The Conquest of New Spain

The Conquest of New Spain➸ [Reading] ➺ The Conquest of New Spain By Bernal Díaz del Castillo ➭ – Heartforum.co.uk Vivid and absorbing, this is a first person account of one of the most startling military episodes in history the overthrow of Montezuma s Aztec empire by the ruthless Hernan Cortes and his band of ad Vivid and absorbing, this is a first of New PDF/EPUB À person account of one of the most startling military episodes in history the overthrow of Montezuma s The Conquest PDF \ Aztec empire by the ruthless Hernan Cortes and his band of adventurers Bernal D az del Castillo, himself a soldier under Cortes, presents a fascinatingly Conquest of New PDF/EPUB » detailed description of the Spanish landing in Mexico in , their amazement at the city, the exploitation of the natives for gold and other treasures, the expulsion and flight of the Spaniards, their regrouping and eventual capture of the Aztec capital The Conquest of New Spain has a compelling immediacy that brings the past to life and offers a unique eyewitness view of the conquest of one of the greatest civilizations in the New WorldJ M Cohen s clear, fluent translation is supplemented by an introduction that illuminates the life and memories of Bernal D az and explores changing views of the conquest, and there are also maps of the conquered territory.

Bernal D az del Castillo ca of New PDF/EPUB À was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards The Conquest PDF \ under Hern n Cort s, himself serving as a rodelero under Cort s Born in Medina del Campo Spain , he came from a family Conquest of New PDF/EPUB » of little wealth and he himself had received only a minimal education He sailed to Tierra Firme in to make his fortune, but after two years found few opportunities there Much of the native population had already been killed by epidemics and there was political unrest So he sailed to Cuba, where he was promised a grant of Indian slaves But that promise was never fulfilled, leading D az, in , to join an expedition being organized by a group of about fellow settlers from Tierra Firme and similarly disaffected Spaniards They chose Francisco Hern ndez de C rdoba, a wealthy Cuban landowner, to lead the expedition It was a difficult venture, and although they discovered the Yucat n coast, by the time the expedition returned to Cuba they were in disastrous shapeNevertheless, D az returned to the coast of Yucat n the following year, on an expedition led by Juan de Grijalva, with the intent of exploring the newly discovered lands Upon returning to Cuba, he enlisted in a new expedition, this one led by Hern n Cort s In this third effort, D az took part in one of the legendary military campaigns of history, bringing an end to the Aztec empire in Mesoamerica During this campaign, D az spoke frequently with his companions in arms about their experiences, collecting them into a coherent narration The book that resulted from this was Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva Espa a English The True History of the Conquest of New Spain In it he describes many of the battles in which he claims to have participated, culminating in the fall of the Aztec Empire in As a reward for his service, D az was appointed governor of Santiago de los Caballeros, present day Antigua Guatemala He began writing his history in , almost fifty years after the events described, in response to an alternative history written by Cort s s chaplain, who had not actually participated in the campaign He called his book the Historia Verdadera True History , in response to the claims made in the earlier workD az died in , without seeing his book published A manuscript was found in a Madrid library in and finally published, providing an eye witness account of the events, often told from the perspective of a common soldier Today it is one of the most important sources in understanding the campaign that led to the collapse of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

The Conquest of New Spain eBook Æ The Conquest  PDF \
    The Conquest of New Spain eBook Æ The Conquest PDF \ the expulsion and flight of the Spaniards, their regrouping and eventual capture of the Aztec capital The Conquest of New Spain has a compelling immediacy that brings the past to life and offers a unique eyewitness view of the conquest of one of the greatest civilizations in the New WorldJ M Cohen s clear, fluent translation is supplemented by an introduction that illuminates the life and memories of Bernal D az and explores changing views of the conquest, and there are also maps of the conquered territory."/>
  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • The Conquest of New Spain
  • Bernal Díaz del Castillo
  • English
  • 01 April 2019
  • 0140441239

