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Francesco S. Clavigero
History of Mexico...

London: J. Johnson, 1807

  • Title
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • excerpt: pp. 1-104
  • excerpt: pp. 105-108
  • excerpt: pp. 248-251
  • 1st ed. excerpts

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Von Humboldt's Researches (1814)  |  Del Rio's Ruins (1822)  |  View of the Hebrews (1823)

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    H I S T O R Y


    M E X I C O.









    OF  THE






    I N   T W O   V O L U M E S.

    VOL. I.




    C O N T E N T S

    OF  VOLUME  I.

    BOOK I.

    Division of the country of Anahuac, 1. -- Provinces of the kingdom of Mexico, 4. -- Rivers, lakes, and fountains, 9. -- Climate of Anahuac, 11. -- Mountains, stones, and minerals, 13. -- Plants esteemed for their flowers, 17. -- Plants valued for their fruit, 19. -- Plants valued for their roots, leaves, trunk, or mood, 27. -- Plants of use for their resin, gum, oil, and Juice, 32. -- Quadrupeds of the kingdom of Anahuac, 36. -- Birds of Mexico, 46. -- Reptiles of Mexico, 56. -- Fish of the seas, rivers, and lakes of Anahuac, 61. -- The insects of Mexico, 67. -- Characters of the Mexicans, and other nations of Anahuac....77

    BOOK II.

    Of the Toltecas, 83. -- Great civilization of the Toltecas, 86. -- Ruin of the Toltecas, 89 The Chechemecas, 90. -- Xolotl I. king of the Chechemecas in AnaJiuac, 91. -- Arrival of the Acolhuas and other nations, 93. -- Division of the states and rebellion, 95. -- Death and funeral of Xolotl, 97. -- Nopaltzin II. king of the Chechemecas, 97. -- Tlotzin 111. king of the Chechemecas, 100. -- Quinaltzin IV. king of the Checliemecas, ib. -- The Olmecas and the Otomies, 103. -- The Tarascas, 105. -- Masahuas, Matlatzincas, and other nations, ib. -- The Nahuatlacas, 107. -- The Tlascalans, 108. -- Migration of the Mexicans to Anahuac, lit. -- Slavery of the Mexicans in Colhuacan, 118. -- Foundation of Mexico, 122. -- A human sacrifice ....... . . 124


    Acamapitzin I. king of Mexico, 126. -- Quanquauhpilzahuac I. king of Tlatclolco, 127. -- Taxes imposed on the Mexicans, 128. -- Huitzilihuitl II. king of Mexico, 131. -- Techotlala, king of Acolhuacan, 132. -- Enmity of Maxtlalon to the Mexicans, 131. -- Tlacatcotl II. king of Tlatololco, 135. -- Ixtlilxochitl, king of Acolhuacan, 136. -- Chimalpapoca III. king of Mexico, 138. -- Memorable conduct of Cahuacuecuenotzin, 139. -- Tragical death of Ixtlilxochitl, and tyranny of Tezozomoc, 140. -- New taxes imposed by the tyrant, 143. Death of the tyrant Tzozomoc, 145. -- Maxilaton, tyrant of Acolhuacan, 148. -- Injuries done to the king of Mexico, 149. -- Imprisonment and death of king Chlmalpopoca, 150 Negotiations of Nezahualcojoll to obtain the crown, 155. -- Ihcoatl, fourth king of Mexico, 156. -- Occurrence to Montezuma Ilhuacamina, 158. -- War againit the tyrant, 163. -- Conquest of Azcapazako, and death of the tyrant Maxtlaton ..166

    BOOK IV.

