Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.

From Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, The Florentine Codex, Book 12, Chapter 38 (Mexica)

Here it is told how the Spaniards set up a catapult which with trickery they would use to slay the Tlatilulcans.

[This chapter begins with a discussion of how the frustrated Spaniards introduced a catapult they would use to lob stones on the Mexicas. They tried once, but they overshot their target. They tried again, but still could not hit ordinary people. Frustrated, the Spaniards began to fight with each other. When the Mexicas saw what the catapult looked like, they named it “the wooden sling.”]

And once more the Spaniards hurled [their numbers] against [the Mexicas]. And all the Tlaxcalans then formed themselves in rows in Yacacolco, Tecpancaltitlan, and Copalnamacoyan. Then, at Atecocolecan, the Spaniards very slowly led those who were besieging us. Very slowly they proceeded, taking position. And the warriors took their positions, each one animated and exalted. They gathered courage and stood up as men. None cowardly, none behaving like women. They cried: “Come, warriors! Who are these little savages?–this rabble from the south of Anáhuac?” And the warriors kept going from one side to the other, back and forth. None walked straight nor stood upright.

[The rest of this chapter talks about how the Spaniards slowly tried to retake the city, while the Mexicas and their allies did what they could to keep them out.]