Florentine Codex, Book 12, Ch 03

This is Book 12, Chapter 3 of the Florentine Codex, also known as the General History of the Things of New Spain. This particular book is about the Spanish invasion of Mexico in 1519 and the Spaniards' eventual consolidation of power in the capital. James Lockhart has provided us with his transcription of the Nahuatl and its translation to English. The facsimile images come from the World Digital Library, but the original is held in the Medicea Laurenziana Library in Florence, Italy. Brandon Preo has done the data entry, matching the Spanish, Nahuatl, and English texts to the images of the pages.

Principal editor: 
James Lockhart

Transcriptions and Translations

Analytic Transcription English Translation Spanish Translation
[Transcription of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 5r., cont.] Inic ei capitulo: vncan mitoa in tlein ic tlanaoati Motecuçoma in iquac oquicac intlatol, in iehoantin in quittaque acalli in achto valla. In motecuçoma, niman ie ic q̓nnaoatia in Cuetlaxtecatl, yoan in izquintin: quimilhui. Xitlanaoaticā, ma tlapielo, in noviā atenco; inic mitoa. Nauhtlan Toztlan,* mictlanquauhtla: in campa ie quiçaquivi: nimā ic iaque in calpixque, tlanaoatique inic tlapieloia. Auh in motecuçoma: quincentlali in itecuioan, Cioa-coatl, Tlilpotonqui, Tlacochcalcatl, Quappiaztzin, ---------- *NAUHTLAN TOZTLAN. Despite the punctuation and capitalization, Nauhtlan and Toztlan might be one place, as in the Spanish version. [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] Third chapter, where it is said what Moteucçoma ordered when he heard the statement of those who saw the first boat that came. Thereupon Moteucçoma gave instructions to the man from Cuetlaxtlan and the rest, telling them, “Give orders that watch be kept everywhere along the coast, at [the places] called Nauhtlan, Toztlan, and Mictlanquauhtla, wherever they will come to land.” Then the stewards left and gave orders for watch to be kept. And Moteucçoma assembled his lords, the Cihuacoatl Tlilpotonqui, the Tlacochcalcatl Quappiaztzin, [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] Third chapter, of what Moteucçoma decreed after he heard the account of those who saw the first ships. When Moteucçoma had heard the news of those who came from the sea, he immediately had summoned the highest ranking of them, named Cuetlaxtecatl, and the rest who had come with the message, and ordered them to place guards and lookouts in all the small settlements of the seacoast— one is called Nauhtlan Toztlan, another Mictlanquauhtla—in order to be looking out for when [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] f. 5r., cont.] Capitulo tercero de lo que Motecuçoma proueyo despues q̄ oyo la Relacion de los que vieron los primeros nauios.  Como vuo oydo Motecuçoma las nueuas de los que vinieron de la mar mando luego llamar al mas principal dellos que se llamaua Cuetlaxtecatl y los demas que auian venido con la mensajería y mandolos que pusiesen guardas y atalayas en todas las estancias de la ribera de la mar. La vna se llama Nauhtlan toztlan otra mictlanquactla* para que mirasen q̄n̄ boluiesen aquellos nauios para q̄  ----------  *MICTLANQUACTLA.  For "mictlanquauhtla."
[Transcription of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 5v.] Ticociaoacatl, Quetzalaztatzin, Vitznaoatlailotlac, hecatenpatiltzin: quincaquiti in tlatolli, yoan quimittiti, quimixpanti in quioalcuique cozcatl: quimilhui. Ca oticmaviçoque in matlalteuxivitl, velmopiaz, in tlatlatique vel quipiazque: intla centetl quichitonizque tocacal, topipilhoan, titeheoan. Auh niman ie mocuepa in xivitl, ie imonamicioc in matlactli omei tochtli: auh ie tlamiznequi, ie itzonquizian in xivitl omei tochtli, in quiçaco, in ie no ceppaittoque. Auh niman quinonotztivetzico in Motecuçoma; in oquicac, niman iciuhca tlaioa, in iuh quima, in iuh moma, ca iehoatl in topiltzin Quetzalcoatl in oquiçaco:ca iuh catca iniollo in çan oallaz, in çan quiçaquiuh, quioalmatiz in ipetl, in icpal: ipampa ca vmitztia, iniquac ia. Auh in quimioa macuiltin, in quinamiquitivi, inquitlamamacativi: in teiacantia Teuoa, in itecutoca, in ipiltoca Ioalli ichan. Inic vme Tepuztecatl. Inic ei, tiçaoa. Inic navi vevetecatl. Inic macuilli Veicamecatl heca. [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] the Ticocyahuacatl Quetzalaztatzin, and the Huitznahuatlailotlac