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HBO Wants to Make Hernan Cortes TV Series

Though old news, HBO give the green light for Martin Scorsese to create a Cortes series. Benicio del Toro will be executive producer. Though rumors state that del Toro will also play Cortes, no confirmation has been stated. So far, it will be about the entering of the Spanish and fall of the Mexica (Aztecs). No news on how many episodes there will be or when it will air.

The topic of Hernan Cortes is a very sensitive topic. To Mexicans, he represents an outsider who destroyed many things unique with Mexico. Though the upper class Mexicans have been trying to get monuments for Cortes in Mexico since the 1980’s, many Mexicans protest the monument erections.

Lopez Portillo, who was president at the time, twice assemble monuments for Cortes back in the 80’s. Both times Mexicans protested, but eventually had them installed once things calmed down.

Even in the movie La Otra Conquista (The Other Conquest) when actor Inaki Aierra
was dressed and makeup to look like Cortes, actress Elpidia Carrillo who played Tecuichpo aka Isabel didn’t want to look nor want to talk, not even eat lunch with him in that make up even though it’s make believe.

Other than the upper European elite of Mexico having a fascination with Cortes, many non-Mexicans (mostly Americans and Europeans) as well. To be honest, I don’t get. I never understood the fascination.

Even in Spain, he wasn’t praise as much. There was tons of lawsuits towards him along with the nation of Spain against him towards his disobeying orders. There was even Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas who questioned the conquest and occupation of Mexico. Even after his death, his bones never had a proper burial. His bones lost through history until the 20th century. Many times people attempting to destroy his bones.

Though HBO isn’t afraid to show gore like shows like Game of Thrones, the gore for this show is a bit sensitive subject since it’s historical gore.

I think the show would work if Cortes is seen either as a neutral character or the villain like they do on Game of Thrones. Displaying him as the hero will only piss people off. Even fellow soldier Bernal Diaz del Castillo didn’t depict him as the hero in his accounts.

I would like to see actual Nahuas, Maya and Otomis playing their rightful parts of their ancestors along with speaking their right language though I feel like that simple idea will not be done. Also, not depicting the natives as “dumb superstitious savages” would be a plus though I feel like the myths of the conquest has gotten to non-Mexican’s minds as though they are facts.

There was a lecture at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Though lecture was only an hour long without a list of other people doing lectures afterwards, this lecture was enough to stand alone.

The lecture was called Digging for Knowledge: Discovering the Ancient Maya Kingdom of El Zotz, Guatemala which I think the title says it all. Thomas G. Garrison, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at USC who was speaking and was at the archaeology investigation of El Zotz. He was discussing recent discoveries at the site of El Zotz, Guatemala.

The tomb was of the first ajaw (ruler) of El Zotz. While was showing typical artifacts, he eventually went into an interesting find; surviving textile from the Early Classic (AD 300-600) period which are rare. Since the team there was not an expert on retrieving them without damaging them, a team of experts were brought in.

He shown urns and vases which look like similar artifacts from other Maya cities. Some of the artifacts were at the Bowers museum, but not in display.

Then show something interesting Conus and Spondylus shells as rattles along with shells which used canine teeth as the “bell” park of the rattle.

It was interesting to see a lot of artifacts that are in the art.

Later demonstrating all the modifications of the temple and how things were removed to add more to it.

Along with things there were destroyed bc of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Even an artist rendition of how El Zotz was suppose to look, but that seemed like nothing when he shown us a 3d rendering of the tunnels using special cameras which shows how the site looks and the distance to give a good idea on how the site looks for those of us who can’t go.

What made the site hard for further for information is there was very little writing, but had a lot of iconology which helped a bit.

He shown how sacred sites aligned with sacred sites and buildings aligning with other buildings.

Based on these articles:

Today was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Museo de Antropologia, but the highlight of the event was receiving Codex Chimalpahin.

"Aqui comienza la cronica y antiguedad de los mexicanos" - Here starts the chronicle and antiquity of Mexicans, are the first words written in the document.

Codex Chimalpahin was one of many that were displayed in the Codices Exhibit "Los Códices de México, Memorias y Saberes" which is displaying 44 codices that are protected by Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia. These codices include Tira de la Peregrinación, Codex Martín de la Cruz-Badiano, Matrícula de Tributos, Codex Colombino, Codex Siguenza, Codex García Granados, two Chilam Balam books, Codex Coixtlahuaca, Codex Huamantla, Genealogías de Tlaxcala, Codex Dehesa (de Oaxaca), Codex Huejotzingo among many others.

