid-Ma'itre dos Kaiix, rK/hiialiiiaoatl, mi lo Maitro du Saii,u', ot h; Tli- 
llaui'al(|ui. <>u cliof do la Maismi-Noiro, cotiiposaut oiitio oiix lo cmisoil 
do la luiiiiairliio, olisaiont oolui <|iii lour paraissait lo |)lus aplo aux all'airo.s 
]iulilii|Uos, ot lui doniiaiont la ommmiio. . . . II ost dontoux (pio los lois iXi' 
'rotzouco ot do TIai'opau aioiit jamais pris uno jiarto dirooto a oo olmix.' Hist. 
Nut. ('ir., toiii. iii., wp. 577-8. At tlio foot of tlio samo ]ia;;(' is the follow- 
iiiLT iioto: 'Si liavia iluda <) diforoiioia <(uioii dobia do sor roy, avcrijiuaso lo 
mas aiiia ipio podiau, y sino pooo touiaii ipio liaoor (los .sofioros do Ti't/.oiico 
V Tlacapau). tloimirit, Vrunii'ii dr, Xucrd-E.sjHiiiit, (i/i. Jlitrria, cajt. *M. 
This (|uotatioii is not to lio found, howovor in tlio plaoo indioatod. 'd'oaititi 
I'liatro oloi'toros, cu ouya o|)inioii so oonipromotian todos los volos dol roino. 
luaii a(|nollos fuiioionarios, nia;;iiatos y sonori's do la jirinioia noliloza, co- 
inunnionto do sanuio roal, y do tanta iinidoncia y ]>roliidad, oiianta so nooo- 
sitaha |iara iin oarj^'o tan iniportanto.' CiiH/ti/'d Esjiiiidsn, M(.i\, toni. 
i., p. ">7S. ' L'"iio td ([uinto Hoy, Motozuina prinioro dosto niinilni'; y ponpio, 
])ava la olooion aiiia tpiatro olotoros, los (pialos intonionian los Uoyos 
do To/cuco y do Taciilia. So junto oon olios TlaoaoUol oouio Capitan ;;o- 
noral, y salio oloj,ndo su solirino Motozuina.' Ifmrra, lllsl. (lin., doc. iii., 
lil). ii., oap. xiii. Aftor llio kiii^^in laiiK, 'oran losiiuatro oloctoros dfl Itoy, 
([HO tamliion siicodiaii por olooion, y do ordinario oran lioiiiiaiins, o jiari- 
o;itos oorcanos dol l!oy, y a ostos llamauaii on su lonjiua, I'rinoipos do hw 
lauvas arrojadizas, arums nuo olios vsauaii.' Id., oaj*. xix. 



of the sovcreijjfii renderefl j^roat discrimijiation nocos- 
sary in liis solcL'tion. It was ossoiitial tliat the nilt'i* 
of a pu'oplu surnnmdud by ouuiiiics and continually 
])0!it u|)o!i con(iuust, should be an approved and vali- 
ant warrior; having the personal direction of state 
affairs, it was necessary that he should be a deep and 
subtle politician; the gross superstition and theoci'atic 
tendencies of the governed re(juired the governor to 
be versed in religion, holding the gods in reverence; 
and tlie records of the nation }>rove that he was gen- 
erally a man of culture, and a patron of art and sci- 

In its first stages the Mexican monarchy partook 
rather of an aristocratic than of an absolute nature. 
Though the king w'as ostensibly the suj)reme head of 
the state, he was expected to confer with his council, 
which was composed of the royal electors, and other 
exalted j)ersonages, before deciding u])on any imijor- 
tant step;'' and though the legislative power rested 
entirely in his hands, the executive government was 
entrusted to regularly ai)})ointed officials and courts of 
justice. As the em})ire, owing to the able administra- 
tion of a succession of conquering princes, increased in 
greatness, the royal power gradually increased, al- 
though 1 find nothing of constitutional amendments or 
reconstructions until the time of Montezuma 1 1., \\]\vn 
the authority of all tribunals was reduced almost to a 
dead letter, if opposed to the desires or conmiands of 
the king. 

The neighboring independent and jjowerful king- 

T Acosta, ITisf. fir hs Y)irJ., p. 411, f;ivos tlip names of tliiro military 
orders, of wliicli tlio four royal olcctors foi-mi'd oiic; and of a foiirtii, wliicli 
Mas of a sacerdotal cliaraeti'r. All tlu'se were of the royal I'omnil, and 
witliiiiit their advice the kiii;^ could do iiothiii;^ of iiii|Mirta; . Ilerrei:i 
helps himself to this from Acosta almost word for word: ilec. iii., lib. ii., 
ca|(. xix. Saha;;im implies that this siiiireme council was composed of only 
four memliers: ' I'lej^ido el sefior, luej^o eleiiiau otros cuatro cjue eran count 
sciiadores ([ue siempre haliiaii de estar al lado d(> el, y enteinler en toilo> los 
iie;;(icios f^raves de reino, (estos cuatro ti-nian en diversos lii;:;ire.^ (ii\eiMis 
iionihres).' ///s7. (Irti., torn, il., lih. viii., |), SIS. Accordin;^; to !\tiil\<M !.■(! 
the council whose duties corresponded to this in Tezi'uco, was composed of 
fourteen memliers, Hist, ('/u'r/u'iiircii, in KiniisliuruiKjh'ti J/tx'. Aiiiiij., vol. 
ix., p. "JW; Vcytiu, Hut. Ant. JltJ., torn, ii., p. 1S3. 



(loiii of ]\tiflioac,an was i,'overnc(l liy an ah.soluto iiioii- 
Hi'ch, wlio usually resided at his eaj)ital, on lake 
I\itz('uaro. Over each jjrovinee was placed a govei- 
iior, choseu from the first ranks of the nohility, who 
ruled with jj^reat if not ahsolute authority, in the nan u- 
of the kinijc, and maintained a court that was in almost 
every respect a miniature of that of liis soverei<4n. 
The order of succession was hereditary and lineal, the 
eldest son generally succeedint; to the throne. Tht; 
selection of a successor, however, was left to the reif,ni- 
in*^ kiuuf, who, when he felt himself to he near his end, 
was at liberty to choose from among his sons the one 
whom he thoui»ht best fitted to jjfovern. In ordei- 
to test his capability and accustt)m him to handling 
the reimis of government, and that he might have the 
old monarch's advice, the chosen heir immediately 
l)egan to exercise the functions of king. A custom 
similar to this existed among the ancient Tcdtecs. 
Their kings were oidy permitted to reign for a xiidi- 
moljii/fi, that is to Hay an 'age,' which was fifty-two 
years, after which time the eldest son was invested 
Avith loyal authority and conmienced to reign.* When 
the old Michoacan monarch fell sick, the son who 
had been nominated as his successor inunediately dis- 
])atched messengers to all the grandees of the king- 
dom, with orders to repair inunediately to the cajiital. 
None was exemj)t from being present, and a failure to 
com})ly with the sununons was held to be lese-majeste. 
Having assembled at the palace, if the invalid is able 
to receive them, the nobles pass one by one through 
liis chamber and with words of condolence and en- 
couragement seek to comfort him. Before leaving 
the palace each mourner deposits in the throne-room 
certain presents, brought for the occsion as a more 
substantial testimonial of his sorrow. If, however, 
the i<]iysicians pronounce the royal patient beyond 
hope of recovery, no one is allowed to see him.^ 

8 Torqiicnntda, Monarq. Tin/., torn, i., j*. H7. 

^ licuuinont, Croit. ilc Mivltotivaii, pp. 52, 54-3; Torqucmadii, Monarq. 



Tft' \\]\o roads the ronuiiitic story of the conquest, 
feels his heart warm towards tliat stauneh htth; nation 
of warriors, the ^Mascaltees. Tliere is tiiat ahout tlio 
men wlio ate their meat saltless for tiftv vears rrtlur 
tlian huinhle themselves hefore tlie mi!>htv (hjsitots or 
Mexict), that savors of tlie same material that defied 
the IV'rsian host at Thermopyhe. Had the Tlaseal- 
toes steadily o|)j>osed the Spaniards, Cortes never could 
have <^one forward to look upon the face of Kinjj;' ^fon- 
tezuma, nor backward to Kinu^ Cha)"les as the con- 
(jueror of New Sj)ain; the warriors who routed their 
allied enemi<'s on the hloody ])lains of Poyauhtlan, as- 
suredly could have ottered the hearts of the invaders 
an accej)tal)le sacrifice to the ufods of Tlascala. The 
state ol' Tlascala, thoui^h invariably s})oken of as a 
republic, was certainly not so in the modern accept- 
ation of the term. At the time of the coiKjuest 
it was governed by four supreme lords, each inde- 
pendent in his own territory, and possessed of equal 
authority with the others in matters concerning the 
welfare of all.'" A parliament or senate, composed of 
these four lords and the rest of the nobility, settled 
the affiiirs of government, especially those relating to 
peace and war. The law of suc^cession was nnich the 
same as in Michoacan. The chief before his death 
named the son wliom he wished to succeed him, who, 
however, did not, as in Alichoacan, commence to gov- 
ern until after his father's death. The old chief's 
choice was restricted in two ways: in the first place 
the api)roval of his thi'ee colleagues was necessary; 

//"/., toiii. ii., pp. .S.'?S, .">'23; Sdhiifjini, Jfisf. Gen., toni. iii., lil). x., ]>. I,'{S; 
Znritn. Itupitiirt, in Tfnidttx-Coiii/xtii.i, I'n//., sc'rie ii., toiii. i., p. 17; (ro- 
iiiitni. Coll'/. ,)fij\, f(»l. ;UO-ll; I'imnitcl, Midi. iiiiz(( Jii(/it/rini, y. -JT; Ilrti.i- 
inir </r liuiifhinivif, J/ist. XkI. Cir., foiii, iii., ]>. 8"_'. In ilic \i i.sf-//ii/; 
■V/z/'v/Z/r/, pp. •2(i,"»-(), we read: ' Dcsc Stadt cnilc I'rovincic \\ icrdcii vunr de 
III iistc dt'r Spiienjiii'i'dtMi sno trellt-'lick f;lu'r(';.;('ort, ills ccni;:'!!*' van liic l-an- 
iliMi, ilacr \v,(s eiMi Caciipie die al).s(iluti'li«'k i'(';.'i'fnii', .stai'iidc oiidciili' ;;li('- 
iiiiii-saendu'vdt van do jfrixitu Hoere van Tono.xtitlaii.' 'J'iic old rliionicliT 
i-* niistaki'H Iilmv, liowever, as tiic kin<^doin of Mii'lmacun was never in 
ii:iy way subject to Mexico. 

'0 Claviiieni says tliat tlic eity of Tlasealii was divided into four parts, 
f.i'ii dixision liavin;; its lord, tDwIioni all places dependent on siuli division 
wore likewise sultject. Storiu Ant. del Mcusico, torn, i., p. lo5. 



and scM'ondly, loL^itiinfito hotis, tliat is the sons of a 
\vitt! to whom lie hud l)oc;n united accordinu^ to et;it!iin 
f'oriMs, must take precedence of" his otiier chihh'en. In 
delanU of sons, tlie hrothers of the deceased cliief suc- 
ceeded." In any event the jji'operty of the hite ruler 
was iuheritetl by his hrothers, who also, accordiuij^ to 
n custom which we shall find to he almost u'liversal 
anioui,' the civilized ]»eoj)les of the New World, mar- 
lied his widows.''^ Such inforniation as I tind upo/i 
the suhject ascribes the same form of j^()Vernment to 
(.'holula and Huexotzinco, that was found in Tlas- 
cala.'^ The Miztecs and Zapotocs acknowled'^ed one 
su[)remo cliief or kin<(; the law of iidieritance with 
them was similar to that of Tlascala, except that in 
default of sons a dau,i>;hter could inherit." The Za})o- 
tecs appear^ at least in the more ancient times, to 
have heen, if possible, even more priest-ridden than 
their nei<.(libors; the orders of priests existing among 
them were, as will be seen elsewhere, numerous, and 
seem to have po.ssessed great power, secular as well as 
sacerdotal. Yopaa, one of their principal cities, was 
ruled absolutely by a pontiff, in whom the Zapotec 
monarchs had a powerful rival. It is impossible to 
t)verrate the reverence in which this spiritual king 
was held. He was looked uj)on as a god, whom the 
earth was not worthy to hold, nor tlie sun to shine 
ui)on. He proftmed liis sanctity if he so much as 
touched the ground with his foot. The officers who 
bore liis palanquin upon their shoulders were mem- 
bers of the first Zapotec families; he scarcely deigned 
to look upon anything about him. He never apj^eared 
in i)ublic, except with the most extraordinary pom]>. 

" TorqiiCDimhi, Monnrq. hid., torn, i., pp. 200, 270, toiu. ii., pp. .'?'" 
Pi'trr Min-fi/r, <k'c. v., lib. ii.; Lftcf, Noriis Orbis, p. 252; I'iiuviitcl, 
Jinzii fiiifiift'iKt, i>. 27; Prcscotfs Mcx., vol. i., p. 41 1. 

li! (hunarijo. Hist. Tlax., in Nouedlcs Annalc-idcs Voy., 1843, torn, xc 
p. 1<)7. 

13 Torqucmada, Monarq. Ind., torn, ii., pp. SiJO-l. 

u Ifrnrra, Hint. (Irii., dec. iii., lib. iii., cap. xiv. Biassciir tie TJonr- 
boiir;.; writoa: 'Dans l«;s divorH etats <lii Mi.xtei'apan, Ics heritaf^es passsait'iit 
de niiVIo en niAle, sans ([uc les feninics piissciit y avoir droit.' /li.sf. Xiit. 
Civ., * )in. ill., p. 31); this may, however, refer merely to private property. 



and all "lio mot lilin fell with their fiu-os to the Lrroiiud, 
fciiriii''' that death would ovi-i'ta! e thein were tlu'V to 
l(K»lv ii|)i»M th(j face of the holy W'iyatao, as ho was 
called. 'I'he most powei't'id lords never entered his 
presence excejit with eyes lowered und feet ha red, 
and even the Zapotec princes of the hlood nnist occu- 
]»y a seat ht^tore him lower than his own. ("oiitinenco 
was strictly imposed uj)on the Zapotec ))iiests, and 
especially was it incumhent uj)on the pontiirof \'opaa, 
from the eminence of his ])osition, to he a shining' lii;ht 
of chastity for the ^'uidance of those who looked up 
to him; yet was the jtontitical diL^iiity hereditary in 
the family of the Wiyatao. The way in which this 
paradox is exj)laiiied is as follows: on cei'tain days 
in eacli year, which were jji^enerally celehrated with 
feasts and dances, it was customary j'or the hi,nh- 
|»riest to luH-ome drunk. While in this statt>, seemiuif 
to helonn' neither to heaven nor to eailh, one of thu 
most heautiful of the viroins consecratetl to the servico 
t)r he ui'ods was hrouj^ht to him. If the result of 
thi.. holy dehauch })roved to he a male infant, the child 
was hrouyht up with ,i;'reat care as a ])i-im'e of tlie 
I'oyal I'amily, The eldest son of the rei^iiin^' ]K)ntilf 
inherited the throne of Yo})aa, or in del'ault of chil- 
dren, the hi_i^h-])riest's nearest relative succeeded. 
The younger children devoted themselves to the serv- 

ice o 

f th 


le jjous, or married and remamec 


d li 

IV men. 

according,'' to their inclination or the ]»aternal wish; in 
either case the most honorable and important i)osition8 
usually fell to their lot." 

The pomp and circumstance which surrounded tlie 
Aztec monarchs, and the ma^niticence of theij" every- 
day Hie was most inii)ressive. From the moment of 
liis corontvtion the Aztec soverciun lived in an atmos- 
j)here of adulation unknown to the mightiest ])oten- 
tate of the old world. Reverenced as a god, the 

15 Uiinititi, Grog. Dcscrip., cap. 53; Brasscur i/c Bouvboiirg, Ilixt. Nut. 
Civ., torn, iii., pp. 2y-.30. 




I' ii 





liauijflitlest nobles, sovcrel<j;"ns in tlieir OAvn land, liuni- 
l)lc'd thcniHolves before liini ; absolute in power, the 
fate of thousands depended upon a gesture of his 

The ceremony of anointment, which preceded and 
was entirely distinct fvohi that of coronation, was an 
occasion of much display. In Mexico, as soon as 
the new^ king was elected, which Wiis immediately 
after the funeral of his })redecessor, the kings of 
Tezcuco and Tlacopan were sent for to be ])resent 
at tlie cereniony of anointment; all the great feuda- 
atory lords, who had been present at the i'uneral of 
the late king, were also invited to attend. AVlien 
all arc .assembled the procession sets out for the 
temple of Huitziloj)ochtli, tlie god of war. The kings 
(»f Tezcuco and Tlaco])an, surrounded by all the most 
]>owerful nobles of the realm, bearing their ensigns and 
iisignia of rank, lead the van. Next comes the king 
elect, naked, exce})ting only the maxtli, or cloth about 
the loins; following these are the lesser nobles, and 
after them the conunon people. Silently the pro- 
cession wends its way along the streets; no l)eat of 
<lruni nor shout of people is heard above the tramping. 
The road in advance is as fi-ee from obstiiK tit)n as a 
corridor in the I'oyal palace; no one moves among the 
nudtitude that string along its edges, but all stand 
with bended head and eyes downcast until the solenm 
pageant has passed, when they close in with the jost- 
bng and whis[)ering crowd that follows. Arri\ed at 
the temple the king and that ])art of the procession 
which precedes him ascend to the summit. ])uring 
the ascent he is sujported on either side by a gi'eat 
lord, and such aid is not superHuous, for the staircases, 
having in all one hundred and fourteen steps, each a 
foot high, are so arranged that it is necessary to go 
completely round the building several tinus before 
reacliing the to}). On the sununit the king is met by 
th<3 high-j)rii'st and his colleagues, the people mean- 
while waiting below. His tirst action uj)oii reaching 



the summit is to pay reverence to the image of the god 
of battles by touching the earth with his liand and then 
carrying it to his mouth. The high-])riest now anoints 
the king throughout his entire body with a certain 
black ointment, and sprinkles him with water which 
has been blessed at the grand feast of Huitzilopoch- 
tli, using for this purpose branches of cedar and willow 
and leav'es of .naize;^*^ at the same time he addresses 
a fev words of counsel to him. The newly anoint'jd 
n);-narch is next clothed with a mantle, on wliich are 
repifjsented skulls and bones, to remind him, we are 
told, that even kings are mortal ; his head is covered 
with two cloths, or veils, one blue and the other black, 
and decorated in a similar manner; about his neck ':; 
tied a small gourd, containing a certain j)o\vder, which 
is esteemed a strong preservative against disease, soi'- 
cery, and treason. A censer containing live coals is 
put into his right hand, and into his left a bag of coj)al, 
and tluis accoutred and provided he [)roceeds to inc<3nse 
the god liuitzilopochtli." This act of worship he j)er- 

i« Arosta, ///s'/ di' fii.i Villi., p. 474, writes: 'Pusicronle rorona Real, y 
vii;,'ii!r()iilo, cDiiK) fuc ('(•^stulllll^l' liawiio con todos siis Kt-vt's, ('(in viia vncioii 
<|Uc llaiiiaiiaii diuiiia, jH(r(|iu' era la iiiisitia con <iii(' vii;.nan wu ydolo.' Tori|iii'- 
niaila, Mdiinn/. Im/., toiii. ii., p. 'M>0, says tliat Acosta is mistaken, foi-, Ik! 
nliserves tiiat ' la ( 'orona 4110 lianialia ("oi)illi, no sc daha en esta oca> 'on, ^ilIo 
(|iie en Iii;,'ar de ella, le [loniau las niantas diciias solne la Calu'va, ni tani- 
poco era la vncioii la niisma ([ue la de los Idolos; ])ori|ue la I)ivina, one el 
[Acosta] nonilira. era de I'Ui, y Saii;j;re de Nifios, con i|iie taniliien vn^ianal 
Siitno Saccnlote;' 'ait T<»r4Ueinadii '.^ere directly contradicts a previous stale- 
n'cnt of liis own, toni. i., p. 102, where he says that ininiedialtdy after tie.! 
election, havinj; seated the kinj^ elect U|(on a throne. '1. jjusieron la Coroniv 
Itcal en su Calteca, y le viitaron todo el ("nerpo, con la \ iicion, (jue despues 
acostnniliraron, (jne era la niisina con une vn<fian a su Dios,' thus usiii;; 
almost the same words as Acosta. l/con y (Jama, />o.v /'infrn.s, says that 
tiie water used at the aiu)intin;; was drawn from the fountaiti To/.iialatl, 
wl ic.h was held in {ireat veneration, and that it was jirst u.>ed Tor tiiis pur- 
Jiose a* the anointment of lluitzilihnitl. second kin;; of Mexico. 

l'' Saha;4'un states that the kiiif; was dresseil upon this occasion in a tunic! 
of clark ;;rcen <'loth, with Imuics paiuteil upon it; thi> tunic resemhled the 
liuipil, or chemise of the women, and was usually worn hy the iioliles when 
they oli'ered incense to thv puis. The veil was also of ^reen <'loth orna- 
mented with skulls and hones, and in aildition to the articles descriheil hy 
oilier writers, this author mentions that they placed dark ;rreen sandals upon 
his feet. Ill' also allirms that the four royal electors were conlirmeil in their 
ollice at the same time as the kin^', hein;;' similarly dressed, sa\c thai the 
color of their ccstinne was hlack, anil j.'oin^' throu;,'h the same per ornianccs 
alter him, except, of course, the tiiiuintmeul. Huliiujuii, llid.Gni., toiii.ii , 
Vol., II. 10 



forms on his knees, amid tlie cheers of the peo])le be- 
low, and tlie playino^ of musical instruments. He has 
concluded now, and the his^'h-priest ajj^ain addresses a 
short s])eech to him. Consider well, Sire, he says, the 
great honor which your subjects have conferred upon 
you, and remember now that you are kin<^, that it 
is your duty to watch over your people with great care, 
to look u))on them as your children, to preserve them 
from sufferinj^, and to protect the weak from the op- 
pression of tlie stronjjc. Behold before you the chiefs 
of your kingdom together with all your subjects, to 
whom you are botli father and mother, for it is to you 
they turn for protection. It is now your place to com- 
mand and to govern, and most especially is it your 
duty to bestow great attention upon all nuitters relating' 
to war, to search out and })unish criminals without re> 
gard to rank, to put down reliellion, and to chastise 
the sedicious. Let not tlie strength of religion decline 
during your reign, see that the tem[)les are well cared 
for, let there be ever an al)undance of victims for sac- 
rifice, a!id so will you prosper in all your uiuh^rtakings 
and be l)eloved of the gods. Gomara affirms that the 
high-])riest imposed an oath upon the king that during 
his reio'ii he would niiiintain the reliufion of his ances- 
tors, and observe their laws; that he would give offence 
to none, and be valiant in war; that he would make the 
sun to shine, the clouds to give rain, the rivers to flow, 
and the earth to bring forth fruits in abundance.*** The 
allied kings and the nobles next address him to tlic 
same ])urpose ; to whicli the king aiiswers with thanks 
and ])r()mises to exert himself to the utmost of his 
power for the happiness of tlie state. 

Tlie speeches being i-nded the procession again winds 
round the temple until, following terrace after terrace, 
it finally reaches the grouiul in the same order that it 
went up. The king now receives homage and gifts 

]). .^10. (inniara says tlicv Inii^ upon tlic kin^Li's neck 'vtias corroas colom- 
«1q3 lai;;as y <le mnrhos lainalt's; .Ir ciiios callow colgauan ciertajs iusiguiusda 
rei, r.)!i.> > |iiiijaiitfs.' ('<uii/. Mi.r., I'ul. 305. 
i^Uoiuara, Uomj. Mcx., I'ol UOli. 



from the rest of the nohilitv, amidst tlie loud acchiims 
of the people. He is next condiKted to a temple 
called Tlacatecco, where duriiiij four days he remains 
alone, doin<^ penance and eating but once a day, with 
the liberty, however, of choosing his own food. Twice 
in each twenty-four hours he bathes, once at noon and 
once at midnight, and after each bath he draws blood 
fron^ bis ears and offers it, together with some burnt 
copai, to Huitzilopochtli. The remainder of his time 
during these four days he occupies in praying the gods 
to endow him with the wisdom and prudence necessary 
to the ruler of a mighty kingdom. On the fifth day 
he is conducted in state to the royal palace, where the 
feudatory lords come to renew the investiture of their 
feifs. Then follow great public rejoicings, with games, 
feasts, dances, and illuminations. 

The coronation was, as T have stated, a ceremony 
distinct from the anointment. To prepare for it, it 
was necessary that the newly elected king should go 
out to war, to })rocure victims for the sacrifices neces- 
sar}'^ on such an occasion. They were never without 
enemies upon whom war might be made; either some 
province of the kingdom had rebelled, or Mexican 
merchants had been unjustly put to death, or insult 
had been offered to the royal ambassadors, or, if none 
of these excuses was at hand, the importance of the 
occasion alone rendered war justifiable. ( )f the man- 
ner in which war was waged, and of the triumphal re- 
turn of the victorious army, I shall speak in another 
place. It ap})ears that when a king of Mexico was 
crowned, the diadem was placed upon his head by the 
king of Tezcuco. The crown, whiih was called by the 
^[exicans t'(>y>////, was in shape like a small mitre, the 
ftjre part of which stood erect and terminated in a 
Jioint, while the hinder ])art hn.ngdown ovi'r the neck. 
Jt was comj)ose(l of difi'erent materials, according to 
the })leasure of the wearer; sometimes it was of thin 
plates of gold, sometimes it was woven of golden thread 



and !ul()riK!(l witli beautiful featliors.''' Accounts of the 
]>vi'ticular coruiiionics used at the coronation are \vant- 
ii'.g, but all ai^ree that they were of unparalleled (splen- 
dor. The new kin^^ entertained most sunij)tuously at 
his own palace all the i^reat nobles of his realm; honors 
were conferred with a lavish hand, and o'ifts were made 
ill profusion both by and to the kins^. Splendid ban- 
ipiets were given in which all the ntjbility of the king- 
dom partici})ated, and the lower classes were feasted 
and entertained with the greatest liberality. The 
fondness of the Aztecs for all kinds of public games 
and festivals is evidenced in the fretjuency of their 
feasts, and in no way could a newly elected uionarcli 
butter secure a place in the affections of his subjects 
than by inauij-urating his ro'vj-n with a series t)f si)len- 
did entertainments. The strange fascination which 
this species of enjoyment possessed for them is shown 
by the fact that strangers and foi'eigners came from 
afar to witness the coronation feasts, and it is related 
that members of hostile nations were frccpiently dis- 
covered disguised among the ci'owd, and were not only 
allowed by the clemency of the king to j)ass unmo- 
lested, but were provided with seats, from which they 
could obtain a good view t)f the ])roceedings and where 
they would be secure from insult.'* One of the prin- 

'^ Tlic crown iisid hy tiiC early (^liicliiiiicc; sovoreij^iis was codiimisciI of a 
licrl) falloil fi(ir/i.ini/ii//, wliicli <j;rt'w on tlie rocks, siirnioiiiitiMl liy |iliiiiics of 
Ihi-. royal ca;,'lc, and ^^rccn tatlicrs ralltMl Tirjiiliitl, tlic whole Ix'in;;' niouiilctl 
with ;;olil anil iirccioiis stones, and hound to the head with strips of (Uer- 
,s\in. l.iillLrurliitl, ('hir/iiiKira, \u l\ili;/.sl)0)oii(//i\s Mr.r. Aii/i'i/.. toni. 
\'i, |>. 'JIH. Inananotlier plaee, liiliiriom-fi, in i</., |).'t.'{t». tliesanie writersays 
t.ltiil, tlie crown dill'ered according;' to time and season. In time of war it was 
coiuposeil of royal ea^de feathers, placed at the i)aeU of the head, ami held 
to;.;('tlier with clasps of )j;old and ])recioiis stones; in time of peace the crown 
was inaile of laurel and ;,freen featliors of a very ran; liird called <i>uezailo- 
tid(;; in the dry season it was made of a whitisii mo.->s which ;;rew on the 
ri)d\s, with a iiower at the junction called Icit.nirhill . 

'" (.'oneerniii;;anointment anil coromition, see Ti>ni(iiiti<iiiii, Moiiiini. [ml ., 
(i»ni. i., ]i. 102; tom. ii., pp. 8;{. :{.')!t-(iO; '/.iiriln. Un/iiiDrl, in Tmiini.s- 
i'f>ni/)ini\; Vol/., scrie ii., tom. i., pp."2<)-D; Clfiriifiro, Sturin Ant. i/cf Mis- 
sKUt, tom. ii., pp. 113-1."); Sii/iififini, Hint. Hcii., toni.ii., lili. viii., ])p..'!IS- 
■_'l; llirrrrii, I/iif. (!(ii., dec, iii., lih. iv., cap. xv; (lomtiin. Cuii] . .IAm., I'ol . 
:!r)-l!; Ar,)st,i, Hist. (Ir /n.s Viii/., pp. :{,"!'>, -l.'UMd, -174; ()rlif/<i, in I'liftin. 
Hist. Ant. MiJ., tom. iii., p. 'M'.) ; Tiziccitiiif, Crrm. .Mi.r.. in Kimfslni 
iinijICs Mcx. Aiitiq., tym. i.v., p. U2-3, lu additivU tu the luimcrua* 



oipiil fenturcs of the day was tlio coiiofratiilatdiy speed i 
of one inonareh to another, wliich was eourteous and 
flattering*' and filled with ^'ood advice; the following.;- 
address of Nezalinalpilli, kinjjf of Te/cuco, to M<jnte- 
zunia 1 1., on tho oeeasion of the a('eL'SHi(>!( of the latter 
to the tlirone of iMexico, will illustrate. 

The ii^reat ij^ood fortune, most mighty lord, which 
has hefallen this kinydoni in deservini,'' thee i'or its 
monarch, is plainly shown hv^ the unanimity with 
which thou wast elected, and l)y the ij^eneral rejoicini;- 
of thy peo})le thereat. And they have reason to re- 
joice; for so ^^reat is the Mexican empire that none 
]K)ssessed of less wisdom, prudence, and courage, than 
thou, were fit to govern it. Truly is this })eo[)le he- 
loxed of the gods, in that they have given it light to 
clioose that which is best; for who can doubt that a 
])riiice who, before he came to the throne, made the 
nine heavens Ids study,'^ will, now that he is king, 
o!»tain tlie good things of the earth for his peopled 

wiirks (if ju'knf>\vlo<l^'('(l authority on tlic isnlijoct of iil»ori;,'iiiaI American 
civili/atioii tlierc aic a iinintiLMs of otiiers, ciiii'lly of iiiodi'ni <lato, thai treat 
more or less eomph'tely of the matter. Many of tlie^e are mere eoiii|>i!a- 
tioiis, [lut toji'ether witlioiit rejiaril to aeeiira<'y or eonsisleiiey ; others are 
wcirks which deal osteusihly with othtT S[»anisii American matters and only 
refer to the aiii'ieiit civili/ation in passing; their accounts are tisnally co|iicd 
IpiHJiiy from one or two of the old \vrit"rs; some few profess to exhaust the 

siiliiect; in 

these latter, however, the autli 


ha\e faileil to cite th 

tliorities, or at hest have merv'ly j.'iven a list of them. 'l"o attem])t to note 


diU'cr fr 

he usele: 

iiiiits on which these v riters have fallen into e 

rror, or wlien 


om my text, would proxcas tiresome to tlie reader as the result wouii 


It will therefore he sullicicnt to refer to thi 

iss (»f hooks at 

the <oiiclusiou of tho larije di\isions into which this work naturally I'alls. 
.Mioiit the svstemof <tovernment. laws of siu'cession, ceri'monies of election, 

iiiointment and coronation, of the \ztec; 


ler uatioMs included in this 

division, see; ('iirluijnl Esjiintisn, /lis/. Mt.r.. Imn. l., jip. ."»7S-S;{, .V.Ki; Sni/i 

' ■(. 

S/iiiiiiiu- ill I'irii, tom.ii., pp. S-H, .">1-'J; 'I'liiiran. Hi 
li-7, '_'.")-!{S; I'mril, Mirir/ur, pp. 'Jd-t-T; //c.v.v/i /vv, /,'/'-' 

l.Mi s, ■_>_>;»-:?(), -JU; l.iifciiil, y 


.'•-'-.•«: .1/' 

nfi/n'ii(ir s I rii'/i'i ss n, 

ii/iiiff, torn. 1., I 



toni. III., pp. 
p. IM», 

f-/' .1/ 

I .rii-Klii, p 
i. ll'.t; I'liiiisi ir.s S'<ihs'M< 
■11, p. '-M ; hi Hi, II, Hist. M, 

\i\>. •_M-I), 41-;<; 11', Mi\r. Hint., \>. '1\~\ IHIirnrtli, dun/. Mr.r., Ji. 4.' 

I'rni/I. I'nr/'l-'!, \t\i. KMJ, 17<»; Mniif/i'irr, II 



f'll/tiir-disr/iif/itr, tom. v., pp. oil-T.'), 



',», I I- HI, 


. I mil iirii:<. 

/"''./■< \>\>- 7-l.'<; C/i (I III Iter's Ji. 
I.ii.sli/iirf, p. ((7 



2.".;(; ll' mill (M Jiiilisrln 

' 't^iie antes de Heiiiar avia invpsti;.rado los uueve didileces de id Ciele 
'/iniiiiii/ii, .]fniiiiri/. liiil., loin, i., p hU. th'le;,'a, in I'li/liu, Hint. Aiil 

M'J. lorn, iii., p. soil, «rit 

ii(d el 

|Ue sienilo particular siijio pciietiai 

los sccretos del eielo;' 'that he who lieiii;,^ a private iixlividiial, could jieue- 
liaie li'c tecrtt;, ef lieavtJ),' wliicli iii»pcai» iiiurv iutclliyihle, 



Who can doiil)! tliat liis well-triod couraj^-e will be 

even greater now that it is so much needed? Who 

can believe that so mighty and ])oweifiil a pi'ince will 

be found wanting in charity toward the orphan and 

the widow? Who can doubt that the JMexican peojjle 

are favored of the gods, in having for a king one to 

whom the great Creator has imj)arted so much of 

his own glory tliat by simj)ly looking upon his face 

we are made to partake of that gloiy? liejoice, O 

haj)py lantl! for the gods have given thee a prince 

who will l)e a Hrni pillar for thy sui>[)oi-t, a father and 

a refuge for thy succor, a more than brother in j)ity 

and mercy toward his pe()ple. Verily thou hast a 

king who will not avail himself of his high j)lace to 

give himsclt' uj) to sloth and ]>leasure, l>ut who, rather, 

will lie sleepless through the night, pondering thy 

welfare. Tell me, then, most fortunate land, have I 

not reason for saying. Rejoice and be happy! And 

thou most noble and ])ulssant lord, be of good heart, 

lbi- as the high gods have apj)ointed thee to this office, 

so will they grant thee strength to fill it; and be well 

assurcid that the gods who have been so gracious to 

thee during these many years, will not now fail in 

theiv goodness; by them bast thou been raised to thy 

pi'esent exalted i»osition; we Jtray that with their help 

thou mayest continue to lu)ld it during many happy 

years to come." 

It is probable that the orations used upon those oc- 
casions by the Aztecs were, like their prayers, not 
spoken ex tem])ore, nor even })repared beforehand by 
the speaker; most likely they were in the form of a 
iixed ritual, each being })repared to suit a special occa- 
sion, such as the coronation or l)urial of a monarch, 
and repeated as often as such an occasion occurred. 
Some orations nuist be delivered by particular ])er- 
sons; others needed only an ehxpient sjieaker. Sa- 
hagun gives us a speech which was addressed to a 
newly elected king. It coidd be delivered, he says, 

'^- Turqiiciiuula, Munani. IinL, toiu. i., pp. l",)4-5. 



by one of the high-priusts, or l>y a iioblo noted for Ills 
ulcxjuciico, or by some delegate tVoiu tlie j)roviiu'es wlio 
was an ehxjuent speaker, or j)ossibly l)y some learned 
senator, or other ])erson well versed in the art ot* 
speeeh-makhii;'. The lani>ua^e is constrained and 
(juaint, and j)ossibly tiresome, bnt as a specimen of 
Aztec oratory 1 ^'ive it in fnll, adherinjj^ to the sense, 
and IS clearly as possible to the words of the oii^iiial: 
() kinj4', most })itiful, most devout, and best bcloNcd, 
more worthy to be esteemed than precious stones or 
clioice feathers, thou art here by the will of the Lord 
our (Jod, who has appointed tliee to rule ovei' us in 
the place of the kinj^vs thy ancestors, who, dyiui;', have 
let I'all from their shoulders the burden of <;()vernment 
under which they labored, even as one who toils up a 
hill heavy-laden. Perchance these dead ones still re- 
member and care for the land which they t>overned, 
now, by the will of God, a desert, in darkness, and 
desolate without a kin»>'; peradventure they look with 
j)ity u\)on their country, which is become a place of 
briiirs and barren, and upon their })oor })eople who are 
orplians, fatherless and m(>therless, knowing" not nor 
understandiuL!^ those things which are best; who are 
unable to s[)eak for duml)ness, who are as a body with- 
out a head. He who has lately left us was strong 
and valorous: for a few short days he was lent to us, 
tlieu like a vision he slip})ed from our midst, and his 
passing was as a dream, for the Lord our CJod hath 
called him to rest with the dead kings, his ancestors, 
who are to-day in a manner shut from our sight in a 
cotfer. Thus was he gathered to his peo})le, and is 
even now^ with our fatluir and mother, tlie (lud of 
Hell, who is called Mictlantecutli. Will he, i)erad- 
veiiture, return from the place to which he is gone? 
May it not be that he will come back to us? (lone 
is he forever, and his kingdom has lost him. Never 
again, through all coming time, may we see his lace, 
nor those who come after us. lEe is gone IVoni our 
sight forever. Our light is put out; we, whom he 



illuniinod, whom he carried, as it were, upon liis shoul- 
ders, are ahaudoned, and in darkness, and in iji-reat 
})eril of destruction. Beliokl lie has left his j)eople 
and the throne and seat whereon our Lord (Jod placed 
him, and which he made it his constant aim to hold in 
peace and (piietness. He did not cover his hands and 
feet with his mantle for laziness, l)ut with diliiL>ence 
did he work for the ofood of his people. In thee, O 
most compassionate kinjj^, we have a <»reat solace and 
iov; hi thee hath the Lord CJod mven us a sun-like 
•(lory and splendor. God points at thee with his 
tinu^er, he hath written down thy name in red letters. 
It is fixed ahove and helow, in heaven and in hell, 
that thou shalt be king' and possess the throne and 
seat and diiifuity of this kingdom, the root of which 
was deep planted long ago hy thine ancestors, they 
themselves being its first branches. To thee, Sire, is 
entrusted the care of the seignory. Thou art the suc- 
cessor of the lords, thy j*. "decessors, and nuist bear 
the burden they bore; upon thy back nuist thou ])lace 
the load of this kingdom; to the strength of thy 
thighs and thine arms does the Lord CJod entrust the 
government of the connnon people, who ai'e cai)ricious 
and hard to jdease. For many years nuist tlK)U sup- 
port and amuse them as though they were young chil- 
dren ; duriiiiif all thv life must thou dandle them in 
thine arms, nurse them on thy In]) and soothe them to 
sleep with a lullaby. O, our lord, nutst serene and 
estimable, this thing was determined in heaven and 
in hell; this matter was considered and thou wast 
signaled out, upon thee fell the choice of the I-,ord 
our God. Was it ])ossible that thou couldst hide thy- 
self or escape this decision? In what esteem dost thou 
hold the Lord (Jod^ AVith what resj)eit dost thou 
consider the kings and great nobles wlio have been 
inspired by God to choose thee for our father and 
iiiotlier, whose election is divine and irrevoi-able ? 

This being so, ( ) our lord, see that thou girdest thy- 
self for thy task, that thou puttest thy shoulder to the 



liurdt'ii Avliicli lias l)oon imposed upon tlioo. Let tlie 
\vill of ( Mxl l)e oheyed, Pereliuiice thou wilt eany this 
li)i\(l tor a s[)n('e, or it may ho that death will cut tlun' oil* 
and thy election l)e as a dream. Take heed, therel'ore, 
that thou art not uuLcrateful, setting- small store hy the 
henetits of (jlod. Be assured that he sees all secivt 
things, and that he will atHiet thee in such manner as 
niav seem j>ood to him. Peradventui'e he will send 
thee into the mountains and waste i)laces, or lu- will 
cast thee u])on dirt and filthincss, or sonie i'earCul and 
ui^ly thinsj^ will liai)})en to thee; perchance thou shalt 
he defamed and covered with shame, or discord and 
revolt shall arise in thy kinu^doni, so that thou shalt 
fall into contempt and he cast down; pei'hai)s other 
kings, thine enemies, may rise up against thee and 
coiKjuer thee; or j)ossihly the Lord may suffer faniint; 
and want to desolate thy kingdom. What wilt thou 
do if in thy time thy kingdom should he destroyed, 
and the wrath of our God should visit thee in a ])esti- 
lence? Or if the light of thy splendor should l)e 
turned into utter darkness, and thy dt)niinions laid 
waste? ( )r if death should ct)me upon thee while 
ihou art yet young, or the Lord (Jod should set his 
loot upon thee hefore thou hast fully gathered up the 
reins of govermnent? What wilt thou do if C^od on 
a sudden should send forth armies of enemies against 
thee, from the wilderness or from the sea, from the 
waste and harren j)laces where men wage war and 
shed rlood that the thirst of the sun and the earth 
may he slaked? Manifold are the ])unishments of 
(led for those that offend him. Wherefore, () our 
king, it hehoves thee with all thy sti'ength to do 
that which is right in the fultilment of thine othce, 
taking care that this be done with tears and sighs, 
and continual prayer to the Lord our (Jod, the invisi- 
hle, the impalpable. Draw near to him, Sire, weej)- 
iiig, and in all sincerity, that he may help thee to 
goverii in peace. Beware that thou receixest with 
kindness and humility those that approach thee in 






grief and despair. Neitliur spealv nor act rashly, l)ut 
Ileal" calmly and to the end all coni[iIaints hron^ht he- 
fore thee; dt) not harshly interrupt the words of the 
speaker, lor thou art the ima^e of the Lord (Jod, in 
thee is represented his person, tiiou art his reliance, 
with thy mouth he speaks, with thine ear he listens. 
Be no respecter of })ersons, Sire, hut punish all alike, 
and justly, for thou hast thy power of (Jod, thy riL>ht 
hand to punish is as the claws and teeth of Uod, Ibr 
thou art his juds^e and executioner. Do justice, 
therefore, heediui;' the wrath of none; this is the com- 
mand of (iod, who hath ^iven the doiii^" of these 
things into thine hand. Take care that in the hii^h 
l)laces of the lords and judges there he nothiiii;' done 
snatch ino'ly nor in haste, that there he no lu)t words 
nor deeds done in ani»er. Say not now in thine heart, 
1 am the lord, my will is law, hut rather let this he 
an occasion for the humhling of thy valor and the 
lowering- of thy self-esteem. Look to it that thy new 
dignities he not the means of putfin*,^ thee uj) with 
jtride and haughtiness, hut in place thereof jionder 
often on thy former lowly estate, from which, without 
desert, thou wast taken and }>laced where thou now 
art. Say to thine heart, Who was I ? Who am I ? 
Not hy mine own deserts did I attain this hi<;h })lace, 
but hy the will of God; verily all this is a dream, and 
not soher truth. Be watchful, Sire, that thou dost not 
rest free from care, that thou dost not ij^row heedless 
■with pleasure, and hecome a glutton and wiiie-hihher, 
speiidino- in feasting' and drunkenness that which is 
earned hy the sweat of thy subjects; let not the ^ra- 

ciousness wliich God has shown in electimr thee kiiu 


be repaid with profanity, folly, and disturbances. 

O Kin^' and ^••randcliild of ours, God watches over 
those that <>overn his kingdoms, and when they do 
■wrong he laughs at them; he mocks and is silent; 
for lie is the Lord our God, he does what he |>leases, 
he scoffs at whom he })leases; we are the work ol" his 
hand, in the hollow of his palm he tosses us to and fro 


even Rs l)jills and j)laytliiniTs, lie makes a niockciy of us 
as we stunil)lu and lall, he uses us for liis ends as we 
roll tVuni side to side. Strive luiid, O kiiiy-, to do 
what thou luist to do Httle 1)V httle. Perchance the 
nunil»er of our sins has rendered us unwortliy, and tliy 
election will ho to us a vision that passes; or jterchame 
it ni.iy he the will of the Lord that tliou possess the 
royal di^iiity for a time; i>erchance he will prove i^ rv, 
and put thee to the test, and, it' thou art touiul want- 
iiiL;' will set up another in thy place. Are not the 
I'riends of the Lord ,i,n'eat in numher? Art thou the 
only one whom he holds dear? ^Eany are the fiiends 
(»f the Lord; many are those that call upon him; 
m;my ai"e those that lift uj) their voices hefore him; 
many are those that weep hefore him; many are those 
that tearfully pray to him; many are those that 
sii^h in his presence; verily all these are uncountahle. 
There are many <^-enerous and j)rudent men of i^reat 
ahility and power, who }>ray to the Lord and cry aloud to 
him ; hehold, therefore, tliere are not lacking- otheis he- 
side thvself on whom to confer the dii^nity of kinijf. 
Peradventure as a thing that endures not, as a thiui^ 
seen in slee}), the Lord j^ives thee this ore'at honor and 
glory; j)eradventure he gives thee t(j smell of his ten- 
der sweetness, and passes it (piickly over thy lips. () 
king, most foi'tunate, how down a?id humhle thyself; 
wcej) with sadness and sigh; l>ray fervently and do the 
will of the Lord l>y nit>ht as well as hv dav, during- 
the time he sees fit to s])aro thee. Act thy ])ait with 
cahnness, continually })raying on thy throne with kind- 
ness and softness. Take heed that thou givcst none 
cause for pain or weariness or soi'row, tlnit thou si'ttest 
thy foot upon none, that thou frightest none with an- 
gry words or tierce looks. Refrain also, () our king, 
IVom all lewd jests and converse, lest thou hring 
thy person into contemj)t; levity and hutfoonery are 
not Ht for one of thy dignity, incline not thine ear 
to rihaldrv, even thouyh it come from a near rela- 
five, for though as a man thou art mortal, yet in res])ect 



to tliiiio offico tilou art as God. Tliouufli thou art our 
rtHow-crcaturt! and friend, our sou and our hrotlu-r, yet 
are wv not tliinu ecjuals, nor tlo \vc look upon tlirc as 
u Uiau, in tliat tliou now art tlio iniaj^-e of the Loi'd 
(lod; l»e it is tliat speaks witliin thee, instruetinn' us 
and niakintif liiniself lieard throui^li thy lips; thy mouth 
is his nioutii, thy t()n;j;ue is his ton<,nic, thy face is his 
face. Already he has ijfraced thee with his authority, 

i/ n ft ' 

he has iriven thee teeth and claws that thou uiayest ho 
feared and res[»ecte<l. See to it, Sire, that thy fornur 
levity he now laid aside, that thou take to thyself 
the heart of an old man, of one who is austere and 
^rave. Look closely to thine honor, to the decency of 
thy j)erson, and the maj(!sty of thine otHce; let thy 
words he few and serious, for thou art now another 
heini*'. IJehold the jdace on \vhich thou standest 
is exceedin<i^ hi.iJfh, and the fall therefrom is peril- 
ous. Con ,Ider that thou yoest on a lofty ridu^e and 

r> ft' O 

Upon a narrow path haviui^- a fearfid dei)th sheer 
down on either side, so that it is imposssihle to 
swerve to the right or to the left without falling 
headlong into the ahyss. It also hehoves thee. Sire, 
to guard thyself against heing cross-grained and fierce 
and dreaded as a wild heast hy all. Conihine modera- 
tion with rigor, inclining rather to mercy than to piti- 
lessness. Never .show all thy teeth nor put forth the 
full length of thy claws. Never appear startled or in 
fear, harsh or dangenais; conceal thy teeth and claws; 
assemble thy chief men together, make thyself accept- 
ahlo to them with gii'ts and kind word.s. Provide ; 
for the entertainment of the conunon jieople according 
to their (pudity and rank; ada])t thyself to the difler- 
ent classes of the people and ingratiate thy.self witli 
them. Have a cai"0 and concern th^^self ah(>ut the 
dance.s, and about the ornaments and instruments used 
at them, for they are the means of infusing a warlike 
spir't into men. (lladden the hearts of the common 
peojile with games and amusements, for thus wilt thou 
become famous and be beloved, and even after death 

AnnnRss to the kino. 


tliy faino will livf and tlio (»1(1 iih'Ii miuI women who 
kiK'W tlii'i; will slit'd tears of soi-iow lor tliiin' ahst'iu'i'. 
() most t'oi'tmiute and happy kinijf, most precious treas- 
ure, hear in mind thai tliou j;<)est hy a eran'yy J"i<l 
dangerous road, whereon thou imist step with fiiinness, 
for in the path of kin^s and prinees there are many 

1 sli 

yawnm^' ,L;ults, and slippeiy places, ai 




■p. !• 



slopes, where the matted thorn-hushes and lony' yrass 
hide |)itralls havinj,^ j»ointed stakes set upri,i;'ht in them. 
Wherefore it hehoves thco to call upon thy (!od with 
moanin^s and lamentations, to watch constantly, and 
to shun the harlot, who is a curse aiul a sickn< -i to 
mail. Sleep not li,i;htly in thy hed, Sire, hut ratlier 
lie and ponder the affairs of thy kingdom; even in thy 
slumhers let thy dreams hu of the <,''<)od thing's in 
thy chart»o, that thou mayest know how best to dis- 
tribute tlioui amonjjf thy lords and courtiers, for thero 
aie many who envy the kins4', and would fain eat as 
hv eats and drink as he drinks, wherefort; is it said 
that kinos 'cat the hreatl of ^rief.' Think not, Sii'e, 
that the royal throiie is a soft and pleasant seat, for 
there is nothinn^ hut trouble and penitence, ( ) blessed 
and most })recious kiniL;', it is not my wish to cause ]»ain 
to thine heart nor to excite thy wrath and indignation ; 
it is sufhi-ient for me that I have many times wtumbied 
and yli]j})ed, aye, and have even fallen, durinu^ this dis- 
enoui>h foi- me are the faults of the 

course ot nune 

speech which 1 have spoken, .H'oinj^, in a manner, with 
jumps like a fro^ before our Lord iiod, the invisibU;, 
the impal})able, who is here and listenini;- to us, who 
has heard distinctly the sliijhtest of the words which 
1 have spoken stannnerinoly and with hesitation, in 
had order and with unajtt gestures; but in doino- this 
1 liave com])lied with the custom which obliges the 
aii'ed men of the state to address a newly elected kinl,^ 
In like manner have 1 done my duty to our (»od who 
hears me, to whom 1 make an otierino' of this my 
siteech. Lono- mavest thou live and reii>n, () lord and 
k'u\<^. I have spoken. 



ExTKNT ANP Interior of the Greas' Palace ix Mexico— The Pal- 
ace OK Nkzahcalcovotl, Kin(} of Tezcuco — The Zoological 
Collections ok the Nahua MrjNARCHS— Montezuma's OitAiouY 
— Royal Gardens and Plkascre-Grounds — The Hill ok Cha- 
imltepec— N^jzahualcoyotl's Country Residence at Tezcozinco 
— Toltec Palaces— the Royal Guard— The KiNf:'s Meals— An 
Aztec Cuisine— The Audience Chamrek -After-dinner Ami se- 
ments The Royal Wardrobe— The King Among his Peoi-le— 
Mketinc! of Montezuma II. and Cortes— the King's Harem- 
Revenues of the Royal Household— Policy of Aztec Kings. 

In tlio ])rcceding chajtter we liave seen how tlio 
nionarclis were cliosen, and anointed, and crowned, 
and feasted, and lectured; now let us follow them to 
tlu:ir homes. And here I must confess I am some- 
what staijf^ered l)y the recitals. It is written tliat as 
soon as tlie now king wfis fcjrnnilly invested with tlie 
right of sovereignty, lie took possession of tlie royal 
palaces and gardens, and that these abodes of royalty 
were on a scale of magnificence almost unpa, dlcled in 
the annals of nations. How far we may rcl; on these 
accounts it is difficult to say; how we are to U'terniinc 
disunited (questions is yet more difficult. In the testi- 
mony before us, there are two classes of eviaence: one 
having as its base selfishness, superstition, and ])atri- 
otisu) ; the other disaffection, jealousy, and hatred. 
Between these contending evils, fortunately, we may 





cat least approximate to the truth. To illustrate : there 
oau he no douht that much eoncernino- the Aztec civ- 
ilization has been f^reatly exaggerated by the old 
Sj)anish writers, and for obvious reasons, Jt was 
nianitestly to the advantage of some, both ])riests and 
adventurers, to magnify the power and conse(iueiu'e of 
the })eople conquered, and the cities demolished by 
them, knowing full well that tales of mighty realms, 
with countless man-eaters and fabulous riches, would 
S(wncst rouse the zeal and cupidity of i'ao Spaniards, 
and best secure to them both hon'^'^s laid supplies. 
Gathered from the lips of illitenic soldiers little 
jirone to diminish the glory of their n,chievements 
in the narration, or from the manuscripts of native 
historians whose patriotic statements rogaixling rival 
states no longer in existence coidd with difficulty be 
disproved, these accoun+s passed into the hands of 
credulous writers of tortile imagination, who drank 
in with avidity the marvels that were told tliem, and 
wrote them down with su|.erhuman discrin»'nation — 
with a discrimination which made every so-cailed fact 
tally with the writings of the Fathers. Tliese writers 
possessed in an eminent degree the faculty called by 
latter-day scholars the imaginative in history-writing. 
Whatever was told tliem that was contrary to tradi- 
tion waj* certainly erroneous, a snare of tbt* devil; if 
any facts were waiititie* n the direction pointcid out 
hv doctrines or do''inas, it was tlu'ir riLjhteous dutv to 
till them in. Tl us it was in certain instances But 
to the truth of tlie greater pai-t <»f these relations, 
testimony is borne by the UTianimity of the authors, 
though this is partly owing to tli«;ir eo[)ying each fi'oni 
the writings of the others, and, more conclusively, by 
the anliitectural remairis which survived the att;'.,cks 
of tlu,' iconoclastic concpierors, and the golden and be- 
jeweled ornaments of such ex(juisite workmansliip as 
toe((ual if not sur})ass anything o> the kind in Kurope, 
whicli ornaments were sent to Spain as proofs of tln^ 
richness of the country. At this distance of time it 




i."; Iinp()ssil)le t.) draw a dufinito line l)etwpen tlie true 
iiud the false; nor do 1 feel it my dnty to doyinatize 
in these matters, hut ratlier to tell the tale aw i Hnd 
it, at the same time laying" every shade of evidence 
hefore the reader. 

The princijjal palace in the ^ity of Mexico was 
an irre'j;nlar pile of low ])uildin!^, enorinons in <;x- 
tcnit, constructed of huge blocks of fcfzoiifh, a kind of 
/torous stone common to that country, cemented 
with mortar. The arrang'ement of the buildings was 
such that they enclosed three i^reat plazas or ])ul>lic 
s [iiares, in one of wliicii a l)eautiful foimtain inces- 
s:uitly })layed. Twenty great doors opened on tlie 
.s(juar<'S, and on the streets, and over these was 
scul])tur<:jd in stone the coat of arms of the kings of 
Afexico. an eagle gripj)iiig in his talons a jaguar.* 
In th' int' rior wtire many halls, each of innnens(; size, 
and oi>e in particular i • said hy a writer who accom- 
|i«B»ied fJortes, kn*mn as the Anonvmous Concpierer, 
to have been of suflk-ient extent to<otir-»in three thou- 
sand men; while ujK»n tike teirace tliat formed its roof 
thirty nnn on lw»rsebafk t'ould Iiaxe grmt- thi'ough the 
.spear excni— ." In :\n lition to these there were moie 
than one i drtd - i- n^Mii.^, and the same num- 

l»er of mart)h' taths. win- • ig^-ther with the fountains, 
|*»iids, rid baiHiii»« in the gardens, were sn])plied ^itii 
watt!)- iVorn the ncighlHiring- hill of C'hapulte})ec. 
There ■ also -piendid suitis of a})artments re- 

t-nrie*! ■ use »ff the kiwjr*- of Tezcuco and Tlaco- 

pan. and x\i--r altendahtH, wlu-i they visited Mexico, 

' ff^rfnrft, JB-.v .,„„ , (J^c, li . ili vii.. «•»(. is Thotiu^h it is nidit iluiii 
ftniUuklr nkitf Ammiumu mi«^m« tUf -^iiiif tliiri>;. vet (lie r<.,»uiU'r in wliicli l;r 
••xprfKiw^ i« lcarv««* «« m m<»iii»' lUiKlit wkwflif-r the ti^'cr riiijriit imt liavc ln-i n 
Nt;iiidiii;r ••er th* ratil*'. 'Ml »-~< ikU .it' ainiu*!-. (|uc t'stiiii t jh'I Lis )llll'rt;l^ 
«ii- imtmriu y dfattfrueu laM'\»nii*-nu* «»- Muttt riiinji, \ las ilc sus iiiiiccoson's. 
«-s vnM apMtU alMrrUiu >• vn ti<9r. la> iit)iiii» \ \iias inicstas coiiki )m<):i lia/t .' 
^•rcMti ■ •■''.«■'/, }f>.i\, (n\ HtH. 'M''t Waju'ii <lat Imvcn dc I'oo'tr >'i.ul, \\:i^ 
•^^11 iUw'vW 'lit-' nji em <iriHi<»'n •)»-<lrrchn'l<l<', mcl (iiicii < 'liniwcii lu'ti. ^liIuth i 
ttmut^kewtif . tmmi *\ [\ Httttt U- ♦j.ta.-u.' H'l .itl iiill.^clir Sfii, ifiirl ^ 'HW. 

s UfliOi'tm" ;!^lhi ,*r '•/( V"'''' 'li»''iin> lid Siijnor Fcntuiulo Corli-st, in 
/,'(»/.<«**»>, XtfryftUviii, tuiil iii., I«l. WJ. 



and lor thtj ministers and counselors, and tlio cfreat 
lords and their suites, who constantly resided at the 
capital. Besides these, the private attendants of tlu^ 
kin«4' — and their name was legion — had to he provided 
tor; so that when we consider the other extensive 
hiiildin^'s, such as the harem, in which, according- to 
some authorities, were nearly three thousand women; 
the armory, the j^Tanaries, storehouses, mena;yeries, 
and aviaries, which either formed part or were in the 
iuuuediate vicinity of the palace huildinjj^s, we an; 
pi'epared somewhat to credit the Anonymous Con- 
(|Ueror aforesaid when he affirms that, although he 
four times wandered ahout the })alace until he was 
tired, with no other purpose than to view its interior. 
yet he never succeeded in seeinij;" the whole of it.' 
The walls and floors of halls and apartments were 
many of them faced with jiolished slabs of marhle, 
j • ')hyry, jasper, ohsidlan, and white tecali;* lofty 
'•'•I inmsof the same tine .stones supported marhle bal- 
conies and ])orticoes, every niche and corner of whi<'h 
w;-; filled with wondrous ornamental carvinij', or held 
a L;rimrni^" o'i'otiS(juely sculptui'ed head. The bi-ams 
and casinys were of cedar, cypress, and other valuable 
woods, prof'u.sely carved and put toij^ether without 
nails. The roofs of the palace buildinos fbrme<l a 
suite of immense terraces, front which a mau-nificent 
view if th< >v hole <'ity could be obtained. Suj)erb 
iiiat> of niist ex.(|uisitt; finish wei\' spread upon the 
iiiarl»le floors; the tapestry that di"aj»ed the walls and 
the curtains that hunj^- before the w indows wei'c made 
of a fabric most wonderful for its delicate te.xture, ele- 
gant desi<rns and brilliant ( olors; through the halls and 
corridors a tlutusaiid o'oldeii censei's, in which burned 
precious spices and perfiune^, dif}"use(J a subtle odor.'* 

* ' Lc ti'iali paiait, ("•frc la iiiorrc traii-i' niuti' m iiililalile ii I'lilliiUro itii- 
1 iital, ildut uii laiHait iiii j,'niiii( iisi;;t' ii Mt o. ct dnnt Ics nli;/if'ii\ sc m r- 
\ii<'iii iiu'iiu' piiiir faiif iiiic c^ihTc tie vilro n li-iirs ffiu'trts. On en iniiiM- 
I'linin; (Ic (•(• jiciiri! dans nliisit'iiis fdiivcntM dc la I'lichla dc los' .\iij,'clcs.' 
lim.sniiir <!<■ /'xiiiilidiirii, llisf. .\'i(f. ('i:\, turii. iv , n. M. 

^ lii.riisc-iillcrin;; aiiiung tlio Mexiraiis, and otlifr nations of .Viialnuic, 
Vol. II. 11 




The palace built by Nezahualcoyotl, kini»' of Tez- 
cuco, even surpassed tliat of Montezuma in many 
respects. The Tezcucan historian, Ixtlilxochitl, has 
jifiven a full description of it, which I partially 
translate. The collection of buildings, which com- 
postid not only the royal residence, but also the 
])ul)lic offices and courts of law, extended from east 
to west twelve hundred and thirty-four and a half 
yards, and from north to south, nine hundred and sev- 
enty-ei<j;'lit yards. These were encompassed by a wall 
made of adobes stronii^ly cemented tojjcether, and stand- 
m<x on a foundation of very hard mortar, six feet in 
Avidth at the base. On its southern and eastern sides 
the wall was three times a man's stature in height; on 
the western side, towards the lake, and on the north- 
ern side it rose to the height of five times a man's 
statui'e.'' For one third of the distance from the base 
to the top, the wall grew gradually thinner, while the 
remainder was of one thickness.'' Within this in- 
dosure were the royal dwelling, the council-chambers, 
and other halls and apartments. There were also two 
large plazas, the outer one of which served as the 
public market-place. The inner court-yard was sur- 
rounded by the various courts of justice, and other halls 
where matters relative to science, art, and the army 
were judicially and otherwise considered, all of which 
will be described in their place, and also a hall where 
the archives of the kingdom were preserved. In the 
centre of the court-yard, which was also used as a 
market-place, was a tennis-court; on the west side 
were the apartments of the king, more than thi'ce 
hundred in number, all admirably arranged; here 

was not only an act of relifjion tow.anls their gods, hut also a rtioco of civil 
rourtt'sy to lords anil atnhassadors. < '/(tn'i/rro, Sforia Aiif. drl jlrssim, toiii. 
ii., |». 51. ("ortcs durin;; his march to the capital was on more than one oc- 
casion met Ip- a deiiiitation of nobles, hearing censers which they swmifi: 
heftire him as a mark of courtesy. 

i' I'rescott, Mix., vol. i., ]). 177, makes in hoth cases the 'estailo' the 
Rami' me;isure as the 'vara,' that is three feet, a clumsy error certainly, 
when translating sn<'h a sentence as this: '(jne tenia de grueso dos varas, y 
>de alto tres estachis.' 

^ 'A niuiiera de cstriho,' writes Ixtlilxocliitl. 



wore also storolioiises for tribute, and splendid suites 
of a})artnients reserved for the use of the kin<^"s of 
Mexico and '.riacopan wlien they visited Tezcuct). 
These apartments led into the royal pleasure-jjfardens, 
wliich were artistically laid out with labyrintluau 
w.ilks windin*^ tliroui^h the dark foliai^e, where often 
the uninitiated would lose themselves; then there 
were si)arkling fountains, and invitiuij; baths, and sha- 
dy i^roves of cedar and cypress, and ponds well stocked 
with fish, and aviaries tilled with birtls of every hue 
and species, besides extensive menai^eries.** The city 
of ^Mexico, however, furnished tiie lari>-est collection 
of animals, or at all events it is n)ore fully <lescribed 
by the conquerors than others. The Aztec nionarchs 
took s})ecial pleasure in maintaining zoological col- 
lections on an immense scale, which fancy was prob- 
ably more fully indulged by Montezmua I [. thaii by 
any other. That prince caused to be erected in tlto 
city of Mexico an immense edifice, surrounded by 
extensive ga'*dens, whicli was used for no othrv pai-- 
pose than to keep and display all kinds of birds and 

One portion of this building consisted of a large 
open court, paved with stones of different c(»l()rs, and 
divided into several conipartnients, in whicli wore 
kc})t wild beasts, birds of l)rey, and reptiles. The 
larger animals were confined in h)W wooden cages 
made of massive beams. They were fed u})on the in- 
testines of human sacrifices, a!id upon deer, rabbits, 
ntul other animals. The l)irds of prey wero <^listrib- 
uted according to their s})ecies, in sul)terranean cham- 
bors, whi(;h were more than seven feet deej), and u])- 
wards of seventeen feet in length and breadtli. Malf 
of each chamber was roofed with slabs of stone, undtjr 
which perches were fixed in the wall, where the birds 
might sleej> and be protectee' from the rain; the other 
half was coveixxl only with a wooden grating, whicth 

^ I.rtl/'/j-ochill, .Y/a7. CMc/i-.. in KiiujslioroiKjIi's Mix. Anliij., toiii. ix., 
1>1>. 242-3. 



juliiiittofl air and suuliu-ht. Five luindrcd tuikcvs 
were daily killtMl for food for tlieso birds. Allii;'ator,s 
wore kept in ponds walled round to })rev(!nt their 
escape, and sejpents in lonu^ cages or vessels, larL>e 
euougli to allow them to move about freely. These 
reptiles were also fed on liuman hlood and intestines. 
Mr Prescott tells us tliat the whole of this menaj^'ei-ie 
"was placed under the charti^e of nunieroU!+ kee}>ers, 
who acfpiainted themselves witli the liahits of their 
prisoners, and provided for their comfort and cleanli- 


rhomax Gai]fe, the shrewd old Enuflish Jieretic, takes 
another view. In his cpiaint thou^ii free and slashinu' 
style lie writes: "J3nt what was wonderful to hehold, 
iiornd ti) see, liideous to hear in this house, was the 
< )rticers' daily occupations about these beasts, the Hoor 
with blood like a .i>eily, stinkini;' Yika a slauo-hter-house, 
and the roarinsj;" of the Lions, the fearful hissino- of fclu; 
STiakes and Adders, tho doleful howlinn" and brii'lduij- 
of the Wolves, the sorrowbd veiling- of the Ownzes 
and Ti^'i'es, when they would have meat. And yet in 
tliis })lace, which in the ni^-ht seasoji seemed a dungeon 
of hell, and a dNVellins>' place for the Devil, coidd a 
heathen Prince pi ay unto his (»ods and Idols; iur 
no;»runto this Hall was another of a hundred and tifiy 
f )o« lono- and thiity foot broad, where Avas a chapjti 1 
with a roof of silver and i>()ld in leaf, wainscotted and 
decked with o-reat store of ])earl and stone, as Ai;ats, 
( *i)rnerines, Emeralds, Ilubies, and divers otlier sorts; 
and this was the Oratory where Monti'zumu prayed in 
the nig-ht season, and in that cbapjiel the Devil .lid 
aj)pear unto him, and gave liim answin- according to 
his prayers, which as they were uttered among so man\ 
ui;ly and defoi'med beasts, and with the noise of them 
which represented Hell itself, were totted for a l)evir^ 
answer. •' 

\n another jiart of tlie building was an iinmense liall 
which served as an aviary, in which were c< llected 

* 0<i>j<''t Xcir Suriri/, \i. 'X). roiuoiiiiiiy this oialoiy, set- A(*« Cwin^ 



spociiiicns of all the birds in tlie einpiro, ox('e})tiiiL;' 
those of prey. Tliey were of iiiHnite variety and 
spK'udiil ])luiua<(e; inatiy s})et'iuieiis were so dilfieidt 
to ol)tain that their featliers hr()iii>ht almost fahidoiis 
pi'ires ill the Mexican market; while some few, either 
Iteraiise of their extreme rarity or their iiiahility to 
live in coiitinemeiit, ditl not appear even in the royal 
aviary, exce})t in imitation, lor we are told that, both 
in ^^exic•o and Tezcuct>, all kinds of birds and ani- 
mals that eoiild not be obtained alive were repre- 
sented in gold and silver so skillfully that they are said 
to liave served the naturalist Hernandez for models. 
1 hit to attain this honor, a bird must indeed have been a 
vara avis, a very })h(enix, for it is related by 'foicpie 
iiiada and manv others, on the authoritv of a Spanish 
eye-witness, that the Emperor Montezuma 1 1. hai)[ten- 
iii'4 one day to see a sparrow-hawk soaring- throug-h 
the air, and "takini>- a fancv to its beaut v and mode 
of flight," ordered his followers to catch it without lU;- 
lay and bring it alive to his hand; and such were the 
efforts made and care: used, that in an incrediblv short 
space of time "they ca})tured that tierce and haughty 
liawk as though it had been but a gentle doniestit^ 
pigeon, and l.rMUght it to the king."''' 


u-l)le galleries, sup| 


upon ]as])er ])illars, a 


)f one piece, surrounded this building, and looked (»ut 
ipou a large garden, wherein were groves of i-are trees, 



rv and flowers, and fountains 



fish. But the ]>rominent feature of the garden was 
ti 11 large ])onds for the ust> of water-fowl, some of which 
Were tilled with and some with salt water, accord - 
iii'^' to the nature of the birds that lVe(iuented them. 
Kaeli p(»ml was .surroundeil with tessellated marble 

Ifis/. .[j^'tfi'ifUcd, MS., toin. i. 


1. T 

I'.H). a«.^'rts that tlie y:«>lil and silv..' 


■la. ^r■, 


itil lite w; 

»i| WrJV'i-i 


wciv almost as 


as a liiiiiiT. anil that tl:i' lii>l inn 

i|it(:oi's liM imt si'o this cliaiK'l or oratory, liccaiisc Montcznnia ilwaxs went 
til till' triii|ilo to iiiav. atiil jiiolialily, as tlic iiativfs tlcilari'i!, 1 nowiii;;' tin- 
rM\|i|(iu> of flii> S|iaiiiaiils, lit' |nir|iosi'lv roiiccaliil all this woaitli I'loni 
tlii'iii; it isiilso siiiil liiat wluMi Mrxii'o was taken tin.' natives dcstniyi'il this 
«h.i|M'l. mill t\in>\v its treasurer into tlii' lake. 
ill 7V""«yf(» w4t((/)( Mdii'trij. Jiitf., toiii. i., i>. '2'M. 





! ■ ■ t 

})avcmont and sluulcd by eluinpH of trees. As often 
us the water be^au to stai^iiate it was drained lAY and 
I'enewed. Monti'/cunia is said to have passed nuicli of 
his time lune, alone or witli his women, seated in the 
«hade, amid the j)hi.sliini>- of fountains and odor of How- 
(Ts, ninsini>' upon atfairs of state or divertini^ Ins mind 
from sucli eares by watehiui"' the motions of the strani^e 
l)irds upon tlu' water. 

No less than three hundred persons were employed 
in attendinn' upon the water-fowl and the birds in the 
aviary; feeding- tlieni and in the moultini^ season care- 
fully s>at]ierln!>' the <»-or!i'eous idunies, which served as 
material for tl;e celebrated Aztec feather- work. The 
hal)its of the birds weie closely studied, and jL^'reat caie 
was taken that every species should be su})plie(l with 
tlic food best suited to its taste, whether it consisted 
of worms, insects, or seeds. The fish with which the 
water-fowl were supj)lied amounted to one hundrtd 
and Hfty pounds daily. In another hall a collection 
of hum.'Ui monstrosities was kept. As we shall ])res- 
ently see, many (jf these unfoi'tunate crc^atures were 
trained to j)Iay the part of jesters at the royal table. 
Yet ant»ther hall contained a number of albinos, or 
Avhite Indians, who were considered a j^reat curiosity. 

In addition to these city })alaces the Aztec monarchs 
had munerous e(pially splendid countiy resideni'es, be- 
sides whole tracts of country set aj)art as royal huntiuLi- 
j^'i'ounds. In these ])arts timber was not allowed to be 
cut noi- ijfame disturbed, which rei>ulations were en- 
forced with ^reat risj^or. 

The })rincipal country villa of jSTontezuma H., and 
tlie oidy one of which any sijLi^ns are yet visible, was 
situated upon the hill of Cha])ulte])ec, which stood in 
a westerly dii'ection from the city of ^Fexico. In tlic 
days of the Aztec kings, the lake of 'JV'Zcuco washed 
the htihQ of the hill, round which the I'oyal ;l rounds 
stretched for miles in every direction. The wardens 
Were laid out in terraces, that wovuid down tlK> hillside 
amid dense groves of pe}>per-trees, myrtles, ;iiul cy 



jirosHCH, iiuiuinemblu fountaius uiul artiiicial cascades. 
Littlu of the ancient jj;loiy ot" eitlier j)alac-e or t^jardens 
is now left, exce})t the natural beauty of tlie foliage 
that clothes the hill, and the nia^nihcent view to be 
obtained from the summit. Two statues of ^lon- 
tezuma II. and his father, cut in bas relief on the 
|)or|)hyry rock, were still to be seen, Gama tells us, in 
the middle of the last century, but these are now ,n'one, 
swcj)t away by the same ruthless hands that laid waste 
the han^i^inijf ji^'ardens and tore down halls and monu- 
ments until the j.(roves of gigantic cyj)resses are all 
that is left standing in the gardens of Chapultcpec 
that ministered to the ])leasure of the ancient owners, 
l^eter ^lartyr, describing the palace at Iztapalapan, 
writes, in the language of an early translator: "That 
house also hath orchardes, iinely planted with diners 
trees, and herbes, and Hourisliing ihnvers, of a sweete 
smell. There are also in the same, great standing 
poolcs of water with many kindes of fish, in the wliich 
diners kindes of all sortes of waterfoule are swinnninge. 
To the b(>tti)me of these lakes, a man may desci'ud by 
marble ste[»pes brought farr of. They report strange 
tliiiiges of a walke inclosed with nettinges of ('aiies, 
least any one should freely come within tlie \(iyde 
])lattes of grounde, or to tlie Iruiteof tlie trees. Tliose 
lu'dgcs are made with a thousande ])leasant deuises, as 
it falleth out in those delicate i)urple crosse alleyis, of 
miitle, rosemary, or boxe, al very delightfull to be- 

Nczahualcoyotl, the Tc/cucan Solomon, was no wit 
beliiiid his royal brothi^r of Mexico in the matter of 
splendid country residences and gardens. Not i-oiitent 
willi tlie royal pleasure-grounds calh'd lluertrcpan, 
writes the Chichiniec historian,'" this great king made 
others, such as the forest so laninus in Te/cdt/.iiiran 
history, and those called Caucliiacac, Tzinacaiiioztoe, 

II I'rfrr }rir/i/>\ iUt. v., lib. ii. 


l.r'/i/.nir/iit/. Hist. Chirk., ill Kinrfslj(jr(illijfi\i Mrj:. Aiiliij., Vol. i\., \)\< 



1 ■ 



■ I 



Oozcnquaulu'o, Cuetliicliatitlan, or Tlatcitoc, and those 
of tlu' lako Acatclolco, and 'rt.'j)et/iiico; ho likowiso 
marki'd out a lari^o tract, wlici'o lie iiiiu'lit jiass liis 
leisure luoineiits in luuitiiiiif. These Liardens wen; 
adorned with fountains, drains, sewers, ponds, and 
lahyi'inths, and were ])lanted with all kinds of llowers 
and trees, hotli indigenous and I'oreii^n. 

But Nezahualeoyotl was not one to overlook utility 
in layini^ out his nj-ounds. Five larLifc^ ])atehes of the 
most fertile lands lyini'' neai' the capital were hi'ought 
under cultivation and the ])roducts ajijtropriated ex- 
clusively to the use of the royal household. 

Certain towns and provinces in the vicinity of the 
court furnished attendants and lahorors for the palaces, 
i^ardens, and ])lantations. Jn return for such service 
said towns and ])rovinces were exempt IVoin taxation 
and enjoyed certain ])rivilej>'es. The manner of service 
was divided; thus twenty-eii*'ht towns su]tj)lied thost; 
who attended to the deaidiness and order of the royal 
huildini^s and waited u])on the kiiii*- and his suite; 
ft)urteen of these towns" did service during' one half 
of the year and the remainder" during- the other half 
Five towns provided attendants for the kini^'s cham- 
1)er,'' and ei^-ht provinces,^*' with their dependent towns, 
furnished, each in its turn, foresters, L>ar(h,'ners, and 
aij^ricultural lahorers for the woods and gardens, orna- 
mental or otherwise. 

King Nezahualcoyotl's favorite country residence, 

•3 'i'licir namos, aw ^ivoii In- Txtlilxorliifl, Hiif. CJdrh., in Kiii;f.s!iorfnif//t'x 
Mix. All//'/., Mil. ix., p. lT)!, wcic: Iliioxdtla. ( 'uatlicliaii, ('oalajpcc, Clii- 
iiialliiiacaii. ^'tzta|lal(l(•all, 'l'('|)i'tla(izt(ic, Aciplniaii, 'rc|i('cli|iaii, ('liiiiliiiauli- 
tlaii, 'I't idiucaii, Cliiaiilitla, l'a|pal<itlaii, Xaltoiau, and Clialco. 

'^ < )tiini|iaii, 'I'l'otilinai'an, 'l'(']i(']»(l('(i, ( 'I'liiiPdalon, A/taiini'niccan. Aliiia- 
t('|K'c, Axapoclidc, O/toticiiac, 'I'izayocan, Tlaianajian, Coioac, (^luatiitlanli- 
I'an, <i>uanlitlafca, and <,tiiat!atzincc'i. Jh. 

''' ■ I'aia la iccaiMara del 

ly: raljiidalpan. Ma/aapan, ^'alllla■ 

liiilican, AliMic'ii, and 'l'/ilinin(|iiil(i('an. If). \t is nnrcasdnaMc tn su|ip(is(' 
fiiat tlu'sc Mi-callcd '(owns' we 
kini^diinis proper of Mexico. Ti 
oiilv a 

lilv more tlian i 

IICIC \ llla,^l'^ 


md 'riaco|ian, of wliicli tliey fornietl 

tVadion, were all contained in a vallev not two liiindrcil ndles in cir 


"' Tolantzinco, (Jiiaulieliinanco, Xicotejiec. Fanliatla, ^'anlitepec, 'l"e|iecli 

CO, .Mmaeaiocan. ami C^uaiihalinae. //).,• see also 'J'orqiiii/iiii/u, .lA 



1". 107 




rotiiiiins of M'liidi are still visiUlo, was at Tezc 


/iiico, on a conical hill lyinn" about two Ica^ncs iVoni 
Ti'/cnco. A liroad road, I'unninL;' Ixftwccn liii^li IicdL^cs, 
and ](rol)al)ly winding- spirally round the hill, ajipcai's 
to have led up to the summit, '^ which, however, could 
he reached in a shorter time hy means of a lli^ht ol' 
steps, many of which were cut into the living;" rock, 
and the remainder made of ]»ii'ces of stone iirndy 
cemented together. J)iivila Padilhi, who wiote in the 
latter j>art of the sixteenth ciMituiy, says that he 
coimted Hve hundred and twenty of these stej)s, with- 
out reckoniuLJC those that hatl already crund>led U) 
pieces."* He furtheiMnore adds that for the last tweh'e 
stej»s in the ascent the staircase was tunneled thi'oun'h 
the solid rock, and became so narrow that only one 
person could pass at a time. ]);ivila l?adilla in(piired 
the reason of this of the natives, and was told hy them, 
as they had heai'd it fi'om their fathei-s, that this nar- 
row passaij^e enabled the Tezcucan monai'ch to assei't 

US i-ank hv 


mg pi'ecedencc or Jus royal visitors 

when they went in a body to worshij) the idol that 
stood n])on the sunnnit; not a very ])olite iiroceedinii^ 
certainly.'''* AVater A\'as brouoht o\er hill and d;de to 
the top of the mountain by means of a solid stone 
a(pieduct. Here it was received in a lar^e basin, 
liavini;' in its centre a great rock, upon which weie in- 
scribed in a circle the liierogly})hics representing the 
yeais that had elaj)sed since Nezahualcoyotrs birth, with 
a list of his most noteworthy achievements in each.-" 
Within this circle the royal coat of arms was sculptured, 

>' i\ 

'■^ 'Lii corra fan prandp <|iip tenia ]>ara siiliir li la (•iiinliro dc I'l y aiHJMil 
todo.' IxtULii, 'li/f, ( kii'h., ill A'iiK/thiiriiii'f/i'.s Mi .r. Anlin., \cp|. i\ 

"^ ' I'ara siihir liasta eata otiiiibrc sc ]ias>iiii iiuiniciilus y \cynti' I'scaloiuv 
hIii al.;\iiins i|iio ostaii ya (IcsIiccIims, pDr iiiicr siiin ilc iiiciiias siiclliis y imc^ 

Ins a maim: niio otnis iiuiclins csralciiics ;iv, lalinidiis en \;\ 

iiiiicliM ciinnsHla 

la.l. V. 

alio |iiisa<lo ids am 

llllic toilos, V I 

lirii|iiii |ii 

vistii.' Ihirih, I'inlllhi, Hist. Fniil. Mr 


(iscipiiic, ]iara ilciiuiicr 
(ilit. I'lVscutI, .1/' .■.. vol. 

|i. 1S(), citiiii; tlio above autlior, ;;i\cs live Inindrcd and twenty as tin- 

vvliolc nnnilicr of stcjis, witlioiit I'liitlici' remark 
iieinada also iiicntions tliis staireas 

10 w 



•'/. IikI., toiii. ii., |i 


' lisciiiiiida cii ella eii circunfercuciu los afios desde 4110 lialiia iiaeido el 

ON* ifir ^^ 





it" li£ lllllio 


1.25 1.4 



6" — 






WnSTIR.N.Y. 149(0 

(716) •73-4503 



the eliilioratc device of which it is almost impossible 
to imagine from the clumsy description of it given by 
Ixtlilxochitl. As nearly as I can make it out, certain 
figures rei)resenting a deer's foot adorned with featliers 
and having a precious stone tied to it, a hind suj)port- 
ing an arm which grasj):; a bow and arrows, and a corse- 
leted warrior, wearing a helmet with its ear-})ieces, 
formed the centre; these were Hanked by two houses, 
one in flames and falling to i)ieces, the other whole and 
highly ornamented; two tigers of the country, vomit- 
ing fire and water, served as supporters; the wliole 
was surrounded by a border comjjosed of twelve heads 
of kings and great nobles. From this basin the water 
was distributed through the gardens in two streams, 
one of which meandered down 'he northern side of tlie 
hill, and tlie other down the southern side. Diivila 
Piulilla relates that there also stood upon the sunniiit 
an image of a coyote, hewn from the living rock, which 
represented a celebrated fasting Indian.^' There were 
likewise several towers or columns of stone, having 
their capitals made in the shaj)e of a pot, from which 
protruded plumes of feathers, which signified the name 
of the place. Lower down was the colossal figure of 
a winged beast, called by Ixtlilxochitl a lion,^^ lyi"^ 
down, with its face toward the east, and bearing in 
its mouth a sculptured portrait of the king; this statue 
was generally covered with a canopy adorned with 
gold and feather- work. '^ 

A little lower yet were three basins of wjiter, em- 
l)leMiatic of the great lake, and on the borders of the 
middle one three female figures were sculi)tured on 
the solid rock, representing the heads of the confed- 

rev Nfzaliniilo<»iotzin, linHtn la e<liul dc nniicl ticni|M).' IxtliLeorliitl, Jlisf. 
t'/iir/i., ill l\'iiiif.s/wroH;/h\s Mrx. Aiifii/., vol. ix., p. '2.VJ. I'rescott miivh lliat 
tlio liitTo^lvpliiis represented the 'years of Nczuliualcoyutrti rei^'ii.' Jfiu:, 
vol, i., p. 181'. 

>" ///.v/. Friid. .\f(.i:, n. G\9. 'This fij^uie was, no doulit, the oiiilik-iii 

of Ni'Ziliiialcovotl liiniHelf, whose name Hi<;nilied "liunjfrv fox."' J'lrs- 

I'otrs M<:i., vol. i., ji. 183, note 42. 

22 ' I'll leoii de mas de dos Itrazas de hirjjo con mis alas y pliimas.' Hint. 
C/iii-fi., ill Khiifsliiiniiiif/i'n Mix. Aiifii/., vol. ix., i>. -ii'I. 

2J The^iu iigiu'va were de»truyed by order of hr Juuu de Zumiirruga, firbt 



r the 

111 oil 


Is tliat 




crated states of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacojmn.'^* Up- 
on tlie northern side of the hill was another po'id ; and 
here upon the rock was carved the coat of arms of the 
city of Tollan, which was formerly the chief town of 
the Toltecs; upon the southern slope of the hill was 
yet another pond, bearing the coat of arms and the 
name of the city of Tenayuca, which was formerly 
the head town of the Chichimecs. From this basin a 
stream of water flowed continually over the precipice, 
and being dashed into spray upon the rocks, was scat- 
tered like rain over a garden of odorous tropical 
plants.'" In the garden were two baths, dug out of 

IJisliop of Arexieo. Ddvila Padilla, Hist. Fvud. Mcx., p. CM); Ixtliho- 
iliitl. Hist. Chick., ill Kiiigsboruiinlis Mrx. Aiitia., vol. ix., i>. '2.VJ. Tlio 
iiijiiry \vroH>jht by tliis holy iconocmst is iiicalciilaldc. Hliiuioil liy tlie mad 
faiiatiL'ism ot tiie aye, he saw a devil in every Aztec inia;;u and liien»i;lyi)h; 
Ills Iiaiiiniers did more in u few years to eUace all vestiijes of Aztec art and 
j^reatuess than time and decay conld have done in as many centuries. It is 
a few such men as this that tlie world has to thank for the utter extinction 
iu a few short vears of a mighty civilization. In a letter to the Franciscan 
( liapter at Tolowi, dated June 1*2, 1531, we And the old hi^ot exultin<; over 
his vandalism. 'V'ery reverend Fathers,' he writes: 'he it known to you 
that we are very busy in the work of convertiiifj; the heathen; of whom, by 
tiie ;;race of (iod, unwards of one million have been ba]>tized at the hands 
of llu! brethren of the order of our serajdiic Father Saint Francis; live hun- 
dred tem|iles have been leveleil to the pouiul, and more than twenty thous- 
and li;{urcs of the devils they worshiped have been broken to pieces and 
liiirned.' And it api>ears that the worthy zealot had even succeeded in 
briuLjin;^ the natives themselves to his way of thinking;, for further on he 
wriies: 'They watch with^^reat care tosec where their fathers hide the idolw, 
••'.iid then with jjreat liilelity they brin;f them to the reIiL;ious of our order 
tliat they may be tlestroved; and for tiiis many of them nave been brutally 
mur'lered l»v their parents, or, to speak more jirojierly, have been crowned 
in ;.'lory witli Christ.' DiiT. l.'nic., Apii., toiu. iii., j). 1131. 

