Primary Source: Nonfiction, Florentine Codex (Nahuatl)

Module Title: Doña Marina, Cortés’Translator

This chapter from the Florentine Codex, a bi-lingual encyclopedia of central Mexican life and history was created by the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahag˙n and indigenous advisors, painters and scribes. Nahuatl and Spanish texts appear side by side, and are accompanied by an image of Malintzin translating. The Nahuatl version of this text describes indigenous objects, words and emotions in more detail than its Spanish counterpart, from the treasured items seized by conquistadors to the palace roof where Malintzin uttered her commands. In this text, she emerges as the crucial figureŚthe name of CortÚs is never mentioned and the orders she gives seem to be hers alone, not a translation of his demands. So, too, is the fear she induces more palpable and poignant.

Nahuatl Source: Bernardino de Sahag˙n. ôInic caxtoll capitulo: uncan mitoa, in quenin Espa˝oles calaquito in ipilchan Motecušoma: au in tlein umpa muchiuh.ö Book 12, Chap. 18, p.124, 126 in Florentine Codex. ca. 1570-1585. In We People Here. Translated and edited by James Lockhart. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Inic caxtolli omei capitulo: vncan mitoa, in quenin Espa˝oles calaquito in ipilchan Motecušoma: auh in tlein vmpa muchiuh.

Niman ie ic vi in vel itlatlatiaia Motecušoma in vmpa mopia in vel itech iaxca in motecušoma: itocaiocan Totocalco iuhquin yioiolipan, iuhquin mocecenquetza iuhquin moquequetzotzona, iuhquin iiztaia iniollo. Auh in onacito, in oncalacque tlatlatiloian, iuhquin mihicultia, mihicolia: nimŃ ie ic oallaquixtilo in vel ixcoian yiaxca, in vel ineixcavil, in vel itonal, mochi tlašotlanqui, in chiaiaoac cozcatl, in machoncotl, in teucuitlamatemecatl, yoan in matzopetzli, teucuitlaicxitecuecuextli, yoan in xinvitzolli tlatocatlatquitl, yoŃ in iacaxivitl, yoan in ixquich in oc cequi in itlatqui in amo šan tlapoalli muchi quicuique, moch intech compachoq moch c§motechtique, moch c§motonaltique. Auh in oc§cocoleuhque in ixquich in teucuitlatl; in ontlacocoleoaloc, niman ie ic quicentlalia itoalco, itoalnepantla in ixquich in tlašohivitl.

Auh in ie iuhqui in o mochi munechico in teucuitlatl. NimŃ ie ic qu´oalnotza, qu´oalnentzallani in ixquichtin in pipiltin in Malintzin: tlapanco oalmoquetz, atenanticpac: Quitoa. Mexica xioalhuian ca cenca ie tlaihiovia in Espa˝oles: xiqualcuicŃ in tlaqualli, in chipaoac atl, yoan in ixquich monequi, ca ie tlahiovia, ie quiciavi, ie quihiovia, ie mociavi, ie mihiovia: tleica in amo anoallaznequi? Ic neci ca anqualani.

Auh in Mexica šŃ nimŃ aocmo motlapaloaia in ma onvian, canca momauhtiaia, mauhcašonequia mihišaviaia, cenca mavitzli onoc, mavitzli moteteca, aocac tlaxtlapaloa, ša iuhqn tequiani vnca, ša iuhquin tlalli mictoc: tel amo ic mocaoa, amo ic netzotzonalo in concaoa in ixquich intech monequi, ša in mauhcac in concaoaia, ša onmomauhcatlaloa in ontlacaoa. Auh in ocontepeoatovalnetlalolo, vallachichitoca, tlacica, tlaviviioca.