Ecatenpatiltzin. He reported the account to them, and showed them, put before them, the beads they had brought. He said to them, “We have beheld the fine blue turquoise; it is to be guarded well, the custodians are to take good care of it; if they let one piece get away from them, [their] homes, children, and women with child will be ours.” Then the year changed to the one following, Thirteen Rabbit, and when it was nearly over, at the end of the year Thirteen Rabbit, [the Spaniards] made an appearance and were seen once again. Then the stewards quickly came to tell Moteucçoma. When he heard it, he quickly sent out a party. He thought and believed that it was Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who had landed. For they were of the opinion that he would return, that he would appear, that he would comeback to his seat of authority, since he had gone in that direction [eastward] when he left. And [Moteucçoma] sent five [people] to go to meet him and give him things. The leader had the official title of Teohua [custodian of the god] and the personal name of Yohualli ichan. The second was Tepoztecatl, the third Tiçahua, the fourth Huehuetecatl, and the fifth Hueicamecatl eca. [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] those ships should return, so that then they would report on it. With this the calpisques or captains departed and immediately ordered that lookouts be put in the said settlements. Then Moteucçoma assembled his leaders, one of whom was called Cihuacoatl, another Tlilpotonqui, another Tlacochcalcatl, another Quappiatzin, another Ticocyahuacatl, another Quetzalaztatzin, another Huitznahuatlailotlac, and another Ecatempatiltzin. To all these he communicated the news that had arrived, and he showed them the glass beads that the messengers had brought, telling them, "These appear to me to be precious stones; let them be guarded well in the chamber. Let none be lost, and if any is lost, those who are in charge of guarding the chamber will pay for it." A year from that time, in the year of Thirteen Rabbits, those who were at the viewpoints saw ships in the sea and right away came in a great hurry to give notice to Moteucçoma. When Moteucçoma heard the news, he immediately sent people for the reception of Quetzalcoatl, because he thought it was him who was coming, because they were expecting him daily. And because they had accounts that Quetzalcoatl had gone by sea toward the east, and the ships came from the direction of the east, they thought it was him. Moteucçoma sent five leaders to receive him and give him a great present that he sent him. The highest ranking of those who went was named Yohualli ichan, the second Tepoztecatl, the third Tiçahua, the fourth Huehuetecatl, and the fifth Hueicamecatl eca. [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 5v.] luego diesen relacion con esto se partieron los calpisques o capitanes y mandaron luego poner atalayas en las dichas estancias.  Y Motecuçoma junto luego sus principales, vno que se llamaua Cioacoatl. Otro Tlilpotonqui otro Tlacochcalcatl otro Quappiatzin otro Ticociaoacatl otro Quetzalaztatzin otro Vitznaoatlaylotlac otro Hecatempatiltzin. A todos estos comunico las nueuas que ausan* llegado y mostrolos las cuentas de vidro que auian traydo los mensajeros, y dixolos  pareceme que son piedras preciosas quardense** mucho en la recamara no se pierda ninguna y si alguna perdiere pagarla an los que tienen cargo de guardar la recamara.  Desta ay a vn año en el año de treze conejos vieron en la mar nauios los que estauan en las atalayas y luego vinieron dar mandado a Motecuçoma con gran priesa  como oyo la nueua Motecuçoma despacho luego gente para el recibimiento de Quetzalcoatl porque penso que era el el que venia porque cada dia le estauā esperando y como tenia relacion q̄ Quetzalcoatl auia ydo por la mar hazia el oriēte y los nauios veniā de hazia el oriente por esto pēsarō q̄ era el, enbio cinco p̓ncipales a que le recibiesen y le presentasē vna grā presente que le ēbio de lo*** que fuerō el mas principal dellos que se llamaua yoalli ichá 2ọ tepuztecatl el 3ọ tiçaoa. y el 4ọ Veuetecatl. y el 5ọ Veicamecatl heca.  ----------  *AUSAN.  For "auian."  **QUARDENSE.  For "guardense."  ***LO.  For standard "los." Final s, especially as a plural ending, but also in other cases, is frequently omitted in the text, and such instances will not be noted henceforth.