'' 'I'liere is a sin^^ular confusion aliout this jtassaffe. In Kiiiffshoroiiy/i's 
ilA'.c. Aiitii/., v(d. ix., p. 'ITvl, I\tlil.\ochitl is made to write 'In pot{uito 
mas abajo (!st'iban Ires albercas de a;^ua, y en la del medio eMalian eu sus 
bordits tres dannis csculpidas y labradas en la misnia pena, tiue si^^uilica- 
lian la ;;nui lai^nna: y las ntiiiis las cabezas del im|ierio.' In rirsrutt's 
M'.r., Ap/i., vol. iii., pp. 430-'2, Ixtlilxochitl's description of Tezcozinco is 
nivcu in full; the alntve-ipioted i)assa;ie is exactly the same here except 
that for viiiits, fro;;s, we read rtunns, branches. FitiuM' of tiicsc wonls 
would render the description iiu-omprchensibie, and iu my d<'si'ripiion 1 
have assumed that they are both misprints for itmiius. Mr I'rescoti, Mtj\, 
Vol. i., pp. l>S'2-.'{, surmounts the ditru'ulty as follows: 'On u lower level 
were three other re.servoirs, in an'h (if ir/iirh stniid <i iiinrhli' .slutiir nf a 
iroiiinii, emblematic of the three states of the empire.' This is inaccurate 
as well as incomplete, imismuch as the lij^ures were not ftatucs, cat h st-aml- 
iii;,' in a basin, but were all three cut upon the face of ii.i> rock-lmrler of 
the midtlle basin. 

^> I have no doubt that this is the basin known to inoilern travelers as 
the 'Hatlis of Montezuma,' of which Waril says that it is neither of 
tlic proper shape, nor larye enuuyh for a bath, but that it more prolmbly 



<Uic larq-e piece of porphyry,'* and a fli^fht of stej)s 
also cut from the solid rock, worked and polished so 
smooth that they looked like mirrors, and on the front 
of the stairs were carved the year, month, day, and 
hour in which infonnation was brought to King Xeza- 
liualcoyotl of tlie death of a certain lord of Huexot- 
zinco, whom he esteemed very highly, and who died 
while the said staircasre was being built.*^ The garden 
is said to have been a ])ei'fect little paradise. Tiie 
*>(' 'geous Howers wore all transplanted from the dis- 
tant tierra caliente; marble pavilions, supj)orted on 
slender columns, with tesselated pavements and s})ark- 
ling fountains, nestled among the shady groves and 
afforded a cool retreat during the long sunnner davs. 
At tlie end of the garden, almost hidden by the groups 
of gigantic cedars and cypresses that surrounded it, 

'served to reeeive the waters of a spring, sinre dried up, as its depth 
is coiisideraltle, while tlie edjje on one side is formed into a spout.' J/c.c- 
iV'o, Vol. ii., ji. '2\}7. Of late yeaix this exeavatiou has been repeatedly 
descrilH'il liy men who elaini to have visited it, but whose statements it is 
)iard to reeoneilc. Itullo. !\ mentions liuvin<{ seen on this spot 'a lieantifid 
l»a.<in aljiMit twelve feet lonjy by eij;lit wide, having; u well about five feet 
by four tieep in the eentre, surrounded by a para]K;t or rim two feet six 
int-hes hi<.;li. with a throne or chair, sueh as is represente<l in ancient pictures 
to liave bi'iMi used by the kin^s. There are steps to descend into the iiasin 
or liatli; the whole cut out of tlic )ivin<i; |K>rpliyry rock with the most math- 
ematical precision, and iitdished in tlie most Iteautifnl nuiuner.' Mixivn, 
vid. ii., ]ip. l2.5-(». I.atrobe says there were 'two sin<;ular basins, of per- 
haps two f(>ct and a half in diameter, not bi^ enou<;h for any monarch w^- 
^er than Obcroii to take a duck in.' litnii/i/cr, p. 187; Virtue's Tnirvl.i, v(d. 
1., i>. '11. mentions 'the remains ((f a circular stone bath. .. .about a foot 
d<H'p and live in diameter, with a snuill Kurroinulin<;aiul smoothed space cut 
out of the solid rock.' Uraiit/ Mayer, who both .saw it and ;;ives a sketcli 
of it, writes: 'The rock is snuMtthed to a i>erfect level for several yards, 
around wliich, seats and jj;rooves are carvetl from the adjacent masses, in 
tlie centre there is a circular sink, abnut a yard and a half in diameter, and 
n ya"d in de|>tli, and a sipuire pipe, with a small aiiertnre, led the water from 
an auMcduct, wliich ap|iears to terminate in this basin.' Mc.r. itn it Was, \\. 
'J:U. .'{caufoy says that two-thinls up the southern side of the hill was a 
mass ot line red porphyry, in which was an excavation six feet st|uare, w ilh 
stens ici.'diii;; down three feet, having; in the centre a circular l»as n four 
and a hall" feet in diameter ami live deep, also with steps. Mi:r. Illiistr., p. 
l!>.5. 'On the side of the hill are two little circular baths, cut in the solid 
roi'k. The lower of the two has a tlijrht of steps down to it; the seal for 
the bather, an*l the sttuie pipe which briuij^ht the water, are still ijuite 
perfect.' Tif/ors Aiin/iiiar, \t. 1,V2. 

■■"■ 'Tras este jardin se se}<uian los bafios hechos y labrados de jiefia viva, 
que con dividirse en dos bafios era de una pieza.' IxlliLvochiU, Hist, t'hich., 
in Kimislniroiitjlis Mcx. Aittiq., vol. ix., p. '2o'J. 



was the royal palace,*' so situated tliat while its s])a- 
t'ious halls were filled with the sensuous odors of the 
tro[)ics, hlown in from the gardens, it remained shel- 
tered fnnn the heat.^ 

If the ancient traditions maybe believed, the Tol- 
teo monarclis built as magniKcent palaces as their 
Aztec successors. The sacred palace of that mysteri- 
ous Toltec priest-king, Quetzalcoatl, had four principal 
halls, facing the four cardinal jMMnts. That on the 
east was called the Hall of (iold, because its halls 
were ornamented with f)lates of that metal, delicately 
chased and finished; the apartment lying toward tiie 
west was named the Hall of Emeralds and Tunpioises, 
and its walls were profusely adorned with all kinds of 
]>recious stones; the hall facing the south was deco- 
rated with plates of silver and with brilliant-colored 
sea-shells, which were fitted together with great skill. 
The walls of the fourth hall, which was o!i the north, 
were red jasj)er, covered with carving anil ornamented 
with shells. Another of these pah'ices or temples, for 
it is not clear which they were, had also four principal 

'" Diivila Padilla says that some of tlic gateways of lliis palace worr 
funned of one piece of stone, aixl lie si»\v one Ihniui of cedar tli«'re wliicli was 
almost ninety teet in Ien;;tli and four in )>rea<ltli. Hist. Frml. Mix., p. (i'JO. 

■■"' Concern ill"; the royal l>nildin<;s, ;,'ardens, iS:c., of tlie A/tecs, compare 
l.ii.t Ciisiis, Hist. A/ii)/oifelirii, MS., toni. i., caji. !.; '/'orijiniiiiK/ii, Miniinui. 
Iiiil., toni. i., pp. I(i7, '29»>-S; I.rl/i/,riti/ii//, Chirli., in Kiiiiffihiiroini/i .t 
Mi:i\ Aiifif/.. vol. ix., pp. l»43-4, 'J.')!---*; Pdrilii I'ik/i/Ih, Hint, f'nid. Mis., 
pp. (il'.)-"20; liilntioDc Jiittii jirr rii i/nifir/iiii'iiiit i/i-l Sii/nor Ffriniiiilo Cnr- 
t'sr. in liinuii.sio, Xiviifiitimii, ti)ni. iii., fid. .'UM*; Sn/int/iiii, tint., toni. 
ii., iili. viii., pp. .SO'i-'.h ('iimiirifo. Hist. Tfn.r., in \iii(ri/fis Amndrs ihn 
I'll/., \SVA, toin. xcviii., p. liMJ; Aro.itfi\i /li.sf. S'uf. lint., p. 4SI; ('Imiifrrn, 
S'liriii Ant. ifrl Mr.s.siro, toni. i., pp. U7I-4; Oririlo, Hist, (ini., toni. iii., pp. 
.•{ti.')-7, .")((4; Jliriial I)i<iz, < imq. M. (iO; Moto/iiiin, Jli.sf. Imlios, in 
Iriizhiilvrtu, Col. df Doc, toin. i., i»|i. l81-.">; (imiiiirii, <'inii/. Mrx., fol. 
107-11; (Jrti'tffi, in Viiitin, Hist. Ant. Mij., tom. iii., pp. III.') Ill; t'nt-lis, 
I'lirliis, pp. 1 10-11: Hirnrii, Hist. <!in., dec. ii., lili. vii., ca|>. i\. xi.; Wist- 
liiili.sriii- S/iii'//irt, pp. '24.")-<), H4.'{; (ini/i's Xiir Suriri/, p|>. '.•7-'.t; I'rti r Mur- 
Ifir, dec. v., lib. iii., iv., x.; t'hrrnlin; Mrjiinir, pp. 'M>-'2; I'lrsm/t's .Mi.i-., 
vol, i., pp. 177-.S4, vol. ii., pjt. (J.">, ll."-'21; nrn.s.srnr itr I'limr/ionrif, 
S'lil. Cir., toin. iv., pp. 8-11; I'immlrl, linzii Iniliijriiii, p. 'u\ Tii/iin, Hi- 
/■irinn, ill Ii'ozhnlrrtii Col. ilf hoc, toin, ii., pp. .").si-.'l. Oilier works of no 
iiri;.'iiial value, which touch on this suhject. are: Kli'nini, Cnltnr-(ii srhirhii , 
tiilll. v., pp. 1."), 244, t>.V-(», '2;<4-7; linntinif's Hist. Jir.sriirr/ns, p[>, .'{17 ""I; 
Hii.s.iirrri', Vl'liapitr Mrxii'uiti, pp. 1M>-4, l(M>; Murifirrfor's I'riii/rr.tsi;/' A nur- 
i'li, p, '22; Hilirorth's Conq. Mcx., pp. GO, 70; Went und (Jut ludischer 
ijirt, j>t i,, p. 1;^. 



halls decorated entirely with feather-work tapestiy. 
In the eastern division tlie feathers were yellow; in 
the western they were hhie, taken from a hird called 
Xiuhtototl; in the southern hall the feathers were 
white, and in that on the north they were red.* 

The number of attendants attached to the royal 
houses was very great. Every day from sunrise until 
sunset the antechand>ers of Montezuma's palace in 
Mexico were occupied hy six hundred noblemen and 
jj^entlemen, who passed the time lounginj^ about and 
discussinj^ the gossip of the day in low tones, for it 
was considered disrespectful to speak loudly or make 
any noise within the palace limits. They were j)ro- 
vided with apartments in the palace,"'* and took their 
meals from what remained of the superabundance of 
the rt)yal table, as did, after them, their own servants, 
of whom each person of quality was entitled to from 
one to thirty, according to his rank. These retainers, 
numbering two or three thousand, filled several outer 
courts during the day. 

The king took his meals alone, in one of the largest 
halls of the palace. If the weather was cold, a tire 
was kindled with a kind of charcoal mfide of the bark 
of trees, which emitted no smoke, but threw out a de- 
licious j)erfume; and that his majesty might suffer no 
inconvenience from the heat, a screen ornamented with 
gold and carved with figures of the idols^* was placed 
between his person and the fire. He was seated ujton 
a low leather cushion, upon which were thrown Vfiri- 
ous soft skins, and his table was of a similar descri})- 
tion, except that it was larger and rather higher, and 
was covered with white cotton cloths of the finest 
texture. The dinner-service was of the finest ware of 
Cholula, and many of the goblets were of gold and 

30 Safiiiffiin, Hist. Gen., torn, iii., liK x., pp. 107-S. 

3' ("li)se to the greut uudionco hall waw u vtTv larj;o oourt-yanl, 'on nun 
avift \ncnt aiM)Hcnt<»8 de vcynte ^ i;'\i\v» {\ tre\ nta jtius <le laryo ca<hi Hint sobre 
hi on tnrno w dichu patio, i alii cHtalxin Iom Hc-noreB prin<;ipaleH a]M)HHontados, 
oonid piardas del pala^io ordinariaH.' Oriedo, Hint. Grn., torn, lii., i). Tidl. 

5* 'ViMi c<tnio tahin labrmlu con oro, y otrus liguran de idolos. Lcritul 
Diaz, Hist. Cotuj., fol. 68. 



silver, or fusliioned of l)cautiful sliolls. He is said to 
have possessed a complete service of solid j^old, luit as 
it was considered below a kiiiji^'s diupiity to use aiiy- 
tliiiiLf at table twice, Moiitezuina with all his extrava- 
ifaiice, was oblij^ed to keej) this costly dinner-set in 
the temple. The bill of fare comprised everything; 
edible of fish, flesh, and fowl, that could be procured 
in tlu! empire or im])orted from beyond it, Kelays of 
(•(•iiriers were employed in brini,nn«if delicacies I'rom 
alar, and as the royal table was every day su])j)lied 
with fresh fish brouoht, without the modern aid* of 
ice and air-tight packing, from a sea-ct)ast more than 
two hundred miles distant, by a road passing chiefly 
through a tropical climate, we can form some i(I(>a of 
the speed with which these couriers traveled. There 
were cunning cooks among the Aztecs, and at these 
cxtravaijcant nieals there was almost as much var! 'v 
in the c<K)king as in the matter cooked. Sahagun"" 
gives a most formidable list of roast, stewed, and boiled 
dishes of meat, fish, and jioultry, seasoned with many 
kinds of herbs, of which, however, the most l"re»ji;ontly 
mentioned is chile."" He further describes many kinds 
of bread, all bearing a more or less close i'\SL'nd)lance 
to the modern Mexican tortilla,"'"'' and all most tre- 
mendously named; imagine, for instance, when one 
wished for a piece of bread, having to ask one's neigh- 
bor to be good enough to i)ass the totanciuitlaxcallit- 
hujuelpacholli ; then there were tamales of all kinds,'"' 

'T Hist. Gf»., toni. ii., lil». viii., j.p. '207-.1O2. 

''* This |uiii<!;(Mit t'oniliiiitMit is at tlif |ii'('st'iit <1ay as oiniii])r<>s(<iit in S|iaii- 
\A\ Aiiicricaii (lislies as it was at tlii' tunc of tlic ('iiiii|iii'st ; iiiiil I am sci'i- 
oii^ly inforiut>(l by a Spaiiisli ^'<>iitlciiiaii who roidi'il for many yt'ars in Mcx- 
iiii. imkI was an ollicor in Maximilian's army, that whiU" tlu? woIncs wonUl 
fi'cil upon the (U>ad IhkUcs of th<> Frcncli that hiy all wv^hx upon the hattle 
liiltl, they never toiu'iieil tlie Inidies of the Mexieans, liecause ihi' lle-h of 
the latter was eoinpletely impregnated with cliile. Whieii, if true, may he 
thou;rlit to show that wolves do not ohjeet to a «liet seasom-d \\\\\\ j.'arlic. 

^'' DeserilK'd t«M» frequently in V(d. i., of this series, to need repetition. 

"> The tnniale is unothr very favorite modern Mexiean «lish. Tin; na- 
tives ;renerally make tlijm with iK)rk; tlic Iwrties are ernshed almost to 
]Hi\v(ler; the meat is eut up in snudl ])ieees, and the wliole washed; a snuitl 
tpiautity of mai/c ]Miste, seasoned with einnanion, Hatl'ron, eloves, pimento, 
ioMiatoes, eoarst! j)en|K'r, salt, red eolorin); nuitter, and Home lard added to 
it, is plavtfd uii the urc iu u pan; a» houu aa it hats aci^uirud the cuuaiHteney 



aiid many othor curious nienses, such as fr<)<>-spawn, 
uud stowed ants cooked with chile, hut more loath- 
some to us than even such as these, and stran«,'est 
of all the strange compounds that went to make uj> 
the royal carte, was one highly seasoned, and prohahly 
savory-smelling dish, so exquisitely prepared that its 
principal ingredient was completely disguised, yet that 
ingredient was nothing else than human tiesh.'" Eacli 
dish was kept warm hy a chafing-dish placed under it. 
Writers do not agree as to the exact quantity of food 
.served up at each meal, hut it must have heen iuj- 
mense, since the lowest nund)er of dishes given is 
three hundred,"'^ and the highest three thousand.'-' 
They were hrought into the hall hy four hundred 
juiges of nohle birth, who placed their hurdens ujvoii 
the matted floor and retired noiselessly. The king 
then pointed out such viands as he wished to partake 
of, or left tlie selection to his steward, who dt)ul)tless 
took pains to study the likes and dislikes of the royal 
})alate. This steward was a functionary of the highest 
rank and imjjortance; he alone was privileged to place 
the designated delicacies before the king upon the 

of !i thick pjiiol it is rcniovpd, mixed with tlie meat, some more liird ami 
salt added, and the mass i<iiea<ied for a few moments; it is then di\ iiied inln 
small ]iortioiis, whieli arc enveloped in a thin paste of maixe. 'J'he taniales 
thns ])it'pare<l arc; eovered with a haiiana-Ieaf or a eorn-liiisk, and iilaced in 
a pot or pan over whieh lar^e leaver are laid. 'I'hey ace allowed to lioil from 
one hour and a half to two hours, (lame, p»)ultry, vegetables, or sweet- 
meats arc often used instead of iiork. 

3' Tori[uemada, M'^narq. Inn., tom. i., p. 229, regrets tliat certain per- 
sons, out of the ill-w'l they hore the Ale.xieans, liave falsely im|iute(l to 
Monte/uma the erimc of eatin<; human tlesh without its hein;; well seasoned, 
Itut he admits that when ]iroperIy eooked and dis<ruised, the tlesh of those 
saerilieed to the {^ods api)eareil at the royal lioanl. Some modern writers 
seem to douht even this; it is, however, certain that eannihalism existed 
amiMi;; the j)Cople, not as a means of allaying amietitc, but from partly re- 
ligious motives, an<l there seems no rea.son to «loubt that the king shared 
the 8U|>erstitiuns of the i>co]de. I do not, however, base the opinion upon 
Ovietlo's assertion, whieh smacks ftrongly of the 'giant stories' e.f the nur- 
sery, that certain 'dishes of tender children' graced the monareh's table. 
Jhnt. Gen., tom. iii., p. I»01 Hermtl Diaz, Jfist. Cum/., fol. (iS, also cannot 
withstand the temptation 1 1 d'lal in the nutrvelous, an<l mentions 'carnesde 
muchaehos de poeaedad;' though it is true the soldier-like bluiitness the 
veteran so ])rided himscli upon, eonies to his aid, and he udmitH that i>er- 
ha])s after all Montezuiia was not an ogre. 

^s Uniitil Diaz, Hit. C'un</., fol. GH. 

3» Onalo, Hint. U:n., tom. iii., p. 501. 



ta1>lo; he appears to have done duty lK)th as royal 
tiirver aiitl cuphearer, and, according to Tonpieniada, 
to luive done it barefooted and on his knees.*" Every- 
thinj^ ht'injif in readiness, a number of tlie most beauti- 
ful of the kin«^'s women" entered, bearin«( water in 
n)und vessels called xicales, for tlie kin«( to wash his 
hands in, and towels that he mi«rht dry them, other 
vessels bein<^ placed upon the ground to catch the drip- 
jtiiijjfs. Two other women at the same time brou«j;ht 
liim some small loaves of a very delicate kind of i)read 
made of the finest maize-Hour, beaten up with e«j^}rs. 
This done, a wotnlen screen, carved and ^ilt, was 
placed l)efore him, that no one mijj^ht see liim while 
catino-.*' There were always present five or six a«,a'd 
lords, who stood near the royal chair barefooted, and 
with bowed heads. To these, as a special niark of 
favor, the kinu^ occasionally sent a choice morsel from 
liis own plate. During the meal the monarch some- 
times annised himself by watchinijr tlie performances 
of his juj*'olers and tumblers, whose marvelous feats 
of stren;;th and dexterity 1 shall describe in anotiier 
place; at other times there was dancin<j^, accompanied 
l»y sinjj^in**- and nuisic; there were also present dwarfs, 
and professional jesters, who were allowed to speak, 
a privilejj^e denied all others under penalty of death, 
and, after the manner of their kind, to tell sharp 
truths in the shape of jests. The more solid fotnl 
was followed by pastry, sweetmeats, and a ma«'nificent 
(lessei't of fruit. The only beveraj^e drank at the nieal 
was chocolate," of which about fifty jars were i)ro- 

<" Mnuarfi. Tiifl, torn. i.. p. 229. 

" lit^iiial |)i;i/., Ilist. Coin/., fcil. ('>8, ssiiys tln-rc were foiirof tlieso witinoi; 
Tiii'c|iiciiiailii, Moimri/. linf., tcmi. i., p. 'J'i'.t, siiys tlicrc witc twenty. 

''- 'K va <|iif t'Diiu'iivHiia li comer, eeluiiiaiile ilelaiite vna coino ]iiierta litt 
niiiilera iiiiiy piiitada deont, ponpie no le viessen conxT.' Itrniti/ hinz, Hist. 
'''iiii/., fol. (JS. 'Lneijoque so sentaba a la .Mesa, i.-erralia el .Maestre-Saia 
vna Varanda ile Mauera, (|ue tliviiiia la Sala, para i|iie la NoUleva de lo.s 
< alialleroH, i/nr (ini(/ia (i rrrlr roiiifi; no eiMlianii,'a.<e la Me.sji.' Tori/iiriiiiii/n, 
MriiKin/. liiif., toni. i., i>. 221(. 'Tosto die il Ue si nietteva a tavola, cliiiide- 
\a Id Sealeo la porta ilella Sala, aeeioeelie nesHiino (le<;li altri N'cdiili lt> 
M'liesse niaii;;iare.' I'lnrhjiro, S/oria Aiit. i/rf Mr.i.s-iro, toni. i., p. 270. 

*' 'A |Mitation of dioeolate, flavored with vanilla and other spices, and 
»> jircitared as to lu; reduced to u froth of the cousiutcucy of houcy, wliich 
Vol. II. IJ 



vidtfd;** it was taken with a s|)(Mm, finely \vr<)u«'lit of 
gold or shell, from a t,'ohlet of the same niaterial. 
Havinjjf finished iiis dinner, the kinjjf aufain washed 
his liands in water hronj^ht to him, as hefore, hy 
the women. After this, several ])ainted and j,^ilt 
pipes were hrout^ht, from which he inhaled, throu«^h 
his nuuith or nose, as suited him best, the smoke 
of a mi.xture of li<juid-amher, and an herb called 
tobacco. *•"' His siesta over, he devoted hiniself to 
business, and ])roceeded to <(ive audience to forei<j;^n 
ambassadors, deputations from cities in the empire, 
and t») such of his lords and ministers as had business 
to transact with him. Before entering the presence- 
cluunber, all, no matter what their rank might be, 
unless they were of the bhxKl-royal, were obliged to 
leave their sandals at the door, to cover their ricli 
dresses with a large coarse mantle, and to a})proa(li 
the monarch baref(K)ted and with downcast eyes, I'or 
it was death to the subject who should dare to look 
his sovereign in the face.*" The king usually answered 
through his secretaries," or when he deigned to s})eak 

grniliially dissolved in the mouth.' Prrsrnff's Mr.r., vol. ii., p. VlTy. 'Tiiis 
was Muinctliini; like (Mir chocolate, and prepared in the Nuiiie way, hut with 
this (litt'ereiiee, that it was mixed with the hoiled dou<;h of maise, and was 
drunk cold.' lirnidl Dinz, Uixt. Ctnn/., [Loekhart's translation Loud., 
1844, vol. i., note, p. 3!)3]. 'l^a Indiidii es a;,'ua mezdada con cierta hariniv 
do Unas almen<lras que llunuin ranio. Ksta es de mucha sustancia, nniy 
fresca, y sahrosa y agrudable, y no einhriu^^a.' Lan t'asun, Hint. Apoloijftiin, 
AfS., cap. ecxi. 

« 'Kntoiu-es no mirnunnuts en ello; nuis lo (|uo yo vi, que traiau .sol>re 
cincmMita jarros {rrundes hechos de huen cacao con su cspuma, y de lo (jiio 
Iwhia.' lin-nal hinz, Hist. Voiiq., fol. (!S. Ovie(h), as usual, is content with 
no lunnher less than three thousand: 'E lue<?o venian tres mill j-irnto.i (ciiii- 
taros o linforas) de hrcvaxc' Jfist. (icn., toni. iii., p. .5(M. I.,as Casas niakc-s 
it three hundred: 'A su tiempo, en medio i> en tin dc los manjares sc<ruu la 
costnnihre (|ue tenian, cntravan otros trescientos pajes, cada uno con iiu 
vaso -.frande (pic cahia medio aziimhre, (ahout a (luart), y aun tres (|uartilll>^ 
de la hei>ida en el misnut, y servia el un va-so al rey el nuiestresala, de ijue 
behia hxpie le a<^radava.' Lun Ca.ias, A/iofoffrtirn, MS., cap. ce.xi. 

*i ' Vnas ycrvas (pie se dize tahaco.' Itrninl Pin:, Hist. Com/., fol. (!S. 

** Only hve |>ersons enjoyed the privileffo of looking Montezuma II. in 
the face: the kings of Tezcuco and TIacopan, and the lords of Quaulititian, 
('oyouacan, and Azcapuzalco. Lns Cnsas, Hint. Apo/offt'tirn, ^fS., v.a\h ccxi. 
Bcriuil Diaz say^s that all who a]>proailied the royal seat made three rev- 
erences, saying in succession, 'Locd,' 'my lord,' 'sublime lord.' Jlint. Coik/., 
fol. (i8. 

*T This custom of speaking through a secretary was adopted hy the other 
Aztec monurchs us well aa Montezuuiu, uud wua ulau imitutcd by many uf 



(ilroctly to tlie ])erH<m wlio addivssod liim, it was in 
sui'li a low tone as scarcely to ho hoanl;*'* at the saiiio 
tiino ho listoiit'd very attentively to all that was coiii- 
municated to him, and encouraj^ed those who, tVoni 
cMiharnussnient, found tlitticulty in speakinij^. Each 
applicant, when dismissed, retired backward, keoi)in«if 
liis face always toward the royal seat. The time set 
apart for business havinj^ elapsed, he apiin jjfave him- 
self up to pleasure, and usually jiassed the time in 
familiar badinage with his jesters, or in listeninjjf to 
ballad-singers who sang of war and the glorious detnls 
of his ancestors, or he amused himself by looking on 
at the feats of strength and legerdemain of his jug- 
glers and acrobats; or, sometimes, at tiiis hour, ho 
would retire to the softer j)leasures of the harem. 
1 le changed Mh dress four times each day, and a dress 
once worn could never be used again. Concerning 
tliis custom, Peter Martyr, translated into tiie (|uaint- 
cst of English, writes: "Arising from his bed, he is 
doathed after one nuiner, as he commeth forth to bee 
scene, and returning backo into his chamber after he 
liath dined, he changeth his garments: and when he 
commeth forthe againe to supper, hee taketh another, 
and returning backe againe the fourtli which he wear- 
oth vntill he goe to bed. But concerning ,'}. garments, 
which he changeth euery day, many of them that re- 
turned haue reported the same vnto me, with their 
t)wne mouth: but howsoeuer it be, all agree in the 
chansjfino- of (rarmentes, that beinjj once taken into the 
wardrope, they are there piled vj) on heaj»s, not likely 
to see the face of Muteczuma any more: but what 
manner of garmentes they be, we will elswhere de- 
clare, for they are very light. These things being 

tlie jrrcat tributary lords and governors of provinros who wislicd to niako as 
imu'li display of their ranli and di;;nity as possilile. See AJolofiniii, Hist. 
Iiiiliiis, in Irazlxilirta, Vol. de Dor., toin. i., p. ISt; I.ft.'i ('11.111.1, A/iofo- 
ijrtint, MS., caj). eexi. ; Toniiiriuaiiti, }foiiari/. Iiiif., toni. i., ]>. 'JO.'). 

*'^ 'Lo que Ids senores huidahan y lu paiahra que mas ordinarianientc de- 
eian al tin de las pliitieas y nejjoeios que se les eoniunicalian, eran tleeir eon 
nuiy l>aja voz tfun, <iue «iuiere deoir "si, o hien, hien.'" Mololinia, hist. In- 
divs, in Icazbidccta, Cot. de Doc, toni. i., p. 184. 



obseruod, it wil not he wrKlrod at, that wo inacK; inou- 
tioii hefore ronconiiii*';' so many garments prosentt'd. 
For an'oiiiitinjij^ the yoaros, and the tlayes of t\n: yeaivs, 
isj>t'<ially, wljorein Mutcczunia hath iiut)yt'd puacu k 
liowo oltcii hi! c'haii^^t'th his ^anuents cuery dayo, all 
admiration will coast'. But the roadois will domand, 
why ho hoajioth \\> ho i,n'oat a |)ilo of u;armonts, k that 
iustly. Lot thom know*; that Mutoozuma vsod to 
^iuo a certoino portion of «^armonts to his familiar 
friends, or well dosoruinjjf soldiers, in steed of a honeu- 
oleneo, or stij)end, when thoy j^o to the wars, or re- 
turne from y" victory, as Au^mstus ( a'sar lord of the 
world, a mi;L^htier ]'rince than Muteczuma, commadid 
oidy a poore reward of broad to he i>iueji ouer & aliouc 
to such as jterformed any notable ixployt, while bciiii;- 
by Mai'o admonished, that so smal a lar»;eH of bread 
was an ar<J!"umet y* he was a bakers son: then al 
thoui^h it bo recorded in writlij^ that (.'a-sar liketl y" 
mery cfu'eit, yet it is to bo beleued y* he blushed at 
that diuinatio, because he promised \'iri;il to alter 
his dispositio & that hereal'ter he would bestow gifts 
worthy a ^roat kinjj^, k not a bakers son."** 

The kin«^ did not often a|)i>ear anionic their peo- 
ple,'* thoujjfh we are told that they would sometimes 
i;() forth in disj^uise to i e that no part of the roli<^ious 
feasts and ceremonies was omitted, to make sure that 
the laws wore observed, and probably, as is usual in 
such cases, to ascertain the true state of i>ublic opinion 
with roi'-ard to themselves."^ Whenever they did ap- 
pear abroad, however, it was with a parade that cor- 
resj)onded with their other observances. U|)on these 
oc(;asions the kin«jf was seated in a majj;nificent litter, 
overshadowed by a cano[)y of feather-work, the whoU; 
being adorned with gold and precious stones, and car- 
ried upon the shoulders of four noblemen. He was 

<"' Prtrr Afrirti/r, tlov. v., lil>. iv. 

'"' 'r«>r(iueiiiiula writow of Mmitoziinia 11.: 'Su trato con Ioh Suios, cm 
pui'o: rums vci'i's hl' dejiiha vcr, y ostalMi^H! eiicorrado iiiiiclio tieiiipo, puii- 
s;inilo on el (lovieriio <lt> su Itoiiio.' Mitnarq. liid., toin. i., p. 205. 

■>' Tui'i/uciiuu/ii, Mo/iai-i/. Iial., torn, i., p. 205. 

Tin: Kixc oiT OF i)()oi:s. 


attoiijcd l>y a vast iimltitiulo of courtiers of all ranks, 
who walked withotit spuakinj,', and with their eves 
heiit upon the jLfround. The proi-ession was headed 
l»v an ortieial (•.•irryini' three wands, whose <lutv it was 
til ^'ivo wa -nini of the kin;^''s approach, and hy others 
who fioaicii thv* road of all (thstruetions/*^ All who 
thanced to meet the royal piirty, instantly stopped, 
and reuiaint.'d in()tit>nless with heads hent down, like 
friars ehantin*'- the (Jloria Patri, savs Father Motoli 
nia, untu the jiroeession had passe«l. When the inoii 
arch aliufhted, a carju't was sjtread ti].' m tlit^ <jcn»iind 
for him to stej) on. The meetinLif of M*: tezumu II. 
and Cortes, as described hy Jiernal ]^ia/, will show 
the manner in which the Aztec ki i s wcic att' aded 
when out of doors: 

" 'V^hen we arrived at a sjuit where nnttlior narrow 
causeway led towards Cuyoacan, we were met l>y a 
niunher of cacicpies and distin<j^ui.she<l personaiji'es, all 
splendidlv dressed. They had heen .sent hy Moutf- 
zunia to meet us an<l welcome u.s in his name; and as 
a sii,ni of })oaco each touched the earth with his hand 
and then kissed it.*" While wo were thus detained, 
the lords of Tezcuco, Tztapalapa, 'I'acuha, and ( 'uyoa- 
can, advanced to meet the mii>hty Montezuma, wht> 
was approaching seated on a splendid litter, and es- 
corted hy a number of j)owerfid nohles. Wlu'ii W(( 
arriveii at a place not far from the capital, where wern 
certain fortifications, ^^ontezuma, descending;' fr(»m his 
litter, came forward leaning' on the arms of some of 
the attendant lords, while others hehl over him a can- 
opy of rich feather-wofk ornamented with silver and 
;;"old, havinuf .an emhroidered horder from which hun.;' 
pearls and chahhihuis stones.'** ^[ontezuma was very 
suni[>tuously dressed, according to his custom, and 

•^" Pii-kiiijj np straws, says Casas: 'K iliaii c-^tos oficialcs ilclan'.t^ 
•iuitaiiilii las pajas del siu'lo jtor Unas (;ac fufsen.' J/ A/io/tHjiiim, MS., 
(Mil. ci'xi. 

'"' This was the .\ztco ninnner of salutation, and is douUtlcss what ]U-r- 
ital Diaz jnrans where Ik; writes: 'Y en senal <le ]ia ■ locauan con la main* 
til el siielo, y hesanan la tierrn eon la inesma inano.' l/i.s-f. ('iiin/., t'ol. (iu. 

^* LJrcuu stones, more valued than any other uiuung the Aztees. 



had on his feet a kind of sandals, with soles of gold, 
the upper pait being studded with precious stones. 
The four grandees'" who supj)orted him were also very 
richly attired, and it seemed to us that the clothes 
tliey now wore nuist have been held in readiness for 
them somewhere upon the road, for they were not 
thus dressed when they first came out to meet us. 
And besides these great lords there were many others, 
.some of whom held the canopy over the king's head, 
Avhile others went in advance, sweeping the ground 
over which he was to walk, and spreading down cotton 
cloths that his feet mijjht not touch the earth. Ex- 
(•opting only the four nobles upon whose arms he 
leaned, and who were his near relatives, none of all 
his followers presumed to look in the king's face, but 
all kept their eyes lowered to the ground in token of 

Besides the host of retainers already mentioned 
there were innmnerable other officers attached to the 
royal household, such as butlers, stewards, and cooks 
of all grades, treasurers, secretaries, scribes, military 
officers, superintendents of the royal granaries and ar- 
senals, and those employed under them. A great num- 
ber of artisans were constantly kept busy repairing old 
liuildings and erecting new ones, and a little army of 
jewelers and workers in precious metals resided per- 
manently at the palace for the purpose of supplying the 
king and court with the costly ornaments that were 
eventually such a windfall for the conquerors, and over 
the description of which they one and all so lovingly 
linger. Nor was the softer sex unrei)resented at court. 
The Aztec sovereiyfus were notorious for their uxori- 
ousness. Montezuma II. had in his harem at least 
one thousand women, and this nimiber is increased bv 
most of the historians to three thousand, including 
the female attendants and slaves. Of these we are 

^^ Cortds hiinsi'lf says tliat the kin;^ was supporteil by twK^^niiitU'esoiilv; 
Olio of wliom was lusiu'pliew, the kintjof Tozcuco, ami tlit' other his brotlier, 
tlie loril of l/tapalupa. Ctirtas, j>. 8.">. 

^ Jienial Diaz, 11 int. Vonq., fol. G5. 




told on good authority that he had one hundred and 
til'ty pregnant at one time, all of whom killed their 
offspring in the womb;" yet notwithstanding this 
wholesale aboi-tion, he had more than fifty sons and 
daughters. His father had one hundred and fifty 
children, of whom Montezuma II. killed all his bro- 
thers and forced his sisters to marry whom he pleased ; 
— at least such is the import of Oviedo's statement. ''' 
Nezahualpilli, of Tezeuco, had between seventy and one 
hundred children.®* Camargo tells us that Xicotencatl, 
one of the chiefs of Tlascala had a great number of sons 
by more than fifty wives or concubines.^ These women 
were the daughters of the nobles, who thought them- 
selves honored by having a child in the royal harem. 
Occasionally the monarch presented one of his concu- 
l)ines to some great lord or renowned warrior, a mark of 
favor which thenceforth distinguished the recij)ient as 
a man whom the king delighted to honor. The ser- 
aglio was presided over by a number of noble matrons, 
who kept close watch and ward over the conduct of 
their charges and made daily reports to the king, who 
invariably caused the slightest indiscretion to be se- 
verely punished. Whether eunuchs were employed 
iu tlie Aztec harems is uncertain; this, however, we 
read in Motolinia: " Moteuczomatzin had in his palace 
dwarfs and little huncubacks, who when children were 
with great ingenuity made crook-backed, ruptured,®* 
and disjointed, because the lords in this country made 
the same use of them as at the present day the Grand 
Turk does of eunuchs.""'' 

^' Torqiici/iniln, Monarq. Iiid., toin. i., p. 230; (lomnrn, Conq. M<\r., fol. 
107; /Icnrni, Hist. Gen., dec. ii., lib. vii., cap. i.\. ; Ih riiul l)inz, Hist. ( 'miq., 
fol. (17; West- f nil isrhe Spirghcl, p. 24(). ('liivij,'cro dislu'lievcs t! c report 
tliat .Moiitc/iiiua had one huiidred and lifty women pre;iiiaiit at (iiicu. Sto- 
rin Ant. (id Missiro, torn, i., j). 'JOS. Ovicdo makes the number u£ wumun 
futir tlionsaiid. Hint. Gen., iom. iii., p. r)(ir>. 

^■f Orirdo, Hi.sf. Gail., toni. iii., p. .")((">, 

*'J Turqiifititi'/a, Moiinrq. Iiu/., toni. ii., p. 435. 

''" l{i.if. Ttiu., in Xoii relics A II ltd /r.i f/cs Voij., 1843, torn, xcviii.. p. 1G9. 

•■' '<i>iicbraltan.' which probably here inean.s 'castrated.' 

'■'^ 'Tenia Motenczotnat/in en sii |ialaeio enanos y corcobadillos, t|nc do 
iniliistria siendo ninos los hacian jibosos, y los (|uebral>aii y descoyuiitalian, 
imriue de estos se Servian los senores en esta tierracoinoahora hace el Grun 



The enormous expenditure incurred in tlie mainte- 
nance of such a household as this, was defrayed l)y the 
people, who, as we shall see in a future cha}>ter, were 
sorely oppressed by over-taxation. The management 
of the whole was entrusted to a head steward or major- 
domo, who, with the help of his secretaries, kejtt 
minute hieroglyphic accounts of tlie royal revenue. 
Bernal Diaz tells us that a whole apartment was filled 
with these account-books."* In Tezcuco, writes Ixtlil- 
xochitl, the food consumed by the court was sui)plied 
by certain districts of the kingdom, in each of which 
was a gatherer of taxes, who besides collecting the 
regular tributes, was obliged to furnish the royal 
household, in his turn, with a certain quantity of spe- 
cified articles, for a greater or less number of days, 
according to the wealth and extent of his department. 
The daily supply amounted to thirty-one and a quarter 
bushels of grain; nearly three bushels and thiee quar- 
ters of beans;"* four hundred thousand ready-made 
tortillas; four Xiquipiles"" of cocoa, making in all 
thirty-two thousand cocoa-beans;"" one hundred cocks 
of the country;"^ twenty loaves of salt; twenty great 
baskets of large chiles, and twenty of small chiles; ten 
baskets of tomatoes; and ten of seed."^ All this was 
furnished daily for seventy days by the city of Tezcu- 
co and its suburbs, and bv tlie districts of Atenco, and 
Tcpepulco; for sixty-five days l)y the district of Qua- 
uhtlatzinco; and for forty-five days by the districts of 
Azapocho and Ahuatepec."® 

Such, as full in detail as it is handed down to us, was 

Turro do oiimiros.' Hifif. Tndios, in Irazhafrrfn, f'nj. ih\ Dor., torn, i., pp. 
18l-.">. Ti>i(|iiemiuliv, Moimrn. IiuL, ttuii. i., p. '2!)8, uhos iieiuly t lie .saint' 

•i' '(ttitis tros Tlacopintlix de frisidcs.' Tl.o Tliiropiiitlix was one 'fanc- 
ga,' and tliire 'alniudt-s,' or, oiio IhihIioI and a quarter. 

C' '.Xiipiipilli, I'ostal, talo^ra, alforia, ») ltol«a.' .]fii/iiiri, Vornhiiliwln. 

** 'Trt'inta y dos mil cacao!*,' possil)!y cucua-jtod.s iuNleail of cocoa-beans. 

C7 '( 'it'll ;jailos.' I'roltahly turkeys. 

ci I'roltalily piiuiiikin or iiicioii seed. 

•^'J IxtlilxinhiU, Hist. C/iivh., in Kingshnrouffh's Mrx. Antiq., vol. ix., 
p. '1A\.. 



the manner in which the Aztec monarclis lived. Tlie 
j)()hcy tliey pursued toward their sul»jects was to en- 
force ohedience and suhniis.sion by enactiun" hiws tlsat 
were calculated rather to excite awe and dreid than t) 
inspire love and reverence. To this end thoy kei)t thu 
jteople at a distance by surrounding themselves witli 
an impassal)le harrier of pomp and courtly etitpiette, 
and enforced ohedience hy enacting laws that made 
death the penalty of the most trivial offenses. There 
was little ill conmion between kiiif' and pe()}>le; as is 
ever the case between a despot and his subjects. Tlic 
good that the kings did by their lilierality and love of 
justice, and the success they nearly all achieved by 
their courage and generalship, merited the admiration 
of their subjects. (.)n the other hand, the ojtpression 
which they made their vassals feel, the heavy burdens 
they imposed upon them, their t>wn pride and an-o- 
gance, and their excessive severity in punishments, 
engendered what we should now call a debasing fear, 
hut which is none the less an essential element of 
progress at certain stages.'^" 

""> Conrcrnini' the king's manner of living nn<l the (".omestic orononiy of 
the royal li<iuseliohl, see: Cortes, Cartas, j>|). 84-.">, l(l!t-i;{; Jlrriml hiiK, 
Hist. CiiiK/., fol. 0(5-8; S(fh(i;/i(ii, Hist. Ucii., U>m. ii., lili. viiL, ]i|i. '-'SO ',V2-; 
Las Cii.fiis, Ifi'.it. A/ii)ff)i/r/irii, MS., ciij). ecxi.; Tur'/iiriiifii/d, Mmntri. [int., 
toni. i., i»it. 1()7-S, '-'(>.'Mi, '228-:n, 2S»8, toni. ii., p. 4:VJ; Mutoliiiiii, Hist, /in/ios, 
ill Iciizli'dirfd, t'l/l. dr Dor., toiii. i., ])|i. 184-"); J'lfrr Mnrfi/r, dec. v., lilt, iii., 
iv.; Iliiiiinni, t'oii'i. Mix., fol. 1(>,'1~4, l()7-8; Ariistii, lli.if. ilf Ins Yiiil., \\. .")(>7; 
Uriri/i), Hist, (irii., toin. iii., pp. 807, r»(ll, 5')."); Llin-ifirro, Stnrln Aiit. i/i I 
.^fr.s.iicii, toiii. i., jti). 'iti8-71; Hirref<i, Hist. (Irn., dec. ii., lil». vii , cap. v., 
vii., ix., xii-xiii., dec. iii., lib. ii., cap. xiv.; ]'ri/tifi. Hist. Ant. .^'j., turn. 
iii., lip. IHSMH; Ortcijn, in /(/., jip. ;n(»-17; H'rst-Iin/isr/ir Siiiiy/,,/, p.'24(»; 
(liif/r'.t Xfir Siirrri/, ])p. 97, KM) 1; /inis.sriir i/r lliiiirlinin if, lllst. \iit. ''/''., 
tinii. i., p. '284, toni. iv., ))p. '.(-13; I'ir.irott's .^fl^.l■., toni. ii., )ip. I2l-!t; Zimzn, 
I'lirtii, ill Iriizhalrrtn, Co!, tie J)iir., toiii. i., p. ',H'>'2; Citrli, Cnr/os. pt i., p|i. 
117-IH. Other works of more or less value hearing on tiiis ^.lll>|ect arc: 
Titnnni. Hist. Gen., tom. iii., iip. '2."i-'{8, ,S."m-7, H.'i'.i; I'mssiirn', L'Ktii/iire 
Mix., pp. 10!), ll!»-22, 2."»4-."); Jlinil, Midijw; \>\>. 201-7; /'';/'//. Uisiimr, 
foiil. i., Jip. l.%-7; Jiroinir/rs liid. Hmrs, pit. 8,'l, '.tl!-.'); li'nii/.iiii/'s Hist. 
l{:iciirrhrs, jip. 31.')-l(!, 321-3, 342-7, 3.")0; Snihn, Sjiniiiir iii I'n-u, p. I.'JO; 
('iirl)iiji(l IC.t/tiiio.iti, Hist. M(\c., tttiii. i., pji. 582-4; Ln/niiil, ]'iii/iii/rs, torn, 
i., pp. l04-r>; Voii/iir's Jfist. X.Ami'r., p|». 112-13; Diln-nrtli's Cnini. Mr.i\, 
pp. ti."i-(», 70-1; Huirks, ill HtikliijiVs Voi/., vid. iii., ji. 4<)!»; Minii/Zinr, lir- 
siiiiK^, pp. 1!(, 82-3; /iiriifr.iits and Skrtrhe.s, \t. (W; K/niiin, Ciiltnr-Hr.srhivlitr, 
toni. v., pp. «;{-(!, 2()!4-l I. 234, 242; Dillon, Hi J. Mix., p. .'52; West and Ust 
Jndisf/icr Lmtgurt, pp. 123-5, 



Titles of tiik Norii-ity and Okxtrv— The Power of the Noni,Es— 
The Akistockacy of Tezctco— The Policy of Ki.N<i Techotl.vl- 
ArziN--l*i{ivii,E(;Es ok the — Montezuma's Poi.hy-Hi- 


The Nahi'A Puiesthooi)— The Priestsof Mexico— Dkdilation ok 
Cuii-nuEN— Priestesses— Priesthooo ok Miztecatan - The Pon- 
tiff of V(»i'aa— Tradition ok Wixii'ecoiha- The Caveok Yopaa 
—The ZAi'itTEc IMhests— Toltec Priests- Totonac Priests- 

Descending in due order the social scale of the Az- 
tecs, we now come to the nobility, or, more properly 
speakiiii^, the jn'ivileged classes. The nol)les of Mex- 
ico, and of the other Nahua nations, were divided into 
several classes, each having its own peculiar privileges 
.'uid hadges of rank. The distinctions that existed be- 
tween the various grades, and their titles, are not, 
liowever, clearly defined. The title of Tlatoani was 
the highest and most respected; it signified an abso- 
lute and sovereign power, an hereditary and divine 
right to govern. The kings, and the great feudatory 
lords who were governors of provinces, and could 
prove their princely descent and the ancient independ- 
ence of their families, belonged to this order. The 
title of Tlatopilzintli was given to the eldest son of 
the king, and that of Tlatoque to all the princes iii 





Tlacahu«a sif^nifiod a lord without sovor- 
oii^iity, but who had vassals under his orders, juid was, 
to a certain extent, master of his people. The appel- 
lation of Pilli was j^iven to all who were noble, with- 
out ret^ard to rank. Axcahua, was a rich man, a 
proprietor of wealth in general, and Tlaquihua, a 
landed proprietor, or almost the same thing as an 
English country gentleman. 

The title of Tlatoani was invariably hereditaiy, but 
many of the others were conferred only for life, as a 
reward for important military or other services to the 
state. Of the tenure by which they held their lands 
J shall have occasion to speak hereafter. 

The j)ower of the nobles, as a body, was very great; 
according to some accounts there were, in ^lontezu- 
nia's realms, thirty great lords who eacli controlled 
one hundred thousand vassals, and three tliousand 
otlicr lords also very powerful. A number of nobles 
possessing such formidable jjower as this, would, if 
jterniitted to live on their estates, some of wliich were 
a long distance from the capital, have been a con- 
stiUitly threatening source of danger to the ciown; at 
iiiiy moment an Aztec Runnimede might have been 
expiH-ted. To guard against any such catastroj)he, 
tlie more powerful nobles were reipiired to reside in 
the capital, at least during the greater ]»art of each; and permission to return to their liomes for a 
.'liort time, could only be obtained on condition that 
thov left a son or brother as a uuarantfc of good faith 
(hiring their absence.^ 

In tlie kin<jfdom of Tezcuco were twentv-six <>reat 
licfs," each independent of tlie rest and having several 
tiels of less importance subjected to it. The greater 
l»art of these great chi«3fs bore the sovereign title of 
Tlatoani, or a similar one. They rect)gnized no j>re- 
rogative of the king except his right to preside at 

' Tiin/iirinn(l<f, Monnrq. Iiiil., torn, i., j). '231; Ifrnrni, Ifi.sf. <ln\., ilec. 
ii., lili. vii., cjiii. xii.; On'nfo, I/isf. (irii., titiii. iii.. j). r»l>2. 

'^ Tori/iirnini/ii, MoiKiri/. Iiid., toiii. i., p. 8S; \ eytia, Hist. Aiil. Mi'j., 
toni. ii., p. IS-, mukcs iho number twenty -seven. 



tlieir i^rand assomblies, to receive their homaj^c upoti 
liis accession to the throne, to levy certain trilnites in 
tlieir provinces, and to call upon them to ap])ear in 
the field with a continofent of troops in case of war. 
For the rest, each Tlatoani was perfectly independent 
in hi.s own domain, which he jjoverned with the same 
onmipotence as the kino^ of I'ezcuco himself Not- 
withstanding the precautions taken, it frecpiuntly hap- 
pened that one of these gre.'it feudatories would fed 
himself stron<; enouufh to set the authority of the kinir 
at defiance, but as their private feuds generally j)iv- 
vented any number of the Tlatoanis from uniting tlieir 
forces against the crown, the rebels were in most in- 
stances speedily reduced to subjection; in which event 
the leaders either suffered death or were degraded 
from their rank. 

Thev were an unruly f^imilv, these overofrown vas- 
sals, and the Aztec monarchs were often at their wit's 
end in endeavors to conciliate and keep them within 
bounds. Tonpiemada tells us that Techotlalatzin, 
king of Tezcuco, Wiis sorely harrassed by the powerful 
nobles of his realm. He accordinufly set about reme- 
dying the evil with great prudence and perseverance. 
His first step was to unite, by strong bonds of interest, 
the less important nobles to the crown. To this end 
he heaped favors upon all. The vanity of some he 
fiattered by conferring the dignity and title of Tlato- 
ani upon them, to others he gave wealth and lands. 
By this me.ans he weakened the individual power of 
the grciat vassals by increasing their numl)er, a j)olicy 
the efiii'iency of which has been frequently proved in 
the oUl world as well as in the new. Techotlalatzin 
next proceeded to summon them one after another to 
court, and then under pretense of being in constant 
need of their advice, he formed twentv-six of tlieir 
number into a council of state, obliging them by this 
means to reside constantly in the capital. With this 
council he conferred upon all gr.ave and difificult (pies- 
tions, whatever "\ight be their nature. It was the 



<luty of its members to draw up and issue ordinances, 
hoth for the general government and for the ad- 
ministration of affairs in partieuhir provinces; and to 
iiuu't Uiws for enforcing good order in towns and 
viiluijes, as well as those relating to aijfriculture, 
scionce and art, military discipline, and the tribunals 
of justice. 

At the tame time Techotlalatzin created a larije 
number <jf new offices and honorary trusts, which were 
dependent on the crown. Four of the most powerful 
iiol>les were invested witli the hiirhest diirnities. The 
first, witli the title Tetlahto, was made connnander-in- 
chief of the army, and [)rt>sident of the military coun- 
cil. The second was entitled Yobpii; his office was 
that of ffrand master of ceremonies; it was his dutv 
t > receive and introduce tlie ambassadors and minis- 
ters of foreign princes, to conduct them to court, to 
li»dge them and provide for their comfort, and to offer 
them the presents appointed by the king. The third 
lord received the title of Tlami or Cal])ixcontli ; he 
w;is master of the royal household, and minister of 
tinance, and was assisted in his functions bv a council 
of other nobles. It was the duty of this body to keep 
strict account of all taxes paid by the peoj^le; its 
inombers were retjuired to be well informed as to 
the exact condition of each town and province, with 
the nature of its produce, and the fertility of its soil ; 
tliey had also to distribute the taxes with e(|uality 
and justice, and in proportion to the I'esources of the 
people. The care and management of the interior of 
thi' palace was also intrusted to them, antl it was their 
jilacc; to })rovide all the food for the consum])tion of 
the royal household. The fourth ii^reat officer was 
styled Amechichi ; he acted as grand chamberlain, 
and attended to the king's private a})artments. Like 
t'.ie Tlami, he was assisted by other nobles. A fifth 
otficer was afterward appointed, who bore the title of 
( '.»huatl, and superintended the workers in ])recious 
nietals, jewels, and feathers, who were employed by 



the court. At first sight it may appear that sucli 
duties as these would be behjw the dignity of a 
liauglity Aztec grandee, yet we find the no})les of 
Europe during the middle ages not only filling the 
same positions, but jealous of their right to do so, 
and complaining loudly if deprived of them. 8is- 
mondi tells us that the count of Anjou, under Louis 
VI., claimed the oflfice of grand seneschal of Franco; 
that is, to carry dishes to the king's table on state 
days. The court of Charlemagne was crowded with 
officers of every rank, some of the most eminent of 
Avhom exercised functions about the royal person 
which would have been thought fit only for slaves in 
the palace of Augustus or Antonine. The free-born 
Franks saw nothing menial in the titles of cup-bearer, 
steward, marshal, and master of the horse, which are 
still borne by some of the noblest families in many 
parts of Europe. 

As soon as habits of submission and an appreciation 
of the honors showered upon them had taken root 
among his great vassals, Techotlalatzin subdivided 
the twenty-six provinces of his kingdom into sixty-five 
departments. The ancient lords were not by tliis 
measure despoiled of all their authority, nor of those 
estates which were their private property; but the 
jurisdiction they exercised in person or throujrh their 
officials was greatly diminished by the nomination of 
tliirty-five new governors, chosen by the king, and of 
whose fidelity he was well assured. This was a mortal 
blow to the great aristocrats, and a preliminary step 
toward the total abolition of feudal power. But the 
master-stroke was yet to come. The inha,bitants of 
each province were carefully counted and divided into 
sections. They were then changed about from place 
to place, in numbers proportioned to the size and i)op- 
ulation of the territory. For example, from a division 
containing six thousand people, two thousand were 
taken and transported into the territory of another 
lord, from the number of whose vassals two thousand 



, those 
it the 
Ion of 
ocl of 
\t the 
its of 

were also taken and placed upon the vacated land in 
the Hrst lord's possessions; each nohle, however, re- 
tained his authority over that portion of his vassals 
which had heen removed. By this means, althouifh 
the numher of each lord's suhjects remained the same, 
yet as a larsj^e portion of each territory was occupied 
hy the vassals of another, a revolt would he ditiicult. 
Nor could two nohles unite their forces ag-ainst the 
crown, as care was taken that the interchange of de- 
pendents should not be effected between two estates 
adjoining each other. 

Tliese measures, despotic as they were, were never- 
theless executed without opposition from either nobles 
or ])eople, — such was the awe in Avhich the sovereijj^n 
was held and his complete ascendancy over his sub- 

The privileo^es of the nobles were numerous. They 
alone were allowed to wear ornaments of i^'old and 
y^ems upon their clothes, and, indeed, in their entire 
dress, as we shall presently see, they were distin- 
ij^uished from the lower classes. The exact limits of 
the ])ower they possessed over their vassals is not 
known, but it was doubtless nearly absolute. Fuen- 
leal, bishop of Santo Domini^o, writes to C.'harles V. 
of tlie lower orders, that "they were, and still are, so 
submissive that they allow themselves to be killed or 
sold into slavery without complainincr,"* In Mexico 
tlieir ])ower and privilej^es were jjcreatly aui^mented by 
Montezuma 1 1., who we are told ousted every plebeian 
tliat held a position of hii,di rank, and would allow 
none who were not of noble birth to be employed in 
his palace or about his person. At the time of this 
monarch's accession there were many mend)ers of the 
royal council who were men of low extraction; all 

5 Tnrnuemnda, Monnrq. Tnd., torn, i., p. 8S, etsrq.: sec also Vcyfln, Hist. 
Ant. Mrj., tdin. ii., p. 182, ft srq.; JSnisficiir (/c liourlmiirff, Hist. N 't. Civ., 
tiim. ii., pp. 4'28, et srq.; Ixtlil.vorhitl, Rdarionefi, in Kiiiffshoroitijl 's Mex. 
AiUiij., vol. ix., p. 35.% etseq.; Ooicdo, Hist. Gen., toiii. iii., ^i. .'502; jloTcrUf 
dec. li., lil>. vii., cap. xii. 

* Lcltrc, in Ternaux-Compam, Voy., s^rie i,, torn, x., p. 251. 



those ho (lismi.ssed and Huppliod their places with 
creatures of liis own. 

It is rehited that an old man who had formerly heen 
his j,>uardian or tutor had the holdness to remonstrate 
with him a;i^ainst such a course; tellinjj hiin with firm- 
ness that he acted contrary to his own interests, and 
advisin«r him to weijjfh well the (lonsequences of tlie 
measures he was adoptiiijuf. To banish the ]>lel>eians 
from the palace, added tlie old man, was to estran^^e 
them forever from the kin**"; and the time would come 
when the common people would no lonjjrer either wisli 
or (hire to look ';pon him. Montezuma haui^litily 
made answer, that this was precisely what he wished; 
it was a hurninj^ shame, he said, that the low and 
conmion j)eople should be allowed to mix with the 
nobles in the royal service; he was astonished and in- 
di^-nant that his royal predecessors had so long suf- 
fered such a state of thinjjfs to be." 

By these measures the services of many brave sol- 
diers, promoted, as a reward for their irallantry, from 
tile ranks of the i)e()])le, were lost to the crown ; nor 
wei' • such men likely to be slow to show their discon- 
tent. The new i)olicy, incited by a proud aristocracy, 
struck exactly those men who had the best ri<)[ht to u 
share in the jjjovernment. It was the officers pro- 
moted for their merits from the ranks who had con- 
tributed most to the success of the Mexican arms; 
it was the great merchants who, by their extended 
connuorce, had made the wealth of the country. A 
spiiit of rivalry had long existed between the poor 
well-born nobles, and the wealthy base-born mer- 
chants. During many successive reigns the import- 
ance of the latter class had been steadily increasing, 
owing to the valuable services they had rendered tlie 
state. From the earliest times they were permitted ;i 
certain degree of familiarity with the kings, who tool; 
great delight in hearing them recount the wonderful 
adventures they had met with while on their long 

i Tor(j[uoinailu, Monarq. I ml., toiu. i., p. 190. 



expeditions into Htmnjife purts. tlie royal 
efir (lid not always meet the truth unenihellished, any 
more than did that of Haroun Alraschid upon Himilar 
occasions, hut prohahly the nionarcliH learned many 
little secrets in this way that they could never know 
hy other means. Afterward these merchants were 
admitted to the royal councils, and durinjLf the latter 
years of the rei<(n of Ahuitzotl we find them enjoying" 
many of the exclusive j)rivileges hitherto reserved to 
tlie warrior aristocracy. 

The n»erchants aj)pear to have partly brought upon 
themselves the misfortunes which suhsecjuently over- 
took them, hy agt^ravatin*,' the envious feelings with 
which they were already reij^arded. Not content with 
\)L'\u*f admitted to equal |)rivile«^es with the iH)l>les, 
and vexed at not heinjjf ahle to vie with them in hril- 
liant titles and lon<^ lines of illustrious ancestry, they 
(lid their utmost to sur}»ass them in the ma<fniticence of 
their houses, and in the jiomp which they displayed up- 
on every occasion. At the public feasts and ceremonies 
these parve. is outshone the proudest nobles by the 
profuseness of their expenditure; they strove f»»r and 
obtained lionors and exalted positions which the aris- 
tocracy could not accept for lack of wealth; they wei'e 
sparing' of money in no place where it could be used 
for their own advancement. It is easy to conceive 
the effect such a state of things had on the j)roud and 
overbeai'ing nobles of Mexico. On several occasions 
they conn)lained to their kings that their order was los- 
ing its prestige by being obliged to mix on ecpnd terms 
with tlio plebeians; but the services that the great 
commercial body rendered every day to the crown 
were too material to allow the kings to listen patiently 
to such complaints. During the reign of Ahuitzotl, 
the pride of the merchants had reached its zenith ; 
it is not therefore surprising that the leaders of the 
aristocratic party, when that monarch was dead, elect- 
ed as his successor Montezuma II., a ])rince well 
known for his partiality for the higher classes. His 

?ul. 11. 13 



jMilicy, an oventw ])n)ve(l, wjih a far ]v»n wise one tlian 
that i)f Tochotlalatzin of Tozeuco, of wliirh wo hav«? 
alri'ady Hj)okon, By not ruHtraininu^ his overweonint,' 
j>ri(lt! ho |)rtn)are(l tho way for diHatfection and rovoh ; 
lio furnished liis cnoniios with weapons wliich tliiy 
wore not slow to use; ho ahonated tho atibctions of 
his snl)jo('ts, so that when aid was most needed tlierc 
was none to help him, and when, fettered and a ])ris- 
oner in tlio liand of the Spaniards, lie eaUed upon liis 
peopU', tho oidy rophes were hoots and missiles. 

Tho Lfenerals of the army and military ottioors of 
the hiifher ranks, nuist of course he included amont^^ 
tho privilej^ed classes; usually, indeed, they were 
nohlo hy hirth as well as influential hy iK)sition, an<l 
in Mexico, from the time of Montezuma's innovations 
tiiis was always the case. There were several mili- 
tary orders and titles which wore hestowed upon dis- 
tinj^uishod soldiers for services in tho Held or tho coun- 
cil. ( )f those which wore purely the reward of merit, 
and such as could he attained hy a pleheian, I shall 
speak in a future chapter. There was one, however, 
the momhership of which was confined to tho nohilitv; 
this was tho celebrated and knightly order of the Te- 

To obtain this rank it was necessary to be of noble 
birth, to have given proof in aovoral battles of the 
utmost coura<xe, to have arrived at a certain a*jfo, and 
to have sufficient wealth to sujjport tho enormous ex- 
penses inc rred by members of tho order. 

For thn > years before he was admitted, tho candi- 
date and ■} parents busied themselves about making 
ready for I ) grand ceremony, and collecting rich gar- 
ments, Jew J, and golden ornaments, for presents to 
tho guests. When the time ajiproachod, tho auguries 
were consv bed, and a lucky day having boon fixed 
upon, tho relations and friends of tho candidate, as 
well as all the great nobles and Tecuhtlis that could 
be brought together, wore invited to a sumptuous 
bancjuot. On the morning of the all- important day 



tlio roinpany Hot out in a Ixxly fur tlio temple of f'u- 
maxtli,* followed hy a inultitude r>f eurious sjtectators, 
rhieHy of the lower orders, intent upon seeinj^'all there 
is to nee. Arrived at the Huuunit of the pyramid conse- 
crated to Camaxtli, the asj)irant to knii,ditly honors 
hows down reverently before the altar of the j;»k1. The 
liii^h-priest now approaches him, and with a pointed 
tiirer's Inme or an eayrle's claw perforates the cartila<r«5 
i>\' his nose in two places, insertinjj into the holes thus 
made small pieces of jet or obsidian,^ which remain 
there until the year of j)rol)atit)n is passed, when they 
are exchanged for heatls of gold and i)recious stones. 
This piercing the nose with an eagle's claw or a tiger's 
hone, signifies, says Torquenuula, that he who aspires 
to the dignity of Tecuhtli must he as swift to over- 
take an enemy as the eagle, as strong in fight as the 
tiger. The high-priest, speaking in a loud voice, now 
licgins to heap insults and injurious epitliets uj)on 
the man standin;^ meekly before him. His voice 
grows louder ancl louder; ho brandishes his arms 
aloft, he waxes furious. The assistant j)riests are his mood; they gather closer about the ob- 
ject of the pontitf's wrath; they jostle him, they 
l>:)int their fingers sneeringly at him, and call him 
coward. For a moment the dark eyes of the victim 
gloani savagely, his hands close involuntarily, he 
seems about to spring upon his tormentors; then with 
an effort he calms himself and is passive as ever. 
That look made the taunters draw back, but it was 
only for a moment; they are upon him again; they 
know now that he is strong to endure, and they will 
j>rove him to the uttermost. Screaming insults in his 
ears, they tear his garments piece l)y piece from his 
body until nothing but the maxtli is left, and the man 

* faniaxtli was the Tlasoaltcc pod of war, corresponding with and proh- 
ahly the sanjc as the Mexican Huitzilopochtli The onlerof Teculitli Iwing 
lield in hii;hcr esteem in Thiscala than elsewhere, tlie ceremony of initiation 
is jjenerally dea(!rilKHl as it took place in that Htate. 

' Tna-s pjedraa clavjuitas de i)iedra nej^ra, y creo eran de hv piedra de 
que hucen la« navajas.' Las Caswi, hint. Apologitiat, M^., cap. Ixvii. 



stands bruised and naked in their midst. But all is 
useless, tlieir victim is immovable, so at lenj^th they 
leave him in peace. He has passed safely through 
one of the severest ordeals of the day, but that fierce 
look a while ago was a narrow escai)e; had he lifted a 
Hnger in resistance, he must have gone down from the 
temple to l)e scorned and jeered at by the crowd below 
as one who had asj)ired to the dignity of Tecuhtli, yet 
who could restrain his temper no better than a woman. 
The long months of careful preparation would have 
l»een all in vain, his parents would have si)at upon 
him for vexation and shame, perchance he would have 
been punished for sacrilege. But he is by no meaufs 
a member of the coveted order yet. He is next con- 
ducted to another hall of the temjde,^ where he coni- 
Miences his noviciate, which is to last from one to two 
years, by four day.s of penance, prayer, and fasting. 
As soon as he is conducted to this hall the banquet 
wliich has been prepared for the guests commences, 
and after a few hours of conviviality each returns to 
liis home. 

During these first four days the candidate's powers of 
(;ndurance are sorely taxed. The only articles of furni- 
ture allowed him are a coarse mat and a low stool; his 
garments are of the coarsest description. When night 
comes, the priests bring him a black i)reparation with 
which to besmear his face, some spines of the maguey- 
])lant to draw blood from his body with, a censer aiul 
some incense. His only companions are three veteran 
warriors, who instruct him in his duties and keep him 
awake, for during the foiu* days he is only allowed to 
sleep for a few minutes at a time, and then it nuist ''c 
sitting upon his stool. If, overcome by drowsiness, ho 
exceed this time, his guardians thrust the maijuev- 

* 'So ihn 11 vna do las Salas, h AjMwcntos do los Miiiistros quo son inn 
al DoiiioTiio, <iuc kg llaina1>a T!ainanizt;al('(».' Torqiiriiim/a, Moiiarq. luii, 
torn, ii., i>. S02. It sooiiis iiiilikoly, lii>wovor, that the oandiilate would l>o 
takon to auotlicr tonii)lc at tins juueturc. llraHsour oxjilaiiis the name of 
'III' liall to which he was taken as Me laeu lies' habitations de» MiniiritieM, 
lfictiv»de (."auia.\tli." Hint. 2\'ut. L'ic, tuiit. iii., i>. 587. 



tliorns into his flesh, crying: Awake, awake! learn to 
be vigilant and watchful ; keep your eyes oi)en that 
you may look to the interests of" your vassals. At 
midnight he goes to burn incense before the idol, and 
to draw blood from different parts of his body as a 
isiicrifice. He then walks round the tcniide, and as he 
goes he burns paper and copal in four holes in tlie 
ground, v»^hich he makes at the four sides of the build- 
ing, facing the cardinal j)oints; upon each of these 
fires he lets fall a few drops of blood drawn from his 
body. These ceremonies he repeats at dawn and sun- 
set. He breaks his fast only once in twenty-four 
hours, at midnight : and then his repast consists merely 
of four little dumplings of maize-meal, each about the 
size of a nut, and a small quantity of water; but even 
this he leaves untastcd if he wishes to evince extraor- 
dinary powers of endurance. The four days having 
cla})sed, lie obtains permission from the high-j)riest to 
eoniidete his time of probation in some temple of his 
own district or parish; but he is not allowed to gt» 
lionie, nor, if married, to see his wife during this 

For two or three months preceding his formal ad- 
mission into the order, the home of the postulant is 
in a bustle of pre])aration for the coming ceremony. 
A grand disjday is made of rich stuffs and dresses, and 
costly jewels, for the use of the new knight when lie 
shall cast oft* Jiis present chrysalis-husk of coarse 
nequen and emerge a full-blown Tccuhtli. A great 
number of presents are provided for the guests; a 
sumptuous banquet is pre})ared, and the whole house 
is decorated for the occasion. The oracles are aj^ain 
consulted, and upon the lucky day a})})ointed tlie com- 
l)aiiv assemble once more at the house of the candi- 
date, in the same manner as at the connnencenient of 
his noviciate. In the morning the new knight is con- 
ducted to a bath, and after having undergone a good 
scrubbiniif, he is a<>ain carried, in the midst of music 
and dancing, to the temple of Camaxtli. Accompa- 



nied by liis brother Tccuhtlis he ascends the steps of 
the teocalH. After he has respectfully saluted the 
idol, the mean tjannents he has worn so loivj; are taken 
off, and his hair is bound up iu a knot on the top of 
his head with a red cord, from the ends of which lian<( 
some fine feathers; he is next clad in garments of rich 
and fine materials, the princii)al of which is a kind of 
tunic, ornamented with a delicately embroidered de- 
vice, which is the insignia of his new rank; in his 
riijht hand he receives some arrows and in his left a 
bow. The high-priest completes the ceremony with a 
discourse, in which he instructs the new knight in his 
duties, tells him the names which he is to add to his 
own, as a member of the order; describes to him the 
signs and devices which he must emblazon on his 
escutcheon, and im})resses upon his memory the ad- 
vantages of being liberal and just, of loving his coun- 
try and his gods. As soon as the newly made 
Tecuhtli has descended into the court of the temple, 
the music and dancing recommence, and are kept up 
until it is time to begin the banquet. This is served 
with great magnificence and liberality, and, to the 
guests at least, is probably the most interesting feature 
of the day. In front of each person at table are 
l)laced the presents intended for him, consisting of 
costly stuffs and ornaments in such quantity that each 
bundle was carried with difficiilty by two slaves; each 
guest is also given a new garment, which he wears at 

The value of the gifts was proportioned to the rank 
of the receiver, and such distinctions nmst be made 
with great care, for the Aztec nobility were very jeal- 
ous of their rights of precedence. The places of such 
nobles as had been invited to the feast but were from 
illness or other cause unable to attend were left vacant, 
and their share of presents and food was placed upon 
the table exactly as if they had been present; Tor- 
(juenijula tells us, moreover, that the same courtesy 
was extended to the empty seat as to the actual 



puost." Upon these occasions the absent noble gen- 
erally sent a substitute, whose seat was placed next to 
tiiat of the person he represented. On the following 
day the servants and followers of the guests were 
feasted and presented with gifts, according to the 
means and liberality of the donor. 

The privileges of the Tecuhtlis were important and 
numerous. In council they took the first j)laLes, and 
their votes outweighed all others ; in the same man- 
ner at all feasts and ceremonies, in peace or in war, 
they were always granted preeminence. As before 
remarked, the vast expenses entailed upon a Tecuhtli 
debarred the honor from uif.ny who w^ere really worthy 
of it. In some instances, however, when a noble had 
greatly distinguished himself in war, but was too poor 
to bear the expen»es of initiation, these were defrayed 
by the governor of his province, or by the other Te- 

The orijrin of the order of Tecuhtli is not known. 
Both the Toltecs and the Tlascaltecs claim to have 
established it. Veytia, however, asserts that this was 
not the case, but that it was first instituted by Xolotl, 
king of the Chichiniecs." M. I'Abbe Brasseur do 
Bourbourg infers from ancient Toltec history that the 
ceremony of initiation and the probation of the can- 
didate derive their origin from the mysterious rites of 
whicli traces are still found among the nations of 
]\Iexit'o and Central America. The traditions relating 
to Votan and Quetzalcoatl, or Gucumatz, evidently 
alliidu to it. The birth of Ceacatl-Quetzalcoatl is cele- 
hrated by his father, Mixcohua-Camaxtli, at Culhua- 
can, with great rejoicings and the creation of a great 

' ' V a las SilliiH solas que re]»rcseiita1)iui las Porsniiiis ansctitcs, liaciau 
taiitu I'orti'sia, vie eaptahaii IJenevoleiieia, coiiio si ivulineiite t'slnvieiaii 
|iicsi"ii(os los Sefiures (£ue faltubaii.' Torqucmuda, Muitanj. IikL, toiii. ii., 

p. :m. 

'" Coiicerniiij; the ceremony of initiation see: TorqiiriiKiiln, Mnnnri/. 
I'lil., torn, ii., |i)t. 3t»l-(»; Lus Ctisd.s; Hist. A/Kifoift^/int, MS., cai). Iwii.; 
(fi)iniirit, ('(Hill Mr.r., fol. 3(Hi-8; (7(iri;firn, S/orid. Ant. (hi Mr.s.sini, toni. 
ii-, pp. rjl»-l; t'(iiii(ir;/(i, IIM. Tliu\, \\\ Nuin'cllcn Aunalcs dcs Voy., 1813, 
turn, xcviii., ])p. 147-'.t. 

" Wijtia, Hint. Ant. McJ., torn, ii., pp. 58-00. 



number of knights; it is these same kniglits who are 
afterwards sent to avenge his death upon his assassins 
at Cuitlahuae, a town which appears, since tliat time, 
to have been always the principal place of residence of 
the order. After the separation of Cholula from the 
rest of the Toltec empire by Ceacatl-QuetzalcDatI, that 
town, together with Huexotzinco and Tlascala, a])pears 
to have had special privileges in this particular. It is 
in these phices that after the conquest of the Aztec 
j>lateau by the Teo-Chichimecs, we find most of tlieir 
chiefs bearing the title of Tecuhtli; it may be that the 
priests were forced into confirming their warlike con- 
(juerors in the honor, or it may be that they did ho 
voluntarily, hoping by this means to submit the war- 
riors to their spiritual power. This, however, is cer- 
tain, that the rank, of Tecuhtii remained to the last 
the highest honor that a prince or soldier could accjuirt? 
in the states of Tlascala, Cholula, and Huexotzinco.'^ 

The priesthood filled a very important place among 
the privileged classes, but as a succeeding volume has 
been set apart for all matters relating to religion, I 
will confine myself here to such an outline of the 
sacerdotal system as is necessary to make our view of 
Aztec social distinctions complete. The learned Abbe, 
M. Brasseur de Bourbourg, gives us a very correct 
and concise account of the Mexican priesthood, a par- 
tial translation of which will answer the present pur- 

Among the nations of Mexico and Central America, 
whose civilization is identical, the priesthood always 
t)ccupied a high rank in the state, and uj) to the last 
moment its :iend)ers continued to exercise a ])owcrful 
influence in both public and ])rivate affairs. In Ana- 
huac the jiriestly offices do not appear to have been 
api)ropriated exclusively by an hereditary caste; all 
had an equal right to fill them, with the excej^tion of 
the offices about the tem]>le of Huitzilopochtli, at 
Mexico, which were granted to some families dwelling 

1* llnisscuv lie Buurbourg, Hist. Nat. Cir., toiu. iii., i». oSG. 



in certain quarters of that city." Tlie ministers of 
the various temples, to be fitted for an ecch'siastieal 
career, must be graduates of the Cahnecac, eoUeijes or 
seminaries to wliicli they had been sent by their 
parents in their iiiftincy. The dignities of their orck'r 
were conferred by vote; but it is evident that the 
priests of noble birth obtained almost invariably tlie 
liighest honors. The quarrels between the ])riest and 
warrior classes, which, in former times, had brought 
F ) much harm to the Mexican nation, had taught the 
kings to do their best to effect a balance of jiower be- 
tween the rival bodies; to this end they appropriated 
to tliemselves the privilege of electing priests, and 
j)laced at the head of the clergy a priest or a warrioi- 
of higli rank, as they saw fit; this could be all the 
more easily done, as both classes received the same 
education in the same schools. 

Tlie august title of Topiltzin, which in ancient times 
expressed the supremo military and priestly power, 
came to mean, in after years, a j)urely ecclesiastical 
authority. In Tezcuco and Tlacopan, where the crown 
was inherited in a direct line by one of the sons of 
the deceased monarch, the supreme ])ontiff was usually 
selected from among the members of the royal family ; 
but in Mexico, where it involved, almost always, tlie 
duties of Tlacochcalcatl, or commandcr-Iii-chief of the 
army, and, eventually, succession to tlie throne, the 
otKce of high-priest, like that of king, was elective. 
The election of the spiritual kino, for so we may '"all 
him, generally followed ch)se u] on tliat of the tem- 
])(»ral monarch, and such was tiu honor in wliicli tlie 
former was held, that he consecrated with the 
same sacred unafuent with which the kiuLT was anointed. 
In this manner Axayacatl, Montezuma 11., and Qua- 
uliteiiioc, were each made pontiff befoie. the loyal 
crown was placed upon their head. The title of him 
who held this dignity was ^Mexicatl-Teojmatzin, that 
is to say, the 'Mexican lord of sacred things;' he 

'' Ilirnm, Hint. Gen., dec. iii., lib. ii., cap. xv. 





added also, l)osides o great number of other titles, that 
of Teoteeuhtli, or 'divine master,' and he was, by 
rij^ht, hijjfh-priest of Huitzilopochtli ; he was the 'head 
of the church,' and of all its branches, not only at 
Mexico, but in all the provinces of the Mexican em- 
pire; he had absolute authority over all priests, of 
whatever rank, and the colleges and monasteries of 
every class were under his control. He was elected 
by the two dignitaries ranking next to himself in the 
aboriginal hierarchy. The Mexicatl-Teohuatzin was 
looked upon as the right arm of the king, particularly 
in all matters of war and religion, and it rarely haj)- 
pened that any important enterj)rise was set on foot 
without his advice. At the same time it is evident 
that the liigh-])riest was, after all, on'' the vicar and 
lieutenant of the king, for on certain solenui occasions 
the monarch himself performed the functions of grand 

The Quetzalcoatl, that is, the high-priest of the god 
of that name, was almost equal in rank to the Mexi- 
catl-Teohuatzin ; but his political influence was far 
inferior. The ordinary title of the priests was Teo- 
pixqui, or 'sacred guardian;' those who were clothed 
with a higher dignity were called Huey-Teopixqui, or 
'great sacred guardian.' The Huitznahuac-Te<j- 
huatzin and the Tepan-Teohuatzin followed, in })riestly 
rank, the high-priest of Huitzilo])ochtli; they were 
his vicars, and superintended the colleges and monas- 
teries in every part of his kingdom. The Thuiuinii- 
lol-Teculitli, or 'grand master of relics,'" tt)ok cliarge 
of the ornaments, furniture, and other articles specially 
relating to worship. The Tlillancalcatl, or 'chief of 
the house of Tlillan,' exercised the functions of j)rin- 
cipal sacristan ; he took care of the robes and utensils 
used by the high-priest. The choristers were under 
the orders of the Ometochtli, the liigh-priest of the 
god so named, who had, as director of the singing- 

'< The Tliuiuiinilloli, from wljciicc the title is (k'riveil, was a sacrid 
package ur biiudlu, cuutaiiiiiig rt>lic» uf guilti uiiil heruusi. 



schools, an assistant stylod Tla})itzcatzin ; it was this 
latter officer's duty to instruct his pupils in the hymns 
which were chanted at the principal solemnities. Tiie 
Tlamacazcatlotl, or 'divine minister' overlooked the 
studies in the schools; another priest discharged the 
duties of grand master of the pontifical ceremonies; 
another was archdeacon and judge of the ecclesias- 
tical courts; the latter had power to employ and dis- 
charge the attendants in the temj)les; besides these 
there was a crowd of other dignitaries, following each 
other rank below rank in ])erfect order. 

In Mexico and the other towns of the empire, there 
were as many comjjlete sets of })riests as there were 
temples. Besides the seventy eight sanctuaries ded- 
icated to Huitzilopochtli, which were in ])art directed 
by the priests we have already enumerated, tlie capi- 
tal contained many others. Eacli had jurisdiction 
in its own section, which corresponded to our parish ; 
the priests and their pupils dwelling in a school or col- 
lege which adjoined the temple. 

It was the province of the i)riests to attend to all 
matters relating to religion and the instruction of 
vouth. Some took charire of the sacrifices, others 
were skilled in tlie art of divination; certain of them 
were entrusted with the arrangement of the festivals 
and the care of the temple and sacred vessels, others 
applied themselves to the composition of hynms and 
attended to the singing and music. Tlie priests who 
were learned in science suj)erintended the schools and 
colleges, made the calculations for the annual calendar, 
and fixed the feast-days; those who possessed literary 
talent compiled the historical works, and collected ma- 
terial for the libraries. To each temple was attached 
a monastery, or we might call it a chapter, the mem- 
bers of which enjoyed privileges similar to those of 

our canons, 

The Tlamacazqui, 'deacons' or 'ministers' niid the 
Quaijuacuiltin, 'herb-eaters,' were those who dedi- 
cated themselves to the service of the Liods for life. 



They lo(l a very ascetic life; continence was strictly 
imposed upon tlieni, and they niortitied the flesh hy 
deeds of j)enance in imitation of Quetzalcoatl, who 
was tlieir patron deity. The name of Tlaniacazcayotl, 
signifying 'government of the religious,' wjis given 
to these orders, and they had monasteries for the recej)- 
tion of both sexes. The high-priest of the god Quet- 
zalcoatl was their supreme lord; he was a man of 
great authority, and never deigned to put his foot out 
of d(Kjrs unless it was to confer with the king. AVhen 
a father of a family wished to dedicate one of his chil- 
dren to the service of Quetzalcoatl, he with great 
humility advised the high-priest of his intention. 
That dignitary deputed a Tlamacazqui to represent 
liim at the feast which was given in his honor, and to 
bring away the child. If at this time the infant 
was under four years of age, p slight incision was 
made on his chest, and a few drops of blood were 
drawn as a token of liis future position. Four years 
Avas the age ^'equisite for admission into the monastery. 
Some remained there until they were of an age to 
enter the world, some dedicated their whole lives to 
the service of the gods; others vowed themselves 
to perpetual continence. All were poorly clothed, 
wore their hair long, lived upon coarse and scanty 
fare, and did ail kinds of work. At midnight they 
arose and went to the bath; after washing, they drew 
blood from their bodies with spines of the maguey- 
plant; then they watched and chanted praises of tlie 
gods until two in the morning. Notwithstandinii: this 
austerity, however, these monks could betake them- 
selves alone to the woods, or wander through the 
mountains and deserts, there in solitude to spend tlie 
time in holy contemplation. 

Females were consecrated to the service of the gods 
in several ways. When a girl was forty days old, the 
father carried her to the neighboring temple; he 
})laced in her little hands a broom and a censer, and 
thus presented her to the Teopixqui, or priest; who by 

MEXICAN pitii:sTEssi:s. 


accoptin;:^ these symbols of his future state, bound him- 
sulf to porfonu his part of tlio engagement. As soon 
us tlie httle one was able to do so in person, she carried 
a broom and a censer to the tem})le, witli some i)res- 
ciits R)r the j)riest; at the recjuired age slie entered 
tlic monastery. Some of the girls took an oatli of 
perpetual continence; others, on account of some vow 
wliiih they had made during sickness, or that the 
gods might send them a good husband, entered the 
monastery for one, two, tliree, or four years. They 
wcie called Cihuatlamacas<|ue, 'deaconesses,' orCihua- 
(|ua(iuilli, 'eaters of vegetables.' They were under 
the surveillance of a number of staid matrons of good 
iliaracter; upon entering tlie monastery eacli girl had 
her liair cut short. ^^ They all slept in one dormitory, 
and were not Jillowed to disrobe before retiring to rest, 
ill order that they miglit always be ready when tlie 
signal was given to rise. They occupied themselves 
witli the usual labors of their sex; weaving and em- 
l)roi(lering tlie tapestry and ornamental work for the 
tt'm])le. Tliree times during the night they rose to 
leiiew the incense in the braziers, at ten o'clock, at 
niiihiight, and at dawn.*" On these occasions a matron 
led the procession ; with eyes modestly bent upon the 
ground, and without daring to cast a glance to one 
side or the other, the maidens filed up one side of the 
temple, while the priests did the same on the other, 
so that all met before the altar. In returning to the 
dormitory the same order was observed. They spent 
j)art of the morning in preparing bread and confec- 
tionery, which tliey placed, while warm, in the tem- 
ple, where the priests partook of it after sacritice." 

