saw songbird brawl, chirps still sweet. tropes in modern glyph: 🏍💨..🚬🧨~~💣💥🏛💥 // 🗻🏄♂️...🛤🙋♀️⛓️..🚂💨 // ⚰️🧛♂️🦇..🧄🦸♀️🗡..🌞☠️
read history of the conquest of mexico by william hickling prescott (1796-1859), a new englander writing in the chattel slavery era. struck by a crust of hard bread and the sight of his left eye was destroyed. after graduation, when his right eye began to fail, he abandoned the practice of law. could legends of white men from east arisen by solo shipwrecked sailors surviving trans-atlantic tradewinds over prior millennia, life of pi style?
after a series of wanderings and adventures, which need not shrink from comparison with the most extravagant legends of the heroic ages of antiquity, they at length halted on the southwestern borders of the principal lake, in the year 1325. they there beheld, perched on the stem of a prickly pear, which shot out from the crevice of a rock that was washed by the waves, a royal eagle of extraordinary size and beauty, with a serpent in his talons, and his broad wings opened to the rising sun
post-houses were established on the great roads about two leagues distant from each other. the courier, bearing his dispatches in the form of a hieroglyphical painting, ran with them to the first station, where they were taken by another messenger and carried forward to the next, and so on till they reached the capital..fresh fish was frequently served at montezuma's table in twenty-four hours from the time it had been taken in the gulf of mexico, two hundred miles from the capital
the mexicans, according to clavigero, believed in an evil spirit, the enemy of the human race, whose barbarous name signified "rational owl." (stor. del messico, tom. ii. p. 2.)
they led him to the sacrificial stone, a huge block of jasper, with its upper surface somewhat convex. on this the prisoner was stretched. five priests secured his head and his limbs; while the sixth, clad in a scarlet mantle, emblematic of his bloody office, dexterously opened the breast of the wretched victim with a sharp razor itztli, - a volcanic substance, hard as flint, - and, inserting his hand in the wound, tore out the palpitating heart
this was not the coarse repast of famished cannibals, but a banquet teeming with delicious beverages and delicate viands, prepared with art, and attended by both sexes, who, as we shall see hereafter, conducted themselves with all the decorum of civilized life
the persians had a cycle of one hundred and twenty years, of three hundred and sixty-five days each, at the end of which they intercalated thirty days. (humboldt, vues des cordilleres, p. 177.) this was the same as thirteen after the cycle of fifty-two years of the mexicans
two celebrated bas-reliefs, of the last montezuma and his father, cut in the solid rock, in the beautiful groves of chapoltepec, were deliberately destroyed, as late as the last century, by order of the government!
the english traveller, latrobe, accommodates the wonders of nature and art very well to each other, by suggesting that these great masses of stone were transported by means of the mastodon, whose remains are occasionally disinterred in the mexican valley
when urged at the stake to embrace christianity, that his soul might find admission into heaven, he inquired if the white men would go there
the little army heard mass and then sallied forth from the wooden walls of tabasco
he further told the governor, as we are informed by his chaplain, "that the spaniards were troubled with a disease of the heart, for which gold was a specific remedy"
they marched always as if in a land of enemies, the horse and light troops in the van, with the heavy-armed and baggage in the rear, all in battle array. they were never without their armor, waking or sleeping, lying down with their weapons by their sides. this unintermitting and restless vigilance was, perhaps, more oppressive to the spirits that even body fatigue. but they were confident in their superiority in a fair field, and felt that the most serious danger they had to fear from indian warfare was surprise
the horse was borne off in triumph by the indians, and his mangled remains were sent, a strange trophy, to the different towns of tlascala. the circumstance troubled the spanish commander, as it divested the animal of the supernatural terrors with which the superstition of the natives had usually surrounded it. to prevent such a consequence, he had caused the two horses, killed on the preceding day, to be secretly buried on the spot
too deficient in military science to profit by their vast superiority in numbers. they were distributed into companies, it is true, each serving under its own chieftain and banner. but they were not arranged by rank and file, and moved in a confused mass, promiscuously heaped together. they knew not how to concentrate numbers on a given point, or even how to sustain an assault, by employing successive detachments to support and relieve one another. a very small part only of their array could be brought into contact with an enemy inferior to them in amount of forces. the remainder of the army, inactive and worse than useless, in the rear, served only to press tumultuously on the advance, and embarrass its movements by mere weight of numbers, while, on the least alarm, they were seized with a panic and threw the whole body into inextricable confusion. it was, in short, the combat of the ancient greeks and persians over again
while this fierce struggle was going forward, the tlascalans, hearing the concerted signal, had advanced with quick pace into the city. they had bound, by order of cortes, wreaths of sedge round their heads, that they might the more surely be distinguished from the cholulans
it may call to the reader's mind the memorable view of the fair plains of italy which hannibal displayed to his hungry barbarians, after a similar march through the wild passes of the alps
montezuma may have, perhaps, thought it was not more monstrous to feed on the flesh of a fellow-creature, than on that of the creator himself
its interior decorations, its fanciful draperies, its roofs inlaid with cedar and other odoriferous woods, held together without nail, and, probably, without a knowledge of the arch
these chapels were stained with human gore
among the teocallis in the inclosure was one consecrated to quetzalcoatl, circular in its form, and having an entrance in imitation of a dragon's mouth, bristling with sharp fangs, and dropping with blood
that a small body of men, like the spaniards, should have entered the palace of a mighty prince, have seized his person in the midst of his vassals, have borne him off a captive to their quarters, - that they should have put to an ignominious death before his face his high officers, for executing, probably, his own commands, and have crowned the whole by putting the monarch in irons like a common malefactor, - that this should have been done, not to a drivelling dotard in the decay of his fortunes, but to a proud monarch in the plentitude of his power, in the very heart of his capital, surrounded by thousands and tens of thousands, who trembled at his nod, and would have poured out their blood like water in his defence, - that all this should have been done by a mere handful of adventurers, is a thing too extravagant, altogether too improbable, for the pages of romance!
according to ixtlilxochitl, montezuma got as far on the road to conversion, as the credo and the ave maria, both of which he could repeat; but his baptism was postponed, and he died before receiving it
war, religion, and rapine were so intimately blended together
cocuyos, - a species of large beetle which emits an intense phosphoric light from its body, strong enough to enable one to read by it
the ambassadors stated them without reserve, comparing their commander's conduct to the ungrateful proceeding of alexander, who, when he gained a victory, usually gave away more to his enemies than to the troops who enabled him to beat them
battalions distributed under their respective banners, the devices of which showed a contribution from the principal cities and districts in the valley. high above the rest was conspicuous the ancient standard of mexico, with its well known cognizance, an eagle pouncing on an ocelot, emblazoned on a rich mantle of featherwork. here and there priests might be seen mingling in the ranks of the besiegers, and, with frantic gestures, animating them to avenge their insulted deities
cortes might have addressed his troops, as napoleon did his in the famous battle with the mamelukes: "from yonder pyramids forty centuries look down upon you"
ship-builder, martin lopez, who, as we have seen, had fortunately escaped the slaughter of the "melancholy night." cortes now sent this man to tlascala, with orders to build thirteen brigantines which might be taken to pieces and carried on the shoulders of the indians to be launched on the waters of lake tezcuco. the sails, rigging, and iron work, were to be brought from vera cruz, where they had been stored since their removal from the dismantled ships. it was a bold conception, that of constructing a fleet to be transported across forest and mountain before it was launched on its destined waters!
powder was manufactured with the aid of sulpher obtained by some adventurous cavaliers from the smoking throat of popocatepetl
the spaniards appear to have changed the qua, beginning aztec names, into gua, in the same manner as, in the mother country, they changed the wad at the beginning of arabic names into guad
the former historian states the number of indian allies who followed cortes, at eighty thousand; the latter at ten thousand! ¿quien sabe?
