Victors and Vanquished
Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s text (The True History of the Conquest of New Spain) is a source used in chapter 4 of Victors and Vanquished. This is a primary source since the author reports what he observed. The source is significant as it shares with readers a feeling of the barbarity and battle in the combat against Tlaxcala. The source seeks to right what prior writers had been accounted for wrongly.
After reading the text, I learned that Diaz admired Cortes and portrayed him as a Christian leader (Schwartz 85). Cortes involved God in his missions. From the reading, what Cortés and his men did was all that they could. However, this reading seems to be one-sided, presumably because Diaz was part of the Cortes team. The report also does not go the extra mile to give insight into why certain things were happening. I would have liked to have more understanding as to why the Aztecs acted as they did.
“Florentine Codex” is one of the sources used in chapter 5 of Victors and Vanquished. This is a primary source because it acquired information through techniques such as face-to-face interviewing and participant observation. It was written in 16th-century in Mesoamerica. The source is significant as it reveals crucial content written in the Nahuatl language.
Being a primary source also means that the source is more reliable. The text uses contemporary English with Nahuatl grammar to translate Spaniards’ early accounts. The sources help in putting together Spanish and Nahuatl texts. After reading the source, I learned more about the encounter of Moctezuma and Cortes. Moctezuma had quite a reputation as Cortes esteemed him and desired to see him (Schwartz 113). After reading the source, I wonder how Moctezuma remained courageous despite the tension present during his meeting with Cortes.
Schwartz, Stuart B. Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.