What the Aztecs Told Me
John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.
These two books are based on Friar Bernardino de Sahagъn’s 12-volume
General History of the Things of New Spain, published in the 16th
Broken Shields is a first-person narrative of the coming of the
Spaniards to the New World and the ensuing tragic defeat of the Aztecs,
the death of their leader Moctezuma, and the destruction of the
indigenous culture by the conquistadores. The pictures are from Friar
Diego Durбn’s History of the New Spanish Indies and Mainland Islands,
beautifully illustrated, it is believed, by Spanish-educated Indians.
What the Aztecs Told Me, also based on de Sahagъn’s conversations
with surviving Aztec elders of the preconquest era, is a record of
historical events prior to the Spanish arrival, supplemented by valuable
information on the indigenous culture—plants, animals, birds, feasts,
games, religion, and other aspects of Aztec life. The fascinating
illustrations are from the manuscript of the General History, which is
known as the Florentine Codex.
The text and design of both of these volumes is very attractive.