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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes how Nahua thought may have determined certain aspects of the Conquest. It first discusses the reception of Hernán Cortés by Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin in Tenochtitlan and the handing over of his empire. It considers the possibility of Motecuhzoma’s fervent religiosity as an explanation for this extraordinary act, which has often been considered to be a Spanish invention to legitimate the Conquest. Oddly, in recognizing the Translatio Imperii of the Mexica ruler, it converts him from a weak and feeble leader into an active agent whose actions were determined by his personal beliefs. A second case discussed is the validation of indigenous rulers by their participation in war, a prehispanic tradition that probably was interpreted by the Spanish as collaboration but in fact was a continuation of a Mesoamerican ritual of enthronement.

Keywords: Conquest, Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, Hernán Cortés, religiosity, ritual of enthronement, agency

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