'' riavijrcrn asserts that the hair of such only as entered the service on 
uci'oimt of some i)rivato vow, was cut. 

"< ('i;ivij{ero says that only a jiart of thcni rose upon oa<'h occasion. 
'S'iilzavano aicune due ore iiuirca innaii/.i ulla niezzanotle, altre alia niczza 
iMittc, cd aitre alio spuntar del ill per attiz/ar, e nianteiier vivo il fuoco, e 
Jut incciisare <j;ridoli.' Storia Ant. drl Mi'sftirn, toni. ii., j). 42. 

" 'Miles passaient une partie do la matinee fi preparer Ic jiain en fraletto 
ot Ics i)ati>seri('s (|u'elles prcsentaicnt, toutcs chaudes, dans le tcnijilc, oil 
K'.-< iiiitiL's allaicut Ics prendre ainlia I'oblatiou.' Brusscur dc Bourboimj, 



The younLf women, for their part, fuHtod strictly; tliey 
first broke their fast at noon, aiul with the exception 
of a scanty meal in the evening, this was all they ate 
duriniuf the twenty-four hours. On feast-days they 
were i)ermitted to taste meat, but at all other times 
their diet was extremely mea<»'re. While sweepini,' 
the temple they took «^reat care never to turn their 
back to the idol, lest the god should be insulted. 

If one of these young women unhapi)ily violated 
her vows of chastity she redoubled her fasting and 
severitv, in the fear that her flesh would rot, and in 
order to appease the gods and induce them to conceal 
lier crime, for death was the punishment inflicted on 
the Mexican vestal who was convicted of such a tres- 
j)ass. The maiden who entered the service of the 
gods ior a certain period only, and not for life, did not 
usually leave the monastery until she was about to be 
married. At that time the parents, having chosen a 
husl)a!id for the girl, and gotten everything in readi- 
ness, repaired to the monastery, taking care flrst to 
])rovi(le themselves with quails, copal, hollow canes 
flUed with perfume, which Torquemada says they 
called poiiuietl, a brasier for incense, and some flowers. 
The girl was then clothed in a new dress, and the 
party went up to the temple; the altar was covered 
with a cloth, upon which were placed the presents 
tliey had brought with them, accompanied by sundry 
d' .liCS of meats and pastry. A complimentary speecli 
was next made by the parents to the Tequaquilli, or 
chief priest of the temple, and when this was con- 
cluded tlie girl was taken away to her father's house. 
But of those young men and maidens who stayed in 
the temple-schools for a time only, and received a 
regular course of instruction at the hands of the 
priests, it is my intention to speak further when treat- 
ing of the education of the Mexican youth. The 

Hist. Naf. Ctv., torn, iii., p. 556. Clavigero says tliey prepared the offcr- 
in<^ of provisions wliicli was presented to tiie iclols: 'Tutte Ic niattine ])ra- 
paravaiio I'obblazioni di conimestibili da prcsentarsi agridoli.' Storia Ant. 
del Mcsnico, torn, ii., p. 42. 



oriL»iniil acroimts aro ratlier confuscil on tliis ])<)int, so 
that it is (lilKcult to separate witli an-uracy those wlio 
iMitered witli the intention of heeoniinjjf jiernuineiit 
priests tVoin tliose wlio were merely temporary sdiolars. 

The ordinary dress of tlie Mexican priests dillered 
little from tiiat of other citizens; the only distinctive 
feature beinsjf a black cotton mantle, which thev wore 
in the manner of a veil thrown back upon the head. 
Those, however, who professed a more austere life, 
such as the Quaquacjuiltin and Tlamacaz(|ui before 
mentioned, wore lonj^ black robes; many amon<i^ tiiem 
never cut their hair, but allowed it to ^row as lonjjf as 
it would; it was twisted with thick cotton cords, and 
bedaubed with unctuous matter, the whole f»)rminii^ a 
weiu^hty mass, as inconvenient to carry as it was dis- 
Lfustiuijf to look at. The lii«^h-})riest usually wore, as 
a badi^e of his rank, a kind of frinjj^e which hung 
down over his breast, called Xicolli; on feast-days he 
was clothed in a long robe, over which he wore a sort 
of cliasuble or cope, which varied in color, sliaj)e, and 
ornamentation, accordinjjf to the sacrifices he made and 
the divinitv to which he offered them."* 

Among the Miztecs and Zapotecs the priests had as 
much or even more influence than among tlie Mexi- 
cans. In briefly reviewing the sacerdotal system of 
these nations, let us once more take ISI. Brasseur de 
Bourbourg for our guide. 

Tlie kingdom of Tilantongo, which comprised u])per 
Miztecapan, was spiritually governed by tlie high- 
]»riest of Achiuhtla; he had the title of Taysacaa,^" 

'" Clavijjoro writes: 'L'iiisegna de' Soriimi Sacerdoti di Mt'ssico era iiii 
fidccii, () iiaiiiia di cotoiie peiidi'iite dal lU'tto, c urUv iVstc inincipali vcsti- 
vaiisi aliiti sfar/iisi, iie' cjuali vcdevaiisi ti;;urate le iiist';iiii! di mud Dio, la 
vm festa coKdiravaiio.' ,S(oria Ant. del Messiro, torn, ii., \>. IW. Tiic most 
iiiilioitaiit worlds that can lie consulted concernin;^ the Mexican ])riesth(io(i 
are: llntsiivur <',. Ilourhoiirff, Hist. A^at. Ch:, tiini. iii., jip. r)4!l-.">!t; fmni 
winch I liavc ))rinei|ially taken my account; TorqiiriiKK/a, Moiiarq. Intl., 
titin. ii., pp. I('i3-.'), 17">-91; Las dasns. Hist. A/w/offcfini. caps. exx.\iii., 
cxxxix., cxl.; .SV^/nm/Hw, Hist. Gen., toni. i., lib. ii., p;.. ll"2etse<i., 218- 
'2S, iil). iii., ]!]). 270-7; Humara, Conq. Mex., f o . 323-.'>; Acosta, Hist, dc lus 
Yiid., pp. 3;r)-42; Herrrrn, Hist. Gen., dec iii., lib. ii., cap. xv-xvii. ; 
Clurir/iro, Sliiria Ant. ilcl Mcs,<iiro, toni. ii., p. 3G et scq. 

1* This is the title giveu by the Spiiuish authors; it is probably derived 



aiul Ills power eniuillccl, if it did not Hurpass, tluit of 
the sovxTciufii. This ottico, it u|)pojirs, was icsciVL'd 
tor the royal family, and was transiiiitti-d from malt; 
to male; a momher of any froo family could, howuviT, 
Itccomo a sacaa, or simple priest. All, oven to tlit; 
suect'ssiM' of the Taysaeaa, had to submit to a vijji'or- 
ous noviciate of one year's duration, and to this rule 
no exce|>tions were made. Up to the time of com- 
mencin<if his noviciate, and for four years after it was 
ended, the candidate for the priesthood was supjtosctl 
to have led a perfectly chaste life, otherwise hu was 
judged unworthy to he admitted into the order. His 
only food durin<^ the year of probation was h< ihs, 
wild honey, and roasted maize; his life was passed in 
Hilence and retirement, and the monotony of his exist 
ence was only relieved by waitinj^ on the }>riests, tak- 
ing' care of the altars, sweeping,' the temple, and 
j;athering wood for the tires. 

When four years after his admission to the priest- 
hood had elapsed, durinjj^ which time he seems to have 
served a sort of ap[)renticeship, he was j)ermitted to 
marry if he saw tit, and at the same time to j)erforin 
his priestly functions. If he did not marry he entered 
one of the monasteries wliicli were dependent on tin; 
teniples, and while performin<»' his re<:fular tluties, in- 
creased the austerity of his life. Those priests who 
were entrusted with the hij,dier and more important 
ortices, such as the instruction of youth or a seat in 
tlio royal council, were selected from the latter class. 
The king, or the no ties, each in his own state, pro- 
vided for their wii is, and certain women, sworn to 
chastity, preparcJ. their food. They never left tlu; 
monastery except on special occasions, to assist at 
some feast, to play at ball in the court of their sov- 
ereiiii-n lord, to o<> on a pilf^rimage for the accomj)lisli- 
ment of Ji vow made by the king or by themselves, or 
to take their place at the head of the army, which, on 

from tatj, a nitin, ami finraa, a priest. Vocabiil. en laif/ua MUiern, r/r., 
ttccoidiiiy to Uranntur tie liourbounj, Uibt. Nat. Cic, torn, iii., p. 17, «i<Jtf- 



certain occasions, thoy connnanilecl. If one of tlioso 
monks fell sick, he was well caretl for in the monas- 
tery; if he died he was interred in the court of the 
huildin<,^ If one of them violated his vow of chastity, 
he was hastinadoed to death. 

In Zapotecapan the supreme pontiff was called the 
Wiyatao;'^ his residence was in the city of Yoj)aa,'''"i 
a;i(f there he was from time immemorial spiritual and 
temporal lord, thouji^h, indeed, he made his temporal 
power felt more or less throughout the whole king- 
dom; and he appears in the earliest history oi' this 
country as master and lord of both the princes and the 
people of those nations who acknowledged him as the 
supreme head of their religion. The origin of the 
city of Yopaa is not known ; it was situated on the 
sloj)e of Mount Teutitlan,** wliicli in this place formed 
ji valley, sliut in by overshadowing rocks, and watered 
by a stream which lower down Howed into the river 
Xalatlaco. The original inhabitants of this region 
were the disciples and followers of a mysterious, 
white-skinned personage named Wixipecocha. What 
race he belonged to, or from what land he came wlien 
lie presented himself to the Zapotecs, is not known ; 
a certain vague tradition relates that he came by sea 
IVom the south, bearing a cross in his hand, and de- 
l)arked in the neighborhood «jf Tehuantepec ; ^^ a 
statue representing him is still to be seen, t)n a high 
rock near the village of Magdalena. He is described 
as a man of a venerable aspect, having a bushy, 
white beard, dressed in a long robe and a cloak, and 
wearing a covering upon his head resembling a monk's 

'" Wiyatao, Bur^joa writes /n///V/^oo, nnd tr.nnslatt'h, '^reat watchman;' 
tilt' Za|)oti'u vocalmlary translates it hy the wmd jxipa, or priest. 

5' \(ti)aa, Ihiryoa also writes Lyohaa and \'i)l)iui; it sif^nifies the Phiee of 
Tonilis, from Vo, iilaee, or grouiul, and jhki, tonih, in the Zapotec tonj,'ue, 
'tlu! eentre of rest.' 

''^ Teutitlan was its name in the Nahnatl languaj;e. Its Zapoteean name 
Mas Xa([niya. 

'^ ]i(is(/os y senates de la jmmera predieneion en el Nuevo-Minirfo, 
Ms. ije l)on Isidro (iondra; Carriedo, Esludius his/dricos y f.<fadis/ir/ts 
(III Entndo (hi.rdquciio, Mrxieo, 1850, torn, i., cap. i.; quoted \i\ Brasseur 
df BuurOuiiri/, Hist. Nut. Cic, toiu. iii., p. 9. 
Vol. II. U 




cowl. The statue represents him seated in a pensive 
attitude, apparently occupied in hearinjj^ the conlessiun 
of a woman who kneels by his side.^* His voice, to 
accord with his appearance, must have been of remark- 
able sweetness. Wixipecocha taught his disciples to 
deny themselves the vanities of this world, to mortify 
the flesh with penance and fasting, and to abstain 
from all sensual pleasures. Adding example to pre- 
cept, he utterly abjured female society, and suffered 
no woman to approach him except in the act of auri- 
cular confession, which formed part of his doctrine 
This extraordinary conduct caused him to be nuich 
respected; especially as it was an unheard-of tliin;^^ 
among these people for a man to devote his life to 
celibacy. Nevertheless, he was frequently persecuted 
by those whose vices and superstitions he attacked. 
Passing through one province after another he at 
length arrived in the Zapotec valley, a large portion 
of which was at that time occupied by a lake named 
Hualo. Afterwards, being entered into the country 
of the Miztecs, to lc*bor for their conversion, the jieo- 
ple sought to take his life. Those who were sent to 
take him prisoner, overtook him at the foot of Cemjio- 
altepec, the most lofty peak in the country; but at 
the moment they thought to lay hands upon him, he 
disappeared suddenly from their sight, and soon after- 
wr-rds, adds the tradition, his figure was seen standing 
on the summit of the highest })eak of the mountain. 
Filled with astonishment, his persecutors hastened to 
scale the rocky height. When after grent labor they 
arrived at the point where they had seen the figure, 
Wixipecocha appeared to them again for a few in- 
stants, then as suddenly vanished, leaving no tnues 
of his j)resence save the imprints of his feet dee})ly 
impressed upon the rock where he had stood. '^ Since 

** Burcfoa, Geoff. Dcscrip., torn, ii., pt ii., cap. Ixxii. 

2-' Jid.sffdH y xcnalcs de la priinrra pralirucion en el Nuevo-Mun<i<i, 
MS. <Ie l)<tii iHich'o Gondra ; quoted in Bvasseur dc Buurbourg, Hist. 
.Nat. Civ., toni. iii., p. 10. 

^^ Burgoa, Geoff. Descrip., tora. ii., pt ii., cap. Ixxii. 



tlien we do not know that Wixipecoclia reappeared in 
the ordinary world, though tradition rehites that ho 
afterwards showed himself in the enchanted island of 
Monapostiac, near Tehuantepec, whither he probably 
went for the purpose of obtaining new proselytes. In 
spite of the silence which history maintains concern- 
ing the time of his advent and the disciples which he 
left behind him, there can be no doubt that the priests 
of Yopaa did not continue to promulgate his doctrines, 
or that the Wiyatao, the supreme pontift* in Zapoteca- 
})an, was not there as the vicar and successor of the 
j)ro})het of Monapostiac. Like the ancient Brahmans 
of Hindustan, the first disciples of Wixipecoclia cele- 
brated the rites of their religion in a deep cave, which 
M. de Bourbourg thinks was most probably hollowed 
out in the side of the mountain by the waters of the 
flood. This was afterwards used as a place of wor- 
ship by the Wiyataos, who, as the number of their 
proselytes increased, brought art to the aid of nature, 
and under the hands of able architects the cave of 
Yopaa was soon turned into a temple, having halls, 
galleries, and numerous apartments all cut in the 
solid rock. It was into the gloomy recesses of tliis 
teniplo that the priests descended on solemn feast- 
days to assist at those mysterious sacrifices which 
were sacred from the profane gaze of the vulgar, oi* 
to take part in the burial rites at the death of a king.'^ 
The classes of roligiou.s men wero as numerous and 
tlioir names and duties as varied aniong the Za})otecs 
as elsewhere. A certain order of pri«.;sts who made 
the inter})reting of dreams their ypecial province were 
called Colanii Cobee Pecala. Each form of divina- 
tion was made a special study. Some professed to 
foretell the future by the aid of stars, earth, wind, fire, 
or water; others, by the flight of birds, the entrails of 
-^ vi^-rificial victims, or by iiagic signs and circles. 
Among other divinities a species of ])arrofpiet, with 

*' Burgoa, (Jeog. Descrip., torn, ii., pt ii., lap. liii. 



flamiuf^ plumage, called the ara,''^ was worshiped in 
some districts. In this bird a god was incarnate, who 
was said to have descended from the sky like a meteor. 
There were among the Zapotecs hermits or fakirs, 
wno passed their entire lives in religious extasy and 
meditation, shut up in dark caves, or rude huts, witli 
IK) other companion but an ara, which they fed respect- 
fully upon a species of altar; in honor of the bird 
they lacerated their flesh and drew blood from their 
l)odies ; upon their knees they kissed it morning and 
evening, and offered it with their prayers sacrifices of 
fl!owers and copal. 

Priests of a lower order were styled Wiyana and 
Wizaechi, and the monks Copapitas. The inttueiKv; 
which they were supposed to have with the gods, and 
the care which they took to keep their nund^er c(jii- 
stantly recruited with scions of the most illustrious 
families, gained them great authority among the peo- 
j)le. No noble was so great but he would be honored 
by having a son in the temple. They added, also, to 
tlie credit of their profession by the strict prcjprietj' 
of their manners, and the excessive rigor with wliich 
tliey guarded their chastity. Parents who wished to 
consecrate one of their children to the service of the 
gods, lee" him, while still an infant, to the chief priest 
f the district, who after carefully catechizing the lit- 
tle one, delivered him over to the charge of the master 
of the novices. Besides the care of the sanctuary, 
which fell to their lot, these children were tauglit 
sijiging, the history of their country, and such sciences 
as were within their comprehension. 

These religious bodies were looked upon with mucli 
respect. Their members were taught to bear tlieni- 
selves properly at home and in the street, and to pre- 
serve a modest and humble demeanor. The least 
infraction of the rules was sevei jly punished; a glance 
or a sign wliich might be construed mto a carnal dc- 


^s So culled from the cry of ara, am, which it coiiatuntly repeata. 



slro, was punished as criminal, and those who showed 
by their actions a strong disposition to violate their 
vow of chastity were relentlessly castrated. 

Tlie Wiyanas were divided into several orders, but 
all were ruled in the most absolute manner by the 
pontiff of Yopaa. I have already spoken of the ven- 
eration in which this spiritual monarch was held, and 
of the manner in which he surmounted the difficulty 
of ] laving children to inherit the pontifical chair, when 
continence was strictly imposed upon him.™ 

The ordinary dress of the Zapotec priests was a full 
white robe, with openings to pass the arms through, 
but no sleeves; this was girt at the waist with a col- 
ored cord. During the ceremony of sacrifice, and on 
feast-days, the Wiyatao wore, over all, a kind t>f 
tunic, with full sleeves, adorned with tassels and em- 
broidered in various colors with representations of 
l)irds and animals. On his head he wore a mitre of 
feather-work, ornamented with a very rich crown of 
gold; his neck, arms, and wrists were laden with 
costly necklaces and bracelets; upon his feet were 
golden sandals, bound to his legs with cords of gold 
and bright-colored thread.* 

The Toltec sacerdotal system so closely resembled 
the Mexican already described that it needs no further 
description in this volume. Their priests wore a long 

2" See this vol., pp. 142-3. 

*" linrijiKi, ffi'oif. M'.vrr///., torn ii., cap. liii. Of the Miztec lu'^li-i)riost Tor- 
i|'ifi iMilv write ■ 'Se v-.'stia, para colobrar sus Fiestas, dc I'liiitilicai, dc csta 

iiiii" I. Unas luantas nuii variadas de ooiores, iiiatii,'adas, y piiitadas do 
nlj.fiirias acaet'idas a aljjii'ios de siis Dioses: ])oniase viias '.•oiiio Caiiiisas, it 
KiH^iH'tes, sill iuaii;^as (a difereiiria di; los .Mexicaims) ((tie ii('j.'al>aii mas 
aliijit lie la rodilla, y ci» las pieriias viias eoiiiit aiitiparas, ([iie le eiiliriaii la 
]i;iiiti>rrilla; y era esto easi eoiimii a todns los Saeenlotes Siimos, y ealeado, 
tM;i i(iie adiiniahau las Kstatuas de los Dioses; yen el liraeo izcpiierdo, vn 
iK'ihii'K de niaiita lalirada, a nianera de listoii, coino sneleii atarse al;;unos 
al Unieo, (piando salen ii Fiestas, d ('anas, eon viia liorla asida de ella, (jiie 
pareiia maiiipulo. Vestiaeneiiiia de todo vna ('a]»ii, eoiiio la iiiiestra de 
Cirn, eon vna liorla eol^ando a las espaldas, y vna ^raii Mitrii en la laliecu, 
lii'ilia de pliiinas verdes, eon ninelio artilieio, y toda seniWrada, y lalirada 
'le iiM mas )iriiieii)ales Dioses, <|ne tenian. (jnando bailahan, en otras oea- 
si'iues, y patios de los Teinplos ((pie era (d iiiodo onlinario de eaiilar siis, y reear sn Olieio) se vestian de ropa lilanea pintada, y vnas ropetas, 
C( HID eaniiso'as dc (ja'eote.' Mviiitrq. JiuL, toiii. li., p. 217. 



l)lack robe reaching" to the ground; their lieads were 
covered with a liood, and their hair fell down over their 
shoulders and was braided. They rarely put sandals 
on their feet, except when about to start on a loiv^ 
journey.'* Among- the Totonacs six great ecclesiastics 
were elected, one as high-priest, one next to him 
in rank, and so on with the other four. When 
the high-priest died, the second priest succeeded him. 
He was anointed and consecrated with great cere- 
mony; the unction used upon the occasion was a 
mixt'ue of a fliiid called in the Totonac tongue olc, 
and ; i " drawn at the circumcision of children.''^ 
There e jd also among these i)eople an order of 
monks devuted to their goddess Centeotl. They lived 
a very austere and retired life, and their character, 
according to the Totonac standard, was irreproachable. 
None but men above sixty years of age, who were 
widowers of virtuous life and estranged from the so- 
ciety of women, were admitted into this order. Their 
number was fixed, and when one of them died another 
was received in his stead. They were so much re- 
spected that they were not only consulted by the 
conunon jieople, but likewise by the great nobles and 
the high-}>riest. They listened to those who consulted 
them, sitting upon their heels, with their eyes fixed 
upon the ground, and their answers were received as 
oracles even by the kings of Mexico. They were em- 
ployed in making historical paintings, which they gave 
to the high-priest that he might exhibit them to the 
people. The common Totonac priests wore long black 
cotton robes with hoods; their hair was braided like 
the other common priests of Mexico, and anointid 
Avith the bloo*^' of human sacrifices, but those who 
served the goddess Centeotl were always dressed in 
the skins of foxes or coyotes.'^ At Izacapu, in !Mi- 


31 IxtlUxorhitl, Rclaeioncs, in KingsborougKs Mcx, Aiitiq., torn, ix., \\ 

■'2 Laa Ciisax, Ifisl. Afioloffr/irn, MS., cap. oxxxiii. 

33 Las Lams, Hist. Apolo<jiticH, MS., cap. cxxi.; Tonjucmaiht, Muiiuv'i. 



dioacan, there was a pontiff named Curinacancry, who 
was looked ui)on with such deep veneration that the 
kinuf himself visited him once a year to offer him the 
first-fruits of the season, which he did upon his knees, 
having first respectfully kissed his hand. The com- 
mon priests of Michoacan wore their hair loose and 
disheveled ; a leathern band encircled their foreheads ; 
their robes were white, embroidered with black, and 
in their hands they carried feather fans.^ In l*uebla 
they also wore white robes, with sleeves, and fringed 
on the edges.^ The papas, or sacrificing priests of 
Tlascala, allowed their hair to grow long and anointed 
it with the bijod of their victims.^" Much more mii>ht 
be written concerning the priests of these countries, 
but as it does not strictly come within the province of 
this volume, it is omitted liere.^ 

Iiid., torn, ii., p. 181; Clttvigfro, Storia Ant. del Messtco, torn, ii., p. 44; 
Jlirirni, Hist. Gen., dec. ii., lib. v., cap. xiv. 

31 Bi.iiumoiif, Urdu. Mcc.houcan, MS., i)p. 52-3; Hcrrera savs of the 
jtrii'st.s of Mcf'lioacaii, 'traliiau los cahellos lar;;os, y coroiia.s ahicrtas en la 
cabeya, coiiio Ids ile la Yfjlesia Catoliea, y gulriialdas de liuecos eolorados.' 
Hint. (Ifii., Dec. iii., lib. iii., caj). x. 

35 TorqnoiKufn, MoiKirq. Intl., torn, i., p. 438. 

^'' Cditiiifffo, Hint. Tlax., in Nouvellcs Annalcs des Voy., 1843, toni. 
xcviii., p. nil. 

37 Less important, or more modern, anthoiities that treat of the priv- 
ileged classes aniou}^ the Aztecs, are: I'iiiirntcl, Mem. svire la litiza Iii- 
t/iifc/Ki, pp. l()-2iJ; Carhiijul Espiiiosn, Hint. Mex., toin. i., pj). 4',t.")-r)()4; 
'''(/•//, C((rla,% pt i., pp. 114-15; Ctirbajid, Di-iciir-w, ])p. 108-14; C/uire.i, 
Ji'iji/)orf, in Tenifi iix-Com/inii.% Voi/., serie ii., toni. v., j)]*. 303-(>, 3;17; 
Hihntrtli'n ('oiiij. Mr.c, p. 3(J; Afoiif/liirr, RrsKiiif, pp. 14-19, 32 .">; J/xziirf, 
Kiirhcn-Gr.irhiehte, toni, ii., pp. .5()3-.5; Afoiitaiiii.i, Xiciii'r Wn-rrld, ])p. 
74, •J.S.l-G, 204-5; IFc.s< und Usl I)uli.ieh:r Liinfffurt, pt i., ]>p. 73-7, 98- 
100; Cortes, Aeetitiiras, pref., p. (5; Hard, Mrxiqiir, pp. 201-2; Klritim, 
('idtiir-Crfschiehte, torn, v., pp. 59-70, 88-98, 2m)-10; iSw/<«, Sjutiiier ia 
I'i'ru, toni. ii., pp. 12-13, 19; Chevalier, Mex, Ancien ct Mod., pp. IIG- 



Influexce of the Commoners — Oppression by Nobles— DnrmvED 
OF Office by Montezuma II.— Classes of Slaves — Penal Slaves 
- Voluntary Slavery— Slave Market at Azcapuzalco— Pun- 
ishment and Privileges of Slaves— Division of Lands— Crown 
Lands— Lands of the Nobles— Municipal Property— Property 
of the Temples— Tenure of Lands in Zapotecapan, Mizteca- 
pan, Michoacan, Tlascala, Cholula, and Huexotzinco— Simi- 
larity TO Feudal System of Europe — System of Taxation- 
Municipal Taxes — Lice Tribute — Tribute from Conquered 
Provinces— Revenue Officers— Injustice of Montezuma II. 

No writer seems to have thought it worth while to 
define the exact condition of the lower orders of free 
citizens among the Aztecs. In Mexico, under the 
earlier kings, they appear to have enjoyed considerable 
privileges. They were represented in the royal coun- 
cils, they held high offices at court and about the 
king's person, their wishes were consulted in all affairs 
of moment, and they were generally recognized as an 
important part of the community. Gradually, how- 
ever, their power lessened as that of the nobles 
increased, until, in the time of Montezuma 1 1., they 
were, as we have seen, deprived of all offices that were 
not absolutely menial, and driven from the j)alace. 
Still, there is no doubt that from the earliest times 
tlie plebeians were always much oppressed by the 
nobles, or that, as the Bishop of Santo Domingo, 





before quoted,* remarks, ''they were, and still are, so 
submissive that they allow themselves to be killed or 
sold into slavery without complaining-." Father Aeosta, 
also, writes that "so great is the authority which the 
caciques have assumed over their vassals that these 
latter dare not o[)en their lips to complain of any order 
giv^en them, no matter how difficult or disagreeaV)le it 
may be to fulfill ; indeed, they would rather die and 
perish than incur the wrath of their lord ; for this rea- 
son the nobles frequently abuse their power, and are 
often guilty of extortion, robbery, and violence towards 
their vassals."'' Caraargo tells us that the plebeians 
were content to work without pay for the nobles, if 
they could only insure their protection by so doing. ^ 
Of those who stood below the macehuales, as the 
plebeians were called, and lowest of all in the social 
scale, the slaves, we have more definite information. 
Slavery was enforced and recognized by law and usage 
throughout the entire country inhabited by the Nahua 
nations. There were in ancient Mexico three classes 
of slaves; namely, prisoners of war, persons con- 
demned for crime to lose their freedom, and those who 
sold themselves, or children sold by their parents. 
The captor of a prisoner of war had an undisputed 
right to doom his jirize to be sacrificed to the gods; 
this power he almost invariably exerted, and it was 
held a punishable crime for another to deprive him of 
it by rescuing the prisoner or setting him free.* Sa- 
liagun tells us that the captor could, if he chose, 
either sell or hold his prisoners as slaves; and if 
among them any man or woman showed unusual 
ability in music, embroidering, weaving, or other do- 
mestic occupation, he or she was fre({uently purchased 
by the king or some noble or wealthy man, and em- 

' Sec page 191 of this volume. 

2 Afosfa, De procuranda indorum salute; quoted in Puncntcl, Man. 
sobic III liazn Indtt/cnn, p. 81. 

^ ffist. Tlnx., m Noiivcllen Annnles des Voy., 1843, toni. xiix., p. l.W. 

* (.'/iii'iffrro, Sforiit Aiit. (hi 3fr.mco, torn, ii., ])p. 1.34-ti; Curies, Carta 
hied., iu icuzOulceta, Col. de Due., torn, i., p. 474. 



ployed 111 his liousc, and thus saved from the sacrifice." 
Tiie offences wliicli the Aztecs jmnished with shivery 
were tlie following: firstly, failure on the part of any 
relation of a person convicted of hij^h treason, to give 
timely information of the plot to the proper authori- 
ties, provided he or she had knowledge of it, the 
wives and children of the traitor being also enslaved; 
secondly, the unauthorized sale of a free man or 
woman or of a free child kidna})ped or found astray, 
the kidnapper fraudulently asserting such person to 
be a slave, or such child to be his own; thirdly, the 
sale or disposal, by a tenant or depositary, of another's 
property, without the permission of the owner or his 
representative, or of a proper legal authority; fourthly, 
hindering a collared slave from reaching the asylum 
of the sovereign's palace, provided it was the act of 
one who was not the owner or the owner's son ; fiftldy, 
stealing things of value, or being an inveterate thief; 
sixthly, stealing from a field a certain number of ears 
of corn or of useful plants, exception being made to 
this law when the act was committed by a child under 
ten years of age, or when the stolen property was 
paid for; sev^enthly, the impregnating, by a free man, 
of another's female slave, if the woman died during 
her pregnancy, or in consequence of it. This latter 
statement is contradicted by Torquemada, upon the 
strength of information given him, as he alleges, by 
Aztecs well acquainted with the laws of their country." 

5 lllst. Gen., torn, i., lib. 1., pp. 32-3; sec also, toin. ii., lib. vii., iip. 
253-9, lib. ix., jip. 353, 370. The Anouyinous Coiunieror agrees with .Siili.i- 
{;un: 'Tutti iiufi che si pigliauano iiella guerra, 6 eiaiio inagiati <la loro, o 
cniiio teuuti j»er seliiaiii.' Relatione fatta per vn (lentiVlmomo <lvl Siipmr 
Fernando Cortcsc, in Ilaniusio, Naiuffationi, toiii. lii., fol. 304. Motoliiiia, 
liowever, asserts that all prisoners of war were sacriliced: 'por one niiiji'uii 
esL'lavo se baoian en ellas, ni rescataban ningiino ile los que en las 
])reiuliiin, mas todos los guardavan para sacrifiear.' Carta al Jun/nnoldr 
Ctirlos v., Jan. 2, 1555, in Icazbnlccta, Vol. de. Dor,., torn, i., j). 272. (in- 
luaraalso confirms this with a grim joke: 'Los catiuos en guerra no siruiiui 
de csclanos, sino de sa<'riti('ados: v no hazian ntas de comer para ser coiiii- 
dos.' Conq. Mcx., fol. 320-1; see also fol. 30!). 

6 'Algnnos tiuisieron decir, que si vn libre tenia acceso h algniia Km- 
clava, ytinedaba prefiada de la co|tnla, era Esclavo el Varon que t'oiiictiJi 
ttcto con Esiclava, y servia ul JSeuyr de la Eacluva; pero eato uo fuc asi, 


canic the ,,ro,,erty «rhL ^.; •f™,'"'' ''»*'''«-■ 1«' 
"»"■"« that it >L «,sto„ IL , '^v T<"-<l"'--"ada 
l«yrno„t of his clain, to t " J ' i ' *" '""^ f"' 
""J tlioro was, but „o .nemCrfVr''',T '''-''*'''''. 'f 
v.a.s awarded tohi,„ to c«|,e d, T.^'l""''" ^'""'^y 
''''l'l«"«d that persons too ,«?. '^'''' " »ometi>ui 
^>-'V put up for 'sale, but U^is'nln '''"^ *'"^"' ^'"'<-'« 
<|uci-o,i provinces. Penal ^l.vj''; '"'''■"'•'■'-■'' "' «-n- 

sold to jirivate nertoi,., „ • ' ''"* were publiclv 
;vIh™ th'ey had i^jur^S'' Z T?"''^ ,*" *''« I™' - 
to he slaves, or tl/eir pin LTnTe ff '"'■'! ,<'fl"'"I'='-s lield 
eon.n.enced until they had t"? V ""?,''''''-«l to have 
tlie hew owner. ^ '*"'" fwmally delivered to 

fro^^iit:siIe;:ti::^btTc;e^ 'T"'"^^ "-"• 

l<y extreme poverty to ,1 ' 7 ^ ^""'' »'» wre driven 

^>'>"W not trist to «,en- own °' ""T **" ""•»'«"' wl"" 

S"".pste.s, oo obtain ZweSr'r f" -^ '^■^■'"'-''. 

•Ksion for saniblino.,. ai?d InZ ' '"'•"''^ ""''''• 

tor c asses were not oblted fa, ! '^'l ^ ''« '»" '"t- 
aftcrti,ee.Kpiratio„ofaySarf, ",^? in o serviee until 
tlie consideration for whM t ."S ",»««'' fooeivin!.' 

,. Slaves were contiUa v off ^/"J'' them.,elve.s. " 
'- ."arket-plaee of evify Wn t ft "' '''" I'"'- 
» »ve-mart in the Mexican „,nn"' "' *'"^ I"'"''!'"' 
lie town of AEcapuziko wh 1 '™'"". '" ''"^'•^ I'oen 
t"-" leagues from tie cUrofif •"'*' •'''""''-■<' "''""t 
»"-: of the ancient ca&,,fH"'"'i; " «""l'ied the 
«-l"<h was destroyed bv K L \t " ,^«P'"'ec kinifd „ 

™- Great nuSbe;7 rf l..^!t"''T'' ''' 'T-' 
A^eapu.aleo from all the prott:; St tlffi'th:: 



tlic merchants who traded in them had to adopt <Tfreat 
j)recaiiti(Mi.s to prevent tlieir property from huin<^ stolta 
or rescued on the journey. Witli a view to advan- 
ta<^eous sales the slaves thus exposed in the })ul)lic 
markets were kept well clothed and fed, and were 
forced to dance and look cheerful. 

Parents could pawn or sell a son as a slave, hut 
were allowed to take him hack on surrenderini^ another 
son to servo in his stead; on such occasions the mas- 
ter was wont to show his generosity by allowing an 
extra comj)ensation for the new servant. There was 
yet another kind of slavery, called by the Mexicans 
huehuetJatlacoUi, meaning 'ancient servitude.' When 
one or more families were entirely destitute and fam- 
ine-stricken, they sold a son to some noble, and bound 
themselves to always 'keep that slave alive,' that is 
to say, to supply another to fill his place if he died oi- 
became incapacitated. This obligation was binding 
u{)on each member of the families making the con- 
tract, but was null and void if the man who was 
actually serving died in his master's house, or if liis 
employer took from him anything that he had law- 
fully acquired; therefore, to prevent this forfeiture of 
ownership, the master neither took from his slave any- 
tliing but personal service, nor allowed him to dwell 
in his house. It frequently happened that as many 
as four or five fimiilies were bound in this manner to 
supply a noble and his heirs with a slave. But in 
1505 or 150(), a year of famine in the country, Neza- 
hualpilli of Tez'.'uco, foreseeing the evils tliat this sys- 
tem of perpetual contract would entail upon liis 
subjects if tlie scarcity of food continued long, repealed ' 
tlie law, and declared all families exempt from its ob- 
ligations; it is recorded that Montezuma II. soon 
after followed his example.^" 

Slavery in Mexico was, according to all accounts, 

'0 Torijurmmln, Mmiarq. Turf., toin. ii., pp. .'•04-5; Safinfjiiii, Hist. Gni., 
titiii. ii., lil>. viii., ]). S((3. Iirass(Mir do Hourlxmrg assortH timt tlicise I'oii- 
tiai'ts rt'iiiaiiii'd in fon'c down to the time of the Spanish concjuest. Hist. 
Nat. Cic, toiii. iii., p. GU. 



ii moderate . ulyection, consistin*^ merely of an oMij^^a- 
tioii to render personal service, nor could that 1)0 
(.xacted without alK)win«^ the slave a certain amount 
of time to labor for his own advantage. Slaves were 
Iviiully treated and were allowed far greater ])rivileges 
than any in the old world; they could marry and 
hiing up families, hold property, including other slaves 
to serve tliem, and their children were invariai)ly horn 
free. There is, however, some obscurity on this point, 
as Sahagun tells us that in the year Ce Tochtli, which 
came round every fifty-two years, there was generally 
a great famine in the land, and at that time many 
persons, driven to it by hunger, sold not only them- 
selves as slaves, but also their children and descend- 
ants tor countless generations." Very young or poor 
sliiNes lived at the home of their master, and were 
treated almost as members of the familv: the other 
slaves lived independently, either on their owner's 
laiid, or upon their own. It fre(piently haj)pened that 
a master succumbed to the charms of one of his female 
slaves and made her his wife, or that a comely bond- 
man found favor in the sight of his mistress, and 
liecame her lord; nor was this so strange as it may 
at lirst appear, there being no difterence of race or 
color to make such alliances repugnant t)r shameful. 
Feelings of affection and respect existed, as a rule, 
hetween master and servant. A slave who had served 
long and faithfully was often entrusted with the stew- 
ardsliip of his owner's household and property, and, 
on the other hand, if the master through misfortune 
sliould become poor, his bondmen would cheerfully 
lal)or for his support. No well-behaved slav -•( uld 

" 'V cuaiulo iicoiitecia ladiiha liainbre, cntonces sovcmlian por csclavo.s 
niiuluw ]>iil)res hoiiibres y imij^oros, y i-(iiii|iral>aiil<)s los ricos <iue tciiiaii 
imii'liiis provisioiies nlle<;a(las, y no solaiDeiite Ids diclios iioltrcs so vondiaii 
a si iiiisiuiis, siiio que tainbieii vcu<liaii il siis liijos, y a siis (Icsccinlifiitcs, y 
ii todo sii linajc, y asi eran esclavos iierpetuaiiieiiti', poniue docian <|iu' csta 
sorviduiubrc (juc se cobraba cii tal tieiiipo, no tenia reinedio para acabarso 
I'll al;,'iin tit'nipo, porquo siis padres se habian vendido jwr oscapar do la 
iiiiii'iic, 6 por libiar sii vida de hi liltiuiu necesidad.' Uist. Gcu., toni. ii., 
lib. vii., pp. U58-y. 



1)0 sold without liin consent unless his owner coiwd 
prove that poverty or debt made such sale uiiavoida- 
l)le ; nor could such faults as laziness, disobedience, or 
runninijf away, be punished without due warninj,^, 
which the master for his own justification usually ^ave 
in the presence of respectable witnesses. If after this 
had occurred two or three times the slave continued 
lefiactory, a wooden collar was placed on his neck, and 
then his nuisterwas authorized to transfer him a<j;' 
his will. Purchasers of a collared slave always in- 
(piired how many times he had been so disposed of 
before, and if alter two or three such sales ho 
continued hicorrigible, he could be sold for the sac- 
rifice. But even yet he has one chance left; if he 
can escape from his master's premises and gain tlio 
courtyard of the royal palace, he not only avoids 
l)unishment, but he is from that day forth a free 
man; moreover, no person, save his owner or his 
owner's sons, is allowed in any manner to prevent him 
fr<Hn reaching the asylum, under penalty of ig 
made tJie slave of him whom he attempts to u.^ -»o 
of his chance for freedom. 

The sale of a slave was conducted with much 
formality, and must be made in the presence of at 
least four respectable witnesses; in cases of self-sale 
the witnesses acted as conscientious arbitrators to 
secure the highest price and most favorable conditions 
for him who sold himself The usual price for an 
average slave was twenty mantles, equivalent to one 
load of cotton cloth; some were worth less, while 
others brought as many as forty mantles. 

Slavery among the Nahua nations appears, then, to 
liave boon only a partial deprivation of a freeman's 
rights. As a slave was permitted to possess property 
and even other slaves of his own, and as his children 
were born free and he had complete control of his own 
family, we can scarcely say he lost his citizenship, 
although it is true he was not eligible for public office. 
It was a common practice for a master during his 


lifi'tirnc, or on his (leath-lted, to cninnr ipnto liis sluvos, 
l)nt if no Hiich [)rovi.sion wuro made tluv went to tliu 
lioir.s witli tlio rest of tlie i)ro|ti.'rty. Miink-r of n 
slave, even I)y liis master, was a capital oH'ence. 

Yet in spite of all this testimony in favor of the 
mildness of slavery amon«^ the Nahua nations, tlu ve 
is still room for some reasonahle doubt concerninLr the 
j)atriar('hal eharaeter of the systeni; inasnnieh as wo 
arc told that many slaves, not mentioned as l>ein«^ 
jirisoncrs of war or criminals, as well as servants, 
dwarfs, or deformed persons, and })nr('hased children, 
were ])ut to death at religious feasts and royal 

The hands were divided hetween the crown, the 
iiohility, the various trihes or chins of the pe<)})le, and 
the temples. The division, howe\ 'r, was hy no means 
oiiual, hy far the greater portion being appropriated 

" ' Vfiidiiin nifios rcoion nacidos, y de dos afins, pnra niniitlir stis ]iri»- 
incsas, y ofrecer cii los tfin|il(iM, ooiiio iiosotros las caiiilolas, y Hacrilicarlos 
])ara ali-aiivar siis prottMirtimios,' Ilrnrni, Ilist. Ucn., dec. ii., lilt, vi., can. 
.\vi. ' I'onjue conio aiidal>aii todos los UciiioH, (."(in >iis merraiicias, trahiii do 
tndos cllos iniurhoH csi'lavos, lo.s tpiales, si no craii todos, a loinciios, los mas, 
sacrilicaliaii.' Turtfiiriii'iifti, Moiiurq. Iiiil., toiii. ii., p. 127-. 'I'onjiii' ca^i 
tddos los ([ue sacriticaban a los idolos eraii los (jiio prciidian on las j;iu'rra.H 

niiii pot|iiitos oraii los otros que saoriKcavau.' Motolinin, Ciir/ti itt Km- 

jirnti/iir Carlos V., Jan. "2, l.").").'), in Iruzba/ccfa, Col. <lr Dor., torn, i., pp. 
•-'(11, '272. 'Lnc>^o projionian iiii parlaniento A los esolavos, cnanos y corco- 
liudos, ilii'icndo: liijos niios, id li la bitena ventnracon vnestrosufior .Axayari* 
fi la otra vida. . . .Luof^o le ahrieron el pecho, tcniendolo sois o siett' saccr- 
(li)tes, y el mayoral Ic saoalia el corazon, y todo el dia y toda la noclieardia 
el fiicrpo del rey, con los cora/ones de los niiserahles esclal>os (pie moriau 
sin culpa.' Ti'zozmor, Crdnini Mrx., in Kiiir/shoroiKfli's Mr.r. Aiitiq., vid. 
ix., ]>p. ".to, 14'2. '.Saorilicando en sua honras dosciontos esilavos, y eieii 
csilavas.' Ixtlilxorhitl, Ilist. Chichi iiicca, in I<1., lip. -S2, 'J.")(>. H^uando 
moiia al;,'un principal, matavan juntaniente con 61 iin esclavo, y entcrra- 
Viiii con el para que le fucse ti servir.' Cmlrx Trllvridiiii-Hiiitinsis, in Id., 
Viil. v., p. 130. 'Avec lui, de jeuncs (illes, des esrlaves ct dcs l>ossiis.' 
Vnmiirr/o, Hint. Tlux., in Nouvdlcs Annuhs ilea Vol/., 1HH5, torn, xcviii., 
]). 202. 'Se queniaha junto con sus cuerpos y con los corazoues de los cau- 
tivos y e.sdavos que matal)an.' Leon »i Gama, Dos I'icilrns, p. .'{"); lir<(ssnir 
ilj'_ liiiitrhoiirg, Ilist. Nat. Civ., torn, lii., pp. 4.')3, 573-4; ]'i >/fi(i, Hist. Ant. 

M'J., toin. iii., pp. 6, 8; Pimcntcl, Man. sobrc la Razn Indiijcnti, p. fi.") 
Aiiionj; those who in later times have trcp.tcd of slavery amon<; the Nalun 


nations are the following: Montaniis, Nicnwe Weerdtl, p. 201; iJa/i/icr. Sciic, 
Wilt, p. 294; Cheralii'r, Mix., Ancien ct Mod.,\>. (S2; Ihissicnr, L'lJm/iire 
Mcx., pp. 1.55-6; Miillrr, A nu'riknnische Urnligionen, p. 541; Klcniin, Cut- 
tnr-drsf-hirhte, j)p. 69-70; Soclen, Spanier in Peru, tom. ii., pp. 14-15; Simon's 
Ten Tribal, p. 273. 



))y the kiiij:^ and tlie aristocrary." All landed prop- 
erty w;vs duly surveyed, and each estate was accurately 
marked out on maps, or paintinj»'s, kept on file by a 
competent officer in the district where they were sit- 
uated. The crown lands were painted in puri)le, 
those of the nobility in scarlet, and those of the cal- 
pnUis, or wards, in light yellow. Certain portions 
of the crown property called feepaiitlalli, or 'lands 
of the palace,' were granted to nobles of the rank of 
of Tecuhtli, who were called tccjjaiiponJKjiie or tec- 
paiitlaca, 'people of the palace.' They had the free 
use and enjoyment of such lands, and in return cer- 
tain services were expected of them. It was their 
duty to attend to the repairs and proper airangement 
of the royal residences, and to cultivate and keep in 
oivkr the royal gurdens, for all of which they had to 
l)rovide the necessary number of workmen; besides 
this they were obliged to wait on the king and accom- 
pany him whenever he appeared iii public. Althougli 
in consideration of these services t'te 'people of the 
j)alace' paid no rent, yet the eminent domain of their 
lands was vested in the sovereign. When one of them 
died his eldest son inherited his privileges, subject to 
the same oblioations, but if he chani^'ed his residence 
to another part of the country, or died without male 
issue, the usufruct was forfeited and tlie land reverted 
to the sovereign, who transferred it to another usufruc- 
tuary, or left the choice of one to tlie connnunity in 
whose district the property was situated." The jiro- 
liuce of other lands belonging to the crown was set 
apart for the support of the royal household, and for 
1 )enevolent purposes. 

In coiKiuered provinces, the habits ,ind customs and 
established form of government of the vanquished 
were usually res})ected. The sovereigns of Antlhuac 
retained the native princes in power, and allowed the 

'^ Toi'ibio and Olarfe, ill Tcrnaux-Compnus, Vo)/., werie i., toin. \., 
|). 40.5. 

'1 Toi'f/iiriiiinfn, Moiiorq. Iirf., toiii, ii., pp. 545-G; Clavi(jcro, S/oric 
Anl. del Mc^ako, toiu, ii.,. p. \i2. 






people to keep their property; but they iuvtirialjly 
set apart a certain })art of the territory, pro[)orti()ned 
U> the coiKjuest, vv^liich became the propert}' of the 
cu.Kjuerini^ monarch. Tliese hinds, called i/iiot/d/ll, 
which means 'war lands,' were cultivated by the con- 
(jiiercd pec )] tie for the benefit of their con<|Ueror. If 
tlicy belong'ed to Mexico their name was mcrica- . 
flal/i; if to Acolhuacan, acolhua-tlalli, and so on." 

The lands of the nobility wei'e called jtUJalli, and 
were either ancient possessions of the nobles trans- 
mitted by inheritance from father to son, or were 
rewards of valor granted by the king. They \vere 
held hy various tenures; some of them could he aHen- 
ated at the will of the owner, sul)ject only to the 
restriction that they should not pass into the hands of 
a [>leheian; others were entailed u])on the tildest male 
issue and could not be otherwise disposed of. ^lany 
of the Aztec estates were of very ancient origin. 
After the Cliichimecs obtained undisputed j)ossessiou 
of the valley of Mexico, their chief or sovereign 
Xolotl made grants of land to his own people, and to 
othci's who acknowledged him as their supreme lordj 
under the coiidition that the grantees should render 
service to the crown with their ])ersons, vassals, and 
estates, whenever lie should require it of them, and 
tlie same j)olii-y was adopted by his successors.'" Sons 
y'l'iu'ially inherited their father's estates by right of 
jtrimogeniture, but if the eldest son was judgc;d inca- 
nahle t)f taking pro})er care of the pro])erty, the lather 
left it to whichever son he j)leased, stipulating, how- 
ever, that the heir should insure a competency to him 
lie had suj)planted." In the republic of Tlascala 

^'' Ziirtld, Riipport, in Tcrnaux-Cnnijuiii.t, J'ni/., st'rio ii., toiu. i.. ]>. (iT; 
Ih'iissi HI (If Hintrhtiiirij, llisf. Xitt. ''ir., torn, iii., p. (iUlt; Ciir'j.ijii/, /'/.s- 
'■'irsii. |i, (11; Tizozomur, Cr6ni':a Mr.i'., in Kiitijshuruinjh's Mi\i:. Aiili'j., 
I'lm. ix., jt. 4(». 

''' Hii/iiriiii, hii'd, p. 1(5'); Ix'lihnriilii, Hisi. Cliirli., ill I\'iiii/.s/iiiriiiiii!i'.'i 
M'r. Aiili/., vol. ix.. i)p. l>(tS, •_M(;, '2_M-."), iMl; Id., Ilrliiri„i'i>s, ill /./., 

Pp. :i:{;t w, .'Uii, '.\y,\, ;{S(i-7, ;w."), 4.")i, ^y.\\ il'miin // Stu-miinhi. Sn-nnhi, 

NJS., |i|i. ."»I-2; I'fiffiit, Jl/'s/. Ant. MiJ., toiil. iii., \). I8;t; Vihtnn-rt, 
T'lt/rii. Mr.i., |it ii., pp. J3-14. 

1' llcrn'ia, /f/.sf. Lien., due. ii., lib. vi., cap. xvii., suv,i i'lat brutlicra 
Vol. a. 15 



(laughters could not inherit an estate, the ohject heiriL: 
to j)revent landed property from going into tlie hands 
of strangers. In the kingdoms of Mexico, Tezcuco, 
and Tlacopan it is prohable that the law was the same 
in this respect, hut the authorities give us no informa- 
tion concerning the matter. ^^ These feudatories jiaid 
no rent for their lands, but were hound to assist tlieii- 
suzerain, the king, with their persons, vassals, and 
fortunes in all cases of foreign or civil war, Eacli 
king, on his accession, confirmed the investitu -e of 
estates derived from the crown.*" The lands o;' tin- 
people were called calpnUi, and every city was divided 
into as many of these as there were wards in it, and 
the whole number of calpulli being collectively named 
alfcpaflafU. The calpulli, as well as the tl<(.vic(i//i, or 
streets, were all measured out and their boundaries 
marked, so that the ihhal)itants of one ward or stieet 
could not invade the possessions of another. Eacli of 
these divisions beU)nged to its respective comnumity, 
and was of greater or less extent and importance 
according to the partition whicli had been made by the 
first settlers in Anahuac. The owners of a calpulli 
were all mend)ers of the same clan or tribe, and their 
district bore their name. The right of tenure Mas 
])erpetual and inalienable, .and was the common prop- 
erty of the conmiunity .and not of individuals. Any 
member of the community not ]K)ssessed of any land, 
had the right to ask for a portion suitable to his ]>osi- 
tion and requirements, which was granted him. This 
portion he was entitled to hold as long as he culti- 
vated and improved it, and he could transmit it to his 

itiliiM-iti'il estates and not sous; but this assertion is not lionie nut liy 
any other autiiority. 

'■■' Tiiri/iii'mHi/i(, Miniimi. Iii<(., toni. ii., p. 348; t'l(iri;/(ro, S/oriii Aiil. 
dvl Missico, toni. ii., p. V2\\. 

'■' i'linilcid, Lcf/ir, in T<'nifni.r-('oiii/>ivis, Voi/., serie i., toin. x., p]'. -">-• 
4; Ciir/v.i, Vartiix, p. (IS; l\'iff, l,i//rr, in Trrtun.. ''iiin/nnin, I'c//., si'iic 
ii., tinu. v., p. '287; L'arhdjnl, lUsmrno, p. (i.S; (h-iiiln, Hist. Ilni., tiiiii. 
Hi., p. 5;}."); 'lorqiirniiiilii, Mmiiiri. Iiitf., toni. i., p. •2'A\; Znrilit, J,''i/i/ii,rl, 
in j'rni(ni.i'-<'i)iii/)(iii.i, !'«//., serie ii.. toni. i., ](p. 4S-<t, (1."); I'Iih-kiich, 
Stnria. Ant. dd .l/c.v.v/Vo, toni. ii., j)p. l±2-4; Guiiiiiid, Cuii'j. Mr.i:, fol. ;i(M; 
Vduiiccrt, Tcatro, Mcx., pt ii., pp. 53-4. 





'0 ot" 
- tin- 
, and 
(///, or 

A\c\\ oi' 



\)y tlu' 

\ tlioir 


,- land, 
lis p»)si- 
i cuUi- 
to bis 

[(. out ^'y 

[iric '!"'• 

.. rv' -^-• 
I'..'/., S>'1'1^' 


heirs; he had no autliority to sell his portion, but lie 

could let it to another for a nundier of years. If he 

nu^'leeted to cultivate it for two years the head niati 

of the ealpulli remonstrated with liim; if he })aid no 

lieed to this warnin'jf he was ousted the followiuLif year 

in favor of some otlier j)erson; a reasonable excuse for 

such nei^lect was, however, always acce})ted. If thi; 

land assigned to anyone i)roved unfruitful and liarren, 

he was at liberty to al)andon it and another portion 

was granted him. Under no })retext whatever could 

any ])erson settle upon the land lawfully occupied by 

another, nor could the authorities of the ealpulli dc- 

])rive the latter of his right. If a land-owner died 

without heirs, his portion was considered vacant and 

assigned to the first applicant for it. If a ealpulli was 

in great need the authorities were allowed to lease its 

lands, but under no circumstances were the inhabitants 

permitted to work on the lands of another district. The 

elders of the tribe formed the council of the cal}>ulli; 

this body elected a principal, called vdlpuUcc, whose 

dutv is was to watch over the hiterests of the com- 

numity; he acted only with the advice and consent of 

the council. Each city set apart a piece of land in 

the suburbs wherefrom to sup})ly the needs of th ; 

army in time of war. These portions were called 

inilcliiimtlli, or cacalomilli, according to the kind 

of grain they j)roduced, and were cultivated jointly 

i»y all the calpullis. It was not unusual for the kings 

to make a life-grant of a portion of the ])eople's i»roj>- 

erty to svniie favorite noble, for though there is no 

doubt that the ealpulli lands of I'iglit belonged to the 

people, yet in this respect as in othei's, the kings were 

wt)nt to usurp a power not their own.'" Every tem- 

5" To nVst. pas qn'ils oiisscnt ros torrrs on propro; car, ocinitiio los 
s('i;,'iiours oxorvaii'iit 111! pitiiviiir tyramiiiiiio, ils (lis|M>siiiont ilos terrain-* »r 
ill's \;is iiix siiivaiit lour lion plaisir. Los indioiis n'ctaiont done, |)rip|ii(- 
iMi'iit (lit. iii propriotairos ni niaitros do oos villaj;os; ils n'otaioiit i|uc Ion 
laliiiiirours (111 Jos aiiKidiateiirs dos soi).'iiours lorriors, do telle fa<,'iiii (pie I'mi 
piiiiriait dire (pi(' tmit le lorritdiro, suit des plaiiies. suit dcs iiiiintaunos. di''- 
lii'iiiiait (ill caprice des sei^tiiours et (pTil lour aiiparteiiait. piiisiprils y 
ixi T' aient uii pousoir tyrauiii(|ue, et (pic les Imlieiis visaieiU an jour lo 



pie, groat and insignificant, had its own lands and 
country estates, tlie produce of which was appHed to 
the support of the priests and of puhhc worship; tlio 
tenants wiio occupied tliesc lands were looked upon as 
vassals of the tenijjles. The chief ])riests, who, on 
the temple lands, exercised a jMnver similar to that of 
the royal governors, fretpiently visited these estates 
to inspect their condition and to administer justice to 
their tenants. Tiie temple of Huitzilopochtli was 
considered the wealthiest in Mexico. Torqueniada 
says that in Tezcuco fifteen large cities furnished the 
temples of that kingdom with wood, provisions, and 
other necessaries.^* Clavigero makes the number (jf 
towns twenty-nine.'^ 

Throughout Zapotecapan and Miztecapan landed 
pro[)erty was invariably transmitted from male to 
male, females being excluded from the succession. No 
one had the right to sell his land in per})etuity; tlie 
law forbade its transfer out of a family either by mai- 
riage or otherwise; and if a ])ro|)rietor was com])el]etl 
by tlie force of necessity to dispose of his real estate, 
it returned after the lapse of some years to his sou 
or his nearest relative, who paid to the holder tlie 
consideration for whicli it had been pledged or its 
equivalent.^^ In IVtiztecapan the first-born son, before 
taking possession of his inheritance, had to do pen- 
ance for a year; he was confined in a religious house, 
clothed in rags, daubed with India-rubber juice, and 

jiiiir; los soi}];neiirR partappaiit cntrc oiix tons Iciirs ])ro(luits.' Siinrnirn>i, Df 
rtfn/m/r Siirir.ssioii, in 'J'iriiin(jr-('i)jiij)iiii.i, Vo/f., Kcric i., toiii. x., pii. '_*'JI .">; 
Ziiriht, Jid/tjiorf, in /</., sc'rie ii., toni. i., ](]>. r>l-7; Fiiciilrtd, Lithr, in 
/'/., toni. v., p. 'J'Jl; lir't.i.siiir (Ic, liitiirhintrii. Hint. Nut. Cn\, toni iii., \i\'. 
(il)S-7; Carliiijdf Esniiii>s(t, Ifisf. Mc.r., t(»ni. i., j). .')!)(); Vunc(/(i(lrs Cii\. 
tiini. i., ])]). ir)S-lt; I'ininitrl, Mnti. nobrc la Ituui Iiidiijctni, [ip. 35-0; lius- 
airi'ir, l/Liii/iiir .M<\r., ])p. 15;} 5. 

2' Motion/. IikL, toni. ii., p. 1(14. 

2'' Cl<irii/ero, S/nrin Ant. ilii Mi:im'ro, titni. ii., ]). .%. Sec fiirtlier: /."••>' 
<V/.sv/.v, A/tii/iiifctirii, MS., ca]). 141; lini.^.'<r/ir (/>• lUiiirlKiiivij, Ills'. 

Nut. Civ., t(»in. iii., pp. 558-'.t; Curliajdl,, y.'M'i; Soiliii, SjniHii r 

I, Hist. J[rx., p. 4.'J; C/nrulicr, Mi'x. Aiifiin 
et Moil., pp. II 7-1 S. 

»■/ /'»'/'«, torn, ii., p i;{; IHIIuti, 

*■' llurifiKi, (lioff. Drurrip., toin. i., jit ii., fol. 188; llrnascur dc Ikmr- 
boiirij, Iltxt. Nat. Vii\, ton». iii., pp. 3'J 40. 



IS sou 
)Y its 
•e, and 

Lltn; ill 
I iii., I'i'- 

Mi; /.'"•-- 

hcv. /."•< 
|,,,, Ills!. 
I S/iinici' 

liis fiico and body rubbed with fetid lierbs; durini^ that 
time he had to draw blood repeatedly iroiii his body 
and limbs, and was subjected to hard labor and pri- 
vation. At the expiration of the year he was washed 
with odorous water by four j^irls, and then conducted 
by friends to his house with great pomp and fes- 

Early writers say nothing about the tenure of lands 
among the Tarascos of Michoacan, but merely state 
in general terms that the sovereign's power over the 
lives and property of his subjects was unlimited.^ 

The tenure of lands in the republic of Tlascala 
had its origin in the division made at the time when 
the country was first settled; which was as follows: 
Any Tecuhtli who established an entail, called tecca/li, 
or pilcaUi, took for his own use the best and largest 
part of the lands that fell to his lot or were awarded 
to him in the partition, including woods, springs, 
rivers, and lakes; of the remainder a fair division was 
made among his servitors and vassals, or, in other 
words, his soldiers, friends, and kinsmen. All were 
bound to keep the manor-house in repair and to sup- 
ply their lord with game, flowers, and other comforts, 
and he in his turn, was expected to entertain, protect, 
and feed them in his house. To these kinsmen, 
friends, and servitors, was given the name of tc'ix- 
hni/utaii, meaniuij the *i>Tand-children of the manor- 
house.' In this manner all the nobles divided their 
land. All were greatly respected by their vassals. 
They derived their income from the taxes that their 
tenants paid them out of what they obtained from 
the chase, from the soil, and by raising domestic ani- 

No information has reached us respecting the pro- 
visions under which land was held in Cholula and 

2< Claviffcro, Slorin Aut. del MciHiro, torn, ii., p. 54; Klcinm, Cullur- 
(, toin. v., ])[). JKVO. 

>!' Ikiininont, <'i-(i,i . Mrrhofimn, MS. n. H2. 

*> ('(iniarifo, Hist. TIkx., "l A'oiircllt.i Aiuicdr.; (fr.f Vaii., 1843, toilJ. 
xcviii., p. 170;, Monarq. IniL, torn, i., pp. 270-7. 



Huoxotzinco, or among the Totonaes. Tn tlio proviiieo 
of Ptinuco, the eldest sou was tlie sole inheritor (»f 
land and, therefore, the only one that paid tribute; tlie 
otlier sons had to rent land i'roui those who were in 
])ossession of it.'^' 

There can he no doubt that in all this there is, as 
so many writers have observed, a strong- resend)lan(e 
to the feudal systems of Europe. The obligation of 
military service, and other relations of lord and vas- 
sal smack strongly of the institutions of the Middle 
Ages, but, as Mr Prescott says, the minor })oints 
of resemblance "fall far short of that harmonious 
system of reciprocal service and protection, which 
embraced, in nice gradation, every order of a feudal 
monarchy. The ]<i' gdoms of Anahuac were, in their 
nature, despotic, attended, indeed, with inany mitigat- 
ing circumstances, unknown to the despotisms of the 
East; but it is chimerical to look for nuicli in com- 
mon — beyond a few accidental forms and ceremonies - 
with those aristocratic institutions of the IVIiddle 
Ages, which made the court of every petty baron the 
precise image in miniature of that of his sovereign." 
I have no inclination to draw analogies, believing 
them, at least in a work of this kind, to be futile; and 
were I disposed to do so, s})ace would not permit it. 
Natiims in their infancy are almost as much alike as 
an? human beings in their earlier years, and in study- 
ing these people I am struck at every turn by the 
similarity l)etween certain of their customs and insti- 
tutions and tliose of other nations; c()m})aris()ns migiit 
be happily drawn between the division of lands in 
Anilhuac and that made by Lyc^urgus and Numa in 
jjaconia and Home, or between the relations of Aztec 
?iiaster and slave and those of Koman patron and 
(rhent, for the former were nearly as mild as the latter; 
but the list of such comparisons would never be com- 
plete, and I am fain to leave them to the reader. 

'" H'tt(, Lvttic, in Tcrnaujc-Cuinpaim, Voy., stirio ii., toiii. v., j). "289. 




Tlio po()|)lo of Aniiliuac and of the isurroundin«»- 
coiiiitrics paid taxes to the crown and to the teni- 
|(les, either with personal service or with the produtr- 
tions or results of their labor; in short, with every- 
thinu" useful. We have seen that in the kinyrdoni of 
Tezi lU'o twenty-nnie cities were appointed to pro- 
vide the kind's household with everything requisite of 
food, furniture, and so forth, and were, consequently, 
exempt from all other taxes. Fourteen of these cities 
served in this manner duriuijf one half of the year, and 
tifteen durinu;' the other half They likewise furnished 
the workingmen and laborers, such as water-carriers, 
s\vee})ers, tillers of the palace lands, and gardeners. 
l)oys who were too young to do men's work were re- 
(|Mired to provide amuially four hundred armfuls of 
wood ibr the fires which were kept up day and night in 
the principal rooms of the ])alace. The young men of 
loHantzinco, either themselves or through their ser- 
vants supplied fine rushes for mats, stools, or seats, 
culled icpalli, pine-wood splinters for lighting tires, 
other wood for torches, acmji'tl, or {)ipes with tobacco, 
various kinds of dyes, litpiid and)er both in cakes an<l 
in vessels, copal incense in their golden cylinders, and 
a large (piantity of other articles, which it is lumeces- 
siuy to sitecify.-" jNIanufacturers paid theii" taxes with 
the ol>jects })roduced by their industry. Journeymen 
mechanics, such as car})enters, masons, workers in 
feathers and j)recious metals, and nmsicians, were, 
acconling to ()viedo, exempt from such tax, and in 
lieu tliereof rendered i)ersonal service to the sovereign 
without remuneration.-^ Merchants ]>aid their taxes 
with siu'h articles as they traded in. Tiie last class of 
tribute-})ayers were the thoiiaitl, tenants attached to a 
nobleman's land, who tilled ^he same for tiieir own 
l>enefit. Thoy were obliged to do a ci-rtain amount of 
work every year for the landlord, and to render mili- 

'^'^ I.vtlil.ritrhitl, Hist. C/iir/i., ill KinifsfioroiKjh'n Mix. Antiq., vol. ix., p. 
'" Hint. Urn., torn, iii., pp. 535, 305-6. 



tary service when it was required of them hy the 
soverciL*'!!. Brasseur says tliat tliese tenants paid im 
tribute to the kinuc, ^*^*t, his statement is contradicted 
hy Clavii^'ero.*' Taxes paid in fruit and ijcrain were 
collected innnediately alter harvest; »)ther tributes 
were collected at ditl'erent times throu<di the year. In 
each town there was a magazine for storiusj;' the rev- 
enues, from which supplies were drawn as recpiiretl. 
In the vicinity of Mexico it was customary to convey 
the aji'ricultural produce into the capital, in order tliat 
the inhabitants, who, being surrounded with the waters 
of the lake, had no laud of their own to cultivate, 
mii^ht be regularly su})})lied with food. Thei'e was no 
uniform system of collectin<jf taxes from the merchants 
and manufacturers. Payments were made by them in 
accordance wdth their circumstances and the nature of 
the articles they contributed. There were about three 
Innidred and seventy tributary towns in the iVIexican 
emj)ire, some of whicli paid their taxes every twenty 
days, and some every four days, while others only did 
so once in six months, or even only once a year. Tlie 
people of Tlatelulco, says Purchas,"^ " were charged foi' 
tribute, alwayes to repaire the Church called Huizna- 
luiac. Item, fortie great Baskets (of the bignesse of 
half a Bushell) of cacao ground, with the Meale of 
Maiz (which they called C/n'anpiitoli,) and euery Bas- 
ket had sixteene hundred Almonds of Cacao. Item, 
other fortie Baskets of Chianpinoli. Item, eight hun 
dred burthens of great Mantels. Item, eightie pieces 
of Armour, of slight Feathers, and as many Targets 
of the same Feathers, of the deuices & colours as 
they are jjictured. All the which tribute, except the 
said armes and targets they gaue euery 24. daycs 
and tlie said armes and targets they gaue for tribute 


30 'No i Viisalli do' Feudatari crano cscnti <la' trilmti, clie pa^avano iil 
Re <,'li altri Vassalli della Corona.' Clavirjcro, Sforia Aiil. ilcl Mcssico, toin. 
ii., iM lJ.'-7. 

3' His Pllqrimcn, vol. iv., p. lOSO. 

3* III the L'odrx Mciidozn, in Kiii(fshorou;ffi\s Mcx. Antiq., vol. v., p. 54, 
we read tliat it was paid every eigiity days. 


'•!'t onco in the whole veero TJ • , ^ 

^"•^.''S^inn.n. si^ee tiio time of On' m'^ ^'"'''"^^^ ''^"' 
•l""'„.x, whicli were Lord" <> ' T^ I" '^''"^'''"^ ^""' ^^f- 
f ^^foxieo, wind, h'rst onfovll ^'' •''^'*'- ^'''^^ ^-nls 
^" P'-'y tribute, and to Smv,. T "^ '''''• ^ilu loo, 

^^•"l<s or individuals did not ,,^"T '■'""'" ''^^'''^''''^''ts' 
;-^l^-'i;n- .•i.sse.s.ment orVjttj''^ ^^T' ^''^''^ ^^^ tho 

;-t ^'"I - --ordin; to Wo" nnn "'"''' ^''^'^^ ^'^'-'' 
t^'t" reveiu.e officers ^ '"^'^».i,'-enient nmdo with 

»l-"a t,y „f the province ,, J ,""■ '""■^ '"^ «"'o « 
tlw I'ai-lfic cast n.,irl ■•'""'"*''«■ t'Hvns on 

t"<. n„,<|,.„,l ,,^„,., ,. ,"'J. '''J '" V''-« "f .livc-s col,,,-., 

1';;m. Atla..uo,.l,al,ua„„, h! -,? ''""""• ^-'^'^ola- 

iill';l with n-oid' ciiist t:^ ; '^^■**'''-' "' •■* Nxu'l sizo 

;"^'"'.«.p.-.n, Mich, « anSi .!r,' ""^"'^'■•"'' ^'" «" 
^f-xi.-", .c.,i,los cotton "a^c t '''■'■" "" ,"''' '<"l'' <"■ 

;,"?""« qualities and c^' ' "'''"'.f ^' '"'""^^'» "•' 
«^l"''l. were of the finest 0^1^ J'if "^■•'"; '"•' "'' 
"";ii<-^r .le»cn,,tion, twentv e^r , ■ ,"'"' "' "'« «""- 

""';''■'■■'' lH>t» of liouid ;,!.i, ''" ' '•y*'-'' <'"K on,. 

"'■■"■'■•■'I"", Acatzinco and oE', ' *^"*-^;:''"l"'-. 'J'"oa- 
' """"ly. eacli contril, ,t : f '"*'"" "' "'"* '■•■■"ion 



aromatic suhstaneoH. Mallnaltopcc, TlalcozaulitltUui, 
< )linallaM, Jchcatlaii, Qualac, and other southorii towns 
situated in the warm region, paid each six huiidnMl 
measures of lioney, forty hirs^e jars of yellow oelui' 
for })aint, one hundred and sixty copj)er shields, foity 
lound ])lates of gold of fixed dimensions, ten small 
measures of tine tunjuoises, and one load of smalh;)- 
tunpioises. Quauhnahuac, Panchimalco, Atlaeholo- 
ayan, Xiuhtepec, Huitzilae, and other towns of tin; 
Tlahuicas, paid each sixteen thousand lari^e leaves 
of i)aper, and four thousand xiailll, or gourds, of dif- 
ferent sizes. Quauhtitlan, Tehuilloyoean, and other 
iieiuflihoriniif towns, each j^'ave eiLflit thousand mats 
and eight thousand ici>al/i, or stools. Some cities ]).ii(l 
their taxes with tire- wood, stone, and beams for build 
ing; others with (;opal-gum; others sent to the royal 
houses and forests a certain number of birds and 
animals, such as Xilotepec, Michmaloyan, and other 
cities of the Otonn's, which were each compelled to 
furnish yearly forty live eagles to the king. After 
the j\[atlaltzincas were made subject to the INIexicaii 
crown by King Axayacatl, they were required not onlv 
to pay a heavy tax in kind, but also to keep untler 
cultivation a tield of seven hundred toes<^s^^''^ by three 
hundred and fifty, for the benefit of the army. As 
the Saxon king imposed a tax of wolves' heads u])()ii 
his subjects for the jmrpose of ridding his kingdom of 
those ravenous animals, so did the Mexican monarclis 
exact from those who were too poor to pay the regulai' 
taxes a certain quantity of snakes, scorpions, centi- 
j>edes and other obnoxious creatures. Lice, especially, 
were contributed in large nund)ers in Mexico.^ It is 
related that soon after Cortes arrived in the city of 
jVIexico, certain cavjiliers of his force, among whom 

^' Tlio toesa is the same tliin>;f as the Freiiih toise, which is 0.3915 Vavj,- 
lish feet, or seven ("astilian feet. 

^^ Trzozonioc, Cronicu Mr.r., in Kui<<ih''n Mrx. Anfiq., toiii. i\., 
I>p. 17-18; Torque mai/n, Monarq. Ind., toni. i., ]». 'IWv, Vlariijcro, Stori'i 
Ant. del Mcssico, toni. i., p. "275; Zikizo, Ciirld, in Icazbaketa, Vol. (A' 
Doc, torn, i., p. 366; Cortts, Hist. X. Efijitnlo, p. 173. 



:, onlv 

lUuU r 

til ret; 



om of 

It Is 

•ity ot" 


om. IN.. 

V, Stori'i 
Col. <!'• 

welt' Alonso do Ojeda .aiul Aloiiso do Muta, wci'O 
roainiii;.;' tlir()u<:;li tlio royal palaco, admiriuu^ its yivat 
cxtoMt and all its woiidors, doiilitloss with uii oyo 
t ) |>liuidi'r, whon thoy caiiio across hoiuo hai,^s, tillod 
with soiuo soft, Hno, and woi^rhty matorial; novor 
douhtiiii'' hut that it must ho valuahlo, thoy hastonod 
t.i initio tho mouth of orio of tho sacks, wliou to thoir 
disgust and disa})poiiitmont thoy found its ooiitoiits to 
consist of nothiuLf hut lioo, which, as thov aftorwards 
iistcrtaiuod, had hoon paid as trihuto hy tho poor.''"'* 
Dutios were loviod upon })ro[)erty, manufacturos, and 
Mitirlos ox})osod for sale in tho markot-j)lacos, in ])ro- 
pnrtion to tho wealth of tho person ta.voil or tho value 
of the mercliandizo sold. J^roduce and merchandize 
of every description, carried into tho city of Mexico, 
was suhject to toll duties, which wore paid into the 
roval treasurv. 

The proj)orti()n in which taxes were paid is stated 
at from thirty to thirty-thi'oo per cent., or ahout one 
third of everytliin_<»" made and |)roduced. ( )viedo alhrnis 
that each taxpayer, in addition to one third of his 
property, delivered one out of every three of his chil- 
dren, or in lieu thereof a slave, for tho sacritico; if he 
liiilcil to do this ho forfeited his own life.'"' 

riie <>overnmont had in the head town of each 
j)ro\ince lar^o warehouses for tho storage of hread- 
stulls and merchandize received hy the tax-<»'atherers ; 

■•'' Torqncmaila adds; 'Ai 'iiiieii iliira, quo iiooraii Piojos, Hinotiiisaiiillo.s; 
jicni (1(! Ojeda en siis Mt'iiiDriales, lo ccililR'a <le vi.sta, y Id iiiisiiiii 
.\lni:.;iMlc .\fata.' Momtrtj. [ml., torn, i., p. 4(il. 

" 'UaliaTilc siis vassallos t'li tiilMito oi'diiiario dc tics hijiis mio, y cI 
<|'ic Mil tenia liijos avia iln dar uii iiidio o iiidia jtara sacrilirar a siis dioscs, (i 
M iiii 111 dnliaii, avian tie sarriticarle a ol.' ()n'ii/,i. Hist, dm., titiii. iii., |i. 
.'^.112. Now lit'ie else do 1 lind niciitioii of such a ciistoni, altliouuli in Mi- 
I iiM.icaii tiic dcsjiotie jiower of the kin;;, and hi.> tyrannous ahiisc of it, led 
t I ahiiost the .same n;sults. In Michoacan: ''I'riliutauan al Itcy (|uanti» 
li'iiian y A queria, liasta las niu;^(!res y liijos, si los (|neija; de niancia que 
•■ran mas (jue esclauos, y viuiau cu terrilile seriiidiiinltre.' I/rrn rii. Hist. 
'•' II., dec. iii., Iil». Iii., ea]>. x., dee. ii., lih. vii., caj*. .xiii. ' Si liieii todas las 
ii'eiiiMinu's deilicadas ii los decorosos inii^'eriles ]irivile;,'ios destniiaii la sii- 
jci'ina del triliuto li siis Monarcas, sirvieiidolos en la ce>;iie(lad de ofrecerle^ 
iiK ^oli) la hacienda, y la vida, sinoasns pnqirias imi^^eres, en easo de disciir- 
lir are|)tai(le el ver-^oiizuso obsequio.' ^( y (Jlaiic, Hist. Cviiq. Mvx., 
tuiii. ii., pii. C'J-70. 



also ,'uuHtinjif officos to wliicli the <'t(f/)i,r(jnes, or stew- 
ards of tlio ruvoimc, woro ru(iuiri,il to render a verv 
strict an('ount of tluMr colluctions, and such as wiic 
convicted of embezzlement, were immediately |»iit to 
(U'atli and their property confiscated."'^ In the royal 
treasniy were paintini^s hy which were recorded the 
tril)utary towns, and the <juaiitity and kind ».f trihiitc 
paid hy each. In the Codex ISfendoza may he scoii 
thirty-six such paintinjj^s, each one of which rejnesciits 
the principal towns of one or of several provinces of 
the emj)ire, to<jfether witli the (piantity and ijuality of 
the taxes and the time when they were i)aid.'" 

Tile personal and ordinary service consisted in pro- 
vidinijf every day the water and wood needed at the 
chiefs' houses; this was distributed from day to day 
amonijf the towns or wards, and thus each indivi(hial 
was occupied in rendering such service once or twice 
in the year at the utmost, llesidents in tlie vicinity 
were the only ones so subjected, and then, in considera- 
tion of such service, wi"o exempted I'rom i)ayinL;' a 
portion of the imposts. i)ther labor was mostly dun- 
by slaves, of whom there were lar^'c numbers. 
Forei;^!! provinces subjected by the em})irc without 
haviuijf made any resistance, were not required to jiay 
a fixed tribute, but sent several times in the yeai- 
whatever they thought proper, as a present tt) the 
kiuLT, who showed himself more or less m-acious accord- 
ing to the value of tlie presents. No calpixques or 
tax-gatherers were placed in such provinces by the 
Mexican sovereign, but they continued under the rule 
of their own chiefs. Such countries as were reduced 
by war, had to submit to tlie rigorous c< iditi ini 
posed by the conqueror, and bore tb' nrmie of trijnitiu 
tlacofl, which means 'paying tribi: v slaves.' ' *ver 

them were stationed stewards and lixipK-^, who nad 
authority even over the lords of the > jiW y, and who 

^T Snharfiin, Hist. Grn., tern, ii., lib, viii., p. 307. 

^^ Votlr.r Me.iidozn, in I'lirrhtis hi.t I'ilorintrs, vol. iv., pp. 1080-1101; 
Id., in KuiffshnroufjICs Mr.v. Aiifi>/., vol. v., |))t. 54-,S!), vol. i., plates .\ix- 
Iviij Corlds, Jlist. N. Espuiut, p. 170; Coricn, Curiun, p. 110. 



liosi(l(!S rccovoriiii^ tlio tributes forced men to cultivjito 
land, ami women to spin, weave, and embroider for 
their private benefit; indeed, so jjfieat was their 
tyranny, tliat whatever tiiey eoveted tliey were sure 
to ohtain l)y fair means oi f«)id. The kinos of Tezeuco 
and Thu'opan, and other sovereign lords, aUies of the 
kin^' of ATexieo, shared these tributes if they aided in 
the (O Kpiest.^" 

The sovereii,nis selected the calpixques from anionic 
the Aztec /'////, or nobles of inferior rank. They \\vr^ 
under the supervision of the chief treasurers or Iikci/- 
c(('j)l,rilit('s, wiio resided at the several capitals, and 
it was ^heir duty to <»athcr the tributes or taxes, and 
to s(;e that the lands belonijj'inn' to the numicipalities or 
to jirivate persons were kejjt under cultivation. The 
duties of these ealpixcpies were not very arduous at 
first, as the ])eo[)le j(>;'enerally hastened to j>ay their 
taxes before l)einj4' called uj)on; but during the reii^ii 
of Mo!itezunui n. tlie taxes increased so enormously, 
owin^f to the j^reat extrava<^anceof the court, that this 
conunendable zeal cooled down very considerably. The 
hulk of the immense wealth which the conquerors saw 
with so much admiration at AEontezuma's court wah 
the result of this excessive taxation, and it was ono 
of tlie main causes of that alienation of the jieoplo 
from their sovereign which rendered the con(juest a 
possible achievement. Notwithstanding the easy dis- 
position of the taxpayers, they could not submit 
patiently to a yoke so onerous. The merchants, 
wliose trading expeditions had been so useful to the 
state in former times, were no less overwhelmed by 
the taxes than the inhabitants of con(|uered prov- 
inci's by the tributes. It was among that powerful 
class that the first symptoms of defection were noticed. 
To the main grievance was added the tyranny and 
harslniess exhibited by the revenue officers in ((tllect- 
ing the taxes. They carried a small rod in one hand 

^' Tupi(t, Hclaciou, in Icazbalccla, Col. dc Doc, toiu. ii., p. 592. 



and a feather fan in the other, and, accompanied by a 
Liri^e retinue of understrappers, went through cities 
and fields, unmercifully maltreating the unfortunate 
beings who could not promptly comply with their 
demands, and even selling them into slavery; at least 
it is certain that such sales occurred in conquered 

From the first years of his reign Montezuma II. 
began to oppress the merchants with heavy taxation, 
even upon the most trifling things. The greatest suf- 
ferers were the retail dealers, who had to pay excess- 
ive duties upon the merchandise they introduced into 
the principal tianguez, or market-place, from whicji 
such merchandise was taken to the lesser market-places. 
But the king and his creatures finding that this did 
not directly injure the wholesale traders, among wJioni 
were the judges of the mercantile court, — that is to 
say, the consuls and syndics, so to name them, of tlio 
company of Tlatelulco, — witnesses were soon found to 
trump up charges of high treason against them, wiiieh 
ended in their being put to death, and their goods 
and chattels confiscated and distributed among the 
]»eople of the royal household. A very large jior- 
tion of the taxes and tributes was expended in sup- 
jiorting the army, the public employees, the poor and 
destitute, such as widows, orphans, and the aged, and 
also in providing food for the people in times of gieat 
scarcity, but almost as large a portion was appio})ri- 
ated by the king to his own uses.*" It was by sucli 

<" Torqurmnda, Monarq. hid., tcm. i., pp. 147, 206, 231, 401, tom.ii., pp. 
.'54.")-7, mH); (r'inara, Conq. Mex.,io\. 111-13; Lns L'usas, Hist. Ajw/oi/r/ira, 
MS., cap. cxli.; Toribio and Olarfe, in Tcrranx-ComjHuis, Voi/., .scrio i., 
loin. X., pp. 401-8; Fuciilral, in Id., pp. 244-.54; Chaves, Jiiipiiort, in Id., 
seiic ii., toiii. v., p. 301; Sinimirn.s; in Id., serie i., toni. x., pp. '221K11; di- 
vianfo, Hist. Tlitx., in Nouvetlcs Aniiales des Voy., 1843, toiii. xcviij., 
l)p. 180, I!»8-0; Witt, Lettre in Tcrnaux-Compaxs, Voi/., soiic ii., tnin. 
v., pp. 284-93; /.rnsta. Hist, dc las Yiid., jip. 491-2; licnird Diaz, lli-l. 
Conq., fol. f)8; Vriffia, Hist. Ant. Mrj., toin. iii., pp. 189-«l(), liKKS; 
I'rf.sroff's Mcx., vol. i., pp. 38-40; Solis, Hist. Conq. Mrx., torn, i., iip. 
417-19; Pimrntd, Mem. svbre la Razn ludigena, p]i. 3fi-7; Carlmjul K-yi- 
iios-a. Hist. Mex., Unn. i., \>\\ 99. 101, 437, 495, .')89-9.3, (iSI, toi.i. ii., p. 
2():(; Laet, Nnrus Orhis, j). 240; Diee. Unii\, toni. x., p. (>.37; lir(i.'<sn;ril<' 
hourbutirg. Hist, Nat. Civ., torn, iii., pp. ()(X)-9; Curbujal, Jjisvuiso, pn 



acts as these that Montezuma IT. und'd the work of 
liis father.s, and spoiled the harmony of his realm by 
carin<^ only for his own glory and that of his court, 

Sfi, 4r)-G. 58; Dillon, Hist. Mcx., pp. 42-5; Kkmm, Cultur-Grsrhirhtc pp. 
r).'>, n:», ()8-72, 211; liaril, Mcxique, pp. 200-8; liusKierre, L'Jimjiire Mtx., 
(ij). l').'}- S; Sodcn, Spauicr in Peru, tarn, i'l., p. 13; Luik/s I\Jyiicsinn Nat., 
], ft!>; liro-.cHcirs Ind. Races, p. 83; TouroH, Hist. Gen., torn, iii., p;». 25-9, 
38; MoHjlave, Bisumi, pp. 23, 65. 




Education of the Nahua Youth— Manner of Punishment— Mar- 

niRTH— Treatment ok Pregnant ^V'omen— Proieedinos ok Mid- 


Chiediieu- -AuoRTiox — Baptism— Si'EECHES ok Miu\y)ke— Namini^ 


Zatotecs- Circumcision and Scarification ok Infants. 