    Re-establishment of the royal family of the Chechemecas on the throne of Acolhuacan, 169. -- Conquest of Cojohuacun and other places, 170. -- Monarchy of Tacuba, and alliance With the three kings, 171. -- Acts of king Nesafaalezzzjetl, 172. -- Conquest of Xochimilcor Cuitlahuac, and other places, 173. -- Montezuma 1. fifth king of Mexico, 176. -- Atrocious act of the Chalchese, 177. -- Marriage of Nezahualcojotl zeith a princess of Tacuba, 178. -- Death of Quauhtlalon, 179. -- Conquests of Montezuma, ib. -- Inundation of Mexico, 180. -- Famine in Mexico, 181. -- Nets conquests and death of Montezuma, 183. -- Axayaratl, sixthking of Mexico, 186. -- Death andeulogy of king Nezahualcojotl, 188. -- Conquest of Tlatelolco, and death of king Moquihuix, 192. -- New conquests and death of Axayacatl, 196. -- Tiz&c, seventh king of Mexico, 197. -- War between Tezaico and Raexotsinco, 198. -- Marriage of Nezahualpilli with two noble women of Mexico, 199. -- Tragic death of Tizoc, ib. -- Akuitzotl, eighth king of Mexico, 400. -- Dedication of the greater temple of tfexlco, 201. -- Conquests of king Ahttitzotl, 202. -- New Inundation of Mexico, Pfew conquests and death of Ahuitzoti... 206

    BOOK V.

    Montezuma II. ninth king of Mexico, 207. -- Deportment and Ceremonials of Montezuma II. 210. -- Magnificence of the palaces and royal houses, 213. -- The good and bad of Montezuma, 215. -- War of Tlascala, 217. -- Tlahuicol, a celebrated general of the Tlascalans, 221. -- Famine in the empire, and public works in the capital, 223. -- Rebellion of the 4lh-trcus and Zupotecas, 224. -- Contest between Huexzotzinco and Chotula, ib. -- Expedition against Attixco and other places, 226. -- Presages of the war with the Spaniards, 226. -- Memorable event of a Mexican princess, 228. -- Uncommon occurrences, 231. -- New altar for sacrifices and farther expeditions, ib. -- Death and eulogy of Nezahu alpilti, 233. -- Revolution in the kingdom of Acolhuacan.... 236

    BOOK VI.

    Religious system of the Mexicans, 241. -- The gods of providence and of heaven, 244. -- The deification of the sun and the moon, 246. -- The god of air, 248. -- The gods of mountains, water, fire, earth, night, and hell, 251. -- The gods of war, 252. -- The gods of commerce, hunting, fishing, &c., 256. -- Their idols, and the manner of worshipping their gods, 259. -- Transformations, 260. -- The greater temple of Mexico, ib. -- Buildings annexed to the greater temple, 264. -- Other temples, 265. -- Revenues of the temples, 269. -- Number and different ranks of the priests, 270. -- The employments, dress, and life of the priests, 274. -- The priestesses, 274. -- Different religious orders, 276. -- Common sacrifices of human victims, 277. -- The gladiatorian sacrifice, 280. -- The number of sacrifices uncertain, 281. -- Inhuman sacrifices in Quauhtitlan, 283. -- Austerities and fasting of the Mexicans, 284. -- Remarkable acts of penitence of the Tlascalans, 287. -- - The age, century, and year of the Mexicans, 288. -- The Mexican month, 291. -- Intercalary days, 293. -- Divination,

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    [ vii ]

    P R E F A C E.

    The History of Mexico, undertaken in order to avoid the. pain and reproach of idleness to which I found my life condemned, to serve to the utmost of my power my native country, and to restore to their full light truths obscured by an incredible number of modern writers on America, has been a task equally laborious, difficult, and expensive. Exclusive of the great expences occasioned by procuring from Cadiz, Madrid, and other cities of Europe, the books which were necessary to my purpose, I have read and examined every publication which has appeared hitherto on the subject; I have compared the accounts of authors, and critically weighed their authority; I have studied many historical paintings of the Mexicans; I have profited from their manuscripts, which I read formerly in Mexico; and consulted with many persons well acquainted with these countries. In addition to such diligence I might add, to give credit to my labours, that I resided thirty-six years in that extensive kingdom; acquired the Mexican language, and for several years conversed with the Mexicans, whose history I write. I do not, however, flatter myself with having been able to give a perfect work; since, besides ridding myself unpossessed of those endowments of genius, judgment, and eloquence, which are the requisites of a good historian, the loss of the greatest part of the Mexican paintings, and the want of many valuable manuscripts which are preserved in different libraries of Mexico, and required repeated consultation, are insuperable obstacles to any one who undertakes such a history, particularly at a considerable distance from these countries. Nevertheless, I hope my work will be acceptable; not on account of the elegance of


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    [ xiii ]





    ON THE


    In the Sixteenth Century.

