Florentine Codex, Book 12, Ch 20

This is Book 12, Chapter 20 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 their eventual consolidation of power in the capital. James Lockhart has provided us with his transcription of the Nahuatl and its translation to English. The digital facsimile comes 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. 32v., cont.] Inic cempoalli capitulo: vncā mitoa in quenin Espanoles quinmictique, quimixtlatique in Mexica, in quilhuiquixtiliaia Vitzilobuchtli in vncā mitoaia Teuitoalco. Auh in ie iuhqui, in ie ilhuitlamacho, in ie netotilo in ie cuico, in ie cuicoanolo: in cuicatl, iuhquin xaxamacatimani. In ie inmā, in otlainmantic inic temictizque in Españoles: niman ie ic oalquiça omoiauchichiuhque,ocontzatzaquaco, in izquicampa quixoaia, calacoaia, inquauhquiiaoac tecpantzinco, acatl yiacapan, Tezcacoac.Auh in ocōtzatzacque: no izquicā momanque, aocac vel hoal [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] Twentieth chapter, where it is said how the Spaniards killed and annihilated the Mexica who were celebrating the feast of Huitzilopochtli at what they call the Teoithualco [Divine Courtyard, Courtyard of the Gods, temple courtyard]. When things were already going on, when the festivity was being observed and there was dancing and singing, with voices raised in song, the singing was like the noise of waves breaking against the rocks. When it was time, when the moment had come for the Spaniards to do the killing, they came out equipped for battle. They came and closed off each of the places where people went in and out: Quauhquiahuac, Tecpantzinco, Acatliyacapan, and Tezcacoac. And when they had closed these exits, they stationed themselves in each, and no one could [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] Chapter Twenty, of how the Spaniards performed a great slaughter of the Indians while they were celebrating the festivity of Huitzilopochtli in the square of that same Huitzilopochtli. At the time that seemed opportune to them, the Spaniards came out from where they had been and took all the gates to the square so that no one could get out. Others entered with their weapons and began to kill those who were in the dance. They cut off the hands and heads of those who were playing instruments. They stabbed and lanced everyone they encountered, performing a very great slaughter. Those who ran fleeing to the gates were killed there. Some leaped over the walls. Some went into the chapels of the cus, where they lay down and played dead. Blood ran in the square [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 32v., cont.] Capitulo .20. de como los españoles hizieron gran matança en los yndios estando haziendo la fiesta de Vitzilobuchtli en el patio del mismo Vitzilobuchtli.  Los españoles al tiempo que les parecio convenible salieron de donde estauan y tomaron todas las puertas del patio por que no saliese nadie y otros entraron con sus armas: y començaron a matar a los que estauā en el areyto y a los que tañian los cortaron las manos, y las cabeças y dauan destocadas, y de lançadas a todos quātos topauan, y hizieron vna mantāça muy grande y los que acudian a las puestas huyendo alli los matauā  algunos saltauā por las paredes algunos se metian en las capillas de los cues alli se echauā y se fingian muertos corria la sangre por el patio, 
[Transcription of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 33r.] quiça. Auh in ie iuhqui; nimā ie ic calaqui in teuitoalco intemictizque: in intequiuh in temictique çan tlacxipāvia imeevachimal, cequi intotopchimal, yoan intetepuzmquauh: niman ie ic quiniaoaloa in mitotia, nimā ie ic vi in vevetitlan, nimā quimavitecque in tlatzotzona oalcocoton vmexti in imacpal çatepan quiquechvitecque vecavetzito in iquech: nimā ie muchintin texixili tepuztopiltica, yoan teviviteque, tepuzmaquauhtica: cequintinquincuitlaço, niman valmotoxaoa in incuitlaxcol, cequintin quinquatzatzaianque, vel quitzeltilique in intzontecon, vel itzeltix in intzōtecō. Auh in cequintin quimaculhuitecque, oalcacamatlapan, oaltzatzaian in innacaio:cequintin quincotzvivitecque, cequin quinmetzvivitecque, cequintin quimitivitecque, nimā moch [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] come out any more. When this had been done, they went into the temple courtyard to kill people. Those whose assignment it was to do the killing just went on foot, each with his metals word and his leather shield, some of them iron-studded. Then they surrounded those who were dancing, going among the cylindrical drums. They struck a drummer’s arms; both his hands were severed. Then they struck his neck; his head landed far away. Then they stabbed everyone with iron lances and struck them with irons words. They stuck some in the belly, and then their entrails came spilling out. They split open the heads of some, they really cut their skulls to pieces, their skulls were cut up into little bits. And