In examining' the domestic customs of the Naliiui 
nations it will be as well to first inquire how their 
children were reared and instructed. The education 
of a child was commenced by its parents as soon as it 
was able to walk, and was finished by the })riests. 
Aside from tlie superstitious and idolatrous flavor with 
whicli evervthino" Aztec was more or less tainted, tlie 
care taken to mold aright the minds of the youth of 
both sexes is worthy of admiration. Both ])arents 
and [triests strenuously endeavored to insiiire their 
jHipils with a horror of vice and a love of truth. Ke- 
spect for tlieir elders and modesty in their atttions was 
one of their first lessons, and lying was sevei'ely pun- 

In a series of ancient Aztec paintings, which give 
a hieroglvjtliical history of the Aztecs, are represented 

" (2*0) 



the manner in which children were brought up, the 
portion, of tbod allowed them, the laborn they were 
employed in, and the punishments resorted to by 
parents for purposes of correction. Purchas relates 
that the book containing this picture-history with in- 
teipretations made by natives, was obtained by the 
Spanish governor, who intended it for a present to the' 
emperor Charles V. The ship on wlych it was carried 
was captured by a French man-of-war, and the book 
fell into the lifvuds of the French king's geographer, 
Andrew Thevet. At his death it was purchased for 
twenty French crowns by Richard Hakluyt, then 
chaplain to the English ambassador at the Frencli 
court, and was left by him in his last will and testa- 
ment to Samuel Purchas, who had woodcut copies 
made from the original and published them, with 
explanatory text, for the benefit of science and 
learning. In that part of the work which relates 
to the bringing up and education of children, — a 
•specimen page of which is given in the chapter of 
this volume which treats of hieroglyphics, — a boy 
and girl with their father and mother are depict- 
ed; three small circles, each of w^iich represents one 
year, show that the children are three years of age, 
while the good counsel they are receiving issues vis- 
i!)ly from the father's lips; half an oval divided in 
its breadth shows that at this age they were allowed 
half a cake of bread at each meal. During their 
fourth and fifth years the boys are accustomed to light 
hodily labor, such as carrying light burdens, while the 
,i>iil is shown a distaff by her mother, and instructed 
ill its use. At this ajjfe their ration of bread is a 
whole cake. During their sixth and seventh years the 
j)ietures show how the parents begin to make theii* 
children useful. The boy f()lh)ws his father to the 
market-place, carrying a light load, and while there 
occupies himself in gathering up grains of corn or 
other trifles that happen to be spilt about the stalls. 
The girl is represented as spinning, under the close 

Vol. II. 16 



surveillance of her mother, who lectures and directs 
her at the same time. The allowance of bread is now 
a cake and a half, and continues to be so until tlie 
children have reached their thirteenth year. Wc 
are next shown the various modes of punishing un- 
ruly children. When eight years old they are merely 
shown the instruments of punishment as a warning. 
At ten, boys who were disobedient or rebellious wero 
bound liand and foot and pricked in different parts of 
the body with thorns of the maguey; girls were only 
pricked in the hands and wrists ; if this did not suffice 
they were beaten with sticks. If they were uiu'uly 
when eleven years old they were held over a pile of 
burning chile, and forced to inhale the smoke, which 
caused great pain.^ At twelve years of age a bad 
boy was bound hand and foot and exposed naked in a 
damp place during an entire day; the naughty girl of 
the same age was obliged to rise in the night and 
sweep the whole house.* From the age of thirteen 
years the allowance of bread was increased to two 
cakes. Between the ages of thirteen and fifteen the 
boys were employed in bringing wood from the mount- 
ains by land or in canoes, or in catching fish; the girls 
spent tiieir time in grinding corn, cooking, and weav- 
ing. At fifteen, the boys were delivered to the priests 
to receive religious instruction, or were educated as 
soldiors by an officer called Achcauhtli.^ 

The schools and seminaries were annexed to the 
temples, and the instruction of the young of both 

1 Clavigcro writes: 'Nella dipintura ciiu|naiitcsiniasccoiifla si rapproson- 
tano due rajfazzi d'lindici aniii, ai iiiiali per iioii eissersi eiiu'inlati con aitii 
gastif^hi, faiino i lor I'adri rieevero ncl iiuso il fiinio d(,'l Chilli, o sia pi'vc- 
rone.' Clarigrro, Storia Ant. ihl Mrssiro, torn, ii., p. 103. IJut tlii.s is a 
inistalve; in tliis picture we see a {jirl hcing punished i)y lier niotiier in the 
manner (U^serihed, and a hoy by liis father. 

» (;iavi<j;ero mentions this girl as 'una putta. . . .cui fa sua Madre spazzar 
la notte tutta la casa, e parte dellu straila.' S/oria Ant. del Mcsnico, toni. 
ii., p. 103. 

•• For these picture-writings and the interpretations of them, see: P'ir- 
chan hin Pil{irinie,<i, vol. iv., pp. 1103-7; Cmlrr Jiotllrinn, in Kin<jshoro<njlii 
Mcx. Anfiq., vol. i., plates .'>!)-G2; Coilr.r, Mrndozu, in IiL, vol. i., and vol. v., 
pp. 92-7; Carhnjnl Espinom, Hist. 3fr.v., torn, i., pp. 500-575; Cluvigero, 
iiloria Ant. del Measico, tou». ii., i»p. 102-3. 



sexes was a monopoly in the hands of the priests. In 
general boys were sent to the colleges between the 
ages of six and nine years; they were dressed in 
black, their hair was left uncut,* and they were placed 
under the charge of priests specially appointed for 
that purpose, who instructed them in the branches 
most suitable to their future calling. All were in- 
structed in religion and particular attention was given 
to good behavior and morals. No women were per- 
mitted to enter the college, nor could the youths on 
any account have communication with the other sex. 
At certain seasons they were required to abstain from 
various kinds of food. 

The schools, or colleges, were of two distinct classes. 
Those attended by the common people were called 
ielpochcaUi, or 'houses of the youths;' there was one 
ot Luose in each quarter of the city, after the manner 
of our public schools, and the parents of the district 
were required to enter their children at the age of four 
or five years. The telpochtlato, or 'chief of youth,' 
instructed them how to sweep the sanctuary, to replen- 
ish the fire in the sacred censers, to clean the school- 
house, to do penance, more or less severe according to 
their age, and to go in parties to the forest to gather 
wood for the temple. Each pupil took his meals at 
tlie liouse of his parents, but all were obliged to sleep 
ill the seminary. At nightfall all assembled in the 
cuicacalco, or 'house of song,' and were there taught 
the arts of singing and dancing, wliich formed ])art of 
a Mexican education; they were also exercised here 

< 'Tenian cstas pentes tambien por ley que todos los ninos llc^ailos h 
ln;< scis afio.s hanta loa iiiieve liabian de enviar los jiadres .\ Iks T('in[>los para 
SIT iiistruidos en la doctrina y noticia de sus leycs la« ciiak's coiitenian cji-si 
fiMliifi las virtudc'sesplicadas la eii ley natural.' Las Ckshh, Hist. Apoloi/ctirn, 
Ms , cai). clxxv., ccxv. 'Todos estos ruligiosos visten de ne;,'ro y nunca 

('(irtaii el cabello y todoa los liijos de las personas prineipales, asi senores 

coiiii) ciudadanos lionrados, estan en aqucllas iclijfioncs y liabito dcsde edad 
ill' siete u oolio afios fasta que los sacan para los casar.' Cortis, Cartas, p. 
ill.'). 'Cuando el uifio lle;,'alia d diez 6 doee afios, nietiaiile en la casa oe 
oihii^acioii o Cahncrar..^ Sahaifuii, Ifi.sf. Gen., tonj. ii., lib. viii., j). WHS; 
Orirdo, Hist, Gen., torn, iii., p. 302; Torquemaila, Monarq. Iiul., torn, ii., 
p. 1S7. 



in the use of arms." At the age of fifteen or sixteen, 
or sometimes earlier, it was customary for the parents 
to withdraw their children from the tel[)ochcalli that 
they might follow a trade or profession, but this was 
never done without first making a present to the tel- 
pochtlato. The schools at which the sons of the 
nobility and those destined to be priests were educated, 
were called calnwcac, which means a college, or mon- 
astery. The jmpils did not do as much manual labor 
as those educated in the telpochcalli, nor did they 
take their meals at home, but in the building. They 
were under the supervision of priests of the Tlania- 
cazqui order, who instructed them in all that the ple- 
beians learned, besides many of the arts and sciences, 
such as the study of heroic songs and sacred hymns, 
which they had to learn by heart, history, religion, 
philosophy, law, astronomy, astrology', and the writing 
and interpreting of hieroglyphics. If not quick and 
tliligent, they were given less food and more work; 
they were admonished to be virtuous and chaste, and 
were not allowed to leave the temple, until with their 
father's permission they went out from it to be mar- 
ried, or, in the case of a youth of strength and courage, 
ti) go to the wars; those who showed qualities fitted 
for a military life were exercised in gynmastics and 
trained to the use of weapons, to shoot with the bow, 
manage the shield, and to cast darts at a mark. Their 
courage, strength, and endurance underwent severe 
tests; they were early afforded opportunities of real- 
izing the hardships of camp life, and, while boys, were 
sent to carry provisions to the soldiers, upon wliiili 
occasions their behavior was closely watched, and a 
display of courage met with suitable promotion and 

•^ A native author asserts that this 'house of song' was frequently llic 
scene of debauch and liucntiouitiiess. lirwisnir t/e liourbmirg. Hist, \iil- 
i'iv., toni. iii., p. .553. 

8 'Los hijos de los nohles no .se librahan tanipoeo do faonas eori)oralis, 
pues haeian zaujas, construian parech'sy (h'seniiM-naUan otnis trahajossciiu- 
j4iilus, ttuu(^uc taiubiua »u lus uuscfiubu u Uublur bicu, suludur, hucer rover- 



L that 
s was 
le tel- 
)f the 
• iiuni- 
. lal)()r 
I tliev 



ick aiul 
3 work; 
sto, and 
th their 
)c luar- 
>s titteil 
ics and 
le how, 
)t' real- 
rs, were 
and a 
Ion and 

lipntly the 
liist. A'"'- 

Vol- icvir- 

Annexed to the temples were hirge buildings used 
as setninaries for girls. Tiie maidens who were edu- 
( atetl in them were i)rinci[)ally the daughters of lords 
and princes. They were jiresided over by matrons or 
vestal priestesses, brought up in the tem[)le, who 
watched over those committed to their care with 
<;ieat vigilance. Day and night the exterior of the 
building was strictly guarded by old men, to prevent 
any intercourse between the sexes from taking })lace; 
the maidens could not even leave their apartments 
without a guard; if any one broke this rule and went 
out alone, her feet were pricked with thorns till the 
blood flowed. When they went out, it was together 
and accompanied by the matrons ; upon such occasions 
tliey were not allowed to raise their eyes, or in any 
way take notice of anyone; any infringement of these 
rules was visited w'ith severe punishment. The maid- 
ens had to sweep those i)recincts of the temide occu- 
pied by' them, and attend to the sacred fire; they were 
taught the tenets of their religion and shown how to 
draw blood from their bodies when oflerini; sacrifice 
to the gods. They also learned 1k)W to make feather- 
work, and to spin, and weave mantles; particular at- 
tention was given to their i)ersonal cleanliness; they 
were obliged to bathe frequently, and to be skil- 
ful and diligent in all household aftairs. They were 
taught to s})eak with reverence, and to luunble them- 
selves in the presence of their elders, and to observe 
a modest and bashful demeanor at all times. Thoy 
rose at day-break, and whenever they showed them- 
selves idle or rude, punishment was inflicted. At 
night the |)upils slept in large rooms in sight of the 
matrons, who watched them closely. The daughters 
of nobles, wdio entered the seminai'ies at an early age, 
remained there until taken away by their parents to 
lie married.' 

ciicias y, lo que es mas importantc, aprcniliiin In astroiiniiiin, la Iiistoria y 
ili'iiia-* (■(iiiociinicntos ([iu> aiiiiellas jjciitt's alcanzalian.' I'iiiirnfrf, Mcin. mbrr. 
lit It'i-ji IiiiliijfiKi, |t. (i(i; Ac'istii, Hist, di' /lis Viif/., ])]). 444-(). 

" ■ Ibua tail huiic^jta^ tj^ue uo al/aljuu los ojos del suclo, y si so desciiiJa- 




Children brought up in tlie house of their parents 
were taught the worship) of the gods, and were fre- 
quently conducted to the temple in order that thoy 
might witness the religious performances. Military 
men instructed their sons in the use of weapons and 
the art of war, and lost no opportunity of inurinn- 
them to danger, always endeavoring to inspire cour- 
age and daring. Laborers and artizans usually taught 
their children their own trade. The sons of the 
nobles who were placed in the seminaries were never 
j)ermitted to go out unless accompanied by one of 
the superiors of the temple; their food was brougjit 
to them by their parents. The punishments inflicted 
were excessively severe. Liars had thorns thrust into 
their lips; and sometimes, if the fault was frequent, 
their lips were slightly split. Those who were negli- 
gent or disobedient were bound hand and foot, and 
pricked with thorns or badly pinched. A girl wlio 
was detected looking at or speaking to a man was 
severely punished; and if addicted to walking the 
streets, her feet were tied together, and pricked 
with sharp thorns.® 

There was in Tezcuco, durinnf the reiofn of Ncza- 
hualcoyotl, a large seminary, built upon the west side 
of the temple, which consisted of several spacious 
halls and rooms, with a courtyard, and was called 
the tlacotco. Here the king's sons were brought uj) 
and instructed. The guardians and tutors who had 
charge of them took much pains to instruct them in 

ban, luego les haoian soiinl que recoj^icscn la vista. . . .las niiijcres cstaban 
T)()r si en piezas apartailas, no salian las donccllas de hus aposciitos a la 
luicria o verji'lcs sin ir acouipanadas con .sus j,'iiardas. . . .Siendo las nifuis flu 
ciiii'o auos las eomenzaban il ensenar il hilar, tejer y labrar, y no las di-jabaii 
audar oi-iosas, y a la »iucso Icvantalta do labor hiera do tienipo, aUiimiili- Ins 
jjit's, jionjuo asontase y ostuvioso qiicda.' MeiKh'i'td, Hist. Erics., ]>]). 121--'. 
8 Soc further, for information on the education of the Mexicans: So- 
li'.f, Hist. Coiiq. Mcx., toni. i., pp. 421-3; Voridjul, Disrurso, jiii. 17-KS; 
Jinissciir <((• Bonrboiir;/, Illst. Sat. Cir., toni. lii., pp. r)()3-4; Ilii-'i.\iinr, 
L'Eiii/iire Mix., pp. 144-5; Hcrrcra, Hist. (Irii., dec. lii., lib. ii., cap. xix.; 

Minituiius, Nintwc Wccfclil, \m. 2(>7-8; Fwulcul, in Trr/iatu--Cuiii/ii(ii 
toni. X., p. 2r>i; Peter Marli/r, doc. v., 


lib. iv. ; Laet, S'onis 

Vol/., 8(irie 1. 

Orliis, J). 231); A7(7«//i, Cult ur-Gesc/uchtc, torn, y., pp. 3S— 17; Chcculiii; 

Mix. Ancien et Mod., pp. 119-20. 



overytliin*:^ becoming their liigli estate. Besides the 
use of anus, they were taught all the arts and sciences 
a.s far as then known, and were uiade fully acquainted 
with the practical working of precious metals and 
stones. Separate rooms were devoted to the use of 
the king's daughters, where they were given an edu- 
cation fitting their station. In accordance with a law 
of the realm, the king, his children and relatives, with 
their guardians and masters, and the grandees of the 
kingdom, came together every eighty days, in a large 
hall of the tlacoteo; all were seated according to 
rank; the males on one side, and the females on the 
other. All the men, even those of royal blood, were 
dressed in coarse garments o^ neqaen, or maguey-fibre. 
An orator ascended a sort of pul})it and connnenced 
a discourse, in which he censured those who had done 
l)ad]y during the last eighty days, and jiraised those 
who had done well; this he did without favor, not 
even hesitatiuf; to blame the kin^jf if he saw fit. The 
discourse was delivered with such eloquence and feel- 
ing as generally to move the audience to tears." 

Sahagun, Motolinia, Mendieta, and other early wri- 
ters, who were well acquainted with the Mexican 
language, give us specimens of the exhortations deliv- 
ered by parents to their children. I select one from 
the first-mentioned author, as an example: "Give ear 
unto mo and hearken, O my sons," says the Mexican 
parent, "because I am your father; and I, though 
unworthy, am chosen by the gods to rule and govern 
this city. Thou who art my first-born and the eldest 
of til}'' brothers; and thou the second, and thou the 
third, and thou the last and least — know that I am 
anxious and concerned, lest some of you shoidd prove 
worthless in after life; lest, perad venture, not one 
among you should prove worthy to bear my dignities 
and honors after me; perha[)s it is the will of the gods 
that the house which I have with so great labor built 

^ I ffh'Ix.ochitl, Hist. Chich., in KinashorouglCs Mcx. Aiitiq., vol. ix., 
pp. 244-5. 



up, HJiall fall to the ground and remain a ruin ai.d a 
dung-hill; that my name shall be no more remenihend 
among men; that after my death no man nhall Kpcak 
well of me. Hear now the words that I sluill spcak 
unto you, that you may learn how to be of use in tlif 
world, and how to draw near unto the gods that tlav 
may sliow favor to you; for this I say unto you, tliat 
those who weej:) and are grieved; those who sigli, j)ray 
and ponder; those who are watchful at night, and 
wakeful in the morning; those who diligently k(>( p 
the temples cleanly and in order; those who are rev- 
erent and prayerful — all these find favor with the 
gods; to all such the gods give riches, honor, and 
})rosperity, even as they give them to those wlio arc 
strong in battle. It is by such deeds the gods know 
their friends, and to such they give high rank and 
military distinctions; success in battle, and an hon- 
orable place in the hall of justice; making them par- 
ents of the sun, that they may give meat and drink 
not only to the gods of heaven, but also to the gods 
of hell; and such as are thus honored are revei'cd liy 
all brave men and warriors: all men look on them as 
their parents, because the gods have shown tlieni fa- 
vor; and have rendered them tit to liold high offices and 
dignities and to govern with justice; they are i)la('t'd 
near the cfod of fire, the father of all tlie <>()ds, whoso 
dwelling is in the water surrounded by turreted walls 
of flowers, and who is called Ayamictlan and Xiiili- 
tecutli; or they are made lords of the rank of Tla- 
catecutli or Tlacochtecutli, or they are given sonic 
lower i)ost of honor. Perchance they are given some 
such office as I now hold, not through any merit of my 
own, but because the gods know not my unworthiness. 
I am not what 1 am by my own asking; never did I say, 
1 Avish to be so and so, I desire this or that lionor; the 
gods have done me this honor of their own will, for 
surely all is theirs, and all that is given comes i'roni 
their Iiand; nor shall any one say, I desire tliis or that 
honor, for the gods give as they please and to whom 


tlioy please, and stand in need of counsel from none. 
l[arken, niy sons, to another sorrow that alHicts nie 
when I arise at niidniL,'ht to l)ray and do pcnanre. 
Then I })onder many tilings, and my heart rises and 
sinks even as one who goes up and down mountains, 
for I am satisfied with no one of you. Thou, my eld- 
est son, dost not give any sign of im})rovement, I see 
ill thee notliing manly, thou remainest ever a hoy, thy 
conduct does not become an elder brother. And thou, 
my second son, and thou, my third, J see in you no 
discretion or manliness; perad venture it is because 
yuu are second and third that you have become care- 
less. What will become of you in the world? Lo, 
now, are you m^t the children of noble parents? Your 
j)ai'ents are not tillers of the soil or woodcutters. 
What, I say again, will become of you? Do you 
wish to bo nothing but merchants, to < .irry a staff 
ill your hands and a load on your backs? AVill 
you become laborers and work Avith your hands? 
Harken, my sons, and give heed unto my words, and 
I will point out to you those things which you shall 
do. See to the proper observance of the dances, and 
the nuisic, and the singing, for thus will you please 
liotli the people and the gods; for with music and 
singing are favors and riches gained. Endeavor to 
li'arn some honorable trade or profession, such as work- 
ing in feathers or precious metals; for by such means 
hread can be obtained in time of necessit}'. Pay atten- 
tion to every branch of agriculture, for the eartli dosii-es 
not food or drink, but only to bring forth and pioduce. 
Your fathers sought to understand these thin<js, for 
tboiigh they were gentlemen and noblos they took 
care that their estate should be properly cultivated. 
l\' you think only of your high rank and are unmind- 
ful of these things, how will you support your family, 
in no part of the world does anyone support himself by 
his gentility only. But above all study well to pro- 
vide all those things which are necessary for the sus- 
tenance of the body, for these are the very foundation 




of our l)oin!^', and rij^^litly uro tlioy called foiKicdiiitlfu- 
inio, that is to say our tlusli ami hones, bei'ause it is 
by tlieni that wo work, live, and are strouif, There 
ia no man in the world hut what eats, for each one has 
a stoniat'h and intestines. The "greatest lords need 
food, the most valiant warrior must carry a haL,^ oi' 
victuals. Jiy the sustenance of the body life is up- 
held, hy it the world is peopled. See, therefore, my 
Hons, that you be careful to })lant the C(jrn and the 
lua^'ueys, for do we not know that I'ruit is the ddinlit 
of children ; truly it cools and <|uenches the thiist of 
the little ones. And you, boys, do you not like IVuit? 
But how will you <,^et it if you do not plant and i;ro\v 
it. Give heed, my sons, to the conclusion of my dis- 
course, and let it be written upon your hearts. Many 
more thinsj^s could 1 say, but my task would never ho 
ended. A few more words only will I add that have 
been handed down to us from our forefathers. 
Firstly, 1 counsel you to propitiate the gods, who are 
invisible and im})alpable, i^ivin<^ them your whole sotil 
and body. Look to it that you are not puft'ed u[> with 
pride, that you are neither obstinate, nor of a weak, 
vacillatin»>' mind, but take heed to be meek and hum- 
ble and to put your trust in the yods, lest they visit 
your transiji'ressions upon you, for from them iiotliiiiL;' 
can be hidden, they punish how and whom they 
please. Secondly, my sons, endeavor to live at peace 
with your fellow-men. Treat all with deference and 
resi)ect; if any speak ill of you answer them not 
ai^ain; be kind and aftabie to all, yet converse not too 
freely with any; slander no man; be patient, return- 
in^'' i^'ood lor evil, and the gods will amply avenge your 
wrongs. Lastly, my children, be not wasteful of 
your goods nor of your time, for both are precious; at 
all seasons pray to the gods and take counsel with 
them; be diligent about those things which are useful. 
I have spoken enough, my duty is done. Peradveii- 
ture you will forget or take no heed of my words. An 



7!^" ^vfll. T have ,l.,no ,ny dutv U 1 • ''',c.,lc«..» wi,o» ,, .,, , "'"';' '"Wilt not |„ 
>;.» ox,,«,.te,l to al,iclo I ' 'f ,' " ™ "' J'"* "»"- I'"* 
»"»,'-'>l to cl„Je ,„• ,",'.:■""''•'""' I'" «l,o pro. 

'-•'" i.i, 'o;,;;;;;;':"'"' """ ':« «i.o ,„o. 

}';;■'-' "l>"r. ■■« u,,.n,,t,.'',l i?;',..!''',''''"™. ""-1 w,..s 


•^'^'»^' parts tho hi.-h ,;.,/"''' '"'^ apostate. 

7'"^ throt,o.h life, u uf do ,^ ' '7r ^' ''•"''•^'" '-^^"t''- 

•VP^;.'\t a,ul desire to a.-'n T. ^^^'•^" '' ^^^ '^'-t-^nvurd 
^"^fnends and publidv ?' f'" ^"'•^l^''^^'^i ''J all 

'-^•S a.,d unable to la^ep " ' L V , ' '^'^^ ^^^' ^^'•'"■ 
J'^' ''ad voluntarily h.Zl hi,. .'^ '^'^''^^'y t" uliich 
^1'-; aMo woman after ^.j?!^^ ^^ ^'""'^^ ^^"3^ ^•- 
J" 1 aseala, if any one' "vi; ^ //"" ''l'^ ^^ ^^"'^''^'"I. 

1>'-^ '>y without t4in^a^-rtd -r^ *'" ^^'"^ *- 

o ifc, oi decuhno- upon a Jife 

' i 




of cliastity, his hair was cut short and lie was driven 
out from the company of the youths with whom he 
'-/ai! educated. 

Cuttint,^ the hair formed a part of the marriage cer- 
etnonv, l)ut the mode of cuttinijf was different from of tlie penalty. ^^ When the time came for the 
parents to choose a wife for their son, all the relations 
were called together and informed by the father that 
the youtli had now reached an age when he should be 
j)rovided with a wife; for that he was now a man, and 
must learn how to perform the duties of a man, and 
refrain from boyish tricks and promiscuous intercourse 
with women. The youtli was then summoned before 
his parents, and his father addressed him, saying: 
"My son, thou art now a man, and it seems to us 
proper to search among the maidens for a wife for 
thee. Ask thy tutors for permission to separate thy- 
self from thy friends, the youths with thou 
hast been educated. Make known our wishes to 
those called Telpuchtlatocpie, who have the charge 
of thee." The youth in answer expressed his willing- 
ness and desire to enter into their plans. The parents 
then set a1)out preparing a quantity of food, such as 
tamales, chocolate, and other dishes; and also provided 
a sm.ill axe, which was to bear a part in the next })ro- 
ceeding. The repast being prepared, an invitation 
was sent to the priests who were instructors of the 
youth, accorap;>nie(i with presents of food and jtipcs 
of tobacco; all the relations were also invited. AVhcn 
tlie meal was finished, the relations, 'tnd guardians of 
the ward in v'hich the parents of the pair lived, seated 
themselves. Then one of the youth's relatit>ns, ad- 
dressing the priestly instructc rs of the youth said ; 

13 '1'or otro rpsppcto no ora pona tr.isquil ir los talos niniicclKx. siim cci-c- 
iiioniii (Ic sns ciisamicntos: cslo era, ]M)r (jih 'ejai'do la calit'lliTa sij^iiilicalm 
(li'jar la lo/aiiia y liviaiidail dc manccho; y asi coiiio de.sdi' adflaiitc lial)i:i 
ilo criar iiucva ftirina d(! calu'llos, tnvipsi' iituna seso y cordura para ri^^^r sii 
)iniij;i'r ■' casa. Hieii crco (|iu' d('l)ia dv liahcr al<;una difcrciiciu en eston 
tras'iuilados <Miaii<li) se tras(jiiilal)an juir ('creiiuitiia 6 por pena." J.rrs' Casus, 
Hist. A polijyctica, MS., cap. c.x.wi.x.; Varba.jid Espiitvsa, Hist. Mvx., loin. 
i. p. 577. 



" Here, ill the prcsoiice of all, we beg of you not to be 
troubled because this lad, our sou, desires to witlidraw 
from your company, and to take a wife; behold this 
axe, it is a sign that he is anxious to separate from 
vou; according to our Mexican custom, take it, and leave 
us the youth," Then the priest answered: "J, and 
the young men with whom your son has been educated 
have heard how that you have determined to marry 
him ai)d that from henceforward, forever, he will be 
jtarted from us; let everytliing be done as you wish." 
The tutor of the youth nexJ addressed him, entreat- 
ing him to persevere in the paths of virtue, not to for- 
get the teachings he h »« received, and to continue to 
be a zealous servant of the gods; he advised him that 
as he was now about to take a wife he must be carefid 
to provide for her support, and to Ining uj^ and instruct 
his children in the s.ime manner as he had been edu- 
cated. He adjured him to Ix; courageous in battle, to 
honor and obey his parents, to show respect to his 
s.iiiors and all nged persons; ar.^ so the speaker am- 
bled morally along at some K^ngch, but I spare the 
reader the remainder of the discourse." The ]>riests 
then took their leave, bearing the axe with them, and 
the young man remained in liis father's house. 

Soon after tliis the ])arents called the relatiouM 
together once more to consult u[)on the selection of a 
maiden sui d)ie to l»e the wife of their son. Their 
lirst a<'t, and one* that was of paramount im|tofrMiv'e, 
was (u ascertain the day and sign of his but I., if 
they were unable to remember or cah-ulate the ;^ign 
thiy called in the aid of astiologer-. or so'<t,]is;.yer.s, 
w ho by certain reck(^niiigs and ceremonies* Mttt r}»rett;d 
all they sought to know. 'J'lie birthday at»d sign of 
the damsel wi're in like manner ascertained.. If (be 
li()foscoj)e of botli was favorable, the astrologers j)re- 
(licted a hapj)y union with prosperity and good fortune 
to both, but if the signs did not agree tluw foretold 

'< .s'"A«.'(/ ', Hi.'it. (It'll., toni. ii., lilt, vi., jip. I."i'2-.i; .Vfi ni//t/ii. Hint 
Erics., ji. 12."); Las Casu.s, Hist. Ajiulo'jffird, MS , ca]!. i'\x\ix. 


Ki* 'tl 




adversity and evil fortune, and it became necessary to 
choose another maiden. Once assured of a favoral)le 
conihiuation accordini^ to the auguries, steps were 
taken to obtain the consent of tlie girl's parents. For 
this ])urpose the parents and relatives of the youth 
coniniissioued two old women, chosen from among the 
most discreet and .ijtuous of the district, who were 
to act as negotiators in the affair; these were called 
ci/ndifhuKjue. They went on the part of the bi-ide- 
groom and conveyed the message to the parents or 
nearest I'elatives of the young girl. Their first visit 
was made shortly after midnight or upon tlie follow - 
in<if morning-, upon wdiich occasion tliev took with them 
some j>resents to offer to the girl's parents. T'poii 
their arrival they commenced a suitable address, in 
M'hich they formally solicited the hand of the girl in 
marriage. The firwt overture was invariably rejected 
and some frivolous excu»« given, even tliough the 
girl's relatives might Ix- more desirous of the niat<li 
than V:i<»*e who soli<itt<l it. The embassy was told 
that thf girl was not yet i»f an age to marry, or that 
she was not worthy c*f the honor offered her. After 
s<»ni(! few tt»ore such compliments had been paid, tlie 
/natrons returned to those who had sent theui. A 
ii'W da\ - • .i' -ng ela])sed, the old women were sent 
i»wk beaiiii. lore presents, and with instructions to 
again solicit the alliance, and to detine clearly the 
positii'41 of th>i suitor, his (pialilications and riches. 
npo-M this n*'< tnd interview the negotiations assumed 
a moTf business-like aspect; the convei'sation turned 
"'•«>ii the jiffTtum that <^ach would bring to the other, 
inally the r'- : > of the girl consented to con- 

tlie al^ir; yet they Htill maintained a semblance 
♦4 relnetaij'". iiisi.-tinu: that the mil was not worth v 
to b("'>n;f rl wij'e »»f so estimable a young man; hut 
ad', iig tli;!t, as the matter was urgetl with so nuuh 
im[M>rtu! ity, tl»*^y would on tlie ii.i»rro\v axwemble all 
tke relatMms (»f tiie young w-uian, that the' might 
con.sult Ur^tlmr about the affair fhey then closed 



the conference by invitinijc tlioir visitors to be present 
(*)i that occasion and receive tlieir Hnal drcision. 

The next day the j)arents of the ^irl ciilKd a nu'etiiiL*" 
of all her relatives, at which the pi-oj)osed alliance was 
discussed with due deliberation; and the </\r\ bciiiir 
called before them, nuich n-(K)d advice was yiven her; 
her (hities as a wife were detined, she was charged to 
sci'vu and ])l<'ase her husband, and not brin^' disgrace 
upon lier par<.'nts. Information of their decision was 
then sent to the ])arents of the younij;' man. and prcj)- 
arations for a fitting- celebration of the wedding' com- 
nienced. The augurs were consulted and ivcjuested 
to name a lucky day f;.* the ceremony; the signs 
Acdtl, ()zom<OJl, Ci/xh'fh', (jKtni/ifli, or Ca/li, a\(Mv 
(Iceuied most favorable, and one or other of them was 
generally selected for the celebration of the nuptials. 
Several ensuing days were spent by both families in 
])re|);iring for the marriage celebration, and in issuing 
invitatio!is to friends and relations. The ceremony 
was always performed at the liouse of the bride- 
groomV j)arents, where the best room was put in 
order for the occasion; the roof and walls were fes- 
tooned with green branches and gailands of tlowei's, 
(lisposi'd with great taste, and the Hoor was sti'ewn 
with the same. In the centre stood a brazier con- 
taining fire. When all the arrangements were com- 
I''"te(i, certain of the bridegroom's friends and 1'i'lative.s 
u'ut to the house of his intendtid to conduct her to 
the room. If the distance was great, or thi' bride 
the daughter of a lord or great personage, she was 
horne u|»on a litter, otherwise she was cai'ried on the 
liack of the bride's-woman, or sponsor, accom]>anie<l by 
a larL^e concourse of ])eopIe, dis])osed in two rows and 
hi ariug torches. The b/ide occupied the centre of 
the j)rocession, and inunediately about her walked her 
nearest relatives. As the [)rocession passed, many of 
the lookers-on ])rof"'ed l)y the occasion, to point her 
out to their own daughteis as an e.\am[)le worthy of 




The l)ridofjroom mot his betrothed at the entrance 
of his house, preceded by four women bearing lighted 
torches; in liis liands he carried a censer with burning 
incense, and another was given to the bride; with 
tlicse they at once perfumed eadi other, and tlic 
groom, taking lier by tJie liand, led lier into the room 
prepared for the ceremony. They were then seated 
upon an ornamented and painted mat spread close to 
the fireplace, the woman being placed on the left of 
the man.'"' Tlie bridegroom's mother then came for- 
ward with presents for her daughter-in-law, and 
(h'essed her in a liuipU, or short chemise, at the sanie 
time laying at her feet a cuat/i, or skii-t, richly em- 
broidered and worked. Next the l)ride's mother gave 
presents to the bridegroom; she covered him with a 
mantle, which she fastened at the shoulder, and placed 
a maxtli or breech-clout at his feet. The most im- 
portant part in the ceremony was next performed by 
the priest, Avho made a long address to the betrothed 
couple, in which he defined the duties of the married 
state, and pointed out to them the obedience a wife 
should observe towards her husband, and the care and 
attention the latter should give to her, how that ho 
was bound to maintain and sui)port her, and the chil- 
dren they might have. He Avas enjoined to bring nj) 
and educate his children near him, teaching all accord- 
ing to their abilities, to make them useful mend)ers of 
society, and to instruct them in hahits of industry. 
A wife's duties, lie said, were to labor and aid her 
husband in obtainiiiiif sustenance for their familv. 

'■^ 'Veiiiaii los de la casa del niozo li llevar a la nioza de parte ilc iidcIic: 
lleviiliauia roii <,'raii Holeiiiiiidad nriirstns de una iiiatroiia, y con niuclias 
Iiachas do teas encendidas en doH reneie.s delante de eila.' Stiluniini, llisf. 
Veil., tdin. i., lil). ii., pp. 8:2, l.")7. 'I'roniilm, iiwnwx A hkiiiIishiii mh'mI'mhI, 
sponsani tei';j;o jr,'stans, ([uatiuir f(nininis eoniitantilius ([ua- jmicis tu'di^. 
pradncereni, iilani jiost. Solis oeeasuni, ad linien doiiiiiN in i|na iiarciilis 
8|M)nsi nianeliant, si.stt;l)at.' Liirt, Nariis Orhis, ]>. 2.S!). ' l.a <'elctiniciiin ciu 
(|ue la desposada la Ilevalta li ciiestas li jn-iiiia nofli(> una amiinteca. niic i •* 
nu'diea, e iiilian eon ellas euatro niujeies con sns acluiH de iiino resinadd i n- 
cendidas, con <|ne la liihan alnnihrundo, y lleffada a casa »lel dcsposado, Ins 
padres del dt^sposado la salian it n'ciliir al patio de la casa. y la niefian (ii 
una sala donile el ilesposado la cslyva a;,'uardaudo.' Coik.c Miialuzn, ia 
Kiiiijs/.K>roii(/h'ii Mcx. Antiq., vol, v., p 'J'J, 



J)()t]i were exhorted to be faithful to one another, to 
niaiiit;uii peace and liarniony between themselves, to 
oveilook each other's failings, and to helj) one another, 
L'ver Ijearinj^ in mind that they were united for life l)y 
a tie Avhieli only death could sever. The rites of 
marriage were always conducted with much solem- 
nity, and during the ceremony nothing was said or 
done contrary to the rules of modesty and decoruns. 
At the conclusion of the address the couple stood uj), 
and the priest tied the end of the man's mantle to tlie 
di-ess of the woman; they then walked seven times 
round the tire, casting therein copal and incense, and 
giving ])resents to each other, while their friends and 
relatives thi'ew chains of tlowers alxiut their ne<ks 
and crowned them with garland;-:.'*"' The mother-in- 
law of the bride now brought some food, and gave 
tour mouthfuls to the bride to eat and afterwards gave 
the same quantity to the bridegioom. They then 
received the congratulations of their friends, while at 
the same time a dance was perfoiined to the sound of 
musical instruments. Accompanied l)y the dajicers 
and nuisicians, the newly wedded i»air was conducted 
to the temple, at the door of which the tlamaca\.(pies, 
or priests, appeared to receive them. While the com- 
jtany renuiined below, the wedded cou{)le with theij' 
sj)onsors and })arents ascended the ste})s «)f the iem|)le. 
The })riest wore his robes of ceremony, and carried in 
his liand an incensory tilled with incense, with which 

"'■ 'Vn sai'onloto atiil)a una pumii del hnrip/fh, u caiiiisa de la iloiici'llu, 
Kiliotlil del tlliiiiltli, (> capa uel juM'll." V^irtmjul KsjiiiKi.m, Hint. Mcx., 
Iiiin. i., ]i. ■").")7. ' Al tii'm|i»t i|ir' Ios nnvios so a\ iaii do acostar o dnniiir cu 
iiiiii, tdiaaliaii la luilda dolaiitera dc la caiiiisa di' la novia, ('atahanlua la 
iiiiiiila dc al;,f<)d()ii (|ue toiiia I'liliierta A mtvin.' (>n'(<hi. Hist, (irn., tdiii. iii., 
ji. .■>4S, 'I'lias viejas ijia' se llaiuaii fltiri, ataliaii lu i'si|iiiiia de la inaiita did 
iiKi/o. ('(Ill la falda did vipil <li' la iiioza." Sii/uiiiuii, (jin., toiii. i., lili. 
ii.. 11. s;}. 'Hi'chds los tratados, conipan'i'iaii aiiilms contrayeiitcs en id 
t('ni|ili», y ii'io do los saocrdoti'^ cxiilniiialia mi Mdiiiitail fnii ]iii';,'iiiilas 
ritiialcs; V dospues toinalia ion una ninin) id \(d(i dc la niii;^('r. ytnn otia id 
iiKintd <lrl niarnlo, y los anndalia ]icpr his cxti'onios, siLrnirnandd id vinculu 
interior di- las i los volnntadcs. ('on estc ;;;«''ncr(i dc yu^o nnpcial vohiaii i 
sii I as*, en roinpania did niisino saccrdoti': dondi'. . . cntraKan a visitar id 
liii'i-x* (lonirsticii, iini" a sn ])aieci'r, nii'dialian rn la ]ia/. di' los casados, y 
liiiHin sicto viudtas a lil siguioudo al saucidote.' SolU, Hint. L'uinf Mu., 
t««m. i , ifk 4Sl?-.H. 

Vol.. 11. 17 


u ■■ 





1 - 

ho jiropcedcd to perfume them. He then phiced lilni- 
self between the two, with tlie man on liis rioht and 
the woman on his left, and takinjj^ them by the liniids 
led them to the altar of the idol, nuittering- prayers 
as he went. The altar reached, he placed upon each 
of the ])arties a very line and showy shawl woven and 
vai'ieLfated with many colors, in the centre of wliich 
Avas ])ainted a skeleton, as a synd)ol that death oidy 
could now separate them from each other. He tlii'ii 
perfumed them a<^ain with the incensory, and led them 
back to the door of the tem})le, where they were re- 
ceived by the assemblage and acconi})anied to their 
home with dancin^^ and nnisic. The marria^'e cere- 
monies beins^ finished, the relatives and friends partook 
of a banquet, and amidst much rejoicing congratulated 
each other on the new relations they had ac(iuii'ed. 
In the feasting, drinking, and dancing th«3 bridal }>air 
to(dv no }>art; they had now to enter upon a season of 
fasting and penance, which lasted four days, in tlio 
strict retirement of their room, where they were 
closely guarded by old women; on no account were 
they permitted to leave their room except for the 
n(^c(!ssary calls of nature, or to offer sacrifice to tlie 
gods; the time wa,;! to be passed in ]>rayer, and on no 
account were they to allow their passions to get the 
better of them or Indulge in carnal intercoui'se. Such 
weakness on their part would, they believed, bring 
discord or death or some other dire misfortune Ivt \vei>n 
tliem. The close corifinenient, tlie watchful guard and 
imposed ])enances were iutended to calm tlieir passions 
and purify their mmds, whereby they would be nK>i\! 
fitted to undertake the duties before them, and not bo 
led astray by unruly desires. What small supply of 
sustenaTice they received in the four days t>i tlieir 
retirement was carried to them by the old women who 
had charge of them, and during tliis time they neitlur 
washed nor bathed themselves; they were dressed in 
new garments and wore i-ertain charms and regali.i 
pertaining to tlieir ])atron idol. .Vt mitlnight tlieV 




came forth to ofTer sacrifice and burn incense on the 
altar in tlioir house, in front of which they also left 
food offcrin^-s for their god; this they did during the 
four days of abstinence, Avhile their friends and rela- 
tives continued their rejoicings, festivities, and danc- 
Upon the fourth night, when the marriage was 



to be consummated, two priests of the temple pre- 
pared a couch of two mats, between which were placed 
some feathers and a stone somewhat the color of an 
emerald, called chalcJuuite; underneath tliey put a 
piece of tiger-skin, and on top of all they spread some 
cotton cloths. At the four corners of the bed were 
])laced green reeds perfumed, and thorns of the ma- 
guey with which the ]»air were to draw blood from tlieir 
tongues and ears when they sacrificed to the gods.^** 
The following morning the bridal pair took the bed 
on which they had lain, with the cloths, reeds, and 
food they had ofifered to their god during the four days 
of penance, to the temple and left tliem as a thanks- 
giving offering.^" If any charcoal or ashes were found 

'7 'CJuodiindo los csposos on aquellii cstnuria durante Ins puatro dias 
sifjiiieiiti's, sill salir do ellii, siiiod iiiodia iioi'lie jiara iiii-i'iisar a los idolos y 
liai'i'rli's ()l)!aL'i()iies tie diviTsas, ','s]K'cit's <k> iiiaiijarcs.' Ciir/xijdl Ksjiiiinait, 
Ilist. }fi\r., tDiii. i., p. ">57. 'A li' media ikicIic y al medio dia salian de sii 
aii'isento a poiier eiicienso sobre uii altar (pie en sii casa teiiiaii.' Mrin/irtti, 
ihsl. Effcu., )). r28. 'Los ])adrinos llevalian ii los novios a ofra piezu sejia- 
raila, donde los dejalian solos, ciiccrraiidolos por la parte de afuera, liasta la 
laafiaiia si;,'uiente, ((uc veniau ii al)rirles, y todo el eoncurso v^petia las enlio- 
ralpiii'iias, siipoiiiendo ya ronsiimado el mutrimoiiio.' Vii/tia, Anf. 
Mi'j., toni. ii., p. '2(>. 

i'* Tile ]tositioii of the tijj;er-skin is doiil)tfiiI: 'Poiiiaii tamliien vn pe(la(,'<) 
do cuen. do 'i'i.'re, deliajo de las esteras.' 1 tirijiifiiiinlii, .]fiiiiiiri/. fin/., toui. 

p. 415. 'I'oniaiMiu peda/.o de enero de ti;,'re eiicima tie las esteras.' 

' La estera solire ipie lialiian doniiido, (]uo 
iicilio del patio, v alii la sacndiaii eon eicrta 

Mi'iiiliitn, Hist. Krlcx., p Vis. 
si> llaiiiaha yj<'/(»'/, la saialtan a 

louerla en el luu 

•uioma, y despnes tornaoan a ponerla en el luirar ( 
, S.ikoiimi, Hist, (till., toni. li., lil). vi., ]). ].")«. 

donde lialiian de dor- 


iiiir, .s'.»*'<7/^«, /Itsf. iiiii., toni. ii., Ill), vi., ji 

" 'Otra eeremoiiia, easi eonm esta, vsaliaii los del Piielilo de Israbl, aeerea 
del a<S)star los Novios, la primera no(die de sus liodas, ijiu' les poniaii vna 
satiana, o lieii(;(), para (pie en id se estampase el testiiiioiiio de la \ ir'iiiiidad, 
([uo eia la sanjjre, (pic de! primer acto se vertia, la ipiiil se (piitalia de la 
cama delante de testiiros. (pie pudie'^en alirniar liavcrla xisto, eon lasenaldu 
';i s!iii;,'re, (pie eoiniinilialia la eorriipcion de la Doneella y emliiiidla, (i do- 
1>! da, la ponian en cierto ln;j;ar, dii)utado pa-a e-to, donde ijiiedMlia jjiiar- 
(lada. en iiieinoria de la limpie(;a, y pnridail, i-ci ([ue la diidia [(oiieella \eiiiii 
;i pudcr de su Marido. Seria posildc, (pie (piir-iese si;,'iiilicar entn" eslos lii- 
d.iis lo niisino, este cnidado de los vii;jos, de traer niaiita, ('i saliaiia, y teii- 
durla sobrc la cuiua de lus de»pu::}udu!i, puru loy priiueros uutus mutriiiiutiiule:;; 

11! i 

i'' 'i" 



in tlio l)ricl;il cliiinibor tlicy considered it an evil oino!i, 
hut if, on tlic other liand, a omin of corn or otlii;r 
seed was found, they considered it a f;i<^n of a lon^' and 
prosperous life and a ha})}»y union. A l)a[»tisin;il 
ccivnioiiy was next j)erfonned, the wedded pair huiii^ 
placed on ^reen reed mats, while the ju'iests })oure(l 
water over them. Nohles received four ahlutions with 
water in honor of Chalc/uhtiith'ciic, the o-oddess of 
waters, and four of wine, in reverence to T<-.c<it:.oiic(itl, 
the j^'od of wine. After the hath they were dressed 
in new vestments, the hride's head was adorned with 
white feathers and her hands and feet with red. To 
her liushand was oiven a tlmrihle, filled with incense 
wherewith to pei'fume his household <>-ods. At thr 
conclusion of these ceremonies a fuither disti'ihutioii 
of di'esscs and presents was made, and the company 
partook of food and wine, while the scene was enliv- 
ened with sonu's and dances. Some more ifood ad\ice, 
of which the Aztecs seem to have had a nevei'-failiii^' 
stor(?, was then j^'iven to the wedded ])air hy the 
mothers-in-law or nearest relativi's, and thus ended 
the nu[)tial ceremonies, whi(;Ii weie conducted in 
accordance with the means of the princi[)al jiarties 
concerned.^ In some places, proof of the maiden's 
vir;j;'inity was required on the mornino' followin*^- the 
consummation of the marriage. In such case the 
sj)onsors entered the room where the wedded j)air had 
]iassed the nijrht and demanded the bride's chemise; 
if they found it stained with blood they brought it 
out, placed it on a stick, and exhibited it to all })resent 
as an evidence that the bride was a virgin; then a 
dance was formed and the procession went through all 
the place, carrving the chemise on a stick, dancin!>' and 

y CM ('roil)Ic, one spriii pste ol intoiito, piics la ropa, y ostoras, que sir\ iomii 
en esti' 8a<'rilii'iii, se Uevabaii al Teiiiiilo, y iiii sciviaii mas en casa, coiim iii 
mas, ui iiKMitis la ceroniiiiiia anti;iiia (k- j;iiar<lar i.i aliana, con .saii;;re, I'litiv 
lo.s llclnx'ds, I'll liigar particular, y .seguni.' Tuvqacmada, Munarq. bid.. 
toni. ii., J). 410). 

io Mciidicln, Hist. Erlrs., pi). llf)-2(», 1'27-S; Torqiirwifdii, Mo)i<in/. 
Jill/., torn, ii., ]). 41(); ()n'ii/i>, ilisf. dni., (oiii. iii., ])]). .548-!); Salniijiiii, 
Hist. Ucn., toui. ii., lib. \i., pp. 1j8-(JU; VarOaJal, JJiicumo, p. ID. 



(.'XjircssiiiL;' tlicir joy, and tliis wiis c.-illc'd '(InTu-ini,' t.lic 
chemise.' It' it happened that tlie clu'iuisi! was un- 
stained, tears and lamentations took tht; jihice o[' re- 
jdicinn', ahuse and insults were lieaj)ed upon the hridc, 
and her hushand was at liberty to repudiate her.'-' In 
the kiiiLii'dom t)f Miztecajtan, heioi'e the ceivmony of 
tyiuL;" their mantles together wtis performed it was 
customary to cut a lock of hair from the hridegronms 
head and from the hride's, after whicli they took each 
otlier l»y the hand and their dresses were tied hy the 
tiids. The man then took the yirl (»n his hack ami 


t dist 

ance ; \v 




linu- t 


i-ari'ied lier a snor 
nated the miptial.'- 

In Ixcatlan, he who desired to get mari'ied })ie- 
sented himself before the [»riests, and they took liini 
to the temple, where in presence of the idols he wor- 
shiped they cut otf some o\' his hail', and showing it 
to the peo})le, shouted "This man wishes to get mai'- 
lied. " From thence he was ohliged to descend and 
take tlie first lumiarried woman he met, in the belief 
that she was especially destined for him by the gods. 
Tliey were then married according to the customaiy 
^lexican rites. The JNIazatec bridegroom abstained 
Cor the first tifteen days of his wedded life from ivirnal 
knowledge of his wife, and both spent the tin»e in 
fasting and penance. Among the ( )tonn's it was 
not considered an offence for an unmarried man to dt - 
iioiu" a single woman. The husband was ])e;'m!tte(l 
to ri'i)udiate the woman the dav followiuL!- his mar- 
riage if she did not phase him; but if he remained 
satisfied upon that occasion he was not afterwards 
allowed to send her away. They had then to uiulrrgo 
a period of penance and abstinence and remain se- 
cluded for twenty or thirty days, during wliich time 
tlay were to abstain from all sexual interi'ourse, to 
(haw blood from themselves as a sacritice, and to bathe 
fiV(|Uently. The Chichimecs, although they contracted 
marriage at a very early age, could not have legitimate 

'■^' Viijliii, lli.-it. Ant. Mij., torn, ii., jip. ".'ti-?. 





f : 



connection witli tlu'if wives until tlie woman was foi-tv 
years old. After their intercourse with the Toltecs 
this custom l»ei,''an to be aholished, althoui;li the 
j)i'inces and nohles observed it rigorously ibr soiue 
time loM_ii;er. ^^arriaL,'e with near relatives was never 
permitted among them, und polygamy was strictly 

Amonijf the Mexicans divorce was pernntted, but as 
a t'l'eneral rule was discouraged. In the event of ^\\s- 
cord arisiuL;" between man and wife so that they could 
not live toi^ether j)eacefull\', or where one or (jther of 
the parties had just cause of comj)laint, they applied 
to a judn'e for [iermissi(»n to se])arate. Such ]>erniis- 
sion was not ijci'anted unless <j;-ood and sufficient cause 
was shown in su})port of the application. The jnd;;e 
investiijated the case with nuu-h care and attention, 
closely examinin<jf the i)arties in refeivnce to theii' 
marital relations; whether they had been married with 
the consent of their parents, and if all the ceremonies 
of marriaLj'e had been fully observed. If the answei's 
proved that the parties had not been married accordiiin' 
to the usual rites and ceremonies, or if they had breu 
livinix toijether in a state of fornication, the iudLio 
refused to interfere between them; but if he found 
they had properly complied with the regulations gov- 
erning' marriage, he used his best efforts to reconcile 
them; he reminded them of the solemn obligations 

2'2 l-'or fiutlicr iiiforiimtidii rclatiii;,' to iii,iniii;,'o ci'iciiKiiiics and cn^tniiis 
see MnidiitK, Kr/(S., ))|). 12.")-S; 1'i)r(/tiniiiii/(i, Moiirir'/. liid., liilil. 
ii., pp. J>;J, I8(), 41l'--J(), 4".Ni-7; Sii/iii(/iiii, Hist. Geii., torn, i,, lili. ii., pp. M 'A, 
tiiiii. ii., Ill), vi., pp. I'vJ (J-J, toiii. iii., lil). x., jip. lUJ-lT; J'ri//i(i, Hist. 
All/, MrJ., toill. il., pp. "i.'i-T, 178; f.'is Cusns, Hist. A/)it/ii(ir/irii, MS., 
cap. c.xxxi.x, cl.wv; l.itlll.iiirliill, lli.sf. C/u'r/i., in Kiinislnirniiiili's Mi.i. 
Aiitiq., vol. i.\., p. 1214; /'/., Jirfurionrs, in I(/., y]>. :V27, ;«■'),' .'yO, IIHI; 
Ai'ostd, Ifisf, dr. /(I.I YikL, pp. 374-">; Jirnssriir (/<' noiir/innri/, llitil. Sut. 
Civ., toni. ii., ]). IS!*, toni. lii., pp. 70, r)(i.')-7; Khnim, Viiltiif-dfsrhirhlc, 
toiii. v., pp. .'?3-r); (iiijiiKrc, Cdiiq. Mr.r., fid. 'J'.tS, .SU-Ki; llrnrrn, lUxl- 
<i>'ii., dec. ii., lil>. vi., cap. .\vi., dec. iii., lilt, ii., ca]). xvii; t'/idirs, Ituji- 
jmrl, \\i Trnifiii.r.Coiii/iKii.f, I <i>/., scrie ii., toin. v.. pp. 3()H-0; MinitKnii'i, 
XiiKii'f Wnrclil, p. "Jf)."); (Irnic/fi C'inrri, in C/iiirc/ti/r.-i Cnl. ]'iii/tiifr.s; \iil. 
iv., p. 481; A/ii/ir, llisf. Com/i. </r J':ii(y, toni. i., p. 27!'; Varhcjid A'v- 
p>ii(i.^-fi, Ifisf, Xfr.r., tiini. i., pp. r).")."!-',), 577; H'lrif. }ri.iii/iir, pp. ■JO.'-.'!; 
Tniiron, llisf. (rill., toni. iii., pp. 1I-P2; Smiiiii'.i Tin Ti'ihis, ])p. 271-"'; 
Jliis.iirrrr, fj' Km pi re Mi.r., jip. 14.") 7; Cur/in/ii/, J), pp. li't-liO; 
L'lurijiru, iSturiii Ant. ihl Mcssiro, toni. ii., pp.y',l-'.i;i, 111. 



a|»!>t!rtiiiiilii.!4' to tlio iiiiin'IiiL''o contriict, jiiul warned 
tlaia not to lniii,n' (lisi^racc upon tlitiiistilvus and their 
jiari.'iits l)y l)i'».'akiii_<4' tlie hoiids hy which they were 
united, therehy ereatiiii;" a tseandal in the eoniminiity. 
It" his endeavors to ell'eet a rei'uneiliation were of no 
avail, and he I'ouiul tliat one or other of the })arties 
had Just cause of eonijihiint, a license to separate could 
he issued, hut more fre(|uently the judL;u refused to 

iiiterfeie iu the niattei', ai 

id d 


I tl 

leni with a 


htei'ii reproval. Marria^^'o was looked upon as a sol- 
emn and l)inding tie only to he dissolved hy tleath, 
and any attempt or desire to annul the contract was 
deemed a disgrace and a had example. Under these 
circumstances divorce was always disi-oura^ed hoth hy 
the magistrates and the community. A jud;4e was 
oenerally unwillinj^ to sanction with the authority of 
the law the annulment of so hlndiiiL;' an enn'a.u'ement; 
tliei'efore only a tacit consent was ^iven l»y the court, 
hy which the whole onus of the tlis^race atteiulinn' a 
Si'paration was tlirt)wn u\ion the parties themselves. 
When a dissolution took place between man and wife, 
tlicy could not again under any circumstances be 
uniti'd.; the divorce once ett'ected, no subsecpient con- 
donation could authorize their livin*>" toi>ether.-'' 

We have no information how or on what terms a 
division of pro})erty was made in tlie event of a dis- 
solution of marriage, or to which of the j)arties the 
iiistody of the children belonj^ed. The ancient his- 
turians throw no light vn)on the subject. As much 

2^ •Nunra sciit(Mi('ia1)im cii disfavor del Matriinmiid, iii cDiisciitiaii, rnic 
]iiir aiildiidad ili,' .Jiistit'i.i, idlos sc apaitasi'ii; |m)1i|iu' ilciiaii >fv iioa ilicita, 
V lie iiiiuluM'scaiidalo ])ani el I'ludilo, laMiriccr, cum aiilinidad |>iil)lira, insa 
(uiiiraria a la ra(,'(iii; piro ellits fsc ajiaitaliaii de lu'clm, y csli' ticclio si- lole- 
nili.i, auiii|iH' 11(1 (Ml todos, si'jfuii (d mas, o iiiciuis I'scaiidalo, i|iii' si' t'ii;;i'ii- 
ilratiM cii el I'ludilo. Dtros diccii, (|iU' |iiir Si'iitcmia diliiiiliva, sc liaci.i 
(•>li' l!i'|mdii(, y Divorcio. . . .los .1 iicci's si'iitt'iiiialiaii (si acaso I'ldiccdciiins, 
i|Uc lia\ ia sciiti'iiiia) i[\K) sc apai'tasi'ii, y i|iifda>iii lilircs, y sin ((lili;:aciiiii 
li viio, al iitni; iicro no dc la nuniiiuiacioii del I'lii'Mo, (nic luudlo coiitia 
t'lius, dcciaii s('i(li;;nos dc j,'iaiidisiiiia |it'iia, [lor iiavcr niadiiado la I'i' i; 
iiiti'uiidail did Madinionio, y liaverdado tan uial cxcMiido ii la la'|)uiiliia.' 
Tur'/iiiinaild, Moiiar'/. Intl., toni. ii., ji. 442; ('(irlidjul, hisi'iirsn, ]i|). 'JO 1 ; 
M'l.illkivc, llcHHinc, \i. 'i\; Vlucitjcro, Slorin Ant. ikl Mv.s.siru, toni. ii., ji. 

'. U 





:: m 112.0 


U 11.6 





°% ^,>^ 






(716) 872-4503 




deference and respect was shown to old age, it is 
probable that the decision of such matters was left to 
the influence and wisdom of the friends and relatives, 
and that through their intervention equitable arrange- 
ments were made. 

Concubinage, of which there were three classes, was 
permitted throughout the Mexican empire. The first 
class was the union of young men with unmarried 
women, before they arrived at the age when they were 
expected to marry. All young men, with the excep- 
tion of those who were consecrated to a perpetual 
chastity, were allowed to have concubines. The youth 
usually asked his parents to select a girl for him, and 
the one upon whom their choice fell cohabited with 
him. Such women were calhid tlacacavili No con- 
tract was made nor any ceremony performed; the 
connection was a simple private arrangement of the 
relatives on both sides. When a girl lived with an 
unmarried man as his concubine without the consent 
of her parents she was called temcrauh, which had a 
more general signification. It does not appear, how- 
ever, that concubinage among the unmarried men was 
common ; on the contrary, the manner in which parents 
are reputed to have brought up their children, and tlie 
care taken by the priests in their education would 
seem to show that such a practice was discouraged, 
or rather tolerated than allowed, and it is probable 
the custom was chiefly confined to the sons of nt)l)les 
and wealthy men. When a young man arrived at tlie 
age when he should marry, he was expected to dis- 
pense with his concubine that he might marry the girl 
selected by his parents to be his lawful wife. He 
could, however, legitimatize the connection between 
his concubine and himself by notifying his parents of 
his wishes and having the usual marriaare ceremonies 
performed; she then became his lawful wife and was 
called ciuathtntU. If while they bved together in 
concubinage the woman had a child, her parents then 
required that he should at once restore her to them, 



or make her his wife, as they considered it proper that 
having a child she should also have a husband as a 
legal protector. Young women were not dishonored 
hy living in a state of concubinage, nor were their 
chances of contracting advantageous marriages in any 
degree lessened. 

The second order of concubines miifht rather be 
termed, perhaps, the less legitimate wives of married 
men; with them the tying of garments constituted 
tlie entire marriage ceremony; the husband could not 
repudiate them without just cause and the sanction 
of the courts, but neither they nor their children coultl 
inherit property; in this respect they were treated as 
concul)ines, but nevertheless they were called Ciiia- 
(laiifU, which corresponds with the latin word uxor, 
and was the title borne by the first and legitimate wife. 

The third class of concubines were merely kei)t 
mistresses; with them no marriage rite of any kind 
was performed. They were kept usually by the 
nobles and chief men who could afford to maintain 
large establishments; they occupied a third rank in 
the domestic circle after the principal wife and less 
legitini;ite ones, and were called cittaiH'iaactU, or tht- 
cinaiifli, if their master had obtained them from their 
parents; those whom he took without such permission 
were called tlaciuaantin?^ 

The Toltec kings could only marry one woman, and 
in case of her death could not marry again oi live in 
concubinage with any woman; the same rule held 

24 'Tt'iigono moltc moglio, & tante quantc ne possono miiutenero cotijc 
i inori, pcro conic si 6 ilt>t,to, viia h la priiicipale \' patroiia (.V i ti/liuuli di 
i|<t;i lii'n'ilitauo, & (jiiei tleiraltrc nn, che iioii iidssoiio aiizi son tcmiti jirr 
iKistanli. Nolle nozzo <li questa patroua i»riiK'i|>alo fan no ah-nne liiinio- 
iiii', il clio noil si osserna nellc nozze cloiraltn'.' It'lutiniii; fulln iitr ni, 
(jniHrhiiitiiin ilcl Signor Frrnnnito Corti'Hf, in R'tmnsin, Ninuijdtintn, toni, 
lii., fol. 310. See further, Tdn/witiinia, Momirn. Iir/., .oni. ii., ji. 37<); 
Lti.'i Cutri.s, Ifist. Apolofji^tir.d, cap. ccxiii., ccxiv., in Kniif.\'iiiriiiii)h'.s Mi .r. 
An/i'i/., vol. viii., pp. 127-S; Ciirhnptl, Ih', pp. '20-7; Viu.ninjit. Hist. 
Tlii.r., in Xoiifr/l'S Annnlrs lira I'oif., 1813, toni. xcviii., i>p. !(>!), I'.t7; ''"- 
tiKirn, I'oiK/. i\fir., fi}\. 107; Carhitjiil Ki/tinosn, flisf. .Ui.r., tout, i., J>p. 
430-1; On'rdo, Hist. Gen., torn, iii., p. 260; Peter ifurtyr, dec. iv., lib. iv., 
dec. v., lib. X. 




good with their queens in the event of the king dying 
ttrst. Prostitution among the Mexicans was tolerated, 
but at the same time was restrained within certain 
bounds; that is, the law took cognizance of the prae- 
iice as regarded the women engaged in such traffic. 
It was looked upon as a necessary evil, and the law 
did not interfere with men who consorted with prosti- 
tutes; but the latter, if they plied their traffic too 
openly, or with too great frequency, so as to create a 
l)ublic scandal and become a nuisance, were punished 
according to the extent of the ofFence.*" 

We may suppose that, the marriage ceremonies 
being concluded, the young couple were left in peace, 
and that for a time there was a truce to the speech- 
making and ever-ready advice of anxious parents and 
meddling relatives. But this respite was generally 
of brief duration. As soon as the woman found 
herself to be p.egnant, all her friends and relations 
were immediately upon the tiptoe of expectation and 
interest again. The parents were at once informed of 
the interesting event, and a feast was prepared, of 
which all who had been present at the wedding par- 
took. After the repast the inevitable speeches c<jni- 
menced. An old man, squatting on his hams, first 
s})oke in behalf of the husband, referring to the pre- 
cious burden carried by the pregnant woman and to 
the future prospects of the child; after a while 
another relieved the speaker and pursued the sui)joct 
in tlie same strain; the man and his wife then re- 
sponded, dwelling upon the pleasure in store for thoni, 
and expressing their hopes that, with the favor of the 
gods, it might be realized. The parents of the pair 
were next addressed directly by one of the guests 
upon the same theme and made a reply. Certain 

«* Las Cams, Hist. Apohrfflicn, cap, ccxiii., ccxiv., in Kniffshnrniirili'i 
Mr.r. Aiidt/., vol. viii., |». I'iT; Tur'fin'mm/a, Monnrq. Ind., toiii. ii., p. 
37(>; Car/xtjiil, Discurso, \t\}. 27-8; S<(h'i;/iiii, Hist. Gen., turn, iii., lib. x., 
pp. 37-8; Clavigero, Storia Ant. del Mcusico, toiu. ii., pp. 132-3. 



elderly relatives then seized the opportunity to ad- 
monish and instruct the young woman, to which she 
made a suitable answer, thanking them for their soli- 
citude on her behalf.'" 

During the months of her pregnancy the mother 
was very careful to insure the safety and health of the 
child, though many of the rules observed for this pur- 
pose were of a partly superstitious nature. Thus, 
sleeping in the day-time would contort the child's face ; 
ap[)roaching too near the fire or standing in the hot 
sun would parch the foetus; hard and continued work, 
lifting weights, running, mental excitement, such as 
grief, anger, or alarm, were particularly avoided; in 
case of an earthquake all the pots in the house were 
covered up or broken to stop the shaking; eating 
f-jcf/i, or chicle, was thought to harden the palate of 
the unborn child, and to make its gums thick so that it 
would be unable to suck, and also to comnmnicate to it 
a disease called netetdzzoponiztU; neither must the edi- 
ble earth, of which, as we shall see in a future chajjter, 
the Mexicans were very fond, be eaten by the mother, 
lest the child should prove weak and sickly; but 
everything else the woman fancied was to be given 
lur, because any interference with her caprices might 
be hurtful to her offspring.'" Moderation in sexual 
connection with her husband was recommended to a 
woman from one to three months advanced in preg- 
natuy, but total abstinence in this resj)ect was thought 
to bo injurious to the unborn child; during the later 
stages of the woman's pregnancy, however, the hus- 
band abstained entirely from having intercourse with 
her.-" When the time for the confinement drew near 

2'' I hiivp thought it iinnccessarytogivo thcHospcoches in full, but the ri-ader 
can liiid thcniall together in .Vri/(«(/(/«, Hitit. Gni., torn, ij., lil>, vi., pp. Kil-TIt. 

2^ Suliiigun adds: ' niandaha iiue il la prenada la diescn de t-iinar Mili- 
cii'iilciiu'nte y buenos nianjaies, ealientcs y liien guJHatloH, i-on e^iiicialidad 
cuaiidi) A la prcnada le vicne m\ purgueion, «i i-oino dicen la rt-gla, y exto 
Ihiiiiaii <|iic la criatiira He laba los pics, iM)rnue no hc halle dsta en vacio, o 
luiya al;;iina vai'icdad 6 falta de Bangrc 6 luinior neceHurio, y asi rei:ilia 
nlj,'iiii dafio.' Hist. Gen., toni. ii., lib. vi., p. 182. 

'^ Salia;,'uii's original MS. contaiuH twenty-four additional lines on this 
Hubjcct, but these hit) editor deuuid tuu iiidelieuto tu priut. Id., p. Ibl. 



another feast was prepared and the usual invitations 
were issued. When all were gathered an old man was 
the first to speak, on behalf of the married couple. 
Bj virtue of his long experience in these matters he 
recommended that the pregnant woman be placed in 
the xucfdcaUi, or bath, under the protectior; of Xuchi- 
caltzin, the god of the bath, and of Yoalticitl, goddess 
of the bath and of childbirth. He further advised the 
parents to select a competent ticiti, or midwife. This 
functionary having been named, a female relative of 
the husband addressed her, asking her to acce))t the 
trust, praising her qualifications, and exhorting her to 
exert her utmost skill and care. The mother and 
relatives of the wife also made brief speeches to the 
same purpose. The midwife-elect then expressed her 
wish and intention to do all in her power.^ Wealtliy 
people frequently employed several mid wives, who i'or 
some days prior to the birth busied themselves in 
waiting on their patient and putting everything in 
readiness for the important hour. Zuazo states that 
some of these acted merely as witnesses to the fact of 
the birth.=» 

The 'hour of death,' as the time of confinement 
was named, having arrived, the patient was carried 
to a room previously set in order for the pur]>ose; 
here her hair was soaped and she was placed in 
a bath to be washed. Care was taken that the water 
should not be too hot, lest the foetus should be scalded ; 
in some cases the woman was beaten on the back with 
maize leaves which had been boiled in the water used 
for the bath. The midwife next proceeded to rub and 
press the abdomen of the patient in order to set tlie 
child in place. If the pain grew worse, soothini; 
remedies were administered. A decoction of cihoajxifH 

IS For these addresacasce.Sfrt/ta^wrt, Gen., tom.ii.,, pp. 171-SS. 

30 'Se lle;?an al^uiiOH mujeres coino piirteriis, y otras conio tcsti^ios piiiii 
ver si el parto es niipucHto 6 natural ; y al ticnipo del iiacer no perinitcii ijin' 
la eriatiira llefpio A la tiorra eon la vi»ia; <5 antcR que se la eortenfe liaieii tiir- 
tan Henales en el corpezuelo.' Zuazo, Carta, in Icazbalceta, Col. Ue Due, 
toni. i., j)p. 3GH-4. 



h«,'il>s was given to promote the delivery; should this not 
prove eftective, however, a small piece, about an inch 
and a half long, of the tail of the thujuatzin, or t/a- 
(jxatl, was given, which is a very powerful emetic. If 
jifter all the woman got no ease, it was concluded that 
she would die. In cases of great danger prayers were 
addressed to Cioacoatl, Quilaztli, Yoalticitl, and other 
(k'ities. Should the child die in the womb it was 
removed piecemeal, unless the parents objected, in 
wliit'h case the mother was left to die. 

Mocioaquezqui, 'brave woman,' was the name 
yJN en to her who died in childbed. After death the 
ImkIv was washed, dressed in good, new clothes, and 
Imried with great ceremony in the courtyard of the 
tuniplc dedicated to the 'celestial women.'"" Talis- 
iiianic virtues were supposed to reside in the corpse; 
thus, the middle fingers of the left hand, and the hair, 
wore thought to make their possessor irresistible in 
Iiattle; soldiers, therefore, sought by every means, 
fair or foul, to procure them. Thieves believed that 
the left hand and arm of the corpse would strike ter- 
ror into their victims, and they therefore engaged sor- 
cerers to procure it. The birth of twins was believed' 
to foretell the death of one of the parents at the 
hands of their child; to prevent this, one of the in- 
fants was killed.** Abortion was not unusual, and 
was |)rocured by taking a decoction of certain herbs; 
the crime was nevertheless punished with death.** I f 
everything went well, and the woman was easily de- 
livered, the midwife gave a loud cry of triumph. She 
next addressed some words of counsel to the child, and 

■" Cihunpipiltin, or CuiapipiUi. A lonp description of the huriiil ritcH 
1IM01I tiiese ociuHioiiH in A'a/w»,7M;«, //*a7. ^/t/t., torn, ii., lib. vi., pp. 180-1(1. 
These will, however, be de8cril)ed in a future chapter. 

^' Mofolinin, Hist. Inifios, in Icuzhnleeta, Col. ile Doc, torn, i., p. 1.10, 
iiiiil Tor(]ucina(lii, Moiiarq. lad., toni. ii., p. 84, who Hccms to have copied 
Iroiri liini, are the authontir, for this, Imt the c»ntoin could not have Inen 
very frcnnral, for it is said that in Tlascala the mother a-ssigned a breast to 
cacli of the twins. 

" Tiie principal authority on the matter of pregnancy and childbirth, 
ami the one whom I have titun far followed, ia Salmgun, Jlint, Gen., toiu. 
ii , lib. vi., pp. lCO-92. 



then proceeded to wash it. Turning to the water, she 
addressed the goddess of waters, Chalchihuitlicue, ask- 
ing her favor and protection for the child. Then 
taking some water, the midwife breathed upon it, gave 
some to the infant to taste, and then touched its liead 
and chest therewith: saying, Come, my son (or 
daughter) to ChalchihuitHcue ; it is for her to bear you 
on tlie back and in her arms throughout this hie! 
Then, placing the infant in the water, she continue<l: 
Enter thou into the water called metlalac and titspahu:; 
may it wash thee, and may the Omnipotent cleanse 
from thee all ill that is inherent in thee from the be- 
ginning of the world and from before the beginning. 
Begone, all evil imparted to thee by thy father and 
thy mt)ther.** Having washed the child, the midwil'o 
clothed it, addressing it meanwhile in whispers t»f 
welcome and admonition. Then, raising her voice, 
she complimented the mother on her bravery and en- 
durance,*' A female relative next praised the forti- 
tude of the patient, who in her response dilatod on tlio 
trouble and pain she had gone through, and expressed 
her joy at the treasure vouchsafed her by the gods. 
The midwife then closed the ceremony by congratu- 
lating the grandparents and assembled friends. A few 
days after the confinement the mother took a batli in 
tlie temazcalli, and indulged in rich food and wine; on 
tliis occasion i feast was also tendered to invited 
friends, who partook of it near the spot where the 
woman bathed. 

All these elaborate preparations and midwife cere- 
monies at birth could, however, only have been in 
vogue among the well-to-do classes, for the Mexicjm 
women, were, as a rule, little affected by the troubles 
of child-bearing; wieir training and manner of life 

'* Clavigero, Storia Ant. del Messiro, torn, ii., p. 86, differs from Siiliii- 
pun in tliese prayers re invocations; Torquenmda, Monarq. Intl., toni. ii., 
I). 44.'), Klemm, Cul'ur-Geschichte, torn, v., p. 3(», and Brasseur de IJonr- 
iHuirg, Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, iii., p. 560, follow Clavigero more or less 

^ Sahagun, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. vi., pp. 199-200; Torquemada, 
Monarq. hid., turn, ii., pp. 445-6. 



were not calculated to make them delicate. Moto- 
linia, and many with him, say, fur instance, that the 
Thuscaltec women delivered themselves, the mother 
iipplyinjj to a neighbor only at the birth of her first 

It was now time to cast the nativity of the inftmt. 
For this purpose the services of a tonitlpoulniid, or 
horoscopist, were engaged. These tonali)ouh<juis were 
a highly respected class, and were therefore approached 
with much respect and liberally feed witli mantles, 
food, and other articles. Having been told the hour 
of birth, the horoscoper consulted his book for the 
sign of the day on which the inftint was born." If 
the birth had taken place exactly at midnight, tho 
signs for the closing and breaking day were coml)ined. 
Conij)aring the birthday sign with the other twelve 
signs, as well as with the principal sign of the grouj), 
he deduced the required fortune, and, if the augury 
was favorable, dwelt on the honors and happiness in 
store for the infant. Should the augury prove unfa- 
vorable, as well as the sign for the fifth day after 
birth, which was the occasion of the second bath, or 
baptism, this ceremony was postponed to another day, 
generally the most favorable of the thirteen, in order 

'•"' The Teocliieliimcc hushnnd undertook the offirc of miihrife when the 
hirth took phu-c on tlio roiui. He heatetl tlie haek of liis wife with lire, 
tlirew water over her in lieu of a hath, and gave her two or three kicks in 
the haek after the delivery, in «»rder to promote the issue of superfluous 
Mood, The iiew-lwrn bain; was plaeed in u wieker basket, and thrown over 
the l)ack of the mother, who proe«'eded on her journey. Sahuijiin, /list. 
(Ifii., tiun. ii., lib. vi., pp. l!tl-*2<)3; also Toniiirimnfa, XfoiKin/. Imf., toni. 
ii., I>p. 445-6; Vlamgero, Storin Ant. <ld .Wfusiro, toni. ii., \>. S(i; Iinisnnir 
ill' hiiiirbuurg. Hist. Nat. Cie., torn, iii., pp. .'>(((>; ('nrhiijnl Esjiiiio.sii, Hist. 
Mi'r., Unn. I., pp. 551-2, 67.S, etc. Tiie utensils whieh served at the birth 
of the ehihl were, according; to Law Casjis, A/io/oi/rtini, MS., enp. 
tlxxi\., otlered at the fountain or river where the mother washed herself. 

" Hy Suhiiuun, Hint. Gen., torn, i., lib. iv., pp. 2.S'2-3"2S, and Dm an, 
Hisf. Indian, MS., toni. iii., cap. ii., the si;;ns of the calendar anil their 
wilidivisions are deRcril)cd at lenj^h. Each sign had thirteen sub-si;,nis, 
representing the same nunil)er of dava, hy whom its good or bud im|M)rt was 
moderated to a certoin ext«nt. Under certain signs the child was liable to 
Itccouie a drunkard, under another a jester, under a third a warrior, and so 
on. Ikasscur de Bourl)uurg, Hist. Nnt. Civ., toin. iii., p. 5<M), and Espi- 
nosa, list. Mex., torn, i., p. 552, Htate that the sign whieh had been most 
frciiuent at this period dunng the post thirteen years was also considered hy 
the astrologer. i 



■ ! 

to moderate, if possible, the threatened misfortune. 
The fortune-teller dilated upon the troubles in store 
for the infant and the vices it would develop, but 
'hedged' his oracle by adding that the adjoining signs 
contained certain redeemini^ features which might have 
j)ower to counterbalance the evil import of the birth- 
day sign.^ 

Preparations are now made for the baptism. The 
portals of the dwelling are decorated with green 
branches, flowers, and sweet-smelling herbs are scat- 
tered over the floors and courtyard, and the approaches 
to the house are carefully swept; tamales are cooked, 
maize and cacao ground, and delicacies of every de- 
scription prepared for the table, not forgetting tlic 
li(piors; for any shortcoming in this respect would 
reflect severely on the hospitality of the host.** The 
relatives of the family assemble before sunrise, and 
other friends droj) in as the day advances; each, as lie 
congratulates the host, presents a gift of clothing for 
the infant, and receives in his turn a present of man- 
tles, flowers, and choice food.*" In the course of tliu 
morning the midwife carries the infant to the court- 
yard, and places it upon a heap of leaves, beside wliich 
are set a new ajMxtle, or earthenware vessel, tilled 
with clear water, and several miniature implements, 
insignia of the father's trade or profession. If he is 
a noble or a warrior, the articles consist of a small 
shield, and a bow with arrows of a corresponding size, 
placed with their heads directed toward the four car- 
dinal point»5. Another set of arms made from dougli 
of amaranth-seed, and bound together with the dried 
navel-string of the child, is also prepared. If the 
child is a girl, there are placed beside it, instead of the 

38 Sahnqun, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. vi., pp. 215-7; Torqucmada, Mo- 
itarq. Lid., torn, ii., j>. 449. 

39 A loni' description of this feast, the table, attendance, etc., iaftiveii by 
Saliagiin, Hist. Gen., torn, i., lib. iv., pp. 332-C, and by Torqiienuula, ^lo- 
iiarq. Ind., torn, ii., pp. 457-8. I shall have occasion to describe it in ii 
future cliaptor of this volume, devoted to such matters. 

<» The poorer classes contented tlieniselves with an interchange of flowers 
and food. 



little weapons, a spindle and distaff, and some articles 
of girl's clothing. When the sun rises the midwife 
.sets her face and the face of the child toward the west, 
and addressing the infant, says: "() eagle, () tiger, () 
hrave little man and grandson of mine, thou hast been 
i)rought into the world by thy father and uir^her, thj 
great lord and the great lady. Thou wast created in 
that house which is the abode of the supreme gods 
that are above the nine heavens. Thou art a gift irom 
our son Quetzalcoatl, the omnipresent; be joined to 
tliy mother, Chalchihuitlicue, the goddess of water." 
Then placing her dripping fingers on the lips of the 
child, she continues: "Take this, for uj)on it thou hast 
to live, to wax strong, and flourish; by it we obtain all 
necessary things; take it!" Then touching the child 
on the breast with her moistened fingers, she says: 
"Take this holy and pure water that tliine heart may 
be cleansed." Then the midwife j)ours water on the 
ciiild's head, saying: "Receive, O my son, the water 
of the Lord of the World, which is our life, with 
which we wash and are clean; may this celestial light- 
lilue water enter into thy body, and there remain; 
may it destroy and remove from thee all evil and ad- 
verse things that were given thee before the beginning 
of the world; behold, all of us are in the hands of 
Chalchihuitlicue, our mother." She now washes the 
body of the child, exclaiming: "Evil, wheresoever 
tliou art, begone, avaunt; for the child liveth anew 
and is born again; once more it is purified; a second 
time is it renewed of our mother, Chalchihuitlicue. ' 
Then lifting up the little one toward heaven, she ad- 
dresses Ometochtli and Omecioatl:" "Behold, O Lord, 
the creature which thou hast sent to this ])lace of sor- 
row, affliction, and anguish, to this world; give it, () 
Lord, of thy gifts and inspiration, for thou art the 
j,Teat god and the great goddess," Then stooping as 
if to set the child down, she raises it a second time, 

*^ A dual iloitv, uniting both sexes in one person. 
Vol. II.' 18 



crying upon the goddess of the waters:*' "O lady 
goddess, mother of the gods, inspire this child with 
thy virtue." A third time she st<M)ps and raisiiiji,' 
the child toward heaven, addresses the gods: "(> lords 
celestial, and gods who dwell ia heaven, hehold this 
creature whom ye have sent among men, fill it with 
your spirit and mercy, that it may live." A fourtli 
time she sets down and raises the babe, and callin},' 
now upon the sun and the earth she says:** *M) our 
Lord, Sun, father of all, and thou, () Earth, our 
mother, take ye this child for your own, and, as it 
is born for war,** so let it die defending the cause »»f 
the gods, and be permitted to enjoy the delights pre- 
pared in heaven for the brave," 

The midwife now takes the implements and prays 
to the patron deity of the trade or j)rofession thoy 
represent on belialf of the child ; then she places the 
mantle upon the shoulders of the infant, girds on tlie 
little maxtli, and asks the boys present to give the 
child a name. This was, however, merely a matter of 
forn.; the parents really had the choosing of tlie 
name and told it to the boys. It was usually taken 
either from the sign of ^ le day, or from a bird or ani- 
mal, in the case of a bo} ; the girls Mere named from 
flowers, and this rule was especially observed by the 
Toltecs and Miztecs. Sometimes a child took its 
name from some important event which occurred at 
the time of its birth; as when the Tlascaltec chief Cit- 
lalpopoca, 'smoking star,' was so named because at his 
birth a flaming comet was seen in the sky. Sometimes 
children were named after the feast held at the time 
of their nativity; thus, boys born during the festival 
of the renewal of the sacred fire, called toxilmolpilm, 

<» Sahajyim, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. vi., p. 220, makes the midwife, in 
this iiiHtance, call upon Citlalatonac. This goddess was, however, idcntiial 
with Oinetochtli and Omecioatl (see, more especially, Cnrbajal Esfuminit, 
Hist. Mex., torn, i., p. 472), to whom the preceding prayer was directcil. 
Clavi;^cro and Torquemada assert that the prayer was addressed to the 

« Siihagun addresses the Sim-God only. 

** We may presume that the midwife is here addressing the child of a 



were named molpUfi, *a tied object,' and girls xiuhne- 
hcti, 'little doll of the year of tire.' Owasionally a 
cliiid was nauud I'Ster some renowned ancestor. A 
second name .fuiu be ac(juired by valiant deeds in 
battle. Motolinia adds tbat sons of prominent men 
took a surname fnjm the dignity or office held by the 
father, either in youth or manhood ; or they inherited 
it with the estate at the death of the i)arent. Chil- 
dren born during the last five days of the y )r, called 
iicitiontemi, 'unlucky days,' were considered unfortun- 
ate; boys born under such circumstances were often 
named nemoquivhtU, 'unlucky man,' ai'. girls nem'i- 
htintl, 'unlucky woman.'" 