    Ferdinand Cortes. The four very long letters written by this famous conqueror to his sovereign, Charles the Fifth, containing an account of the Conquest, and many valuable particulars respecting Mexico, and the Mexicans, were published in Spanish, in Latin, in the Tuscan, and other languages; the first of these letters was printed in Seville in 1522; they are all well written,, and discover both modesty and sincerity in the relation; as he has neither made a boast of his own actions, nor thrown obscurity on those of others. If he had had the rashness to deceive his king, his enemies who presented so many complaints at court against him, would not have failed to reproach him with such a crime.

    Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a soldier and conqueror; A True History of the Conquest of New Spain, written by him, was printed in Madrid in 1632, in one volume, folio. Notwithstanding the miscarriage of his undertaking, and the coarseness of the style, this history has been much esteemed for the simplicity and sincerity of its author, which is every where discoverable. He was an eye-witness of all that he relates; but, from being illiterate, he was unqualified for the task he undertook; and frequently shows himself forgetful of facts, by having written many years after the conquest.


    xiv                                 ACCOUNT OF THE WRITERS ON THE .                                 105

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    xxii                                 ACCOUNT OF THE WRITERS ON THE .                                

    Christoval Chaves Castillejo, a Spaniard. He wrote, about the year 1632, a volume in folio, on the Origin of the Indians, and their first Colonies in the Country of Anahuac.

    Carlos de Siguenza e Gongora, a celebrated Mexican professor of mathematics in the university of his native country. This author has been one of the most comprehensive writers on the History of Mexico, as he made, at a great expense, a large and choice collection of ancient pictures and manuscripts, and applied himself with the greatest diligence and assiduity to illustrate the antiquity of that kingdom. Besides many mathematical, critical, historical, and poetical works composed by him, some of them manuscripts, some of them printed in Mexico from the year 1680 to 1693, he wrote in Spanish, 1. The Mexican Cyclography, a work of great labour; in which, by calculating eclipses and comets, marked in the historical pictures of the Mexicans, he adjusted their epochs with ours, and by availing himself of good instruction, explained the method they used to count centuries, years, and months. 2. The History of the Chechemecan Empire, in which he explains what he found in Mexican manuscripts and paintings concerning the first colonies which passed from Asia to America, and the events of the most ancient nations established in Anahuac. 3. A long and learned Dissertation on the announcing of the Gospel in Anahuac; which was done there, as he believed, by the apostle St. Thomas, supporting his opinion on traditions of the Indians, crosses found, and formerly worshipped in Mexico, and other monuments. 4. The Genealogy of the Mexican Kings; in which he traced their ascending line as far back as the seventh century of the Christian sera. 5. Critical Annotations on the Works of Torquemada and Bernal Diaz. All these most learned manuscripts, which would have afforded considerable aid to this history, were lost through the negligence of the heirs of that learned author; and there now remain only some fragments of them preserved in the works of other contemporary writers, namely, of Gemelli, Betancourt, * and Florencia.

    * Augustino de Betancourt, a Franciscan of Mexico: his Ancient and Modern History of Mexico, printed in that capital in 1698, in one


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    [ 1 ]





    BOOK I.


    Description of the Country of Anahuac, or a short Account of the Soil, Climate, Mountains, Rivers, Lakes, Minerals, Plants, Animals, and People of the Kingdom of Mexico.

