21 January 2010

Your Quote for the Day: Hernan Cortés

I continue to move through the great Rebecca West's unfinished work posthumously published under the title Survivors in Mexico, which includes a magnificent, short primer on Pre-Columbian Aztec civilization.

When Hernan Cortés and his small band of conquistadores first arrived at the frontier of the Aztec Empire, Montezuma's first response was to attempt to buy them off with gold, silver, jade, and turquoise. Jade and turquoise were considered by the Aztecs to be of more value than gold and silver. Montezuma sent out a messenger offering the conquistadores these commodities. Cortés's response to Montezuma's messenger is your quote for the day:

Let your emperor send us gold, for I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart for which gold is the only cure.

Is that a beautiful quote for the day or what?

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Hernan Cortés on the right from one of Diego Rivera's murals in the National Palace. The ugly figure on the left is a syphilitic. Notice his swollen knees. That figure is an allusion to the importation of that disease as well as others by the Spanish into the Western Hemisphere.

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Today is the birthday of General Allende, hero of the initial phase of the war for independence from Spain. The primary feature of the occasion locally is a big parade. I have attended my one and only parade here.

1 comment:

Four Dinners said...

The Aztec culture fascinates me - as a kid I read the Herge Tintin books and a double header was 'The Seven Crystal Balls' and 'Prisoners Of The Sun'

Herge confused Aztecs and Incas as many still do.

Extraordinary cultures. Often incredibly vicious yet amazingly advanced in comparison to others.

oh shut up Dinners.

Much more of this and they'll think you've a brain in your head...;-)