Th<^ ii'ldwife, having baptized the child, now calls 
upon it tliree timos by its new name; admonishing it to 
I lake good use of the implements or ^veaJ)ons ])laced 
in its hands.** It is thereupon carried into the house, 
preceded by torchbearei*s, and placed in the cradle, 
before which the midwife offers prayers to Yot.lticitl, 
'ifoddess of the cradle,' commending the child to her 
care, and beseeching her to nourish and protect it ; 
then, turning to the cradle, she adds: "O thou, the 
mother of the child, receive this babe with gentleness, 
taking heed not to injure it." Then she places the 
child in the cradle, the parents meanwhile calling upon 
Yoalticitl to protect it, and upon Yoaltecutli, 'the 
god of night,' to lull it to sleep." During this cere- 

<' riavigero, Storia Ant. del Memco, torn, ii., p. 84, Trrqiicmada, Mo- 
vnn/. /nil., toin. ii., p. 287, and Brasseur de Bourhourjj, Hist. A«/. dr., 
toin. iii., p. 287, traimlate NciiioqHiclitli and NencihuatI ' usi'less man ' antl 
'iwi'less woman. Turqucmada, Jloniirq. Inil., toni. ii., p. 454-<5, di.><cii.s»«H 
imiiiCM, why and how they were applied, in Mexico and elsewhere. Motolinia, 
in I'fizhalreta, Col. de Doc, torn, i., p. .37, states that the name j;iven at hap- 
tisni was discarded for one apfdied by the priest, ^\'hen the parents carried 
till' tliild to the temple in the third liionth. See also Rttos Autigvos, p. 22, 
in Khiffsboroiiffh's Mex. Antiq., v<d. ix. (iomara, t'o/iy. Mex., fol. 312, savs 
tliat the name given by the priest was the siimme, nohles sometimes tak- 
iiij; a third name. Brasseur de BonrlMJurj;. hit. Nut. Civ., tom. iii., p. 
r)li2, says that several additional names etiuld lie taken under various cir- 
cuiiistances. In Codex Mendoza, in Kitvjsborough''H Mex. ^'»fiq., vol. v., 
1>. IH), it is stated that the name was given by three boys who sat by eating 

*^ Boturini states that the infant is thereupon passed four times through 
the fire. Clmngero, Storia Ant. del Messico, tom. ii., p. 88; but this cere- 
mony is described elsewhere in this volume as taking place in the temple. 



mony, which is termed thtcocufaquiio, or 'the act o*" 
] (lacing the child in the cradle,' the boys of the village, 
dressed to imitate soldiers, enter the house, seize cur 
tain food previously prepared for them, called the 
'child's navel,' scatter the rest, and rush forth, muneli- 
'\nix and shoutinjr the child's nanie and future dts- 
tinics. The lights, called oco^t', which have been used 
<luring the ceremonies, must be left to burn out, and 
the fire that was lighted on the birthday must be 
kept brightly burning until after the baptizing, nor 
is any one allowed to borrow from its flame, for that 
would injure the prospects of the child. The uni- 
])ilical cord is buried with the mimic weapons in a 
]>lace where a battle may be expected to take jilacu 
on a future day. The girl's instruments and navcl- 
Ntrinof are buried under a metate. The afterbirth is 
interred in a corner of the house. After the cradlinj; 
t.eremony the guests proceed to the banqueting-rooni, 
where thev seat themselves accor<ling to age and rank. 
The festivities lasted twenty days," or even longer, 
if the father was wealthy, during which time the 
liouse was kept open to all comers. Each visitor pre- 
sented his gifts and made a speech to the inftmt on 
the duties, honors, and hapi)iness in store for it, and 
;ulorning his disct)urse according to the rank of the 
parents, or his own courtesy. He next congratulated 
the mother, then the midwife, urging her further care 
of the infant, and lastly the father, referring to his 
character and services, and wishing him joy. If the 
f;i,ther was a lord, the neighboring princes sent an eni- 
Itassy, preceded by numerous presents, and a chosen 
orator delivered a congratulatory address before the 
f:»,ther and those present, to which an old man re- 
vsponded on behalf of all, commenting upon the good 
wishes of the neighboring nobles. The orator of the 
(ifubassy then begged that the shortcomings of his foi- 
]nor speech might be excused, and was answered by the 
jliest or most respected person present, on the parent's 

" Sakai/un, Hist. Gen., torn, i., lib. iv., pp. 330-8. 



behalf. Tlie fomale friends who came to inspect the 
infant, rubbed the joints of the body, esi)ecially tlie 
knees, >vith ashes, thinking that this wouUl strengthen 
them and prevent the bones from becoming loose. 
The same was done to the children who accompanied 
theni.*^ In some parts the baptismal ceremony cot:- 
sisted in putting some quicklime upon the child's 
knee, and savino- to it: "O thou little one, that hast 
come into the world to suffer, suffer and be silent. 
Thou livest, but thou shalt die; much pain and 
anguish shall come upon thee; thou shalt become dust, 
even as this lime, which was once stone."*" If a boy, 
an arrow or dart was then placed in the child's left 
liand, to indicate that he must be brave and defend 
his country; if a girl, she was given a distaff, as a 
amx tliat she must become industrious in all womanly 
I»ur.suits.™ In Tlascala and Miztecapan the infxmt was 
bathed in a sacred spring, which, it was thought, 
would avert misfortune. Mendieta says that tlie mid- 
wife merely sprinkled the child a certain number of 
times, first with wine and then with water." Among 
flit! Zapotecs both mother and child were washed in a 
river, and invocations were addressed to all land and 
a(|uatic animals, entreating their favor and deprecating 
their anger;" it was als.> customary to assign sonitt 
animal or bird to a child, as its uarjual, or tutelaiy 
<(enius, and with the fortune of such creature its 
fate was supposed to be so intimately coimet ted, that 
the death of one involved the death of the other." 
Burgoa adds further that this was assigned by lot, but 
it is stated elsewhere, and with greater pnibability if 
we may judge by similar superstitions in the old 
wurld, that the first bird or beast that appeared after 

*' It was Mievt^d, says Torquenmda, that tliis rulihin;:; of tlieir own 
limlw liiul u streiigthcHiiiy ettcct upon the new-born. Munuiq. liuL, toni. 
ii , p. l.">7. 

*' <!i>mara, Cotiq. Mex., fol. 312. 

^" liiirild. Tmtro Er/cs., toni. i., p. 18. 

;'' Erlrs., p. 107. 

'-' r.iinina, Grng. lAxcriu., tom. ii., pt ii., fol. 329. 

^' /(/ fol. 3'J5.' 



the birth of the child was appointed its spiritual i)ro- 

Whetlier the custom of circumcision, which has 
been the great prop of argument in favor of the Jew- 
ish origin of tlic Aztecs, really obtained among those 
people, has been doubted by numerous authors. Al- 
though circumcision was certainly not by any moans 
general, yet sufficient proof exists to show that it was 
in use in mmie form among certain tribes. Las Casas 
and Mendieta state that the Aztecs and Totoiiacs 
practiced it, and Brasseur do Bourbourg has discov- 
ered traces of it among the Mijes. Las Casas affirms 
that the child was carried to the temple on the twon- 
ty-eighth or twenty-ninth day after birth; there tlio 
high-priest and his assistant i)laced it upon a stone, 
and cutoff the prepuce at the root; the part anijui- 
tated they afterward burned to ashes. Girls of tlio 

^* Tlio f()lIowin<i; arc contradirtory accounts of baptism. On the fourtli 
day tlie cliild and inotlicr took a |)ui'iti('uti()n l>atli, and tlicas^tinhlLMl ^rucsts 
were feauted uii zaniorra, a disli made from mai/e and tlie t1e»h of licii:^, 
deer, etc. Three day« after, the mother carried tlic child to the adjoiiiin;: 
ward, accompanied hy a'lx little hoys, if it was a male child, utherwisr >i\ 
};irls went witli her, to carry the implements or insi<;nia of the fiitlici's 
trade. Hero she washed the child in a stream, and tlien returned liniiio. 
Two years after a feast was served in the house of the most intimate iici;;li- 
hor, who was asked to name the child, and with him it remained and vas 
held as a memhor of his family. Chares, Rapport, in Trriiaiix-Coiii/Hins, 
Voy., serie ii., torn, v., pp. 3(H}-8. The infant was carried to the t('iii|)li', 
where the priest made an oration on the miseries to he endured in this 
world, and jdaccd a sword in the rij;ht hand of the child and a hm klcr in tlio 
left; or, if it was destincfl to he a mechanic, an art izan's tool; if a ^'iil it 
received a distaff. Theiiriest then took the child to the altar and drew ;i few 
drojjs of blood from its iiody with a .iia};ucy-tliorn or knife, after wliicli lie 
threw water over it, deliveriii}? certain imprecations the while. Tintriin, lli-l. 
Hi'it., toni. iii., j)]!. 1'2-13. The implenients wore jdaced in the hand; of tlic 
child by the priest before the idfil. Acosta, Hist, (fr fas Ynd., p. 374. .ANo 
Jlrrnra, Hist, (ini., dec. iii., lib. ii., cap. .xvii. The child underwent tline 
biiptisms or baths. Ziiazn, Carta, in Icazhalrrtn, Col. i/r Por., toiii. i.. p. 
3t»4. On the seventh day the baptism took iilacc, an<l a thirt was iilaccd iu 
tlie hanil of the child to sijjnify that he should become a defender of iiiscnuii- 
try. ^fotii/iiiia, Hist, fiiaios, in Id., p. 37. In Spirt/nzioiir drllr Turnli- ilil 
Codice Mixieaiio (Vaticano), tav. xxxi. !>• Kiiiif.sfiomuif/i's Mt:,r. A)itii/.. vol. 
v., p. ISl, it is stated that tlie child was s|irinkl(d with a bunch of licille 
dipped in water, and fiimipited with incense before receiving its iiuinc. 
(Mrerinp* were made at the temple which the priest divided aiiionj; tlic 
school children. Tylor, in \ii» A iia/iiiar, p. 27'.), and J'rimitire Cidtun. vul 
ii., pp. 42S>-30 gives short reviews of the baptismal ceremony and its iiionil 






same acfe were defloured by tlie finj^er of the priest, 
who ordered the mother to repeat tlie operation at the 
sixtli year. Zuazo adds that tiiese rites were oidy 
perforined upon the children of great men, and that 
there was no compulsion in the matter, the parents 
having the option of having their children deHoured 
or circumcised at any time within five years/'"^ 

In the fifth month, at Huitzilopochtli's festival, all 
children born during the year were scarified on the 
hreast, stomach, or arms, and by this means received 
as followers of their god.^ At the festival in honor 
of Teteionan or Toci, 'mother of the gods,' in the elev- 
enth month, the women delivered during the year 
underwent purification and presented their children. 
In the evening a signal was sounded from the temple, 
and the mothers, dressed in their best, accomj)anied 
by friends, and preceded by torch-bearers and serv- 
ants carrying the babes, made the tour of the town or 
(juarter; a halt was made at every temple to leave an 
otfcring and a lighted torch for the i)residing goddess. 
At the temple of Toci extra offerings were made, in- 
cluding tzocoijotly cakes of fiour and honey; and here 
the i)riest performed the ceremony of purification by 
})ronouncing certain jirayers over the women." In 

5'> I.disCnxax, TTi.if. Apologfficn, Mf>.,ca\\. clxxv. ; Torqur.mmln, Monarq. 
Ii(il.,U)\\\. ii., ]»p. 8S-4; Mviidieta, Hist. Ecks., pp. 107-8; Zuazo, Vartii, iii 
Irnzhiihrtii, Col. i/r l)ov., toiii. i., p. 3U4; Jini.i.seiir dr. JioiiflniKn/, llist. Xnt. 
I'ir., tciiii. iii., p. 35. ("luvi^eri), Storiit Aiit. ilrl Mr.s.iico, toin. ii., p. 7.'<, re- 
viuws tlic .sultjet't of circunu'isiou ami (Iciiies tliiit it was ever prai-ticetl. Ter- 
iiaiix-Cdiupiiiis, Vol/., Miirio i., p. 4."), toiii. x., it'fi'irin<;t<» Dia/'statciufiit tliat 
ail Iiidiim.s of tlic V'ora Cni/ Islands are cirfuinci/cd, savs tiiat lie must 
Ikivo ciiufduiidcd the oiistoiii of drawing,' Idmid from tiie .secret or;;aiiS 
with circuiiicision. ("ojfolliido, Jfist. l'«c., p. I'.M, says firt'umcisioii was 
iiiikiiowii to the Indians of Yucatan. Duran and Hras.seiir evidently con- 
^illcr the sli;rht iiicisionn made for the of drawing Idood from the 
pri'imcc or ear, in the eleventh month, as the act. Carhajal Kspinosa, Ifisf. 
.^fi.r., toni. i., ]). ."k'W, foUowiiif? Clavij^i-ro, holds the scarilieation of hreast, 
siiiinuch and arms to he the eircumeision referred to hy other authors, 
llcrrcra, Ifi.sf. (Irii,, de<'. iii., lih. ii., cap. xvii.. and especially .\costa, llixf. 
(/'■ hus Vtiif., p. 374, consider the incision on the prepuce and ear to have 
lifcii mistukeii for circumcision, and state that it was chielly performed 
ii|Min sons of ;^reat men; they do not state when the ceremony took place. 

'■''^ Ton/iiriiiu'lft, Monarq. hid., toni. ii., p. 'iOG; t'tirlxijul Esjiiiiosit, llist, 
.l/ir.. join, i., p. .^IS. 

" Tliis rite was followed hy another, which usually took iilacn in the 
toiiiple of lhiitzilo|)uehtli. The priest made u »liijlit iiiulMiuu uu the ear uf 



the eighteenth month of every fourth year, the chil- 
(h'en born since the last corresponding feast, wore 
taken to the temple, where their ears were pierced 
with a sharp bone, and macaw-feathers, tlachcatjofl, in- 
serted; the god-father and god-mother, or, as they 
are termed, uncles and aunts, whose duty it was to 
•nitiate the children into the service of the gods, 
holding them during the operation.** 

An offering of flour of the chian seed was made, 
and the godfather was presented with a red robe, 
the godmother with a huipil. Each child was then 
passed through the flames of a fire prepared for the 
purpose; the priest next took its head between his 
hands, and in that manner lifted it bodily from tlie 
ground. Everyone thereupon went home to feast, 
but at noon the godfather and godmother returned 
to the temple and executed a dance, holding the 
children on their backs, and giving them pulque to 
drink, in very small cups. This went on till dusk, 
w^hen they retired to their houses to continue tlie 
dancing and drinking. This feast and month, Itzcalli, 
•growth,' obtained its name from the ceremony of 
squeezing the heads of children, which, it was thought, 
would make them grow; but it was also called the 
'feast of the intoxication of boys and girls.'^' 

Among the Miztecs, the mother took hot i)aths for 
twenty days after delivery, at the end of which time 
a feast was held in honor of the goddess of the batli, 
the child sharing in the honors of the occasion."" 

the female cliilil, and on the ear and prepiiec of the male, with a new nl- 
sidian knife iiandcd to him by the motlier, tlien, thro\viii}{ the knife iit tlic 
feet of tlie idol, he f^ave a name to the infant, at the letjnest of the paiTiit, 
after duly consideriiij; the horoseopc and si^^ns of the tinie. Ihiraii, JlisK 
Iiiiliaii, MS., toni. iii., cap. iii., ([noted by Brtisscurdc liuiirltoiirtj, Hist. Nut. 
Cir., torn, iii., pp. ii'iS-O. Duran reall;^ states that thei^c eeremonies took 
]ilaee in the fourth month, hut as Toei's festival oeeurs in tlie eleventii 
month, Hrasseur alters the evident mistake. The namin;; of the infant 
Wiay liave been a mere eonlirnuition of the name j^iven l»y the midwife. 

** Torqiirmaria, Motiarq. In</., Um\. ii. p. 28G. 

^ Sa/ui{fun, (rfii., torn, i., lib. ii., pp. 189-90. Sahagun translatos 
Itzralli by 'growth,' but otlier authors differ from him, as we shall see in a 
future chapter on the Calendar. 

^ Jlcrrcra, Hist. Gen,, dec. iii., lib. iii., cap. xii. 







Iw nV.- 

lit till" 







ill A 

Tlioy also gave the child a feast on its first birthday. 
(Jrcat care was exercised to make children hardv and 
stroii<j:, and no mother, however high in rank, allowed 
her child to be given to a nurse, unless her own health 
(lonianded such a step. The test of a wet nurse was 
to press out a drop of milk upon the nail, when if it 
did not run the milk was considered good."* No food 
was given to the child the first day, in order to creatt; 
an appetite."^ It was suckled for three years, in soine 
places much longer;"^ and, during this time the mother 
adhered to a diet that would keep up the (piality of 
the milk; many abstained from intercourse with their 
liusl)ands for the same period, to prevent the })ossi- 
bility of another child interfering with the proper nur 

Another feast was given at the 
Gomara mentions that a kind 

ture of the first one 
weaning of the child 
of head-flattening was practiced; he says that the in- 
fants were so placed in the cradle as not to allow tlie 
ot'ci})ut to grow, for such a development way consid- 
ered ugly."* Humboldt, however, says that the Aztecs 
never flattened the head. That it was practiced to a 
considerable extent in remote times by people inhabit- 
ing the. country, seems to be shown by the deformed 
skulls found in their graves, and by the sculptured 
figures upon the ruins. Klennn states that the cradle 
consisted of a hard board to which the infant was 
bound in such a manner as to cause the malformation. 
Tlie cradle among the poor Aztecs was generally t)f 
l!"-])! cane, and could be tied to the back of the 

^^ Motniinin, Hist. Indios, in Tcazhalcefn, Col. de Dor.., torn, i., p. 77; 
Ton/iirmtii/if, Mouarq. Iiid., toin. ii., pp. 4()0-l. 

fi' (liiiiKtrii, Cuiiq. Mex., fol. 312. 

6' Ciivhiijdl J<Js/)iiiosa, Hist. Mi;k., toin. i., p. 553. 

*>» (loiinnii, Coiiq. Mix., fol. 318. 

"^ Tlio iiiitiiorities ou childbirtii, Imptism, ami circumrision arc: Snfi((- 
gun. Hist, (ini., torn, i., lib. ii., np. 1S7-1K), lib. iv., i)p. '281-3.S7, toin. ii., 
lili. vi., i»p. l(!0-'2'2'2, toni. iii., lili. x., pp. ll!)-2t); t'ltiri(jrri>, Sforiit Ant. 
(Id M.s.sim, toin, ii., pp. 2-7.3, 80-89; Torqurmada, Monnrq. Intl., toni. 
ii , pp. S:{-4. 2(>fi, 28<), 44.'»-()l; Iferrcra, Hist Geti., dec. iii., lib. ii., cap. 
.wii., lil). ill., rap. xii., lib. iv., cap. xvi.; Las Cnsas, Hisf^ A/iofngr/irii, 
Ms., cap. clxxv., dxxix. ; Codex Meiidozti, pp. {M)-l, in Kiiii/slinroiti/h's 
.Vlu Aiitiq. vol. v.; Motolinia, Hist. Indios, u\ Icuzbakela, Col. de Hoc, 


torn, i., i)p. 37-8, 77, 108; Zunzo, dtrta, in Id., pp. .103-4; MrniUctn, IHst. 
Edes., |i|>. 107-8, 13!t; liitrt/on, Oeoif. JJcucri/t., toin. ii., jit ii., fol. 3'JSt, 
S'J"); Jhivila, Ti<ttro Eclcs., toiii. i., p. 18; Cumaigo, J'iuu:, in \oii- 
velles AtiHtt/is t/rn Vol/., 1843, toni. xeviii., j). 203; Carhitjitl Esjiiiiosa, Hist. 
Mcx., toni. i., pi>. 538, 551-5, 673; Brusseiir de Bourbourn, Jli.if. A'«<. Civ., 
toni. i., p. '240, tiini. iii., pn. 35, 5'25-0, 560-3; Acostii, Ilixl. dc l(i.s Ytid., 
J). .374; (Jiniiitnt, Coiiq. Mi.r., fol. 312, 317-18; Tuiiroii, Hist. Gen., Umi. 
lii., pp. 12-13; C/iuir.i, Jiapport, in Tcraaux-Companji, Voy., wi'rie ii., 
toni. v., pp. 3lK) -8; Moutuitits, Aifuire Wccreld, pp. 32, 2(i5; Khiiiiii, (.'id- 
tiir-Gcsr/in/itr, toni. v., pp. ,30-9; Jimsirrre, V Empire Mcjr., |»p. 14(1 1; 
IfAvitji, L'AnuviqHC, toni. ii., p. 73; Jiaril, Mexiijiie, |»p. iyiV-2(H); Jiilos 
Aiitif/iiDS jip. 22-.3, in Kiiitj.sburitugh''s Mvx. Antiii., vol. ix. ; Luct, Xovks 
Orltis, J). 231t; Ailair^s Atnn: Iiid., p. 217; Midler, Jiri.icn, toin. iii., pji. 
118-20; I'lirrlifin liin ]'ilffriiuc.H, vol. iv., pp. 1102-3, 1140; Vinii, Carliis, 
]»ti., p. 101; Diiritn, Hint. Indin.t, MS., toni. iii., cap. iii.; Dinz, Itiiiemiir, 
111 TcrHaii.c-C(>iiij)iiii.i, Vot/., serici., torn, x., p. 45; Humboldt., E.wai Pol., 
toni. i., p. UO; Morion's Crania Arner,, p. 147; Ddajield's Antin. Amcr., 
p. 19. 



Excessive Fondness for Feasts— Makneu of Giving Feasts— Serv- 
ing THE Meal— Professional Jesters— Parting Presents to 
OiKSTs— Royal Banquets— Tobacco Smoking— Piblic Dances- 
Manner OF Singing and Dancing- The Neteteliztli -The 
Drama among the Nahuas— Music and Musical Instruments — 
Nahua Poetry— Acrobatic Feats— The Netololiztli, or 'Bird 
Dance'— Professional Runners— The Game of Tlactli— Games 
OF Chance— The Patoliztli, or 'IJean Game'— Totoloque, Mon- 
tezuma's Favorite Game. 

The excessive fondness of the Aztecs for feasts and 
anuisenients of every kind seems to have extended 
throu<rh all ranks of society. Every man feasted his 
noii,dil)or and was himself hi turn feasted. Birthdays, 
victories, house- warmin<^s, successful voyages or spec- 
ulations, and other events too numerous to enumerate 
Avere celebrated with feasts. Every num, from king to 
]>easant, considered it incumbent upon him to be second 
to none among his equals in the giving of banquets and 
entertainments, and as these involved the distribution 
of costly presents among his guests, it often ha}ti)ened 
that the host ruined himself by his hospitality; in- 
deed, it is said that many sold themselves into 
slav(;ry that they might be able to prepare at least one 
feast that would immortalize their memory.^ !More- 

1 Bitot Atifiguos, p. 20, in Kingsborough's Mex. Antiq., vol. ix. 




over the priests, wltli the subtle policy characteristic 
of their class, took advantai^e of this disi)osition to 
ordain long and frequent celebrations in honor of in- 
numerable gods; in short, it is difficult to conceive 
what part of the year could have been saved for busi 
ness from what seems to have been a continual round 
of merry-making. 

The grandeur of the feast depended, of course, upon 
the wealth of the host, the rank of the guests, and 
the importance of the event celebrated. For many 
days before a noble or wealthy man entertained his 
friends, an army of servants were employed in swecj)- 
ing the approaches to the house, decorating the halls 
and courts with branches and garl.ands, erecting chi- 
nainas, or arbors, and strewing the floors with flowers 
and sweet herbs; others prei)ared the table service, 
killed and dressed dogs, plucked fowls, cooked taniu- 
les, baked bread, ground cacao, brewed drinks, and 
manufactured perfumed cigarettes. Invitations were 
in tlie meantime sent to the guests. These on theii- 
arrival were presented with flowers as a token of 
welcome. Those of a superior condition to the host 
were saluted after the Aztec fashion by touching the 
liand to the earth and then carrying it to the lii)s. 
On some occasions garlands were placed upon the 
heads of the guests and strings of roses about their 
necks, while copal was burnt before those whom the 
host delighted specially to honor. While waiting for 
tlie meal the guests employed their time in walking 
freely al)out the place, complimenting their host on the 
tasteful manner in which the house was decorated, or ad- 
miring the fine shrubbery, green grass plats, well-kej)! 
flower-beds, and sparkling fountains in the gardens. 

Dinner being announced, all took their seats, accord- 
ing to rank and age, upon mats or icpalU, stools, 

Servants then entereil 

I'anjifed close along the walls." 

' Tlic highest in rank or consideration sat on the rij^ht side, and tlmsc 
of inferior (le<i;reo on the left; youn^x men sat at tlie ends on both siiles. 
according to tliuir rank. Suhatjun, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. ix., ])\\. 347-8. 



with water and towels, M'ith which each ji^uest washed 
his hands and mouth. Sinokin<^-canes were next pre- 
st'iited on inolcaxeU'ii, or phites, to stiniuhite the a})pe- 
tite. Tlie viands, kej)t warm by chafing dislies, were 
then brought in upon artistically worked plates of gold, 
silver, tortoise-shell, or earthenware. Each })erson 
hef'ore beginning to eat threw a small piece of food 
into a lighted brazier, in honor of Xiuhtecutli, the 
god of fire,'' probably by way of grace. The numer- 
ous highly seasoned dishes of meat and fish having 
hecn duly discussed, the servants cleared the tabks 
Mild feasted u[)on the remains of the bantpiet in com- 
j>aiiy with the attendants of the guests.* Vessels 
t ailed teutecomat/s, filled with chocolate, each provided 
with a spoon to stir the fluid with, were then brought 
oil, together with water for washing the hands and 
rinsing the mouth. The women who were present on 
these occasions, although they sat apart from the men, 
it'ceived a kind of spiced gruel instead of cacao. The 
old people, however, were j)lied with octli, a very potent 
l)everage, until they became drunk, and this was held 
to be an indispensable part of the ceremony. 

The smoking-canes were now once more produced, 
and while the guests reclined luxuriously upon their 
mats enjoying the grateful influence of the fragrant 
kaf which we are told by Bernal Diaz they called 
'tobacco,' and sipping their drinks, the music suddenly 
struck up, and the young folks, or perhaps some pro- 
fessionals, executed a dance, singing at the same time; 
an ode ])repared for the occasion, as well as other songs. 
Dwarfs, deformed beings, and curious objects were 

' Speiilving of this Xiuhtecutli, Torqucnmdn says: ' hnnrabanlo conio u 
Mios, jM)r(|UL> loH oalcntalm, cucia el Pan y ;iiiisalm hi CariiL', y por osto I'li 
laila Casa Ic vcnerahau; y en el niisnio Fiifiim, 6 Hojfar, <iuaiul<> qiieriaii 
I'omcr, lo (lal)a!i el primer honulo tie la viaiuhi, para que alii iso queinase; y 
li> que avian de In-her, lo avia de f^ustar priuiero, hochan<lo eii «'l fucp) parte 
ill' <1 licor.' ^fonflrlJ. Inil., toui. ii., p. 57. Saha;^nn Hays the inorsi 1 of food 
«Ms thrown into the tire in honor of the ;j;od TIalteeutli: 'antes qu ; coinen- 
/.iscii j1 comer los eonvidados hi comida (jue le.s hahian puesto, ton al)an un 
li'iiiuio de la comida, y arrojahanio al fue<;o d honra del dios Tiah 3CuUi, y 
liii'u'ocomenzahau d comer.' Hist, (irii., toin. i., lib. iv., p. 333. 
* Turqucmiidu, Mu,nirij[. Ind,, torn, ii., p. 457. 



also introduced to vary the entertainment; but tliu 
profuHHional jesters were the favorites, and the jokes 
made by tliem raised many a laugh, though this was 
rather forced perhaps by those at whose expense said 
jokes were cracked, for these fools were fully as privi 
leged as their contemporary European brothers of 
motley, and sometimes spoke very biting truths in the 
sh{i])e of a jest; in some cases they were disguised in 
the costume of a foreign nation, whose dialect and 
j)eculiarities they imitated; at other times they would 
mimic old wome? , well-known eccentric individuals, 
and so forth. 

The nobles kept a number of these jesters for their 
own amusement, and often sent them to a neighboring 
brother-noble to propound riddles; taking care to [)ro- 
vide them with means to pay forfeit should the riddle 
be solved." 

Tliese private banquets generally lasted till mid- 
night, when the party broke up. Each guest received 
at parting presents of dresses, gourds, cacao-beans, 
flov f!rs, or articles of food. Should any accident or 
shortcoming have marred the pleasure of the party, 
the host would sooner repeat the entertainment than 
have any slur rest upon his great social venture. 1 n 
any case it was doubtless difficult for the good man to 
escape censure either for extravagance or stinginess. 

At the royal feasts given when the great vassals 
came to the capital to render homage to their sov- 
ereign, the people flocked in from the provinces in 
great numbers to see the sights, which consisted of 
theatrical representations, gladiatorial combats, fights 
between wild beasts, athletic sports, musical perform- 
ances, and poetical recitations in honor of kings, gods, 
and heroes. The nobles, in addition to this, partook 
daily of banquets at the palace, and were presented by 
the monarch with costly gifts." 


* Sahnqun, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. viii., p. 292. 

* For (lescription of feasts see: Torqiienifuta, Monarq. Ind., torn ii., j>p. 
-8; Sahagun, Hist, Gen., toiu. i., lib. iv., pp. 332-6, torn, ii., lib. ix., 



To the tohacco-lovincf reader it will be interesting to 
learn how the weed was smoked in the New World 
before it was hitroduced into tiie Old by the immortal 
Jean Nieot, whose name be forever blessed. The habit 
of smoking did not possess among the Nahiias the 
peculiar character attached to it by the North Ameri- 
can natives, as an indispensable accessory to treaties, 
the cementing of friendship, and so forth, but was in- 
dulged in chierty by the sick, as a pastime and for its 
stimulating effect. The origin of the custom among 
the Nahuas may be traced to the use of reed-grass, 
tilled with aromatic herbs, which was lighted and 
given to guests that they might diffuse the perfume 
about them; gradually they cj'fne to j)ufi* the -reeds 
and swallow the smoke, pretendmj" to find therein a 
remedy against headache, fatigue, phlegm, sleepless- 
ness, etc. Three kinds of tobacco were used, the ijf'tl, 
sigiiitying tobacco in general, obtained from a large 
loavt'd plant, ^he plcyetl, from a small but stronger 
species, and qmmijetl, a less esteemed kind known later 
on as wild tobacco. Clavigero asserts that the picyetl 
and <i>i(V.iijetl were the only species known among the 
Mexicans. It was generally smoked after dinner in 
the form of paper, reed, or maize-leaf cigarettes, called 
poci/cf/, 'smoking tobacco,' or ucayetl, 'tobacco-reed,* 
the leaf being mixed in a paste, says Veytia, with 
xorhiocofzotl, liquid amber, aromatic herbs, and pulver- 
ized charcoal, so as to keep smouldering wlien once 
lighted, and shed a perfume. The picyetl tobacco was 
sin )ked later in the day, without admixture, and some- 
what in the shape of cigars. The smoke was inlialed, 
and the nose closed, in order that none of the grateful 
quiilities should be lost. Wooden, metal, or bamboo 
tubes were sometimes used instead of cigarettes. Snuff- 

l>p. ."^oO-OO, .164-5; Brasseur de Bourboitrij, Hint. Nat. Civ., torn, iii., pp. 
(U'Hi; fit., in N'oiimlle.s Annate.^ de.i Voif., 1858, torn, clix., j)p. 74-(»; f/o- 
iimm, Conq. Afex., fol. 318; Prescotfs Mex., vol. i., pp. 152-7; Ihimierre, 
I'Kinpirr Mc.v., p. 178; Baril, Mexique, pp. 210-11; Ritos Antiguos, p. 20, 
vxKiitijsboruu'jh's Mex, Antiq., vol. ix. 

I #1 



iii<^ the pulvorizod leaf is an ancient custom wliich wo 
owe to them.' 

Duiicinjjf was the favorite Aztec amusemont, and tlic 
fanciful arrangement of their dances, as well as the 
peculiar grace of their motions, is highly praised hy 
all the old chroniclers. Dancing, and especially reli- 
gious dances, formed an im{)ortant part of an Aztec 
youth's education, and nuieh trouble was taken by the 
])riests to instruct them in it. 

The preparations for the great public dances, when 
the performers munbered thousands,* were on an im- 
mense scale. The choirs and bands attached to the 
service of the various temples were })laced under the 
supervision of a leader, usually a priest, who composed 
tiie ode of tlie day, set it to nmsic, instructed the mu- 
sicians, appointed the leaders of the dance, perfected 
the arrangements generally, observed that all did their 
duty, and caused every fault or negligence to be se- 
verely punished.* The NeteteVrJli dance took i)lact' 
either in the plaza or in the courtyard of the temple, in 
the centre of which mats were spread for the musicians. 
The nobles and aged men formed a circle nearest to the 
drums, the i>eople of less importance formed another 
<ircle a little distance behind, and the young people 
composed the third ring. Two leading dancers directed 
the movements, and whatever steps they made were 
imitated by the performers. When all was ready, a 
whistle g ive the signal and the drums were beaten 
lightly t' a well-known tune started by the leaders 
and take up by the dancers, who at the same time 
began to love their feet, arms, heads and bodies in 
]>erfect ac )rd. Each verse or couplet was repeated 

"< Vrytin, ist. Ant. Mej., Unn. iii., pp. 4!)-.51; Clavigero, ftfnrin Anf. 
ili'l Missico, 111. ii., p. '227. Hrninnrfrz, Nova Plant., y. 17S; Uvinhi, (ifn., tiiin, i., p. .'ii,'); Iira,s.sPiir dr Bourbon rr/. Hist. Nat. Civ., Unw. 
iii., 1). ()4(>; Carhajal Enpinosa, Hist. Mex., torn, i., p. 684; Klcmm, Culliii- 
(tcsr/iirhte, toin. v., pj). 12-1.3. 

" ' luiitnuaiisc a cste bayle, no mil hombres, conio dize Ooniara, pero 
mas do oc'lio mil.' Hi'rrera. Hist. Gun., dec. ii., lib. vii., rap. viii. 

9 Salia^iin, /fiV. Gin., Um\. ii., lib. viii., p. .^l."), ever prepared with 
capital pnniHhnicnt, .states that 'el ttcftur les manduba prendcr, y otro diu 
lo.s iiiundabu mutar.' 


tlii'oo or four times, tliu dancers keej>iii<( time with 
tlu'ir ni/Kcochf/i, <»r rattles. Kaeh must keej> his rehi- 
tive position in the circle, and complete the circuit at 
tlu' same time; the inner circle, therefore, moveil at a 
slow, dii^nitied pace, suited to the rank and a^e of the 
men composin«j it; the second j»roceeiled somewhat 
lastir, while the dancers in the outer circle aj)proached 
11 run as the dance hecame livelier. The motions were 
varied; at one time the dancers held one another hy 
the hand, at another, round the waist; now they took 
tile left hand neij^hhor for })artner,, now the ri^ht, 
sometimes facing one way, sonietimes anothi-r. The 
first song ended, which referred to the event (►f the 
(lay, a po[)ular ode, treating of their gods, kings, or 
heroes, was taken up and sung in a higher scale and 
to a livelier measure, the dance meanwhile constantly 
increasing in animation. This was the case with all 
the succeeding songs, each one becoming higher and 
shriller as it ])roceeded; flutes, trumpets, and sharj) 
whistles were sometimes added to the band to increase 
the effect. When one set of dancers became tired, 
another to(>k its place, and so the dance continued 
through the whole day, each song taking about an 
hour. Jesters and clowns in vari<.)us disguises circu- 
lated between the lines, cutting capers, cracking jokes, 
and servinjif refreshments. Heri'era states that the 
solenui mifotew'iis danced by twos in the outer circle.^" 
At })rivate dances, two j)arallel lines were usually 
formed, the dancers turning in various directions, 
changing partners, and crossing from line to line.'^ 
Sometimes one stepped from each line, and perfoiined 
a j)as de deux while the others looked on. The 'rib- 
bon dance,' resembled the English may-pole dance to a 
certain extent. A pole, fifteen to twenty feet high, 
was erected on a smooth piece of ground, and twenty 
or moie persons, each seizing the end of a coloied rib- 
bon attached to its summit, began to dance about the 

'" Hint. Gv)i., tlec. iii., lib. ii., cap. xix. 
" Clari'i' 1(1, Stiiriu Ant. del Mcssku, torn, ii., p. ISO. 
Vol. II. 19 



mast, crossing each other and winding in apparent con- 
fusion, until the polo was covered witli a motley text- 
ure of a certain design. When the band became too 
short, the plaiting was unwound by reversing the order 
of the dance. They had a number of other mitotos, 
or dances, varying chiefly in the colors worn by the 
(Umcers, the finery, painting, and disguises, and con- 
i'orming to the text of the songs, such as the huexot- 
zincaiutl, anaoacaiufi, cuextecaiutl, tocofin, and others 
to be described under religious festivals." Children 
froiTi four to eight years of age, the sons of nobles, 
took part in some dances and sang the soprano, 
and the priests joined in the solenm performances. 
Certain dances, as the netecuitotoU,^^ could only ho 
l)erformed by the king and nobles," a space bijing 
always set apart for the sovereign when he danceil. 
Women joined the zizi\ in scmie dances, but generally 
danced apart. Certain dancing-houses of bad rei)uti' 
termed cuicotjnn, 'great joy of women,' were o})en to 
females ;it night, and were then scenes of unmitigated 
debauch.^'' Great pains was taken to ai)pear as fine as 
])ossible at the dances; noted warriors appeared mag- 
nificently dressed, and occasionally bearing shields set 
with feathers; nobles in court dress of rich mantles 
knotted at the shoulders, fanciful maxtlis round tliu 
loins, tassels of feathers and gold in the hair, liji- 
orname!its of gold and precious stones, gold rings in 
the ears, bracelets of the same metal set with })lunies, 
or strings of chalchiuites and turquoises round tlu> 
wrists and other parts of the arms, and some had gold 
bells attached to the ankles; the ijfaiiy colored dresses 
of the lower class were decorated with feathers and 
embroidery; garlands and flowers encircled the head, 
necklaces of shells and beans hung about the neck, 

'^^ Snfiiiiyini, Wsf. Gen., toin. ii., lib. viii., up. 308-i); Cluviijrrn, Sluri'i 
Aiif. <iil Slissirn, torn, ii., \\\\ 181-2. 

•1 Ni'ti'i'ulivtotiliztli, lUH'oidin^; to Toriptcmnda, Motiarq. luif., torn, ii., 
p. '28(>. 

n Sii/iiiffiiii, Ilisf. Grii., toin. i., lilt, ii., p, i89. 

'•* Tizozoinuc, Hist. Miu., to»i. i., p. 87 



l)r;icck'ts clasped the arms and lei^s, and all carried 
iu)sei^ays. The women also slione in hui})iles, gaily 
coli»rod, fancifully embroidered, and set with fringes.'" 
The drama scarcely ecjualed in excellence the cho- 
ral dance, yet in this respect, as in others, the Nahuas 
showed considerable advancement. Thalia presided 
more frequently than Melpomene over the play, which 
generally took the character of a burlesque. 'J'iie per- 
ionners mostly wore masks of wood, or were disguised 
as aniu) ds. No special building was devoted to the 
(hama, but the lower porch of a tenq)le usually served 
as the stage; some large towns, however, boasted of a. 
jtermanent stage, erected in the centre Cff the plaza. 
The ])rincipal of these was at Tlatelulco, and consisted 
of a terrace of stone and lime, thirteen feet high, by 
thirty in breadth. When in use it was decorated with 
i'oliage, and mats of various colors, whereon was end)la- 
zoned the coat of arms of the city, Avere hung all round 
it. At Cholula the porch of the temple of Quetzalcoatl 
served as a staije: this was whitewashed and adorne«l 
with arches of branches, feathers, and Howers, from 
wliich hung birds, rabbits, and other curious objects. 
Here the peo})le congregated after dinner on gala-days 
to witness the }>erformance, in which deaf, lame, blin<l, 
(Icfoi'med, or sick })eople, or, sometimes, meri'hants, 
laechaiiics, or prominent citizens, were mimicked, bur- 
Usqned, and made fun of E;u'h actor endeavored to 
rt'present his role in the most grotes(|ue manner j)ossi- 
l»lo. He who was for the moment deaf gave nonsen- 

''' ' I Plf'xM si trnvp'itivntio in v.nrlo fisjriin' rl'miiinali con ii1>iti fill fi ill 
carta, c di pciiiic, <> di pflli' no iloulit to ilistin^'nisli tlicni Ironi tlic ^it-ntrv 
>vlu'n tlicv joiiu'il in tiio dan'c. C/iirii/rru, Shiri'n Ant. t/i / .Mi \.sini, toin. ii., 
j>^i. 1 7!)-Sl, anil otiuTs who follow liiin. In Su/iiiifiin, Hixf. <l<'t>., toin. i., 
lili. ii., |i|). i;Ut-:?, is a Ion;; dcscriiilion of fcasl-ilay dress. For d<'s(-ri|ition 
ol dances sec /(/., toni. ii.. lib. viii. yy. '{((H-!), .■U4-l.">; Tunjinniiiild, Mn- 
ii'in/. fill/., toin. ii., pi). .5t")()-'2; DWritii, 1/ .iniirii/iir, toni. ii., j). (IS; .Mini- 
liiiins; Xirinri' Wrrrrfi/, i>p. '2()7-{<; Arn.stii, Ifist. i/r fits Viii/., pp. 44(i-'.t; 
I'lirr/iii.t /lis I'i/ifriiiiis. vol. iv., jip. l(Mil-.">; ('iirliiijiil K.\/iiiiiisii, llisf. Mr.r., 
toiii. i., pp. (»4U .'); I!ni...'iriir ili' Isiiurliiiiir(j, Hist. \iit. I'ir., toni. iii., pp. 
<>'>!t-71; Miiidiito, Hist. /vV/r.v., pp. 1 K>-;V; Trzozoiiim; Hist. .Mr.r., toni. 1., 
pp. til, 87; (toiiuirn, t'niiq. Mr.r., fol. ItM! 7; Klrnnii, <'iiftiir-(, 
tyiii. v., pp. .^(t-S; Ifmrrii, Hist. Grii., dec. ii., lili. vii., cap. viii., dec. iii., 
lili. ii., cap. u'c ., uud Traiislutiou, Loud. 17-C, vol. iii., p. 'I'll, with cut 



sieal answers to questions put to him ; the sick man 
depicted the eft'ects of pain, and so forth. When these 
liad exhausted tlieir stock of jokes, others entered as 
])eetles, frogs, or lizards, croaking, whisthng, and skij)- 
j)ing about the stage after the manner of the creatures 
tlicy represented. The boys from the temples also 
appeared as birds and butterflies, and flocked into the 
trees in the courtyard. Each performer rehearsed his 
part before appearing in public, and great care wiva 
taken that no blunder should mar the beauty of the 
j)lot. The priests added to the fun by blowing nuid- 
balls at the actors through wooden tubes, and praising 
or censuring the performance in a jocular manner. 
The entertainment concluded with a ball, which was 
attended l)y all the actors." 

Some authors have spoken very favorably of the 
dramatic skill of the Nahuas. Clavisjcro is not in- 
dined to indorse this opinion, although he thinks a 
great advance would have been made in this diiCction 
had the Mexican Empire survived another century; a 
very natural conclusion, certainly. The ceremonies at 
the religious festivals often partook of a dramatic 
character, as will be seen presently.*^ 

Music, a principal attraction at our theatrical enter- 
tainments, did not play an important part on the 
Nahua stage, and, though we hear of singers appear- 
ing, instrumental concert is not mentioned. Asidi) 
from this, the high importance attached to music is 
evident from the myth of its origin. According to 
this myth no less a personage than Tezc.atlipoca''^ 
brought, or sent for, music from the sun, and con- 
structed a bridge of whales and turtles, symbols of 
strength, by which to convey it to the earth. 

Drums, horns, shells, trumpets, and shrill whistles 

" Ktrmm, Cultur-Gcschkhtc, torn, v., pp. 144-5, has it thiittlic nudirncc 
also attended thi.s hall. 

'>• Arosfd, jrisf. </<• fim Yitil., np. ,101--_'; Clarii/rro, S/oria Atit. dil M ■■ 
ftirn, toin. ii., ])p. 7()-8; Piiiinitrf, Mnn. sohir la Rnza Iinliijfiut, pp. 5i)-(i0j 
Jinixariir (Ic /ioiirhoiin/, Hint. Nut. dr., toin. iii.,pp. (i74-(i. 

1* For ail account of Tozcatlipoca see Vol. III. oi this work. 



11 the 

sic i:'' 

Ins ^'^ 

jls of 



made from cleft bones were the instruinents most used. 
The drum was the favorite, and the beating of several 
in nice accord sufficed alone for an accompaniment to 
the song and the dance. Two kinds of drum are men- 
tioned; of these, the /iMf'/i<<t'/P was a hollow cylinder of 
wood, about three feet high, and a foot and a half in 
diameter, curiously carved and painted, and having its 
upper end covered with a dressed deer-skin, tighteneil 
or loosened in tuning, and played upon with the hands. 
Tlie other kind of drum wjis called the teponcrJli, 
'wing of the stone- vapor;' this was entirely of wood, 
and had no opening but two parallel slits in one side, 
the enclosed piece being divided in the centre so as to 
form two tongues, each of which increased in thickness 
towards its extremity; tlie drum was placed in a hori- 
zontal i)osition ;jnd the sound was produced by beating 
the tongues with sticks tipped with rubber balls. This 
drum varied in length from a toy of a few inches to 
live feet. Sometimes it was carved in the sha})e of a 
man, woman, or animal, and lay lengthways on tres- 
tles. The huehuetl gave forth a dull sound resem- 
bling that of the East Indian tom-tom. These drums, 
when of the largest size, could be heard at a distance 
of two miles." The teponaztli produced a melan- 
choly sound, which is considered by Brasseur de Bour- 
bourg to have been a symbol of the hollow warning 
noise preceding the annihilation of Earth, which was 
syml>olized by the instrument itself" The tetzilacafl 
was a kind of gong made of copi>er and struck with a 
liammer of the same material. The atjacachtli was a 
lattle of copper, perforated and tilled with pebbles, 
used by dancers. 

The ancient writers unite in praising the perfect 
unison and good time observed by the singers, both in 
solo and (piartette, with chorus and responses, and 
they mention particularly the little boys of from four 

'" Called tlnpnnhuehuetl l»v Tczozonioe and Rrassctir do nourbourg. 
" C/ttrit/ero, Stnria Ant. (}cl Mcnitico, toiu. ii., p. 179, etc. 
« Quuti-e Lctlrci, j). 94. 



to eight years of age, who rendered the soprano in a 
manner that reflected great credit ou the training of 
their priestly tutors. Each temple, and many nohle- 
men kept clioirs and bands of professional musicians, 
usually led hy a priest, who composed odes appropri- 
ate to every occasion, and set tliem to music. Bass 
singers were rare, and were i)rized in projmrtion to 
their rarity. They had a great number of popular 
sonixs or ballads, which were well known in all classes. 
Young people were obliged to learn by heart long ei»ics, 
in which were recounted the glorious deeds of hei'oes 
ill battle and the chase; or didactic pieces, pointing 
some moral and inculcating a useful lesson; or liynnis 
of praise and a})peal for sacred festivals, (^lavigero, 
Pimentel, and other authors uvtol the aboriginal nuisc 
highly, and describe the language used as pure, bril- 
liant, tigurative, and interwoven witli allusions to the 
beauties of nature; unmeaning ijiterjections scattered 
here and there to assist the metre, evince a lack of 
finish, however, and the long, comi)ound words, a sin- 
gle one of which often f()rmt;d a whole verse, certainly 
• lid not add co the harmony, yet they observed good 
metre and cadence. ^^ 

The art of music was u!ider royal protection, and 
singers as well as nmsicians were exempt from taxa- 
tion. Nezahualcoyotl, the great Tezcucan patron of 
iU't, himself composed a number of odes and elegies, 
and founded an academy of sciences and nuisic, wliert; 
the allied kings of Mexi(u», Tezcuco, and Tlaco})an 
}>resided, and distributed j)rizes to the successful com- 
])etitors. Toltec songs are highly })raised for their 
beauty and variety. The Totonacs and Tepanecs are 
said to have been as far advanced in music and sing- 
ing as the Aztecs;** but concerning tliese arts I shall 
speak more at length in a future chai)tei'. 

" Gnmnrn, foiiq. Mix., ful. lOfi, states, 'yosto vii toilo on cnpla ])or siis 
1 Misoiiiinti's,' Imt it 's not likoly tliat tlu'y were auytliiiii,' else tliaii blank 
wrsi', for siifli a tliin;,' as rliynie is not nunitioniMi by any otlier writer. 

'■'M'onrernin},' niiisio and sinj,'inf? see: Clni-iiirm\ Stnriii Anf. dil Mis- 
si-o, tuiii. ii., pp. 174-9; Torqiicmuifn, Monan/. liuf., toui. i., p. 229, toni. 



The acrobatic feats performed by tlie Nahuas ex- 
cited the surj)rise and admiration of the conquerors, 
iiiul the court of Si)ain, before whicli some of these 
iitliletes were introduced, was no less astounded at the 
^lace, daring, and strength disj)layed by tliem. 

Some of these gynmastic performances have only of 
late become known to us; thus, the so-called Chinese 
toot-balancing trick, in which a man lying on his back 
spins a heavy pole on the soles of his raised feet, 
throws it up, catches it, and twirls it in every dii'ec- 
tion, was a common feat with the Nahua acrobat, who, 
indeed, excelled the circus-man of to-day, in that he 
twirled the pole while a man sat at each end of it. 
Another feat was performed by three. One having 
hraced himself firmly, another mounted on his should- 
ers, wliile the third climbed up and stood upon the 
liead of the second. In this position the human col- 
umn moved slowly about, the man on the top perform- 
ing a kind of dance at the same time. Again, a man 
would dance on the top of a beam, the lower end of 
which was forked and rested upon tlie shoulders of 
two other dancers. Some raised a stick from the 
ground while a man balanced at the end of it; others 
lea{)ed upon a stick set upright in the ground, or danced 
\i[)on the tight-rope. Another game involving an 
c(|ual disj)lay of grace and daring was the nctofo/izfli, 
or 'bird dance,' known to the S})aniards as the 'tlying- 
game,' and performed especially during the laymen's 
toast. In the centre of an open place, generally a 
public scpiare, a lofty pole was erected. On the top 
of this pole was placed a wooden, moveable cap, re- 
scuibling an inverted mortar; to this were fastened 

'i., pp. r>.")l-2; Arosta, Hi^^t. dc his YinL, \i. 447; Mrndicto. Hist. Erfrs., jip- 
140-1; Gdiiiurn, Couq. Mrx., fol. I(H>; I'iiiiriitff, Mnii. snfnr la Jiiizn In- 
i/ii/inii, pp. .">7-0; liriissi-ur ifc Jionrhoiifi/, Hist. Xtif. Cir., toiii. i., p. '2H'2, 
ti'in. iii., pp. '2~[), fiCtit, (i7--74; Varhnjal E.sjiiiiom, Hist. Mu:, toiii. i., pp. 
tUI-'J; I'lirr/i'is his Pih/riincs, \u\. \v., my UMJ4-5; Tfzozoiiior, Ifist. M'\i:, 
t'>\n. i.,p.(i1; K/nniti, CKlfiir-(r)'sc/iic/ifr,U>ii\.\.,i)U. 14.')-5(); Miillrr, Anur- 
th'iiii.srlir rriTfiifiuiint, j». !\4!i; R(tuki)i(fs Hist. Jirsiarc/ies, ii. .'{44; J'rrs- 
'-off's .]fr.r,, vol. "i., pi». 170-.'), 194; Lrii'oir, I'nndlrlf. p. 04; Ihii,iii.i\ Il<l., 
'!''' K.rjifd., pi. ()2-3, in Aiitiq. Mcx., toin. iii.; Fiicnlrnl, in TrnKinjC' 
ConijHitis, Vvj., suric ii., toiu. v., pp. 218-1'J; Boturini, Idea, pp. 85-Uy. 




four stout ropes w'llch supported a wooden frame 
about twelve feet square. Four other, lon<»er ropt-s 
Avere carefully wound thirteen times about the pok- 
just below the cap, and were thence passed throujj^h 
holes made one in each of the four sides of the fr.ame. 
The ends of these ropes, while wound about the pole, 
hung several feet below the frame. Four gymnasts, 
who had practiced some time previously, and were 
disguised as birds of different form, ascended by means 
of loops of cord tied about the pole, and each having 
fastened one of the ropes round his waist, they 
started on their circular flight with spread wings. 
The impulse of the start and the weight of the men 
set the frame in motion, and the rope unwound quicker 
and quicker, enabling the flyers to describe larger and 
larger circles. A number of other men, all richlv 
dressed, sat perched upon the frame, whence they 
ascended in turn to the top of the revolving cap, and 
there danced and beat a drum, or waved a flag, each 
man endeavoring to surpass his predecessor in daring 
and skill.^ As the flyers neared tlie ground, and the 
ro})es were almost untwisted, the men on the frame 
glided down the ropes so as to ^ain the ground at the 
same time, sometimes passing from one rope to the 
other in their descent and performing other tricks. 
The thirteen turns of the rope, with the four flyers, 
represented the cycle with its four divisions of thir- 
teen years. 

Running was practiced, not only for exercise, but 
as a profession ; as the government employed a largo 
number of couriers to run with messaires, who wen; 
trained for the purpose from early childhood. T<t 
these I shall have occasion to refer again. Races 
were held at the chief temple in Mexico under the 
auspices of the priests,'^ at which prizes were awarded 

*5 Espinosa seems to think that one man did all the daneinj^on the sum- 
mit, an(l Hrasseur says that each of tlie flyers performed on tlie top of tlio 
mast before taking their flight. 

8« Acunta, Hist, de Ian Ynil., pp. 387-8. 

^HE n..VC„TU. OB .v.T,O.V,.. „,«,. 

'■■«! burdens. Them were akn "f '". """*« «''" «"■- 
'-V.OWS both for the ex^rn-t ^^7 "''"'^ '""^ I'"'''i>' 
delectation of the masses AHh! *• "''"'y '"''' "'-•• 
'■..mpeted for prizes in shooting •.*,"'"'f *''" «*"«i--^ 
""■owing the dart." On ,rr™> ""?' "'« «"■"* m- 

;vl>ic.h stron.,;S ,,>^ '^^f'"" ""'^ "'« ""••''^''; 
f "tball, and was quite J li^ ^ ''"1"'^ "»'■ ff""e «f 
It >va« comn,o„ amon.7a,rth': ^ ""'' '''" of muffle 
'^"uilar to the Toltec" J J ''"'f **'''»»« «'lt was 

!";f-tion, though wl^t: is "'l^''-'- ^""•■■'" d-^ 
>t ''ad ..s not dear. IndeSfil !'=?*"■" »'>'"«'^^a„ee 
"ory game enjoyed div „e "vtmn. " "f ""•• """-'y 
t»o rabbits,' the g«I of „?; f ■^"<'' '""' <>M,'fo<Mi 
.«a.s generally invokt-dbvathlr' "^'"'f'^^ *" ^^iirai i' 
"; ooiijunction with soiZs'e'hr "'■ ^^^l *''"'"'''«''» 
: ;'y, and natural objects were alir^' .I"-^''"""""*" " 
.«<«! luck to the apnIioaTit A """^"''"^ '" *?'■"'* 
> .,1 lar, y of the game rtlacMi S". '"«'■■">-'« "C the 
'i"»«l that a cerrain numbit f 'f " '""■>' ''« •»«!- 
"'""■■'"/ ^'-^teen ti.ouCd tils • "7"" ^•o"f"'"to,l 
"»•„ of any size had a st^cixi L ' *"""■> """ «"■'■ 
'■^ S-ame, and that EiX tlr'-' «;''""."'' ''«^voted to 
I'-fore the„_ "ecasiona^KTe, j£ , '."•"'«»«"'».-'l» to plav 
ff"m« l«side.s. The g „Ld 1 "T-T "?*''' ""'«'■ » a 

, '' «aliagu„ call' A-,;'^^;,. ^ ' ' ^'' ^''^^ajal Espino.n 

^P ^"1., ^/«cA</,-. ""'^Aoo. Fierrera, HU Gen., dec. ii., Hb, vii. 

i >■ 



in the cut; one hundred feet long^' and half 
as wide, except at each end where there wore 
rectangular nooks, which doubtless served as 
Jesting-places for the players. The whole was enclosed 
hy smooth whitewashed walls, from nine to twelve feet 
high on the sides, and somewhat lower at the ends, 
with battlements and turrets, and decreasing in thick- 
ness toward the top.** At midnight, previous to tlie 
day fixed for the game, which was «,hvays fixed favor- 
ably l)y the augurs, the priests with much ceremony 
j)laced two idols — one representing the god of play, 
tlie other the god of the tlachtli'"- — upon the sidu 
walls, blessed the edifice, and consecrated the game by 
throwing the ball four times round the ground, mut- 
tering the while a formula. The owner of the tlachco, 
usually the lord of the place, also perfonned certain 
ceremonies and presented offerings, before opening tlie 
game. The balls, called aUaimdoni, were of solid 
India-rubber, three to four inches in diameter. The 
J (layers were simply attired in the maxtli, or breech- 
clout, and sometimes wore a skin to protect the parts 
coming in contact with the ball, and gloves; they 
j>layed in parties, usually two or three on each side. 
The rule was to hit the ball only with knee, elbow, 
shoulder, or buttock, as agreed ui)on, the latter was 
however the favorite way, and to touch the wall of 
the opposite side with the ball, or to send it over, 
either of which counted a point. He who struck the 
ball with his hand or foot, or witli any part of his 
body not previously agreed upon, lost a point; to set- 
tle such matters without dispute a priest acted as 
leferee. On each side-wall, equidistant from the ends, 


'1 Diiran makes it one hundred to two hundred feet, Espinosa fifty \ aras, 
l!ra,sseur, llixt. Xnf. t'iv., vol. iii., p. 6(57, sixty to eighty feet. 

'^ Carhajal Kspinosa, Mix., toni. i., p. C47, says that tlie side waIN 
are, 'de iiieiios altiira los laterales (jue los dos Je los extrenios," Imt 
tliis afjrees neither with other statements, nor with the requirements of llir 
play. Saliaj^un's deseriptioii of the tlaohoo /waa two walls, forty to liiiy 
feet lonj,', t\yenty to thirty feet ai)ait, and ahov.t nine feet liij,di. 

33 Carbajal Espinosa thinks that one of them was Oiiieacatl, 'the god of 



wiis a large stone, carved with images of idols, pierce<l 
through the centre with a hole large enough to just 
admit the passage of the ball;^ the player who hy 
chance or skill drove the ball through one of these 
oi)eiiings not only won the game for his side, hut was 
Liititlcd to the cloaks of all present, and the haste 
with which the spectators scrambled off in order to 
have their garments is said to have been the most 
amusing part of the entertainment. A feat so dith- 
(ult was, of course, rarely accomplished, save by 
chance, and the successful player was made as nnicli 
(if as a prize-winner at the Olympic games, nor did 
he (»init to present thank offerings to the god of the 
•iiamc for the good fortune vouchsafed him. 

The possession of much property depended upon the 
ihsue of the game; the rich staked their gold and jew- 
els, tlie poor their dresses, their food, or even their 

( ianibling, the lowest yet most infatuating of aniuse- 
iiiLiits, was a passion with the Nahuas, and property 
lit' ail kinds, from ears of corn or cacao-beans, to costly 
jewelry and personal liberty, were betted U})on the 
issue of the various games. Professional gamesters 

'H'arliajiil F^sjjinosa, lIlHt. Mcx., toni. i., ii. f>47, states that the stoIlo^^ 
were ill till' t'l'iitrc of the f,'roiiiul, 'eii el espaeioque iiiedialia eutre los jiijra- 
iliiivs," but IK) otlier aiithur eoiitiriiis this. It is imt unlikely tliat tlu>e 
^luMcs are tlie idols (tiaeed upon the wails by the priests, for they are de- 
>iili(Ml as lieiu;.; decorated witli figures of idols. I*or deseriptioii and tMits 
"I till' ruins of what seem to have i)een similar structures in Vueatan, see 
Vnl. IV., ]^Y,. 172, '230-1, of this work. 

'' \ Cytia, Hkt. Aid. Moj., torn, ii., p. 107, savH that the ball had to be 
ki|pi iiji in the air a lonj; time, and he who let it drojilost, whicli i.s unlikely, 
^iiiif the point was to drive it a;,'ainst the opponent's wall; it is possiidc, 
liowiver, that this trial of skill formed a jiart of the jday, at times. Ho 
.lUu .-lati's that in the centre of the jilay-^'round was a hole tilled with water, 
iiiiil the player who sent tiie ball into it lost his clothes and had opprobiom 
i'|iiiiifl> hurled at him, among which 'great adulterer' was the most frc- 
ijirMt : moreover, it was believed that he would ilie by the hand of an 
iiijiircil husband. A hole tilled with water docs not, however, seem appni- 
I'lialc to a nice i)lay -ground; besides, the ball would lie very liktdy to roll 
i:iti> the jiocd, tor the opiioiients would not jjrevent it. (.'amargo, 
Tlii.i:, ill Xoinrllr.s Atuiiift's ifes Voi/., 1843, tom. xcviii., p. IIMJ, and IJras- 
Miu dc IJourbourg, Jlist. Nat. Cir., torn, i., p. l'2\i, say that nobles only 
»i'n> allowed to |)lay the game, which can only refer to certain nlay-grounds 

'T •:i>ioiis, for the number of the balls jtaid in ta.xes proves tiic game too 

i'l'ueial to have been reserved for nobles. 



went from house to house with dice and play mats, 
seeking fresh victims. All gambling tools were H.r- 
mally charmed, and this charm was renewed and 
strengthened at intervals by presenting the instru- 
ments in the temple, with prayers that the blesbino of 
the idol might descend upon them. 

Patoliztlit which somewhat resembled our backgam- 
mon, appears to have been the most popular game ot' 
chance. Patolli, or large beans marked with ddts, 
like dice, were shaken in the hand and thrown upon a 
mat, uj)on which was traced a square marked witii 
certain transverse and diagonal lines. The thrower ui' 
the beans marked his points on these lines accordinj,' 
to the number of spots which fell upward. He who 
first gained a certain score won the game. Tlic 
players were usually surrounded by a crowd of iiitir- 
ested spectators, who betted heavily on the result, and 
called loudly for the favor of Macuilxochitl, tlie 
I)atron deity of the game. Golden and jewelled dice 
were often used instead of beans by the rich.'** TIk y 
had another game in which reeds took the place o( 
dice. Two players, each with ten pebbles by his side, 
shot split reeds in turn towards small holes made in 
tlie groimd, by bending them between the fingers ; if 
a reed fell over a hole a marker was placed on a 
square; this continued until the markers were all ex- 
hausted by the winner.^'' Montezuma's favorite game 

'•' fiomara, Conq. Mex., fol. 105, is' the authority for the names (if tlic 
game and beans. Torquemada affirms, liowever, 'y dicenle Jnei,'o ratolli, 
]ior(iueest()8 dados, 86 llaman asi.' Monarq. /«f/., tom. ii., p. 5.")4. Clavi- 
Hero, on tiie other hand, says: 'Patolli fe un nomegenericosijjnilicauto oi.'iii 
Horta di {{inoeo.' Carhajal Espinosa translates him. Referring to the diii', 
tSaliagun hays that they were 'euatro frisoles grandes, y cada uno tienc im 
ahiigero;' afterwards lie eontradicts this by savin;' that they consistcii nf 
tliree large beans with ' ciertos pnntos en ellos.' Hist. Gen., toni. ii., lil' 
viii., jip. 2!V2, 317. Brasseur de llourbourg descrilies the playing jirotcss ;is 
follows: 'lis jetaient les d6s en I'air avec les deux mains, mai<iimiit lis 
c ises avec de petits signaux de diverses couleurs, et eelui qui retournuit Ic 
pemier dans les eases gagnait la partic,' which agrees with Torqueniiula'-' 
account. Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, iii., p. 671. 

" ' Hacian encinia de un enealado unos hoj'os pcquefiitos. . . .y con iiiiiis 
canuclas hendidas por medio d.aban en el suelo y saltaban en alto, y tiiiiliis 
ciiantas en las canuclas caian lo hneco por arriha tantas casas adclaiitaliii 
sua piedras.' Duran, Hist. Indius, MS., toni. iii., cap. xxii. 



!ru ior- 
.'d iiiul 

ruino (if 
h (lets, 

upon a 
etl will I 
rower ot 
tie who 
I. The 
)f inti'r- 
iult, unci 
litl, the 
lud dice 
• They 
jdaoc t»f 

his side, 
liiuide in 

lo'crs; it 

ed on u 
all ex- 

[tc game 

was called totoloque, and consisted in throwin^^ snudl 
("•(tlden balls at pieces of the same metal set up as tar- 
.;•( ts at a certain distance. Five points won the stakes. 
IVter Martyr junij)s at the conclusion that chess must 
have heen known to the Nahuas, bucausu they pos- 
sessed checkered mats.*' 

'" For Xiilum panics mid niiiiiflcmcnts, sec: Torqunnarfa, Moiiarq. Titil., 
tiiiM i., |)|i., 53, 87, toiii. ii., pp. .'{0,")-(!, ;V)2-4; Claviijint, Sturiii Ant. drl 
.V' v.vcv;, toiii. ii., i»jt. l82-<!; Sd/iiiifiiii, Ilisf. (till., toiii. ii., iil>. viii., pp. 
'.'(il-:i, ;n(M7; (foimmi, Coikj.Mc'x., fol. l()4-<i; Diiriiii, Jin/ia.i, MS., 
tmii. ill., cap. 22-3; Ilirrera, Jlint. Ui.n., dec. ii., lil». vii., lup. vii-viii.; 
I'^lii- Mart Iff, dot', v., lih. x.; Piirrhn.i his Pilijriiiirn, vol. iv., |ip. KMm, 
IIJ7-'S; lirti.witr i/c limirbnurg. Hist. Nat. Civ.', toni. i., jtl). 1'2.*}, I2U, toiii. 
ill., pji. ()•).")-•>; C'lirliiijdl E.s)iiiiii.sit, Hist. Mix., toiii. i., pji. (i-I.VK; Klniiiu, 
l'iilfiir-l,'isr/iir/ifi\ t(»lll. v., i)p. .^I-O; Arostii, Ifist. di' lils Yllil., pp. .'W7-S; 
Mniiliitd, Hist. Evlis., p. 407; L<is Cnsus, J fist. Apoloijrtirn, >1S., <'ap. (»4; 
Wist mill Out Iiiiiisr/ier Lusfgitrt, pt i., j»|). 1(M)-I; I'ortt'.'i, Aim. i/ Cuiiij., p. 
;fOii; Vii/Hii, Ant. Mfj., toiii. ii., |)p. 107-S; Dilworth's Vomi. Mcj:, 
II. SO; Lenoir, ParalUle, pp. 47-8, quutiuj; Picart, Ceremonies Kelig., tola. 
li., p. 8i. 

liincs (if till' 
v^o Vatolli, 
154. <'l:ivi; 
Iticantf (ipii 
Ito tlie (lii'f, 
lio tienc un 
loiisistcil iif 

1.II1. ii., Ii''' 
pnii't'ss 11^ 

larqiiaiit V* 
Ijtoiiriulit li' 

Irqut-'iii'''''' " 

ly con una'* 
lo, y tii'itii'^ 

1 adelauliiliii 



Feasts of the Fourth Year— Monthly Festivals— Saciuhik 
OF Childken — Feast of Xite— Manner of Sacrifice — Fkasin 
OF Camaxtli, of the Flower-Dealers, of (Jenteotl, ok I'i:/.- 


Makers The Sa<'rifice hv Fire — Feast of the Dead Tiik 
CoMiNci OF the fJoKs— The Footprints on the Mat— Hintim; 
Feast— The Month of Love -Hard Times— Nahua LupKiifAi.iA 
—Feasts of the Sin, of the Winter Solstice— Harvest anu 
EuiiiT-YEAR Festivals— The Binding of the Sheaf. 

Tlie amusements described in the preceding' chap- 
ter were cliiefly indulged in during the great religious 
festivals, when the people flocked t(^gether from all 
(juarters to proi)itiate or offer up thanks to some iiar- 
ticular god. 

These festivals were of very frequent occurreiue, 
The Nahuas were close observers of nature; but like 
other nations '.m a similar or even more advanced stayc 
of culture, the Greeks and Northmen for exann>k', 
they entirely misunderstood the laws which govtiii 
the phenomena of nature, and looked upon every nat- 
ural occurrence as the direct act of some particular 
divinity. The coming of the rains was held to be tlu 
coming of the rain-gods, with their heralds tin 
thunder and lightning; the varying condition of the 
crops was ascribed to their Ceres; drought, storms, 





■1,, OK '\'v:/.- 


Dkad Tiik 

A TKUt'Al.lV 

tcllpst's, all wore considored tliu ui'ts of special dcitit's. 

The relij^ious uuiehiiieiy re<juired to pi(>i)itiate tho 
jiiiLrir, inmior tho wliiiuH, and be.seirh the lavor of 
sucli a vast imml)er of eaprieiuUH divinities, was us 
intricate as it was })onderous. Besides the daily ser- 
vices held in the various temples, j)rayerH were 
offered several times durin<^ each day in that «)f the 
sun, special rites attended every undertaking;, from 
thi! departure of a private traveler to the settinjj^ forth 
of a!i army for war, and fixed as well as movahlo 
leasts were held, the numher of which was continually 
iiicie.ised as oj)portunity offered. The pi'iests observed 
fists amonj^ themselves, attended with penance, scari- 
fications, and mutilations sometimes so severe as to 
result fatally. Thus, at the festival in honor of Ca- 
inaxtli, the priests fasted one hundred and sixty days, 
and passed several hundred sticks, varyin*,^ in thick- 
ness from half an inch to an inch and a half through 
a hole freshly made in the ton<rue.^ The j>eo[)le imi- 
tated these penances in a less den'ree, and scarified 
the members of their bodies that had been the means 
of committiii!^ a sin. Blood was drawn from the 
cars for inattention, or for conveyini( evil utterances 
to the mind; from the toiif^ue for givinj^ ex])ression to 
had words; the eyes, the arms, the legs, all suffered 
for any rej)rehensible act or neglect. The people of 
each ])rovince, says Las Casas, had a manner of draw- 
ing blood peculiar to themselves.* 

At the public festivals each private person brought 
such offerihuf to the god as his means allowed. The 
l)oor had often nothing to give but a ffower, a cake, 

' Sec tlio Totonac daily temple service, in A^frs- Ciiftan, ni.\f. .1/ri?ofjrfii'(i, 
Ms., cap. clxxv. ' Lue^o a(|iu'l vicjo iiia.-i |iriii('i|)al iiietia y sacalia jxtr su 
lt.'ii;,'iiii en a<nifl ilia t'liatro eieiitos y ciiicuciita ]ial<>s de aiiiri'llos. . . .otros 
no tan vicjos saca1>an tresi-ieiitos. . . .Kstos palos (|iic iiu'tiau y :ia('a1>aii ]i()r 
Ills ii'ii;;iias erau tan j^ordos coino cl dedo iMil;;ar de la iiian()....y otni.s 
tantd ^iiiczos coiiKt Ian diw dedow de la niano piilyar y el eon (jue tsefiala- 
incis piidian abrazar.' Iii.,va\t. elx.xii. 

' ' Kn cada proviiieia tenian diferente co.stunibre jiorqiic unos de liw 
brazds y ..tros de los peclios y (»tro.s de li»s niuslo.s, &e. Y en est() .se coijrnDs- 
I'ian tanihieii de (|iie I'roviucia erau.' Xrt.s t'ltnas, Hint. A^juUnjclicu, MS., 
cap. clxx. 

■ If 



I i' I 

or personal service, but the wealthy gave rich robes, 
jewels, gold, and slaves. But no great feast seems to 
have been complete without human sacrifice. This 
Avas always the great event of the day, to which tlu; 
people looked eagerly forward, and for which victims 
were carefully preserved. Most of these miserablu 
beings were captives taken in war, and it was rarely 
that the supply failed to be sufficient to the occasion, 
especially among the Mexicans, since, as I have be- 
fore said, there was nearly always trouble in some 
part of the empire, if not, a lack of victims for sacri- 
fice was held good cause for picking a quarrel with a 
neighboring nation; besides, if the number of war pris- 
oners was not sufficient there were never wanting re- 
fractory slaves to swell the number. We have it uj)on 
good authority that upon almost every monthly feast, 
and upon numerous other grand celebrations, several 
hundred human hearts were torn hot from living 
breasts as an acceptable offering to the Nahua gods 
and a pleasant sight to the people.' 

The grandest festivals were celebrated during the 
fourth year, called Teoxihuitl, or ' divine year,' and at 
the commencement of ev^ery thirteenth year. On 
these occasions a greater number of victims bled and 
the penances were more severe than at other times. 
The Nahuas also observed a grand fes^^ival every 
iiiuiith in the year; but, as these feasts were closely 
connected with their religion, and therefore will bu 
necessarily described at length in the next volume. I 
will confine myself here to such an outline description 
of them as will suffice to give the reader an idea of 
what they were.* 

3 ' En esta Fiesta, y en todos las denials, donde no se liiciere menoion <lc 
parti(!ulares Sacrifioios de Honibres, los avia, poi- wer cosa general liacei los 
en todas las Festividadcs, y no era la que carecia de ello.' Torque inadu, 
Monnrij. IikL, tonj. ii., p. 25.5. 

* 'Le feste, clic annnalmentc si celebravano, erano piii soleiiiii iifl 
Tro.rihiiHl, o Annd divino, <iiiali erano tntti {ili anni, die aveano per lan'l- 
tere il C(inij!;lio.' CluriijiTo, Slorin Atit. tfelMmsico, toni. ii., p. S4; Cur 
hnjitl Eapiiiosa, Hist. Afrx., torn, i., p. 549. 'En cada principio del nios » ii 
el dia que nunibrunios cubeza de »ier|)e celebraban una liestu aoleninitsinia 


•the diminishing ofX watL"' 0?™' \ ^t'^hualeo, 
some parts, Quahuitlehua '^r^;' ^ V' 'i;''' ''»"«''' "' 
mountains,- was celebS ;„ h ^ "1 ">« '-■««« or 
t'i.dsofrainsandwater^ Atai^r',"'^ *''« ^lalocs, 
of suokmg infante were saTrifi^S T " ^'"'' ""'"''er 
Ml. mountains, others S a wWH '?''• "P"" ""^''^ 
Mexico. The little ones wer.^^*fr' '"*'><' '"ke of 
mothers, though somelinTe, *h "^ """«^''* fr™' U'eir 
rented by parfnts Tho wishe/r'""? ^'•'"'"ily pr^! 
fovor of the god. Thosronlv ,thoT. *?« l^^rtVular 
tlie head, and who had been L j *™ ^^s on 

were thought acceptable to tt f'^'"'rJ' '"'-■ky sig" 
"ore not all made in Te clao. ^'t'' ^^''^ ''"'"^L 
mountains and in the "ake Th "P°" ^''^ ^''<"^l 
after another by a ereat „.!; • T""" "'"'ted one 
k- the musiV of flutes 'dT''"""/'^?"^''*^ ""end^ 
;', V'"' n-ultitude of IodIp v"P*- ''' '""' followed by 
l;l"»J; nay, mom litSl\ "'"''•"*'' ^<"- "•« «'ght of 
the babes: 'if we u^l'^^^itj^"'^ for the flfs, ^f 

'""r. that the b<lesll*h*^«'-ti»'' of some 

-.tho.; thaV th: Ses'^wi^ttT^K''''^""''"-''- 
■■'"J the flesh eaten as T.Z^ j"^tually brought back 
■■"■;;,d'ief men. Bi^of caS '^•«<=y ^y th'e priest: 
fhe little ones were c?rr?e7/ l,"'?'''' ""''"• 

Korseous litters iwlorned ,v"th nl,. *""""". <*«»th "pon 
-ere themselves dressed n FIu'!-,'""^ J"^*''"- and 

hroideredand iewelerl mlV '^P'^did manner ii, em 

i; wings. ' Th r ^ ^re «" ''''^' ""'^ '"'°'^'' 
I'," la-rubber, and UMnriT /'"""='' ^"th oil „f 

'"'t° "I'ot. No rirs;: ' t t 'r '"•• » ^""-^ 

w, tlie people went n7t), f' .*''" "''' chroniclers 
«•"% tllere%var£o^ t^T'"^ '"'''.- I'-^^'I by 
»'i>'I't. Gladiatoriafc^nbttsaifd'' ^^T'''''^ "' ™^'l' * 
'" ->■ at the temple >::l::t::ftZtZ »"'■ ''™""'^- 

: "'Sr ffi^^^e^^x;^ K ^-' M ™^ .» 

Vol. ii, 20 "'-' "' Quetzttlfotttl; but tl i»k" | ' ■/" « ■'/•^^'•■Kofl- 

""It It iin|ri,t have 



The next feast, that in the month of Tlacaxipchu- 
ah'.tli, 'the flaying of me-",' was held in honor of Xipe, 
who was especially the patron deity of the gold- 
smiths.* This god was thought to inflict sore eyes, 
itch, and other diseases upon those who offended him, 
and they were therefore careful to observe his feast 
with all due regularity and honor. On this occasion 
thieves convicted for the second time of stealing gold 
or jewels'' were sacrificed, besides the usual number of 
prisoners of war. The vigil of the feast, on the last 
day of the preceding month, began with solemn 
dances. At midnight the victims were taken from 
the chapel, where they had been compelled to watcl., 
and brought before the sacred fire. Here tbo hai 
Avas shaven from the top of their heads, the cuj^r iv>. 
at the same time drawing blood from their own eai> 
in honor of the idol; the severed topknot of each war 
prisoner was afterwards hung up at the house of liis 
captor as a token and memorial of the father's bravery. 
Towards daybreak some of the prisoners were taken 
up to the great temple to be sacrificed. But befur^ 
we proceed farther it will be necessary to see how 
these human offerings were made. 

k'acrifices varied in number, place, and manner, 
accoiding to the circumstances of the festival. In 
general the victims suffered death by having the 
breast opensd, and the heart torn out; but others 
were drowned, others were shut up in caves and 
istarved to death, others fell in the gladiatorial saeri 
flee, which will be described elsewhere. Tlie cus- 

been in honor of all these deities, namely, the Tlalops, Chahhihui licne, 
and Qiiotzalcoatl. Snhaifuii, Hist. Gen., toni. i., lil>. ii., pp. 49-50, 83-7. 
.See also Tortjueinnria, Moiiarq. Intl., toni. ii., pp. '2r>0-'2, 2J(5, 

* Although Hahagiin states that Hiiit/ilopochtii also received hont^rs 
"this niontli, yet no direct ceremonies were observed hefore his image. Tlii' 
large numlier o* captives sacrilircd, however, the universality and 1imi^;|1i 
of the festivities, the royal dance, ei.^., would certainly jioint to a celobva- 
.tion in honorof a greater deity than Xip^;. He also says: 'En esta liistu 
inatahau todos los cautivos, hoinhres, inngeres, y ninos,' which is not very 
probable. Gen., torn, i., lib. ii., ji.-SS. 

1 Thi(!ve8 convicted the second time of stealing gold articles were .sac- 
j'ificed. Braaseur de Bourbourij, Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, iii., p. 5U3. 











»er of 

I last 


/atcl .. 

i hal 


n. eats 

:\\ war 
of liis 

e liow 


xl In 

\cr tlie 


iS and 

Ll saeri- 

tie cus- 

klnii Tinic, 
,-)0, 8S-T. 

lane. 'Hu' 

Itul l»>"ii*'' 

\ rt ccU'l>v;>- 

L'sttt t'lrstu 

not wry 

tomary place was the temple, on the topmost plat- 
loriii of which stood the altar used for ordinary sacri- 
fices. The altar of the great temple at Mexico, says 
Clavigero, was a green stone, probably jasper, convex 
above, and about three feet high and as many broad, 
and more than five feet long. The usual ministers of 
the sacrifice were six priests, the chief of whom was 
the Topiltzin, whose dignity was preeminent and 
hereditary; but at every sacrifice he assumed the 
name of that god to whom it was made. When sac- 
riHcing he was clothed in a red habit, similar in shape 
to a modern scapulary, fringed with cotton; on his 
liead he wore a crown of green and yellow feathers, 
from his ears hung golden ear-ornaments and green 
jewels, and from his under lip a pendant of turquoise. 
His five assistants were dressed in white habits of the 
same make, but embroidered with black; their hair 
was plaited and bound with leather thongs, upon their 
foreheads were little patches of various-colored paper; 
their entire bodies were dyed black. The victim was 
carried naked up to the temple, where the assisting 
priests seized him and threw him prostrate on his back 
upon the altar, two holding his legs, two his feet, and 
the fifth his head ; the high-priest then approached, 
:i\\f\ with a heavy knife of obsidian cut open the inis- 
e-al))e man's breast; then with a dexterity acquired 
liy long practice the sacrificer tore forth the yet 
]tc, Imitating heart, which he first offered to the sun 
i'.)(l then threw at the foot of the idol; taking it up 
h a</' hi offered it to the god and afterwards burned 
it, preserving the ashes with great care and venera- 
tion. Sometimes the heart was placed in the mouth 
of the idol with a golden spoon. It was customary 
also to anoint the lips of the image and the cornices 
of tlie door with the victim's blood. If he was a 
prisoner of war, as soon as he was sacrificed they cut 
off his head to preserve the skull, and threw the body 
Hovvn the temple steps, whence it was carried to the 
aeufc J of the warrior by whom the victim had been 





taken captive, and cooked and eaten at a feast given 
by him to his friends ; the body of a slave purcliased 
for sacrifice was carried off by the former proprietor 
for the same purpose. This is Chivigero's account. 
The same writer asserts that the Otomfs having killed 
the victim, tore the body in pieces, which they sold at 
market. The Zapotecs sacrificed men to their gods, 
women to their goddesses, and children to some otliLi- 
diminutive deities. At the festival of Teteionan the 
woman who represented this goddess was beheaded 
on the shoulders of another woman. At the feast 
eel. J ' \g the arrival of the gods, the victims were 
burnc ; death. We have seen that they drowned 
childreii at one feast in honor of Tlaloc; at anotlier 
feast of the same god several little boys were shut up 
in a caveru, and left to die of fear and hunger.^ 

Let us now proceed with the feast of Xipe. We 
left a part of the doomed captives on their way to 
death. Arrived at the summit of the temple eaeli 
one is led in turn to the altar of sacrifice, seized bv 
the grim, merciless priests, and thrown upon the 
stone; the high-f)riest draws near, the knife is lifted, 
there is one great cry of agony, a shuffle of feet as 
tiie assistants are swayed to and fro by the death 
struggles of their victim, then all is silent save the 

8 Clnmgero, Storia Ant. del Messico, torn, ii., pp. 45-9. Tlic saiiio 
author 8av8 with re<rur(l to the nuiuber of sucriticcs made annually in tliu 
Mexican Empire, that he ean affirm nothing, as the reports vary yroatly. 
'Ziimarraga, the first hishop of Mexico, says, in a letter of the I'-'tii of 
.lune, li>3l, addressed to the general chapter of his order, that in that 
c.ipital alone twenty thousiind human victims were annuallv saeriliccil. 
Snmc authors, quoted by (.ioinara, affirm, that the numl>cr of tlie sturillcol 
amounted to hftv thousand. Acosta writes, that there was a certain day 
of the year on which five thousand were sacrificed in diflferent places of the 
empire; and another day on which they sacrificed twenty thousand. Sonui 
authors Itelieve, that on the mountain Tepeyacac alone, twenty thoiisaml 
were sacrificed to the goddess Tonantzin. Torouemada, in quoting, tliiiii;;li 
nufaithfully, the letter of Zumarraga, says, that tlic.c were twenty tlioii- 
N.iiid infants annually sacrificed. But, on the contrary, Las Casas, in iii-* 
refutation of the bloody Ixwk, wrote by Dr. Sepulvcda, reduces the sat • 
rifices to so small a number, that we are left to lielieve, they aniouiitiil 
ii'it to fifty, or at most not to a hundred. We are strongly of opinion lliat 
ii!l these authors have erred in the number. Las Casas by dimituitinn. tlie 
rest by exaggeration of the truth.' Id., Translation, Lonii. 1807, vol. i., p. 



muttering of thp Iii'«.i, • . 

tl- -uok'Jng hear ''iteLr'^J''^ '" »'> '- holds 
;' '">>' ,''""• of admiration fr"^'>"» '*»''••'"> co.„.» 
turned faces. ""'^ ™e thousands of m,. 

were not taken away unW thev T ^" "•"""*'■"■> ""•y 
;vlneh reason these v cti,„s\ '' ^'1? ""y")' ''"^ 

Ihe remains were then deWrfi " ^°"°'' "fToteeJ 
?' certain priests, at the cW? T' V" *'"* ^^Ptor 
iis vow of .fl-erim., a vow wT k'*-'"^'''; ''^ '""' n'ade 
t»enty days /.rcviJustl U,e fr ^ '",""' ''^^'^ " f»«t of 
«;" to the ting's table,and the em:'- ^^ ""«>''' *»» 
ithma„e and served up at th!T"'''"' '""^ "^^t^'-l 
tlie captors, to wiiieh the ?fKenl ''•''"• ^"■<"' "'>' was called tlacatlaom 2t ^"'' '"J"'^- '^''« 
»>ys Sahagun, did not taste the fl ^7% f- **"= '"'"'«', 
:ar-- ^e.., m a mlt «t hL'ZTutT 

-™^«;ThlfTopTat h^^*± f ""--. called 
'"o^i-ht out for sailriSce l^ then "V^'^^'"^' *«'« 
of young men also termed l^i.^T''""* "»»■»'>«■• 
tona game, a burlesque on th»r'' S'"" * S'adiu- 
; '■"s^.ng themselves Tlhesfc?. >"""«"'"' '" f""""'-- 
tl'cy were teased to fi<.I t bv 1 "" -^"'^ ""'""*' 

'■">cs; these theypui^'u^ aL .'.''*/. "'^ '^eir com- 
"I'l"; f'med against one anl"? '''°'"' ""^ «'-'o- 
'l!"f>ed to the' guard-house 'wh'' ''''"¥"^' ""^ ^an- 
<l"!charged until t fine h^ Ln^^'l^'' *'fy were not 
i;nc»ts, each represenLTl Z? """^-^ ^ ""'"W of 
t ic summit of the temn?. ^'f'"'"'' descended from 

- «tone of sacrifit 'wC''^;^'7tfV''"'-«'^ 
"»t he confounded w th the „l ^f"'" ""'' '""-' 

« ™« "Pon stools round a^!-f"l', ''''*'''^ "'«"- 




destined to figlit the captives. A band of singers and 
musicians, wlio were seated behind the priests, and 
bore streamers of white feathers mounted on long p(jle.s 
which were strapped to their shoulders, now began 
to sound flutes, sliells, and trumpets, to whistle and 
to sing, wliile others approached, each dragging liis 
own ca[)tive along V)y the hair. A cup of pulque was 
given to each of these poor wretches, which he i)re- 
sented toward the four quarters of the earth, and then 
sucked up the fluid by means of a tube. A priest 
thereupon took a quail, cut off" its head before the 
captive, and taking the shield which he carried from 
him he raised it upwards, at the same time throwing 
the quail behind him — a symbol, perhaps, of his fate. 
Another priest arrayed in a bear-skin, who stood as 
godfather to the doomed men, now proceeded to tie 
one oi the captives to a ring fixed in the elevated flat 
stone upon Avhich the combat took place; he then 
handed him a sword edged with feathers instead of 
flint, and four pine sticks wherewith to defend him- 
self against the four braves who were ajipointed to 
figlit with him, one by one. These advanced against 
him w'th shield and sword raised toward the sky, and 
executing all manner of capers; if the captive proved 
too strong for them, a fifth man who fought both with 
the riglit and left hand was called in." Those who 
were too faint-hearted to attempt this hopeless coml)at, 
had their hearts torn out at once, whilst the othirs 
were sacrificed only after having been subdued by the 
braves. The bleeding and quivering heart was held up 
to the sun and then thrown into a bowl, prepared lor 
its reception. An assistant priest sucked the blood 
from the gash in the chest through a hollow cane, the 
end of which he elevated towards the sun, and then 
discharged its contents into a plume-bordered cup held 
by the captor of the prisoner just slain. This iii]> 
was carried round to all the idols in the temples and 

' This farce differcil from the regular gladiatorial coinbut which will lie 
described elsewhere. 



cliapols, before whom another blood-filled tube was 
held up as if to give thera a taste of the contents; 
this ceremony performed, the cup was left at the pal- 
ace. The corpse was taken to the chapel where the 
cai)tive had watclied and there flayed, the flesh being 
consumed at a banquet as before.^" The skin was 
<;ivcn to cert.ain priests, or college youths, who went 
from house to house dressed in the ghastly garb, with 
the arms swinging, singing, dancing, and asking for 
contributions ; those who refused to give anything 
received a stroke in the face from the dangling arm. 
The money collected was at the disposal of tlie cap- 
tor, who gave it to the performers, and, no doubt, it 
eventually found its way to the temple or school 
treasury." After the sacrifice, the priests, chiefs, and 
owners of the captives commenced to dance the mot- 
zonteconialtotia, circling round the stone of combat, 
weeping and lamenting as if going to their death, the 
captors holding the heads of the dead men by the 
hair in their right hands, and the priests swinging the 
cords which had held them toward the four quarters of 
the conqjass, amid many ceremonies. The next morn- 
ing solemn dances were held everywhere, beginning at 
the royal palaces, at which everybody appeared in 
his best finery, holding tamales or cakes in his 
hands in lieu of flowers, and wearing dry maize, in- 
stead of garlands, as appropriate to the season. They 
also carried imitations of amaranths made of feathers 
and maize-stalks with the ears. At noon the priests 
retired from the dance, whereupon the lords and no- 

'" 'Qiiedanan las cabe^as corayones paralos sacerdotes.' Gomara, Conq, 
Mi'.T., f(.l. '.\il. 