    The name of Anahuac, which was originally given to the vale of Mexico only, from its principal cities having been situated on little islands, and upon the borders of two lakes, taking afterwards a more extensive signification, was used to denominate almost all that tract of land, which is known at present by the name of New Spain (a).

    This vast country was then divided into the kingdoms of Mexico, Acolhuacan. Tlacopan, and Michuacan; into the republics of Tlaxcallan, Cholollan, and Huexotzinco, and several other distinct states.

    The kingdom of Michuacan, the most westerly of the whole, was bounded on the east and south by the Mexican dominions, on the

    (a) Anahuac signifies near to the water, and from thence appears to be derived the name of Anahuatlaca, or Nahttatlaca, by which the polished nations occupying the banks of the Mexican lake have been known.


                                    HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                 2

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    The nation of the Tarascas occupied the vast, rich, and pleasant country of Michuacan, where they multiplied considerably, and settled many cities and an infinite number of villages. Their kings were rivals of the Mexicans, and had frequent wars with them. Their artists excelled, or vied with those of other nations; at least after the conquest of Mexico: the best Mosaic works were made in Michuacan, and there only this valuable art was preserved unto our time. The Tarascas were idolatrous, but not so cruel as the Mexicans in their worship. Their language is copious, sweet, and sonorous. They make frequent use of the soft R; their syllables, for the most part, consist of a single consonant, and a single vowel. Besides the natural advantage of their country, the Tarascas had the good fortune to have D. Vasca di Quiroga for their first bishop, one of the most distinguished prelates Spain has produced, worthy of being compared with the ancient fathers of the church, and whose memory was preserved fresh unto our time, and will last perpetually among these people. The country of Michuacan, which is one of the finest of the New World, was annexed to the crown of Spain by the free and spontaneous aft of its lawful sovereign, without costing the Spaniards a drop of blood, although it is probable that the recent example of the ruin of the Mexican empire, intimidated and impelled that monarch to such a concession (y).

    The Mazahuas were once a part of the nation of the Otomies, as the languages of both nations are but different dialects of the same tongue; but this diversity between two nations so jealous of preserving their idioms uncorrupted, is a clear argument of the great antiquity

    (y) Boturiui says, that the Mexicans finding themselves besieged by the Spaniards, sent an embassy to the king of Michuacan, to procure his alliance; that he assembled an hundred thousand Tarascas, and as many Teochechemacas, in the province of Avalos; but that, being intimidated by certain visions which his sister had, who was once dead but returned to life again, he discharged the army, and abandoned the undertaking of succouring the Mexicans, as he had intended. But all this account is a string of fables. As far as we know, no author of that age makes mention of such an event. Whence came these hundred thousand Teochechemecas, who were so quickly assembled? Why was the army collected in the province most distant from Mexico? Who has ever seen the king of France order his troops to be assembled in Flanders, to succour some city of Spain? The resurrection of the princess is a fable founded on the memorable occurrence, respecting the sister of Montezuma, of which we shall speak hereafter.


    106                                 HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                

    of their separation. The principal places which they inhabited were on the western mountains of the vale of Mexico, and formed the province of Mazahuacan, belonging to the crown of Tacuba.

    The Matlatzincas made a considerable state in the fertile vale of Toluca; and, however great, anciently, their reputation was for bravery, they were, notwithstanding, subjected to the crown of Mexico, by king Axayacatl.

    The Miztecas and Zapotecas peopled the vast countries of their name, to the south-east of Tezeuco. The numerous states into which these two countries were divided, continued a long time under several lords or rulers of the same nations, until they were subdued by the Mexicans. Those nations were civilized and industrious; they had their laws, exercised the arts of the Mexicans, and made use of the same method to compute time, and the same paintings to perpetuate the memory of events, in which they represented the creation of the world, the universal deluge, the confusion of tongues; although the whole was intermixed with various fables (z). Since the conquest, the Miztecas and Zapotecas have been the most industrious people of New Spain. While the commerce of silk lasted, they were the feeders of the worms; and to their labours is owing all the cochineal, which for many years, until the present time, has been imported from Mexico into Europe.

