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1RANSLA1lON lN HlS1ORlOCRAPHY: 1HL CARl8AYjLLON-

POR1lLLA COMPLLX ANL 1HL MAKlNC Ol A PRL-


HlSPANlC PAS1
*

GlR1RuulS lAYAS

Ml1A. -, sept|embte zoo, Mootteal, CaoaJa.

HlsLorluns und unLhroologlsLs someLlmes need Lo LrunsluLe or Lo use LrunsluLlons ln
order Lo huve uccess Lo sources wrlLLen ln oLher lunguuges. 1runsluLlon ln Lhelr hunds
dlffers from LrunsluLlon erformed by rofesslonul LrunsluLors ln one lmorLunL usecL:
uL leusL LheoreLlcully, Lhe ob|ecLlve of LrunsluLlon erformed by Lhe rofesslonul
LrunsluLor ls Lhe Lrunsfer lLself. Somebody else wlll use our LrunsluLlons for hls or her
uroses. 8uL, when Lhe hlsLorlun
**
LrunsluLes, he ls boLh LrunsluLor und end-user. lndeed,
he ls even more Lhun LhuL: he orders Lhe LrunsluLlon by chooslng Lhe LexL from u
selecLlon of oLher sources, someLlmes he ulso currles ouL Lhe uleogruhy und Lhe
edlLlon, Lhen he LrunsluLes und uses Lhe LrunsluLlon Lo suorL hls flndlngs. 1runsluLlon ls
Lhus u slgnlflcunL urL of Lhe hlsLorlogruhlcul rocess, lnvolvlng u number of declslons.
1he urose of LrunsluLlon ln Lhe hunds of Lhe hlsLorlun ls hlsLory-muklng, uurenLly
Lhrough Lhe obLenLlon of evldence LhuL ls consldered dormunL ln unLued wrlLLen
sources. 1runsluLlons ln Lhe hunds of hlsLorluns, Lherefore, ure lmorLunL becuuse Lhey
ure execLed Lo dellver some oLherwlse unuvulluble undersLundlng of Lhe usL. Lxlorlng
Lhe wuy ln whlch Mexlcun Mlddle-AmerlcunlsLs (or MesoumerlcunlsLs) Angel Muriu
Curlbuy und Mlguel Leon-PorLlllu vlew Lhe reluLlonshl beLween Lhe re-Columblun usL
und lLs Lruces, us well us Lhe wuy ln whlch Lhey huve exLrucLed meunlng from Lhese Lruces

*
1hls essuy concludes reseurch underLuken wlLhln Lhe conLexL of Lhe PhL Semlnur uL Lhe U. of OLLuwu
whlch roduced Lwo uers: Ll hlsLorludor y lu Lruducclon: unu curlosu umlsLud, resenLed uL Lhe Xll
LncuenLro de Lruducclon llLerurlu, ln Mexlco ClLy, OcLober zooz, und Lu Lruducclon como reresenLuclon:
Creclu en el Anuhuuc, resenLed uL Lhe l Congreso Sudumerlcuno de HlsLorlu, SLu Cruz, 8ollvlu, AugusL
zoo.
**
l um uslng hlsLorlun us u generlc, whuLever Lhe ucudemlc credenLluls of Lhe rucLlLloners. ln Lhls sense,
Curlbuy, u Churchmun, und Leon-PorLlllu, who holds u PhL ln Phllosohy, ucL us hlsLorluns.


z
Lhrough LrunsluLlon, Lhe reresenLuLlons conveyed by Lhese LrunsluLlons und Lhe
lmllcuLlons Lherefrom wlll consLlLuLe Lhe focus of Lhls uer.
lor u long Llme, Lhe Lruces of Lhe re-Columblun usL were, flrsLly, Lhe monumenLs
(Lhe rulns of yrumlds und so forLh), Lhen Lhe sculLure, cerumlcs und ulnLlngs, und lusLly
Lhe few codexes keL ln some forelgn museums und llbrurles: u clvlllzuLlon reresenLed
chlefly by muLerlul remulns und lucklng u wrlLLen LrudlLlon, Lhus consldered rlmlLlve,
re-hlsLorlcul.
When, durlng Lhe go's und o's, Mexlcun CuLhollc rlesL Angel Muriu Curlbuy
sLurLed Lhe sLudy und LrunsluLlon of LexLs wrlLLen ln ulhubeLlcul NuhuuLl under Lhe
suervlslon of Lhe flrsL Sunlsh mlsslonurles, noLubly Lhe 6
Lh
cenLury corus enLlLled
Caotates Mex|caoos Lo whlch we wlll refer here, he wus creuLlng u llLeruLure for Lhls greuL
clvlllzuLlon. UnLll Lhen Lhe yrumld hud been u sllenL wlLness of Lhe usL, from Lhen on,
Lhe yrumld would huve u volce.
CARl8AY ANL 1HL 8lR1H Ol A Ll1LRA1URL 1HROUCH 1RANSLA1lON
luLher Angel Muriu Curlbuy wus born ln 8gz und dled ln g6,. He llved Lhrough Lhe
Mexlcun RevoluLlon, Lhe LurbulenL osL-RevoluLlonury erlod und Lhe rellglous
ersecuLlons of Lhe Ct|steta Wur. Hls ls ulso Lhe Llme of greuL deflnlLlons, Lhe Llme of
bulldlng of modern nuLlonullsm, formuluLed by urchueologlsL Munuel Cumlo, und
nourlshed by unoLher urchueologlsL, Alfonso Cuso, wlLh Lhe wldely ubllclzed dlgglngs ln
1eoLlhuucun (SLuLe of Mexlco), 1emlo Muyor (Mexlco ClLy) und MonLe Albun (SLuLe of
Ouxucu). Lurlng Lhese yeurs, nuLlonul lnsLlLuLlons were creuLed Lo roLecL Lhe newly
dlscovered monumenLs (u|tecc|oo Je Aottopoloq/a ln g,, uepattameoto Je Mooomeotos
ltel|spao|cos ln gz, und Lhe lost|toto Nac|ooal Je Aottopoloq/a e l|stot|a ln gg, wlLh lLs
uLLuched lscoela Nac|ooal Je Aottopoloq/a e l|stot|a). lL ls noL of llLLle relevunce LhuL
Curlbuy recelved ln g6, from Lhe Lhen PresldenL, CusLuvo Liuz Orduz, Lhe ltem|o
l|tetat|o Je l|stot|a y lettas LogeLher wlLh Lhe urchlLecL of Lhe Moseo Nac|ooal Je
Aottopoloq/a, Pedro Rumirez vuzquez, slnce boLh works ure emblemuLlc of Lhe AzLec
urcheLye. As u urullel develomenL, Lhe SLuLe's lndlgenlsL ollcy wus creuLed, by
whlch Lhe murglnullzed eLhnlc grous would be lncororuLed wlLhln Lhe modern nuLlon
(ulLhough on Lhls olnL Curlbuy belleved LhuL Lhe soluLlon oL Lhe lndlgenous eole's
llghL wus u muLLer of fulLh und noL of ollcy meusures (vuldes g,z: z)). We should
ulso recull LhuL he ls u conLemorury of Lhe voclferous lefLlsL murullsLs (Orozco, Slquelros,
Rlveru), us well us of u cosmoollLun generuLlon of brllllunL oeLs und essuylsLs such us

Sulvudor Novo und Alfonso Reyes (u ollLlclun und LrunsluLor of Clusslcul lunguuges, who
ubllcly clulmed LuLln for Lhe LefL

), whose ldeologlcul counLerolnL he reresenLs.


AlLhough he wus u rollflc LrunsluLor of Creek, LuLln und Hebrew, Curlbuy ls known
und rulsed for huvlng besLowed NuhuuLl wrlLlngs Lhe llLerury sLuLus und huvlng luced
Lhem umong Lhe clusslcs of world llLeruLure, Lhunks Lo hls LrunsluLlons of numerous LexLs
LhuL hud been forgoLLen or recurlously sLudled. As such, und Lhrough Lhe conLlnued
recovery und urorluLlon of hls works by nuLlonullsL unLhroology, led by Mexlcun
scholur Mlguel Leon-PorLlllu, hls amattelaJo J|sc/polo (lnfuLuuLed dlsclle) (vuldes
g,z: zg), Curlbuy ls sLlll Lhe reference for uny scholur lnLeresLed ln NuhuuLl lunguuge
und llLeruLure, und, Lherefore, for MesoumerlcunlsLs ln generul.
Curlbuy ls u ChrlsLlun HumunlsL: No comrender ul hombre y no esforzurse or
comrender u Lodos los hombres es lo mus ouesLo que huy ul verdudero humunlsmo.
1enemos que ugregur que lu buse del CrlsLlunlsmo es lu comrenslon unlversul de Lodos
los hombres (Curlbuy g, l: zo,), he suys. 1hls unlfylng vlslon ls ulso vlslble ln Lhe
refuces Lo hls Creek LrunsluLlons
z
, us well us ln hls commenLurles Lo NuhuuLl LexLs

,
where he uholds Lhe unlversul vulues of oeLry und redlcuLes convergences beLween
Creek, blbllcul und Hlndu LrudlLlons. 8uL, ubove ull, he udmlres clusslcul Creek culLure:
.el LeuLro grlego es fundumenLul uru lus ruices de nuesLru culLuru (Curlbuy g6z:
XXll). lL ls only nuLurul, Lherefore, LhuL Lhls would be Lhe unlverse of reresenLuLlon
domlnuLlng hls LrunsluLlon work.
ln hls celebruLed l|stot|a Je la l|tetatota oaloatl (g), he resenLs u selecLlon of
exLrucLs LrunsluLed from Caotates Mex|caoos ulLernuLlng wlLh exlunuLlons, ln u formuL
reculllng u clusslcul llLerury lnvenLory, or recenslo. 1hls ulLernunce hels us follow
Curlbuy's references, lrrlLuLlons und relucLunces. lndeed, ulLhough he doesn'L resenL u
sysLemuLlzed reflecLlon ubouL LrunsluLlon (LrunsluLlon ls noL roblemuLlzed ln Lhe wuy
rheLorlcul or sLyllsLlc usecLs ure), Lhe LeneLs ure noL dlfflculL Lo ldenLlfy.


