The story of the Spanish missions in California has its roots in 16th century Mexico. There, Franciscan friars and their native partners sought to record the memories of Aztec elders before their culture was changed forever. The information they collected is contained in the Florentine Codex.
Dr. Ezekiel Stear is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Auburn University. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, has studied Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) and is an expert on indigenous texts from the area of Central Mexico.
Highlights of Part 1
- The university in Mexico City that taught aristocratic Aztec youth Latin and Greek, and why it didn’t last.
- How Aztec nobles and Franciscan friars worked together to create an alphabet for Nahuatl.
- Bernardino de Sahagún — the Spanish friar and early anthropologist who sought to document Aztec culture.
- How Sahagún and his native partners transcribed 12 volumes of information.
- The strange story of how Sahugún’s manuscript wound up in Italy and came to be known as the Florentine Codex— the most important source of material on the Aztecs.
To Learn More
- Ezekiel Stear’s faculty page at Auburn University
- Ezekiel’s website: Forgotten Lives of Latin America
- The Florentine Codex on the World Digital Library
- Book: Biography of Bernardino de Sahagún by Miguel León-Portilla
- Book: The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan: The Life of Mexico City by Barbara Mundy
- Book: Aztecs on Stage by Louise M. Burkhart