some they hit on the shoulders; their bodies broke open and ripped. Some they hacked on the calves, some on the thighs, some on their bellies, and then all [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] like water when it rains. The whole square was strewn with heads, arms, intestines, and dead bodies. The Spaniards searched in all the corners for those alive, to kill them. When word of this deed got out into the city, they began to call out, saying, "To amis! To arms!" At this shouting a large number of people assembled, all with their weapons, and they began to fight against the Spaniards. [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 33r.] como el agua quando llueue: y todo el patio estaua sembrado de cabeças, y braços, y tripas, y cuerpos de hombres muertos y por todos los rincones buscauā los españoles a los que estauan biuos para matarlos: como salio la fama deste hecho por la ciudad comēçaron a dar voz diziendo alarma! Alarma! y luego a estas vozes se junto gran copia de gente todos con sus armas y començaron a pelear cōtra los españoles
[Transcription of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 33v.] oalmotoxaoa in incuitlaxcul. Auh in aca oc nen motlaloa in icuitlaxcul ça quivilana, iuhquin xoxoquiova in moma-quixtiznequi, aoc campa vel hui: auh in aquin quiçaznequi, vmpa quioalhuitequi, quivalxixili. Auh cequintin, tepantli quitlecavique, tel huel mo-maquixtiq̄: cequintin calpulco cacalacque vmpa moma-quixtique. Auh in cequintin intlan momaq̓xtique, intlan cacalacque in o vel micque, çan momiccanenequia, velmomaquixtique: auh in aca oc mopoçaoa* in conitta, conixili. Auh in imezço in tiacavan iuhquin atl ic totocac, iuhquin aalacatoc, yoan xoquiiac eoatoc in eztli. Auh in cuitlaxcolli iuhquin tlavilani. Auh in Españoles,novian nemi in tlatemoa in calpulco, novian ontlaxiltiviin tlatemoa, in açaca vmpa minaia, novia nen ---------- *MOPOÇAOA. I rely here on Sahagún 1950-1982: 13.56. [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] their entrails would spill out. And if someone still tried to run it was useless; he just dragged his intestines along. There was a stench as if of sulfur. Those who tried to escape could go nowhere. When anyone tried to go out, at the entryways they struck and stabbed him. But some climbed up the wall and were able to escape. Some went into the various calpolli temples and took refuge there. Some took refuge among, entered among those who had really died, feigning death, and they were able to escape. But if someone took a breath and they saw him, they stabbed him. The blood of the warriors ran like water; the ground was almost slippery with blood, and the stench of it rose, and the entrails were lying dragged out. And the Spaniards went everywhere [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] (intentionally blank) [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 33v., tres dibjuos; sin texto en español]
[Transcription of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 34r.] que, quixaqualotinenque in izquican calpulco in tlatemoque. Auh in omachoc: niman ie ic tzatzioa. Tiacavane mexicae vallatotoca, ma nechichioalo in tlaviztli, in chimalli, in mitl, vallacivi, vallatotoca, ie miqui in tiacaoan; ommicque, onixpoliuhque, ommixtlatique: Mexicae tiacaoane. Nimā ie ic tlacavaca, ie ic tzatzioa, netenviteco; iciuhca valnechicaovac in tiacavan iuhquin nececenquetzalo in mitl in chimalli quiitqui. Nimā ie ic necalioa, quimōmina in ica tlatzontectli, in ica tlacochtli, yoan in minacachalli,* yoan in tlatzontectli, itzpatlacio in contlaça: iuhquin cozpul ommoteca in acatl, in impan Españoles. ---------- *MINACACHALLI. The translation of this word is also based on Sahagún 1950-1982: 13.56. [Translation of the Nahuatl (right-hand column) by James Lockhart:] searching in the calpolli temples, stabbing in the places where they searched in case someone was taking shelter there. They went everywhere, scratching about in all the calpolli temples in searching. And when it became known [what was happening], everyone cried out, “Mexica warriors, come running, get outfitted with devices, shields, and arrows, hurry, come running, the warriors are dying; they have died, perished, been annihilated, oh Mexica warriors!” Thereupon there were war cries, shouting, and beating of hands against lips. The warriors quickly came outfitted, bunched together, carrying arrows and shield. Then the fighting began; they shot at them with barbed darts,spears, and tridents, and they hurled darts with broad obsidian points at them. A cloud of yellow reeds spread over the Spaniards. [Translation of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] (intentionally blank) [Translation of the Nahuatl into Spanish by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún; transcription of the Spanish (left-hand column) by James Lockhart:] [f. 34r., la parte de arriba; dos dibjuos; sin texto en español]