Hls LrunsluLlon roducLlon ls volumlnous und he ofLen reLrunsluLes Lhe sume LexLs. ln
hls work, LrunsluLlon ls un lnsLrumenL of u greuLer urose: Lo creuLe und dlssemlnuLe u

Oulero el luLin uru lus lzqulerdus, orque no veo lu venLu|u de de|ur cuer conqulsLus yu ulcunzudus. Y
qulero lus Humunldudes como el vehiculo nuLurul uru Lodo lo uuLocLono. Alfonso Reyes: Llscurso or
vlrglllo, en Obrus ComleLus, vol. Xl, . 6o-6.
z
See for exumle, Curlbuy g6zb: Xl

See for exumle, Curlbuy g, l: g.

AnLolne 8ermun's work on LrunsluLlon crlLlclsm wlll be lnmensely helful ln Lhls resecL, urLlculurly Lhe
deflnlLlon und unulysls of eLhnocenLrlc und hyerLexLuul LrunsluLlon (g8).

greuL llLeruLure. SLresslng Lhe unulogy beLween Creek und NuhuuLl, he suys ln hls l|stot|a
Je la l|tetatota oaloatl LhuL, |usL us Lhere ure muny wuys of LrunsluLlng HoruLlo, Lhere ure
muny wuys of LrunsluLlng Lhese LexLs (Curlbuy g, l: oo). More Lhun Len yeurs luLer, ln
hls blllnguul corus loes/a Naloatl, he sLlll refers Lo la vat|eJaJ Je m|s ttaJocc|ooes qoe
me lao |ocolpaJo (Curlbuy g6, ll: Lvl), noLlng LhuL he hus been crlLlclzed for Lhe
lnconslsLency of hls LrunsluLlons.
ln Curlbuy, Lhe muny references Lo Lhe Lemorury, rovlslonul nuLure of hls verslons
do noL seem Lo come elLher from modesLy or from u sense of culculuLlon. lndlfferenL Lo
ressures from hls reudershl Lo render u flxed LrunsluLlon, he forces Lhe LexLs Lo
surrender Lhrough reeuLed LrunsluLlon ussuulLs. He seems convlnced LhuL only ln Lhls
wuy wlll Lhe NuhuuLl LexLs yleld Lhelr beuuLy und meunlng. 1hls oen oslLlon offers u sufe
hurbor for hls mulLlle verslons. He clulms LhuL hls work ls rovlslonul buL he ls ulso uble
Lo uccounL for hls LrunsluLlons.
Curlbuy ls un udvocuLe of free LrunsluLlon, und mosL of Lhe Llme he uduLs Lhe LexLs Lo
un ldeullzed conceL of llLeruLure. Hls hermeneuLlc urouch ls ldeullsL, oslLlvlsL: Lu
verslon no es culcu, slno Lrunsfuslon de vldu. (g6, ll: Lvl).

lor hlm, ln slLe of Lhelr


obscurlLy, Lhese LexLs conLuln u meunlng: lo toJa compos|c|oo poet|ca lay asooto, pot
vaqo e |osostaoc|al qoe sopooqa (Curlbuy g6: Xvll), und he clusslfles Lhls muLLer ln
Lhree cuLegorles: dlvlne, humun, und hllosohlcul quesLlons (Curlbuy g6: Xvll- XXvll)
1he LexLs -whlch he conslders oems- conLuln Lherefore no less Lhun Lhe exlunuLlon of u
whole culLurul unlverse.
And Curlbuy musL muke Lhls unlverse lnLelllglble. 1o Lhls end, Lhere belng no model
for Lhese LexLs ln Lhe LurgeL culLure, he wlll resorL Lo Lhe Creek models. Obvlously, he wlll
huve Lo submlL Lhe LexLs Lo u rocess of normullzuLlon, LhuL ls, Lhey wlll be sLundurdlzed
und forced lnLo u llLerury cunon. l would suy, furLhermore, LhuL Lhls ls u cuse of uologeLlc
LrunsluLlons: Lhey huve been enLrusLed wlLh Lhe Lusk of reresenLlng u greuL clvlllzuLlon,
comuruble Lo Lhe clusslcul ones. 1hey wlll Lherefore huve Lo be clusslcul Loo.
ln Lhe LreuLmenL of LexLs Lrough LrunsluLlon, urLlculurly ln Lhe verslons of Caotates
mex|caoos, we cun see how mosL of Lhe Llme Curlbuy dlssolves umblgulLles: he ellmlnuLes
ull ChrlsLlun references und generully removes whuLever doesn'L meeL hls sLyllsLlc,
chronologlcul or ldeologlcul ussumLlons. ln hls LrunsluLlon urouch, recedence ls glven
Lo meunlng over leLLer. He dlsenLungles obscurlLles, uddlng clurlLy und formul beuuLy. He

Remlndlng us of Lhe Leologlcul dlsuLe seLLled by SulnL Puul: Lhe leLLer kllls, Lhe slrlL vlvlfles,
CorlnLhluns, lll-6, whlch hus u rofound beurlng ln Lhe Lhlnklng ubouL LrunsluLlon of rellglous LexLs.

chos u Lhe LexL uccordlng Lo formul verslflcuLlon und lnLroduces rhyLhm. Lunguuge ls
homogenlzed und sysLemuLlzed uccordlng Lo Lhe norms of Creek drumu. AL Lhe level of
Lhe whole corus, Curlbuy glves coherence und coheslon Lo u heLerogeneous corus, und
ruLlonullzes lL uccordlng Lo llLerury cunons, whlch Lhemselves derlve from Creek cunons.
Moreover, he churucLerlzes lL uccordlng Lo hls morul und uesLheLlc vulues.
6

WhuLever fluws we muy flnd Loduy ln hls work, luLher Curlbuy's work wus
undoubLedly, us Keen suys: Lhe flrsL lurge-scule, rlgorously sclenLlflc exloruLlon of u
sub|ecL LhuL swurmed wlLh dlfflculLles becuuse of Lhe obscure, hermeLlc churucLer of
much of Lhe NuhuuLl llLerury muLerlul (Keen g,: ). Hls LrunsluLlons, ubllshed ln Lwo
culLul works
,
und u hosL of smuller, oulur, edlLlons, ullowed hlm Lo oslL Lhe exlsLence
of u genulne NuhuuLl llLeruLure uL u Llme when Lhlngs huvlng Lo do wlLh lndluns were
mosLly deslsed.
LLON-POR1lLLA: 1RANSLA1LL Ll1LRA1URL 8LCOMLS HlS1ORlOCRAPHlCAL
SOURCL
Meunwhlle, Mlguel Leon-PorLlllu (born gz6), Curlbuy's dlsclle, roosed ln hls
docLorul Lhesls (g6) LhuL Lhese wrlLlngs, some LrunsluLed by hls musLer Curlbuy und
oLhers by hlmself (und Leon-PorLlllu wlll never be ubsoluLely cleur ubouL LhuL), LogeLher
wlLh Lhe unclenL codlces und ulnLlngs, could suorL Lhe noLlon LhuL, conLrury Lo whuL
wus commonly ussumed, Lhere exlsLed ln re-Columblun Llmes u corus of ubsLrucL
knowledge LhuL could be consldered us NuhuuLl Phllosohy. Hls LeneLs were
Lremendously successful, und hls docLorul Lhesls: la l|losof/a Naloatl estoJ|aJa eo sos
foeotes, hus been reedlLed uL leusL elghL Llmes
8
. NoL only ls Leon-PorLlllu u rollflc wrlLer,
who hus edlLed und ubllshed sLudles bused ln Lhese LrunsluLlons of unclenL LexLs, now
unuvolduble sources for hlsLorluns und unLhroologlsLs, he ulso dlrecLs u NuhuuLl sLudy
grou (Sem|oat|o Je l|tetatota Naloatl) uL Lhe uo|vets|JaJ Nac|ooal Aotoooma Je Mex|co
LhuL hus been Lhe suwnlng ground for muny NuhuuLl seclullsLs, und resldes over Lhe
fleld from Lhe wuLchLower of Lhe |ournul lstoJ|os Je Coltota Naloatl, founded by hlm und
now dlrecLed by hllologlsL Ascenslon Hernundez de Leon-PorLlllu, hls wlfe. Moreover, he

6
An lllusLruLed unulysls of Lhese churucLerlsLlcs ls Lhe sub|ecL of my uer: Lu Lruducclon como
reresenLuclon: Creclu en el Anuhuuc, resenLed uL Lhe Prlmer Congreso Sudumerlcuno de HlsLorlu, SunLu
Cruz, 8ollvlu, AugusL zo-z, zoo.
,
l|stot|a Je la l|tetatota oaloatl (z vol.) Ld. Porruu, Mexlco, g-g, und loes/a oaloatl ( vol.) UNAM,
Mexlco, g6-g68.
8
g6, gg, g66, g,, g,g, g8, gg, gg,. 1runsluLlons lnclude g6 (Russlun), g,o (Cermun), und
g8 (lrench). Lngllsh edlLlons were ubllshed ln g6, g,o, g,, g,, g,8, g8o, g8z, g8.

