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Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexica History Paperback – August, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (August 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816513392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816513390
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,665,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Into every life some Susan D. Gillespie must fall. Dr. Gillespie has taken a pleasing sequence of "facts," of which before reading her monograph I was entirely and absolutely certain, and most thoroughly demolished them. I had for many years enjoyed the traditional account of Motechuzoma's (AKA Montezuma's) encounter with Cortes, in which Motechuzoma's seeming waffling was based on his belief that Cortes was the returned ruler/deity Quetzalcoatl. His belief, according to both the traditional account and many recent authors, was based on an ancient Aztec legend that Quetzalcoatl would return from the east on the day 1 Reed, the day of Cortes's arrival. There were, I had fondly believed, persuasive embellishments to this story to the effect that Quetzalcoatl was a bearded white man, and equally ancient stories of why Quetzalcoatl had left his royal residence in Tula, and on and on. Because of these ancient stories, it was easy to understand why Motecuhzoma did not crush Cortes, or at least attempt to do so, at the outset of the Conquest.
Unfortunately, Dr. Gillespie demonstrates that these helpfully explanatory "ancient legends" are, in fact, mid-to-late 16th Century B.S., whole-cloth inventions that satisfied the needs of both the conquered Aztecs and the conquering Spaniards. While she is about it, she also suggests that Motechuzoma II was probably in fact Motechuzoma I, and that the published sequence of Aztec kings is much more spiritually than factually correct. Indeed (for me, at least) she leaves the entire corpus of Aztec pre-Conquest ethnohistory in a shapeless, swirling mass of quantum uncertainty. Her conclusions suggest that no post-Conquest accounts can be trusted whatever; and there exist essentially no pre-Conquest accounts.
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I used this book as a resource while writing my Bachelors thesis. A real standalone in regards to the depth and relevance of the lineages documented through the book. A University level book more than pleasure reading. Very difficult to find.
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