INAH obtained them May 20th, 2014, from the Bible Society of London, who possessed them in 1827. They were going to be auctioned off on May 21st. The codex was acquired by paying 14 million pesos before going up for auction.

On August 18th, 2014, they arrived in Mexico. They were immediately deposited into the Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia's vault.

More info here from a previous article.

Aztec Constellations

Here’s a mix between the images of constellations from Primeros Memoriales with the text that describe the same things in the Florentine Codex, book 7:


When these appeared in the sky, copal was burned three times: when night fell to well into the night, when it was time to sleep to Tlatlapitzalizpan - when conches were blown, and during sun rise.

They were called Mamalhoaztli, fire drill since you could still see them when the sun was rising.

When these constellations would appear, self sacrifice of blood letting and offering maguey spines covered in blood. Men were burned on the wrists with the form of the constellations.


Certain ceremony of eating corn or amaranth tortillas were eaten during this time on the Xochitl, flower, days.


Called this since the constellation looked like a scorpion.

INAH Finds Unique Petroglyph in Calvillo


The INAH division in Aguascalientes in conjunction with the City of Calvillo, the discovery of a unique archaeological piece of its kind at the regional level (center) located in Los Huenchos.

Following a complaint by the Department of Tourism on an attempted looting over the particular piece by unknown group of people, the authorities called the INAH for archaeological study, as it is responsible for safeguarding the area's historic heritage. According to the report conducted by INAH archaeologist, Ana Pelz Marin, the monolith (rock) on which the image of a man with headdress and earrings is depicted; it is 4.9 feet wide and 5.1 feet high and 6.9 feet deep.

According to Alberto Ramirez, chief of INAH in Aguascalientes, the discovery is a breakthrough in archaeological studies in Aguascalientes. Aguascalientes has always been associated entirely with chichimeca culture, but this piece opens up the possibility that there was a diversity of ranges of cultural development.

Ana Pelz Marin explained that the elements of the piece may be noted that it goes with Teotihuacan culture between 200 and 600 ACE. Archaeological investigations in Aguascalientes have registered very recent settlements between 600 and 900 ACE, but in this specific case there should be more investigation.

There is the recommendation that to remove the stone, weighing between seven and ten tons by helicopter since by land is impossible.

Since a lack of staff and budget, the monolith will be detached from the rock, within 15 days to a month, will be studied in the INAH center and sent to the museum currently under construction in the town of Calvillo.

Codex Chimalpahin to be auctioned

Codex Chimalpahin, together with other Nahuatl works, to be auctioned.

The 3 volumes held by the British & Foreign Bible Society, are to be up for auction at Christies on May 21st, 2014.

Though there are many writings from dated right after the conquest to colonial Mexico, the most important sections are from writings from Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin.

The volumes are written in Nahuatl and Spanish. These works are not published nor have they been studied which make them rare. Once thought of lost in 1828, they were rediscovered in 1983.

Based on what the auction house provides, along with my historical knowledge, here is a compiled list of what is important about these 3 volumes:

Volume 1:
• History of the lords of the Chichimecas
• Pedro Vasquez’s translation of Gabriel de Castaneda’s Nahuatl account of the Mixton war
• Nuno de Guzman’s conduct in the torture and execution of Caltzontzin, ruler of Michoacan

Volume 2:
• History of the Chichimeca
• History of Texcoco

Volume 3
• Cronica Mexicayotl in Nahuatl
• "Aztec" Calendar with day signs
• History of rules of Tenochtitlan
• Nahuatl translations
• Documents in the Purepecha language
• Native names of places
• Texcocans accountsof the conquest
• Conquest of Tlatelolco in Nahuatl
• Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc's statements
• Early rulers of Tatelolco in Nahuatl
• Ancient "Aztec" month count and calendar in Nahuatl
• Tons of text in Nahuatl

Volume 1 and 2 has some writings of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl. Only surviving copies of his own writing. His signature is in Volume 1.

Volume 3, The Codex Chimalpahin, is mostly written by Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin; historian was a nobility of Nahua descedent. He wrote in Nahuatl for a Nahua audience. This is only 1 of 6 other different texts in his own writing that have survived. The other 5 are in Public Institutions.

More info which takes you directly to the page for the document from the auction house:

Teotihuacan’s Multi-ethnic Neighborhood


The absence of recorded texts describing the operation of the city of Teotihuacan has led to the Mexican archaeologist Linda Rosa Manzanilla Naim to use techniques from other disciplines to confirm the multi-ethnicity, diet and work developed, in a Teotihuacan neighborhood.

Linda said that from 1997 to 2005, 13 field seasons, in the center of the neighborhood Teopancazco, southeast of Teotihuacan, where she worked with a multidisciplinary team that managed to define the origin of several of 117 burials located in the site.