6
hus ulso dlrecLed Lhe AcaJem|a Mex|caoa Je la l|stot|a (gg6-zoo). Among oLher
lnLernuLlonul nomlnuLlons, he wus heud of Lhe ermunenL reresenLuLlon of UNLSCO ln
Mexlco. He hus been ucclulmed uL home und ubroud, und hus recelved muny uwurds und
ucknowledgemenLs. He moves freely ln u vusL LerrlLory encomusslng hlsLory und
unLhroology, hllosohy, hllology, und llLeruLure. LxcerLs of hls (or Curlbuy's?)
LrunsluLlons ure engruved ln Lhe monumenLul fuudes of Mexlco's NuLlonul Museum of
AnLhroology. He reresenLs offlclul Mexlcun hlsLory und lLs ldeologeme: Lhe slendor of
Lhe AzLec usL.
1hls knowledge ubouL Lhe usL hus been uL leusL urLly broughL ubouL by LrunsluLlon.
And whlle ln Curlbuy Lhe LrunsluLlon efforL und deLulls of Lhe Lrunsfer oeruLlons ure qulLe
exllclL, ln Leon-PorLlllu we do noL flnd unyLhlng of Lhe klnd. ArorluLlon Lhrough
clLuLlon ls hls sLruLegy. We cun seldom see orlglnul und LrunsluLlon LogeLher und, ln hls
essuys, LrunsluLlons ure clLed us lf Lhey were orlglnuls. 1runsluLlon ls noL roblemuLlzed ln
slLe of Lhe ucknowledged Lremendous dlfflculLles lnvolved ln Lhe lnLerreLuLlon of
Clusslcul NuhuuLl.
ln shorL, once clusslclzed by Curlbuy, Lhe LrunsluLed LexLs huve been used Lo romoLe
Lhe AzLec urcheLye whlch hus become Lhe brund nume for Mexlcun culLure of Lhe zo
Lh

cenLury und one of Lhe lllurs of nuLlonullsL LhoughL und ollcy. ln u rogresslon
fuclllLuLed by LrunsluLlon, LexLs move from obscurlLy Lo clusslclzuLlon (Curlbuy) und Lhen
Lo uzLequlzuLlon (Leon-PorLlllu), becomlng flxed us Lrue sources of Lhe unclenL word (Lo
use u fuvorlLe Lerm colned by Leon-PorLlllu) und ucqulrlng u sucred, cunonlcul, sLuLus
(whlch muybe Lhey never hud ln Lhelr Llme) LhuL should roLecL Lhem from mlshundllng
und mlsreudlng.
1hls ls why LrunsluLlons mude by oLher scholurs, or lnLerreLuLlons derlved from Lhem,
huve been flercely uLLucked by Leon-PorLlllu. He hus used llngulsLlc erudlLlon us Lhe muln
weuon, buL hls uggresslve reucLlons suggesL LhuL Lhe sLukes could be hlgher Lhun Lhe
mere llngulsLlc conLroversy, us lmorLunL us lL undoubLedly ls. lL becomes obvlous LhuL
LrunsluLlon ls lndeed u owerful Lool ln Lhe hunds of Lhe hlsLorlun slnce Leon-PorLlllu
seems Lo conslder Lhls Lool dungerous ln Lhe hunds of oLher hlsLorluns, when Lhere ls u
rlsk of oLher, devlunL, LrunsluLlons, whlch would useL Lhe cunonlcul reresenLuLlon of
Lhe usL LhuL hls use of LrunsluLlon hus uuLhorlzed.
l huve Lruced Lhe sequence of u conLroversy LhuL oosed Leon-PorLlllu Lo hls crlLlcs,
holng LhuL lL wlll exluln und lllusLruLe Lhe slgnlflcunce of Lhls rlsk us well us Lhe
reluLlonshl lL susLulns wlLh LrunsluLlon. l wlll refer Lo CurlbuyjLeon PorLlllu, us u comlex,

,
when referlng Lo LrunsluLlons or reresenLuLlons broughL ubouL by Lhe ussocluLlon of
boLh. OLherwlse, Lhelr numes wlll be menLloned lndlvlduully.
SOML CHALLLNCLS 1O MLSOAMLRlCAN HlS1ORY AS 8ROUCH1 A8OU1 8Y
CARl8AYjLLON- POR1lLLA'S 1RANSLA1lONS
Leon-PorLlllu's la f|losof/a oaloatl estoJ|aJa eo sos foeotes wus ubllshed ln g6, ln u
formuL very much remlnlscenL of Curlbuy's g l|stot|a Je la l|tetatota oaloatl (l.e.,
ulLernuLlng selecLlons of LrunsluLed excerLs wlLh exlunuLlons). As fur us l cun Lell, lL wus
Lhe lndlsuLuble reference for scholurly work for muny yeurs.
g
1hen, ln g8 und g8g
Lwo books were ubllshed whlch reresenLed lmorLunL shlfLs ln Lhe erceLlon of
Mesoumerlcun sLudles: 1ohn 8lerhorsL's flrsL Lngllsh verslon of Caotates Mex|caoos, und
Amos Segulu's la l|ttetatote oaloatl: sootces, |Jeot|tes, tepteseotat|oos. 8lerhorsL's
LrunsluLlon ls u rudlcul deurLure from Curlbuy-Leon-PorLlllu's ldeus, und Segulu's
unulysls, druwlng from 8lerhorsL's verslon (wlLhouL however vouchlng for lL), olnLs
dlrecLly Lo Lhe roblem of LrunsluLlons us lnsLrumenLs of reresenLuLlon of Lhe AzLec usL.
Luch ln lLs own wuy, Lhese works consLlLuLe u dlrecL chullenge Lo Lhe offlclul hlsLory, ln
LhuL Lhey ussume Lhe need for new reudlngs of Lhe Clusslc NuhuuLl LexLs.
o

1hen, ln ggz, Serge Cruzlnskl's la coloo|sat|oo Je l|maq|oa|te. Soc|etes |oJ|qeoes et
occ|Jeotal|sat|oo Jaos le Mex|qoe coloo|al wus ubllshed. 1hese excerLs

from Lhe
lnLroducLlon lllusLruLe Lhe conLenLlous nuLure of Lhe roblem:
...latcleoloq|e et ll|sto|te ptel|spao|qoes oot sooveot oobl|e qoe la plopatt
Jes temo|qoaqes qo| coocetoeot lepoqoe ptecottes|eooe foteot elabotes et
teJ|qes Jaos le cootexte boolevetse Je la Noovelle lspaqoe oa|ssaote et qo|ls
offteot avaot toote close oo teflet Je cette pet|oJe.
....

g
AlLhough 8en|umln Keen, ulreudy ln g,, exressed doubLs ubouL Lhe sume LeneLs LhuL becume LurgeL of
renewed crlLlclsm ln Lhe luLe 8o's und eurly go's.
o
Alreudy ln g8z, unLhroologlsL Luvld Currusco hud olnLed Lo Lhe roblem he deflned us Lhe dlfflculLy of
esLubllshlng Lhe LexL (or Lhe orlglnul, ln LrunsluLlon Lerms) ln vlew of Lhe ruLure ln Lrunsmlsslon of
lndlgenous LrudlLlons cuused noL only by re-Columblun uheuvuls buL ulso by Lhe conquesL of Mexlco und
Lhe colonlul ressures of Lhe slxLeenLh cenLury. Currusco observed LhuL Lhe uuLhenLlclLy of Lhe LexLs Lhus
roduced should noL be Luken for grunLed und LhuL lL wus common for scholurs worklng ln Lhls ureu Lo sklm
over Lhe slgnlflcunL hermeneuLlcul ud|usLmenLs mude by Sunlsh und lndlun wrlLers lnfluenced by colonlul
ollLlcs, ersonul need, mendlcunL Lheology und lunguuge dlfferences (Currusco g8z: 6).

Cruzlnskl g88, . -g.



8
Oo teqtetteta qoabooJammeot explo|tes pat les atcleoloqoes et les l|stot|eos
poot Ject|te les "tel|q|oos, les soc|etes, les ecooom|es aoc|eooes, ces textes
a|eot mo|os sooveot setv| a ecla|tet le mooJe qo| les a |osp|tes et qo| eta|t Jeja
clt|st|ao|se et accoltote lots Je leot m|se eo fotme.
Cruzlnskl oens flre ugulnsL Lhe essenLlullsL hlsLorlogruhy whlch ln lLs seurch for u
monollLhlc LruLh ubouL Lhe usL forces lnLerreLuLlons uon Lhe sources. lL ls u double
crlLlclsm: ugulnsL Lhe fucL LhuL Lhe hlsLorlun forgeLs LhuL Lhe LexLs ure Lhemselves
consLrucLlons und LhuL he sucrlflces Lhem on Lhe ulLur of uuLhenLlclLy (Lhe ttoe AzLec
clvlllzuLlon, Lhe ttoe usL):
leosemble Je ces Joma|oes Je tecletcle satt|cole, oo laota compt|s, aotoot
Jooe teflex|oo qo| cletcle mo|os a peoettet les mooJes |oJ|qeoes poot eo
exlomet ooe "aotleot|c|te m|tacoleosemeot ptesetvee oo |ttemeJ|ablemeot
petJoe qoa pteoJte la mesote sot tto|s s|ecles Joo ptocessos
Jocc|Jeotal|sat|oo Jaos ses mao|festat|oos les mo|os spectacola|tes ma|s
peot-tte aoss| les plos |os|J|eoses.
A second dlssldenL volce belongs Lo u former sLudenL of Leon-PorLlllu's: 1orge Klor de
Alvu. ln hls volume on lrlur 8ernurdlno de Suhugun, Lhe 6
Lh
cenLury lrunclscun
eLhnogruher (Lo whlch Leon PorLlllu wus lnvlLed Lo conLrlbuLe ulongslde roonenLs of
Lhe new urouches), Klor sLuLed: .wlLh noLuble exceLlons (1edlock g8, 1odorov
g8), Mesoumerlcun sLudles huve remulned uL Lhe murglns of Lhe currenL debuLes on Lhe
elsLemologlcul founduLlons of Lhe humun sclences und Lhe reluLlons beLween nurruLlve
dlscourse, reresenLuLlon, und meunlng (Klor de Alvu gg8: ) und seclfles LhuL by
vlrLue of Lhe crlsls or reresenLuLlon reresenLed by Lhese debuLes:
[.] fully ob|ecLlve descrlLlons or LrunsluLlons of culLurul reullLy, where
Lhe nurruLlve or lmuge und Lhe referenL huve un unmedluLed und
LrunsurenL reluLlon, ure elLher fundumenLully roblemuLlc or noL osslble
uL ull. 1herefore, encomusslng Lheorles und overurchlng urudlgms LhuL
conLend LhuL Lhelr meLhods yleld such descrlLlons musL be re|ecLed us
deceLlve (Klor de Alvu gg8: z)
WlLh vurylng degrees of emhusls, und from dlfferenL ungles, boLh Cruzlnskl und Klor
volced Lhe need for new wuys of seelng Lhe AzLec usL, und ln so dolng, Lhey olnLed Lo
Lhe roblem of Lhe sources , Lhelr LrunsluLlon und lnLerreLuLlon. 1he work of Leon-
PorLlllu, whlle recognlzed us loneerlng und fundumenLul, ls Lhe (noL ulwuys exllclL)

