Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España I

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Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España (General History of the Things of New Spain) brings together the twelve books published in Mexico by the Franciscan monk Bernardino de Sahagún between 1540 and 1590 from interviews with indigenous informants in Tlatelolco, Texcoco and Tenochtitlan. The best surviving manuscript of the work called the “Códice florentino” a copy of the texts whose original source was lost is housed in the archives of the Biblioteca Laurenciana de Florencia. Throughout the twelve books that make up the work different issues such as the culture of the natives,religious beliefs, astronomy and divination, prayers and rhetorical forms typical of traditional speeches in Nahuatl language, to the knowledge about the sun, moon and stars, or commerce, history, Aztec society and the Spanish conquest are adressed.
At the end of almost half a millennium, “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España not only remains one of the main sources of information about the life of the Aztecs before the “discovery”, but the first attempt to practice the complicated an ethnographic exercise of “putting oneself in the place of the other” trying to assume the internal logic of an alien mentality -and, in part, wondering about one’s own- to understand the world where other men live.

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