10 thoughts on “The Conquest of New Spain

  1. Jan-Maat says:

    When we saw all those cities and villages built in the water, and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded These great towns and cues and buildings rising from the water all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis Indeed, some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to descriWhen we saw all those cities and villages built in the water, and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded These great towns and cues and buildings rising from the water all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis Indeed, some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard of, seen or dreamed of before. p 214.This translation is an abbreviated version of Bernal Diaz del Castillo s account of the conquest of modern Mexico, starting from landings on the coast in Maya areas Most of the text is taken up by the conquest of the Aztec Empire and occasionally interrupted by troubles with potential colonial rivals back on Hispaniola.It is a breathless account of a culture clash between the Castilians with their horses, steel weapons and armour, attack dogs, artillery and firearms on the one side and the rich, sophisticated world of late stone age Mexico on the other As a result the text overflows with details about the lifestyles and peoples the Spanish come across, fight against, and work with and they would not have succeeded without their local allies drawn from the Aztec s rivals particularly Tlaxcala to topple the chocolate drinking Montezuma view spoiler the Aztecs though preferred to drink their chocolate cold and unsweetened hide spoiler It s not a fine example of prose but the author s sense of wonder and amazement pulls you along through the negotiations, canoe building, town founding and inevitable hauling of artillery pieces up from the coast to the centre of the country.The Amadis mentioned in the quote above is The Amadis of Gaul one of the favourite books of Don Quixote In one way the actions of the conquering Spanish seem no less incredible, audacious, destructive, or even insane than those of the Quixote, while in another the same spirit and dreams of great deeds of heroism and chivalry inspired them both The only difference being that Bernal and his companions won the governorships of islands that were only ever promised to Sancho Panza

  2. Ian says:

    An absolutely astonishing first hand account of the conquest of Mexico, written some decades after the conquest took place It s fair to say that D az del Castillo portrays the conquistadores in afavourable light than they generally receive Some of the worst excesses during the conquest are either played down or not mentioned at all He clearly resents some of the criticisms levelled by Bartolom de las Casas D az does though portray the conquistadores unbridled greed, often in strongl An absolutely astonishing first hand account of the conquest of Mexico, written some decades after the conquest took place It s fair to say that D az del Castillo portrays the conquistadores in afavourable light than they generally receive Some of the worst excesses during the conquest are either played down or not mentioned at all He clearly resents some of the criticisms levelled by Bartolom de las Casas D az does though portray the conquistadores unbridled greed, often in strongly critical terms, and several times describes how local caciques were variously bullied, tortured and even hanged by conquistadores seeking to extort gold Elsewhere, he describes how people who rebelled against Spanish rule were enslaved, and were branded on the face to show their status to all.Not that pre Columbian Mexico was exactly Utopia, and through D az s eyes we can catch a few glimpses of this unique culture He describes his shock and revulsion at the heaps of skulls collected from human sacrifices, and of how, as is well documented, the various city states of Mesoamerica were probably the only highly organised societies ever to have institutionalised cannibalism The Indians ate human flesh in the same way as we do that of oxen, and there were large wooden cages in every town in which men, women and children were fattened for their sacrifices and feasts Both the Spanish invaders, and the Mesoamericans, seem to have treated women appallingly, and caciques who wanted to curry favour with the Spaniards frequently gave them women as presents Interestingly, homosexuality and transgenderism seem to have been accepted D az was outraged Most of the Indians were given to unnatural lusts To such a dreadful degree was this practised, that men went about in female garments, and made a livelihood by their diabolical and cursed lewdness Clearly, in this aspect of Mesoamerican society, most modern readers would be less judgemental than D az The most dramatic sections of the book are those which feature the conquistadores arrival in Mexico, and after their initial expulsion, the titanic 93 day battle for the city D az memorably describes his astonishment at his first sight of the great city of Mexico, it is impossible to speak coolly of things which we had never seen nor heard of, nor even could have dreamt of , everything was so charming and beautiful that we could find no words to express our astonishment , but he continues, there is not a vestige of this remaining, and not a stone of this beautiful city is now standing A hint of regret perhaps, from D az, for the destruction he helped bring about The 93 day siege of the city, and its grim outcome, is told in compelling form No one knows how many Mexicans perished during their ferocious resistance, despite their having weapons of only very limited effectiveness Some historians estimate the number in six figures D az describes the aftermath in sobering terms Not that the Spaniards always had things their own way, and one incident, in which 62 captured Spaniards were sacrificed at the top of the Mexicans main temple a sight clearly visible to their comrades seems to have left D az with what we would now recognise as a form of PTSD Cort s comes over as a truly remarkable figure repulsively greedy and cruel, utterly ruthless, determined and single minded a risk taker to the point of recklessness and a skilled dissembler who cleverly exploited rivalries between the Mesoamericans to add native allies to his army.Really there is so much I could quote from this account, but my review would go on for ever The book has its weaknesses It is at times repetitive, and the last quarter meanders into political machinations at the Spanish court, but the conquest itself was one of the most amazing, and momentous, events in history Reading this you get the impression that, looking back, D az himself could scarcely believe that they pulled it off