g
LurgeL of Lhe crlLlclsms exressed by Lhese uuLhors. More generully, Lhelr unulyses
consLlLuLed u cleur deurLure from Lhe LrudlLlonul oslLlvlsL und essenLlullsL
hlsLorlogruhy whlch, ln Lhe cunonlcul verslon of Lhe Mexlcun re-ConquesL hlsLory,
confuses Lhe usL wlLh lLs Lruces, referenL und reference, Lhereby creuLlng un lllusory
lmuge, u sorL of Lrome l'oell.
RLAC1lONS 1O 1HL CHALLLNCLS
Mlguel Leon-PorLlllu unswered ln Lwo modes: ugulnsL 8lerhorsL und Segulu he reucLed
offenslvely, wrlLlng Lwo ruLhless leces
z
: ln g86, Unu nuevu lnLerreLuclon de los
CunLures Mexlcunos? Lu obru de 1ohn 8lerhorsL, und ln gg, Unu nuevu uorLuclon u
lu llLeruLuru nuhuuLl? Lu obru de Amos Segulu. 1he surcusm of Lhe LlLles (A new
lnLerreLuLlon?, u new conLrlbuLlon?) needs no sLress.
1o resond Lo Cruzlnskl und Klor, he reucLed ln u more defenslve Lone, buL mlsslng no
oorLunlLy Lo muke hls oslLlon known. ln ggz, he wrlLes ln Lngllsh: Huve we Reully
1runsluLed Lhe Mesoumerlcun AnclenL Word?, ln gg he lncludes un uendlx Lo Lhe ,
Lh

edlLlon of hls la f|losof/a oaloatl, estoJ|aJa eo sos foeotes, enLlLled Nos hemos ucercudo
u lu unLlguu ulubru?, und Lukes u Lhe sub|ecL uguln ln Oo|oce poetas Jel mooJo oaloatl
ln gg. llnully ln gg6 he ubllshes u volume LoLully dedlcuLed Lo Lhe defense of hls
oslLlon: ll Jest|oo Je la palabta. ue la otal|JaJ y los ql|fos mesoamet|caoos a la esct|tota
alfabet|ca, ln whlch Lhe ggz urLlcle Huve we Reully 1runsluLed. ueurs LrunsluLed lnLo
Sunlsh (by hlmself) us Lhe flrsL chuLer of Lhe book. ln u Lone LhuL goes from comlulnL
Lo self-rlghLeousness, ln uL leusL four ubllcuLlons, he Lrles Lo defend Lhe noLlon LhuL, ln
slLe of Lhe colonlul fllLers, Lhe unclenL word hus survlved und resounds Loduy us
sLrongly us lL dld before Lhe ConquesL, boLh becuuse lL wus redesLlned Lo survlve und
Lhunks Lo hls work us u LrunsluLor. Hls defense sLruLegy conslsLs ln u LucLlcul mlsreudlng of
Lhe crlLlclsms: he eschews Lhe uLLuck by chullenglng Lhe crlLlcs Lo quesLlon Lhe
uuLhenLlclLy of Lhe LexLs (luclng hlmself us Lhe rlesL who hus been endowed wlLh
Lhelr roLecLlon). 1he LexLs Lhus become sucred und Lhe crlLlcs ure Lherefore seen us
lconoclusLs.
l do noL know wheLher Cruzlnskl und Klor Look u Lhe muLLer uguln. l um lncllned Lo
Lhlnk LhuL Lhey wenL ubouL Lhelr buslnesses und ubundoned Lhe conLroversy ulLogeLher.
As for 8lerhorsL, l huve noL found uny rely Lo Leon-PorLlllu's oundlng uLLuck, buL hls
work wus recelved wlLh lnLeresL und ueurs ln Lhe blbllogruhlcul llsLs of unlverslLy

z
He ls known for hls lnLolerunce Lo crlLlclsm, buL Lhese urLlcles were unusuully bloody.

o
currlculu und sLudy grous ln Lhe UnlLed SLuLes

(ulLhough noL ln Mexlco, where lL hus


noL been LrunsluLed).

Amos Segulu relled Lo Lhe gg uLLuck, mlmlcklng Leon-


PorLlllu's rheLorlc sLyle ln Lhe LlLle of hls urLlcle: Lu llLeruLuru nuhuuLl, un coLo rlvudo?
[u rlvuLe hunLlng ground], Lo whlch Leon-PorLlllu resonded ln u brlef und shur: A
modo de comenLurlo uurenLly closlng Lhe dlscusslon. However, ln gg, Leon-PorLlllu's
frlend und colleugue Ceorges 8uudoL reluyed hlm wlLh renewed gusLo ln hls lnuugurul
seech uL Lhe AcaJem|a Mex|caoa Je la l|stot|a, Lu ulubru del Mexlco unLlguo en su
cumlno husLu nuesLros dius. 1here he eofooce le cloo roclulmlng noL only LhuL lndeed
Lhe unclenL word hus been LruLhfully LrunsmlLLed, buL LhuL Lhose who do noL Lhlnk so
ure neocolonlullsLs [slc] who would huve referred LhuL lL dlsueur. Moreover, he suld,
Lhey huve no lnLellecLuul uuLhorlLy becuuse Lhey do noL know NuhuuLl (8uudoL gg: 8).
So, ln defendlng hls LrunsluLlon he ls ulso defendlng u hlsLorlogruhlcul urudlgm, LhuL
of u oslLlvlsL und ob|ecLlve hlsLory-muklng, gurnlshed wlLh u rogresslve, unLl-lmerlullsL
uuru, u comblnuLlon of conservuLlve und rogresslsL ldeus whlch ls ulso Lo be found
exLenslvely ln Mexlco's ollLlcul dlscourse ufLer Lhe RevoluLlon und ull Lhrough Lhe zo
Lh

cenLury.
1HL S1AKLS
1he roblem ls Lhen uL leusL urLly ubouL LrunsluLlon, boLh ubouL culLurul LrunsluLlon
und ubouL our lnLerllngulsLlc LrunsluLlon: Lwo dlfferenL lunguuges und flve cenLurles
beLween Lhe uuLhors und Lhe lnLerreLers. And Lhere musL be Lremendously lmorLunL
Lhlngs uL sLuke, for ln hls crlLlclsm Lo Amos Segulu's work, Leon-PorLlllu wlshes LhuL lL hud
noL been LrunsluLed und ubllshed

. Also 1umes LockhurL , u renowned unLhroologlsL, ln


hls more bulunced crlLlclsm of 1ohn 8lerhorsL's work, ends u by volclng hls
urehenslon: ulLhough Lhe book ls u greuL boon Lo NuhuuLl scholurs [.], ln Lhe hunds of
Lhe unlnlLluLed, who wlll consLlLuLe Lhe mu|orlLy of lLs reudershl, lL muy do more hurm
Lhun good, mlsleud more Lhun lnsLrucL (LockhurL gg : ,).
New reudlngs ure LhreuLenlng Lo Leon-PorLlllu, who hus cundldly ucknowledged lL ln
hls defenslve wrlLlngs, boLh ln Sunlsh und Lngllsh: lf lL ls noL only nuive buL exLremely

A qulck seurch ln Lhe lnLerneL Lngllsh flles uLLesLs Lo Lhls fucL.

lor Lhe flrsL Llme Lngllsh-seuklng scholurs huve uccess Lo Lhe NuhuuLl LexL wlLhouL huvlng Lo resorL Lo
Sunlsh, Lherefore esculng Lhe hermeneuLlc urudlgm ln whlch Lhese LexLs huve so fur been sLudled.

