More on horses and soldiers

by craigepplin

I’m reading a section of La visión de los vencidos for a class I teach. It’s a compilation of Mexica accounts of the conquest.

I came across a passage that would seem to contradict Díaz’s judgment that the Native Americans thought that a Spanish soldier atop his horse comprised one beast. The quote is:

Los soportan en sus lomos sus “venados”. Tan altos están como los techos.

[Their “deer” carry them on their backs. As tall as roofs.]

Here then we see that the Mexica account (this is from one of Montezuma’s messengers) differentiates between the human and the nonhuman animal. The horse is supposed to be a deer, an animal that the Mexica would have known of. Just a small piece of evidence that Díaz’s judgment reflects his own philosophy about the war assemblage.