With the help of UNAM’s Geophysics and Geology division, conducted isotopic studies that determined where each person’s origin. They determined that they are coming from the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, and probably local people of Guerrero.

The occupation of Teopancazco began 150 ACE and lasted until 600 ACE. Its wealth is from the exchanging of cotton blankets, marine mollusks, pigments and face painting cosmetics.

The expert said that they found needles, pins, awls made of bone and shell buttons, which says that the neighborhood did the clothing for the governing elite.

Based on UNAM’s Geophysics and Geology study, it is known that most residents of Teopancazco ate corn tortillas almost every day while others had a more varied diet with fruits and animal protein.

An analysis of physical anthropology found that those who carried weight, was tailoring and sewing, were those who softened the fibers with teeth and had wear on their teeth.

"Aztec" drawing on Cosmos

Every time there is an image of anything indigenous especially mesoamerica history on television, I always feel like I have to comment.

The image depicted on the Cosmos was a crude drawing of Moctezuma and a comet from Codex Duran. I posted the original drawing to show a difference. Considered the fourth sign of the fall of Tenochtitlan though Florentine Codex in book 12 description is of a shooting star since it breaks in 3 pieces and could be the first sign as you can see (Mixing it with the translation along from Anderson & Dibble with me editing it for an easier understanding):

The first bad omen:

Ten years before the Spaniards first came here, a bad omen appeared in the sky. It was like
a tongue of fire, like a flame, like the ligt of dawn. It looked as if it were showering [sparks], as if it stood piercing the sky. It was wide at the base, it was pointed at the head. To the very midst the sky, to the very heart of the heavens it stood reaching; to the very midpoint of the skies it stood stretched as it was seen. It was there to the east when it thus came forth at midnight; it looked as if day had dawned, day had broken. Later, the sun destroyed it when he arose.

The fourth bad omen:

Fire streamed through the sky while the sun was still shining. It divided into three
parts. It began there in the west and it traveled there to the east as if showering glowing coals. For a great distance it went extending a tail; far did its tail go reaching.

Though people may think people back then may not know the difference, if you were to read Florentine Codex book 7. Comet called Citlalin Popoca (smokey star) and shooting star as Citlalin Tlamina (skyground star). With these descriptions on each of them. I'll do a clean Nahuatl explanation of each.

Citlalin Popoca:

It is said to be an omen for the ruler because it predicted a ruler to perish. Perhaps some person of noble lineage would die. Also, they said that somewhere he might be imprisoned or war would begin. If not that, then there would be famine.

Citlalin Tlamina:

It was said that the passing of a Citlain Tlamina rose and fell neither without purpose nor in vain. It brought a "worm" to something. And if an animal was wounded by a shooting star. It was not to be eaten.

And by night all were well protected. All covered themselves; they clothed themselves, wrapped themselves in mantles, and bound on their garments, for fear of the Citlain Tlamina.

Coatepec Located in the State of Hidalgo


The location of the mythical Coatepec, sacred to the Mexica as the place where Huitzilopochtli was born, is in the state of Hidalgo, has been possible thanks to the archaeological evidence that matches the pre-Hispanic and colonial historical sources, as well as the similarities between myth and geography of the Mezquital Valley.

Fernando Lopez Aguilar, researcher of INAH, said he had found Coatepec, now known as Hualtepec or del Astillero, just 30 kilometers from the archaeological site Pahnu, culture Xajay, whose age is calculated from the Preclassic period (500 BCE - 300 ACE).

Coatepec, is the centerpiece of the Mexica mythology being Coatlicue stage of pregnancy and the birth of her son, Huitzilopochtli. Also, the sacrifice of his sister Coyolxauhqui and battle against Centzon Huitznahua, children of Coatlicue.

Aguilar said the mythical mountain, which appears in the work of several writers, as Fray Bernardino de Sahagun and Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc could be located in the Valle del Mezquital, where Hualtepec was held sacred from the Teotihuacan period and could be where the Mexica were staying in their migration before reaching Tula.

According to tradition, the Mexica left the mythical Aztlan, stopped in Teoculhuacan-Chicomoztoc and then arrived at Coatepec before passing through Tula.

For decades, archaeologists and scholars of ancient Mexico have sought to locate Aztlan, as well as Coatepec, in different parts of Mexico: Durango, Zacatecas, Sinaloa and Nayarit. Currently, it is thought that these places could be closer to Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro and Hidalgo.

The project manager said that new technologies and current knowledge on the northern frontier of Mesoamerica allow postulate new hypotheses about the origin and course of the Mexica and the location of Coatepec.