LxLruno es [.] que unu lnsLlLuclon como el Conse|o Nuclonul uru lu CulLuru y lus ArLes [.] se de|urun
sorrender y uLroclnurun uru su dlfuslon en Mexlco lu ubllcuclon de esLe llbro. Ls lumenLuble que
uuLores de esLe Llo de Lrubu|os [.] uedun sorrender no solo u los edlLores del Conse|o [.] slno
mullnformur y uun engunur en Mexlco u no ocos lecLores. (Leon-PorLlllu gg: o,-o8).

dungerous Lo Lhlnk LhuL Lhe old NuhuuLl LexLs cun be LrusLed us Lrue re-Hlsunlc
LesLlmonles, Lhen whuL cun we suy, Lhose of us who belleve we were LrunsluLors of Lhe
unclenL word? Wlll lL be worLhwhlle Lo Lry Lo reLrunsluLe 'Lhe LexLs' ln vlew of such u new
undersLundlng of how Lhey were obLulned und whuL Lhey conveyed? (Leon-PorLlllu ggz
: -6). Llsewhere he lulnLlvely suys LhuL Lhe noLlon LhuL Lhe LexLs were ulreudy
conLumlnuLed by successlve fllLers meuns LhuL he muy huve bordudo en el ulre (Leon-
PorLlllu gg,: g8), l.e., LhuL hls efforLs were lllusory, llke embrolderlng ln Lhe ulr.
He ls ersonully concerned, und rlghLly so, buL ulLlmuLely, lf we ure Lo belleve hls
crlLlcs, whuL ls uL sLuke seems Lo be u ollLlcul lssue, llnked Lo nuLlonullsL ldeologles:
ll valot s|mbol|co Je la l|tetatota oaloatl la s|Jo moy |mpottaote pata la
Jef|o|c|oo Je la |Jeot|JaJ mex|caoa. 1oJo coest|ooam|eoto Je sos cooteo|Jos,
Je so teal|JaJ espec/f|ca y Je so meosaje se telac|ooa alota coo oo ct|meo Je
lesa patt|a qoe pocos espec|al|stas e l|stot|aJotes Je la coltota mex|caoa estao
J|spoestos a eoooc|at (Seqala o: z;)
lndeed, one of Lhe lllurs of whuL we cull u nuLlonul ldenLlLy (of uny nuLlon, for LhuL
muLLer) ls Lhe consensus ubouL u common usL. ln Lhe Mexlcun cuse, lL ls Lhe AzLec usL
LhuL hus been chosen Lo reresenL Lhls common herlLuge (CuLlerrez ggg) und Leon-
PorLlllu's LrunsluLlons und lnLerreLuLlons huve heled consollduLe und dlssemlnuLe Lhls
noLlon.
Cornered, no doubL, by Leon-PorLlllu's suvuge crlLlclsm, Segulu seuks ouL: Lhe new
lnLerreLuLlons currled ouL by modern NuhuuLl LexLology hold Lhe oLenLlul Lo lnvullduLe
ull of Leon-PorLlllu's reseurch (Segulu ggz : zog). lf lndeed lL ls so, Lhls would exluln Lhe
ucrlmony of Lhe conLroversy und Leon-PorLlllu's cull for censorshl of oLher LrunsluLlons.
6

1HL CRUX Ol 1HL MA11LR
1he conLroversy over Lhe NuhuuLl sources unfolded, us we see, ln Lwo reluLed urenus:
hlsLorlogruhy und LrunsluLlon. ln Lhe hlsLorlogruhlcul urenu we ure wlLnesslng Lhe
confllcL over Lhe uuLhenLlclLy of Lhe sources. Ooslng Currusco (see fooLnoLe o),
Cruzlnskl und Klor de Alvu, we huve Leon-PorLlllu's oLlmlsLlc noLlon LhuL Lhe sources ure

6
Alfredo Loez AusLln, unoLher Mexlcun unLhroologlsL, wus ulso druwn lnLo Lhe conLroversy by Leon-
PorLlllu. ln un urLlcle unswerlng u crlLlclsm dlrecLed Lo hls lnLerreLuLlon of Lhe word |xtl|, he olnLedly noLes
LhuL Leon-PorLlllu's lnLerreLuLlon hus leud Lo u so-culled hllosohlcul conceL of rehlsunlc educuLlon
LhuL hus been mude known exLenslvely by Leon-PorLlllu und hus been ucceLed by Lhe luy ubllc. He ulso
noLes LhuL Leon-PorLlllu's omnlresence ln Lhe edlLorlul bourds of scholurly ubllcuLlons hus glven hlm un
undue vunLuge olnL ln Lhe conLroversy (Loez AusLln gg: -).

z
uuLhenLlc, l.e. re-Columblun, yleldlng Lrue uccounLs of Lhe AzLec usL Lhrough hls
lnLermlsslon: la palabta |oJ/qeoa oo la moetto ooestto Jest|oo la s|Jo ptoseqo|t eo so
tescate (Leon-PorLlllu gg: 6).
And Lhen, Lhe LrunsluLlon urenu: Lhe conLroversy ls ubouL Lhe wuy ln whlch Lhese LexLs
ure LrunsluLed und used Loduy by Lhe hlsLorlun hlmself und ubouL whuL hlsLorlcul
lnLerreLuLlons Lhese LrunsluLlons convey. 1hls usecL of Lhe conLroversy hus u greuLer
oLenLlul for confllcL, slnce Lhe roblems osed ure noL ubsLrucL und dlsLunL, lL ls ln Lhe
muLerlullLy of Lhe LrunsluLed LexL LhuL Lhe quesLlons urlse. Curlbuy-Leon-PorLlllu's
LrunsluLlons consLlLuLe Lhe busls of whuL ls consldered Lhe offlclul verslon of Lhe AzLec
usL, und Lhls verslon hus been chullenged. LeL's huve u look uL some muLerlul olnLs of
conLroversy wlLh regurd Lo Lhe Caotates mex|caoos, u corus of LexLs Lrunscrlbed lnLo
ulhubeLlcul NuhuuLl uround o, excerLs of whlch were LrunsluLed for Lhe flrsL Llme by
Curlbuy (some of Lhem uL leusL Lhree Llmes ln dlfferenL ubllcuLlons), und used by Leon-
PorLlllu, who clulms Lo huve done some of Lhe LrunsluLlons hlmself, us l noLed before,
ulLhough lL ls seldom cleur whlch LrunsluLlons ure hls und whlch ure Curlbuy's. 1he new
LrunsluLlon und lnLerreLuLlon underLuken by 1ohn 8lerhorsL ln g8 ls uccomunled by
Lhe NuhuuLl LexL. 8elng Lhe flrsL comleLe LrunscrlLlon ever uLLemLed, lL consLlLuLes ln
lLself u greuL sLe forwurd.
- GARlBAY/llON-lOR1lllAS 1RANSlA1lONS Au1lORlZl 1ll NO1lON 1lA1
1llRl lXlS1lu A CllOul Ol WlSl MlN OllOSlNG 1ll AZ1lC Mlll1ARlSM ANu
1ll Rl1uAlS Ol luMAN SACRlllCl
1hls crlLlclsm ls bused on Lhe lnLerreLuLlon of Lhe word tlamat|o|mel (or
tlamat|o|me). As exlulned by Segulu (Segulu ggo: ,), lL could be lnLerreLed us un
ud|ecLlve meunlng wlse or us u subsLunLlve: Lhe one who knows. Leon-PorLlllu,
followlng slxLeenLh cenLury eLhnologlsL frlur Suhugun, who suld LhuL tlamat|o|mel were
hllosohers, romoLed Lhe word und mude lL deslgnuLe u cluss of suges who oosed
Lhe mlllLurlsm of Lhe AzLec und hud develoed u sense of hllosohlcul lnqulry
comuruble Lo LhuL of unclenL Creece. 1he Caotates mex|caoos collecLlon conLulns oems
or songs LhuL Curlbuy und Leon-PorLlllu uLLrlbuLe Lo Lhese suges. 1hey lnLerreL Lhe
esslmlsm munlfesL ln Lhe LexLs us u slgn of meLuhyslcul mala|se us well us u rebelllon
ugulnsL Lhe AzLec hlerurchy. As Keen lronlcully olnLs ouL, Lhls suggesLs LhuL, ln un
uLmoshere of reflnemenL und luxury comuruble ln some resecLs, erhus, Lo LhuL of
rlncely courLs of renulssunce lLuly, dlscusslons of uesLheLlcs und meLuhyslcs were held
(Keen g,: o). 8used on Lhls LrunsluLlon of Lhe word (blused uccordlng Lo Keen, Segulu
und 8lerhorsL), Leon-PorLlllu seems Lo huve bullL toJa ooa teot/a Je la c|v|l|zac|oo l|tetat|a

azteca, basaJa eo ooa sopoesta J|alect|ca coofl|ct|va eotte los |Jeales y t|toales Jel sact|f|c|o
lomaoo y las J|meos|ooes ex|steoc|ales estet|cas teot|zaJas pot los 1lamat|o|mel (Segulu
gg: z). 8used ulso on Lhls noLlon, Leon-PorLlllu clulms Lo huve ldenLlfled Lhe numes of
some of Lhe uuLhors of Lhe songs, who were klngs of some of Lhe mu|or clLles LrlbuLury Lo
Lhe AzLecs. Segulu conLends LhuL Lhe noLlon of lndlvlduullsm (Lhe urLlsL us u vlslble
sub|ecL) cunnoL be urgued for AzLec socleLy, ln whlch ull munlfesLuLlons were sLrlcLly
rlLuullzed. Moreover, such LlLles us 1he song of NeuhuulcoyoLl, uccordlng Lo 8lerhorsL,
should be undersLood us 1he song about NeuhuulcoyoLl (8lerhorsL g8: o), u
LrunsluLlon LhuL would lnvullduLe Lhe offlclul Lheory, so deur Lo Leon-PorLlllu, ubouL Lhe
exlsLence of oeL-klngs.
z- GARlBAY/llONlOR1lllAS 1RANSlA1lONS lRl-uA1l 1ll ORlGlNAlS
lollowlng hls menLor Curlbuy, Leon-PorLlllu conslders LhuL Lhe Caotates Mex|caoos ls
u collecLlon of LrunscrlLlons of mosLly re-Hlsunlc orlgln. Comuruble Lo Lhe
hllosohlc und rellglous Lhlnklng of lndlu und Creece, uccordlng Lo hlm, Lhey ure ooa
veoa t|qo/s|ma pata tecoostto|t la v|s|oo f|losof|ca Je los oaloas (Leon-PorLlllu gg,: ,)
und were LrunsluLed by Curlbuy und hlmself uccordlngly. Conflrmlng Curlbuy's declured
olnlon LhuL uny ChrlsLlun references ln Lhe LexLs were uberrunL correcLlons lnLroduced by
Lhe orlglnul scrlbes (Leon-PorLlllu gg,: ,), Lhe LexLs were urged of ull occurrences of
words llke Llos, SunLu Murlu, Oblso, LslrlLu SunLo, und lnLerreLed us un
exresslon of Lhe uesLheLlc vlslon of Lhe tlamat|o|mel . 8lerhorsL olnLs Lo severul
exumles where Lhe LexL wus reud ln such u wuy LhuL Sunlsh references dlsueured,
such us ln Lhe cuse of Lhe word toox|loao belng LrunsluLed us grundson (t|xlo|loao ot
toxlo|loao) lnsLeud of don 1uun (too X|loao), u LrunsluLlon LhuL would huve reveuled Lhe
osL-ConquesL orlgln of Lhe LexL (8lerhorsL g8: z). ln Leon-PorLlllu's l|losof/a oaloatl l
huve found severul frugmenLs where references lncludlng Lhe word Llos, ln Sunlsh ln
Lhe NuhuuLl LexL, huve been removed wlLh no exlunuLlon, und one lnsLunce ln whlch, us l
wlll show luLer, Llos becomes Lhe re-Hlsunlc god Ometeotl. Curlbuy's urouch ls noL
conslsLenL: ln hls loes/a oaloatl he removes such references und luces Lhem us
bruckeLed ommlsslons, whlle ln hls l|stot|a Je la l|tetatota oaloatl, he exlulns why he
omlLs Lhem ulLogeLher ln Lhe book. Luvld Lumrosch, ln un lllumlnuLlng urLlcle on Lhe
uesLheLlcs of Lhe Sunlsh ConquesL, exlulns: very ofLen, Lhe numes of Cod (Llos, or
1los, or 1lox) und oLher ChrlsLlun flgures ueur ln Lhe munuscrlLs, und here Loo lL ls hurd
Lo suy how ofLen Lhese numes reflecL Lhe oeL's own bellefs, or u dellberuLe ruse on Lhe