  3. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly says:

    The author started writing this when he was over 70, made his fair copy of it at age 76, and wrote a preliminary note for it at age 84 Five years later, he was dead.Arguedas s Deep Rivers and Galeano s Genesis Memory of Fire 1 , which I recently read, both have an unmistakable bias against the Spanish conquistadores of the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries Here, for a change, I listen to one of these conquistadores, for the author Bernal Diaz del Castillo was a Spanish soldier w The author started writing this when he was over 70, made his fair copy of it at age 76, and wrote a preliminary note for it at age 84 Five years later, he was dead.Arguedas s Deep Rivers and Galeano s Genesis Memory of Fire 1 , which I recently read, both have an unmistakable bias against the Spanish conquistadores of the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries Here, for a change, I listen to one of these conquistadores, for the author Bernal Diaz del Castillo was a Spanish soldier who served under Hernando Cortes, conqueror of the Aztec empire based then in Mexico The events narrated here happened between 1519 to 1521 when the author was in his mid 20s.For a 70 year old guy you will be amazed not by how much Diaz had forgotten noted in the translator s footnotes but how much he remembered of events which took place half a century before He was a wonderful storyteller Some things I learned about life in that part of the world almost 500 years ago 1 the Indians Aztecs practiced sodomy, human sacrifice and cannibalism They open up the body while the poor victim is very much alive, scoop out his her heart, and offer his her still beating heart to their gods idols in their temple The limbs they eat, the rest they throw away 2 their own kind whom they intend to sacrifice and turn into their favorite dishes they first fatten up inside cages like they re domesticated pigs or cattle being prepared for slaughter 3 a patriarchal society, it seemed that women among the Indians had no role except do menial jobs, bear children and be given by their fathers as gifts to other men There was only one Indian woman here who sort of stood out from Diaz s entire narrative She was given as a gift to Cortes who, in turn, gave her to his favorite officer, and who later acted as their interpreter in dealing with the Indians Fond of juicy gossips, Diaz didn t fail to mention that Cortes had a child by her later 4 for the Spaniards, the way to get rich then was to go out there, discover new lands, conquer their people and get their gold in the name of the Spanish monarch Whatever they get the latter is automatically entitled to one fifth thereof, the so called Royal Fifth and 5 these Spanish adventurers would first try to befriend the native Indians, try to convert them to Catholicism and to make them vassals of Spain If friendly persuasion doesn t work, they subdue them by force of arms and take everything they want.In the book s blurb there is the claim that t he defeat of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortes and his small bad of adventurers is one of the most startling military feats in history This could mislead As if Cortes 500 or so Spanish soldiers were, by themselves, able to defeat the Aztecs numbering tens of thousands Actually, several Indian tribes fought along Cortes and although Diaz was silent about this did most of the dying I agree, however, that Cortes was a brilliant military leader BRAVE he fought with his soldiers, got wounded and almost died several times , CUNNING he made Indians fight fellow Indians, outmaneuvered not only his Indian enemies but his Spanish enemies as well and LUCKY maybe because he was so damn brilliant that he became a living demonstration of the chess players well known adage A good player is always luckyBernal Diaz praised Cortes to high heavens but he likewise didn t mince words in implying that this great leader was also a thief or maybe Diaz was also praising Cortes as a good BUSINESSMAN An amusing anecdote he related towards the end of this book where, after the conquest of Mexico, the common soldiers like Diaz were grumbling about the very little share they will get of the booty While Cortes was at Coyoacan, he lodged in a palace with whitewashed walls on which it was easy to write with charcoal and ink and every morning malicious remarks appeared, some in verse and some in prose, in the manner of lampoons One said the sun, moon, and stars, and earth and sea followed their courses, and if they ever deviated from the plane for which they were created, soon reverted to their original place So it would be with Cortes ambition for command He would soon return to his original humble condition Another said that he had dealt us a worse defeat than he had given to Mexico, and that we ought to call ourselves not the victors of New Spain but the victims of Hernando Cortes Another said he had not been content with a general s share but had taken a king s, not counting other profits and yet another My soul is very sad and will be till that day when Cortes gives us back the gold he s hidden away It was also remarked that Cortes fellow adventurer Diego Velazquez had spent his whole fortune and discovered all the northern coast as far as Panuco, and then Cortes had come to enjoy the benefit and rebelliously taken both the land and the treasure And other words were written up too, unfit to record in this story When Cortes came out of his quarters of a morning he would read these lampoons Their style was elegant, the verses well rhymed, and each couplet not only had point but ended with a sharp reproof that was not so naive as I may have suggested As Cortes himself was something of a poet, he prided himself on composing answers, which tended to praise his own great deeds and belittle those of Diego Velazquez, Grijalva, and Francisco Hernandez de Cordova In fact, he too wrote some good verses which were much to the point But the couplets and sentences they scrawled up became every dayscurrilous, until in the end Cortes wrote A blank wall is a fool s writing paper And next morning someone added A wise man s too, who knows the truth, as His Majesty will do very soon Knowing who was responsible for this a certain Tirado, a friend of Diego Velazquez and some others who wished to make their defiance clear Cortes flew into a rage and publicly proclaimed that they must write up nolibels or he would punish the shameless villanins Many of us were in debt to one another Some owed fifty or sixty pesos for crossbows, and others fifty for a sword Everything we had bought was equally dear For God, Country and King No Then, and as always, it has always been about the gold, stupid

