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 (Mexica)


The odd things in the air are symbols of speaking. Here Malinche is translating Spanish into Nahuatl and vice-versa. Note the completely different hair style and dress for Malinche in Sahagún’s images from those found in the Lienza de Tlaxcala. In this image, she appears more like a cacica, an upper class women; in the Lienza de Tlaxcala, she is dressed and wears her hair more like a peasant woman.

Step One

Make some observations about what is included in the image.

  • Who can you identify?
  • Where are they located in the image?
  • How are they dressed?
  • What kind of military action do you see?
  • What is the center of this image?

Step Two

Ask yourself some questions about what you see in the image.

  • What is the story being told in this image?
  • What are the similarities between this story and what you just read on the previous page?
  • What are the differences between this story and what you just read?
  • How do you account for the differences in the various stories?

Step Three

Write your own interpretation of Marina/Malinche based on the evidence.