oeL's urL Lo escue censorshl, or u lous emenduLlon by Lhe nuLlve lnformunLs who
collecLed Lhe songs..
,
ln Lhls umblgulLy lles Lhe osslblllLy of dlfferlng lnLerreLuLlons.
Regurdlng Lhe duLlng of Lhe LexLs, 1ohn 8lerhorsL belleves LhuL by fur Lhe greuLer
number belong Lo Lhe osL-ConquesL erlod. 1hese deul mulnly wlLh Lhe ConquesL lLself
or lLs ufLermuLh, reservlng ull Lhe old lmugery now uduLed Lo Lhe crlsls uL hund
(8lerhorsL g8: ). lor hlm, Lhese ure esoLerlc LexLs, LhuL serve Lo rlLuully summon hosLs
of ghosL wurrlors LhuL wlll esLubllsh u urudlse on eurLh ln whlch Mexlcuns, whlle
embruclng ChrlsLlunlLy, wlll en|oy suerlorlLy over Sunlsh colonlsLs. (8lerhorsL g8:
). 1hese rlLuuls, uccordlng Lo 8lerhorsL, were erformed us urL of u revlvullsL movemenL
LhuL would huve Luken luce ln mld-slxLeenLh cenLury. He recognlzes LhuL uL leusL one
song (Song of cloud comunlons, ln . 8) could be un unLecedenL for Lhe resL of Lhe
songs, buL ln generul he conslders Lhem |usL us new us Lhe songs of NorLh Amerlcun
PeyoLe CulL (8lerhorsL g8: o6). Leon-PorLlllu ooses Lhls vlew, bused ln hls own
lnLerreLuLlon of Lhe uuLhorshl of Lhe songs. Cleurly, by usserLlng LhuL Lhey were
comosed by oeL-klngs, he ls suylng LhuL Lhey ure re-Hlsunlc.
8

- GARlBAY/llON-lOR1lllAS 1RANSlA1lONS SlRvl 1ll NO1lON Ol AN
AZ1lC AlS1ll1lC vlSlON BASlu ON A lOl1lC, "llOWlR-SONG, uuBlOuS
lulAl.
An lmorLunL churucLerlsLlc of Lhe NuhuuLl lunguuge ls Lhe rheLorlcul form Curlbuy
culled dlhruslsm, LhuL ls, Lhe lexlcully flxed co-occurrence of Lwo words meLuhorlcully
meunlng u Lhlrd Lhlng. lor lnsLunce: |o coe|tl |o lo|p|ll|, llLerully Lhe sklrL, Lhe blouse, hus
been lnLerreLed us meunlng womun, |o oootlao |o |tzcatlao, luce of sllence und cold:
reglon of Lhe deud. ln Lhe sume wuy, |o xocl|tl |o co|catl, Lhe flower und Lhe song, wus
lnLerreLed by Curlbuy
g
, und Lhen by Leon-PorLlllu, us Lhe elLome of Lhe NuhuuLl
uesLheLlcs, un ldeullzed reresenLuLlon of urLs und oeLry, lo o|co vetJaJeto eo la t|etta
(Leon-PorLlllu gg,: ,8). Only u selecLlve reudlng of Lhese oems, us olnLed ouL by
Lumrosch, ullows for such u hurmonlous vlew of AzLec uesLheLlcs (Lumrosch gg: z).

,
Lumrosch (gg: 8).
8
Lumrosch rooses Lhe LheoreLlcully uLLrucLlve buL rugmuLlcully chullenglng ldeu LhuL mosL oems full
lnLo un umblguous gruy ureu: Lhey muy be seen us comlng from elLher erlod or, ln u very reul sense from
boLh (Lumroch gg: ).
g
AlLhough Curlbuy exlulns cleurly LhuL Lhere ure uL leusL Lhree meunlngs ln Lhe meLuhor, und uL leusL ln
one occuslon he offers Lhe dlfferenL verslons LhuL would corresond Lo Lhese meunlngs (see Curlbuy g, l:
,-,)

ln fucL, muny of Lhe oems ure lnexLrlcubly llnked Lo Lhe vlolence of wurs und humun
sucrlflce.
8lerhorsL Lurns uwuy from Lhe flower-hurmony vlew und focuses on Lhe wurfure
usecL of Lhe oems by rooslng u LoLully dlfferenL exlunuLlon: Lhe Caotates mex|caoos
ure u collecLlon of ghosL-songs: muslcul erformunce ln whlch wurrlor-slngers summon
Lhe ghosL of uncesLors ln order Lo swell Lhelr runks und overwhelm Lhelr enemles. [.] ln
resonse Lo Lhe muslc, ghosL wurrlors from urudlse, led by uncesLor klngs, suosedly
cume 'scuLLerlng', 'flylng', or 'whlrllng' Lo eurLh ln Lhe form of flowers or blrds.
(8lerhorsL g8: ) Reculllng oLher Amerlcun LrudlLlons, urLlculurly from NorLh Amerlcun
lndlgenous grous, he sLuLes LhuL lL ls Lhese deud wurrlors who ure meLuhorlcully culled
flowers or songs. 1he slnger Lruvels Lo Lhe oLher world Lo brlng buck Lhese flowers und
songs, ln u rocess LhuL uccordlng Lo 8lerhorsL, ls remlnlscenL of Lhe shumunlsLlc Lruns
|ourney. 1hls lnLerreLuLlon hus been rldlculed by Leon-PorLlllu ln u sLyle und Lone LhuL
suggesLs LhuL AzLec hllosohy leuves no luce for such frlvollLles.
zo
NuLlonullsL
re|udlces muy ulso huve luyed u role ln Leon-PorLlllu's resonse, noLubly Lhe fucL LhuL u
greuL clvlllzuLlon such us Lhe AzLec could be reluLed Lo NorLh Amerlcun nomudlc Lrlbes
(Lhe re|udlce belng Lwofold: becuuse of Mexlco's mlxed feellngs ubouL lLs owerful
nelghbor und becuuse of Lhe less resLlglous nomudlc Lrlbes), buL Lhls ls only seculuLlon
on my slde.
- llulNG 1RANSlA1lON: llON-lOR1lllA lAS NO1 lXllAlNlu lOW ll lAS
1RANSlA1lu.
1he fucL LhuL Leon-PorLlllu hus noL glven u crlLlcul edlLlon of hls LrunsluLlons hus been
hlghllghLed uL leusL by Amos Segulu und, lndlrecLly, by 8lerhorsL who, ulLhough he ls noL
u NuhuuLl seclullsL (hls fleld of sLudy ls Lhe NorLh Amerlcun lndlun eoles), hus
roosed u new reudlng of Lhe Caotates mex|caoos und resenLed u cureful edlLlon of Lhe
NuhuuLl LexL wlLh u fuce-Lo-fuce LrunsluLlon, uccomunled by unnoLuLlons. Leon-PorLlllu
usuully offers frugmenLed verslons, exLrucLed from Lhelr conLexLs und used Lo lllusLruLe
hls urgumenLuLlons, ofLen wlLhouL confronLlng LexLs
z
. Hls LrunsluLlon urudlgm ls LhuL of
Lrunsurency, of denlul of Lrunsfer. 1he LexLs ure suosed Lo seuk for Lhemselves. 1o

zo
ln hls crlLlcul revlew, Leon-PorLlllu suys: Ya le tecotJaJo qoe el seot GotJoo Wassoo v|o eo flotes y
caotos evocac|ooes Je los looqos aloc|oaotes. Alota B|etlotst oos J|ce qoe se ttata Je |ovocac|ooes pata lacet
qoe Jesc|eoJao y voelvao los esp/t|tos Je los qtaoJes seotes, los qoe qobetoatoo, los qoettetos famosos.
labta alqo|eo qoe eo el fototo sosteoqa qoe estos caotates foetoos |osp|taJos a los oaloas pot setes
poseeJotes Je qtao sab|Jot/a, veo|Jos Jel espac|o exttatettestte? (Leon-PorLlllu g86: oo)
z
Some exceLlons ure noLed by Segulu. vun Zunwl|k (gg,) Loo hus observed Loo some chunges ln Leon-
PorLlllu's wuys of LrunsluLlng over Llme.