  4. Christopher says:

    Whatever you heard about Cort s in grade school is probably true enough, but wow, the details are amazing.Sure, Cort s might have been a deceitful, gold hungry, womanizing, slave taking, blood soaked psychopath and alleged poisoner , but that s part of what makes him a great character, because he was also a brilliant and charismatic velvet glove over iron fist diplomat, an incredibly savvy and calculating strategist, and a fervent Christian lecturing people constantly on the Trinity and revere Whatever you heard about Cort s in grade school is probably true enough, but wow, the details are amazing.Sure, Cort s might have been a deceitful, gold hungry, womanizing, slave taking, blood soaked psychopath and alleged poisoner , but that s part of what makes him a great character, because he was also a brilliant and charismatic velvet glove over iron fist diplomat, an incredibly savvy and calculating strategist, and a fervent Christian lecturing people constantly on the Trinity and reverence for the Virgin Mary who honestly believed the locals were the bad guys who needed to quit their human sacrifices, idolatry, cannibalism, robbery, and sodomy ASAP or at least right after they pointed him toward the gold and helped him get it And he was certainly among the bravest, most audacious leaders in history.Further, Diaz s history of the conquest of Mexico is as readable as a contemporary novel, and it s just loaded with intriguing tidbits Well, there are big things like how Cort s scuttles his own ships to ensure there s no going back, or how the governor of Cuba sends a force to reel him in and Cort s takes a break from fighting the locals to fight a force of Spaniards and wins, or how Cort s takes Montezuma prisoner but eventually gets kicked out of the city but eventually comes back for a long, grueling, inch by inch conquest wherein people are throwing the heads of Spaniards back at them or sacrificing them on altars within sight as the battle goes on.But there s also the little stuff, like the guy who has a volcano put on his coat of arms, or the sorceror astrologer in Cort s s force who has a spirit totem and some weird possibly sex related items on him, or the soldier who farts at Montezuma while guarding him, or all the amazing details about Tenochtitlan public restrooms, a section of the city set aside for circus performers, Montezuma s zoo, etc , or the guy who told Cort s he d been in the Italian campaigns and knew how to build a catapult but in fact built one that fizzled, and so on.There s plenty to doubt about Diaz s recall and point of view, but as first person historical narratives go, this one s hard to beat

  5. karl says:

    This is a 2 volume English translation of Castillo s memoirs centered on his years with Cortes expedition invasion of Mexico and Mexico City in the 1519 21 period Castillo was one of the 550 original conquistadors w Cortes In his later years he was an official in Guatemala Castillo wrote his memoirs beginning in 1568 and he indicates towards the end of the book that he is one of 5 surviving original conquistadors.The book approaches 1000 pages It has 213 chapters I read it on and off over This is a 2 volume English translation of Castillo s memoirs centered on his years with Cortes expedition