" '(Juiinlahan alguno que fuese i)rinciiial sefuir ])ara este dia; el cnnl 
<li'ss(iliil)iui para que se vestiese Moutezuiiia jjrau lley dc la tierra y c<iu cH 
biiyliilia eou sus reales contenenoias.' /yff.s' Cnsas, Hist. A/»i/fif/rfiin, MS., 
t'a|). clxx. ' Kiiilnitian los cueros de al};odon o paja, y, o los <'ol;;aiian (!u el 
tcniplo, o eu palaeio,' iu the ease of a priMoiier of rank. (Iitniiirc, Chik/. 
^f'.r., fol. 327. It is not stated that the persons who wore the skins and 
nijulo the eoUeetion were eonnecteil witli the temple, hut tliis was no doulit 
the i-a-ie, especially as many authors mention tluit priests had to dress them- 
selvi's in the Lduistly pirh for a certain time. For representation of priest 
dressed iu a iluyud skin see Nebel, Viuje, pi. xxxiv. 



bles arratifjed themselves in froi>t of the palace l>y 
threes, with the king at their head, holding the lord 
of Tezcueo by the right hand and the lord of Tlaco- 
pan by the left, and danced solemnly till sunset. 
Other dances by warriors, and women, chiefly prosti- 
tutes, followed at the temple and lasted till midnight, 
the motions consisting of swinging of arms and inter- 
winding. The festivities were varied by military 
reviews, sports, and concerts, and extended over the 
whole month. It was held incumbent upon everyone 
at this time to eat a kind of uncooked cake called 
huilocpaUi. The Tlascaltecs called this month Cohuail- 
huitl, 'feast of the snake,' a name which truly indi- 
cates rejoicings, such as carnivals, sports, and banquets, 
participated in by all classes. Celebrations in honor 
of Camaxtli were also held at this time here as well 
as in Huexotzinco and many other places, for which 
the priests prepared themselves by a severe fast. Tlie 
ceremonies when they took place in the fourth year, 
called 'God's year,' were especially imposing. When 
the time came for the long fast which preceded the 
feast to begin, those of the priests who had sufficient 
courage to undergo the severe penance then exacted 
from the devout were called upon to assemble at tlie 
temple. Here the eldest arose and exhorted them to 
be faithful to their vows, giving notice to those who 
were faint-hearted to leave the company of penance- 
doers within five days, for, if they failed, after that time 
by the rules of the fast they would be disgraced and 
deprived of their estates. On the fifth day tliey 
again met to the number of two or three hundred, 
although many had already deserted, fearing the 
severity of the rules, and repaired to Mount Mat- 
lalcueje, stopping half-way up to pray, while the 
high-priest ascended alone to the top, where stood a 
temple devoted to the divinity of this name. Here 
he offered chalchiuite-stones and quetzal -feathers, 
paper and incense, praying to Matlalcueje and Ca- 
maxtli to give his servants strength and courage to 



keep the fast. Other priests belonginf,^ to various teiii- 
j)lcs in the meantime gathered loads of sticks, two 
feet long and as thick as the wrist, which they piled 
up in the chief temple of Camaxtli. These were fash- 
ioned to the required form and size and polished by 
carpenters who had undergone a five days' fast, and 
were, in return for their services, fed outside the tem- 
ple. Flint-cutters, who had also undergone a fast to 
ensure the success of their work, were now summoned 
to prei)are knives, which were placed upon clean cloths, to the sun and perfumed; a broken blade was 
held as a sign of bad fasting, and the one who broke it 
was reprimanded. At sunset, on the day of the great 
|)enance, the achcauhtli, 'eldest brothers,' began chant- 
ing in a solemn tone and playing upon their drums." 
On the termination of the last hymn, which was of a 
very lugubrious character and delivered without 
accompaniment, the self-torture commenced. Certain 
penance-doers seized each a knife and cut a hole in the 
tongue of each man, through which the prepared 
sticks were inserted, he smaller first and then the 
stouter, th J number varying according to the piety and 
endurance of the penitent. The chief set the example 
by passing four hundred and fifty through his tongue,^' 
singing a hymn at the same time in spite of all. This 
was repeated every twenty days during the fast, the 
sticks decreasing in size and number as the time for 
the feast drew near. The sticks which had been used 
were thrown as an offering to the idol within a circle 
formed in the courtyard of the temple with a number 
of poles, six fathoms in height, and were afterwards 
l)urnt. After the lapse of eighty days, c branch was 
l)laced in the temple-yard, as a sign that all the \)eo- 
ple had to join in the fast for the remaining eighty 

'2 'Cnatro'de ellos cantahan A Ins navajas,' MotoUnia, Hist. Indion, in 
laizhiilvctit. Col. de Doc, torn, i., p. 57. 

" ' Kstos palos que metiaii y sncaban por las Icn^i^itas eran tan fronlos 
ciinio cl (ledo pulgar de la niano, y otros como el dedo nulj^ar del pie: y 
otrds tanto {jruezos como los do.^ dedos de la niano pnljrar y el con que 
iunahmiuH uodiau abruzar.' Las Casus, Hist. Apologetica, MS., cap. clxxii. 



Ill ! 

days, during which nothing hut maizc-cjikcs, wii^out 
chile— a severe infliction, indeed, for this peojjle — 
were to be eaten, no baths taken and no counnuuion 
with women indulged in." Fires were to be keiit 
alight the whole time, and so strict was this rule that 
the life of the slaves in great houses depended upon 
the proper attention paid to it. The chief achcauhtli 
went once more to the Matlalcueje mountain*' escorted 
by four others, where, alone and at night, he offered 
copal, paper, and quails; he also made a tour round 
the province, carrying a green branch in his hand, and 
exhorting all to observe the fast. The devout seized 
this opportunity to make him presents of clothes and 
other valuables. Shortly before the end of tlie fast 
all the temples were repaired and adorned, and three 
days previous to the festival the achcauhtlis painted 
themselves with figures of animals in various colors, 
and danced solemnly the whole day in the temple- 
yard. Afterwards they adorned the image of Ca- 
maxtli, which stood about seventeen feet high, and 
dressed the small idol by his side in the raiments of 
the god Quetzal coatl, who was held to be the son uf 
Camaxtli. This idol was said to have been brought 
to the country by the first settlers. The raiment was 
borrowed from the Cholultecs, who asked the same 
favor when they celebrated Camaxtli's feast. Ca- 
maxtli was adorned with a mask of turquoise mosaic,'" 
green and red plumes waved upon his head, a shield 
of gold and rich feathers was fastened to his left arm, 
and in his right hand he held a dart of fine workman- 
ship pointed with flint. He was dressed in several 

1* Mntolinia conveys the idea that the people also pcrformeil tlie inflic- 
tion on the tongue: 'aquclla tlevota gente. . . . sacabun j)or sus iengiiuf« otms 
palillos (Ic il jcnie y del gordor de iiu canou de pato.' Ilint. Indios, in Imz- 
bulceta. Col. de Doc, torn, i., p. 58. 

•^ ' Cada dia de estos iba el viejo de noche d la sierra ya dicha y of rcria 
al denionio niucho papel, y copalli, y cordouices.' Motofinia, Hist. Indium, 
iu Jcazhalcetii, Col. de Doc, torn, i., p. 58. 

"> 'La Glial decian que habia venido con el idolo pequefio, de un puelilo 
que se dice Tollan, y de otro que se dice Poyauhtlan, de don(le sc alirniii 
que fue natural el niisnio idolo.' Motolinia, Hint. Jndios, iu Icazbakctit, 
Col. dc Doc, torn, i., pp. 58-9. 



robes and a tecncxicolU, like a j)riest'8 vestment, open 
in front and finely bordered with cotton and rabbit- 
Imir, which was spun and dyed like silk. A number 
of birds, reptiles, and insects were killed before him, 
uiul Howers offered. At midnight, a priest dressed in 
the vestments of the idol lighted a new fire, which 
was consecrated with the blood of the princijial caj)- 
tive, called the Son of the Sun. All the other tem- 
]>ics were supplied from this flame. A great number 
of captives were thereupon sacrificed to Camaxtli as 
well as to other gods, and the bodies consumed at the 
banquets that followed. The number killed in the 
various towns of the province amounted to over one 
thousand, a number greatly increased by the numer- 
ous sacrifices offered at the same time in other places 
where Camaxtli was worshiped." 

The next feast, which was that of the month called 
Tozoztontli, or 'short vigil,' was characterized by a 
constant night watch observed by the priests in the 
various temples, where they kept fires burning and 
sounded the gongs to prevent napping. More of the 
children bought in the first month were now sacrificed, 
and offerinfjs of fruit and flowers were made to induce 
the Tlalocs to send rain.^^ The chief event, however, 
of this month, was a fast given in honor of Cohuatlicue, 
or Coatlantona, by the xochimanqaes, or flower-dealers, 
of Mexico. The celebration took place in the temple 
of Yopico, which was under the special care and pro- 
tection of the people of Xochimilco and Quauhnahuac, 
whose la!ids were renowned for the beauty and abun- 
dance of their flowers. Here were offered the f. .t flow- 
ers of the season, of which hitherto none mi^;.t. inhale 
the perfume, and here the people sat down and clianted 
hynuis of praise to the goddess. Cakes made of wild 

" See also Torquemada, Monarq. Inrl., torn, ii., pp. 288-90, 252-3, 296. 

"* 'F,('lini)iiii por el pueblo cierto pec^ho 6 (leiTiiniiirceo^^ieiidolaiito liuher 
que ]>uilie»eii coiunrar cuatro iiifios esclavos de ciueo li seis afios. Estos 
t'liiiprados poiiiaulos eii U!ia cueva y cerrahania hasta otro afio q^ue haciaii 
otro tanto.' Lus Casun, Hist. Apulogetica, MS., cap. clxx. 



amaranth or savory, called tzatzfipcdtamale, were also 
ortbrod. In this temple of Yopieo was a grotto in 
which the skins of the victims sacrificed at the fuast 
of the preceding month were now deposited by the 
priests who had worn them continuously until this 
time. These marched in solemn procession to tlic 
grotto, accompanied by a number of people whom 
the angered Xipe had smitten with itch, or eye dis- 
eases; this act of devotion would, it was thought, 
induce the god to relent and remove the curse. Tlic 
owners of the captives to whom the skins had 
belonged, and their families, of whom none was per- 
mitted to wash his head during the month, in token 
of sorrow for the slain, followed the procession. Tliu 
priests doffed their strange and filthy attire and depos- 
ited it in the grotto; they were then washed in water 
mixed with flour, their bodies at the same time being 
belabored and slapped with the moist hands of their 
assistants, to bring out the unhealthy matter ' by 
the rotting skins. This was followed by a lustr in 

pure water. The diseased underwent the same washing 
and slapping. On returning home feasting and anmse- 
mento broke out anew. Among other sports the owners 
of the late prisoners gave the paper ornaments whidi 
had been worn by them to certain young men, who, 
having put them on, took each a shield in one hand 
and a bludgeon in the other; thus armed they ran 
about threatening to maltreat those whom they met. 
Everybody fled before them, calling out "here comes 
the tetzonpac." Those who were caught forfeited their 
mantles, which were taken to the house of the war- 
rior, to be redeemed, perhaps, after the cc:. elusion of 
the game. The paper ornaments were afterwards 
wrapped in a mat and placed upon a tripod in front of 
the wearer's house. By the side of the tripod a 
wooden pillar was erected, to which the thigh-bone of 
a victim, adorned with gaudy papers, was attached 
amid many ceremonies, and in the presence of the 
captor's friends. Both these trophies commemorated 



tlio bravery of the owner. This lasted six dayn. 
AI)out this time, says Duran, certain old diviners 
went about provided with talismans, generally small 
jtlols, which they hunj.^ round the necks of boys by 
means of colored thread, as a security against evil, 
and for this service received presents from the 

The following month, which was called Huey-To- 
zoztli, 'great vigil,'** a feast was celebrated in honor of 
( 'cnteotl, the god of cereals, and Chicomecoatl, god- 
(Ici^s of provisions. At this time both people and 
jiriest fasted four days. Offerings of various kinds 
were made to the gods of the feast, and afterwards a 
j)roce8sion of virgins strangely and gaudily attired 
carried ears of corn to be used as seed, to the temple 
tu be blessed.''* 

The first half of the succeeding month, called 
Toxcatl, was, among the Mexicans, taken up with 
a continuous series of festivals in honor of Tezcat- 
lipoca; the latter half of the month was devoted to 
the worship of his brother-god Huitzilopochtli. Ten 
(lays before the feast began, a priest, arrayed in the 
vestments of Tezcatlipoca, and holding a nosegay in 
one hand and a clay flute in the other, came out 
fiom the temple, and turning first to the east and then 
to the other three quarters, blew a shrill note on his 
instrument; then, stooping, he gathered some dust on 

'" Duran a«ld» that all male children under twelve years of age were 
]iuiii'tui-ed in the cars, tonj^ue, and leg, and kept on Hhort allowance on the 
(1 ly itf festival, hut this is not very prohahic, for other authors name the 
tilth mouth fur the scariKcation of infants. ULst. Jtnlius, MS., torn, iii., 
uiipondix, cap. iii. For particulars of the feast «ee SuIkhjuh, Hist. Gen., 
turn, i., lih. ii., pp. 52-4, 95-7; Tori/uemadu, Monarq. Ind., toni. ii., pp. 
I*.).'*-'), i'JC); Boturini, Idea, pp. 51-2. 

'■^0 IJoturini, Idea, n. 52, truuslatas this name as 'the great bleeding,' 
nfciiiiig to the scarincations in expiation of sins. 

'■" Tor/Hcmada, Monarq. Iiid., t<un. ii., pp. 255-6; Suhagiin, Hist, 
d'li, torn, i., lib. ii., pp. 97-100. Accordiiig to Duran, Jlinf. Indian, MS., 
t (in. iii., appeniHx, cap. iii., the Tlalocs were worshii)ed this month also, 
and this involved bloody rites. Kintfn/wroiiff/i's Mex. Antiq., vol. vii., pp. 
4H 4. Mntolinia states that food was offered to the stalks: 'delante de 
ii'iuellas cafias ofreciancomida y atolli.' Hint. Indios, in Icazhnlceta, Col. 
(/' Dor., toui. i., p. 46. For a more detailed description of this feast sec 
Vol. III. of this work, pp. 360-2. 




I 5'* 

his fini;er and swallowed it, in token of humility and 
submi;ssion. On hearing the whistle all the people 
knelt, ate dust, and implored the clemency and favor 
of tlie god. On the eve of the festival the nobles 
brought to the temple a present of a new set of robes, 
in which the priests clothed the idol, adorning it be- 
sides with its proper ornaments of gold and feathers ; 
the old dress was deposited in the temple coffers as a 
relic. The sanctuary was then thrown open to the 
multitude. In the evening certain fancifully attired 
priests carried the idol on a litter round the court- 
yard of the temple, which was strewn Avith flowers 
for the occasion. Here the young men and maidens 
dev.;ted to the service of the temple forni'^d a cirele 
round the procession, bearing between them a long 
SLiing of v/ithered maize as a symbol of drought. 
Some decked the idol with garlands, others strewed 
the ground with maguey-thorns, that the devout might 
step upon them and draw blood in honor of the god. 
The girls wore rich dresses, and their arms and cheeks 
were dyed ; the boys were clothed in a kind of net- 
work, and all were adorned with strings of withered 
m.t.ize. Two priests marched beside the idol, swing- 
iiig their lighted censers now towards the image, now 
towards the sun, and praying that their appeals might 
rise to heaven, even as the smoke of the burning 
copal; and as the people heard and saw they knelt 
and beat their backs with knotted cords. 

As soon as the idol was replaced, offerings poured 
in of gold, jewels, flowers, and feathers, as well as 
toasted quails, corn, and other articles of food })re- 
parod by women who had solicited ond obtained the 
privilege. This food was afterward'-j divided among 
the priests, who, in fact, seem to have really reaped 
the benefit on most religious occasions. It was car- 
ried to them by a procession of virgins who served in 
the temple. At the head of the procession marched 
a priest strangely attired in a white-bordered surplice, 
reaching to the knee, and a sleeveless jacket of red 




skin, with a pair of win;^s attached, to which hung- a 
nmuher of ribbons, suspeiidiiij^ a gourd Hlled with 
iliarms. The food was set down at the tenij)le stair- 
way, whence it was carried to the priests l)y attendant 
boys. After a fast of five days these divine viands 
were doubtless doubly welcome. 

Among the captives brought out for sacrifice at the 
same festival a year before, the one who possessed the 
finest form, the most agreeable disposition, and the 
highest culture, had been selected to be the mortal 
rei)resentative of the god till this day. It was abso- 
lutely necessary, however, that he should be of spot- 
loss physiipie, and, to render him still more worthy of 
the divine one whom he personated, the calpix<jues, 
under whose care he was placed, taught him all the 
accomplishments that distinguished the higher class. 
He was regaled upo!i the fat of the l?<id, but was 
obliged to take doses of salted water to counteract 
any tendency toward obesity ; he was allowed to go 
out into the town day and night, escorted by eight 
jiages of rank dres<=»ed in the royal livery, and received 
til'.' adoration of the people as he ])assed along. His 
diess (Corresponded with his high position; a rich and 
curiously bordered mantle, like a fine net, and a max- 
tli with wide, end>i'oidered margin, covered his body; 
white cock-feathers, fastened with gun), and a garland 
of >:qiiix!!i;'ii[l fiowers, encircled the helmet of sea- 
shells which covered his head; strings of fi()wers 
crossed his breast; gold rings hung from his ears, and 
from a necklace of i)recious stones about his neck dan- 
gled a valuable stone; upon his shoulders were ]K)Uch- 
lilvc ornaments of white linen with fringes and tassels; 
golden bracelets encircled the u])j)er ])art of his arms, 
while tlie lower part was almost covered with othc"-. 
of ]>recious stones, called maciuwfli; upon iiis ancles 
golden bells jingled a.:> he walked, and prettily painted 
slippers covered his feet. 

Twenty days before the feast he was bathed, and his 
dress changed ; the hair being cut in the style used by 




captains, and tied with a curious fringe which formed a 
tassel falhng from the top of the liead, from which two 
other tassels, made of feathers, gold, and tochornifl, and 
called aztaxelli, were suspended. He was then mariied 
to four accomplished damsels, to whom the names of 
four goddesses, Xochiquetzal, Xilonen, Atlatonaii, 
and Huixtocioatl were given, and these remained witli 
him until his death, endeavoring to render him as 
haj)py as possible. The last five days the divine honors 
paid to him became still more imposing, and celebrations 
were held in his honor, the first day in the Tecanman 
district, the second in the ward where the imago of 
Tezcatlipoca stood, the third in the woods of the waid 
of Tepetzinco, and the fourth in the woods of Te])c- 
pulco; the lords and nobles gave, besides, solenm ban- 
(piets followed by I'ecreations of all kinds. At tliu 
end of the fourth feast, the victim was placed >vitli 
his wives in one of the finest awning-covered canoes 
belonging to the king, and sent from Tepepulco to 
Tlapitzaoayan, where he was left alone villi tlu; 
eiglit i)ages who attended him during the year. These 
conducted him to the Tlacochcalco, a small and ])laiii 
temi)le standing near the road, about a league from 
Mexico,** which he ascended, breaking a flute against 
every step of the staircase. At the summit he was 
received by the sacrificing ministers, who served liiiii 
after their manner, and held up his heart exultingly 
to the sun; the body was carried down to tlie court- 
yard on the arms of priests, and tlie head having beiu 
i'ut oflf was spitted at the Tzompantli, or 'place of 
skulls;' the legs and arms were set apart as sacrtd 
food for the lords and people of the temple. This 

^ 'liP Tluonrhcaloo, on maison (ramies, j^tait un arsenal, oonsacrr i 
Huit/ilo|ii)i'litli, ilanM ronceinte <lii fj;ran<i temple. II se tronvait it t'oli' in 
tcdcalli <»ii Ton otlVait tl(M sacrilices specianx i\ ce dieii et iv Ti'tzi'atlipi'i:!.' 
Biii.sKriir (/r ]iourhinmf. Hist. Nitt. Civ., toin. iii., p. ''(). This sanetiiiiiv 
ontfiide the town was also ilepemlent on the fjreat te. pie, and, as the f:ii'' 
of the yontli was to ilhistiate the iniseralile end t » wliieli riehes and plcM.s 
nies may eonie, it is, |)eihaps. more likely that this poor and lonely editico 
was the place of saeritiee. ('lavi;;ero, Sf'i>ri>i Ant. ilil. Missicu, torn, ii., p. 
70, siiysi 'coiiducevuiilo al tem[iii) di Tezcatlipoca.' 



eiul, so terrible, signified that riclies and pleasures 
may turn into poverty and sorrow; a pretty moral, 
truly, to adorn so gentle a tale. 

After the sacrifiee, the college youths, nohles, and 
priests commenced a grand ball for whidi the older 
priests suj)plied the music; and at sunset tlie vir- 
j>iiis brought another offering of bread made witli 
honey. This was placed ui)on clay plates, covered 
with skulls and dead men's bones, carried in pro- 
cession to the altar of Tezcatlipoca, and destined for 
tlio winners in the race up the temple steps, who 
Were dressed in robes of honor, and, after undergo- 
iiiij a lustration, were invited to a bantjuet by the 
teiiii»le dignitaries. The feast was closed by giving 
Jill op])ortunity to boys and girls in the college, of a 
suitable age, to marry. Their remaining comrades 
took advantage of this to joke and make sport of 
tlieni, pelting them with soft balls and reproving 
them for leaving the service of the god for the ])leas- 
ines of matrimony.^^ Tezcatlipoca's representative 
was the only victim sacrificed at this festival, but 
every leap-year the blood fiowed in torrents. 

Alter this celebration commenced the in 
honor of the younger brother of Tezcatlipoca, Huit- 
zilopoehtli, the Mexican god of war. The j)riests of 
the god prepared a life-size statue like his original 
image, the bones of which were composed of mez- 
([uite-wood, tlie fiesh of tzoalli, a dough made from 
aiuarunth and other seeds. This they dressetl in the 
rainiento of the idol, viz: a coat decorated with 
huiian bones, and a net-like mantle of cotton and ne- 
(liUMi, covered by another mantle, the t/<«jii<(</m(/lo, 
adorned with feather-work, an<l bearing a gold plate 
U|M)n its front; its wide folds were painted with 
the bones and members of a human l»eing, and fell 
over a ' umber of men's bones made of dough, whiih 

'^ l?i-iiss('ur do Bourltourj; iudicatcH that the race in tho tiMii)(lo, ami llin 
li'Miiiliori (if ilio iiiarria;,'t'alili' toitk |)lat'f in loap-vfars tmiy, Imt lio ivi- 
lii'iiily niisiiniii'istands iiis autlioiity. I'reacott, Mcx., vtd, i., [ip. 75-7, 
fc'iNcs an atcmint of this fcativul. 
Vol. II. 21 




represented his power over death. A paper crown, 
very wide at the top and st t with phnnes, covered 
this head, and attached to its feather-covered suiniiiit 
was a bloody flint-knife, signifying his fury in hattlo. 
The image was placed upon a stage of hjgs, formed to 
resenil)le four snakes whose heads and tails protruded 
at the four corners, and l)orne by four of the principal 
warriors^* to the temple of Huitznahuac, attended by 
a vast number of peoide, who sang and danced alonif 
the road. A sheet of maguey-paper, twenty fatlionis 
in length, one in breadth, and one finger in thickness, 
upon which were depicted the glorious deeds of the 
god, was carried before the procession on the points of 
darts ornamented with feathers, the bearers .sin<nn!; 
the praises of the deity to the sound of music. -^ At 
sunset the stage was raised to the summit of the tem- 
ple by means of ropes attached to the four corners, 
and placed in position. The pa[>er painting was then 
rolled up in front of it, and the darts made into a 
bundle. After a presentation of offerings consistintj 
of tamales and otlier food, the idol was left in cliaroe 
of its priests. At davvn the next morning siniihu' 
offerings, accompanied with incense, were made to the 
family image of the god at every house. Tliat day 
tlie king himself appeared in the sacerdotal chai acter. 
Taking four quails, he wrenched their heads off one 
after another, and threw the quivering l)odies before 
the idol; the priests did the same, and then tlie j>eo- 
ple. Some of the birds were prepared and eaten l>y 
the king, priest, and ])rincipal men at the feast, tlie 
rest were preserved for another occasicm. Eacli min- 
ister then placed coals and chapopofll incense^" in his 

** Contrary to the atatcniPiit of others, nrassour <le Hourbourf; says that 
the sta^e was home hy temple otriciTs; surely, warriors were the lit iki- 
sons to attend tlie f^otl of war. 

*'' ' I.leviihanle entahhulo eon iinas saetas que cllos Ihiniahaii ffimiill, h< 
males tenlan plunias en tres partes jnnto el easijuillo, yen el nie(li(). vcl 
calm, ihan estas saetas una ilehajo. y otra eneinia (h-! papel; toiiuilpiiiiliu 
(los, uno (le una parte, y otro ile dtra, llev.intlo'as asiclas anihas jiinliis cnii 
las inanos, y con ellas apretahan el papelon una jior eneinia, y otra per ilt- 
'bajo.' S'lhffffini, Hint. Gni., ton), i., lih. ii., |i|i. UI.M). 

*• 'El Ineieiuu uo era del onlinario, que llaniun Copal hlaiioo, ni do cl 



iJnnaitl,'^'' and wafted the disagreeable odor towards 
the idol. The ashes were then emptied from the cen- 
sers into an immense brazier, called the tlexictli, or 
'Hre-navel.' This ceremony gave the name to the 
festival, which was known as the 'incensing of Huit- 
zilopochtli.' The girls devoted to the service of the 
temple now appeared, having their arms and legs 
decorated with red feathers, their faces painted, and 
garlands of toasted maize on their heads ; in their 
hands they held s})lit canes, upon which were flags of 
pajier or cloth painted with vertical black bars. Link- 
ing liands they joined the priests in the grand dance 
called toxcachochoha. Upon the large brazier, round 
which the dancers whirled, stood two shield-bearers 
with blackened faces, who directed the motions. 
These men had cages of candlewood tied to their 
l)a('ks after the manner of women. The priests who 
joined in the dance wore pajjor rosettes u[)on their 
forelieads, yellow and white jdumes on their heads, 
and had their lips and their blackened faces smeared 
A\ itli honey. They [dso wore undergarments of jiaper, 
called (iitKisnitixtli, and each held a palm wand in his 
hand, the ui)})er part of which was adorned with flow- 
ers, while the lower end was tii)ped with a ball, botli 
halls and flowers being made of black feathers; the 
])art of the wand grasped in tlie hand was rolled in 
strips of black-striped paper. When dancing, they 
tdiiched the ground with their wands as if to sup})ort 
themselves. The nuisicians were hidden from view 
'\n the temple. The courtiers and warriors danced in 
another })art of the courtyard, apart fiom the })riests, 
with girls attired somewhat like those already de- 

At the same time that the re})resentative of Tez- 

Incii'iiso roinun. . . .Hiiio tie vnn (ioina, o l]ct>iii Jicjiro, a iiianoni do Poz, el 
t|iiiil licor se I'lif^endra en la Mar, y siis A;;uas, y olas, lo licclian en al^niiian 
]iiiiles a .sus i-il)era«, y orillas, y le llanian C'liapoiiotii, el inial lieclia de si 
mill <>l<ir, ]iara <|iiien no le acttstunibra a oler, yes intenso, y fuerte.' Tur- 
ijiii iitn/ii, Motiiini. Iii(f., l(»ni. ii., p. '2()(>. 

''^' A kind uf perfurated and urnaniented censer, sliuixid like a large 




catlipoca was chosen, the year before, another youth 
was appointed to rei)resent HuitzilopoehtH, to wlioui 
was given the name of Ixteocale, that is, 'eyes of the 
lord of the divine house. ''^ He always associated 
with the other doomed one of Tezcatlipoca, and shared 
his enjoyments; but, as the representative of a k><s 
esteemed god, he was paid no divine honors. His 
dress was characteristic of the deity for whom liu 
was fated to die. Papers painted with black circles 
covered his body, a mitre of eagle-feathers, with wav- 
ing plumes and a flint knife in the centre adorned his 
head, and a fine piece of cloth, a hand square, with a 
l)ag called jxt^oxm above it, was tied to his breast; 
on one of his arms he had an ornament made of the 
hair of wild Ix asts, like a maniple, called imataca.r, 
and golden bells jingled about his ankles. Thus ar- 
rayed he led the dance of the plebeians,'^ like tlio 
god conducting his warriors to battle. This youth 
had the privilege of choosing the hour of his death, 
but any delay involved the loss to liini of a pro[)ov- 
tionate amount of glory and happiness in the other 
world. When he delivered himself up to the sacri- 
ficers, thev raised him on their arms, tore out his 
lieart, beheaded him, and spitted the head at the place 
of skulls. After him se\'eral other captives were im- 
molated, and then the priests s';arted another dance, 
the afcjMcaxixiUhua, which lasted the remainder of 
the day, certain intervals beinr;' devoted to incensing 
the idol. On this day the malu and female children 
born during the year were tjVken to the temple and 
scarified on the chest, stomach, and arms, to mark 
them as followers of the god. 

The feast in honor of Quetzalcoatl, as it was cele- 
brated during this month in Cholula, and the feast of 
the following month, called Etzalqualiztli, dedicated 

*•* riavigcro writes: ' Ixtcocnle, clie vale, Savin Signer del Ciclo.' F^tiir!ii 
A lit. (Ill .w.snii'o, toiu. ii., p. 72. Several other names are also applietl tu 

^ 'MischiavaHi nel ballo de'Cortigiani.' Claviffcro, Storia Ant. (hi Mc^- 
siiv, torn, ii., p. 72. 



to the Tlalocs, or rain gods, the reader will find fully 
dcjsci-ihed in the next volume.*' 

The next month was one of general rejoicing among 
tlio Nahuas, and was for this reason called Tecuilhuit- 
ziiitli, or Tecuilhuitontli, 'small feast of the lords.' 
The nobles and warriors exercised with arms to pre- 
pare for coming wars; hunting parties, open-air sports, 
and theatricals divided the time with banquets and in- 
door parties; and there was much interchanging of 
ri)Sos out of compliment. Yet the amusements tills 
month were mostly confined to the lower classes, the 
more imposing celebrations of the nobility taking place 
in the following month. The religious celebrations 
were in honor of Huixtocihuatl, the goddess of salt, 
said to have been a sister to the rain gods, who quar- 
n.led with her, and drove her into the salt water, 
Avhere she invented the art of making salt. Her 
chief devotees were, of course, the salt-makers, mostly 
females, who held a ten-days' festival in her temple, 
singing and dancing every evening from dusk till 
midnight in company with the doomed captives. 
Tliey were all adorned with garlands of a sweet-smell - 
inn' herb called iztauhiatl, and danced in a ringfornieu 
l>y cords of flowers, led by some of their own sex; the 
music was furnished by two old men. The femalo 
Avho represented the goddess and was to die in her 
honor danced with them, generally in the centre ot* 
the circle, and accompanied by an old man holding a 
heautiful plume, called JiuixtopcllncotJ; if very nervous 
slio was sui)ported by old women. ^^ She was dressed 
in the yellow robes of the goddess, and wore on her 
I'cad a mitre surmounted by a number of green 
])lunies; her huii)il and skirt with net covering were 
worked in wavy outlines, and bordered with cliakhi- 
uites; ear-rinjjfs of iifold in mutation of flowers huii'j' 
from her ears; golden bells and white shells held liy 

3« Pp. 280-7, 3.*}4-43. 

'' 'So j\intiiiian ttidos los cauallcros y priiiciimlos personas <le rada jtrn- 
ninria. . . .vesfiaii viia iiuij.'i'r do la rojia y iiisij;iiias (li> la ditisa de hi sal, y 
liiiyluiiaii cou ella todos.' GoiiKira, t'onq. Mix., fol. 3-7. 



stnips of tiger-skin, jingled and clattered al)out her 
ancles; her sandals were fastened Avith buttons and 
cords of cotton. On her arm she bore a shield paintwl 
Avith broad leaves, from which hung bits of panot- 
feathers, tipped with flowers formed of eagle-plumagu; 
it was (dso fringed with bright quetzal-feathers. 
In her hand she held a round bludgeon, one or two 
hands broad at the end, adorned with rubber-stained 
l)a})er, and tliree flowers, at equal distances apart, 
filled with incense and set with quetzal-feathers; thi.s 
shield she flourished as she danced. The priests 
who performed the sacrifice were dressed in an ap- 
propriate costume; on the great da}", the })riests j)L'r- 
formed another and soleinn dance, devoting intervals 
to the sacrifice of captives, who were called Huixtuti 
in honor of the deity. Finally, towards evening, the 
female victim was thrown upon the stone by five young 
men, who held her while the priests cut oj)en lier 
breast, pressing a stick or a swordfish-bone against her 
throat to prevent her from screaming. The heart was 
held up to the sun and then thrown into a bowl. Tlie 
nuisic struck up and the people went home to feast.'" 
The feast of the following month, Hueytecuilhuitl, 
or 'great feast of the lords,' occurred at the time of 
the year when food was most scarce, the grain frc^a 
the i)receding harvest being nearly exhausted and the 
new crop not yet ripe for cutting. The nobles at tliis 
time gave great and solemn banquets among them- 
selves, and provided at their personal expense feasts 
for the poor and needy. On the eleventh day a reli- 
gious celebration took place in honor of Centeotl, 
under the name of Xilonen, derived from xllotl, whicli 
means a tender maize-ear, for this goddess changed 
her name accordinfj to the state of the OTain. On 
this occasion, a woman who n^presented the goddess 

^2 ' Era csta ficstii dc niuy poca soleniiiidad y sin corenumias, ni coiniilas, 
y sill uiiicrtcs do liomliros; en liii no era mas de una inejianicion juira In 
lit'sta vonidera del nies que vicne.' Diirfiii, Hist. Iiidiiis, AlS., toni. lii., a|i- 
])eiidix, eap. iii. ; Sn/ifiifini, Hist, (,'rii., toni. i., lib, ii., |>p. 124-8; C/avif/rro, 
iStoria AiU. del Mcssico, torn, ii., pp. 74-5. 



iuul was dressed in a similar inaiiiier, was sa(3rificed. 
Tilt' day before her death a number of women took 
litr with them to offer incensu in four phices, wliich 
were sacred to the four characters of the divisions of 
tilt' cycle, the reed, the flint, the house, and the rab- 
l)it. The night was spent in singing, dancing, and 
pruying before the temi)le of the goddess.*' On the 
day of sacritice certain priestesses and lay women 
whirlt'd in a ring about the victim, and a nundjcr of 
priests and principal men who danced before her. The 
priests l)lew their shells and horns, shook their rattles 
and scattered incense as they danced, the nobles held 
stalks of maize in their hands which they extended 
toward the woman. The priest who acted as execu- 
tioner wore a bunch of feathers on his shoulders, held 
])y the claws of an eagle inserted in an artificial leg. 
Tuwards the close of the dance this priest stopped at 
the foot of the temple, shook the rattle-board before the 
Aictiui, scattered more incense, and turned to lead the 
way to the summit. This reached, another j)riest 
seized the woman, twisted her shoulders against his, 
and stooped over, so that her breast lay exposed. On 
this living altar she was beheaded and her heart torn 
out. After the sacrifice there was more dancing, in 
which the women, old and young, took part by them- 
selves, their arms and legs decorated with red macaw- 
feathers, and their faces painted yellow and dusted 
with niarcasite. The whole i)leasantly finis';ed with 
a feast. Offerings were also presented to the house- 
hold gods. This festival inaugurated the eating of 
During the next month, which was called Tlaxo- 

^' Duran says that the women took the vicf ; to mount Chapultp])ec, to 
tlic very summit, and said, 'My dau<,'hter, let us hasten hack to tiii' phice 
vluiice we eanie,' whereupon all staitcil hack to the temjilc, ehasiiii^ the 
iIiioiiilmI wonmn hefore them. Hist. Indies, MS., tom. iii., appendix, cap. 

'^^ Siiliaf/ini, Hist. Gen., tom. i., lih. ii., pp. l'2.S-8!>; TorqtictiKiiIti, Mu- 
iKiri/. Inil', tom. ii., pp. 2()i)-71, '2!)7-8; IJias.seir. de IJou.'iouif,', Jii'<f. AV'/. 
Cir., torn, iii., p. .518, says: 'Lcs rois enx-niemes jirenaient alors jiart 
it l.'i (huise, (|ui uvuit lieu dans les cndroits oil ils puuvuit s'assemhler le plug 
ilu .spuctatcuio." 



chimaco, or 'the distribution of flowers,'"' gifts of flow- 
ers were presented to the gods and mutually inter- 
changed among friends. At noon on the day of the 
great feast, the signal sounded and a pompous (iamu 
was begun in the courtyard of the temple of Hiiitzi- 
lopochtli, to whom the honors of the day were paid, 
in which the performers consisted of various orders of 
■warriors led by the bravest among them. I'ublic 
women joined these dances, one woman going hand in 
hand with two men, and the contrary, or with tlieir 
hands resting on each othei s shoulders, or tlnown 
round the waist.^ The nmsicians were stationed at 
a round altar, called momuztli. The motions consisted 
of a mere interwinding walk, to the time of a slow 
song. At sunset, after the usual sacrifices, the peo- 
ple went home to perform the same dance before their 
household idol; the old indulging in liquor as usual. 
The festival in honor of lyacacoliuhqui, the god of 
commerce, was, however, the event of the niontli, 
owing to the number and solemnity of the sacrifices of 
slaves, brought from all quarters by the wealthy mer- 
chants for the purpose, and the splendor of the attend- 
ant banquets. The Tlascaltecs called this montli 
Miccailhuitzintli, 'the small festival of the dead,' and 
gathered in the temples to sing sorrowful odes to the 
dead, the priests, dressed in black mantles, making 
offerings of food to the spirit of the departed. This 
seems to have been a commemoration of the ordinary 
class only, for the departed heroes and g»-eat men were 
honored in the following month. Duran and others 
assert, however, that the festival was devoted to the 
memory of the little ones who had died, and adds that 
the mothers performed thousands of superstitious cere- 
monies with their children, placing talismans upon 
them and the like, to prevent their death.^'' 

35 Toi'fjiiniindn, M<»iurq. Tiifl., torn, ii., p. 271. 

^s 'Saliiiii los Hitiiihres Nobles, y niuchiis MuiroresPrincipalcs, y asiaiise 
de las inaiioM Ins viios, do los otros, nie/clados Iluiiihres, y ]Miij;eros iiuii \wx 
onion, y hie^co so lioclialian los lira^os al ciiello, y asi aiira^ados, i'oiik'1ii,"1- 
bau h movcrsc nuii jiaso a ])aso.' Tonjucinndn, Moikwo. IikL. toin. ii., ]'. -71. 

^T JJuraii, Mist. Iiulius, MS., torn, iii., appeuuix, cup. iii.; liytiu, 




lllllli \MT 


The feast of the next month, called Xoootlhuetzin, 
'fall, or maturity of fruit,' was dedicated to Xiuiite- 
cutli, the j^od of fire. At the l)e<^iimin<^ of the month 
certain })riests went out into the mountains and 
selected the tallest and strai«ditest tree they couKl 
find. This was cut down and trinmied of all excc}»t 
its top hranches.^ It was then moved carefull}' into 
the town upon rollers, and set up firndy in the court- 
yard of the temi)le, where it stood for twenty days. 
On the eve of the feast-dfiy the tree was j^ently low- 
ered to the ground; early the next morning cari»t'n- 
ters dressed it perfectly smooth, and fastened a cross- 
yard five fathoms long, near the top, where the 
branches had been left. The priests now adorned the 
pole with colored papers, and jdaced upon the summit 
a statue of the god of fire, made of dough of am- 
aranth-seeds, and curiously dressed in a maxtli, sashes, 
and strips of paper. Throe rods were stuck into its 
liead, u})on each of which was spitted a tamale, or 
native })ie. The pole was then again hoisted into an 
erect position. 

Those who had captives to offer now apj)eared, 
dancing side by side witli the victims, and most gro- 
tesquely dressed and painted. At sunset the dance 
ceased, and the doomed men were shut up in tlie tem- 
ple, while their captors kept guard outside, and sang 
hynnis to the god. About midnight every owner 
brought out his captive and shaved oif his to[) hair, 
which he carefully kept as a token of his valor. At 
dawn the human offerings were taken to the Tzom- 
jiaiitli, where the skulls of the sacrificed were spitted, 
and there strii)ped by the priests of their dress and 
ornaments. At a certain signal each owner seized liis 
captive by the hair and dragged or led him to the 

Hilt. Ant. Mrj., toiii. i., p. 05; Tiir<iiirni(i<f((, .]fniifiir/. Iiiil., tiiiii. ii., jip. 
T,\\ LMIS; S'ti/itfi/ini, Ili.'it. diiK, ti.iii. i., lili. ii., pp. !-•_>, i:«t-41. 

'•''* '('(irtiil)aii nil firan iirbol en el iiionto, «le vt'iiite \ ciiico linizas do 
lar;;().' Sn/iai/ini, Hist, tlru., toiii. i., lil>. ii., i>. 141. ' I/ciiiportaii'iit (tlic 
tree) iinK'es.Hidiiiiellcmi'iit an tt'iiiiilo do Hiiit/iliijxiclitii, sans ricii Iiii iMilo 
vcr lie .xcH ranieaux iii tie son feiiillaye.' limsucur ik JJuiirOouiy, Hist, 
^'(tt. Cic, toui. iii., p. 521. 



foot of the tcnii)le-Htop.s. Thorcupoii tliose priests 
who were aitpuiiitod to oxocuto thu iearCiil sjuiiticu 
deHceiidt'd f'loin the tuiiiplc, each beariiijij iu liis lined 
u \}iv^ tilled with certain stupefying powder extractid 
from the i/idahtli plant, which they threw into the 
faces of the victims to deaden somewhat the agony 
before them. Each naked and hound ca])tive was 
then home upon the shoulders of a priest up to tlie 
sunnnit of the temple, where snioldered a great heiii» 
of glowing coal. Into this the hearers cast their liv- 
ing burdens, and when the cloud of dust was blown 
off the dull red mass could be seen to heave, human 
forms could be seen writhing and twisting in agoii}', 
the crackling of flesh could be distinctly heard. ^'' But 
the victims were not to die by fire; in a few moments, 
and before life was extinct, the blackened and blistered 
wretches were raked out by the watching priests, cast 
one after another upon the stone of sacrifice, and in a 
few moments all that renunned upon the sublimit of 
the tenn>le was a heap of human hearts smoking 
at the feet of the god of fire. 

These bloody rites over, the people came together 
and danced and sang in the courtyard of the temple. 
Presently all adjourned to the place where the jiole 
before mentioned stood. At a mven siijfnal tlie 
youths made a grand scramble for the pole, and lie 
who first reached the summit and scattered tlie 
image and its accoutrements among the applauding 
crowd below, was reckoned the hero of the day. AVith 
this the festival ended, and the pole was dragged 
down by the multitude amid much rejoicing. 

The Tepanecs, according to Duran had i vei , sim- 
ilar ceremony. A huge tree was to the en- 
trance of the town, and to it ofi , ^ and inc i; 
were presented every day during tl. month preceding 
the festival. Then it was raised witli m; ly ceremo- 
nies, and a bird of dougii placed at the top. Food 

39 riavi<;cro snys that the cai)tors spriiikliMl the viitiiiiM aiid tlirew tlieiii 
into tho lire, litoriu Ant. del Mitmico, toiii. ii., p. 77. 





jiiid winu woro ofTurctl, and tlieii tlio warriors aiul 
women, tlrosHod in uhofineist j^arinents and lioldin*; 
Miiall d()ii|L»h idols in thuir hands, danced round the, while the youths stru<i<^led wildly to reach and 
knock down the bird uiiage. Lastly, the pole was 

The Tlascaltecs called the same month Hueymiccail- 
Imitl, 'the j^reat festival of the dead,' and comnienio- 
ratcd tlie event with much solemnity, painting their 
ImkHcs black and making much lamentation. Both 
lit re and in other j)arts of Mexico the })riests and no- 
lilcs passed several days in the temj)le, weeping for 
tlicir i.-'cestors and singing their heroic deeds. The 
families of lately deceased persons assembled u})on the 
terraces of their houses, and jtrayed with their faces 
turned towards the north, where the dead were su})- 
posed to sojourn. Heroes who had fallen in battle, or 
(lied in captivity, defunct princes, and other j)ersons 
of merit were, in a manner, canonized, and their stat- 
ues placed among the images of the gods, Avhom, 
it was believed, they had joinofl tc live in eternal 

Tlie festival of the next month, called Ochpaniztli, 
was lield in honor of Centeotl, the mother-goddess. 
Fifteen days before the festival began those who were 
to take part in it commenced a dance, which they 
repeated every afternoon for eight days. At tlie ex- 
]»irati()n of this time the medical women and midwives 
hiDught forth the woman who was to die on this oc- 
casion, and dividing themselves into two }»arties, 
fought a sham battle by ]»elting each other with 
leaves. The doomed woman, who was called 'the 
image of the mother of the gods,' placed herself at 
tlic head of one party of the combatants, supported 

*" Dnrav, Hint. Indins, MS., appendix, torn, iii., cap. iii. 

■" 'CVtait repoijiic oil la noblesse eelelirait Iii conuiienioration dew princes 
it lies ;;iuTriers niii Ics avaient preeedes.' Untsxi ur i/r liniir/juiinj, llixt. 
Xiil. Cli-., toni. iii., p. 5'2'2; Toruiiciiiin/ii, Mniiriri/. liit/., toni. ii., ]ip. '2!)8, 
'J7:i-">; Codex Tclkriuno-Iicincnsts, '\n KinijuboroxijICa Mcjc. Antii/., vol. v., 

It- iao-1. 




by tliree cA women who guarded and attended iqxm 
her continually. This was repeated during four suo- 
cessive days. On the fifth day the unfortunate crea- 
ture was conducted by her guardians and the medical 
women through the market-i)lace. As she wallod 
she scattered maize, and at the end of her jourm y 
she was received by the priests, who delivered litr 
again to the women that they might console her (fur 
it was necessary that she should be in a good humor, 
say the old chroniclers) and adorn her with the orna- 
ments of the mother-goddess. At midnight she was 
carried to the sunnnit of the temple, caught ui) upon 
the shoulders of a priest, and in this position beheaded. 
The body while yet warm was flayed, and the skin 
used in certain religious ceremonies which will be de- 
scribed at lenjifth elsewhere.*'^ In this month the teni- 
pies and idols underwent a thorough cleansing and 
repairing, a sacred work in which everyone was eager 
to share according to his means and ability, believing 
that divine blessings would ensue. To this commend- 
able custom is no doubt to be attributed the good con- 
dition in which the religious edifices were found by 
the Conquerors. Roads, public buildings, and private 
houses also shared in this renovation, and special 
l)ra3^ers were offered up to the gods for the preserva- 
tion of healtli and property. 

The festival of the succeeding month, called Teot- 
leco, 'coming of the gods,' was sacred to all the deities, 
tliough the princi})al honors were ])aid to Tezcatlipoca 
as the supreme head. Fifteen days of the month 
being ])assed, the college-boys prepared for the gieat 
event bv decorating the altars in the tenqdes, orato- 
ries, and public buildings, witli green branches tied in 
bunches of three. In the same manner tliev decked 
tlie idols m private houses, receiving from the inniates, 
as their reward, ])askets containing from two to r(.iir 
ears of maize; this gift was called cacalotL 

« Si>(> volumo iii., of this work, jip. .3')4-n, wliere a dctailiMl 'losciipii m 
of tliiit festival is given. 



Tezcatllpoca, being younger and stronger than .the 
otluT goda, and therefore able to travel fa^^ter, was 
cxjiccted to arrive during the night of the eighteenth. 
A mat, sprinkled with Hour, was therefore i)laeed on 
the thresliold of his temple, and a i)riest set to watch 
for the footprints which would indicate the august 
:ii rival.*' He did not, however, remain consta'.itly 
(lose to the mat; had he done so he w<juid probably 
never have seen the longed-for marks, but 'ie ap- 
pioached the sj^ot from time to time, and inunediately 
on perceivmg the tracks he shouted: "His majesty 
liiis arrived;" whereupon the other priests arose in 
liaste, and soon their shells and trumpets resounded 
through all the temples, proclaiming the joyful tidings 
to the expectant people. These now Hocked in with 
their offerings, each person bringing four balls made of 
roasted and ground amaranth -seed kneaded with 
water; they then returned to their homes to feast and 
(liiiik i)ulque. Others beside the old people a])pear 
to have been permitted to indulge in libations on this 
occasion, which they euphoniously called 'washing the 
feet of the god' after his long journey. On the follow- 
ing (lay other deities arrived, and so they kept com- 
ing until the last divine laggard had left his I'ootprints 
on the mat. Every evening the people danced, feasted, 
'waslied the feet of the gods,' and made a sacrifice of 
slaves, who were thrown alive upon a great bed of 
live coal which glowed on the tccalco.** At the head 
of the stei)s leading up to the j)lace of saeriHce stood 
two y(-)ung men, one of whom wore long, false hair, 
and a crown adorned with rich i)hnnes; his face was 
jtainted black, with white curved strijies drawn from 
ear to forehead, and from the inner cori»er of tiie eve 

'• SmIui'.'uii writes: 'A la inodia iiocIk; iIo esto niisiiio <liii, iiiolian mi 
|< MM (Ic luirina lie inai/, y liai-iaii iiii iiioiiliuicillii dt- clla hicn tii|iiila: y li> 
iMliiiralian dc liariiia, rt'iloiulii I'oiiu) uii tjiicso, soliii' mi |ii'tatt'. I'',ii el 
iiii^iiKi Nciaii ciiaiHlo lial)ian ll('j;ailo I(mIi>s Ins diosi's, jioniiu' .'.■(lari'cia iiiia 
I'i'-Mila <1l' uii ]iiu pe([Ucuo Hobru la hariiia.' Jli\si. (Int., turn, i., lib. ii., |i. 

'* 'I'lu'sc satirilii't's by fin* appear ti> liavc liciMi inadi' uimii tlic smniiiit <•{ 
* Miiiill teiiii)lc wliith stood witliiu tlic courtyard of tlic luryor one. 



to the cheek ; down his back hung a long feather, witli 
a dried rabbit attached to it. The other man ^^a.s 
dressed to reseral)le an immense bat, and held rattln.s 
like poppy-heads in his hands. Whenever a victim 
was cast into the fire these weird figures danced iind 
leaped, the one whistling with his fingers and mouth, 
the other shaking his rattles.** 

After the sacrificing was ended, the priests phictd 
themselves in order, dressed in paper stoles which 
crossed the chest from shoulder to armpit, and 
ascended the steps of the small edifice devoted to five 
sacrifices; hand in hand they walked round, and tliuii 
rushed suddenly down the steps, releasing each other 
in such a manner as to cause many to tumble. Tliis 
game, Avliich certainly was not very dignified lur 
priests to play at, was called mamatlavicoa, and giivo 
rise to much merriment, especially if any of tiie rev- 
erend players should lose his temj)er, or limp, or make 
a wry face after a fall. The festival closed with a 
general dance, which lasted from noon till night. At 
tliis season all males, young and old, wore feathers of 
various colors gummed to the arras and body, as talis- 
mans to avert evil.*® 

The festival of the next month, called Tepeilhuitl, 
was sacred to the Tlalocs, and is fully described else- 
where.*^ The Mexican Bacchus, Centzontotoclitiii, 
was also especially honored during this month, accord- 
ing to Torquemada, and slaves were sacrificed to him. 
A ca))tive was also sacrificed by night to a deity 
named Nappatecutli.*** 

The festivals of the ensuing month, which was 

*5 'Rnllavano nttorno ad un gran fuoco niolti ciovani travcstiti in parcc- 
chio foiiiK' (li inostri, o fiattaiito an(lavanogc'ttaii(lo(k''ii>'iKi<niii'ii iii'lfiiino.' 
Vliu-iijiru, Stnfia Ant. tlel Mfxsiro, toni. ii., p. 78; lirusscur ik Bvuvbviinj, 
Hist. Xiit. Cir., Um\. iii., ]). ri'27. 

<« Tlio biirninfi ami daiicinf,' took place on the first, two days of the Inl- 
lowinji ni(Mitl», according; to S.-diajrnn. 'Estos dos dias postrerois eraii ilil 
nies ((uc SL' si}fiie.' Hist. (!rii., toui. i., lib. ii., p. 159; Tur<iueinudu, Mu- 
mm/, hid., torn, ii., i)p. 278-9. 

" Sct^ vol. Hi., p. :<43-f). 

** I'orqitcinaiiii, Monarq. Ind,, torn, ii., pp. 152-3. 



ll AVllS 

in piiw- 

IMllll llt'l 

called QuechoUi,*' were devoted to various deities, 
though Mixcoatl, god of the chase, seems to have car- 
ried thp honors in most parts of Mexico. The first 
five days of the month were passed in repose, so far 
as religious celebrations were concerned, but on the 
sixth day the authorities of the city wards ordered 
canes to be gathered and carried to the temple of Hu- 
itzilopochtli; there young and old assembled during 
the four days following, to share in the sacred work 
of making arrows. The arrows, which were all of 
uniform length, were then formed into bundles of 
twenty, carried in processicm to the temple of Huit- 
zilopochtli, and piled up in front of the idol. The 
four days were, moreover, devoted to fasting and 
penance, involving abstinence from strong liquors, and 
separation of husbands from wives. On the second 
day of the fast, the boys were summoned to the tem- 
ple, where, having first blown upon shells and trump- 
ets, their faces were smeared with blood drawn from 
tiieir ears. Tiiis sacrifice, called momdcaieo, was made 
to tlic deer which they proposed to hunt. The rest of 
the peo|)le drew blood from their own ears, and if any 
one omitted this act he was deprived of his mantle by 
the overseers. 

On the second day following, darts were made to 
he used in games and exercises, and shooting matches 
were held at which maguev-leaves served for tarn-ets. 
The next day was devoted to ceremonies in honor of 
tlie (lead l)y rich and poor. The day after, a great 
(juantity of hay was brought from the hills to the 
temple of Mixcoatl. Upon this certain old priestesses 
seated themselves, while mothers brought their chil- 
(heii before them, accompanied by five sweet tamales. 
(Ml tliis day were also ceremonies in honor of the god 
of wine, to whom sacrifices of male and female slaves 
were made by the pul(|ue-dealers. 

( )n tlie tenth day of the month a number of hunt- 
ers set out for miumt Cacatepec, near Tacubaya, to 

♦• The name of a bird with red iiud blue phitnage. 



celebrate the hunting festival of Mixcoatl, god of the 
chase. On the first day they erected straw huts, iu 
which they passed the night. The next morning, 
having broken their fast, they formed themselves into 
a great circle, and all advancing toward a conniiun 
centre, the game was hemmed in and killed with ease. 
The spirits of the children sacrificed to the rain-gods, 
wlioso dwelling was upon the high mountains, were 
supposed to descend upon the hunters and make t'lieni 
strono" and fortunate. Havinjj secured their jjanie, 
the hunters started for home in grand procession, sing- 
ing songs of triumph, and hymns to the mighty Mix- 
coatl. After a solemn sacrifice of a portion of the 
game to the god, each took his share home and feasted 
upon it."" The Tlascaltecs sacrificed to the god at the 
place where the hunt took place, which was uj)on a 
neighboring hill. The way leading to the spot was 
strewn with leaves, over which the idol was carried 
with great pomp and ceremony." Towards the close 
of the luonth male and female slaves were sacrificed 
before Mixcoatl.''* 

In Tlascala and the neighboring republics this was 
the 'month of love,' and great numbers of young girls 
were sacrificed to Xochiquetzal, Xochitecatl, and Tla- 
zolteotl, goddesses of sensual delights. Among the 
victims were many courtesans, who voluntarily ottered 
themselves, some to die in the temple, others on the 
battlefield, where they rushed in recklessly among tlio 
enemy. As no particular disgrace attended a life of 
prostitution, it seems im})rol)able that remorse or re- 
pentance could have prompted this self-sacrifice, it 
must therefore be attributed to pure religious fervor. 

50 ' Al undi'cimo dia fie cate mes, ihati .i liacer una casa d aqiiellii siciiji 
que cstaliii eiiciiiia <le Aflnrniofn/(ni, y e»ta era (iesta jityr si, de inaiu'iii i|ui' 
eii este iiies liahia <los lie«tas.' Sahagiiii, Hist. (Ivii., torn, i., lili. ii., i'. Iii''. 
'No sa<'riti('al)aii este (iia liomhreHsiiio eaza, y asi la caza servia de vii'tiiniis 
ii los Uiiises.' Diintii, Hist. Imliiis, MS., a]>}ieudix, tuiii. iii., cap. iii.; Tm'- 
qu<iiHii(ii, Miniarq. Iiid., toiii. ii., j)p. 14<S-i). 

5' Artts/d, Hist, (le Ills Ynd., pp. .3:?7-S; Moutuiins, Nkuwe Wccrchl, p. 
221; Jfirirrii, Hist. Gcii., ilcc. iii., lih. ii., eajt. xv. 

ia Sahiujuii, Hist. (Jen., torn, i., lib. ii., p. 107. 



As a recompense for their devotion, these women he- 
fore they went to their death had the privilege of 
iiisulting with impunity their chaster sisters. Jt is 
further said that a certain class of young men addicted 
to unnatural lusts, were allowed at this period to 
solicit custom on the public streets. At Quauhtitlan, 
every fourth year, during this month, a festival was 
t'L'lehrated in honor of Mitl, wlien a slave was bound 
to a cross and shot to death with arrows.^ 

The feast of the next month, called Panquetzaliz- 
tli, was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, god of war; that 
of the following month, called Atemoztli, was sacred 
to the Tlalocs. Both these festivals will be described 

The ensuing month was named Tititl, or the month 
of 'liard times,' owing to the inclement weather. The 
celebrations of this period were chiefly in honor of an 
a'^ecl goddess, named Ilamatecutli, to whom a female 
i,bve was sacrificed. This woman represented the 
^"•oddess and was dressed in white garments decorated 
with daniifling shells and sandals of the same color: 
upon her head was a crown of feathers; the lower 
])art of her face was painted black, the upper, yellow; 
iu one hand she carried a white shield ornanioiitcd 
with feathers of the eagle and the night-heron, in the 
other she held a knitting stick. Before going to her 
death she performed a dance, and was permitted, con- 
trary to usual custom, to exj)ress her grief and fear in 
loud lamentations. In the afternoon she was con- 
ducted to the temple of Huitzilopochtli, accompanied 
by a ])rocessicm of priests, among whom was one 
dressud after the manner of the goddess Ilamatecutli. 
Alter the heart of the victim had been torn from her 
lireast, her head was cut off and given to this person- 
a.j;e, who immediately placed himself at the head of 
the other priests and led them in a dance round the 

^^ Tiirrjurmnrfn, Monnrq. Iiiil., torn, ii., pp. 290, 280-1; lirasscur de 
B(iiir!,uiirij, Hist. Xitt. Cii\, toin. iii., y>. fi'M, toni. ii., jip. 402-3. 
i* Seu vol. iii. of this work, pp. 2i)7-300, 323-4, 34G-8. 
Vol. a. 22 

I I 



temple, brandishing the head by the hair the whiio. 
As soon as the performers of the vecula, as this dance 
was named, had left the summit of the temple, a i)riest 
curiously attired descended, and, proceeding to u spot 
where stood a cage made of candle wood adorned with 
papers, set fire to it. Immediately upon seeing tlio 
ilames the other priests, who stood waiting, rusliud 
one and all up again to the temple-top ; here lay a 
flower, Avhich was secured by the first who could ])i;t 
hands upon it, carried back to the fire, and tlitio 
burned. On the following day a game was played 
which resembled in some respects the Roman Lujxjr- 
calia. The players were armed with little bags filled 
with paper, leaves, or flour, and attached to cords 
three feet long. With these they struck each otliei-, 
and any girl or woman who chanced to come in their 
way was attacked by the boys, who, approaching 
quietly with their bags hidden, fell suddenly upon lier, 
crying out: "This is the sack of the game." It some- 
times happened, however, that the woman had jxo- 
vided herself with a stick, and used it freely, to the 
great discomfiture and utter rout of the urchins.^ A 
captive was sacrificed during this month to ISEicthin- 
tecutli, the Mexican Pluto, and the traders celoljiated 
a OTand feast in honor of Yacatecutli."*' During the 
last Aztec month, which was called Itzcalli, iniposiiiijf 
rites were observed throughout Mexico in honor of 
Xiuhtecutli, god of fire;^^ in the surrounding states, 
such as Tlacopan, Coyuhuacan, Azcapuzalco,^ Quauh- 
titlan,^^ and Tlascala,* ceremonies more or less similar 

55 Gomnra says men and women danced two nipflita with the gods aiul 
drank until they were all dnuik. C'oiiq. MiX., fol. 3:28. According to I'li- 
ran, Cainaxtli was fOted in this month, and a hread called yocoldmulhi w-m 
eaten exclusively on the day of the festival. Hist. Indias, MS., toiii. iii., 
appendix, cap. iii. ; Saharjun, Hist. Gen., toni. i., lib. ii., pp. 179-8"2. 

** Claxiigcro, Storin Ant. (id Messico, torn, ii., p. 83; Tonjueniaiia, .^fo- 
narq. IniL, torn, ii., p. 153. 

w Sec vol. iii. of this work, pp. .300-3. 

*8 Sec Torqwinada, Monarq. Ind., torn, ii., p. 280; Brasscur de Ilnur- 
hoiirg, Nat. Civ., toni. iii., p. 539; Las Casas, Hist. Apologetica, M.S., 
cap. clxxi. 

i" See Gomara, Conq. Mcx., fol. 329; Torqucmada, Monarq. lHd.,U'm. 



were <:»one through, accompanied by much roasting and 
tlaviiii,^ of men and women. 

Besides tliese montlily festivals there were many 
otliers devoted to the patron deities of particular 
trades, to whom the priests and people interested in 
thuir worship made offerings, and, in some cases, 
luiiniiii sacrifices. There were also many movable 
feasts, held in honor of the celestial bodies, at harvest 
time, and on other like occasions. These sometimes 
liappened to fall on the same day as a fixed festival, 
in which case the less important was either set aside 
or postponed. It is related of the Culhuas that on 
Olio occasion when a movable feast in lionor of Tezcat- 
lipoca chanced to fall upon the day fixed for the cele- 
l)rati()n of Huitzilopochtli, they postponed the former, 
and thereby so offended the god that he predicted the 
destruction of the monarchy and the subjugation of 
the people by a strange nation who would introduce a 
monotheistic worship."^ 

( >ne of the most solemn of the movable feasts was 
tliat given to the sun, which took place at intervals 
of two or three hundred days, and was called Netona- 
tiuhipialo, or 'the sun eclipsed.' Another festival 
took ])lace when the sun appeared in the sign called 
Nahui Ollin Tonatiuh,®'' a sign much respected by 
kings and princes, and regarded as concerning them 

At the great festival of the winter solstice, which 
took place either in the month of Atenioztli or in that 
of Tititl, all the people W'atched and fasted four days, 
and a number of captives were sacrificed, two of whom 
repiesented the sun and moon.*^^ About the same 

ii., ]i|). 280-7; Las Ca.ias, Hist. ApolnijcUrri, MS., cap. cl.Kxi; Motolinia, 
Hit/. Iiidiiis, in Tv.iizbalreta, Col. (fc I)or., ti»m. i., ]>]>. 4'\-4. 

•''' Sou Las Casus, Hist. Apologctica, MS., cap. clxxi. ; Torqucmada, 
Muiiiii-'/. LuL, torn, ii., p. 291. 

•'' Hi'iissciir <lc lioiirliovrff, Hist. Not. Cir., toiii. ii!., p. 533. 

'''^ ' Xdhiii Ollin Tonntinh, esto ea, cl sol eii siis (Miatro movicntos, 
acoiiiiiafiado de lu Via larfra.' Leon y Gama, Ihis Pivilros, \)i i., j). 91. 

''^ '.Mataban quatro Cautivcs <lc los (jne se llaniaban riiaciiaiiic, que 
qiiicrc (li'cir: Toiitoa; y iiiatabaii taiiiUion la iiiia.i;cn del Sol, y de la Luna, 
4UU orau dos llombrcs.' Tonjucinuiia, Munarq. Inil., toui. ii., p. 148. 'Oa 



time a series of celebrations were held in honor of 
Iztacacenteotl, goddess of white maize; the victims 
sacrificed on this occasion were lepers and others suf- 
fering from contagious diseases.** Whenever the sjnii 
of Ce Miquiztli,or One Death, occurred, Mictlantecutli, 
god of hades, was feted, and honors were paid to the 
dead."^ Of the heavenly bodies, they esteemed next 
to the sun a certain star, into which Quetzalcoatl was 
supposed to have converted himself on leaving thu 
earth. It was visible during about two hundred aiitl 
sixty days of the year, and on the day of its first jip- 
})earance above the horizon, the king gave a slave to 
be sacrificed, and many other ceremonies were per- 
formed. The priests, also, offered incense to this star 
every day, and drew blood from their bodies in its 
honor, acts which many of the devout imitated.** 

At harvest-time the first-fruits of the season wcie 
offered to the sun. The sacrifice on this occasion was 
called Tctlhnonamiquian, 'the meeting of the stones.' 
The victim, who was the most atrocious criminal to 
be found in the jails, was placed between two im- 
mense stones, balanced opposite each otlier; these 
were then allowed to fall together. After the remains 
had been buried, the principal men took part in a 
dance ; the people also danced and feasted during the 
day and night.'*^ 

Every eight years a grand festival took place, called 

immolait ensuitc un grand nombre de captifs, dont les principaux, appolis 
CliachaiUL', (i;;uraicut Ic soleil ct la lunc' Brasscur dc Bourbounj, Hist. 
Nat. ('/('., toiii. iii., p. .5,35. 

<•* Toriiirnuula, Monarq. Ind., torn, ii., pp. 150-2; Leon y Gama, Dos 
Picdrrif!, ])t i., p. 91. 

CJ l!r((sscur de Bonrhourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, iii., p. 538. 

<>'' '("ii'iMi ([lie Topili'in su reyj)riiiioro so coiiiiertio en aciuclla estrcUa.' 
Gomnra, Cunq. Max., fol. 331; Las Casus, Hist. Apoloyeiiva, MS., laji. 

" Vriftin, Hist. Ant. Mrj., torn, i., pp. 249-.50. 'Papalma-tlamacazqni, 
on Miiiistre.s aux longs chevcnx. C'est par Icnrs niaiiiM (|iio jia.^'saiciil les 
prdniiccs dos frnits de la terro qii'on ott'rait aux astres du jour et de la luiit 
. . . .On iniiuolait un grand nombre de captifs et, i\ leur defaut, lescriiiiiiicls 
....Sur leur sepulture on e.xecutait un ballet.' Brasscur dc Boiirlmiirii, 
Hist. Nat. Civ., toni. i., pp. 274-5. For description of Zapotec harvest- 
feast sec Burffoa, Geoff. Dcscrip., toni. ii., pt ii., fol. 332-3; Brasscur de 
Bourbourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., toni. iii., i)p. 40-2. 



At.imalqualiztli, 'the fast of bread and water,' the 
j)iiiicipal feature of which was a mask ball, at which 
l»o(>i)lo appeared disguised as various animals whoso 
iictions and cries they imitated with great skill.** 
The most solemn of all the Mexican festivals was 
tliiit called Xiuhmolpilli, that is to say, 'the binding- 
iip of the years.' Every fifty-two years was called a 
'slieuf of years,' and it was universally believed that at 
the end of some 'sheaf the world would be destroved. 
The renewal of the cycle was therefore hailed with 
great rejoicing and many ceremonies,®" 

•n Snhafjun, Jfist. Gen., torn i., lib. ii., pp. 195-7. 

ci> For description of tiiiM feast see vol. iii. of this work, pp. .S03-G. 
Tiie iiiitiiorities on Aztec festivals are: Sahayuii, llisf. Gen., torn, i., lit', 
ii., p|). 49-218, lib. i., pp. 1-40; Kingsborovtjli's Mcx. Anfiq., vol. vii., pp. 
l-!tS; Torqucmada, Monarq. Ind., toni. ii., pp. 147-r)(), 24()-300; Chirigcro, 
Sluria Anf. del Mes.'iko, torn, ii., pp. G()-8(); Las Casus, Ili.sf. Ajujlui/ctirn, 
MS., cap. cl.xix-clxxvii.; Motolintn, Hist. Indlns, in Irazhidritii, Vol. de 
J)(ir..,Umi. i., pp. .38-62; Gomara, Cunq. Mcx., fol. .320-H(); Duran, Hist. In- 
dills, MS., toni. iii., appendix, cap. iii.; Leon, Caininodfl C'ielo, p]). %-l()0; 
('(imiirijo. Hist. Tlax., in Nouvellcs Annalcs drs Voy., 1843, toni. xcix., pp. 
l.'Jl»-7; Menilieta, Hist. Eclcs., pp. 99-107; Arosta, Hist, de las Ynd., ]t\). 
.SJT-it, 354-«, .3C0-4, 382-93; Boturim, Idea, pt i., pp. 50-3, 90-3; Teznzomor, 
Hist. Mex., torn, i., pp. 161-6; Hcrrern, Hist. Gen., dec. iii., lib. ii., cap. 
xv-xvii.; Purrhas his Pilgrimes, vol. iv., pp. 1040-8; Genivlli Vareri, in 
VhnrohilVs Col. VoifnijM, \o\. iv., pp. 490-1; Montanus, Nieiiire Wenrld, 
j)I). 221, 243, 265-7; West nnd Ost Indisr.hev Lnst(]art, pt i., pp. 71-2; Codex 
Tdlrriano-Remcnsis, in KingshorouglCs Mcx. Antiq., vol. v., ))i>. 129-.34; 

Jh-d.tfrur tie Bonrbourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., toin. i., pp. 234-5, 274-5, tt 
ii., pp. 4(52-3, toin. iii., pp. 40-2, 498-547; Klcmm, Cnltur-Gesrhirhle, U\ 
v., jip. \Q\-\\; Carhajal Espinosa, Mex., toni. i., pp. 515-17, 531-51; 

ii., pp. 4(52-3, torn, iii., pp. 40-2, 498 

v., ]ip. 104-14; Carhajal I 

JJussicrre, L'Empire Mex., pp. 128-38; Lenoir, Paralldle, pp, 9-11 




1 1 j 

Oeigin of Agriculture— Floating Gardens— Agricultural Punn- 
ucTs— Mannkr of preparing the Soil— Description of Aciti- 
cuLTURAL Implements— Irrigation — Granaries — CJaudkxs — 
THE Harvest Feast— Manner of Hunting— Fishing— Mi:TH(ti)s 
OF procuring Salt— Nahua Cookery— Various kinds of IiRkau 
—Bkans— Pepper— Fruit— Tamales— Miscellaneous Auticlks 
of Food— Eating of Human Flesh- Manufacture ok I'ilchk 
— Preparation of Chocolatl — Other Beverages — Intoxi- 
cating Ukinks- Drunkenness— Time and Manner of Taking 

Hunting-, fishlni:^, and agriculture furnished tlio 
Nahua nations with means of subsistence, besides 
wliicli they had, in common with their uncivilized 
brethren of the sierras and forests, the uncultivated 
edible products of the soil. Among the coast natioTis, 
tlie dwellers on the banks of large streams, and the 
inhabitants of the lake regions of Andhuac and ^li- 
choacan, fish constituted an important article of food. 
But aiifriculture, here as elsewhere, distinijfuished sav- 
agism from civilization, and of the lands of the so- 
called civilized nations few fertile tracts were Ibiiiid 
uncultivated at the coming of the Spaniards. Culti- 
vation of the soil was doubtless the first tangible .stej) 
in the progressive development of these nations, and 
this is indicated in their traditionary annals, which 
point, more or less vaguely, to a remote period when 



t1if Qniuames, or jtifiants, occupied tlie land as yet un- 
tilK'd; which means that the inhabitants were sava<»'es, 
whose pro<,n'ess had not yet exhibited any chan;^'e sut- 
firieiitly marked to leave its imprint on tradition. At 
ii time still more remote, liowever, the invention of 
liows and arrows is traditionally referred to.* 

The gradual discovery and introduction of agricul- 
tural arts according to the laws of development, were 
(»f course unintelligible to the aboriginal mind; con- 
8L(iiiently their traditions tell us wondrous tales of 
divine intervention and instruction. Nevertheless, 
the introduction of agriculture was doubtless of very 
ancient date. The Olmecs and Xicalancas, tradition- 
ally the oldest civilized peoples in Mexico, were far- 
mers back to the limit of traditional history, as were 
tlie lineal ancestors of all the nations which form the 
subject of this volume. Indeed, as the Nahua na- 
tions were living when the Spaniards found them, so 
had they probably been living for at least ten centu- 
ries, and not improbably for a nmch longer period. 

It was, however, according to tradition, during the 
Toltec period of Nahua culture that husbandry and 
all the arts pertaining to the production and prepara- 
tion of food, were brought to the highest degree of 
perfection. Many traditions even attribute to the 
Toltecs the invention or first introduction of agri- 

' 'Diccn qne en .aqtiellos principios del mnndo sc Tnanteiiinn Ins hom- 
lircs soliiiiic-iitu c(»u frutiiH y yerbas, hastaqiie iiiio fi r[>iii.'n Hainan Tlaoniiu- 
<iui, ([lie fpiicre decir, vl que intitd con Jkclm hallo la iiiveiicioii dt'l arco y la 
lli'clia, y ([lie desde eutoneea eoiiieiizaniii ii ejen'itarse en la eaza y nian- 
fi'iicise de oarnea do lits aniniales ([tie niatalian en ella.' Vcytia, Hist. Ant. 
Mij., torn, i., p. 10. The <;iants lived 'mas eonio briitDH <nie eonio racinna- 
Ics: su aliincnto eran las carnes crudas de las aves y lieras (|iie razavaii isiii 
(lisiiiicion alj^una, las frutas y yerlias silvestres por<iue nada cultivahan;' 
yet tliev knew how to make imhiiie to yet drunk with. /'/., p. l.")l. 

2 The Olniees raised at least maize, cliilo, and beans befon; the time of 
thL Toltees. Vrjftia, Hist. Ant. Mrj.,Um\. i., p. 154. The Toltec 'comida 
ra el misnio maiiteniniiento que aliora se usa del maiz ([iie senibrabaii y 
iK'iic'liiiabaii asi el blaneo eomo el de mas eolores.' Sii/niifiin, IFist . (irn., 
tinii. iii., lib. x., p. 112. To the T(dtec a};rieulture 'debitriii si riioiiob- 
liciolc posteriori Nazioni del frumentone, del eotone, del pevenine, e d'aitri 
iitilissimi frutti.' Vlariijcro, Sforin Ant. del Mr.isiro, toni. i., p. 127. The 
Toltecs 'truxerou mays, alyodou, y deiiias semillas.' Vetancirt, Tcalro 

! I 



But even Jurinfy this Toltec period huntino- trilits, 
l)oth of Nahiia and other hlood, were i)ursiiin<i; tlitir 
^ame in the forests and mountains, especially in tlio 
northern reijion. Despised by their more oivili/id, 
corn-eatin«»' brethren, they were known as l)ari)ari{iiis, 
doLjH, Chichimecs, 'suckers of blood,' from the eu.stoin 
attributed to them of diinkintf blo<jd and eatiiiyf r.uv 
Hesh. Many tribes, indeed, althouj^h very far lioiu 
beinuf sava<2^es, were known to the aristocratic Tohcc-» 
as Chichimecs, by reason of some real or imaj^-inary in- 
feriority. By the revolutions of the tenth century, 
some of these Chichimec nations, probably of the 
Nahua blood and tillers of the soil, although at tlio 
same time bold hunters and valiant warriors, n-ainud 
the ascendancy in Anilhuac. Hence tlie absurd ver- 
sions of native traditions which represent the Valley 
of Mexico as occupied durin<»' the Chichimec j)eriud 
by a people who, until taujilit better by the Acolhuus, 
lived in caverns and subsisted on wild fruits and raw 
meat, while at the same time they were ruled by em- 
perors, and possessed a most com})licated and advanced 
system of government and laws. Their barbiiiisni 
probably consisted for the most part in resistinn;' for a 
time the enervating influences of Toltec luxury, espe- 
cially in the pleasures of the table.^ 

Mrr., pt ii., p. 11. 'Tcnian cl niaiz, algodon, chile, frijolcs y las dcnias 
BoiiiilhiH lie la tierra que liav.' Ixtlilxockitl, llclaciones,i\\Kiiifjsboroi(<ilt\i 
Mux. Antiq., t<iiii. i.K., \^\). 3L'7, 3'.)3-4. 

3 'Sii c-oinida era totla espccie tic caza, tanto ciiadnipeda coinn voliilil, 
Hin distincioii iii utro eoiidinieiito ({uc asada, y las friitas. . . .pcro iiadii sciii- 
hraliaii, ill ciiltivaluiii.' Vri/lia, ^ft^j., toiii. ii., p. (5. 'No scm- 
hnibaii, iii cooian, ni asaban las ('arnes do la caza.' Their kiiig.s and imhlcs 
kci)t forests of deer and hare to supply tiie ])eople with food, until in No- 
paltzin's reign they were tauylit to plant hy a descendant of the Toltccs. 
rorqucDKiihi, Muiinrq. IikL, toiii. i., j)]!. .32, SS-J), (J7, '27!). They were tins 
first iiihahitants of the country nnd 'solo se inantenian de ca<;a.' MJacanau 
venailos, liehres, conejos, coiiiadrej.;s, topos, gatos inonteses, paxiims, 
yaun ininundicias coino culehras, lagartos, ratones, langostas, y gnsanos. y 
desto y de yeruas y rayzes se sustentaua.'i.' Ai'iisia, Hist tie. Ins Ynd., y\i. 
^IS-"). And to the .same eliect Cl<ivi(fcro, Storia Ant. del Messico, toni. i., 
pp. 1.32-3; lirnssciir <(e liourhoiirg, llist. Xaf. C'tn., toiii. i., j). 2().'>; lln'- 
redia ij Sarmioi/o, Smtioii, j). 74; Vainarg<t, Hist. Tlax., in isouirllrs An- 
nalcs tins Vo>/., 1813, toni. xcviii., pp. IK), l.")l; Vrtniirrrt, Tni'ro .l/^.r., pt 
ii., p. 12. They began to till the ground in Ilotzin's reign, b;it before that 
they roasted their meat and did not, as many <dii.iia, eat it raw. Ixtlilxo- 



Tlio Aztecs were traditionally corn-eaters from the 
first, l>ut wliilo .shut up for lon<jf years on an island in 
the lake, tliey liad little opportunity for ai^ricultural 
])ursuits. Duriiiij;' this period of their history, the Hsh, 
I (in Is, insects, plants, and mud of the lake supplied 
theiu with food, until Hoatini^ <^ardens were invented 
and suhserpient con(piests on the main land aiforded 
them l)road fields for tillaufe. As a rule no details are 
])reserved concernini^ the pre- Aztec peoi)les; where 
suc'li details are known they will he introduced in 
their ])roper place as illustrative of later Nahua food- 

The chinampaa, or floating g'-irdens, cultivated hy 
the Aztecs on the surface of the lakes in Anahuac, 
Avere a most extraordinary source of food. Drivm in 
the days of their national weakness to tlie lake islands, 
too small for the tillage which on the main had sup- 
ported them, these ingenious ])eople devised tiie cl.'i- 
nampa. They ohserved small portions of the shore, 
detached by the high water and held together hy 
lihrous roots, floating about on the surface of the 
water. Acting on the suggestion, they constructed 
nifls of light wood, covered with smaller sticks, 
nislics, and reeds, bound together with fibrous ai^uatio 
])lants, and on this foundation they heajied two or 
three feet of black mud from the bottom of the lake. 
Thus the broad surface around their island home was 
dotted with fertile oardens, self-irriu'atinuf and inde- 

t~ ' OCT 

])en(lent of rains, easily moved from place to })lace 
according to the fancy of the proprietor. They usually 
t(jok the form of parallelograms and were often over a 
luuidred feet long. All the agricultural products of 
the country, par^icularl}'' maize, chile, and beans were 
soon j)roduced in abundance on the chinanipas, while 
the larger ones even bore fruit and shade trees of con- 
siderable size, and a hut for the convenience of the 

rhitl, Hist. C/iii'h., in Kinfishoronffli's Mcx. Aiifiq., vol. ix., pp. 21.3-14; /(/., 
liliiriniif.i, p. .3Hr>. Aj^rimiltiirc iiitnulucoil in N()j)altzin'H reij^n. Ji/., ]i. 
'Mi. iJut Siihajrun, Jlist. (ioi., toin. iii., lil). x., p. ll.'>, says some of the 
Chichiiiiucs 'liaciuu taiiibicu ul^'iuia scineutenlla ilu iiiaiz.' 



owner, or gardener. The floating gardens have re- 
mained in use down to modern times, but since tliu 
waters of tlie lakes receded so much from tlieir fonutr 
'imits, tliey have been generally attached to the 
shore, Ijeing separated by narrow canals navigntutl 
i)y the canoes which bear their produce to the niar- 
kots. In later times, however, only flowers and gar- 
den vegetal)les have been raised in this manner,* 

On the mainland throughout the Nahua territdiy 
few fertile spots were left uncultivated. The land 
was densely populated, and agriculture was an hon- 
orable profession in which all, except the king, tlic 
nol)ility, and soldiers in time of actual war, wciu 
more or less en<xa<>"ed.° 

Agricultural products in the shape of food were 
not a prominent feature among articles of ex})ort and 
imi)ort, exce})ting, of course, luxuries for the tables of 
tlie kings and nobles. Each province, as a rule, raij^cd 
only suflicient supplies for its own ordinary necessi- 
ties; consequently, when by reason of drought or 

* 'SoIhc juiicii>, y cspadana se eclia tierra en tal forma, que no la ilos- 
haga el agiia, y alii se sienihia, y eultiua, y ciece, y niadura, y se lleiiii de 
vna i)arte a otra.' The itnulucts arc maize, eliile, wild amaranth, tunuitus, 
lieans, i-hian, ]»umpkins, etc. Acostii, Hist, de las Vik/., \). 472. ' l.a lor 
ligura regolare e ({uadriiunga: la lunghessa, e la larjjhezza .son varie: niii 
jier lo jiiii hanno, seeondo elie mi pare, otto nertiche in cirra di lnn;^hc,./;:i, 
non |)iu di tre di larghezza, e meno d'nn ])ie(!e d'elevazione sulia siipcrlicie 
deiraiMjua.' C/(iri</iiii, Sl<iri(( Ant. del J/csw/rvy, tom. ii., pp. 1.")'2-;!. I'ro- 
diice nut oidy [daiits nseful for food, dres.s, and medicine, hut Mowers ;iiid 
nlaiitx (hat serve only for decoration andlnxury. Lf., torn, iv., p. 'J'JT. t'ai- 
iiajal lvs])inosa, Mr.v., torn, i., p. (520, transhites Chiviuero's descrip- 
tion. 'l''airy islands of 11, ■.>crs, oversliadowcd occasiunally hy trees ol mii- 
sideralile size.' 'That arciiip('la;.'o (if wandering islands.' '2(H) or 3i)0 icct 
long, ,'i or 4 feet deep. I'nsrdtt'x Mi.c, vol. ii., p|i. "(i, 107-8. 'J'he iihuk 
mild of tiie chinanipas is imiiregnated with muriate .)f soda, which isgriid- 
ually wasjied out as the surface is watered, lliudmlilt, Easui J'uL. \<>u\. 
i., ]!]). 2o;>-2. Me iticiu hy (Jayangos in Cirtcs, Cu-fn.s, p. 7'.t; ll'iif/i" >f 
Sdnnirito, Srniiun, pp. 9j-(5. 'Camelloiii •*, que el'oM Uanian Chinuiii- 



]>as. ■ Torqurijutdu, Monarq, Ind., to:n. ii. p. 483; Carli, Cur/a.s 
l>\\ 38-0. 