6
brlng ubouL Lhls resulL Lhe hlsLorlun meLumorhoses hlmself: he becomes hulf hlsLorlun
und hulf LrunsluLor, und Lhe hlsLorlun hulf dlcLuLes whuL Lhe LrunsluLor hulf wlll roduce.
1he LrunsluLor hulf hus no wlll, und Lherefore muy be suld Lo be un emLy, neuLrul, currler.
1he lmuge of Lhe venLrlloqulsL cun be ulso reculled us u slmlle.
When he urgues for Lhe exlsLence of hllosohlcul knowledge umong Lhe Nuhuu
eoles, he deflnes whuL hllosohy ls und rheLorlcully usks:
teoemos ptoebas c|ettas Je qoe tal |oqo|etoJ jtle pl|losopl|cal cooceto] y
afao layao apatec|Jo eotte los oaloas? lobo eotte ellos qo|eoes empezatao
a JoJat Je los m|tos, ttataoJo Je tac|ooal|zatlos, lasta lleqat a plaoteatse eo
fotma absttacta y oo|vetsal coest|ooes como las att|ba meoc|ooaJas?
Coo base eo la ev|Jeoc|a Je los Jocomeotos oaloas emaoaJos al ttatat Je las
foeotes, ooestta tespoesta es Jec|J|Jameote af|tmat|va. Los textos origino/es
/ibres de todo interpretocin que pudiero jo/seor o desvior
jontosticomente su sentido, iron oporeciendo o /o /orgo de este estudio,
hob/ondo por si mismos. Conjesomos, desde /uego, que /o versin
coste//ono que de dichos textos doremos, no obstonte ser
escrupu/osomente jie/, dijici/mente o/conzoro o mostror /o morovi//oso
concisin y /o motizodo de /o /enguo nohuot/. (leoo-lott|lla ;: 6) jtle
sttess |s m|oe].
Here we cun see, condensed und llnked LogeLher, Lhe hlsLorlogruhlcul und Lhe
LrunsluLlon ldeologlcul orlenLuLlons. We know where Lhe LrunsluLlon ldeology comes
from. 8urLhes, ln Lurn, wlll Lell us Lhe orlgln of Lhe hlsLorlogruhlcul urudlgm Lo whlch
Leon-PorLlllu belongs:
Lhistoire semb/e se roconter toute seu/e. Cet acc|Jeot a ooe catt|ete
coos|Jetable, po|sqo|l cottespooJ eo fa|t ao J|scoots l|stot|qoe J|t "object|f
(Jaos leqoel ll|stot|eo o|otetv|eot jama|s). ... Ao o|veao Jo J|scoots
lobject|v|te oo cateoce Je s|qoes Je leoooaot appatait a|os| comme ooe
fotme patt|col|ete J|maq|oa|te, le ptoJo|t Je ce qoe loo pootta|t appelet
l|llos|oo tefeteot|elle, po|sqoe /historien prtend /oisser /e rjrent por/er
tout seu/.
zz
jtle sttess |s m|oe]

zz
8urLhes, Rolund Le dlscours de l'hlsLolre, lofotmat|oo sot les Sc|eoces Soc|ales, v. 6, n. , g6,, . 68-
6g.

,
We could, Lhen, oslL LhuL Leon-PorLlllu ls more u roducL of u cerLuln
hlsLorlogruhlcul urudlgm Lhun u nuive or decelLful hlsLorlun or LrunsluLor. NeverLheless,
one cunnoL buL smlle uL Lhe blunL usserLlon LhuL hls LrunsluLlon ls scruulously fulLhful
when he noL only chooses Lo remove references Lo Llos, LhuL could reveul Lhe osL-
ConquesL orlgln of Lhe LexL wlLhouL exlunuLlon buL goes us fur us subsLlLuLlng Lhe word
Llos ln Lhe orlglnul NuhuuLl for Lhe AzLec god Ometeotl, us l show ln Lhe LexL box.
Cantares
mexicanos,
fol. 3Sv.
1ohn Bierhorst (j8 : zq8-zqj) Ange| Mara Garibay
(j68 : 86)
Migue| Leon-
Porti||a (jj) : ? y
z)
Transcripcion
nhuat|
Cun omu nonyuz hulyu cun
omu noyuz uyu ome ycac
yohui yohui yehuan Oios hulyu
umuch Lemochlu omu xlmouyu
ull.yLec y unlcun y yehuu yece
xlmouyu ln Llc. Y ohuuyu LL.
Cun omu nonyuz,
Hulyu
Cun omu nonyuz ?
Ayu
Omeicac yohui yohui
( ) (Om. yehuan Oios)
A much Lemochun omu
Xlmouyun
A llhulcuLl lLec ln zun nlcun
Ye Xlmouyun ln LlulLlcuc.
Ohuuyu Ohuuyu.

ll cam|oo lac|a el
J|os Je la Joal|JaJ
cun omu
monyuz ?
Cun omu nonyuz ?
Icac iohui iohui
Ome Teot|
A much Le mochlun
omu Xlmouyun ?
A llhulcuLl lLec ?
ln zun nlcun
yehuuyu yece
Xlmouyun ln
LlulLluc. Ohuuyu ?
Traduccion 1hen where um l Lo go ? Ah,
where um l Lo go ? God stands
two p|aces ! Aren'L you uwulLed
Lhere beyond, where ure ull
shorn ? No, lL's noL wlLhln Lhe
sky. 1he luce where ull ure
shorn ls here on eurLh !
locett|Jombte Jel f|o
A donde lre, uy ?
u donde lre ?
Oonde est |a
Oua|idad.
Llficll, uh, dlficll !
Acuso es lu cusu de Lodos
ullu
donde esLun los que yu no
Llenen cuero,
en el lnLerlor del clelo,
o ucuso uqui en lu Llerru es
el slLlo
donde esLun los que yu no
Llenen cuero !
A donde lre ?
A donde lre ?
E| camino de| dios
de |a dua|idad
Acuso es Lu cusu en
el slLlo de los
descurnudos ?
en el lnLerlor del
clelo ?
o solumenLe uqui
en lu Llerru es el slLlo
de los descurnudos ?

8
lL ls useful Lo comure Lhe Lhree verslons Lo lllusLruLe Lhe dlfference beLween, flrsL, Lhe
LrunscrlLlon und LrunsluLlon urouch chosen by 8lerhorsL und LhuL of Curlbuy und Leon-
PorLlllu, und Lhen beLween Curlbuy's und Leon-PorLlllu's lndlvlduul urouches.
A greuL dlvlde ln lnLerreLuLlon cun be seen ln Lhe dlfferlng LrunscrlLlons: 8lerhorsL,
who conslders Lhe LexL us lnvocuLlons Lo Lhe slrlLs, mulnLulns Lhe llneur orlglnul
hundwrlLlng, whlle Curlbuy und Leon-PorLlllu, for whom Lhe LexL ls u sumle of hlgh
culLure und llLerury quullLy, orgunlze lL ln verses. 8lerhorsL scruulously reroduces ull Lhe
vocullzuLlons (elghL), Curlbuy kees mosL of Lhem (seven), und Leon-PorLlllu kees only
hulf (four). 8lerhorsL kees Lhe ChrlsLlun reference Lo Cod (Llos), Curlbuy observes lLs
omlsslon ln urenLhesls, slgnullng Lhe luce where lL belongs, whlle Leon-PorLlllu does
noL see uny lmedlmenL Lo subsLlLuLlng u ChrlsLlun reference for u NuhuuLl one
(Ometeotl or Ome 1eotl)
z
. He ulso lncludes u LlLle of hls lnvenLlon: 1le patl towatJs tle
qoJ of Joal|ty
ln Lhe LrunsluLlon, none of Lhem lncludes Lhe vocullzuLlons (aya, oya, eLc.). 8lerhorsL
Lukes ome(|cac) us Lhe curdlnul Lwo und LrunsluLes Llos us Cod.Curlbuy ellmlnuLes
Llos und romoLes Lhe word ome Lo reresenL Lhe meLuhyslcul conceL of duullLy.
He ulso lncludes here u LlLle of hls creuLlon: 1le |ocett|toJe of tle eoJ. Leon-PorLlllu, of
course, huvlng ulLered Lhe orlglnul, whlch now reuds Ome 1eotl, LrunsluLes lL us Lhe AzLec
god of duullLy.
ln cuse we ure LemLed Lo Lhlnk LhuL Leon-PorLlllu mlslnLerreLed Lhe word Llos,
leL's reud whuL he hus Lo suy ln Lhe lnLerreLuLlon of Lhe frugmenL: lteteoJeo sabet los
tlamat|o|me coal es el cam|oo qoe lleva a Ometeotl (J|os Je la Joal|JaJ), como aqo/
exp/icitomente es Jes|qoaJo (Lhe sLress ls mlne) (Leon PorLlllu gg,: g). Some flfLy
uges luLer he uses Lhe sume clLuLlon und exlulns: Aoal|zaoJo btevemeote el poema, se
veta qoe so plaoteo Je la coest|oo es petfecto: sab|eoJo qoe "lay qoe |tse se bosca el
cam|oo qoe poeJa llevat a la v|Ja, a Ometeotl. (Leon-PorLlllu gg,: z) .. 1here ls no
reuson why Leon-PorLlllu would reluce Lhe ChrlsLlun Llos, unless hls urose ls Lo
nuhuuLllze Lhe LexL. Loglcully, Lhls mlnuLe buL mosL slgnlflcunL oeruLlon, conceuled by
Lhe fucL LhuL ) Lhere ls only one orlglnul munuscrlL, z) Lhe reuder cunnoL buL rely uon
Lhe hlsLorlun's LrunscrlLlon, und ) Lhe LrunscrlLlon does noL confronL Lhe LrunsluLlon
(noL Lo suy oLher LrunscrlLlons) creuLes u henomenul effecL: lL rockeLs Lhe LexL buck Lo
re-Hlsunlc Llmes, und, by dolng so, lL confers uuLhenLlclLy Lo lL, u ureness exlsLlng
only ln Lhe wlll of Lhe hlsLorlun-LrunsluLor.

