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Hernan Cortes - Aztecs and Mexica - The view from Tlatelolco

Identifier

011462

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

The wisdom is not that of Cortes, but that of the Aztecs who built their entire city on the lines of a sacred geography

On the 12th of November, 1519, four days after their entry into Mexico, Cortes and his chief captains went to see the market and the great temple of Tlatelolco with the emperor Motecuhzoma II. They went up the 114 steps of the teocalli and stood on the platform at the top of the pyramid, in front of the sanctuary. Motecuhzoma took Cortes by the hand and told him to look at the great city and all the other towns near by on the lake and the many villages built on the dry land ……..

A description of the experience

Hernan Cortes – Cartas de Relacion

This great accursed temple [sic] was so high that from the top of it everything could be seen perfectly. And from up there we saw the three causeways that lead into Mexico - the causeway of lztapalapan, by which we had come four days earlier; the causeway of Tlacopan, by which we were later to flee, on the night of our great defeat …. and that of Tepeyacac. We saw the aqueduct that comes from Chapultepec to supply the town with sweet water, and at intervals along the three causeways the bridges which let the water flow from one part of the lake to another. We saw a multitude of boats upon the great lake, some coming with provisions, some going off loaded with merchandise and in these towns we saw temples and oratories shaped like towers and bastions, all shining white, a wonderful thing to behold. And we saw the terraced houses, and along the causeways other towers and chapels that looked like fortresses.

So, having gazed at this and reflected upon it, we turned our eyes to the great market-place and the host of people down there who were buying and selling: the hum and the murmur of their voices could have been heard for more than a league. And among us were soldiers who had been in many parts of the world, at Constantinople, all over Italy and at Rome; and they said they had never seen a market so well ordered, so large and so crowded with people.

The source of the experience

Aztecs and the Mexica

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References