invasion of Mexico and Mexico City in the 1519 21 period Castillo was one of the 550 original conquistadors w Cortes In his later years he was an official in Guatemala Castillo wrote his memoirs beginning in 1568 and he indicates towards the end of the book that he is one of 5 surviving original conquistadors.The book approaches 1000 pages It has 213 chapters I read it on and off over a year on my Kindle, but must admit it was a slog to read think of a text book Yet it was amazingly interesting at times especially describing battles, the way the Mayans sacrificed humans, and how driven for gold they all were Castillo claims at the end of his book that he fought in over 100 battles I was too exhausted to have counted, but certainly they had numerous battles with the natives Castillo is appreciative and respectful of Cortes, but much of the book he tries to point out how important all the soldiers were to the ultimate success of their conquest He opines they were not rewarded with sufficient land grants, areas to govern and tax , and Indians slaves.I wish I had had two good maps of the relevant region when I read the book There were so many names of rivers, mountains and towns they went through on the various campaigns that the reader is overwhelmed One map would be a modern one, and the other from about 1540 of the same area The short version story of Cortes is he has been living in Cuba and Hispaniola i.e., D.R Haiti for about 15 years when he leads a large expedition to explore what is now Mexico They land at Vera Cruz in the Yucatan They fight with and then work together with the Mayans, who do not like the Aztecs to the West who are rich and keep invading them So, Cortes and most of his men along with many Indians opposed to the Aztecs march to Tenochtitlan now Mexico City and confront Montezuma At first all is well and the conquistadors are overwhelmed with the buildings, dikes, temples, gold Events occur and they are forced to flee barely surviving and rush back to the Yucatan, but not before losing a lot of men and a lot of gold A couple of years later they return with overwhelming force and take the city Tid bits Generally on their campaigns they were short of food, so they had to scrounge around beg, borrow, and steal from the natives As part of the peace making process the natives gave gold, cloth, food, and women The Spanish had a unique advantage with horses, which terrified and amazed the Indians Their muskets, cannons, ard vests, steel bladed swords and steel tipped lances also gave them an advantage Humans sacrificed by the Indians were taken to the top of pyramid like temples, and the native priests would pull out the beating heart to offer to the gods The body was thrown down, and folks would grab and cook parts for dinner There were a lot of ways to die infections, TB, venereal disease, malaria, let alone from battles The conquistadors were very religious they brought their monks with them Their goal was to baptize the Indians They felt compelled and did share about 20% of all gold and treasures with the King of Spain I was amazed at how litigious the conquistadors and subsequent arrivers to Mexico were over land and control of districts and, how the Spanish crown sent many accountants and lawyers to help keep order and protect its own