z
Ometeotl (Lwo-god) ls consldered Lhe Cod of LuullLy (comosed of u muscullne rlnclle: Ometecoltl|
(Lwo-lord) und u femlnlne rlnclle: Omec|loatl (Lwo-ludy), who engendered ull gods.

g
CONCLUSlON
1he besL wuy luLher Curlbuy knew of Lo vlvlfy NuhuuLl LexLs wus reeuLlng Lhelr
LrunsluLlons. 1he LexL ln quesLlon (see box) ulso ueurs ln Lwo dlfferenL ussuges ln hls
l|stot|a Je la l|tetatota oaloatl (wlLhouL NuhuuLl LrunscrlLlon ln uny). ln uge 8g, he
LrunsluLes:
"uooJe es JooJe le Je |t ? uooJe es JooJe le Je |t ?
,ll cam|oo, el cam|oo esta pteseote Jel ios de /o uo/idod !
No acaso toJos lemos Je |t al uescatoaJeto ?
ls Jeotto Jel c|elo, o es eo la t|etta este uescatoaJeto ?
und ln uges g6-g, of Lhe sume book, wlLh no uurenL reuson, he LrunsluLes uguln:
"AJooJe labte Je |t, aJooJe labte Je |t ?
,lsta el cam|oo escatpaJo, el cam|oo escatpaJo
Jel u|os-uos ! No acaso toJos oosottos
alla Jo estao los JespojaJos Je la catoe,
eo el |otet|ot Jel c|elo ?
As lllusLruLed ubove, he dld heslLuLe beLween Lhe Lwo ulLernuLlves: Cod of duullLy or
Cod-Lwo (more clusslc or more exoLlc). 1huL wus ln g. ln g6, Leon-PorLlllu
udoLs Cod of duullLy, Louches u Lhe orlglnul LexL und sends lL Lo u vlrLuully
unLruceuble unnex. Successlve edlLlons reeuL Lhe muneuver endlessly.
1he Lruces LhuL Lhe LrunsluLor leuves behlnd ure vlslble. Curlbuy's Lruces ure eusy Lo
follow. ln u wuy, hls work wus u slncere efforL Lo unvell u llLeruLure so fur unknown und
murglnul. Hls chresLomuLlc verslons lllusLruLe u qulLe oen conversuLlon wlLh Lhe LexLs
ubouL whuL Lhey ure or mlghL huve been. lf hls efforLs cun be brunded us LrunsluLlons-
lnLroducLlons ln Lhe Meschonnlcul sense, Lhey ure neverLheless noL decelLful: he slncerely
ussumes Lhe Creek model for u mld-zoLh cenLury Mexlcun reuder, und he reeuLs hls
uLLemLs Lo force Lhe LexLs Lo seuk.
z

And here ls Lhe mosL lmorLunL dlsLlncLlon Lo be druwn. We huve been uccusLomed ln
Mesoumerlcunlsm Lo see Curlbuy und Leon-PorLlllu ln ussocluLlon. 8uL Lhe CurlbuyjLeon-
PorLlllu comlex requlres revlslon und dlfferenLluLlon. Leon-PorLlllu wrus hlmself ln

z
8lerhorsL's verslon, on Lhe oLher hund, cun ulso be brunded u LrunsluLlon-lnLroducLlon, now for unoLher
reudershl, und Lhe model ls ulso fumlllur Lo LhuL reudershl: Lhe rlLuuls of reculllng slrlLs documenLed for
some NorLh Amerlcun Lrlbes.

zo
Curlbuy's bunner, quoLlng und uslng hls wrlLlngs us aoctot|tas, buL Lhe LrunsluLlons Lhus
roduced und dlssemlnuLed by hlm no longer belong Lo llLeruLure, nor ure Lhey lnfused
wlLh llLerury vlLul energy, us Curlbuy wunLed Lhem Lo be. 1hey huve become urL of Lhe
heuvy burden of offlclul hlsLory, whlch hus muLerlully resLrlcLed Lhe osslblllLles of
revlslon. 1he consequences of Lhls flxuLlon ure fur from lnnocuous.
lL ls dlfflculL Lo overcome u cerLuln sense of lrrlLuLlon when conslderlng Lhe
muneuverlng needed Lo brlng ubouL such LrunsluLlons und Lo defend Lhem from exLernul
us well us lnLernul ooslLlon. Curlbuy's LrunsluLlons were urL of u bold endeuvor, und hls
frunkness und slncerlLy ls deflnlLely dlsurmlng (ln Lhe lnLroducLlon Lo hls la llave Jel
oaloatl, he lnvlLes good fulLh crlLlcs Lo wrlLe Lo hlm uL hls ersonul uddress, whlch ls glven
ln uge 6) whlle Leon-PorLlllu's work ls deflnlLely embedded lnLo Lhe hegemonlc
dlscourse, deloylng u whole defenslve uuruLus. 1rue, Lhere ls Lhe humunlsLlc deslgn:
Lhe need Lo consLrucL u memory of u common usL, u grundlose usL, comuruble Lo Lhe
greuLesL usLs on eurLh : Lhe MedlLerruneun, Lhe OrlenL (somebody culled Lhe AzLec
oeLry Lhe R|q veJa Amet|caoos). , buL Lhere ls ulso u erhus unlnLended comllclLy
wlLh Lhe fucLuul owers for whlch Lhls urLlculurly consLrucLed memory of Lhe usL ls u
convenlenL wuy of esculng resonslblllLles wlLh conLemorury lndlgenous eoles. ln
oLher words, u usL dungerously close Lo --or uL leusL reudlly converLlble lnLo-- u Lheme
urk.
When, ln g6g, OcLuvlo Puz roosed Lo underLuke Lhe crlLlclsm of Lhe yrumld,
z

he wus olnLlng Lo Lhe symbollc llnk beLween nuLlonullsL unLhroology und Mexlcun
ollLlcs. 1hen PresldenL Liuz Orduz hud senL Lhe urmy Lo vlolenLly reress u euceful
demonsLruLlon uL Lhe 1luLelolco Squure ln Mexlco ClLy (OcLober z, g68). Puz drew un
uccuruLe urullellsm beLween, on Lhe one hund, Lhe flgure of Lhe PresldenL und Lhe AzLec
klng (tlatoao|), und, on Lhe oLher hund, beLween Lhe revulenL ollLlcul one-urLy
sLrucLure Lhe AzLec yrumld. 1runsluLlons, dlssemlnuLed ln oulur und scholurly edlLlons,
fllLered Lhrough Lhe collecLlve Lhlnklng from Lhe flrsL hlsLory clussrooms, luyed u role ln
Lhe consLrucLlon of nuLlonullsL unLhroology, Lhe ollLlcul yrumld, und lLs mulnLenunce.
1hls ls, however, u beluLed dlscovery (lf uL ull). New generuLlons of MesoumerlcunlsLs
(Loez AusLln, umong oLhers) ure urouchlng Lhe Lusk of LrunsluLlon dlfferenLly und we
ure wlLnesslng serlous uLLemLs Lo urouch lL wlLh more cuuLlon Lhun wus revlously
exerclsed. However, lL would be nuive Lo Lhlnk LhuL Lhls chunge comes solely from Lhe
hlsLorlun's slde or LhuL lL ls Lhe resulL of one slde of Lhe conLroversy wlnnlng Lhe buLLle.

z
ln Crenler, Yvon (selecLlon und rologue), Octav|o laz. Soeo eo l|bettaJ. lsct|tos pol/t|cos. Mexlco: Selx y
8urrul, zoo

z
Whlle we huve wlLnessed u chunge of hlsLorlogruhlcul urudlgm LhuL hus murglnullzed
Lhe old oslLlvlsL, essenLlullsL erudlLlon, oLher uurenLly unreluLed fucLors ure ulso
luylng u role: on Lhe one hund, Mexlco's roverblul nuLlonullsm hus hud Lo be reshued
ln Lhe llghL of recenL soclul, ollLlcul und economlc evenLs, mosL romlnenLly lLs
belonglng Lo u free-Lrude ureu wlLh lLs NorLh-Amerlcun nelghbors slnce gg, on Lhe
oLher hund, Lhe concomlLunL lrruLlon of Lhe lndlgenous eoles lnLo Lhe ubllc urenu und
Lhe defeuL of Lhe long Llme rullng urLy (zooo) huve ulso shuken Lhe LrudlLlonul grounds
on whlch Lhe conceL of nuLlon wus bullL ufLer Lhe Mexlcun RevoluLlon. 1he AzLec
urcheLye (u symbol for uggresslve nuLlonullsm seL ugulnsL Lhe overwhelmlng resence of
Lhe UnlLed SLuLes) ls crumbllng und u new one ueurs Lo be emerglng. 1he Muyu
culLures, wrued ln Lhe mysLery of Lhelr sudden dlsueurunce, ure uurenLly fur less
uggresslve, Lhelr redomlnunLly sky-blue color conLrusLlng wlLh Lhe AzLec's shurly
ouLllned red und bluck, Lhelr slLes greener und lundscues sofLer Lhun Lhe urld hlghlunds
of Lhe AzLecs, Lhelr uesLheLlcs genLler und less conLroverslul. ln Lhls shlfL of lnLeresLs,
Lhere ls more room for revlslons of Lhe old urudlgm, whlch lncludes lLs LrunsluLlons.
8uL Lhls ls unoLher sLory.