^ 'Es esta provincia (Tlascala) de mucV )B valles llaims y Iie:ino>r.~, y 
todo.s lahrados y semhrados.' In Cliidnla ' i un palinode tierra hax i|no 
no este lahrado.' ('nrlrs, L'tirtns, jjp.'tiS, "), 'Tout le nionde, plii~ dil 
nioins, s'aihinnait a la culture, et se faisait .'uneur de travaiiler a la cam- 
pagrie.' liriis.iritr tir JloKrlrmrif, Hist. Xitf. t'ir., tom. iii.. ]!. (134; T<ir>/iir- 
Mi(i/(f, Miiiinn/. Tn(/., tom. ii., ]). 4S|. 'Ilasta Ins montes y sierras t"ra;:e~a« 
las teni,' i ocupadas <'nn semlirados y otros aprovediamientos.' l.i tUh:orliill, 
Hist Ciiic/i., in Kiiiij.ib(/r()i((jh's Mix. Antiij., vid. i\., p. 2,"t0. 




r, the 


other cause, a famine desolated one province, it was 
witli the greatest difficulty that food could be ob- 
tained from abroad. The Mexicans were an improv- 
ident people, and w.ant was no stranger to tliem.'^ 

The chief products of Nahua tillage wero maize, 
beans, magueyes, cacao, chian, chile, and various na- 
tive fruits.'' The maize, or Indian corn, the dried 
oars of which were called by the Aztecs cctfli, and 
the dried kernels separated from the cob, tlaolli* was 
the standard and universal Na.liua ibod. IncUgeiious 
to America, in tlie devidopmc.u of whose civilization, 
traditionally at least, it jl.-.yed an important part, it 
lias since been introduced to the world. It is the siib- 
jeet of the New-World ti'atui.ivHis respecting the inti'o- 
(liiction of agriculture among men. Tortillas, of maize, 
ationipanied by the inevitable frijoles, or beans, sea 
Mined with chile, or p'-'p])er, and washed di)\vn with 
drinks prepa: il iron' tin; maguey and cacao, were 
then, as now, the all-sustaining diet, and we are told 
that corn grew so strong and high in the tields that 

la itfs- 
Ik'iia lie 


l.a lov 
trie; lua 

ici's iiml 
of ron- 

ln' lihi'k 
1 is};iail- 

■js, pi i., 

nii»-">-. > 
luiy ([Mc 
jilii- I'll 
la cum- 


<• Carles, CarftyD, p. 7">; LilIilrDcliitl, Ifisf. C/u'rh., in Kiiiifsfiorriiif/fi's 
M '. Aiifi'/., vol. ix., ]). "J.")!); l','i//iii, Hisf. Ant. M''J., Unn. iii., ji, XU. 

■ \ full list ami tleHcrintioii ot tiic many cilihif .Mexican plant-i wliicli 
¥(•!•!• rultivatod liy tlie NaJLiias in ilio sixteenth ainl earlier ceiiiiuies. as 
ilii'V have lieen ever since hy tlie\r deseemlants, is i,'iven hy the liotanist, 
liciiiamle/, in his N<jr(( Pin iiliinuii\ see also ('/irn;/i ro, Slunn ^\iil. ihl 
Mi.-isini, tom. i., pp. 4r>-(;s; repeatc'd in ('urhiijiil JCs/n'iio.sti, Mij\, 
tniii. i., pp. ia2-lSI; Arwit'i, llisl. di- las ) /k/ , p. :;,'{(;, ct .sry. Maize, rna- 
;;ury, cacao, iiauanax, and vanilla. I'lr.srott's M'j'., vol. i., ))p. I.'IMJ. 'i'lie 
Totiinacs raised uii.'S, i>nt no cacao or ri'iiifirri.:Hi. Sri/inifini, lli\f 'I'li., 
torn, iii., lib, .v., p. 1,1'. The peo]ile of Michoacan raised ' maiz, lii.-' Ics, 
]ie|iitas y Iruta, y las seniillas de nlanteninliento^, Uaniados omi/ini. if 
r/mhi.' it/, p. l.'$7. I'he .Matlalt/.incas also raised the Inniiilitli. Id . p. 
llitl. jlesidcs corn, the most important prodiieis wore cotton, c,M'ai>, nui- 
;,'iiey (iiietl), frijoles, chia. and chile, f '/V/*-,'7''\>, Utoria Ant. del M'^iico, 
tiHii. ii,, p. l.'iS; ('(irhiijid Eyttiiosd, Hist. Mr.i- , torn, i., |>. (i'J4. ' O's Mexi- 
cains cultivaiint non-seulem»-iit toutes les tlenrs et toutes U'.s piantes nuc 
inohiit lenr pays, niais encore une intinite d'autre,s (lu'ils v avaieaf (ran.^ 
plaiiiees des contrees les ]ihis eloi;^in''e(*,' Ti::iiZiiiiii)r, Mist lA ,/ ., torn, i., p, 
-It. /'/. Crdiiirtt, in Kini/slKinmif/i's .l/cf. Aiitiif., vol. ix., p. l!S. '(lay frut;** 
tie luuchiis nianeras. en (pu" hay cerczas, y cirnelasipie s./ii seniejaldes i'l las 
lie KspiMui.' Cortes, Cdi'tus, p. lot. Fruit was mure uiiuiutuiH amon;u tlio 
Iliiasteis than elsewhere. Tc-uzonmr, Hist. Mij\, tom. i., |i. H7 'I'luy 
li.iue also many kindes of ])ot lierlies, as lettice, raddish, eresse.s, j^arlieke, 
oiiyons, and many other herhes liusides.' I'll-r Murtijr, dec. v., lih. iii. 
Kilihie fruits. SdlKdinn, Hist. Ctii., torn, ii , lili. viii., |». .'ilKJ. 

" Miillitii, Idrriiintirio. 't'cutli, o TlaiiUi, ijue olros dizeii niayz.' Gu- 
marii, Cuikj. J/c , p. 'Al'.i. 



covered the surface of the country In sonic parts, as 
to seriously enil)arrass tlie coutiueror Cortes in lii.s 
nio\eni('!its against the natives hidden in these ii.ii- 
ural la'.A'i'inths.'-* 

Ues[)ectin<^- tlie })articuhir methods of cultivation 
practiced by the Nahuas, except in the raisinj.^ of com, 
early observers have left no definite information.'" 
The valleys were ct <-ourse the favorite localities for 
cornfields, but the liiL^hlands were also cultivated. 
In the latter case the trees and bushes were cut 
d(j\vn, the land burm.'d over, and the seed put in 
amoui^ the ashes. Such lands w'ere allowed to rest 
several years — Tonpiemada says tive or six — after 
each cro]), until the surface was covered ^^ itli ^rass 
and bushes for a new burninf^-. No other fertili/.i i- 
than ashes, so far as known, was ever emj)loye(l. 
Fields were enclosed by stone walls and hedges of 
ma-jfuey, which wi-re carel'ully repaired each year in 
the month of Pan([uetzaliztli. They had uo laboiini;' 
animals, ami their fai'min;^ implements were exceed- 
iuLcly f"-^v- and lude. Tliree of these oidy are men- 
tioned. The h'licth' wan a kind of oaken shovel or 
spade, in har»<lHn;r wliuh both hands iiid feet were 
used. The n^tf/, or <nii i At'r})eiit), so called I'voiia- 
i»\y from its shape, was a co[)per im})lenient with a 
wooden lia.radl' u -d soniewiiat as a hoe is used by 
KttWcrn larrn.-r« in breaking the surfac«' of the soil. 
Ant»ther copp.T instrument, sliaped like a sickle, with 
a wot-i-n hand'--, was used i\)V ])runiniLi^ fruit-trees. A 
simj)le sharp -ack, the ])(jint of which was hardened 
'1 the tire, or more rarely tipj)ed with co[)per, Mas the 
MK nt in n.i()st < "inmon use. To plant corn, the 
r dropst'd a f' - kernels into a hole made with 
::ii- -ti'k, aij'l cov. tliom ^ -ith his foot, takinsjf the 

' ' orf's, <'nfi'i.< * f>-\\ T-niiiiinddit, Xrnini'/ Iiid., toiii. i., ji.Til,"). In 
TItixi'ala 'no t<i*-i]ii»*r .frii ri'<|ii>'za iii granioriu, -mo cciilli ijue es sii piiii.' 

4fOIH"r>-l. C'/llf. Hi., , fill. «7. 

*• VfUiT .Mar».\ r anil tin- Aiinnyinoiis ronqnornr .ay, lio\vi'\i that ("ii'an- 
taMM wtre j>lMM>r<>il uiiiirr larger trees, wliiih \ver> ■ \\\ «li>\»ii \« iien the |ilaiii 
jpMKtl x»dSt>c««. streuyUi. Dee. v., lib. »<.; i-'uOttitrfti, t.'ol. dr '''>e., tolil. 
I, p. »U. 



irrcitost pains to make the rows perfectly straii^-lit and 
jtanillcl; the intervals hetvveen the hills wurc always 
uiiit'orni, tlu)U_i4'h the space was rejjfulated aci'ordiMijf 
til the nature and f'ertilitv ut" the soil. The held was 
kept carefully weeded, and at a certain age the stalks 
wore sup])orted by heaping' up the soil round them. 
At maturity the stalks were olten broken two thirds 
ii|i, that the husks might ])i"otect the hanging ear 
i'roiii rain. JJuring the growth and ripening of the 
maize, a watchman or hov was kept constantly on 
guard in a sheltered station connnanding the lield, 
wliuse duty it was to drive away, with stones and 
sliouts, the Hocks of feathered rohhers which ahountl- 
ed in the country. Women and childreu aided the 
men in the ligfht;^r farm labors, such as dropping the 
seeds, weeding the i)lants, and husking and cleaning" 
the grain. To irrigate the fields the water of rivers 
and of mountain streams was utilized by means of 
canals, dams, and dittdies. The network of canals by 
Avhich the cacao ])lantations of the tierra caliente in 
Tabasco were watered, offered to Cortes' army even 
nmre serious obstructions than the dense growth of 
the niaizales, or cornfields. 

(Granaries for storing maize were built of oi/ati^'tf, 
or o.rdiiicfl, a tree whose long branches were regular, 
tonsil, and flexible. The sticks were laid in log-house 
fa>ln()ii, oik; above another, and close together, so as 
t' lorni a tightsipiare room, which was coxeivd with a 
Water-tight roof, and had oidy two oj»enings or win- 
dows, one at the top and another at the bottom. Many 
of these granaries had a capacity of several thousat <1 
bushels, and in them corn was pi'(ser\ed for several, 
or, as Brasseur says, for fifteen or twenty, yiars. 
]jc-i(les the rt'gular and extensive plantations of sta- 
l)le ))roducts, gardens wt^'re connnon, tastefully laid 
out and d'voted to the cidtivation of friuts, vegeta- 
bles, medicinal In rb.s, and |iai-ticidarly flowers, of 
winch the IVFexicans were veiy fond, and which were 
ill demand for temple decorations and Ixnnpiets. The 

', l^ 




) 1 





SB :' 

!• \m 




iif ;. 

gardens connected with the palaces of kings and no- 
bles, particularly those of Tezcuco, Iztapalapan, and 
Huaxtepec, excited great wonder and admiration in 
the minds of the first European visitors, but thtso 
have been already mentioned in a preceding chajftor.'^ 

We shall find the planting and growth of maize not 
without influence in the development of the Nahua 
calendars, and that it was closely connected with tlio 
worship of the gods and with religious ideas and cere- 
monies. Father Burgoa relates that in Oajaca, the 
cultivation of this grain, the peojile's chief supjxjit, 
was attended by some peculiar c(!renionies. At har- 
vest-time the priests of the maize god in Quegolaiii, 
ceremonially visited the cornfields followed by a pro- 
cession of the peo2)le, and sought diligeittly the fairest 
and best-filled ear. Tliis they bore to the village, 
placed it on an altar decked for the occasion with flow- 
ers and precious chalchiuites, sang and danced l)cfoio 
it, and wrapped it with care in a white cotton cloth, 
in which it Wcis preserved until the next seed-tinic. 
Then with renewed processions and solemn rites the 
magic ear with its white covering was wrapped in a 
deer-skin and buried in the midst of the cornfields in 
a small hole lined with stt)nes. When another har- 
vest came, if it were a fruitful one, the precious oflri- 
ing to the earth was dug up and its decayed remains 
distributed in small parcels to the happy populace as 
talismans against all kinds of evil." 

The game most abundant was deer, hare, rabbits, 
wild hogs, wolves, foxes, jaguars, or tigers, Mex- 
ican lions, coyotes, pigeons, partridges, quails, and 
many acpiatic birds. The usual weai)on was the bow 

n On tlio rultiiro of maize and other points iiicntioncd al)ove pec Tor- 
guciuada, Moiiarq. Lid., toui. ii., ])]>. 481 -'2, t^M, toni. i., \i. KM!; Vhiriijira, 
Stiiria Ant. act Mr.s.siro, toiii. ii., ]ip. ir)3-C; Iiri(s.sri(r dc Iii)iirhoiir</, Jli'^f. 
N»t. Civ., toni. iii., i)p. (ilW-?, toni. iv., p. (U; Corhiijfd J'J.yiino.tii, Ifisf. 
Mcx., torn, i., pp. (521-4; Citrliti, Varlas, i>. 75; Jii'rnul iJinz, Cini'/., 
p. 128; CdiiKirijo, T/ii.r., in JVuiirr/lr.i Ainiitlin tlis Vol/., 1848, toiu. 
xi'viii., p. liXi; I'rfrr Mtirfi/i\ dec. v., lib. ii. ; Gaijcrn, in Sue. Mcx. (noij., 
livli'/iii, '1'^^ Kjioiii, toni. i., PI). 81,")-1G. 

^'i Jliirifiht. Unni. DcHcriji., tonj. ii., pt ii., pp. 332-3; Brassciir i/c Buur- 
bourij, Hint. Xut. Vic, toni. iii., pp. 40-2. 




and arrow, to the invention of whieli tradition ascribes 
the orij];'in of the chase; hut spears, snares, and nets 
Avere also employed, and the sarhacan, a tube tliroui^li 
Avliic'li pellets or darts were blown, was an etlcetive 
biid-killer. Game iti the royal forests was protei-ted 
bs' law, and many hunters were emj)loyed in takiii;;^ 
animals and birds alive for the kinL''s collections. 
Aniont'' the peculiar devices em})loyed for takinLC 
water-birds was that already mentioned in connection 
with the Wild Tribes; the liunter ilo;itin<jf in tJie 
water, with only his head, covered witii a, *,^ourd, above 
the surface, and thus approaching- his prey unsus- 
pected. Young monkeys were cauglit i)y putting in 
a concealed fire a peculiar black stone which exploded 
wlicn heated. Corn was scattered about as a bait, 
and when the old mordveys brou<'ht their younij' to 
feed they were frightened by the explosion and ran 
away, leaving the young ones an eas}-- J)rey. The na- 
tive hunters are represented as particularly skillful in 
following an indistinct trail. According to Sahagun, 
a superstition ])revailed that only four arrows might be 
shot at a tiger, but to secure success a leaf was 
attached to one of the arrows, which, making a pecu- 
liar whizzing sound, fell short and attracted the beast's 
attention while the hunter took deliberate aim. Croc- 
odiles were taken with a noose round the neck and 
also, by the boldest hunters, by inserting a stick sharp- 
ened and barbed at both ends in the animal's open 
mouth. It is probable that, while a small portion of 
the (Common people in certain ])arts of the countiy 
sought game for food alone, the chase among the Na- 
huas was for the most })art a diversion of the nobles 
and soldiers. There were also certain hunts estab- 
lished by law or custom at certain periods of the year, 
tlie products of which were devoted to sacrificial i>ur- 
poses, although most likely eaten eventually. 

In the nu)nth Quecholli a day's hunt was cele- 
brated by the warriors in honor of Mixcoatl. A large 
t^trest — that of Zacatepec, near Mexico, being a favor- 

't ! 




itc resort — was surrounded by a line of hunters nianv 
miles in extent. Jn the centre of the forest vaiior.s 
snares and ti"a})s were set. AVhen all was ready, tlic 
livinijc circle bej^an to contract, and the hunters witli 
slioiits ])ressed forward toward the centre. To aid in 
tile work, the ^rass was sometimes fired. The various 
animals were driven from tiieir retreats into the snar( s 
j)rej)ared for them, or fell victims to the huntsnR'ii.s 
arrows. Immense quantities of i^ame were thus se- 
cured and borne to the city and to the neiij^hborin^' 
towns, the inhabitants of which had assisted in the 
hunt, as an ofteriiii;' to the god. Eacli hunter carriul 
to his own home the heads of such animals as he Imd 
killed, and a jirize was awarded to the most successlul. 
In the month Tecuilhuitontli also, while the waniois 
practiced in sham tiolits for actual war, the comniou 
people gave their attention to the chase. Large num- 
bers of lirds were taken in nets spread on ])oles like 
spear-sliafts. In earlier times, when the chase was 
more depended on for food, the first game taken was 
oilired to tlu' gods; or, by the (,'hichimecs and Xoclii- 
milcas, to the sun, as Ixtlilxochitl ini'orms us." 

Fish was much more universally used for food than 
gam.>, Torquemada tells us that the Aztecs first in- 
xeutcd the art of fisliing ])rom]>ted by the mother (>\' 
invention Avhen forced by their enemies to live on tlu- 
lake islands; and it was the smell of roasted fisli, 
waited to the shore, that revealed their ])resen«'c. 
This tradition is somewhat absurd, and it is ditHcult 
to believe that the art was entirely unknown dijring 
the ])receding Tolteo and Olmec j)eriods of Naliua 
civilization. Besides the supj)ly in lake and river, 

'^ On liutif iii^ soo Mofdlhnii. IlinK Tinlio.s, in TrozhaJrrla. Cu}. dr Thif.^ 
Iiini. i., |). 4S; S((/iiif/iiii, l/'sf. iirti., turn, i., lib. ii., p. Ki."), toiii. iii., liH. \»., 
jip. I 111 "i^'it. iiu:lu(liiii,' ii full list and ilcscriptioii of Nlcxiraii aiiinuils; '/'"•- 
{jiiriiKidii, Moiiiiri/. LkL, toiii. i., )). "JUS, toiii. ii., )>]>. 'JSI, •2\^~\ I'rhr Murtnr, 
<1('('. v., lili. iii.; V(irli\s, Curias, \i. '11; ('((innri/o, lltsl. Thu.. in \iiiiri/i'i 
A iiKolrx (Irs Vol/.. 1843, touj. xcviil., ]). I'.K!; l.iih'l.iiirhKI. Rihicinlux, in 
Kiiiijshitfoiiiili's Mix. Aii/.i'f/., vol. ix., pp. 'X\'\ .'Mli. A'^S; <'/(ii-,,,tri). Sfuri'i 
All/, ilil .Mr.s.iiro, torn, ii., pp. l(i(>-'2. List "f Mexican animals in /// . toiii, 
i. l>n. (iS-!t'.t; Citrhdjiil h.'<piinisii. Ifi.s'. .l/r.i., toni. i., p[t. ():!()-". I*.S>-II, 
■v\itli wauie li.'^t; ISrassrur dc liourouiinj, Hist. Nat. C\r., toiu. i., p. -io. 



^ mnwy 


dv, tli(3 

rs \\\\\\ 

.) aid ill 


) siiait s 

tsinun s 

,1ms sr- 


ill tlu' 

cari'it (I 

lie liad 




life luiin- 
oles like 
ase was 
ikcn was 

i)(l tlinii 
tirst in- 
tlicr ot' 
on tlu- 
_'d tish. 

|i.,lit». \»., 

Iiiiils; '/'"'■■ 

L\ ""'■'/'' < 
[ciiiii's. m 

It- 11, 

nrtidcial ponds in the royal o-ardens were also stocked 
with lish, and we have seen that tVesli Hsh from the 
ocean were hroiioht to Mexico for the kind's tahle, 
]\('sj)ectin,>^ the j)articular methods emjiloyed l>y the 
Naliua tishermei!, save that tluy used hoth nets and 
hooks, the authorities say nothino-. I'he 'I'arascos 
had such an abundance of food in their lakes that 
tiieir country was named ]\lic]ioacan, 'land of iish;' 
and the rivers of Huasteca])an are also mentioned as 
richly stockt'd with tinny food." 

'{'he Xahuas had, as I have said, no hei'ds or ilocks, 
hut hesides the royal collections of animals, which in- 
(liided nearly every known variety of (}uadrui)eds, 
hiids, and re^jtiles, the connnon })et)}»le kej)t and lucd 
d'c/iiclil (a native animal resemhliuL;' a doy), turkeys, 

(luails, o'eese, ( 


\S, and many nther hirds 


le no- 

dso kejit deer, hares, and rahl)it^ 

Xtxt to chile, salt, or i'Jdtl, was the condiment 
most used, .and most of the su})})ly came Irom the \'al- 
IcV of NFexico. The best was made hy hoilin!-- the 
water from the salt lake in larsjfe pots, and was pre- 
scrNed in white cakes or halls. It was olteiier, how- 
e\er, led by trenches into shallow jjools and evaporated 

^* (liifl<irrn, Sfnrin Anf. tJrl Mi'.ssim, torn, i., pp. 00-10."). , ti nil. ii., p. 
Hi'J. witli list anil (Icscriptioii of Moxicuii lislics, of wiiicli ii\<t KMI varie- 
ties lit for I'ihhI arc inciitioiicd; rt'ipcalcd in ('nrlinjnl K.siii husk, lliaf. Mij\, 
tniii. i., |(|i. l4.")-.')0, til'S; J'l/ir Mutii/r, ilcc. v., lih. li., iii.; Ti~ii::i,,ii<tr, 
llisf. Mij\, toni. i., ])|i. (iO, 147; Ti)ri/nniifii/ii, MoiKin/. Iml., toiii. i.. \<. 0.'?; 
I'diiii'i-ifn, Ihs/. T/ii.r., in \itnn<//i\ A intdlra ilrs ]'iii/.. IS4.S. toin. xcviii., p. 
IIV_'; Ai'i>.\/ii, lli'sf. (If liiH Villi., ]i. 4(!0. of lislifs in Siiliinjiiu, 
dill., torn iii., nil. \i., \<]>. 100-"_'()7. 

'• H'rian luuiluis i.'aliinas. . . .(jncson tan ^raii(l(>s ronio pavos,' 'Coiiojos, 
licliri's, viMiailos y perros pcinu'nos, (|uc criau para <iinii'r castrjidos.' Curtrs, 

Cir'iis. p|i •_'■{, o't. lot, -I'l-l. ' Vouii-- wiiclpcs licsli is vsnall tiicic wiiicli 

tlu-y jrt'ltl and fatto fur foodc' /'i/ir, dci-. v., lili. iii. 'I'iic samo 

ai:lli<»c, d*H\ v., lit*, iii., ^'ivcs >*oi luccr irjforination respect 'iii; llic tiirk- 

evs. 'TUo femalles Hometinies lav '20. or 'Ml cj:-;.'cs, so that it is a uinlli- 
plviiiir <\>ni|iaiiy. I'l'i' males, are alwaycs in loue, and tlierefore tlicy say, 
llicy ;ne very livlit nicatc of diL;i'stion.' A ccrlain jiricst reports that 'the 
iiiiile is troiihled with ccrtayne iin|icdinicntes in tin' lei,'<;i's, thiit he can 
s arse iiiliirc the hcniie to trcade her. vnlcsse some Unowne nerson tal<e her 
Vi his hanii, and lioM lii'r . . . .As sooncas lice |ierccinelh the lienne \\ hirli he 
linielh. is held, hec iircsently connneth \iito lier. and |ierfornies his liusin('r«i»i> 
in the hand of the holder.' Siu- C/nriifirn. S'u in Aiit. ilil M,\.sii'i,, Imn. 
ii., pp, l.'>S-'.t, toin. iv., ]). 'J'JS; Ciirliii Jul Ksiii,>'isit, Mix., toui, i., pp. 
Wl \i; Uri- 'n. Ili.sf. OcH., tola, iii., jip. 201-2. 

Vol. II. aj 




by tlic sun. The work would seem to liave l)ccii (l«me 
l)y women, since Salui<^un s})eaks of the women uiid 
•••iris employed in this industry as dancinj^ at the toast 
in honor of the goddess of salt in the month Teciiil- 
huitontli. A poor quality of salt, tequizquitl, hrick- 
eolored and stroiii^ly impregnated with saltpeti'e, was 
scra|)td up on the Hats around the lakes, and largely 
used in salting meats. Las Casas mentions s.dt spriiin.s 
in the bed of fresh- water streams, the water of which 
was j)umped out through hollow canes, and yielded on 
evajioi-ation a fine white salt; but it is not certain wliat 
])art of tlie coimtry he refers to. The Aztec kiii^s 
practically mono})olized the salt market and refused 
to sell it to any except tributary nations. In conse- 
quence of this disj)osition, re})ublican Tlascala, one ot' 
the few nations that maintained its inde})endence, was 
forced for many yeai's to eat its food unsalted; and 
so habituated did the people become to this diet, that 
in later times, if we may credit Camargo, very little 
salt was consumed. ^"^ 

We now come to the methods adopted by the Na- 
huas in j^-eparing and cooking food. Maize, wlien 
in the milk, was eaten boiled, and called eJotl ; wlieii 
dry it was often prej)ared for food by simply parching 
or roasting, and then named mumiw/dtl. But it usu- 
ally came to the Aztec table in the shape of tldxadli, 
the S])anish tortillas, the standard bread, then as now, 
in all Spanish America, it. would be difficult to 
nanu; a book in any way treating of Mexico in which 
tortillas are not fully described. The aborigines boiled 
the corn in water, to which lime, or sometimes nitre, 
was added. When sufficiently soft and i'ree from 
Imlls it was crushed on the mctlat/, or metate, with a 
stone I'oller, and the dough, ;vrter being kneaded also 

ifi />r/rr Martyr, dec. v., lib. iii.; Torqiicmada, Movurq. hid., toin. i., 
p. 4.">;i: ll<rrrr<t, Hist. Ocii., dec. ii., lib. vii., cap. v.; Oiia/o, Hint. Urii., 
Unn. iii., ]>. 284; Cortes, Carta.-,, \). (iO; S'KJuif/itii, Hi.sf. (!ni., torn, i., iiii. 
ii., ]>!>. 124-8, toin. iii., lib. x., p. VM); J t/i'inioz. in li<izlia!rrt((, Cut. ile 
Doc, torn, i., p. 507; Cainarf/o, Hist. Tla.c, in Sovrrllr.s Atmalis ths 
Vofi., ISJ.% torn, xcviii., p. ISO; Goinaru, Conq. Mcx., fol. 10"; Sulis, Jl<4. 
CotKj. Mex., torn, i., pp. 390-1. 



oil tlic iTictate, was formed by the hands of tlio women 
into very thin round cakes which were (juickly haked 
(i;i uarthen i)anH, or <'<nn((/li, and }»iled up one on 
aiiitther that tliey mii^ht retain tiieir warmth, for 
wliun cold they lost their savor. Peter Martyr sj»eaks 
(if these tortillas as "bread made of Mai/ium." They 
wrvc sometimes, but rarely, Havored with different 
luitive plants and flowers. There was, liowi'ver, some 
vaiicty in their preparation, according to which they 
hole different names. For example totanqiiifhtxi'a/- 
[illiK/iiclpacholli were very white, being folded and cov- 
(.rcd with napkins; liHietlaxcdUi were large, thin, and 
soil; qiiwilillmiiuiUl were thick and rough; thtxcal- 
liiichol/i, grayish; and tlavc'poa//if/i(.ir((l/i presented a 
hh'stered surface. There were many other kinds. In 
atldition to the tlaxcalli, thicker corn-bread in the form 
(it" long cakes and balls were made. Atolli varied in 
consistency from porridge, or gruel, to mush, and may 
coiiseipiently be classed either as a drink or as food. 
To make it, the hulled corn was mashed, mixed witli 
water, and boiled down to the required consistency ; 
it was variously sweetened and seasoned, and eaten 
hoth hot and cold. According to its condition and 
seasoning it received about seventeen names; thus 
liifoHijiiidtolli was eaten hot, nequatoUi was sweetened 
with honey, chilncqaatoUi was seasoned with chile, 
and (jiKiuknexatolli with saltpetre. 

Beans, the etl of the Aztecs, the frijoles of the 
Sj»aiiiards, were while yet green boiled in the pod, 
and were then called exofi; when dry they were also 
generally boiled; but Ixtlilxochitl mentions flour made 
from i)eans. 

Chilli, chile, or pepjier, was eaten both green and 
dry, whole and ground. A sauce was also made 
from it into which hot tortillas were dip))ed, and which 
foiiued a part of the seasoning in nearly every Nahua 
dish. " It is the principal sauce and the only si)ice 
of the Indias," as Acosta tells us. 

Flesh, fowl, and tish, both fresh and salted, were 




stowofl, l)oile(l, and roasted, witli the fat of tli,' 
tecliichi, iiiid Hoasonud with (-Iiilc, totnutl (ssincu t-alltd 
toniatoos), etc. Tho lai'<»-er roasted t^amo pi'oserved tor 
eatiiiL,'' from tliu sai-riKccs in the mofitli of Itzcalli is 
termed (•(i/pn/r(/>ic by Salia^uii. Piplait was a stew 
of fowl with ehile, toinatoes, and yround |nini|iklii- 
Keeds. Deer and rahhits were l)ai'he<'Ue(h JVtei' Ahii- 
tyr speaks of "rost and so(Ule>n nieates (^f foule." 

Fruits, for the most ])art, were eaten as witli us, 
raw, l)ut some, as the j)lantain and Ijanana, \v< iv 
roasted and stewed. 

So mucli for tlie jdain Nahua cookery. Into tl r 
lahyrintliine niysteries of the mixed dislies I s]i;,il 
not ])enetrate far. It is easier for tlie writer, aid 
not less satisfactory to the reader, to dismiss the suh- 
ject with the remai'k that all the articles of food tli;;t 
have heeii mentioned, tish, tlesh, and fowl, wei'e mixul 
and cooked in every conceivable i)ro|)(»ition, the ))ii)- 
duct taking- a diilerent name with each change in tlic 
inU'redients. The two princijial classes of these iiiixid 
dishes Avere the pot-stews, or caznelas, of various 
meats Avitli multitudinous season in,<;s; and the tainnll'i, 
or tamales, meat })ies, to make which meats w-ere l»oil(d. 
cliop[)ed tine, and seasoned, then mixed with niai/.i 
dou:L»'h, coated with the same, wra])ped in a corn-husk, 
and boiled aijfain. These also totrk different names 
accordingly to the ino^redients and seasoning''. Tlu' ta- 
malo is still a favorite dish, like toi-tillas find frijoKs. 

Miscellaneous articles of food, not already spol<t n 
of, were i(x<ti/<(catl, tiles of the Mexican lakes, dritd, 
<i^r()und, boiled, and eaten in the form of cakes; ali'i- 
aa/it/i, the ein'^s of the same fly, a kind of native 
caviar; many kinds of insects, ants, maj^uey-worms, 
and even lice; tn'uithttl, 'excrement of stone,' a slime 
that was e^athered on the surface of the lakes, and 
dried till it resembled cheese; eti'i^s of turkeys, io'ua- 
nas, and turtles, roasted, boiled, and in omelettes; vari- 
ous reptiles, froos, and troo'-spawn ; shrimj)s, sardines, 
and crabs; corn-silk, wild -amaranth seeds, chtriy- 




stoiK'S, tulo-ntots, and vcrv iiiiuiy otlicr artirlrs \nv\- 
iiir^siMc; yucca Hour, ])()toyucca, tunas; Ikhrv IVnui 
iM,ii/.i', from l)L'es, and IVoni the niaij^Ufv; and roiistiil 
iiiiitloiis of tluf iii.iLCUcy stalks and loavt'S. 

Tlut women did all tlio work in |>ivj)arinn' ''^"<^ cook- 
iii^ food; in 'I'lascala, however, the men felt that an 
;i|H)l.i^y was (hie tor allowiiiL,^ this work to he done hy 
udiiKii, and claimcKl, as Sahaj^un says, that the smoke 
(if (Kokin;^ %vould impair their eye-si^ht an<l make 
(litiii less successful in the hunt. All thest; ai'tides 
(if f(i(»d, hoth cooked and micooked, were otK'i'ed for 
sail' in the market-jdaces of each hirifo town, of which 
1 sliall speak furthei' when 1 come to treat of com- 
jiicice. Eatin^'-houses were also jj^enerally found near 
the markets, where all the suhstaiitials and delicacies 
of the Nahua cuisine mij^dit he ohtained." 

One article of Nahua food demands special men- 
tion — human flesh. That they ate the arms and le!j;s 
of the victims sacrificed to their ^'ods, there is no room 
fcirdouht. This reli^-i()Uscannihalism—])erha])s human 
sacrifice itsidf -was prohahly not practiced hefore the 
cnicl-minded Aztec devoteesof .Huitzilopochtli came in- 
to power, or at least was of rare occurrence ; hut during- 
till' Aztec dominion, the custom of eatinu^ the flesh of 
sac rilieed enemies hecame almost universal. That can- 
iiihalism, as a source of food, unconnected with reliL>i(jus 

'" (hi fli(> preparation (if fixid, and fur nicntidn iiHirc (ir less extensive (if 
iiiiscfllaiiecius iirticieH (if fdod, see ,:i;/iii(/iiii. Ill's/, (tin,, timi. i.. lili. ii., jiji. 
l'-",i-:!ii, lSl-(), t(ini. ii., lid. vii., •). I'.'iS, lih. viii., jiji. ■_",»7, S()i.'-."i, timi. 
iii., iili. X., pp. lis lit, l.'{(», 1:{L>; 'Ar"s/ii, l/isf. i/i Ins Yml., pp. 'J^T-.'iS ; 
•J.'iU-l. •J.-)4, '2.")7-8; Biriiid /)iii~, llisl. ('ninj., fcil. (!S <»; Curfrs, ('iir/ns, |ip. 
'J.'i, (is, ll)|{-r); Riliiriiin lie Ali/iniilS Cusns, in Ini-liiilrrfn, ('nl. ilr /)i,r., timi. 
i., iiji. .'iTS-it; J'r/ir Mnrljir, dee. v., lili. ii., iii.; l.ns Cnsns, Hist. A/iiiln- 
iiiiirii, MS., cap. A'.\, 17"); Ttiriiuiiiiuilii, Miniiin/. Iml., t(ini. i., ]i]i. (•.'{. :t."),'?, 
.iTii, t<ilii. ii., Ji. '2'.t7; (innnini, Cmn/. Mr.r., fill, .'{'.t, .'US 1!»; < 'hi riiji rn, Sfurin, 
All/, ill/ .Mi.s.firo, toni. ii., pp. l.'iS, '217, etc., tuni. iv., p. "J'-'S; Sulis, His/. 
I'liiiij. .l/cc, tiini. i., ]). .SlU; riziizniiiiif. His/. Mix., tmii. i., pp. 41. 4S-;i, (id, 
^■i. \'X.\. I II '.\\ Sjnnjiizldtir ilillr Tiirulr ilil Cnillri' Mi.iifiiiiii ( \ atiealKi), in 
hiiiiislinniiiii/i's Mi:n. .I////V/. , vul. v., p. I!)l; ('i(rl)iijiil J'Js/iiiinsii, llisf. .l/rc, 
tmii. i., pp. (i"J4, (!'iS-;?(), ('i74-',(; ]>iilZ, I/iinnirio, in Iriizhnhr/ii. (',,1. ilr l)i,r,, 
tiiin. i., |ip. 'JOS-',); XiKizi), Ciir/c, in /'/., jip. .'iri'.)-(il ; llriissnir ili' /Imir- 
li"iini. Hist. Nut. ('ir., tiini. i., \>. "JIM, Imn. iii., jip. (i.'U, (141-4; Cinuiiri/u, 
ll's/. T/ax., in A'oufcllcs A.'iiialcn dcs Voij., 1S43, toni. xcviii., pp. 142, 











<0 ^<° ,/^ 

1-25 1.4 1.6 





(716) 873-4503 



rites, was ever practiced, there is little evidence. Tluj 
Anonymous Conqueror tells us that they esteenml 
the flesh of men above all other food, and risked their 
lives in battle solely to obtain it. Bernal Diaz .says 
that they sold it at retail in the markets; and Voyti.i 
also states that this was true of the Otomls. Father 
Gand assures us that there were many priests tliat 
ate and drank nothing but the flesh and blood of chil- 
dren. But these ogreish tales are probably exagg( ra- 
tions, since those who knew most of the nutivis, 
Sahagun, Motolinia, and Las Casas, regard the canni- 
balism of the Nahuas rather as an abhorrent foatino 
of their religion than as the result of an unnatural ap- 
petite. That by long usage they became fond of this 
food, may well be believed; but that their prejudice 
was strong against eating tlie flesh of any but tluir 
sacrificed foes, is proven, as Gomara says, by the fact 
that multitudes died of starvation during the sicu^o 
of Mexico by Cortes. Even the victims of sacrifico 
seem only to have been eaten in ban(piets, more ur 
less public, accompanied with ceremonial rites. A 
number of infants sacrificed to the Tlalocs were eaten 
each year, and the blood of these and of other victims 
was employed in mixing certain cakes, some of which 
were at one time sent as a propitiatory offering to 

'8 'Oi dczir, que le (for Montcziima) solian giiiaar carncs dc iiuiclia- 
clios (le jMica edad.' licriial Diaz, Hist. Votn/., fol. ()8, .3.>, 37. A slinc 
'clal»i)ratc'ly dressed' was a proiiiinoiit feature of tlie banquet. Pirnrnfl's 
M"j:, vol. i., p. 155. They ate tlie arms and le;j8 of the Spaniards cjip- 
tured. Gcniclli Careri, in ChinrhiIVs Col. Vtii/iiffrs, vol. iv., p. 527. 'Tiny 
draw so much hlood, as in stead of hike warnie water may sutiice to teniiK'r 
the lunipc, which hy the hellish butchers of that art, witliout any iHitiiilpii- 
tiou of tiic stomacke beinj^ sutliciently kneaded, while it is moyst, iiinl suit 
eucn as a jiottcr of the clay, or a wax chandler of wax, so doth thi* iiiiMji- 
maker, admitted and chosen to be nuiister of thisdamne<I and cursed wniki'.' 
J'c/rr Mfir/i/i; dec. v., lib. iv., i. 'C'ocian aouella carnc con maiz, y ilalniii 
& cada uiio nn netlazo de clla en uinv e.scudilla 6 caiete con su caldo, y "ii 
nniiz cocida, y liamaban aiiuella comida tlunitldolli. SnhiKjun, <!' n., 
tom. i., lib. ii., pp. 8!(, 14, 84, JW, 97. 'La, tenian por cosa, como 8a;,Tiulii. v 

nuis se niovian a esto por Hcli^ion, qne por vicio.' Tiirijwmndn, Miiiuu'/. 

p 48S; jCtiitzo, fiirfn, in Jil., pp. .S(i3, HOii; Afofn/inin, I mix 

Jiiil., torn, ii., pp. 58t-5. Sei 
tom. i., p 48S; Zunzn, Curln, 

Sec also Alboriioz, in Ic 

irtn, Vol. (If /' 

in III., \)\i. 40-1, 5!(; Jir/iiciaii tlr .t/ifiniii.i dman, in /»/., p. 3!KS; I'l'i/rni, 
Hist. Aid. MvJ., tom. iii., pp. 282-3; Gaiul, in I'crnaujc-L'ompaiis, V"'/., 



The most popular Nahua beveraofes were those since 
known as pulque and chocolate. The former, called 
l»y the natives octli — pulque, or pulcre, being a South 
American aboriginal term applied to the li<juor in 
some unaccountable way by the Spaniards — was the 
fermented juice of the maguey. One plant is said to 
yield about one hundred jmunds in a month. A cavity 
is cut at the base of the larger leaves, and allowi'd 
to fill with juice, which is removed to a vessel of 
earthen ware or of skin, where it ferments rapidly 
and is ready for use. In a pure state it is of a 
light color, wholesome, and somewhat less intox- 
icating than gr-'pe wine; but the aborigines mixed 
witli it various herbs, some to merely change its color 
or liavor, and others to increase its intoxicating j>rop- 
erties. This national drink was honored with a spe- 
cial divinity, Ometochtli, one of the numerous Nahua 
gods of wine. According to some traditions the 
Qiiinames, or giants, knew how to j)repare it, but its 
invention is oftener attributed to the Toltecs, its first 
recorded use having been to aid in the seduction of 
a mighty monarch from his royal duties." 

C/iocolat I— the foundation of our chocolate — was 
made by pounding cacao to a powder, adding an ecpial 
(jiiantity of a seed called pochotl, also powdered, and 
stirring or beating the mixture briskly in a dish of 
water. The oily foam which rose to the surface was 

si-rio i., torn. x.,n. 107; lioloffiir, in Iff., n. 215; Diiran, Hist. Iin/ins, MS., 
loiii. iii., appeiidix, cap. iii. ; (.'urhujul,, p. (iO; ('liii\'ijint, Stovin 
Ant. i/il ^[^■s.^<iro, t(tm. ii., J). 47; lintannir <lr Jionrlioiirif, /list. Xnt. ('ir., 
tiiiii. iii., |(p. 5U2-3, torn, iv., p. 90; Las C'".s7f.v, Ili.sf. Apo/oiji'fini, MS., 
cap. 17.">-(i. 

" Ti iriifrrrin, fi'.n'dlrrrifi), iiiiil iii'i/nhifi/ft iwc WKtiii' of f ln' iiaiiu's ;,'iv»Mi 
til jiiili^iie a('('<)riiiii<; to it.s liiio and coiiilitioii. SiiIkhjiiii, Hist. (Im.. torn, 
i., iili. li., pp, 17"), I7D, 1S(>. l*uli|iio from ("hiiiaii laiiiriia','(', ' V'M'/'/c/v), ,s7(j- 
rii( All/. (It/ .Mi'.snirn, toiii. ii., p|). '2'2\'2. Sec i'lirhnj'il K'l/iiiiiiiii. 
M'-.r., titiii. i., pp. (i7l)-8(); /trii.i.sriir i/r /ioiir/innnf, llisf. Xnt. Cii:, toin. 
iii., ]ip. (ilH-l, torn. !., ]>p. .SlOrt; Ititrnn, list. Iinliiis, MS., toiii iii., 
(nji. .v.xii; Viijtiit, Hist. All/. M<j.. toui. i.. p. I.'il. '^Aiiti's <|iic li mi vino lo 
<'iic/aii coll Unas raiccs ((ue Ic eciian, cs daro y diiicc <'oirio a;;iniiiiicl. I)i?s- 
]i;ii-< il(! co!'i(lo, liiicesc alifo cspt'sit v ticnc nial olor. y los <|iic con id sc cm- 
iicidiin, ninclio pc!or.' Mri'oliiiin, His/. Imlitts, in friLz/m/rr/'i, <'<>/. i/i /tor., 
tmn. i., ]ip, '2^2-'^•, and /i<Vav Aiifi;/iii)s, pp. 1(!-I7, in Kiiii/.sliiiniinf/i'.i .l/cr. 
.lii/ii., vol. i.\. 'No hay pt'rro.s innerto.s, ni ixtinha, one a.-tsi liicdan cuuio 
c'l hulicuto del borruchu dtytc viuo.' Goiiutra, Cuikj. AIi::., fol. 31i). 




then separated, a small quantity of maize flour was 
added, and the liquid which was set before the Hrt-. 
The oily portion was finally restored and the beverage 
was drunk lukewarm, sweetened with honey and oi'tcii 
seasoned with vanilla. This drink was nutritious, 
refresliinj^, ard cooling, and was especially a favorite 
witii tliose call»3d upon to perform fatiguing labor- with 
scant food.'" 

Miscellaneous drinks were water, plantain -juico, 
the various kinds of porridge known as atolli, already 
mentioned, the juice of maize-stalks, those prepared 
from chian and otlier seeds by boiling, and fermentiMl 
water in which corn had been boiled — a favorite Ta- 
rasco drink. Among the ingredients used to niaku 
their drinks more intoxicating the most powerful was 
the teonanacatl, 'flesh of god,' a kind of muslnooin 
which excited the passions and caused the partaker 
to see snakes and divers other visions.^^ 

The Aztec laws against drunkenness were very se- 
vere, yet nearly all the author • represent tl»e pe(>i»le 
as deligliting in all manner of intoxication, and as 
giving way on every opportunity to the vice when 
the j)ower of their rulers over them was destroyed 
by the coming of the Spaniards. Drinking to ex- 

*" 'K.sta l>el»i(lii cs cl mas sano y mas sustancioso alimciito de niantos sc 
conoccii en el iiuiiido, |)iies cl (|iie beltc una taza de ella, aiini|iu> liiiua una 
Jornada, ituede pasarse titdo el dia sin toniar otra I'osa; y siendo fiio |mii' 
8U naturauv.a, es mcjor en tieni|i() calicnte que frio.' Jirlnrioii </<■ A/f/min-i 
Cosax, in Inizhalrclti., i'ol. tlf line, toni. i., \i. 381. 'La niejor, mas dcjii'ada 
y cara Iteiiida (pie tienen es de Inirina <le cacao y aj^iia. Aljjunas vc/cs Ic 
mezclan miel, y liarina de otras le;;unihrcs. Ksto no enilMirraclia, antes rc- 
fresca mnclio.' Goinani, Coiiq. Mrx., fol. 310. 'Of certaine ainiondcs. . . . 
they make wondcrfnil drinke.' I'cfcr M.irtyr, dec. v., lili. ii., iv. 'I'icii.i 
behida iieclia clel mismo cacao, que de/.ian ,cra para tener acccso con iiiii- 
geres.' Itvnial JHtiz, Hist. Coii'/., fol. (iS. Red, vermilion, oran;,'c, Idiick, 
and white. Sdhnriiin, Hist, (fru., torn, ii., Ill>. viii., ]>\k .S((1-'2. Sec Amsin, 
Hist, ill' /liJi Ynil., \t.'17t\\ C/iiri(/rri> Sturin Ant. ifcl .)fis.\tro, toni. ii., pp. 
21D-'2();'ur (li: lioiir/ioiuy, Ilisf. Sat. dr., toni. iii., pp. (!12-:{. 

" Chirliii and xviii/irhd, fermented tirinks. C/ariijrro, Sforin Ant. ifd 
Mcssiio, toni. ii., p. '1'2\. Seiidccho, an Otonii <lrink, for a full dcscriiiliiMi 
Bee Moii/ozci, in Son. Mfx. Gi'oi)., liulctin, '2da epo(a, toni. ii., pp. iJ.VS. 
'Ale, and syder.' I'rtir Mnrti/r, dec. v., Iil». iv. 'i'anicap (pic cs cicrtu 
Lreliaje ([ue ellos Uehcn.' Vorti.s, Cartas, n. 7f>. Sec liesitles rcfciciucs in 
note 10; Motoliiiia, Ifist. Iniiio.t, in Icazualrcta, Col. ilc I>i>r., toni. i., p. 
23; Sahngiin, Gen., toni. iii., lib. x., pp. 118, 131); Mi'mllrtu, Hint. 
Edca., p. 131); Carbajal Enpiuona, Hist. Mex., toiu. i., pp. 070, 078-9. 



coss soeras to have been with tlieiii a social vice, 
(•(Mitiiit'd mostly to public feasts and private ban- 
(HR'ts. It may have been chietly a,i»'ainst intem[)erance 
Hiiionj,' the workin*^ classes, and officials when on duty, 
that tiie stringent laws were directed. Afendieta 
sj)oaks of the people as very temperate, usini^- puhpie 
only under the direction of the chiefs hvaI judL;es ior 
iiK(li('inal purposes chiefly. The nobles n-ade it a 
j)()iiit of honor not to drink to excess, and all I'eared 
punishment. But Motolinia and other good author- 
ities take an opposite view of the native character in 
this respect.'" 

Concerning the manner of serving the king's meals, 
as well as the bau(juets and feasts of nobles and the 
rirlicr classes, enough has been already said. ( )f the 
daily meals among the masses little is known. The 
Nahuas seem to have confined their indulgence in rich 
and varied viands to the oft-recurriny: feasts, while at 
their liomes they were content with plain i'are. This 
is a [)eculiarity that is still observable in the country, 
hoth among the descendants of the Nahuas and of 
their con([uerors. The poorer people had in each 
house a metate for grinding maize, and a few t^arthcn 
dishes for cooking tortillas and frijoles. 'I'hey ate 
three meals a day, morning, noon, and night, using 
the ground for taVde, table-cloth, naj»kins, and chairs, 
(•(»iivevin<r their tlaxcalli and chile to the mouth with 
the fingers, and washing down their sin»])le food with 
water or atole. The richer Nahuas were s<'i\ed with 
a i^ieatcr variety on palm-nuits often richly decorated, 

'■ }fi')iiltrfa, Hist. EdcH., pp. l.TS-40. Tomnnnioiitc roiiiciiziilnui A lie- 
tier (li's|iiics (le vis|K.>riis, y tlaliiinsi' taiita i'l ln-ltcr di- ilif/. i-ii liiez, o 
ijiiiin'c I'M <|iiiii('o, y lo)4 csi'aiK'iailori's ipu> no rfsaliaii, y la ciniiiila c|ii»> mt 
I'l'ii iiuirlia, .'i priiiia iiuclu! ya van pfrdifmlo el scntidn, ya cavfrnln yn ascn- 
taiidd. cantaniloy •lainlo viK'i's llanumdual ili'inonio.' Moto/iiiiu, llisl. Imlins, 
in Inirjid/irfd, Col. til'. Doc, toni. i., ]>p. "iH, 'A'l. 'lU'lten «'»in tanto exci-so, 
i|ii(' no |iaiaii liasta cacr rtmio niiuTfos de piiro elirios, y ticniMi a ;:ranil<> 
li'iiira licUtT niuclio y cniliriaj^arse.' Jli/nrioii ife Alijiaiux i'osns, in /«/., pp. 
■">sj. .js7. Drinkers und drunkards Intd sovt-ral special divinitit's. linissnir 
ill- Itimrliiiiini, Hixf. Sat. Cir., toni. iii., p. 4!>.'{. Prank less lii'fore tin; coii- 
iiucst. Ihinni, Hist. Inilids, MS., toni. iii., cap. .\xii. ; t'laciycro, SlonuAnt. 
ill I .)[issifo, toni. i., p. 111). 



around which low seats wore })laced for their conveni- 
ence; napkins were also furnished.^^ 

" 'Comcn en cl suclo, y suziamcntc partcn los Iiucuoh en vii cnlM-llo 

que 80 arnincan,' wluitcvcr that operation niaylte. Goiauni, Cunq. Mij-., (dI. 
319. ' Ks ;;i>iite que con niuy piico niantcniuiicnto vive, y lu que nienos conif 
de cuantas hay cu el inuiido. It'luriou ih: Ahjanus Cosas, in Iriizhiilcetu. I'ol. 
tie Dor., toni. i., ]>p. 370-80. ' iMolto sohrj ncl numgiare.' Cluriijiro, S/orin 
A nt. del Mrsniro, torn, i., p. 1 19. ' It i.s not hiwfull for any that is vnniarit-il (» 
Hit at tahle with Huch as arc marled, ur toeatcof the mime dish, or ilrinkc nF 
the winie cup, and make tiiem.sehies cquail with sncli as are married.' J'l/n- 
M(trhn; dc;. iv., lib. iv. The nobles ^ave feasts at certain jieriods of tlus 
year ifor the relief of the poor. Turqiinnuifn, Moiiarq. Iiid., toni. ii., p. '.!7ii. 
See also Sahai/uii, Ilixf. Hen., tom. iii., lih. x., p. 138; Oricdu, Hist. Iliii., 
torn, iii., i». 53,">; Brassciir tie liuurhourff, Ilinf. Nut. t'ii:, lorn, iii., j)p. (111-.'), 
A<!ditional references for the whole snlijectof Nahua food ixK-.—Montmniit, 
NicHWc U'lcrild, jjp. 74, 80, 247, 'i.'il; Dapper, Xciic Welt, pp. 83, 91, 
278-9, 283; Klemm, CiUlur-deschichte, tom. v., pj). 10-13, 20-G, 102. I(t4, 
180-3, 1S9, I'.K}; Wiippnus, Geoff, u. Stat., pp. 44-9; Tiflor's Analnmr, pp. 
(52, 10.3, 14.")-(), 173-4; Fosscij, Mexi/ur, pp. 44, 215, 48r)-(); Malte-Ikiui, I'lr- 
CIS de la Oroi/., tom. vi., p. 4.')(5; Moinflair, Resumf, pp. 37-8, 201; hr/njutrlc 
Jieiseii, torn, x., pp. 257, 2G3-9; Dillon, Hist. Mr.c, p. 45; Chendirr, .lA.r. 
Anrieii y Mod., i)p. 15-27; Midler, Amrriknnische Urrrlitjionen, |>. i)',]9i; 
Ji'jyic's Ride, vol i., pp. 278-9; Murrfregor's of Amrr., vol. i., 
p. 22; Gihlm, in Hint. Mntj., vol. vii., p. 99; llazart, Kirr/ien-Gisr/iir/dr, 
torn, ii., J). 5;(J; Ifrf/hi' Span. Conq., vol. ii., p. 4.'>5; Lafond, Voi/ri<ii:i, turn. 
i., p. 107; liiril, Mxique, pp. 20S-9; Jiiissierre, L'Empire Mr.c., pp. Kll-ti, 
17vS, 23:); Lenoir, J'arall le, [t. 3.(; Lon;/, Porter, and Tucker's A mcri(.u, |i. 
102; Sodcn, Sjtanicr in Peru, tom. ii., jip. lC-17. 


PitofiRESs IN Dress— Dress of the Pre-Aztec Nations— Garments 


Tin: Maxtli— The Tii-matli— Dress of the AtcfuirAs Origin 
OK the Tarascan Costume— Dress ok the Zatoteis and Taiias- 
CANS— Dress of Women— The H'ii-il and Cueiti, -Sandals- 
Manner OF Wearing the Hair— Paintin(; and Tattooing Or- 
naments rsED nv THE Naiuas— (JoRGEovs Dress of the Noiiles- 
Dress of the 1{oyal Attendants— Names of the Various 
Mantees— The Koval Diadem— The Ucyal Wardroue— Costly 

With but few exceptions tlie dress of al! tlie civi- 
lized nations of Mexico appears to have been tiie same. 
Tilt; earliest people, the historians inform us, went en- 
tirc'ly naked or covered only the lower j)ortion of the 
body with the skins of wild animals. Afterwards, as 
by decrees civilization advanced, this scanty coverinof 
jjfrcw into a re<^ular costume, thouoh still, at first, 
made only of skins. From this we can note a iarthtr 
advance to garments manufactured first out of tanned 
and j)re])ared skins, later of maguey and palm-tree 
til>res, and lastly of cotton. From the latter no further 
jironress was made, excepting in the various modes of 
unianienting and enriching the garments with feather- 
work, ] tainting, embroidery, golu-work, and jewelry. 
The common peo})le were oidiged to content them- 
selves with plain clothing, but the dress of the richer 




<;luHsos, noMes, princes, and sovereigns, was of finer 
texture and richer ornamentation.' 

Tlie descriptions of tlie dresses of the nations wliic li 
occnpied the Valley of Mexico hefore tlie Azttcs 
vary accordijii^ to different autliors. Wliile some dc- 
scril)e tliem as gorjijeonsly decked out in painted hikI 
end)rv»i(lered garments of cotton and nec^uen, otli< is 
say, tliat they went either wholly nnked or were only 
]>artially covered with skins. Thus Sahagun and 
Br.'isseur de Bourbourg describe the Toltecs as dressid 
in underyfarments and mantles on which blue scoi- 
pions were painted,'* while the latter author ni anotlicr 
j)lace says that they went entirely naked.^ Vtytia 
goes even farther than Sahagun, affirming that they 
knew well how to manufacture clothing of cotton, that 
a great difference existed between the dress of the 
nobles and that of the plebeians, and that they even 
varied their clothing with the seasons. He descrihcs 
them as wearinijf in summer a kind of breech-clotli or 
drawers and a square mantle tied across the bitiast 
and descending to the ankles, wliile in winter in addi- 
tion to the above they clothed themselves in a kind of 
sack, which reached down as far as the thighs, with- 
out sleeves but with a hole for the head and two 
others for the arms.* 

The Chichimecs, generally mentioned as the src- 
cessors of the Toltecs, are mostly descril)ed as going 
naked, or only partly dressed in skins.* This ap[>cais, 

' 'La <icnie pohrc vcstia dc ncqnen, que es la tela qnc se haze «U1 ma- 
guey, y los ricoM veMtian «le alpMlon, etiii orlas laliradasde pluiiia, y |i('ln ilc 
e<iiej(»s.' Ilrrirni, Hist, (icn., dec. ii., HI), vii., eap. ii. 

i SiifHi(/i!ii, llixt. Gr.n., toiii. iii., lil>. x., j). \V1; lirnssntr <h' Ihnir- 
hnurq, llisf. Xiit. (Jii\, toin. i., p. 28H. '.Maxtli eiirieliide hroderies, ct .. . . 
tiiiui|ue iruiie ;?randc fiiiesHe.' /'/., p. .'}5(). 'Km tieiiipo de calor cnii mis 
iiiaiitas y pafielcM de alj^odoii, y en tiempo de frio so pimiaii uikis jiii|iii'- 
toiien sill niaii^^Ms (|iie los llevahau hasta las roilillas (oii siis iiiaiitas y \>:i- 
fletes.' Ixllilxuchitl, liclacioncs, \i\ KiiujsbttroiKjICii Mcx. Antiij., vol. i.\., i'. 

' 'Nil suivant la couttimc des indij;cnoa qui vrav.aillaient aux eliaiiijp.-'.' 
Jirassfur f/r Iloiirlioiir;/, Hist. Nat. Cir., ton', i., |!. lyS. 

* ' Al;^oiI<iii, ([ue saliian iKJiiel'ieiar y faltricar de el las (\v. quo m' 
vcstian.' I'ci/fin, llisl. Ant. MiJ., toni. ii., ii. 4.% Id., toiii. i., ]i. 'IXX. 

1 'Su vestuario eraii las pieles. . . .(pie las ablaiidalian y euralmit inir.i 
cl efocio, trayiuido cu ticnipo de frios el pelo adeiitro, y en tienipu de talo- 



however, only to relate to tlie people spoken of us 
^viltl (yliichiniees; those who inluibited Tezcuco and 
others in that neighhorhood as civiUzed as tlie Aztecs, 
(hcssed probahly in a similar tasliion to theirs; at 
hast, as wo shall presently see, tliis was the case with 
their sovereig!is and nol)les. All the Nahuas, witli the 
t'Mcption of the Tarascos and Huastecs, made use of 
the hreech-cloth, or maxtli." This with the Mexicans 
ill very early times is said to have been a kind of mat, 
woven of tlie roots of a j)lant wliich grew in tlie Lake 
(»f Mexico, and was called amoxtli? Later, the Hl>io 
(if the palm-tree and the maguey furnished the mate- 
ri;il for their clothing, and it was only during the reign 
of KiniT Huitzilihuitl that cotton was introduced." 

res ol polo jMir la parte afiiora.' I.rflUrorhitl, Hint. Chick. ,'m Kii)ij.thor- 

oin/li's Mix. Aiiti'/., vol. ix., )>. '214; .Mo/otiiiiii, Ili.-<t. IiiUio.f, in Iviizhnlvctu, 
{'ill. ill- Ihir., toiil. i., p. 4; doinnni, i'luii/. Mcj:, foi. 'J',»,S; tldi'iijrro, Storia 
Ant. ilil Mi-ssirn, toin. i., p. l.'W; T<tr>/nr/nni/ii, Jlloixtri/. fin/., tttiii. i., p. 38. 
I'lirli) trio (It! sii cliiiia V(;stimi todos pioli's du aiiiinules tidohatliisyfiirtidaH, 
sin (|iii> |ii>rdicseii td polo, las i|iie acomodal)aii a iiianera di; iiii sayo, (iiio ])or 
di'tras Ics ll(!;;al)a liasta las rorvas, y por dclaiite li )iu>dio iiiuhIo.' Vvytia, 
Ilixt. Ant. Mi'J., torn. 11., i». r>, toiii. 1., p. '25. 'S'liahillaieiit. . . .dc peaii.x du 
lu'li's tuuvcs, Ic poll en lienors diirant lete, el en dedans en liiver. . . .("hex 
li's classes aisees. . . .res ])eanx etaient tannees on nianxjnint'es avee art; on 
y \isii\i aiissi lies toiles de neijnen, et ([ueliinefois dcs eotonnaiK s d'une j^randc 
tiiii'sst'.' Itrii.isr.ur (Ir, Hiturlitiunj, .\iit. Cir., toni. ii., p. 18(i. 

•' 'Maxtlatl, hraf^as, o eosa scnieiante.' Molina, Vornlntlnrin. Tlie 
Tarascos 'n'adopterent jamais Tusa^je desealei,'ons.' Cnmnryo, Tliix., 
\u Xtiiirdlc.1 Ainutlrs tir.i V)ty., 1S4.'{, toni. xeviii., p. 13'2. The niaxtli is 
fn'i|H('iitly spoken of as drawers or pantaloons. The Hnastees 'no traen 
iiiaxtlcs eon que cuhrir sus veryiienza.s. ' Sa/taijun, Jlisl. Gen., toni. iii., 
lil.. X., p. 134. 

' Ton/itrinnda, Mnnnrq. Intf., torn, i., p. 84. 

'* ToniiniMaroni) in <inesti) tempo a vestirsi di ootone, del qimle ernno 
iniiaii/i allatti) i)rivi i)er la loro miseria, uh d'altro vestivansi, se non ilelie 
tele ^Tdsse di lilo di nia<;iiei, o di '|ialma salvatica.' Ctarii/rro, Sftirin Ant. 
)/'/ .\fis.iifo, tom. i., p. 181. 'Les Mexicains, les Tei'pan('i|iies et lesantrcs 
triliiis ijiii resterent en arritiro, eonserverent riisa;,'e ilt's I'toll'cs de coton, d(! 
Ill <\f ]>almier, de maguey ixehele, de poil de la])in et de lievre, ainsi tjiu! 
ili'-i [pfaux d'animaux.' Cunuinjo, 'J'/ii.r., in Noiinllis Anmilf.i ilr.i 
Villi-, IS43, xeviii., p. 132. 'Son aveano lana, ne seta eoniune, ne lino, 
iii'CMuapa; ma supplivano alia lana eol I'otone, alia si'ta eoila piunia, e eol 
])clo del eoni;i;lio, e della lepre, ed al lino, ed alia eanapa roll' Ir.rofl, o 
naliiia niontana, col Qiirtznlir/it/i, eol l'iiti,c eon altre speziedi .Maj^uei. . . . 

11 1 lo, elie avevano di jjreparar questi niateriali, era iiuello stesso, rlie 

liatiiio <r|i Kuropei nel lino, e nella I'anapa. Maeeravano in aeoua le foglie, 
I'oi Ic nettavano, le inettevano al Side, e le ammaceavano, finattantorliii 
le inettevano in istatodi poterle lilare.' Clitvi'jcro, Slorin Ant. <lrl Mi:i.iiro, 
tiiiii. ii., j)|). '207-8. Yecotl, I'alnia Montana. 'Xon videlur lilendiim, ii 
folijs liiiins arboris fila parari, linteis, storisq. intexenilis )iei-quam aeeoni- 
laoda, pulitiura, lirmiurai|. eis qua; e\ Metl passim lieri euusueuere, nm- 



The raaxtli was about twenty-four feet lonj,' niul 
nine inelies wide, and was t^onerallv more or less oina- 
niented at the ends with colored fringes and tassels, 
the hitter sometimes nine inches long. The manner 
of wearing it was to pass the middle between the 
legs and to wind it about the hips, leaving the ends 
hanging one in front and the other at the l)ack, .is 
is done at this day by the Malays and other East 
Indian natives. It was at the ends usually that the 
greatest display of embroidery, fancy fringes, and tas- 
sels was made.' 

As a furtlier covering the men wore the tilmafli, or 
aj/dtl, a mantle, which was nothing more than a s(|iiai\; 
piece of cloth about four feet long. If worn ovir 
both shoidders, the two upper ends were tied in a knot 
across the breast, but more frequently it was only 
thrown over one shoulder and knotted under one of 
the arms. Sometimes two or three of these mantles 
were worn at one time. This, however, was only done 
by the better classes. The older Spanish writers gen- 
erally compare this mantle to the Moorish albonioz. 
It was usually colored or jiainted, frequently richly 
embroidered or ornamented with feathers and furs. 

dentilHis in priniis aqua, mox protritis, ac lotis, itenimq. et itcriini inaciTii- 
tis, et iiiMdlati.s, doiici- upta reddaiitiir, vt m>ri possiiit, ct iu ustis ueeuiiiiiuiilari 
'Mtttorics est leiiis, ac lento.' Jliriiniii/iz, Xorn. Plant., p. 7<>. 

9 ' Miix'.les, f'est uin'Mi qu'oii iioiiiiiie eii laii;j;uc iiicxicaiiic des espi'cfs 
lYaliiini/siilci qui sunt louyues de (jiuitre, lar;,'es d'une palnic ct 
dciiiie et teriuiiiecs par des hroderics de diversesoouleurH, qui out plus (rune 
paline et deiiiie de liuut.' Camanjo. Hint. Tlax., in Noiiirllrs Aiiiiiilrs »A,v 
Vol/., ISW, t(tni. xcviii., p. 1.32. 'Cuoprono le loro parti verj^oj^no sc insi 
di dietro cunie dinaiizi, eonccrti sciu^atuiiuoltogalanti, chcHono ctinu'^.'raii 
fa/zuuli elie si Ic>;an<i il eapo ])er via<;gi(>, di diiiersi eolori, c orlati di Mirie 
fojIK'". c di eolori siuiilinentc diuersi, eon i aiuti fioechi, elie nel eiiijrersc;,'!!. 
viene I'un eaiH) dauanti c I'altro <li dietro.' Relatione fatta par rii iji'iitir 
huiiitio (kl Siffiwr Fcniaiulo L'ortcur, in Jiamunio, Xaritfatioiii, toui. ill., fnl. 
.3i)5. In Meztitlan, 'lea un.s et les autres eouvrnient leur nudites (rmii" 
lonjjue bande d'etolFe, seniblublc d uii almaizar ,qui leur fuisait plusieurs fnis 
le toar du corps ct passuit cnsuitc entre les jaiubes, les extrciiiiti's rctuiji- par-dcvaiit jusqu'auxfjemuix.' Chares, Rapport, in Tenia n.r-l'i>iii/i<i us. 
Vol/., sJrie ii., toni. v., p. 310. 'Los vest idos que traeu (Totonacs) es eoimnle 
alniaizales uiuy pintados, y los honibrestraen tapadassus verjiuenzas.' '«,/•- 
^',•, Carta/i, ]>. 2,3. In Oajaca, 'Maxtles conque se enbrian sus ver;ciieiizii>.' 
Sa/iaijHii, Hist. Gen., toni. iii., lib.x., pp. 130, 12.3, 131. The Mi/tecs '\»\t 
caragiielles trahian nuitzles, que los CastcUanos dizen nijistiles.' Ilrrnvn, 
lUsf. Gen., dee. iii., lib. iii., cap. xii. ; Claeigcro, Storia Ant. del Messieo, 
torn, ii., p. 223. 



The ctlijos wore scolloped or frin«:fed with tufts of cot- 
ton Jiiul sometimes with ,1,'oid. Rich people hud, l)e- 
si(Ks these, mantles made of rabhit or other skins, or of 
hL'aiitiful feathers, and others of tine cotton into which 
was woven rabbit-hair, which latter were used in cold 

In only one instance j^arments with sleeves are 
iiieiitioned. Ixtlilxochitl, in describinjr the dress of 
tht' Acolhuas, says that they wore a kind of long 
coat reachinjjf to the heels with lon<»' sleeves." 

The dress of the Tarascos dittered considerably 
from that of the other Nahua nations. This diti'erence 

'" 11 Tilinatli era un iimntcllo qimdrn, lun;;o qimttro piedi in circft; duo 
ostri'iiiitii d'esso aiinodavtiiio siil iiotto, it snjira iiiiii H|ialla. . . .(ili ('oiiiiiii 
niltviiiio |iiirtar due, o tro luautolli.' Cftirii/rro, Storitt Aiif. ilil Mrs-tiro, 
toiii. ii., ]). 'J'J.S, and |>late, p. '224. 'I vi-stiuuuiti loro himi c-t-rti luaiiti di 
lKtiiil>at.'ia ciiuK' liMt/iuda, iiui iiou cosi ;,'rande, laiuirati>ri di ^'ontili luuori di 
diiK'i'sc niaiiitMT, e con lu lor frauzc e urU'tti, edi iim^Hti riasi'uu n 'lia diioi h 
tic c sc }.'li li^ii I't'r dauanti ui petto.' Hflnfiom; fu/tn per un ijrntil '/iiiuitio 
il>l SiijiiDi- FmiuDilit t'oitcKC, in Hamusio, Soriijntiuiii, toni. iii., fol. S()r>; 
CinKiinio, T/iiu:., in Xoii relict A II ii(il<-ii(/fs I'vj/., 1S43, toni. xcviii., p. 
i;il. ' Todos tracii al)Kiruoce.s euciiua de la otru ropa, aun(|ue son diferen- 
ciaijiis dc U»* do Africa, pori|ue tieneu nuineras; pero on la hecliura y tela y 
In-i rapaccjoM son niuy seuiejables.' Curtis, Vartn.i, pp. ".'), -H. 'Leur veto- 
iiiciit cousistait ancieuncnient dans deu.K on trois inauteau.x d'nne vare et 
ficiiii en carre, noucs par en liaut, le no>ud so niettant pour les uns sur la 
|H.itiiiic, |iour les autres ii I'epaule gauche, et souvent purderriere.' C/iiire.f, 
Jiiji/iurl, in Teriniii.r-t'oiiijiitii.s, Vol/., serie ii., toni. v., pp. Sl.'i-lO. 'Nin- 
;;iiii jilciicyo vestia de al^'odoii, con franju, ni guarnicion, ni ro])a roxa- 
piiitc, siiio senziiia, liana, corta, y sin riliete, y a.ssi era eonocido cada vno 
cii d tni^'e.' I/erirrii, Gen., dee. ii., lih. vi., cap. .wii; Jiru.s.ieur ile 
/liiirhiiiiri/, Hint. Silt. Cir., toin. iv., p. 174. 'Otnis liacjan de pelo do 
Cimcjii, entretexido dc hilo de Alyodon. . . .con mie se dcleiidiau del frio." 
T'li- jii' iii'i'lii, Moiiiirq. Ind., toni. ii., j). 4SH; IHaz, Itiiiernriu, in /enz- 
liiilr,'ii_ I'ol. lie J),),;, toni. i., p. 2!)8. The T<itonacs; 'al<;iinos con ropn.i 
lie al;.'M(lon, ricas a su costuinbre. Los otros casi desnudos.' (iiniinrii, I'oiiij. 
Mr., fol. W.), *.>.'); Sii/iiiifiin, (fen., toni. iii., lih. .\., p. l.'il. Iluas- 
ti'c-i •aiidan hien vestith>s: y siis ropas y niantas son iiiiiy pulidasy curiosa.s 
cdii JiiiiiaH lahores, por<|ue en su tierra liaceii las niantas i|iic Ihiiiiaii rent- 
ziiiililiniilli, reiizoni/uii^/itli, (|ue <[iii«'rc dczir, niantas ile mil ealdn.s: dc alia 
Fic tracii las ninntas (|uc tieneii iiiias cal>e/as di; inonstruos piiita<las, y hus 
(Ic rciiii»liiio8 deajjua enj^eridas iiiias coii otras, en las cuales y en otiiis niii- 
clia<. se esnierahan la-s tejedoras.' /(/., p. 1,14. 'I'na iiiaiita cuadraila 
aiuidada sohre el pcclio, luicia el hoinhni sinicstro, que dcscendia liasta his 
tiiliiljiis; pcro en tiein|io de invieruo culuian mas el cuerpo con nil sayo cer- 
rado >iii iiiaii;.;as, y con una sola ahertiira en la suniida jiara cntrar la ca- 
lic/a. y (los ii los ladospara loshra/os, y con el se cnhriuii liasta his luuslos.* 
Vi'llliti, Hi.ll. Ant. Mej., toni. i., p. l!r>3; Zuazo, Carta, in leuzbale.ctu, Cul. 
dc Hoe., toni., i., p. .StiO. 

" ' unas ti'inica» hirpas de pcllejos curtidos ha.sta los carcaila- 
les. aliit^rtas (lor delantc y iitadas con nna.s li inanera de a};ii;;etas, y suh 
maims (|iic llej;alian hasta las inunecas, y las nuiiios.' Ixtlilxochitl, liela- 
cioiies, in Kinijsburouijlis Mcx. Aiiiiq., vol. ix., p. 341. 



is waul to liavo oriij^iiiiitt'd in ancient times, wlien tli( \' 
t<)<^otlier witliothor triln's, an tlio lti<^enil relates, iniini- 
j(rateil into Mexico, Wliile on tlieir wan{lenn«,rs !.< - 
'u\*r oliljnft'd to cross a river, and havin;^ no ropes with 
which to t'onstruct rafts, tiiey used for this purpose 
their maxtlis and mantles. Not i)ein;(ahle toprocun- 
otiier dothinsj^ immediately, they were under the ih 
cessity of puttiiiLj on the hnijkilc'*, or chemises, of tin- 
women, leavin;^ to the latter only their h«t(/iias, or 
petticoats. Jn commemoration of this event, they 
later adoj)ted this as their national costume, disciiid 
in<( the maxtli and wearing' the huipil and a niiiMtlf.' 
The tilmatli, or ayatl, was by the Tarascos ciilli.! 
thiiHit-J. It was worn over one shoulder and was 
knotted under the other arm. They freipiently triniiiK d 
it with hare-skins and painted it gaudily. The youn.; 
wore it coiisicU'rahly shorter than old people. The 
manufac'tuie of feather jj-arnients seems to have heiii 
a specialty of the Tarascos." 

The Zain)tecs chieHy dressed in skins, while others 
in Oajaca are said to have worn small jackets, and 
Cortes n'p(»rts these people to have heen better tlnsst d 
than any \\v. had previously seen." In Tabasco Imt 
little covi rino' was used, the greater j u*t of the pojui- 
lation n'tiin^- almost naked." 

There was no difi'erence in the dress of the women 
throughout Anilhuac. The huipil and cuciti were thr 
the chief articles, and were universally used. I'x- 
sides these, mantles of various shapes and materials 
were wi)ni. The huipil was a kind of chemise, with 

'* Cuniitrijit, Ill.if. Tlnr., in Nourrllrs Annalcs dcs Vuif., 1S43, tcmi. 
xcviii., p. i:{.'; Uni.s.sriir </i: Boiirhoiny, Hist. Mnf. Cir., torn, iii., p. .")7. 

'' CiiiiHinf I. Hi fit. T/ii.r., in Xonrvllrs Aniialcs ilvs Vo;/., 1S4.S, linii. 
xcviii.. p|i, l.ii) 1; iliiniiiiuHf, Cniii. Mtrhuuvaii, }ilH., \>i^. W-HO; JIi III I'l, 
Hill. (Irii., (!(•,•. iii., lili. iii., mp. ix. 

'^ 'Ml tni;»' lit- I'lliis era dc divcrsas iDtiiieras, iiiios traian inaiitas, otnis 
I'oiiio uiia.s xai|ii('tilla«.' Sn/iiujini, Hist, (ini., torn, iii., lib. x., |>. l.'i'' 
' Era mas vostiila (iiu! estotra i\\\v: lialioimts viwto.' Cor/is, Cnr/ns, \\. 'XX 
'La mayor parte auiiuuaii I'll ciu'ros.' Hn-nnt, Hist, (im., ilcc. iii.. Ill), iii. 
ca]>. xiv. The .Mi/.tccs 'vestiaii iiiaiitas lilaiicas do aljfodoii, tcxidaH, |iiiii;i' 
das, y matizadas (^mi lloro.s, rosas, y aves do diforeiitt's (-(dores: no tralii.iii 
camisas.' /»/., cait. xii. 

'* 'Aiidau ca.-ii dusaudos,' Gunutra, Conq. Mex., fol. 3C. 


fitlicr no sleeves at all or very short ones; it oov- 
iivtl tlio upper part of the hotly to a Httle helow 
till' thiy:hs. The lower part of tlie h<Kly was covered 
hy the eiieitl, a petticoat, reaching to about half-way 
hitweeii the knees and a»:khs -rid often nicely eni- 
liioidtivd and ornamented. Skin?;, ixcotl, or pahn- 
lilirc, nei|uen, and cotton were the materials used lor 
tluse ^^anuents. Out of doors they fre<juently put 
oil another over-dress similar to the huipil, only 
JDii'^r and with more ornamental frinj'es aiul tassels. 
S(»nietiin«;s they wore two or three of these at the 
MUie tinu', one over the other, hut in that case they 
Wire of ditlerent len«:fths, the longest one heing worn 
uiMKniiath. A mantle similar in size and sha)>e to 
that ust'd hy the men, white and ])ainted in various 
tlt'siiriis on the out^i.M . was also used hy the feniales. 
To the upper edge of this, on that portion which was 
111 the hack oi the neck, a capuchin, like that worn 
hy the Dominican and other monks, was fastened, 
witli which they covered their head.'* 

To protect their feet they used sandals, hy the Az- 
tecs called cactll, which were nuide of deer or otlur 
skins, and frecpiently also of nequen and cotton. The 
stiings or strajis used to fasten them were of the same 
iiiatirial." i do not find any description of the manner 
ill which they were fastened, hut in an oUl Mexican 
lujuiiisciipt on maguey paper, in which some of the 

"' 'Trai'ii caniiHnsilo ii)c<lin>« ninnpiH.' (loniftrti, Cont/. .^fl^.r., fol. .117; /i«'- 
hili'iiir fiittii fiir nil (tnidriiiiiniin ilrl Siifiinr /-'i rii(iii(/o I'urfisf, in Iliiiiiiisiii, 
.\iiiiiiiitii,iu\ toin. iii., fol. :)().'); l.rlHlxiirliitl, Jifliiriniiix, in Kiii<isliiir(iiiiili',t 
Mj\ Aii/ii/., vol. ix., ]). .'VJ7; Cortrs, Cortus, \\. "I'X In .Jalisco tlicy Imd 
"vii lliii|iilillo corto, (iu(> llanian Ixtincniitl, o foapxulotoii.' Ton/iK itiin/n, 
Mmniri/. IikI., Unn. i., p. 339. 'I'nasopravvi-sta. . .con nianiclic|)iii hinj;lic.' 
I Inriijin), Sforin Ant. ilil Mrsxiro, toin. ii., |). "J'JS; Viijlia, llisr. Aiif. M'J-, 
tiiiii. ii., |). (■(, toni. i., \>\t. •J.')3-4; Jims.ii'iir ilr liinivhiiinuj, Ilisf. Xdt. Cn., 
Imii. i., p. "JSIl. In Micli-mcan 'notraian vipiics.' Sii/iii<iiii>, Hist. (Icii., toni. 
iii., lilt. X., 111). 1,'VS, I'J.S; SjiiffinzioHr ilillr Ttiiuli' ihl ('m/irr Ali.rirtnm {\t\- 
tii'aiml. in kiniisliormidfin Mr.r. Aiiti'j., vol. v., pp. '2(13-4; llrrrcra, 
(jin., (Ice. iii., iih. iii., cap. -xii. 

'" Sii/iminH, Hist. (Int., toin. iii., lil>. .\., \<\\. 112, 1'23; IxtliUnrh'l, llrln- 
•■iiiiii:i, ill h'iiit/shorniiijh'n Mrx. Aiitiq., vol. IX., jiji. .3,30, 341; llrrrrnt, llitl. 
Hill., (Ice. ii., iili. vi., cap. xvii. ; /</., dec. iii., lili. iii., cap. ix., xii. ; lUiiiiiiiniit 
I'niii Mir/iniirdii, MS., p. .'»0; Vrytin, Ili.sf. Ant. Mrj., toin. i., p. *2.">*,1; iln- 
miin(, t'liiiq. Mcx., fol. 317; Vharrs, Hiifiport, in Tenia lU'-Coiiiptnix, Vni/., 
ncriu ii. , tiiiii. v., II. 31G; Vlavimrv, Sluria Ant. dd Mcumcv, torn, ii., p. -23. 
YuL. II. 21 





natives are painted in various colors, I find tliat tlio 
sandals were fastened in three i>laees; first by a stiaji 
runnin*^ across the toot immediately behind the tois, 
then another over the instep and runnin<^ toward tlie 
heel, and lastly by a strap from the heel round tliu 

As a njeneral thing Mexicans wore the hair loutjf, 
and in many parts of the em})ire it was consideiid 
a disgrace to cut the hair of a free man or woman.'*' 
Unlike most of the American natives they wore mous- 
taches, but in other parts of the body they eradi- 
cated all hair very carefully.'® There were public 
barber-shops and baths in all the })rincipal cities.-" 
The Aztecs had various wavs of dressinyf the hair, 
dittcring according to rank and office. Generally it 
was left hanijfing loose down the back. The women also 
freipiently wore it in this way, but oftener had it done 
up or trinuned after various fashions; thus .some 
wore it long on the temples and had the rest of tlu- 
head shaved, others twisted it with dark cotton 
thread, others again had almost the whole head 
shaved. Among them it was also fashionable to dyo 
the hair with a species of black clay, or with an herb 
called xiuhpiHitl, the latter giving it a vit)let shade. 
Unmarried ijirls wore the hair aiwavs loose; thev con- 
sidered it as esi)ecially graceful to wear the hair low" 

" 'Aveano a (lisonorc I'esscr tosati.' Claviijrro, Storin Aiit. del jl/l.v.v/c/, 
toin. ii. , i>. '2"24. 

^^ Jirii.ssciir lie lioitrhoin-if, Hist. Nat. Cii\, toni. i., p. 3.">(). 'Ni l)itMi 
1)ania(l(>s, porniio se arraiicaii v viitaii los jii'los iiara i\\u'. iii» iiazfun.' Hn- 
'iiiiini, I'onij. Slra:, io\. 317. Tlie Mistocs 'las tmrbas w arraiicaiiaii imi 
tciia/iliaH (fe or<i.' Ilrnrrn, (ini., dvi'. iii.. lii>. iii., caii. xii. 

«o V„rfi% Cartas, pp. (i8, 104; Ovieilo, Hi.if. Gn,., toiii. iii., p. :«)(). 

*' ' Hazel) lo nt'}irt> con ticrra por jjeiitiioza y jjoniuo les matt' l<is pioj«w. 
Las ('asa<las sc lo nuleaii a la oabeva con vn nmlo a la frcnfo. vir^^'iin'-* 
y por casar, lo (raen siielto, yediailo atrasy adclanlo. IVlan sc y viitan so 
todas ])ara no toner jjcIo sino en la caheva y cejas, y assi tieiien jior licninp- 
Hiira tener cliica fieiite, y llena de cahello, y no teiier colodrlllo.' {uiiiiiini, 
Coil)/. Mix., fol. .317; Sa/iai/ini, Hist, (ini., toni. ii., lib. viii., pp. .SOlt-lO, 
toin. iii., lil>. x., ])p. 113, l'20, lib. xi., ]>. 3(M»; I'lnriifiro, S/nrin Aiif. ild 
Mi'.isiro, toin. ii., p. 'i'24; Chairs, Rii/iport, in 'rrriiini.r-Ciiiii/iaiis, I'c//., 
eerie ii., toin. v., p. 316. The Cliicliinieeswore it, 'larfjoliasfa iasespiildas, 
y |M(r (lelante sc \» cortan.' Jxliilxorhitl, Jiiiavioius, iit Kiiigsburuiiijli's 
Mcx. Antiij., vol. L\., p. 335. 



t tllO 



a the 
a tho 







ally it 

en also 

it aono 

\ some 
of tlu' 
to live 
n lu'i-h 
V <'<»n- 
;• loNV^' 

1/ Mis.\-ic(i, 

'Ni liifii 
Iciiii.' ''"- 
luuaii fill 


|(is piojiw. 

■ viitaii so 
Lr litMiiMi- 

i. :«»•.»• 10. 
A lit. 'I' I 

MIS, Vi'll-. 


on the forehoaa. Tlio vir<»ins wlio served in the teni- 
jiits luul their hair cut short.*^ 

The Otoniis shavea the fore part of the heads of 
cliihhen, leavin*^ oidy a tuft behind, which they calka 
plin'lit/i, while the men wore the hair cut short as far 
as tlie miaaie of the back of the heaa, but left it to 
i^row long behina; ana these long locks they called 
l»iorlit'(i(«'. Girls did not have their hair cut until 
after marriage, when it was worn in the same style as 
l»y the men.'^ Tho Tarascos, or as they were also 
calloa Quaochpanme, derived this last name from an 
old fashion of having their heads shaved, both men 
and wonien.'^* Later they wore the hair long, the 
I'oniinon people simply letting it hang down the back, 
while the rich braided it with cotton threads of vari- 
ous colors.^' The ^[iztecs wt)re the hair braided, and 
ornamented with many feathers.*' 

The Nahua women used paint freely to beautify 
tlieir j)erson, and among some nations they also 
tatt()0(!d. Among the Aztecs they painted their 
faces with a red, yellow, or black color, made, 
as Sahagun tells us, of burnt incense mixed with 
dye. They also dyed their feet black with the same 
mixture. Their teeth they cleaned and painted with 
roiliineal; hands, neck, and breast were also })ainted.-^ 
Among the Tlascaltecs the men paintvd their faces 
with a dye made of the xatjua and hijcu."^ The Oto- 
mi's tattooed their breasts and arms by making in- 
cisions with a knife and rubbing a blue powder 
therein. They also covered the body with a spe- 





CUiviffcro, Sfnrin Ant. ih'l Mcssico, torn, ii., p. 224. 
Sii/iiii/iiii, Hint. (Irii., tdiii. iii., lilt x., p. 124. 

'Milmase taiiihioii Quaorhpiiiiiiu', (jiic (iiiiore diM'ir homl»ros ile caliozii 
la <) raiila, poniuc aiitij^uaiiieiito estos taU's no traiaii calicllos larj,'os, 
sc rapahaii la caltoza asi los lii>iiil>r.'s, vdino las iiiujj;t'res.' Sahtiipiv, 
Hill., tuiii, iii., lilt. X,, p. 1H7; Urti.s.iciir dr ISourhuunj, Hint. Aiif. 
toiii. iii., p. 57. 

Iliinimont, Crdn. Mcrhoi>r<tii, MS., p. !\0. 
H'l-imi, llisl. (fni., (U'c. iii., lili. iii., cap. xiv. 

'Sc raialtan Ian l^ira.s.' Tunjiii'iiuuin, Moiutrq. Intl., toni. i., p. 2r)5; 
,'/'"', (till., tt»ni. ii., lih. viii., p. 310. 
Uuiiutra, (Junq. J/ix. , fol. 75. 




»;ies of pitch callod tcoeauu'itl, and over this nij^aiii 
they applied some other color. Their teetli tlicv 
dyed black,'* 

The Naliuas, like all senii-harharoiis people, had a 
])assion for loading themselves Avitli oriiainents. 
worn hy tlie kini^s, nobles, and rich i»ersons, weie of 
i^old or silver, set with i)reciou8 stones; those of tliu 
poorer classes were of cop})er, stone, or bone, set with 
imitations in crystal of the rarer jewels. These orna- 
ments took the shape of bracelets, armlets, anklets, 
and rings for the nose, ears, and fingers. The lower 
lip was also pierced, and precious stones, or crystals, 
inserted. The richer classes used principally for this 
purpose the chalchiuite, which is generally desig- 
nated as an emerald. There existed very stringent 
laws regarding the class of ornaments which the dif- 
ferent classes of people were allowed to wear, and it 
w^as prohibited, on j)ain of death, for a subject to use 
the same dress <^r ornanients as the king. Duraii re- 
lates that to certain very bravo but low-born warriors 
j)ermission was accorded to wear a chea}) garland or 
crown on the head, but on no account might it he 
made of gold,'^ Gomara tells us that the claws and 
beaks of the eagle and also fish-bones were worn as 
ornaments in the ears, nose, and lips,"* 

The Otomi's used ear-ornaments made of burmd 
clay, nicely browned, and others of canc^"'* The Ta- 
rascos chiefly relied on feathers for their ])ersoiial 
adornment, '^^ Of the natives encountered bv Cortes 

5^ Snhnqiin, Tlisf. Gi)i., toiii. iii. , lib. x., pp. 124-r». 

^o Diiraii, Hist. Iiidins, MS., toin. i., cap. ,\xvi. 

'■" (loiiiorii, (Jonq. Mcx., fol. ,31"; llirirm, Gcti., tier, iii., iili. iii., 
c.ip. xii.; l'liivi;;oro, Sforia Ant. (/if JA'.v.vtVv/, toni. ii., p. "J'J-l, (IcscrilwN tlic 
oniaiiRMits, lint in his ai'conijuinyin;^' plate fails to hIhiw ati> of tlicni. '/'• 
zizoiiioc, i'niiu'ri) Mr.r., in hiiiffshoruii(f/i\s Mtx. Aiitiq., vol., ix. pp. 7'.'- 
S:>; J'nrrfi<ifi /lis f'i(i/rinii:s, vol. iv., p. 1 1 H). 

3'^ ' IJe hario cociiht bien binfiida.><, I'xle i-afia.' Sa/inguii, Hist (Ini., tuiu. 
iii., lib. X., p. 124. 

^^ fi/., ]). 137. Tbc Totonacs 'traian vnos >ji'anil('saf;ni<''.»seM los Imth-i 
til! abaxo, y on cllos vnas lodajaM do pie(Iia« pintadilla.stlc a/.iil, y otms rem 
Mias liojaH dc oro dfl^iadas, yon la.s orojas niny i^rando-s aKiijoro.s, y t'li clln-i 
|)lll'^*t,as otras roilajan de oro, y piedras.' licriiul Dia.z, I/isl. Comi., fol. iS; 
< 'orli'n, Cartas, p. 123, 



wlien he landed at Vera Cruz, Peter ^fartyr tells us 
tlmt ill the "hole of the lippes, they weare a hroad 
plate withhi fastened to another on the outside of the 
li[)[te, and the iewell they hanj^ thereat is as great as 
a sihier Caroline doller and as tliicke as a mans 

In Oajaca more ornaments were \vorn tiian in any 
other part of tlie country, owing, j)erha|)s, as the Al h '• 
IJiasseur de Bourhourg remarks, to the plentil'ul sup- 
ply of })reeious metals in tliat state.*' 

The dress of the nobles and memhers of the royal 
li(tusuliold differed from that of the lower classes only 
in Hneiiess of material and profusion of ornaments. 
'fho kings appear to have worn garments of the same 
shape as those of their suhjeots, Init, in otlier respects, 
a particular style of dress was reserved for royalty, 
and he who presumed to imitate it was i)ut to death. 
( )ii occasions, however, when the monarch wished to 
hestow a special mark of favor upon a hrave soldier or 
distinguished statesman, he would graciously bestow 
upon him one of his garments, which, even though 
the reci})ient were a great noble, was received with 
joy, and the wearer respected as a man whom the 
king (leliohted to hi^nor.^" in Tlascala ditferences of 
rank anioiig the nobles were easily recognized by the 
stylo of dress. The connnon j)eople were strictly Ibr- 
hiddi'U to wear cotton dotlies M'ith fringes or other 
ti-ininiings, unless with special permission, granted in 
consideration of services rendered. ^^ 

The court laws of etiquette jtrescribed the dress to 
he Worn by the royal attendants, wlio could only a]i[»ear 
without sandals, barefooted, and in coarse mantles 

14 Pitcr Miirit/r, dec. iv., lib. vii. 

'' 'I'lu' Mi/ti'i's 'tnuMi iiiii'iii, axoicasiniiy iiiK'liasdcoro, y sartalfs dc ]>!('- 
•Ira ii las itiiifii'cas. y joyolt's dc c'stas y dc oni al nudlo.' Sn/iiiiiiui, lli.\f. 
<!'ii., tdiii. iii., lib. x., i». I'M); JSnis.s(iir de liniirljiuif;/. Hist. \ii/. dr., 
tmu. iii.. |». ;«». 

'■"' 'Niii;,'tiiia IVrsniiii (aiiii(|iio fuosoii siis propiiis llijos) ]i<)<liu vi'stirli>, so 
iM'iia dc la vida.' Turf/iicniin/ii, Mniifinj. Iiul., Ut\\\. ii., p. "il'J; Iha-ni, li/ifiti.\\ MS., tiiiii. i., i-ap. xxvi. 

^'' I'liiniiri/o, Jlist. Tlttx., in Auiifilloi Amitiks (hs Voy., 1843, lorn. 
xi'viii., p. 198. 




before the kiiiij, and even the apparel of the soveri'ii;ii 
was in like manner fixed l>y custom, if not by law. 
Tlie different kinds of tilmatlis, or mantles, had eadi 
its appropriate name, and varied in material as well 
as in ornament and color. The cotton mantles aro 
described as beinyf of exceedinyf fineness of texture, so 
much so that it required an expert to deterniiiiu 
whether they were cotton or silk.'* The mantle worn 
as every-day dress in the ])alace was white and Id no 
and called the xmhtUnmfJi^ There were many otliir 
kinds of mantles, of which the following are the 
principal: A yellowish, heavily friui^ed mantle, on 
which monstrous heads were painted, was calitd 
coazaijdcidotibniitli; another, blue, ornamented with 
red shells, with three borders, one light, .'mother 
dark blue, and a third of white feather-work, and 
fringed with the same kind of shells, was nanud 
fjrncu'iotihiuif/i; another, dark yellow, with alteinatc 
black and white circles j)ainted on it, and a border 
representing eyes, was the tonalcitatiofilmaflifcitisin; 
a simihir one, differing only in the figures and shape 
of the ornaments, was the itzcdijotUinatli; a very 
gaudy one, worked in many colors, was the iniicfrrli- 
fccoitudofi/mitfli; another, with a yellow ground, <»ii 
which were butterflies made of feathers, and with 
si'olloped edges, was called jxt/Kfloiofilniatlifciiisio; the 
XdonlquaN/iioflhiKtthfrnisio, was embroidered with de- 
signs representing the flower called ccitctitcafl, and 
further ornamented with white feather- work and featli- 
er edges; the ocelot ('nflopadiuifici/ctwocclof I was an 
imitation of a tiger-skin, also oinamented Avith an 
lidge t)f white feathers; the irni'xtlavinlolli was 
worked in many colors, and had a sun j)ainted on it.*" 
Other mantles, differing mainly in their style of orna- 

'" 'Tan (Irlfiixlas y l)ipti toxidas que ncrcsifabaii ilcl tacto ]>aia (lifcnii- 
ciursc (Ic la f*f<la.' Sulis, J/ist. t'oiiij. Mr.r., tttiii. i., p. \'S'2; Anisto, llixt- 
dr. Ills Villi., i». .')07. 

^'> Cfiin'i/no, Stitriii Aiif. fA7 JA''fo, timi. ii., j)]). lir)-l(5; Turquniiin/i', 
Moiifiri/., /hi/., foin. ii., p. M'2. 

*" Sa/itiijiiii, Hint. Urn., torn, ii., lib. viii., pp. 280-8. 



inintation, were the coaxactfi/o and tI(icaUniaztilhi<it/i, 
the liittor worn when the king went into his gardens 
or to tlie chase. In the same manner there are also 
various kinds of maxtlis mentioned, such as the i/nt/a- 
(»ii'i.i'((/li<li(it(i., (/(zahuazahiautlafl and uactthiia/lin/ul.*^ 
Ill iJU't tliere appears to liave heen a ditt'erent (hess 
i'ttr every occasion. We are told, for instance, that 
when going to the temple the king wore a white 
jiiiiiitle, another when going to preside at the court 
of justice, and here he again changed his dress, ac- 
cordiiiiir as the case before the court was a civil or 
criminal suit." The sandals of the kings were always 
riciily ornamented with precious stones, and had gt)lden 




AVhenever the sovereign aftpeared in ]>ul)lic 
wore the royal crow'n, called vvplUl^ which was 

<• Trzozomnr, Crdnirn Mcx., in KhigshorouijJi's Mrx. Atitiq., vkI. 

<■■* 'Para salir de I'alaciit low Hoit's .'i visitar Ins Teiiiplos, se vcstiaii do 
lilaiu'o; [uTo para t'litrar t'li Kw ('iinst'jdn, y asistireii citros Actos iiiiMirns, .se 
vi'stiaii <li' (liforoiiti's colores, fiiiiforiiio la ocasioii.' riir'/iiiniiii/ii, Mniiiirii. 
III'/., toll), ii., p. r>4.'{. 'Los rois .s'liabillait'iit taiitot tic ItlaiM-, taiiti'it il'f- 
tiill'cs (I'liii jaiiiit* (ihsriir (»riu''t's «le fraii^rus dt' iiiille coidciii's.' linissnir ilf. 
}iiiiifli(iiirfi, /list. X<if. ('if., tiiiii. i., i>. "JSI, toiii. iv., |ip. '210-11. '.Maiila.s 
<!(' A dits liafos, laUradas do pliiiiias do papos <!(> avos, tan siiavcs, (nic Iray- 
imhIii la iiiaiio por oiiciiiia a polo y a pospolo, iioora iiiaH<(iu> una niarta roliol- 
liiia niuy Mon adtdtada: iiico posar una dolla.s, no ]ics(i mas do sris mi/as.' 
Ziiiizo, ('iirtd, in Irnzlmlirln, (Jul. (If l>iii\, toni. i., |t. 'M'A\. N'oslidos do 
jiolo do conojo y do al^odon de innolia onriosidad, y oslas oran vostidmas lU; 
<'ai'ii[iios y «lo ;;onto niuy prinoipal ' in Mioiioaoan. liiiimniml, CkU,. Milm- 
Oiiniii, MS., pp. 4'.>-.')0; l.rllil.ntrhitl, Hist. C/u'r/i., in Kiiii/slKiriiiiij/i'.s Mr.,-. 
Ailtiij., V(d. ix., Jip. ;{.'{(>, '240, 'Jd.'); Iif., Uiliirioiiis, in hi., |i. '.V,\i\\ (h-inhi, llisl. 
(Int., tola, iii., p. '2!KS. Dosoription of Monlo/nina'sdross whon nn'otini; ("nr- 
ti's, in S(i/i.s, Hint. Coiiq. Mix., toni. i., ]». ',W.>\ ('Inriijini, Sturin Anl. ilil 
,l/(.v.s7<v(, loin, iii., j>. 77; \'('i//iii. Hist. Aiil. M'j-, tnni. iii., |>. .'tSd; I'n .-.iiiU's 
M'.r.. vol. ii., ]). 'Ml. Ko|ii'osoritations of tin drossos of tlio .Mosicaii kiiijxs 
and noliles are ulsi ' 'he t'udix Mvmhizit, in KiiKislninniiili's Mix. Antiq., 
vol. i. ^ ^ 

■•'' 'Traia oal(,'iidos vnos oonio ootaras, quo assi so di/.o loqno so oaloan. las 
suolas do oro, y niny prooiadii jiodroria onoiina on ollas.' lirniii/ J>iiiz, Hist. 
('i)iiil., fol. ()."). 'I'oi'toit niu' ohaussnro th' poan do olu-vrouil.' Xnini/tis 
Aiiiiiifis i/is Volt., 18'J4, toni. .\xiv., ]>. 1^7. '(,'apatos do oro, qiu' olios 
llaniaii xa^dos, y son a In inanora anti^^ua <lo los Uonianos, tonian ;;ran po- 
ilrcria do ninolio valor, las sindas ostauan prondidas con corroas.' tin nru, 
y//,s/. f /<■//., (loo. ii., lih. vii., cap. V. 'Cotaras do onoro do ti;;ros.' Tiznzn- 
vini; Cniiiirii .Mix,, in /\ini/sliiiriiiii/fi''s Mr.r. .[nliii., vol. i.\., p. 7'.l; Sulis, Ciiiii/. Mi:r., toni. i., p. .'<(!!>; J'tiri/Hi'iiKiiln, MoiKirii. Iinf., toni. i., )». 
M'v, /Sriis.i-in )/r /{iiiirhi.iirit. Hist. Xnl. Cii:, toni. iv., jip. '210-1I; Cnrlis, 
<'iir/iis, p. S,"); I'lifliii, Hist. Aiit. .1/';/., toni. iii., p. 'ASi'r, Ixllilxnrliill, H'lu- 
•'i'liiis, in KiiiifsliiirniKjIi'ii Mix. Aiiliij., vol. ix., p. 327; I'rrsrott'ti Mix., 
Vol. ii., pp. 73-4, ai7. 



solid gold, and is described by most wiiters as havim; 
been shaped like a bisho})'H mitre; but in the hiero- 
glyphical paintings, in which the Mexican kings arc 
re}>resented, it is simply a golden band, wider in front 
than at the back, the front running up to a i)oint; on 
some occasions it was ornamented with long feathers." 
The following descrii)tion of ornaments, worn by the 
Mexican kings and nobles, I extract from Sahagun: — 
The quetzalalpitoai consisted of two tassels of iiiR- 
feathers garnished with gold, which they wore bound 
to the hair on the crown of the head, and hangin<j^ 
down to the temples. The tlanhquccltoffzontli was a 
liandsome garment of feathers worn on the slioulders. 
On the arms they placed gold rings; on the wri.sts a 
thick black strap made soft with balsam, and ujton it 
a large chalchiuite or other precious stone. Tlu y 
also had a harhote, or chin-piece, of chalchiuite or otlur 
precious stone, set in gold, inserted in tlio cliiii. 
These chin-ornaments were made long, of crystal, 
with some blue feathers in the centre, wliich niadu 
them look like sapphire. The lip li.'id a hole bored in 
it, from which precious stones or gold crescents were 
suspended. The great lords likewise hud holes in 
their nose, and placed therein very fine tur(j[Uoises or 
other precious stones, one on each side of tlie nose. 
On their necks they wore strings of precious stones, or 
a medal susi)ended by a gold diain, witli i)earl jiend- 
ants hanging from its edge, and a flat jewel in V\c 
centre of it. They used bracelets of mosaic work 

** ' La corona dc Rcy, quo tiene sempjancj-a a la poroiia do la Sofioria df 
Venecia,' Avosfa, Hist, dc las YiitL, p. 471. 'I'na.s tiaras de oro v |KMlri'- 
ria.' I.rtlilxochUl, Hist. Chirh., in KiDgsborouglCs Mi.r. Aiillij., vol. ix., ii. 
205. 'En la Cahe^a vnos Pliimajes ricos, que ataimn tantos calicllos dc In 
Corona, (|iiantotoniaclcs|>aciode la Corona Clerical: cstos I'lnniajcs |ircii(li- 
an y atabaii con vna corroa colorada, y do ella colfrabaii con siis iiinjaiitcs t\i- 
Oro, (pic jjcndian il nianera do chiaH de Mitra de (Miispo.' lori/iniiiiK/fi, 
Moiiarq. Iik/., toni. ii., itj). 54'2-3. 'Era di varie matcric ^'iiista il piarcrc 
dei Ue, or di lame sottili d'oro or tessnta di filo d'oro, c li^^nrata con va;.'lic 
j)cnMe. Cliiriffrro, Storin Ant. del Mrssiro, torn, ii., p. Il.">, toni. iii., ]). 77. 
'IJefore liivc a .Myter, ami hehinde it waw cut, so a.s it was not round, for tiic 
forepart was lii^xliPi") "ud did rise like a point.' Ptnrfins, /(/.v l'i/ifriiiir.\, torn. 
iy., p. 1(K»2; Vci/tiit, Hist. Ant. Mrj., ton\. iii., jt. H8(J; I'nsroft's .lA.c, v<il. 
ii,, i». 317; Brasscur dc liourbutinj, Hist. \'i.U. Cic, toni. iv., p. 210. 



iiiaJo witli turquoises. On their lojj^s they wore, from 
the knee down, <^reaves of very thin gold. They car- 
ried ii» the riglit hand a little golden Hag with a tuft 
of gaudy feathers on the top. Upon their lieads they 
Wore a hird made of rieh feathers, with its liead and 
hoak resting on tlie forehead, its tail toward the back 
of the head, its wings falling over the temples.*" 

*^ fldhnfftin. Hist. Grn.,{nm. vii., lil>. ii., pji. 28.S-00; Tczozomor, Crduirn 
.)fix., ill KuKjslioriUKjIis Mex. Autiq., vol. ix., jip. 57, 7'.*; Ixtlil.ntfliHI, Cliiili., ill M., j). 3'.'7; Torqitemadii, Motiitrq. Im/., U>u\. i., |>. 5i!.'»; 
I'll/fill, Hist. Aiif. MiJ., toin. i., i>. "i.")!), torn, iii., p. WXl; ('(iiiiiiniii, Hist. 
Tlii.f., ill Xoiiirlh'H AniKilfs t/es Voij., 1843, toiii. xcix., )>. ITS. i-'iir- 
tlicf iiiciitioii of oriiiimeiits in the oiiuiiitM'tition of ]iiTsciits ^'ivt-ii l)y Moiiti'- 
ziiiiiii to Cortt'.s ill t'ltirigcro, Storin Ant. del Mcnniro, toiii. iii., jip. 0."), 80; 
Hrrnra, llisl. (!<'»., dec. ii., lib. v., cap. v.; Oriri/a, Hist, (lin., toiii. iii., 
].)). -JTit, '-'S;!, 'iS.'i, Sft-i, 208; Soils, Hist. Voiiq. Mr.i:, toiii. i., i)p. \-l\ l:{2-3; 
l'>nr/,tis, fiis J'i/iiriiws, vol. iv., pp. 1118-i), Il'-M; CortAi, Ciirttts, pp. (i't. 8.'>; 
llnissriir <lr Jiuiirlionrfi, Hist. X<it. Cii:, toiii. iv., pp. 7(>, 84, 214, 2(>3-l; 
I'irsi-iitt's Mix., vol. ii., p. 8.*?. Ainong the inodern authors who In'.ve writ- 
ten upon the subject of aress may be mentioned: ('avhujol Ksjiinosii, Hist. 
JA.j'., toiii. i., pp. S2(!, 080 2, torn, ii., pp. 91, 224-.">, witli iiiiiiicroiis iii»s; 
Jtiissirrrr. L'Eitipiiv Mc.r.., p. 14.'>; C/irrntirr, Mi:r., Aiirini rt Moil., pp. .')7-H; 
IHIl'iii, Hist. Mix., p. 47; Kkiiim, Cultur-trfsrhichti:, tom. v., pp. 13-14, 22, 
■JS, ISit; Mniifilinr, llfsumf, p. 3(5; BnnnuIVs Iiiil. Rnris, pp. (>.'>, 7'J; Jiaril, 
Mcxiquc, p. 209; Fiithentd, Mem. sobrc la Raza Indigcnu, p. (51. 

:i. Vi 



The Main Fkaturks of Nahua Commerce— Commerce in Pre-Aztec 
Times— OtTRAGEs Committed uy Aztec Merchants— ri;ivii.i:(;i;s 
OF the Merchants of ThATELULCo— Jealousy ketween Mku- 


TATioN OK Wares— Traveling Merchants— Commercial IJoi ti:.s 
— Setting out on a Journey- Caravans of Traders - Tin: 
Return — Customs and Feasts of the Merchants— Nahia 
HoATS and Navigation. 


! , .1 ■ 

Tmditional history tells us but little rospcctiiif,' 
Anioricau coniineree jn'ovious to the formation of the 
j^reat Aztec alliance, or empire, but the faint light 
thrown on the subject would indicate little or no 
chau'^e in the wystem within the limits of Nahua his- 
tory. The main features of the connnercial system in 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were: markets 
in one or more of the public scjuares of every town, 
where eatables and other articles of immediate neces- 
sity were daily sold — shops proper being unknown: 
fre(juently recurring fairs in each of the large towns, 
where the j>roducts of agriculture, manufacture, and 
art in the surrounding country were disi)layed before 
consumers and merchants from home and from abro.ul; 
similar fairs but on a o'rander scale in the ti^reat com- 
mercial centres, where home products were exchangcu 



for foroit^n merchandise, or sold for export to mer- 
cliiiiits from distant nations who attended these fairs 
ill lari^'e nunihers; itinerant traders ct)ntimially tra- 
versiiiij^ the country in companies, or caravans ; and tlie 
existence of a separate class exclusively devoted to 

From the earliest times the two southern Anahuacs 
of Ayotlan and Xicalanco, correspoiidini^ to what are 
now tlie southern coast of Oajaca and the tierracaliente 
of Tabasco and southern Vera Cruz, were inhaltited 
by commercial peoples, and were noted for their fairs 
and the rich wares therein exposed for sale. These 
nations, the Xicalancas, Mijes, Huaves, and Zapotecs 
even enira<jfed to some extent in a maritime coastiuir 
trade, mostly confined, however, as it would appear, 
to the coasts of their own territories and those imme- 
diately adjacent; and in this branch of commerce little 
or no advance had been made at the time when the 
S[)aiiiards came.^ 

The Toltecs are reported to have excelled in com- 
merce as in all other respects, and the markets of 
Tollan and Cholula are pictured in glowinj^ colors; but 
all traditi(ms on this subject are exceedingly vague. '^ 
111 the new era of prosperity that followed the Toltec 
disasters Cholula seems to have held the first place 
as a commercial centre, her fairs were the most famous, 
and lier merchants controlled the trade of the south- 
cni coasts on either ocean. After the coming of the 
Tco-Chichimec hordes to the eastern plateau, Tlascala 
hi^ame in her turn the connnercial metroj)olis of the 
north, a position which she retained until forced to 
yield it to the merchants of the j\[exican valley, who 
Were supported by the warlike hordes of the Aztec 
confederacy. Before the Aztec supremacy, trade 
scciiis to have been conducted with some show of faii- 
ness, and commerce and politics were kept to a great 

' Bnrrfon, Geoff. Dr.srrip., toin. i., ])t ii., fol. 181; Brassrnr dr Dour- 
honrij, Ifisf. A'dt. (Jir., toiii. iii.. pp. 4--3. 

i lirti.ssnir i/c lioiirlttnirif, llisl. Nat. Ch:, torn, i., pp. 271-3; lullilxo- 
clii/l, lielmuuiicn, hi Kiii(j>iburouijlC)s Mi x. Aiiliij., \iA. ix., p. 3;{'2. 



I . ■; 

extent scpamto. But the Aztoos iiitroducotl a now 
onki" of thinijfs. Their nicri'liants, instuatl of }»eati - 
fill, industrious, unassuniinjjf travelers, became insolent 
and overbearinj^, nieddlint; without seruple in the |>ul) 
lie attiiirs of the nations throu«^h whose territory tiiey 
liad to }>ass, and tristin*^ to the dread of the arniiis 
of Mexico for their own safety; caravans became litt!< 
less than armed bodies of rol>bers. The confederate 
kini^s were ever ready to extend by war the Held of 
their commerce, and to avenge by the hands of thi'ii' 
warriors any insult, real or ima«,nnary, ottered to their 
merchants. The travelinijr bandir' A' traders were in- 
Btructed to prepare maps of countries traversed, to 
ob.serve carefully their condition for defence, and their 
resources. If any province was reported rich and de- 
Hirable, its peojtle were easily ajj^jj^ravated to commit 
some act of insolence which served as a pretext to lay 
waste their lands, and make them tributary to tlie 
l<in«j^s of Anahuac. Within the provinces that were 
i)ermanently and submissively tributary to Mexico, 
Tezcuco, and Tlacoj^an, trattic may be supposed to have 
been as a rule fairlv conducted. The merchants had 
in turn to })ay into tlie royal treasury a large percent- 
asj^e of their gains, but this, under the circumstances, 
tliey could well attbrd. 

Tlatelulco while an independent city was noted for 
lier commerce, as was Tenoclititlan for the prowess of 
lier warriors, and when mercantile enteri)rise was 
forced to yield to the })ower of arms, Tlatelulco, as a 
part of Mexico, retained her former preeminence in 
trade, and became the commercial centre of Aniilmac. 
Her merchants, who were a separate class of the 
populatiijn, were highly honored, and, so far as the 
liigher grades were concerned, the merchant princes, 
the />(H-/it(ras, dwellers in the aristocratic quarter of 
Pochtlan, had privileges fully equal to those of the 
nol)les. They had tribunals of their own, to which 
alone they were res])onsible, for the regulation of all 
matters of trade. They formed indeed, to all intents 



;iii(l [>iirj)()sos, a coininL'n'ijil forporatioii conti'oliniLj tlio 
wliole tnulo of tho country, «t' wliicli nil the K-adiiiL^ 
iiKrclmnts of other ritios wero in ii Heiisr Huhordiimto 
iiit'inlK'is. Jealousy lietwceii this honored elass of 
iiuiiliauts and tho nohility ])roper, hron«,dit ahout tho 
iiianv eonndioations durini'" the last years of the Az- 
tic empire, to which I have referred in a i>re('edini»' 
tliaitter. Throughout the Nahua dominion commeni' 
was in the hands of a distinct elass, educated for their 
(ailing, and eveiywhere honored hoth hy people and 
liy kinu^s; in many rej^ions the hii>hest nohles t]u)Ught 
it no disgrace to en^aije in oonunercial pursuits. 

Besides the ])ochtecas, two other classes of mercli- 
aiits are nientione<l in Tlatehdco, the naliinflvifoiiH'' 
(vf.s, those who made a specialty of visitinj.;' the lands 
uf enemies in disi»uise, and tho fci/intlnia/ohmdil or 
traders in shives.' The merchants Mere exempt from 
military and other j)ul)lie service, an<l had the riyht 
not oidy to make laws for the re<'ulation of trade, hut 
to punish even those who wei. not of their class for 
utft'iises against such laws. Sahajjcun skives an account 
of tlie gradual develo])ment and history of the Tlate- 
lulcan comi)any, stating the names of the leading 
niLivhants under the successive kings, with details 
iispocting the various articles dealt in at ditfertint 
jicriods, all of which is not deemed of sufficient in- 
teiest to be reproduced in these pages. 

Nahua trade was as a rule carried on hy means of 
l»arter, one article of merchandise being exchanged 
lor an<jther of ec^uivalent value. Still, regular })ur- 
cliase and sale were not unc<Mnmon, particulaily in the 
itusiness of retailing the various commodities to con- 
sumers. Although no regular coined money was 
Used, yet several more or less convenient substitutes 
furnished a medium of circulation. Chief among 
these were nibs, or grains, of the cacao, of a species 
somewhat different from that employed in making the 
favorite drink, chocolate. This money, known as pat- 

^ 'Tey;it)jaUiiloaiii. ol ({uc ccrcu a loss euciiiitjos.' Mulina, Vurabulano. 




hu'hfi^, passed current ftny\vlu;ro, and pavnicnts of it 
wort! made l>y toiint up to ui«^ht thouHand, whidi con- 
stituted a ju'tjiiljtilli In larjj^e transactions sarks 
containinj^ three xirpiipilli were used to save lal)or in 
countiiijjf. J'<if(thjn(h/it/i were small pieces of cotton 
cloth used as money in the purchase of articles of iiu- 
me<liate necessity or of little value. Another circn- 
latin<^ medium was j^old-dust kept in translucent 
«juills, that the <piantity mij^dit be readily seen. ( '( »ii- 
j)er was also cut into small pieces shaped like a | , 
which constituted perhaps the nearest aj)proacli to 
coined money. Cortes, in search of materials foi- tlio 
manufacture of artillery, fouiul that in several prov- 
inci'S pieces of tin circulated as money, and that a 
mine of that metal was worked in Taxco. Sahai,qm 
says the Mexican kinjif gave to the merchant-soldiers, 
disj>atc]ied on one of their politico-commercial expedi- 
tions, sixteen hundred quauhtli, or eagles, to trade 
with. Bustamante, Sahagun's editor, su])[)oses tluso 
to have been the cop})er pieces already mentioned, Imt 
Brasseur believes, from the suudl value of the cojipcr 
and the large amount of rich fabrics purchased with 
the eagles, that they were of gold. The same au- 
thority believes that the golden quoits with wliitli 
Montezuma paid his losses at gambling also served us 

Tile Nahuas bought and sold their merchandise by 
count and by measures both of length and ca})acity, 
but not by weight; at lepst, such is the ge.\eral o]iin- 

* TlicToltccs 'usftbandeunaoin vmonedaclecnhrcdc largo dcdosdcdds 
y do aiicl»() uno A innncra deaehihu ^qiiefias, y de griieso, coiiui iiii ri-al ili; 
A iK'lin. Ksta muiieda no lia iinicli' 'ciiipu que la lian dcjado Ins t\e I'miii- 
I)e<! del mar del siir.' Ixftihor/u'ff, RilacioHCS, in Kin(fsl)ofoii(//i'.i M'.i: 
Aiifii/., vol. ix., ]). .'{.32. 'No salton ,ie co^Mls ca inoneda batida tie im'l;il 
nitijiimo.' (ionuira, ('o)iq. Mm., fol. , 342. The cacao nibs ' val ciasciiiiK 
come vn me/zo niarclietto (abont tlire cents) fra uoi.' Rclatiouffottu jur ni 
ffnitiriuKiitib del Siffiior Frrixindo ( rfcse, in licnmisio, Naritfntioni, torn. 
iii., fnl. .SOG. See CorUs, Cnrtas, p. 311; SahfKjnn, Hist. Gen., tom. ii., lil'. 
ix., 1). .34'2; lirnsseiir de linurboiirq. Hist. Nat. Civ., tom. iii., pp. <'"-""; 
/(/. Qiiafre Lettrcs, p. 27<>; ClnHgero, Storin Ant. del Messieo, tom. ii, I'- 
()(!(}. Salt used as money. Chaves, in Ternnux-Compans, Vvy., S(''rif ii., 
tom. v., p. 328. I omit a long list of references to authors who merely 
mention cacuo uud the other urticlvii u» ubc-d fur money. 



Ion <>r the nutluiritii'S. Saluij,nni, lioWL'Vor, says of the 
skillful iMorclmnt that lie knows "tlu; value of uoUl 
;i)i<l silver, accordinj^- to the weiijrlit and finemss, is 
(liliut'iit and solicitous in Ins duty, and defrauds not in 
\vrii;hin<j^, hut rather j^ives over\vei*(ht," and this too 
ill the "time of tlieir infidelity." Native words also 
;i|)jtLar in several vocahularies for weij^hts and scales. 
Ihasscur de Bourhourj; re«>^ards this as anijile proof 
that scales were used. ('lavi«iccro thinks »»ei_niits may 
liiivi' heen employed and mention of the fact omitted 
in the narratives." The market, funnjiiiztli, of 'I'late- 
liilco \va.s the jjfrandest in the country and may he 
taken as a representative of all. Its ^raruleur con- 
sisted, however, in the abundance and variety of the 
iiicrchandise offered for sale and in the crowd of huy- 
cis and sellers, not in the maj^nificence of the huildinnj^s 
coiiiiected with it; for the market-place was simply an 
ojicn ])l}iza, surnmnded as all the authorities say with 
'[lurticoes' where merchandise was exhihited. What 
tlu su })orticoes were we are left to conjecture. Proh- 
altly they were nothinjjf more than simple hootlis 
anaiined in streets and coverinj^ the whole plaza, 
wliciv merchants and their wares were sheltered I'rom 
the lays of a tropical sun. Whatever may have heen 
till- nature and arranirement of these shelters, we know^ 
that the space was systematically apportioned anionic 
the <lirt'erent industries represented. Fishermen, hunt- 
ers, farmers, and artists, each had their allotted s[)ace 
for tlie transaction of business. Hither, as Tonpie- 
iiiada tells us, came the jiotters and jewelers from 
C holula, the workers in gold from Azcai)uzalco, the 
l>aiiiters from Tezcuco, the shoe-makers from Tenayo- 
• aii, the huntsmen from Xilotej)ec, the fishermen from 
C'uitlahuac, the fruit-growers of the tierra caliente, the 

5 'X(i tcnian peso (que yo sepn) los Mcxicanos, fulta f^randissinia jmra 
111 contnitacidii. l^uieii tlize que no lo vMiiiaii itoresciisar low en;,'afi<>M, qiiicii 
I"ir (|iin no lo auiiin nienester, quien por ipioranc-ia, que es lo tierto. I'or 
iliMiili- paret'C que no auian oido couio liizo DioH totios la8 coHtis eii cueuto, 
peso, y nietliiia.' Gnmnra, t'ouq. Mvx., fol. .34'2; Cluriacro, Storid Ant. (/el 
i!i.s.iin,, torn, ii., p. 100; Sfthnifun, Hist. Gen., toni. iii., lib. x., pp. 42, 40; 
Jirunmiir Ue Bourhourg, Hist. Aat. Civ., torn, iii., pp. 02tf-30. 



mat-makers of Quauhtitlan, tlie flower-dealers of Xo- 
rhimilco, and yet so ji^reat was the market that to eadi 
nf these was afforded an opportunity to display liis 

All kinds of food, animal and vegetable, cooked and 
uncooked, were arranged in the most attractive man- 
ner; eating-houses were also attached to the tian- 
(juiztli and much patronized by the poorer classes. 
!iere were to be found all the native cloths and fal)- 
rics, in the piece and made up into garments coarse 
and fine, plain and elaborately embroidered, to suit tlie 
taste and means of purchasers; precious stones, and 
ornaments of metal, feathers, or shells- implements 
and weapons of metal, stone, and wood; building ma- 
terial, lime, stone, wood, and brick; articles of house- 
hold furniture; matting of various degrees of fineness; 
medicinal herbs and prepared medicines; wood and 
coal ; incense and censers; cotton u-.J cochineal; tanned 
skins ; numerous beverages ; and an infinite variety ef 
pottery; but to enumerate all the articles noticed in 
the market-place l>y the conquerors would make a very 
long list, and would involve, beside, the repetition of 
many names which have been or will be mentit)ned 

Cortes speaks of this market as being twice as largi^ 
as that of Salamanca, and all the conquistadores are en- 
thusiastic in their expressions of wonder not only at 
the variety of products offered for sale, but at the jter- 
fect order and system which jjrevailed, notwithstand- 
ing the crowd of buyers and sellers. The judges o\' 
the commercial tribunal, twelve in number according" 
to Torquemada, four, according to Zuazo, held their 
couit in connection with the market buildings, where 
they regulated prices and measures, and settled dis- 
putes. Watchmen acting under their authority, con- 
stantly patrol ed the tianipiiztli to [)revent disordei'. 
Any attempt at extortionate charges, or at i)as^;ing nW 
injured or inferior goods, or any infringement on anuth- 
ir's rights W'^sinnnediately reported and severely pun- 



Uhed. The judges had even the right to enforce the 
death penalty. Other markets in the Nahua regions 
were on a similar plan, those of Tlascala and Tezcuco 
coming next to that of Tlatelulco in importance.® 

Trade was carried on daily in the tiancjuiztli, chiefly 
for the convenience of the inhabitants of the city, but 
every fifth day was set apart as a special market-day, 
on which a fair was held, crowded not only by local 
customers, but by buyers and sellers from all the 
country round, and from foreign lands. In Tlatelulco 
these special market-dr„ys were those that fell under 
the signs calli, tochtli, acatl, and tecpatl. In other 
large cities, days with other signs were chosen, in 
order that the fairs might not occur on the same day 
ill neighboring towns. Las Casas says that each of 
the two market-places in the city of Mexico would 
contain 200,000 persons, 100,000 being j)resent each 
fifth day; a,nd Cortes tells us that more than 60,000 
ijersons assemlled dailv in the Tlatelulco market. 
According to the same authority 30,000 was the 
number of daily visitors to the market of Tlascala. 
rer]iaj)s, however, he refers to the fair-days, on which 
occasion at Tlatelulco, the Anonymous Contjueror })uts 
the number at 50,000 limiting the daily concourse to 
uhoiit 25,000.^ Considering the population of the 
cities and surrounding country, together with the 
limited facilities for transportation, these accounts of 
the daily attendance at the ujurkets, as al'jo of the 
ahundance and variety of the merchandise, need not 
he regarded as exaggerations. 

* On the Nalinn nmrki-ts niul tlio articles oH'onMl for sale, spo: Car/es, 
Ciir/iiM, pp. (18, l()S-r»; Ikiiml Ihuz, Ulsf. C<nit>., fol. 70; RiIhUihiv ftilta 
]iir I'll ijnitil ItiKiiim (Id Sii/iior t'iriKiiiiln t'ltrlisr, in Jimini.sii), Xariifn- 
ti'iiii, turn, iii., fol. 301); Sa/ifit/iin, Hist. (u-h.. toiii. ii., lilt, viii., pp. ;{_';j-5, 
lili. i\., ji. ;{.')7; Lxs Cii.ias, Hist, A/io/fii^t/irfi, MS., cai). l.\x; '/'ori/iitiiKit/ti, 
Miiiiiirij. fill/., loni. ii., pj). r)r)4-(iO; Oriiifn, Hist, (liii., toni. iii., pp. 'J72, 
•J'.t;i-:iiil; (Ionium, CoiKj. Mix., fol. 87 8, IKi-lS; llrnrm, Ifist. Uiii., (Ice. 
ii., Iil>. vii., cap. xv., xvi.; I'ctir Miirtijf, dec. v., lili. iii., iv. ; Xiin:it, 
Ciir/ii, ill Ifiizlin/irtd, Vol. ilr Dor., (oni. i., jip. .'i.'ilMil. 

'I'lirli's, Citrtds, ]ip. ion, <iS; Ililntioii' fidlii jiir ni fimtiVhiioiiio drl 
Si'iiiiir ['iriiiniilo Cor/, iu liiiiiiiisio, Xiiriifntiinii, toin. iii., fol. .'{0!) 'Ms 
liiiita la licnlo (|no poncurro li vemU'r y coniprar, <(ue no pucilo facilnicntu 
ili'claratsc' Cii.mdi, Hint. Ajiuhaclica, MS., cai) Ixx. 
Vol.. II. 26 



On the lakes about the city of Mexico merchandise 
of all kinds was transported to and from the markets 
by boats, 50,000 of which, as Ziiazo tells us, weru 
employed daily in bringing provisions to the city •* 
The heavier or more bulky articles of trade, such as 
building material, were often offered for sale in tlie 
boats to save the labor of repeated handling. Boats 
were also used for transportation on the southern 
coasts, to some extent on navigable rivers, and also 
by traveling merchants in crossing such streams as 
could not conveniently be bridged. The only other 
means of transportation known in the country was 
that afforded by the carriers. Large numbers of these 
carriers, or porters, were in attendance at the markets 
to move goods to and from the boats, or to carry par- 
cels to the houses of consumers. For transportation 
from town to town, or to distant lands, merchandise 
was packed in bales, wrapped in skins and mats, or in 
bamboo cases covered with skin, known as jx'tlacnUi 
Cases, or cages, for the transportation of the more 
fragile wares were called cacnxtH. The t lama ma, or 
regular carriers, were trained to their work of carrying 
burdens from childhood, seventy or eighty pounds was 
the usual burden carried, placed on the back and sup- 
ported by the mecapaUi, a strap passing round the ibie- 
head : twelve or fifteen miles was the oidinarv dav s 
journey. The tlamama, clad in a inaxtli, carried on 
long trips, })esides his bale of mercliandise, a sort of" 
palm-leaf umbrella, a bag of provision;-, and a blanket. 

Expeditions to distant provinces were undertaken 
by the company of Tlatelulco for purposes of com- 
mercial gain; or by order of the king, when political 
gains were the object in view, and the traders in 
reality armed soldiers; or more rarely by individual 
merdiants on their own private account. For j)ro- 
tection large numbers usually traveled in company, 

« Carta, in Irnzhuhria, Col. dr Dor., torn, i., p. .S.')9. 'Sobre fiiii'iieiilii 
mill ciiiioaM v rioiit mill se};tiii ho rreo.' Iai.i (.'n.sns, Ifisf. A/iD/ut/r/ini, MS., 
rap. Ixx. ''riie hike day aixl iii;;ht is plyt'd with boutes going and return- 
ing.' I'ckr Martyr, dec. v., lib. iii. 



clioosing some one of the company to act as loader. 
Previous to duparturo they gave a banquet to the t)ld 
merchants of the town, who by reason of their age 
liad ceased to travel ; at this feast they made known 
their plans, and spoke of the places they intended to 
visit and roads by which they would travel. The old 
merchants applauded the spirit and enterjnxse of 
tliose who were going on the expedition, and, if tliey 
were young and inexperienced, encouraged tlieni 
and spoke of the fame they would gain for having 
left their homes to undertake a dangerous journey and 
suffer privations and hardsliips. They reminded theni 
of the wealth and honored name acquired by their 
fathers in similar expeditions, and gave them advice 
as to the best manner of conducting themselves on 
the road." 

On the route the carriers marched in single file, and 
at every camping-place tlie strictest watch was kept 
against enemies, and especially against robbers, who 
thcu as now infested the dangerous passes to lie in 
wait for the richly laden caravans. Rulers of the 
(Htferent friendly provinces, mindful of the benefits 
resulting from such expeditions, constructed roads and 
kept them in repair; furnished bridges or boats for 
crossing unfordable streams; and at certain points, 
remote from towns, placed houses for the travelers' 
aciMjunnodation. Ex})editions in hostile jtrovinces 
were undertaken by the nahualoztomecas, who dis- 
guised themselves in tlie dress of the })rovince visited, 
and endeavored to imitate the manners and to speak 
the language of its i)eople, with wliieh it was a (piali- 
tication of tlieir profession to make themselves ac- 
(juaiiited. Extraordinary pains was taken to guaid 
against robbers on the return to ^texico, and it is also 
said to have been customary for the merchants on 
Hearing the city, to dress in rags, affecting poverty, 

^ For sperinicna of the exliortatioiis of oM inerclmnts to young men sec 
S'l/iiniiiii, Hist, (fill., (oni. i., lib. iv., jip. 310-314; Torqueiniida, Moiianj. 
J nil., toni. ii., pp. 585-4). 




and an unsuccessful trip. The motiv'e for this latter 
j)roceeding is not very apparent, nor for the invariultle 
introduction of goods into the city by night; tluy 
had not even tlie hope of evading the payment of 
taxes which in later times prompts men to similar 
conduct, since merchandise could only he sold in tliu 
j)ublic market, where it could not be offered without 
paying the royal percentage of duties. 

The usual route of commercial expeditions was 
south-eastward to Tochtepec near the banks of tlie 
Rio Alvarado, whence the caravans took separate 
roads according^ as their destination was the coast re- 
gion of Goazacoalco, the Miztec and Zapotec towns 
Oil the Pacific, or the still more distant regions across 
the isthmus of Tehuantepec. Tlie southern limit 
reached by the traders of the Aztec em})ire, it is im- 
possible accurately to determine. The merchants ot" 
Xicalanco furnished Cortes, w^ien about to undertake 
the conquest of Honduras, tolerably correct maps of 
the whole rejjfion as far south as the isthmus of Pa- 
nama;^" the raiders from Anahuac are known to have 
penetrated to Chiapa, Soconusco, and Guatemala; it 
is by no means improbable that her merchants reached 
on more than one occasion the Isthmus." 

The })receding pages contain all that has been pre- 
served concerning Nahua trade and traders except 
what may be termed the mythology of commerce, a 
branch of the subject not without importance, cm- 
bracing the ceremonies, sacrifices, and superstitions 
connected with the setting-out, journey, and return of 
the Tlatelulcan caravans. Conunerce, like every other 

10 ffrrrrrn, ITi.if. Gen., dec. iii., lib. vi., cap. xii.; Bcrnal Din:, Hint. 
Com/., fol. l'.)7. 

'' .\ very full acponnt of the Nahiia oitnunerce is {^ivoii in Cfnn'i/rrn, 
S'tiriti A)it'. del Mrssirn, torn, ii., ]»|>. lO.'J-TO, and the same is traiisiiit<ci 
witli slji^lit ehaii<j;eM, in t'<irli<ij<d KsjtiiioHti, Hist. Mi:k., toni. i., pp. (!'2S :!."). 
ill llr/is.sriir ifc lii)iirhourij, itisf. Xaf. Civ., Utu\. iii., pp. r»l'2-.3'2, anil in A' . 
in Xoiirr/li'.s Aiiii'ifr.s (ii:i ]'oi/., 18.")8, toni. cli.N., ])]>. 4.")-r>8. See also //'//- v' 
Sjinii. Conii., vol. 'i., pp. .'V2!) 31; (r'tiijr\'< Xrir Siirrrif, pp. 10!(-1'J; Miilir, 
A Crrrfi</i<iiirii, p. ty4\; KfniiDi, Ciiftiir-Cis<-hirhlr, toni. \'., 
jt)). •J'j-S; ]\'i:if-fin/' S/>if(//irf, jip. 247-8; liii.s.sirrir, l.'Kiniiiri' Mi.f., 
pp. ICG-Tl; Toiiru/i, Hint. Ucit., toiii. iii., pp. 43-1). Sec altio Nutc 1-. 





ixrial »k' 
; they 
lent of 
in the 

IS was 
of the 
)ast re- 
! towns 
i aeross 
n limit 
t U ini- 
lants of 
naps of 
of Pa- 
to have 
lala; it 

|en prc- 


lieree, a 

['0, eni- 


ituin of 

[y other 



Ip. (WS-:i.'), 
Iiid in /'' . 
lilso ll'h-^' 

\; Miill'i; 
tmu. v., 
■//•(• ,)/<.(•., 
Ve 1.2. 

feature of Nahua civilization, was under the care of a 
special deity, and no niercliant dared to set out on an 
expedition in quest of gain, without fully complying 
with all the requirements of the god as interpreted 
hy the priesthood. The particular divinity of the 
traders was lyacatecutli, or lyacacoliuhqui, 'lord with 
the aquiline nose' — that nasal type being, as the Abbe 
Brasseur thinks, symbolic of mercantile cunning and 
skill. Services in his honor were held regularly in the 
month of Tlaxochimaco ; but the ceremonies performed 
by traveling merchants, seem to have been mostly de- 
voted to the god of fire and the god of the roads. 

First a day was selected for the start whose sign 
was deemed favorable — Ce Cohuatl, 'one serj)ent,' 
was a favorite. The day before they departed the 
hair was cropped close, and the head soaped; during 
all their absence, even should it last for years, these 
operations must not be repeated, nor might they wasli 
more than the neck, face, and hands, bathing the body 
being strictly prohibited. At midnight they cut Hag- 
shaped papers for Xiuhtecutli, the god of fire, fastened 
them to sticks painted with vermilion, and marked on 
them the face of the god with drops of melted ulll, 
or India-rubber. Other papers also marked with ulli, 
were cut in honor of Tlaltecutli, to be worn on the 
breast. Others, for the god of the merchants, were 
used to cover a bamboo stick, which they worshi})ed 
and carried with them. The gods of the roads, Za- 
catzontli and Tlacotzontli, also had their papers orna- 
mented with uUi-drops and painted butterflies; while 
the papers for Cecoatlutlimelaoatl, one of the signs 
of tlie divining art, were decorated with snake-like 
tigures. When all the papers were ready, those of the 
fire-god were placed before the fire in the house, the 
others being arranged in systematic order in the court- 
yard. Then the merchants, standing before the fire, 
offered to it some quails which they first beheaded, 
and forthwith, drawing blood from their own ears and 
tongue, they repeated some mystic word and sprinkled 



the l)lood four timos on the fire. Blood was tlion 
sprinkled in turn on the papers in die house, towards 
the heavens and cardinal points, and finally on tlii' 
])apers in the courtyard. The fire-god's papers, afttr 
a few appropriate words to the deity, were hurned in 
a brasier with pure white copal. If they burned with 
a clear flame, it was a good omen; otherwise ill for- 
tune and disaster were betokened. The papers Itt't 
outside were burned tooether — save those of the nier- 
chants' god — in a fire which was kindled in the court, 
and the ashes were carefully buried there. 

All this at midnight. At early dawn the princij)al 
merchants of the city or of the neighborhood, or 
simply friends and relatives of the party about to set 
out on the journey, according to the wealth of the 
j)arty, with youths and old women, were invited to 
assemble and, after a washing of mouths and han«ls, 
to partake of food. After the repast, concluded l)y 
another washing and by smoking of pipes and drink- 
ing of chocolate, the host spoke a few words of wel- 
come to the guests, and explained his plans. To this 
some one of the chief merchants briefly responded 
with wishes for the success of the expedition, { ivicu 
respecting the route to be followed and behavior while 
abroad, applause for the si)irit and enterprise shown, 
ntid words of encouragement tt) those about to under- 
take their first commercial journey, picturing to them 
iu vivid colors both the hardships and the honors that 
were before them. Then the merchandise and pro- 
visions for the trijT were made ready in bales and 
placed in the canoes, if the start was to be made by 
water, under the direction of the leader who, after 
attending to this matter, made a farewell address of 
thanl.s for advice and good wislies, recommending to 
the care of those that remained behind their wives 
and children. The friends .again replied briefly and 
•ill wa^ ready for the departure. A fire was built in 
t!u courtyard and a vase of copal was placed near it. 
As a final parting ceremony each of the departing 




merchants took a portion of the copal and threw it 
on the fire, stepping at once toward his canoe. Not 
iinother word of farewell must be spoken, nor a part- 
iiiLT Cflance be directed backward to friends behind. 
To look back or speak would be a most unpropitious 

Thus they set out, generally at night, as Sahagun 
implies. On the journey each merchant carried con- 
tinually in his hand a smooth black stick representing 
his god I yacatecutli— probably the same sticks that 
have been mentioned as being covered with papers in 
honor of this god the night before the departure from 
liome. When they halted for the night the sticks of 
the company were bound together in a bundle, form- 
ing a kind of combination divinity to wliose j)rotect- 
iiig care the encampment was piously entrusted. To 
this god offerings of ulli and paper were made by the 
leaders, and to the gods of the roads as well. Blood 
must also be drawn and mingled with the offering, 
else it were of no avail; and, a most inconvenient rule 
for poor weak humanity, the sacrificial offering had to 
he re[)eated twice again each night, so that one or 
iinother of the chiefs must be continually on the watch. 
The caravans, when their destination was a friendly 
province, usually bore some presents from the sov- 
ereigns of Mexico as tokens of their good will, anil 
they were received by the authorities of such })rov- 
inces with some public ceremonies n<jt definitely de- 

When the merchants returned home, after consulta- 
tion with a tonalpoaliqu't, they awaited a favoraV)le sign, 
such as Ce Calli, or Chicome Calli, 'one, or seven house,' 
and then entered the city under shade of night. 
They repaired immediately to the house of the lead- 
ing merchant of the corporation, or to that of tlie 
merchant under whose direction their trip had been 
made, formally announcing their safe arrival, and also 
their intention to invite all the merchants on the fol- 
lowing day to partake of "a little chocolate in their 





\i :>i 


poor house," that is, to bo present at a most sumptu- 
ous banquet. Papers were then cut and at midnij^lit 
offered with ulH, much after the manner already de- 
scril)ed, to the gods as a thank-offering for their j)r()- 
tection. The feast that took place next day, when all 
the guests were assembled, was accompanied by addi- 
tional offerings to the gods of fire and trade, and, of 
course, by speeches of the returned travelers and their 
guests, but presented no particularly noticeable con- 
trasts with the many feasts that have been described. 

Not only was the traveler obliged, according to the 
Nahua superstition, to abstain from baths during his 
absence, but even his family during the same period, 
while allowed to bathe the body, nmst not wash the 
head or face oftener than once in eighty days; thus 
were the gods propitiated to watch kindly over theii* 
absent relative wandering in distant lands. If a mer- 
chant died while on a journey, his body, at least if 
he belonged to the highest rank, was neither buried 
nor burned, but, clad in fine apparel, and decorated 
with certain mystical papers and painted devices, it 
was put in a wooden cage, or cacaxtli, and secured to 
a tree on the top of a high mountain. Advice of tlio 
death was forwarded to the old merchants, who in 
turn informed the family of the deceased, and regu- 
lar funeral ceremonies were performed either immedi- 
ately or on the return of the caravan. If the deceased 
met his death at the hands of an enemy, a wooden 
image was prepared, dressed in the clothing of the 
dead merchant, and made the subject of the usual 
funeral rites. 

Besides the regular feasts attending the departure 
and return of caravans, many others took place under 
the auspices of the mercantile class. We have noticed 
the fondness of the Nahua people for entertainments 
of this kind, and it is natural that the merchants, as 
the richest class in the community, should have been 
foremost ii contributing to this popular taste. Each 
merchant, when he had acquired great wealth by 

I kit. 



ffood fortune in his trading ventures, deemed it, as 
Sahaijfun tells us, a most disj^raceful thinjr "to die 
without having made some splendid expenditure" by 
entertaining his friends and fellow-merchants in a 
hanquet, which should be remembered as the event 
of Jiis career. A lonjjf time was devoted to making 
roiuly for the feast, to the purcliase of provisions and 
decorations, and to engajjinuf dancers and siny^crs, that 
no item might be neglected, nor any oversight be 
allowed to mar the perfect enjoyment of the invited 
^•iiests. All being ready, a propitious sign was se- 
lected, and invitations issued. The object of the dis- 
play of hospitality being not only the entertainment 
of friends, but a thanksgiving to the gods for favors 
shown to the host, the first ceremonies were naturally 
in honor of the deities. These bejjan in the night 
preceding the feast-day, with offerings of flowers in 
the shrine of Huitzilopochtli, in the chapels of other 
gods, and finally in the courtyard of the host, where 
wore placed drums and two plates, on which perfumed 
canes were burning. Those officiating whistled in a 
peculiar manner, and all, stooping, put some earth m 
their mouth, crying "our lord has sounded." Then 
all burned perfumed copal, and a priest beheaded a 
quail before the drum, throwing it on the ground and 
watching in what direction it mijjht flutter. If north- 
ward, it was a bad omen, foretelling sickness, or per- 
haps death. But the west and south were fortunate 
directions, indicating a peaceful and friendly disposi- 
tion on the part of the gods. Jncense was burned 
toward the cardinal points, the burning coals were 
thrown from the censer into the fire, and then the 
jjerformers engaged for the areito, including, it would 
seein, soldiers of several classes, led by the tlacatecatl, 
began to dance and sing. Neither the host nor mer- 
chant guests joined in the dance, but remained in the 
house to receive the company and present them with 
bouquets of flowers. At midnight ulli-marked paper 
was offered to the gods, and its ashes buried to pro- 




<■! 1.:! 

I' i<iS'^^'' :ii!' 



mote the prosperity of future generations. Before 
the lit^lit of day cliocolate was drunk and tlie laUKtcdtl, 
or intoxicatinj^ mushroom, was eaten, which caused 
some to dance, others to sing, and yet others to sit j>en- 
sive in their rooms dreaming drctams and seeing visions 
of horrid import, whose narration at a hiter hour, when 
the effects of the drug had passed away, formed a 
prominent feature of the entertainment. At the aj)- 
pearance of the morning star all the ashes of tlie 
sacrifices, the flowers, the burning canes, and all the 
implements used in the foregoing ceremonies, were 
huried, that they might not be seen by any visitor 
j>olluted by any kind of vice or uncleanness. Tlie 
rising sun was greeted with songs, dancing, and heut- 
ing of the tei>onaztli. The day was passed in feust- 
ing and music, and at the close of the day's bancpiet 
food was distributed to the common people. The 
lianquet was often continued more than one day, and 
if after the first day's feast the provision of food was 
exhausted, it was regarded by the guests as a bad 
sign — a very sensible superstition truly. 

There was another merchant's feast in the month of 
Panquetzaliztli, in which a number of slaves were killed 
and eaten. The victims were purchased sometime he- 
forehand at the slave mart in Azcapuzalco, kept clean, 
— being therefore called tlaaltilzin, 'washed' — and fat- 
tened for the occasion. The male slaves meantime 
had no work but to dance daily on the housetop, hut 
the women had to spin. The articles collected for 
this feast embraced large numbers of rich mantles, 
maxtlis, and huipiles, which were to be presented t<t 
guests. Not only the residents of Mexico were in- 
vited but members of the Tlatelulcan company wlm 
lived in other towns. The giver of the feast went 
]>ersonally to many towns, especially to Toch tepee, to 
issue invitations and distribute gifts. On his arrival 
he went first to the shrine of lyacatecutli, before whose 
ima^e he performed certain ceremonies and left some 
offerings. Then he went to the house of the Tlate- 


I /'c, of the. l,e«t sneakers K'" "'™"'"-' '""■"■-'1 

"f tl' visitor tok 1 a 1„ ' '"""'}"";^<i tl.o ,,„„„,,,; 

- i;.-..'*"t ,.t the ,,le„s"" , «/:: ""■• r'"'"'"^ '" 
'!'« "" flesh and ether d nl •' "'!'' '""■'•'''"^ "I' 
T-aker responde^d in a s Xh '? '"l"^"- ^^""^''"■ 
'«;ft-gn-er directed In's ^Z ' 1 '"'''•l"","™' ""J ".>-■ 
- te,- resting awinle the Xc .' "t''?"''' '" ^l'^^''"- 
^'twl those of ],is own <-ilJ i ^'uroinoi,,,, |y ;„. 

:""' "- latter, aftj 'n.Irf- tee.,''r™'.''' "-' •^™ • 
".;i-t,o„ hy the oldcT^eh '''';""' ""■'"''"'^' »» 
"■l^es that food enoind, 1,11 *" •""""'y tl'wi.- 

• '-; "ffi.i.- could not % a 1 i":',' T""''"'' «>'d «."t 
;|l l."..J,'h they ,va,-ned the wo. ' i'^'^'^ '» "'''^''Pt. 
!"' .osponsihility he woiddTn" ." '",'f "*^ "«■ f™'- 

X..ol.itI, and' O^'clrtlf r:^!'- ,^'« Calli; ol; 
'^'''«t. *''"' ^^t,ie ^ood signs for tJiis 

'-"!^^'ztt:z:!':S'rfy ««-> -d 

""■y...- 2ra,-Ia„ds of flower", ,i I ^ "'■""" ""^ "■■'-■it". 

;." "!"Hiiy .-ich attirc^C in?'," f ""^ '■•■■"'•■■'-. 

;""l '" »"e of the roonrwh, "' ","'' l''""ty o f 

""""■ The eatin,. d" kin ,"' ■ ""''^ 'oadily see 

"-■« koi't «p all';, ;,' """I, ,;"" ; '«t,;ilH,tio„ ofl,i,i 

;;•■'■;■•' repetitfon of thofirst . ,d t' '""■'''-, ''j'y's least 
"'■" '>f the third day was edhd 7T 'f "' ""<■""■■'■!": 

m,ng on wigs of n,a>,y 5,k ed^r 'I'"'' "*^ '.''o ■^'^"■-^. 
"•'PN stone "ose-ornanfents i;i. r''"' ''■•''"'«<' oa.- 



i M 

:.H i 

ca.rfli, on the arinn, stained Handals, and girdles callrd 
irinhf/afpilll. From tliis tinio forward ntrii-t <,niard was 
kojit over tliein day and nij,dit until tlieir death. 

On yet a fourth occasion, apparently some days, cir 
perhaps weeks, later, the merchant asseml)led liis 
quests, and then just before sunset the victims were 
made drunk with trnvctii, and carried to Huitzilu- 
juH'htli's temjde, wliere they were made to dance and 
sinuf, and kej)t awake all night. At midnitiht thiy 
were placed on a mat before the fire, and the mastir 
of the bancjuet, dressed nmch like the slaves them- 
selves, put out the fire, and in the darkness «^ave to 
each four mouthfuls of a doujjfh moistened witli hoiicv, 
called tzoalli. Then a man dancing before thoiii 
])layed upon an instrument called chichfH, hairs were 
j)ulled out of the top of each slave's head and j)ut in 
a plate, qmtcaxiti, held by the dancer, and the master 
threw incense toward the east, west, north, and south. 
Tlie slaves were oftered food, but could not be in- 
duced to eat, expecting each moment the mt'ss«;iigc'r 
of deatli. They were first taken to the ward of Co- 
atlan, and in the courtyard of the teni})le of Huitz- 
calco were forced to fight against certain j)ersons, tlio 
most valiant of whom were called tktamaviqucs. It' 
by force of arms these persons captured any of tlio 
slaves, they were entitled to receive their full value 
from the owner, or in default of such payment to 
take the bodies after the sacrifice and eat the same. 
After the contest the victimis vvcrc sacrificed on tho 
shrine of Huitzilopochtli, the cora'/licated details of 
the ceremonies which followed aiffering only very 
slightly from those of similar sacrifices already several 
times described. The bodies were thrown down tlie 
steps as usual, carried home by the owner, cooked 
with maize, seasoned with salt without chile, and 
were finally eaten by the guests. With this horriI)le 
repast the great feast of the month of Panquetzaliztli 
ended; but he who had given it carefully jjreserved 
the clothing, and other relics of the slaughtered slaves. 



;^U!inlin<^ thoni in n luiskot as most jn'trious and j)k'as- 
aiit souvoiiirs all tlio tlavs of Ins lilb: and al'ttr liis 
(If.itli the basket and its contents were l)urned at his 

Acosta tells us that in Cholula the nierohants, es- 
jitciMlly tliose that dealt in slaves, furnislicd each year 
ii slave of tine |)hysi(jue to refU'esent tlu'ir i^od Quet- 
zalcoatl, in whose lunior he was sacrificed, with appro- 
jiiiate and complicated ceremonies, his Hesh beiny; 
afterwards eaten in a bancjiiet." 

Tlie little to be said of Nahua watorcraft may be 
as appropriately inserted luie as elsewhere. I have 
already referred to the important use made of canoes 
in the transportation of mercliandise upon the lakes 
(if Aiuliuuic. In the art of navioation, however, no 
jiroi^ress was made by the Nahuas at all in projmrtion 
to their advr'icement in other respects. As navi- 
gators they were altogether inferior to their savage 
lircthrcn of the Cokunbian and Hyperborean grouj>s 
on the north-west coasts, whose skill in tlie manu- 
facture and management of boats has been described 
ill a preceding volume of this work. Tlic reason is 
tiltvioiis: tiieir progress in agriculture enabled tliem 
to obtain a food supply without risking their lives 
habitually on the sea; their suimy clime obviated tlie 
necessity of wlude-blubber and seal-skins. In tlie 
culler stages of civilization men make ])rooress oidv 
Aviieu impelled by some actual necessity; consiMpiently 
among the Nahuas, when means were su}>plied of 
< Tossing streams, and of transporting goods on the 
lakes and for short distances along tlie coast at the 
niouth of larofe river.^, iiroufress in this direction ceased. 

Clavigero's investigations led him to believe that 
tlie use of sails was unknown, and although Brasseur 

'-On iiu'rcli.ints' feasts, cereiiionios, ami siiiu'r.stitioiiH, st'i- S(i/iii;/iin, 
Hist. (Ini., toiii. ii., lih. ix., jij). 3;i.^>-S(), toin. i., lih. iv., jip. .'U(f-I."); 
Arii.sfii, Hist, (/f /it.s Yiiil., i»p. SSH-lhJ; TorqiiiDiiii/i', Mondri/. liia.. toiii. ii., 
li|i, .'iS.V;, See also account of ii feast of IIo\vcr-ili ;ilcrs in tills voliiiiic, y. 
"il"', iii-'i account of tile Cliolultcc feast in hunuruf Ciuctzulcoatl, in vol. iii., 
\>\h L'SC-T of this work. 



de Bourbourg in one place speaks of such aids to nav- 
igation, yet he gives no authority for his statement."' 

Rafts and * dug-out' canoes were the vessels em- 
ployed; the former were used for the most part in 
crossing streams and were of various material and 
construction. Those of the ruder kind were simply a 
number of poles tied together with strings." Thonu 
called by the Spaniards balsas were of superior con- 
struction, made of otlatl reeds, or tides, and rushes of 
different kinds in bundles. The best balsas were 
about five feet square, made of bamboos and supported 
by hollow gourds closed by a water and air tight cov- 
ering. The rafts were propelled by swimmers, one in 
front and another behind.^' 

The canoes — acalli, 'water-houses' among the Az- 
tecs, called also tahucup in Tabasco — were holloAved 
out from the trunk of a single tree, were generally 
flat-bottomed and without keel, somewhat narrower 
at the bow than at the stern as Las Casas says, and 
Avould carry from two to sixty persons. As to the in- 
struments employed in hollowing out and finish in«j^ 
the acalli we have no information, neither do we know 
whether fire was one of the agents made use of.^" 

" Clavif^oro's description of Naliua boats and navigation is in his Sinritt 
Ant. ilcl Mcssivo, toin. ii., pp. 1(58-1>. 'Lenrs barques, dont les i)his {.'ran- 
(les niesiii'iiient juc^u'ii .<oi.\un(e nieds de longueur, couvertes et aliritecs 
COD re le nuiuvnis temps, niarcliaient h. la voile et h la ranie," probably re- 
ferring to a boat met l\v Ct>luinbus sonic distance out at sea. Bruxsi'ur <k. 
JioiirlioHVfi, Hint. Nat. Cir., toni. iii., p. 632. 

'* Invented, according to tradition, by the Tarascosof Michoacan duriii;,' 
their early migrations. Camarqo, Hist. Tlax., in Nouvclks Anuidcs dis 
Vol/., 1843, tom. xcviii., i)p. 131-2. 

'^ 'Mettevansi a sedere in quosta niacchina qnattro, o sci pnssaggicri 
alia voha.' C/ariffcro, Sloria Ant. del Messico, tom. ii., j). lt!8. 'Ci'^ 
radeuux sont fort lugers et trfes-solides; ils sont encore en usage dans rAiiii'- 
riqiir, et iu>us avons pass6 ainsi idus d'unerivitre.' liraascttr dc ISoiirl/oiini, 
}I'.,f. Nat. dr., torn, ii., p. 295. 

'c C«.f(i.i, Hist. Afioluffvtica, MS., cap. Ixx. 'En cada vna caliiaii 
sescnta Hombres.' 2'orqvcmado, Moiiorq. Ind., tom. i., p. 4()0, aii<l //"• 
rrni, l/ Gen., dee. ii., lib. viii., cup. iv. 'The Canowes are litic Imrkcs, 
made of one tree.' Peter Mnrtyr, dec. iv., lib. iii. C&WcA Aeafes. Id., Aw. 
v., lib. ii. 'Estas acallis 6 barcas cada una es de una sola jtie/a, lic uu 
arbol tan grande y tan grucso como lo denuindu la longitud, y conforiiu' al 
anciio ([ue le pneden dar, que es de 'o grucso del Arbid tie que se lia<'cii, y 
para esto hay sus maestros como en Vizcaya los hay de navios.' Mutulinin, 
Jlisl. Jndios, in Icazbidcetu, Vol, de Doc, torn, i., p. 200. 



to nav- 
3ls em- 
part in 
al and 
imply a 
lor con- 
ishes of 
IS were 
yhi cov- 

3, one 111 

the Az- 


lays, and 
3 the in- 

■^ve know 

his Slorlii 

])l»is {rnm- 

let uhlittTs 

rolial)ly ic- 

iruKsriir ik 

dean (luring' 
lituahx (/'■>' 

litis. 'I'm 
Liis rAme- 

1,-na caliiiiii 

ami //'/•• 

Itlo Imiki's, 


jza, ill' ">' 

loiiforiiir al 

iiact'ii. y 


Tlie use of boats was not altogether confined to 
tiaffic, but extended to war and the transportation of 
tioops. Fierce conflicts on the waters of the lakes 
are recorded in the ancient annals of Andhuac; canoe 
Heets of armed natives came out to meet the Span- 
iards at various points along the coast ; and we read 
of the vain efforts to defend the approaches to the 
Aztec capital, by thousands of boats which could offer 
little resistance to the advance of Cortes' brigantines." 

These fleets, so inefficient against Si:)anish vessels 
and arms, must have been of great service to the Az- 
tecs ill maintaining their domination over the many 
towns on the lake shores. To increase the efficiency 
of boats and boatmen, races and sham fights Avere es- 
tablished, which, besides affording useful training t»j 
paddlers and warriors, furnished an additional means 
of entertainment to the people who gathered in crowds 
to watch the struggles of the competitois, ai>plaud 
the ducking of each vanquished boat's crew, and to 
reward the victors with honors and prizes 


'1^ 'Tho sides of the Iniliiin hoats were fortified with hulwarks.' Prrs- 
mtl's Mcx., vol. iii., p. 100; Berttal Diaz, Hist. Conq., fol. 140; Cortes, 
C(iii((s, \). 'ill. 

i* 'Spcsso s'esercitavano in <]uesto geiiere di comhattiineiiti.' Clnrixjrm, 
Stori/i A lit. del Mcssico, torn. ii. , p. 151; Wcst-Iiidische Spicijhrl, p. 251. 
•JOO.OIM) canoes on the lake about Mexico. Goiiiiim, Cum/. Mcj:, fol. Il">. 
Set; iilsti note 8 of this chanter. Additional notes on Nalina boats. 'Hal/ia 
CM Mexico nuichas acallis o barcas i)ara ^:<Jrvi<;io do las casa.s, y otras nin- 
clias (Ic tnitantes <iue venian con bastinien^os ;i la ciudiul, \ todos los pre- 
liiiis lie la redonda, qnc estan Uenos de barcas niw nunca ccsan de entrar y 
.silir ii la ciudud, las cuales eran innunierablci. '('on estas salen li la niiir, 
y Clin las },'randes de estas aciiilis navejjan de \ii\t) isia ii otnt, y se iitrevjn ii 
iitriivcsiir alyungolfo pequcno.' Mofotiiiia, Hint. Jiii/ins; in Imzlinlrifn, Co/. 
lie I)(j<\, tiini. i.. pp. 187, 200. 'Lo mas del tiiiin, v ciunino de los Indios, en 
iii|iiclla 'I'ierra, es por Agua, en Aeales, o Canoiis. Toriniemfn^d, Miiuarq. 
hid. tiiin. ii., p. 61.1; Hrrrera, Hist. Gcii., dec. ii., lib. viii., caj). iv.; 
Miiii/innis, Xicitwc Weerelil, p. 247; Carbnjnl JJ.f/iiinmi, Hist. Mf.c.,iuni. 
i., p. 033, torn, ii., p. 591; Kleinm, C ultur-Geschichte, toni. v., pp. "b-iS. 



Importance of the Military Profession— Indications of Rank— 
EnucATioN OF Warriors— Rewards for Valor— Militakv Or- 

AND THE Aztec Nokility— DrEo^ of the Common Soldiers— Ak- 
MOR AND Defensive Weapons— Offensive Weapons— St am )A1!I).s 
— Ambassadors and Couriers — Fortifications — The Military 
Council— Arttcles of War— Declaration of War— Si-ies— Or- 
der OK March and Battle— War Customs of the Tlascvltkcs 
and Taras( OS— Return of the Conquering Army— Celeuka- 
tion of Feats of Arms. 

As might be expected from a people so warlike ami 
ambitious as tne Naliuas, the profession of arms 
ranked hioh above all other callings, save that of the 
priests. This was especially th' case in the later 
days, under the Aztec kings, whose unscrupulous am- 
bition and passion for conquest could only be gratified 
by their warriors. Huitzilopochtli, god of war, pro- 
tector of the empire, was glorified and honored above 
all other gods; his altars must be red with blood, fur 
blood alone could extort his favor, and wars were 
frequently waged solely for his pro})itiatioii; valor 
was the loftiest virtue, the highest honois ^^(U•e jiaid 
to those who distinguished themselves in battle; no 
dignities, positions, or decorations, under the govern- 
ment, were given to any but a})jiroved soldiers. ( "liil- 
dren were taught by parent and priest the chivalrous 



deeds of their ancestors, whom they were urged to 
tiiuilate in daring; titkis, rewards, and posts of honor 
were offered to stimulate the am'jition of the young 
men. The king might not receive his crown until 
with his own hand he had taken captives to be sacri- 
ficed at the feast of his coronation. The priests were 
the foremost inciters to war and carnage. All wars 
were religious crusades. The highest earthly rewards 
were in store for the victor, while the soul of him that 
fell in battle took immediate flight to heaven. Only 
defeat and cowardice were to be dreaded. 

Ti:w Nahua warrior's services were rewarded only 
l)y ■!' >ii ion, since no paid troops were employed. 
liul, [ ivjmotion was sure to follow brilliant exploits 
peifuiiiied by even the humblest soldier, while with- 
out such daring deeds the sons of the highest nobles 
could hope for no advancement. Dress and orna- 
ments were the indications of rank, and were changed 
in some detail for every new achievement. To escape 
l'i',:r! the coarse nequen garments of the common 
.soldier, and to put on successively the decorative 
man ties of the higher grades, was deemed a sufficient 
reward and incentive. The costume of each warrior 
indicated the exact number of prisoners ca})tured by 
the wearer. 

Especial onv \\ 's taken, however, with the sons of 
lords intenfleil 1' >r the profession of arms. At an early 
age their hc.ui vv^;lt^ shaved, except a tuft on the back 
vtf the lioad CcJIe • ;)7'\'<('.fy>r(///(f, a designation changed 
to cii<',rpi(tchicu('pul when the boy wiiS fifteen years old. 
At this age he was sent to war in charge of veteran 
warriors, and if with their aid he took a prisoner^ the 
tuft was cut off and anotlior giv»3n to be worn over 
the car with feather i)hnncs; on his return he was 
addressed n^ter the following maimer by his grand - 
|tarents o! "ncles: "My child, the Sun and the 
Kartli hav ^ ashed and renewed thy face, because 
thou didst d.i. ! to attempt the capture of an enemy 
in company with others. Lo, now it were better to 

Vol. II. 20 






abandon thee to the mercies of the enemy than tliat 
thou shouldst again take a prisoner with tlie aid of 
others, because, should it so happen, they will j)]ace 
another tuft over thine other ear and thou wilt appear 
like a girl; truly, it were better thou shouldst die than 
that this should happen to thee." If after a fair trial 
the youth failed to take a captive, he was disgrjiccd, 
and ceased to be a warrior in the eyes of his com- 
rades: but if, unaided, he was successful, he ^vas 
called a warlike youth, t^lpuchtlitaquitlamani, and 
was presented l^ ^"^^ ^ ^'ing; whose stewards dyed his 
face red, his temp. nd body yellow, and bestowed 
upon him mantles a.. J maxtlis of the colors and de- 
signs which his achievements gave him the right to 
wear. If he took two captives, the honors were of 
course greater; three entitled him to a connnand over 
others; four made him a captain who might wear long 
lip-ornaments, leathern ear-rings, and gaudy tassels, 
Witli five prisoners the young man became a qunuh- 
iacatl, 'eagle that guides,' with corresponding insignia, 
a head-plume with silver threads, the mantle called 
cuechintli, another called chicoapahiacazm'uiqui of 
two colors, and still another decorated with straps. 
The prisoners must, however, be from nations of ac- 
knowledged prowess, such as those of Atlixco, the 
Huexotzhicas, or Tlascaltecs; double or tri}>le tlio 
number of Cuextecas or Tenimes must be captured, 
and no number of these could entitle a youth to the 
highest honors.^ 

In the Mexican picture-writings are delineated the 
successive grades by which a graduate from the tem- 
ple school advanced, with the costumes and defensive 
armor he was permitted to wear. First we see him 
leaving for the war, carrying the impeclrmenfa of the- 
chief priest, who goes into the field to embolden the 
troops, enforce orders, and perform other duties. Tlie 
pictures that follow portray the devices on the shields, 
manner of painting, armor, head-dresses, and orna- 

^ Sahagun, Hist. Gen., torn, ii., lib. viii., pp. 329-32. 



ments they were allowed to assume, according to the 
number of captives each had taken. The warrior- 
priests were rewarded, in like manner, with accoiitrc- 


and with 

ments and insignia of peculiar 
important commands in the army. 

Three military orders were established by the Aztec 
monarchs, the members of which were granted cer- 
tain privileges, and entitled to wear badges of distinc- 
tion; they also had apartments allotted to them in the 
royal palace and formed the royal guard. Promotion 
to the order was open to ai^ , but could only be won hy 
some notable feat of arms, ihe members of the first 
of these three orders were called Achcauhtin,or Princes, 
of the second, Quauhtin, or Eagles, of tlie third, Oce- 
lome, or Tigers. The distinctive mark of the Princes 
was their manner of dressing the hair, which was tied 
on the erown of the head with a red thong, and worked 
into as many braids, each terminating in a cotton tas- 
sel, as were the deeds of valor performed by the 
wearer; the Eagles wore a kind of casque, in the form 
of an eagle's head; the Tigers wore a particular armor, 
s})otted like the skin of the animal whose name they 
bore. These insignia were only used in war; at court 
all military officers wore the tlachquanhi/o, a dress of 
many colors. The members of these three military 
orders had the privilege of wearing garments of much 
liner texture than the common people, as well as such 
feathers and jewels as they could afford to buy. An 
inferior order of knighthood appears also to have ex- 
isted, the members of which had their hair crop[)ed 
close about their ears, and wore skull-caps and split 
collars; these were only armed for defence from the 
girdle upwards, whereas their superiors fought in com- 

J Codex Mendoza, in Kinqshorouijfi^s Mcx. And'o., v,,!. i., pi. Ixiv- 
K'vi. Ill cx|)Iiiii»tioii of plate Ixv., No. 19, it is stated that tlie warrior wan 
culliilQuaehic by reawon of having taken five prisoners in war. 'llaluT 
cir.itivailo en la gnerra cineo, denias <le que en otras j^iierras a cautivado 
otnis inuuhos de sus encniigos.' Explanation of Jd., vol. v., p. 104; wiiiie 

1'uirha.s savH such a one was 'called Qiiagchil shewin;j; that hee had 

tiiki'ii fine at the Wars of CJuexo, liesides that in other Wars he tooke many 
of hiseuemiea.' Purchas his Pilgrimcs, vol. iv., p. 1110-11. 



j)lete armor. All these privileged warriors were por- 
luitted to use painted and gilt vessels, but the common 
Boldiers might use none but plain earthen ones.** 

Montezuma, who was a member of the order of 
I^rinces, when he went in person against the enemy, 
wore upon his legs greaves of gold, and upon his arms 
thin plates of the same metal, as well as bracelets; 
about his neck were a collar and chains of gold and 
})recious stones; from his ears and lower lip hung or- 
naments of gold set with precious chalchiuites; and 
from the back of his head to his waist was suspended 
the glittering decoration of royalty, only worn by 
kings, the qnachictU. This was an ornament of ex- 
(juisite workmanship, wrought with great labor of 
t:ostly feathers and jewels, and shaped somewhat like 
a butterfly, in addition to this he was distinguished 
from his retinue by a shield upon which was displayed 
the roval coat of arms in feather- work ; and he car- 
ried also a small drum, upon which he beat the sig- 
nal for battle.* 

On the occasion when the sovereigns and nobility 
f Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan came out to receive 


(!!ortes, there was little, so far as dress was concerned, 
by which king might be distinguished from subject; 
the only difference was that the monarchs wore crowns 

^ Torqiieniiula and BrasHeur speak of a yet hi^lier rank among tlie 
princeH. 'Vnailelas niaiore» grantlctjas, h que llegaUa, era atarse el ca- 
iiello, que era denionstracion de Cirau Oapitan, y estos «e llauialiaii liuauliir- 
t ill, que era el nias houroso iionibre, que a los Capitanes we los dalni, y pocos 
1 1 alcan«;ai)an.' Torqiionmla, Moiiarq. Iiiil., toui. ii., j). 543. 'Doiit Ics 
liieuibres se noinmaient "Quachictin," c'est-Ji-dire, (Jouronues. Lciirs in- 
h'!j;iios consiHtaiout dans la courroie ik'arlate dont nousavoiis parle plus liaut, 
iiiais dont le Iwut, avec sa liouppe de i)hiniea, pendait alors jusqua la triii- 
t ire.' Branscur de liourbourf/, nisi. Nat. Civ., toni. iii., pp. 5!X)-1. Herrcni 
!Mul Aeosta both mention a fourth (<rder: 'Aula otros eonio caualleros I'ai- 
<los, (lue no eran de tanta cuenta, eonu> csto.s, los qualcs tenian vnas eolotas 
r.))-tadas por encinui de la oreia en redondo.' Aro.f(a, Hist, rir las Ymf., pp. 
4 13-4; llrrrrnt, Hist. Gen., (fee. iii., lib. ii., ca]). xix; West niiil (Ml In- 
iHsr.ker Litstffart, pt i., p. 99; Montnuus, Nicnwe Wcereld, pp. '2(i7-!S; 
I ', Storia Ant. dd Mrssir.o, toni. ii., p. 140. 

* The greaves were called cozchnntl, tlie brachials matcmccntl, flic 
bracelets malzopetzfli, the lip urnanient trntetl, the ear-rings iirifor/illi, 
:m:I the collar or necklace cozrapctlatl. T<tri[aeiimda., Muiirin/. In(f., toin. 
ii., p. 543; Iira.i.scnr dc lionrhoiirff, Hist. Not. Civ., torn, iii., p. 595; Clu- 
viyero, Storia Ant. del Mynnico, toai. ii., p. 141. 



of i^old and precious stones, bejcwoled sandals with 
('olden solos, and tassels at the end of the nl)bon with 
which their hair was hound." A })rinee of the blood- 
loyul, on his debut upon the baotle-field, was clad in 
plain white; his behavior was closely watched, an«l 
iit'ter the action such insignia and colors as he had 
nieritod by his conduct were bestowed upon him. 

Sahagun gives an extended description of the gor- 
geous war-costumes of the noble Aztec warriors, with 
the native name for each fraction of the ecpiipments. 
Here are described head-dresses composed of rich 
feathers, prominent among which were the quetzal ; 
corselets of red and green feathers, worked with gold 
thread; head-dresses of green feathers set in gold 
bands, or of tiger-skin; helmets of silver; a garment 
called tociiitl reaching to the knees, made of yellow 
macaw-feathers, embroidered with gold, and worn with 
a golden casque plumed with quetzal-feathers; and 
other e(jually gorgeous attire. As a means of direct- 
ing their men some officers bore small drums, painted 
and ornamented with feathers so as to correspond with 
their dress, in a net at their backs; others carried lit- 
tle flags made of feathers held too-ether with bands 
of gold or silver. Many noble warriors had their 
armorial bearings, devils, monsters, and what not, 
painted or embroidered upon their l)acks. Truly such 
xpoliii opima were worthy of a hero's toil." 

Tlie rank and file of the Aztec army wore no cloth- 
ing but the maxtli in battle, but by painting their 
faces and bodies in grotesque patterns with brilliant 
colors, and coveriiiij their heads with raw cotton, thev 
presented a sufficiently fierce and gaudy ap[)earance.^ 

The Tlascaltec leaders wore a <piilted cotton tunic 
two fingers in thickness that fitted closely to tlie body 


5 Iztlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., hi Kin jsborough^s Hex. Antiq., vol. ix,, \i\h 

^ Sithftgnn, Hint. Gcii., torn, ii., lib. viii., jjp. 29.V7. 

' Liis T'ksiis, Hist. ApoliKjctirii, MS., call. Ixvi.; lirrt.tseiir tip Bow- 
liniiri/. Hint. Xiit. ('if.,'Ut\\\. iii., |). .")!):