  6. Ed says:

    Wow This book stands out as one of the most fascinating books that I can think of The only thing I can fault it for are the doubts about its veracity It certainly reads like an authentic account, and if it is, what an account History was never so fascinating I certainly enjoyed this book farthan A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and it comes across as faraccurate and nuanced The characters really come to life in this account Cort s is captured as a magnificent, Wow This book stands out as one of the most fascinating books that I can think of The only thing I can fault it for are the doubts about its veracity It certainly reads like an authentic account, and if it is, what an account History was never so fascinating I certainly enjoyed this book farthan A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and it comes across as faraccurate and nuanced The characters really come to life in this account Cort s is captured as a magnificent, though ruthless and duplicitous leader He was a superb diplomat who fought nobattles than he had to I was surprised to find myself rooting for the Spanish, despite the many atrocities they committed They came across as men of their time, certainly guilty of much of what has been accused of them, though they re not the despicable demons that they re often made out to be Perhaps the best description of their motives is the one D az himself uses, We went there to serve God, and also to get rich I think my favourite aspect of the book is the insight into how amazing it must have been to enter Mexico at that time, to be confronted with an Empire great enough to match any in history but to have it be completely new and unknown I can just imagine how exciting it would be to hear the stories told in person had D az returned to Spain and tell the Europeans what amazing sights could be found over the horizon The other great thing are the little details that D az includes that make his story so much richer The graffiti wars between Cort s and his dissatisfied soldiers, the trip up the volcano, and politics between Cort s and his men and his enemies

  7. Bob Newman says:

    On the spot reportage from 16th century conquistadorSeveral decades ago, as a college sopho, I was assigned to read Bernal D az work as part of a Latin American history course The title did not give me much hope I imagined having to force myself to sit at a desk night after night in order to finish the book To my great surprise, once I began to read this incredible eye witness account, I could not put it down Still, some 50 odd years later, Bernal D az story, as one of the soldiers who On the spot reportage from 16th century conquistadorSeveral decades ago, as a college sopho, I was assigned to read Bernal D az work as part of a Latin American history course The title did not give me much hope I imagined having to force myself to sit at a desk night after night in order to finish the book To my great surprise, once I began to read this incredible eye witness account, I could not put it down Still, some 50 odd years later, Bernal D az story, as one of the soldiers who accompanied Cort s, remains forever as one of the best books I have ever read on any subject.Vivid, eye witness description of the whole story of the Conquest of Mexico in 1519 will rivet you to the pages, if you have even the slightest sense of history or desire to imagine strange events in faroff places Here is the tale of how the Spanish soldiers, led by Cort s, despite tremendous odds, toppled an ancient civilization, destroying it utterly, and began a new society that would eventually become modern Mexico Where else are you going to read words like these, describing the Spaniards first arrival in Tenochtitlan, which would become Mexico City When we saw so many cities and villages built both in the water and on dry land, and this straight, level causeway, we couldn t restrain our admiration It was like the enchantments told about in the book of Amadis, because of the high towers, temples, and other buildings, all of masonry, which rose from the water Some of our soldiers asked if what we saw was not a dream Alliances, intrigues, battles, retributions, strange gods and the clash of utterly different cultures fill this amazing book If you have any fondness for history, if you have any curiosity about vanished civilizations, if you would like to ponder about Fate withsubstance than usual , then Bernal D az is your man Do not pass this book by