The hypothesis that Hualtepec could be the sacred mountain of the Mexica is reinforced by archaeological evidence found in the Hidalgo mountain itself, whose research field date from 1991.

At the highest point, the southern side is a rectangular base of 20 meters long, with slopes, where there is an ancient pre-Hispanic structures made of rocks. A walkway 400 meters in length joins the north side where there is another mound.

Also archaeologists have registered prehispanic sculptures: a snake's head carved in stone, perhaps a representation of Xiuhcóatl, and at least seven ogival shape elements which look like they were for battlements, having carved a double arch design and three circles, as well as coated nails, stucco floors and blue paint.

Another interpretation of these battlements, is that they could be ornaments related to Coyolxauhqui.

In addition, half of Hualtepec is a rocky promontory known as Peña de la Luna (Moon Rock), following the Mexica myth, is the head of Coyolxauhqui left in the mountains as her body rolled down in pieces.

Although the hill was looted in the 1940s and 1950s, archaeologists revealed the existence of two other snakeheads in the surrounding towns, and by the testimony of the locals knew what was extracted from Hualtepec.

The idea that it is the mythical Coatepec is Hualtepec is reinforced as it is in the center of a system of shrines that existed on the tops of the surrounding hills: Calvario, near the town of Tecozautla; Cruces (Michimaloya) Cruz ( Tepetitlán), Colorado (La Cruz) Brujas (Huichapan) Natu (San Jose Atlantic) Maravillas (Acazuchitlán) and Nopala (Nopala), among others.

In texts such as the Mexicayotl Chronic by Tezozomoc Alvarado, Anales de Cuauhtitlán and the Florentine Codex by Sahagun Coatepec and there are references to its proximity to Tula, which is located 35 kilometers.

The American researcher Paul Kirchhoff, who worked the delimitation of the border of the Teotihuacan empire, proposed Aztlan could be located near Lake Yuriria and Teoculhuacan-Chicomoztoc could be Culiacan, in Guanajuato. Accordingly, Hualtepec is just 166 kilometers from the lake.

In the Valle del Mezquital, which until the eighteenth century Teotlalpan, there were three sacred mountains: Coatepec, Xithá (now called Juarez, Ixmiquilpan) and Tezcatepec (Tezcatl), which according to myth was the refuge of Copil, enemy of Huitzilopochtli, the archeologist concluded.

Lopez Aguilar recalled that a few years ago, villagers performed on the hill, the Mexica ceremony Floreo de Banderas (Potse ya bexte in Otomi), precisely on December 21, related to the birth date of Huitzilopochtli, the winter solstice (21 -22 December).

Some ritual practices currently taking place in the region of Tecozautla-Alfajayucan, could be related to the calendar ritual , with the solar-lunar cycles, solstices and especially zenith transits, culminating with the feast of Huitzilopochtli at Coatepec, about May 3.

These calendrical celebrations associated with Catholic saints, are made in towns like Saint Jose (March 19) in Tula and Atlan; Saint Isidro (May 19) in Zimapantongo; Santa Maria Magdalena (July 22) and Santiago Apostol ( July 25), and in Nopala and Chapantongo.

An example, Naranjazos battle ritual between two sides that represent eagles and tigers, which takes place during the festival in El Espíritu, Alfajayucan associated to the spring equinox (March 20-21).

There is also the notion that Huitzilopochtli existed and the hill was sacred before the arrival of the Mexica, but the Mexica took over the myth and hill for control of the region.

Archaeologists Bring to Light a Mayan Mural


Looters opened a hole in the dome of an ancient palace of the Mayan city of Chilonche. Spanish and Guatemalans researchers, worked there for years, were warned and scared off looters. Then archaeologists discovered, through a hole, a mural painted inside a palace's room that for centuries has remained buried in the jungle.

The paintings dates from the Maya civilization during the late Classic period (600-900 AD), decorate a room that had been closed with stones and earth by the ancient Maya. Preserved in good condition, the mural recreates several scenes of offerings to a special, powerful, perhaps a political official. Figures of men and women painted in black, red and earth tone colors appear and hieroglyphic signs mentioning the names and dates of each person. There are characters dressed in headgear exclusively from that region.

Alfonso Lacadena is deciphering the Maya writing which will help to better understand the society that settled in Chilonche.

The discovery was made two years ago, but investigators have not publicly presented to the media until Thursday at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. During that period, they have been dedicated to first excavate the room and ensure the preservation of the mural. Possibly, more paintings will be in the other rooms that make up the palace and which have not yet been explored. The area is subject to frequent attacks by looters plundering the rich Mayan heritage of Guatemala to sale illegally.