    The Chiapanese have been the first peoplers of the New World, if we give credit to their traditions. They say that Votan, the grandson of that respectable old man who built the great ark to save himself and family from the deluge, and one of those who undertook the building of that lofty edifice which was to reach heaven, went, by express command of the Lord, to people that land. They say also that the first peoplers came from the quarter of the North, and that when they arrived at Soconusco, they separated, some going to inhabit the country of Nicaragua, and others remaining in Chiapan. This country, as historians say, was not governed by a king, but by two military chiefs, elected by priests. Thus they remained until they were subjected by

    (z) See the work of Fra Gregorio Garzia Dominicano, entitled, the Origin of the Indians, in book v. chap. 4. concerning the mythology of the Miztecas.


                                    HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                 107

    the last kings of Mexico to that crown. They made the same use of paintings as the Mexicans, and had the same method of computing time; but the figures with which they represented days, years, and months, were totally different.

    Of the Cohuixcas, the Cuitlatecas, the Jopas, the Mazatecas, the Popolocas, the Chinantecas, and the Totbnacas, we know nothing of the origin, nor the time when they arrived in Anahuac. We shall say something of their particular customs whenever it will illustrate the history of the Mexicans.

    But of all the nations which peopled the region of Anahuac, the most renowned and the most signalized in the history of Mexico, were those vulgarly called the Nahuatlacas. This name, the etymology of which we have explained, in the beginning of this history, was principally given to those seven nations, or rather those seven tribes of the same nation, who arrived in that country after the Chechemecas, and peopled the little islands, banks, and boundaries of the Mexican lakes. These tribes were the Sochimilcas, the Chalchese, the Tepanecas, the Colhuas, the Tlahuicas, the Tlascalans, and the Mexicans. The origin of all these tribes was the province of Aztlan, from whence came the Mexicans, or from some other contiguous to it, and peopled with the same nation. All historians represent them as originally of one and the same country: all of them spoke the same language. The different names by which they have been known, were taken from the places which they settled, or from those in which they established themselves.

    The Sochimilcas derived their name from the great city Xochimilco, which they founded on the southern shore of the lake of sweet water or Chalco; the Chalchese, from the city of Chalco, upon the eastern shore of the same lake; the Colhuas, from Colhuacan; the Mexicans, from Mexico; the Tlascalans, from Tlascala; and the Tlaluiicas, from the land where they established themselves; which, from its, abounding in cinnabar, was called Tlahuictill (a). The Tepanecas possibly had

    (a) Tlahuitl, is the Mexican name of cinnabar: and Tlahuican means the place or country of Cinnabar. Some authors call them Tlalhuicat, and derive the name from a place of that land called Tlalhuic; but besides that we never heard of such a place, the name does not appear conforming with the language.


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    248                                 HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                

    They told a similar fable of the origin of the moon. Tezcociztecal, another of those men who assembled in Teotihuacan, following the example of Nanahitatzin, threw himself into the fire: but the flames being somewhat less fierce, he turned out less bright, and was transformed into the moon. To these two deities they consecrated those two famous temples erected in the plain of Teotihuacan, of which we shall give an account in another place.

    Sect. IV.
    The god of air.