  8. Markus says:

    The Conquest of New Spain, Mexico.By Bernal Diaz del Castillo 1495 1584 The true story , told by the eye witness, as being History as he has seen it and witnessed it.Hernando Cortez is the name of the leader of the expedition, commonly associated with New Spain, and Mexico, the ancient capital of the Aztec Empire.Cortez and his six hundred soldiers, sixteen horses and some light artillery, set out from Cuba in 1519, with orders to explore the continent and to bring back gold and riches.Howev The Conquest of New Spain, Mexico.By Bernal Diaz del Castillo 1495 1584 The true story , told by the eye witness, as being History as he has seen it and witnessed it.Hernando Cortez is the name of the leader of the expedition, commonly associated with New Spain, and Mexico, the ancient capital of the Aztec Empire.Cortez and his six hundred soldiers, sixteen horses and some light artillery, set out from Cuba in 1519, with orders to explore the continent and to bring back gold and riches.However, Cortez decided to change the orders and make his own fortune by colonising whatever city and country he could conquer To prevent some of his soldiers to return back to Cuba, he had his three ships destroyed after landing.From 1519 to 1521 the author, a simple soldier under Cortez, counts 119 terrible battles in which he himself was engaged, and was wounded a countless number of times The Indians, while largely outnumbering the invaders, opposed fierce defences and fought extremely bravely but the Spaniard had Armor protections, gunpowder and horses, unknown and frightening to the Indians.A great clash of civilisations The greed for gold and the fanatic willpower to impose the Christian Faith upon the Indians, while destroying their ancient Idols and prevent the human sacrifices to them, made up a cruel context that we can hardly imagine today.Bernal Diaz was over eighty years old when he composed this memoir, not from a diary, but from an exceptional memory, only five of his companions are still alive.His style is narrative and simple, but overwhelming in details of action and names, not only of his Spanish friends and soldiers but also from countless Indian chiefs and villages.His tale has rightly been compared with the Anabase by Xenophon, which he surpasses in volume

  9. Chris Fellows says:

    De l audace, et encore de l audace, et toujours de l audaceFirst, this makes every high fantasy adventure novel out there seem like rather thin gruel It is easy to imagine it larded with appropriate conversations and lurid description to make it three or four time the size and then selling a gazillion copies as a story of a group of ruthless fantasy adventurers overthrowing an evil empire.Second, it is lucky Osama bin Laden I assume never read it, since it is practically a textbook example of De l audace, et encore de l audace, et toujours de l audaceFirst, this makes every high fantasy adventure novel out there seem like rather thin gruel It is easy to imagine it larded with appropriate conversations and lurid description to make it three or four time the size and then selling a gazillion copies as a story of a group of ruthless fantasy adventurers overthrowing an evil empire.Second, it is lucky Osama bin Laden I assume never read it, since it is practically a textbook example of how to go about overthrowing a decadent and evil civilisation Sure, a technological advantage helps acts of terror an unshakeable confidence in the rightness of your cause but above and beyond this Cortes emerges as a master of the technique of divide and conquer , skillfully finding and exploiting the fractures in the Mexican Empire to his own advantage He has absolutely no compunction against lying to the heathens or his own men he is always ready to promise anything to anyone And, then there is the audacity Cortes realises that the only way to succeed is to keep moving forward if for once you hesitate, if for once you let the enemy know your weakness, then you are lost The only way is onward attack, attack, attack Burn the boats, and cast the die, and maybe it is still a one in a million chance that you will be master of the greatest city of a continent, its streets and canals choked with unburied dead but that is the oly way to have any chance at all And as Terry Pratchett never tires of telling us, a one in a million chance is practically a certainty

  10. Heather says:

    Anthony read this book in college and recommended it to me I read it during our flights to and from Iceland and loved it It gives a first hand account of Cortes and his conquest over the Aztec empire and the defeat of Montezuma Translated from the diary of Bernal Diaz a solider who accompanied Cortes it creates vivid pictures and insight of the trials and successes of the Spanish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *