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General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book XII: The Conquest of Mexico
Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book XII recounts the Spanish conquest of Mexico, which took place between 1519, when Cortés landed on ...
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Medicea Laurenziana Library, Florence
Collection of Persian Poetry and Prose
This manuscript in Persian is an untitled Sufi text on meditation containing both poetry and prose. It was completed in early 1520, probably in Herat (present-day Afghanistan) or Mashhad (present-day Iran). The colophon, which is in Arabic, gives the name of the scribe, Mīr 'Alī Ḥusaynī Haravī (circa 1476−1543). The manuscript is on a firm cream-colored paper inlaid into light cream (folios 1−8) or pale greenish-blue margin paper, with the writing enclosed within alternating gold and cream (or green) bands with black ruling. The margin paper is profusely ...
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Library of Congress
The Splendid Narrative of Ferdinand Cortes About the New Spain of the Sea and Ocean Transmitted to the Most Sacred and Invincible, Always August Charles Emperor of the Romans, King of the Spaniards in the Year of the Lord 1520: In Which is Contained Many Things Worthy of Knowledge and Admiration About the Excellent Cities of Their Provinces…Above All About the Famous City Temixtitan and Its Diverse Wonders, Which Will Wondrously Please the Reader
Between July 1519 and September 1526, Hernando Cortés (1485-1547), the soldier and adventurer who in 1519-21 conquered for Spain what is now central and southern Mexico, sent five extended letters to Emperor Charles V in which he described his exploits and placed himself and his actions in a favorable light. This book contains the first Latin edition of Cortes’s second letter. In it, Cortés gives an account of his first meeting with the Aztec emperor, Montezuma II. Dated October 30, 1520, the letter was translated from Spanish into Latin ...
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John Carter Brown Library
Newspaper About the Country that the Spaniards Found in 1521, Called Yucatan
This small tract contains one of the first European descriptions of the Aztec civilization of Mexico and the earliest known European attempt to picture the city of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City). Most likely published in Augsburg in 1522, the work is a translation into German of an earlier Spanish account of Hernando Cortes’s expedition to Tenochtitlán in 1519-20. The city is pictured rather fancifully as having five towers and five bridges. Another woodcut shows an Aztec religious ceremony involving human sacrifice. Cortés first reached Tenochtitlán in November 1519. He ...
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John Carter Brown Library
Letter to Guillaume Budé, March 4, 1521
François Rabelais (1494?-1553) was a French Renaissance writer remembered for his comic masterpiece, Gargantua and Pantagruel. This letter is the first known text by Rabelais. It was written in 1521, when Rabelais was a young monk at the Franciscan monastery of Fontenay-le-Comte, and deeply immersed in the study of Greek and the humanities. The letter is addressed to Guillaume Budé, a classical scholar whom Rabelais admired. Intended to attract Budé’s attention and elicit his encouragement, the letter employs the conventional motifs of classical humanism. Rabelais left the cloister ...
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National Library of France
Journal of Magellan's Voyage
This manuscript volume, dating from around 1525, details Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the world in 1519-22. The work is attributed to Antonio Pigafetta, a Venetian scholar who was born in Vincenza, Italy, around 1490 and who accompanied Magellan on the voyage. Pigafetta kept a detailed journal, the original of which is lost. However, an account of the voyage, written by Pigafetta between 1522 and 1525, survives in four manuscript versions: one in Italian and three in French. This version, in French, is from the library of Yale University, and ...
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Yale University Library
The First Map of the Strait of Magellan, 1520
The first circumnavigation of the globe was the voyage of 1519–22 by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521), undertaken in the service of Spain. The only known first-hand account of the voyage is the journal by Venetian nobleman and scholar Antonio Pigafetta (circa 1480–1534). Four manuscript versions of Pigafetta’s journal survive, three in French and one in Italian. Pigafetta also made 23 beautiful, hand-drawn color maps, a complete set of which accompanies each of the manuscripts. Shown here is Pigafetta’s map of the Strait of ...
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National Library of Chile
Tenochtitlán, 1521
This topographical map of Mexico City and its surroundings dates from around 1550, some three decades after the conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán by Hernán Cortés in 1521. Tenochtitlán was founded in the 14th century on an island in the salt lake of Texcoco. Upon occupying the city, the Spanish pulled down its central parts and replaced the Aztec temples with buildings constructed in the Spanish style, but they left the street layout virtually intact. The map shows the new buildings. The cathedral (Iglesia Major) is in the ...
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Uppsala University Library
Narrative Letter by Hernán Cortés
The name of Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) and the controversy surrounding him are linked to the conquest of Mexico, which was the most important event of his life. Cortés was born in Medellín, Spain. He studied at the University of Salamanca, took part in Spain’s conquest, in 1506, of Hispaniola and Cuba, and rose to become a municipal official in Cuba. In 1518, he took command of an expedition to secure the interior of Mexico. Cortés’s letters are an essential source for understanding the early Spanish presence in ...
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National Library of Spain
On Monastic Vows
De votis monasticis (On monastic vows) is Martin Luther’s attack on the monastic life. Coming just four years after he posted his 95 theses in Wittenberg, the work was an important component of his broader plans for reforming the Christian church in the West. In this booklet, which was written during his stay at Wartburg Castle in 1521—a time when Luther was moving beyond his attacks on indulgences to other issues—the great reformer argued that monks and nuns can violate their vows without committing a sin, since ...
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Hill Museum & Manuscript Library