    Quetzalcoatl. (Feathered serpent.) This was among the Mexicans, and all the other nations of Anahuac, the god of the air. He was said to have once been high-priest of Tula. They figured him tall, big, and of a fair complexion, with an open forehead, large eyes, long black hair, and a thick beard. From a love of decency, he wore always a long robe; he was so rich that he had palaces of silver and precious stones; he was thought to possess the greatest industry, and to have invented the art of melting metals and cutting gems. He was supposed to have had the most profound wisdom, which he displayed in the laws which he left to mankind; and above all to have had the most rigid and exemplary manners. Whenever he intended to promulgate a law in his kingdom, he ordered a crier to the top of the mountain Tzatzitepec (the hill of shouting) near the city of Tula, whose voice was heard at the distance of. three hundred miles. In his time, the corn grew so strong that a single ear was a load for a man: gourds were as long as a man's body: it was unnecessary to die cotton, for it grew naturally of all colours: and all other fruits and seeds were in the same abundance and of extraordinary size. Then too there was an incredible number of beautiful and sweet singing birds. All his subjects were rich; and to sum up all in one word, the Mexicans imagined as much happiness under the priesthood of Quetzalcoatl, as the Greeks did under the reign of Saturn, whom this Mexican god likewise resembled in the exile which he suffered. Amidst all this prosperity, Tezcatilpoca, I know not for what reason, wishing to drive him from that country, appeared to him in the form of an old man, and told him that it was the will of the gods that he should be taken to the kingdom of Ttapalla. At the same time he offered him a beverage, which Quetzalcoatl readily accepted, in hopes of obtaining that immortality after which he aspired. He had no sooner drank it than he felt himself


                                    HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                 249

    so strongly inclined to go to Tlapalla, that he set out immediately, accompanied by many of his subjects, who, on the way, entertained him with music. Near the city of Quauhtitlan he felled a tree with stones, which remained fixed in the trunk: and near Tlalnepantla he laid his hand upon a stone and left an impression, which the Mexicans shewed the Spaniards after the conquest. Upon his arrival at Cholula, the citizens detained him, and made him take upon him the government of their city. Besides the decency and sweetness of his manners, the aversion he shewed to all kinds of cruelty, insomuch that he could not bear to "hear the very mention of war, added much to the affection entertained for him by the inhabitants of Cholula. To him they said they owed their knowledge of melting metals, their laws by which they were ever afterwards governed, the rites and ceremonies of their religion, and even, as some affirmed, the arrangement of their seasons and calendar.

    After being twenty years in Cholula, he resolved to pursue his journey to the imaginary kingdom of Tlapalla, carrying along with him four noble and virtuous youths. In the maritime province of Coaizacoalco, he dismissed them, and desired them to assure the Cholulans that he would return to comfort and direct them. The Cholulans, out of respect to their beloved Quetzalcoatl, put the reins of government into the hands of those young men. Some people said that he suddenly disappeared, others that he died upon that coast; but, however it might be, Quetzalcoatl was consecrated as a god by the Toltecas of Cholulan, and made chief guardian of their city, in the centre of which, in honour of him, they raised a great eminence and built a sanctuary upon it. Another eminence, with a temple, was afterwards erected to him in Tula. From Cholula his worship was propagated over all that country, where he was adored as the god of the air. He had temples in Mexico, and elsewhere; and some nations, even enemies of the Cholulans, had, in the city of Cholula, temples and priests dedicated to his worship; and people came from all countries thither, to pay their devotions and to fulfil their vows. The Cholulans preserved with the highest veneration some small green stones, very well cut, which they said had belonged to him. The people of Yucatan boasted that their nobles were descended from him.


    250                                 HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                

    Barren women offered up their prayers to him in order to become fruitful. His festivals were great and extraordinary, especially in Cholula, in the Teoxihuitl, or divine year; and were preceded by a severe fast of eighty days, and by dreadful austerities practised by the priests consecrated to his worship. Quetzalcoatl, they said, cleared the way for the god of water; because in these countries rain is generally preceded by wind.

    Dr. Siguenza imagined that the Quetzalcoatl, deified by those people, was no other than the apostle St. Thomas, who announced to them the Gospel. He supported that opinion with great learning, in a work (h) which, with many other of his inestimable writings, has been unfortunately lost by the neglect of his heirs. In that work he instituted a comparison betwixt the names of Didymos and Quetzalcoatl (i), their dress, their doctrine, and their prophecies; and examined the places through which they went, the traces which they left, and the miracles which their respective disciples related. As we have never seen the manuscript above mentioned, we shall avoid criticising an opinion to which we cannot subscribe, notwithstanding the respect which, we bear for the great genius and extensive learning of the author.