he believed that the white men were the beings predicted by the oracles, as one day to come from the east and take possession of the land
other nations entered on it also, but with different motives. the french sent forth their missionaries to take up their dwellings among the heathen, who, in the good work of winning souls to paradise, were content to wear - nay, sometimes seemed to court - the crown of martyrdom. the dutch, too, had their mission, but it was one of worldly lucre, and they found a recompense for toil and suffering in their gainful traffic with the natives. while our own puritan fathers, with the true anglo saxon spirit, left their pleasant homes across the waters, and pitched their tents in the howling wilderness, that they might enjoy the sweets of civil and religious freedom. but the spaniard came over to the new world in the true spirit of a knight-errant, courting adventure however perilous, wooing danger, as it would seem, for its own sake. with sword and lance, he was ever ready to do battle for the faith; and, as he raised his old war-cry of "st. jago," he fancied himself fighting under the banner of the military apostle, and felt his single arm a match for more than a hundred infidels! - it was the expiring age of chivalry; and spain, romantic spain, was the land where its light lingered longest above the horizon
the spaniards poured through the open gates into the area, and a small party rushed up the winding corridors to its summit. no vestige now remained there of the cross, or of any other symbol of the pure faith to which it had been dedicated. a new effigy of the aztec war-god had taken the place of the one demolished by the christians, and raised its fantastic and hideous form in the same niche which had been occupied by its predecessor. the spaniards soon tore away its golden mask and the rich jewels with which it was bedizened, and, hurling the struggling priests down the sides of the pyramid, made the best of their way to their comrades in the area. it was full time
the house of birds, filled with specimens of all the painted varieties which swarmed over the wide forests of mexico
as the long file of priests and warriors reached the flat summit of the teocalli, the spaniards saw the figures of several men stripped to their waists, some of whom, by the whiteness of their skins, they recognized as their own countrymen. they were the victims for sacrifice. their heads were gaudily decorated with coronals of plumes, and they carried fans in their hands. they were urged along by blows, and compelled to take part in the dances in honor of the aztec war-god. the unfortunate captives, then stripped of their sad finery, were stretched, one after another, on the great stone of sacrifice. on its convex surface, their breasts heaved up conveniently for the diabolical purpose of the priestly executioner, who cut asunder the ribs by a strong blow with his sharp razor of itztli, and, thrusting his hand into the wound, tore away the heart, which, hot and reeking, was deposited on the golden censer before the idol. the body of the slaughtered victim was then hurled down the steep stairs of the pyramid, which, it may be remembered, were placed at the same angle of the pile, one flight below another; and the mutilated remains were gathered up by the savages beneath, who soon prepared with them the cannibal repast which completed the work of abomination!
the capital of the western world, forever gone
many a mother, in her agony, devoured the offspring which she had no longer the means of supporting
moses: "the tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward . . . . . her children which she shall bear; for she shall eat them, for want of all things, secretly, in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates." deuteronomy, chap. 28 vs. 56, 57
in a few years every vestage of the primitive teocallis was effaced from the land. the uncouth idols of the country, and unhappily the hieroglyphical manuscripts, shared the same fate
suspicion naturally accompanies weakness
the aztecs..believed that two persons survived the deluge, a man, named coxcox, and his wife. their heads are represented in ancient paintings, together with a boat floating on the waters, at the foot of a mountain. a dove is also depicted, with the hieroglyphical emblem of languages in his mouth, which he is distributing to the children of coxcox, who were born dumb. the neighboring people of michuacan, inhabiting the same high plains of the andes, had a still further tradition, that the boat, in which tezpi, their noah, escaped, was filled with various kinds of animals and birds. after some time, a vulture was sent out from it, but remained feeding on the dead bodies of the giants, which had been left on the earth, as the waters subsided. the little humming-bird, huitzitzilin, was sent forth, and returned with a twig in its mouth
a religious rite which reminded them of the christian communion..an image of the tutelary deity of the aztecs was made of the flour of maize, mixed with blood, and, after consecration by the priests, was distributed among the people, who, as they ate it, "showed signs of humiliation and sorrow, declaring it was the flesh of the deity!"
"the fashion of burning the corpse, collecting the ashes in a vase, burying them under pyramidal mounds with the immolation of wives and servants at the funeral, all remind one of the customs of egypt and hindostan"
total ignorance of some of the most serviceable and familiar arts, as the use of milk, and iron