    Some Mexican writers are persuaded that the Gospel had been preached in America some centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards. The grounds of that opinion are some crosses (k) which have been

    (h) This work of Siguenza is mentioned by Betancourt, in his Mexican Theatre; and by Dr. Eguiera, in his Mexican Bibliotheca.

    (i) Betancourt observes, when he is comparing together the names of Didymos and Quetzalcoatt, that the latter is composed of cnatl a twin, and quetzalli a gem; and that it signifies a precious twin. But Torquemada, who perfectly understood the Mexican language, and had those names interpreted to him by the ancient people, says that Quetzalcoatl means, serpent furnished with feathers. In fact, coatl does perfectly signify serpent, and quctzalii, green feather, and have been applied to twin and gem, only metaphorically.

    (k) The crosses the most celebrated are those of Yucatan, of Mizteca, Ciueretaro, Tepique, and Tianquiztepec. Those of Yucatan are mentioned by Father Cogolludo, a Franciscan, in his History, book ii. chap 12. The cross of Mizteca is taken notice of by Boturini in his work, and in the chronicle of Father Burgoa, a Dominican. There is an account of the cross of Ciueretaro, written by a Franciscan of the college of Propaganda in that city; and of that of Tepique by the learned Jesuit Sigismund Tarabal, whose manuscripts are preserved in the Jesuit college of Guadalajora. That of Tiauquiztepec was discovered by Boturini, and is mentioned in his work. The crosses of Yucatan were worshipped by the Yucatanese, in obedience, as they said, to the instructions of their great prophet Chilam-Cambal, who desired that when a certain race of men with, beards should arrive in that country from the East, and


                                    HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                 251

    found at different times, which seem to have been made before the BOOK VI. arrival of the Spaniards: the fast of forty days observed by the people of the new world (l), the tradition of the future arrival of a strange people with beards, and the prints of human feet impressed upon some stones, which are supposed to be the footsteps of the apostle St. Thomas (n). We never could reconcile ourselves to this opinion; but the examination of such monuments and remains, would require a work of a very different kind from that which we have undertaken.

    Tlaloc, otherwise Tlalocateuctli (master of paradise), was the got! of water. They called him fertilizer of the earth, and protector of their temporal goods. They believed he resided upon the highest mountains, where the clouds are generally formed, such as those of Tlaloc, Tlascala, and Toluca; whither they often went to implore his protection.

    SECT. V.
    The gods of mountains, water,
    fire, earth, night, and hell.

    The native historians relate, that the Acolhuas having arrived in that country in the time of Xolotl, the first Chechemecan king, found at the top of the mountain of Tlaloc an image of that god, made of a white and very light stone, in the shape of a man sitting upon a square stone, with a vessel before him, in which was some elastic gum, and a variety of seeds. This was their yearly offering, by way of rendering up their thanks after having had, a favourable harvest. That image was reckoned the oldest in that country; for it had been placed upon that hill by the ancient Toltecas, and remained till the end of the XVth or beginning of the XVIth century, when Nezahualpilli, king of Acolhuacan, in order to gain the favour of his subjects, carried it away, and placed another in its stead, of a very hard black stone. The new image, however, being defaced by lightning, and the priests declaring it to be a punishment from heaven, the ancient statue was restored, and there

    should be seen to adore that sign, they should embrace the doctrine of those strangers. We shall have an opportunity of speaking more particularly concerning these monuments, in the Ecclesiastical History of Mexico, if Heaven vouchsafe to favour our design.

    (l) The fast of forty days proves nothing, as those nations likewise observed fasts of three, four, five, twenty, eighty, a hundred and sixty days, and even of four years; nor was that of forty days by any means the most common.

    (n) Not only the marks of human feet have been found printed or rather cut out in stones, but those likewise of animals have been found, without our being able to form any conjecture of the purpose had in view by those who have taken the trouble to cut them.


    252                                 HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                

    (remainder of text not copied)


    Transcriber's Comments

    Abbé  D. Francesco Saverio Clavigero

    Clavigero's History of Mexico

    (under construction)


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