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Ballads of the Lords of New Spain

The Codex Romances de los Señores de la Nueva España

Transcribed and translated from the Nahuatl by John Bierhorst

Publication Year: 2009

Compiled in 1582, Ballads of the Lords of New Spain is one of the two principal sources of Nahuatl song, as well as a poetical window into the mindset of the Aztec people some sixty years after the conquest of Mexico. Presented as a cancionero, or anthology, in the mode of New Spain, the ballads show a reordering—but not an abandonment—of classic Aztec values. In the careful reading of John Bierhorst, the ballads reveal in no uncertain terms the pre-conquest Aztec belief in the warrior’s paradise and in the virtue of sacrifice. This volume contains an exact transcription of the thirty-six Nahuatl song texts, accompanied by authoritative English translations. Bierhorst includes all the numerals (which give interpretive clues) in the Nahuatl texts and also differentiates the text from scribal glosses. His translations are thoroughly annotated to help readers understand the imagery and allusions in the texts. The volume also includes a helpful introduction and a larger essay, “On the Translation of Aztec Poetry,” that discusses many relevant historical and literary issues. In Bierhorst’s expert translation and interpretation, Ballads of the Lords of New Spain emerges as a song of resistance by a conquered people and the recollection of a glorious past.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

Comprising thirty-six song-texts apparently dating from the early fourth quarter of the sixteenth century, the so-called Romances, or “ballads,” stands as one of the two principal sources of Nahuatl song. Unlike its sister compilation, the more voluminous Cantares Mexicanos, the Romances, whether by design or accident ...

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A Note on Orthography

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pp. xi-xii

In the following pages Nahuatl terms, wherever introduced in isolation from a particular text, are written in a modernized Franciscan orthography descended from the spelling methods of the Franciscan missionary-linguists of the 1500s. This is the Spanish-flavored orthography widely used by presentday ...

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Using the Online Edition

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pp. xiii-xvi

The University of Texas Libraries, together with the University of Texas Press, has launched a complete online version of the print edition of the Ballads of the Lords of New Spain at www.utdigital.org. The website reproduces the Nahuatl text and English translation as printed here, but with “pop-up” excerpts ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-23

The Romances de los senores de la Nueva España, or Romances, as the codex has been called for short, is a hastily penned Nahuatl manuscript of forty-two folios, undated, unsigned, and with a few stray comments in Spanish, jotted even more hastily, by an anonymous glossator. Evidently the work is a transcript ...

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On the Translation of Aztec Poetry

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pp. 24-70

A glance at the oral literature of Aztec Mexico, preserved in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century manuscripts, will show that the Romances, or “ballads,” belong to one of the three abundantly attested Aztec genres that may be called ritualistic: the conjuros, the huehuetlatolli, and the netotiliztli. ...

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Guide to the Vocabulary

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pp. 71-75

Except for proper nouns, which may be located in the Concordance to Proper Nouns, the main vocabulary items used in the English translation of the Romances will be found here, together with the number of the paragraph in which each item is discussed or mentioned in the preceding essay, ...

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Guide to the Transcription

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pp. 76-79

The reader of the Romances manuscript soon discovers that the scribe omits or inserts n’s and m’s—or exchanges one for the other or doubles them— without an apparent system. Another peculiarity is that the sounds /s/ and /ts/, often written ç and tz, are interchanged indiscriminately. ...

Part 1

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pp. 80-113

Part 2

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pp. 114-145

Part 3

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pp. 146-155

Part 4

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pp. 156-162

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Commentary

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pp. 163-188

In the following notes repeated reference is made to the essay On the Translation of Aztec Poetry (TRAN), above, cited in most cases by section number only. Thus (6.2), for example, means TRAN section 6.2. Only song I has been provided with phrase-by-phrase annotation; the remaining songs may be similarly ...

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Concordance to Proper Nouns

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pp. 189-203

All names of persons mentioned in the Romances, whether historical or supernatural, as well as all names of nations, national groups, and places (real or mythical), are entered in this Concordance with a complete list of occurrences. Main entries are written with glottal stops, shown by an H ...

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Verbs, Particles, and Common Nouns

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pp. 204-206

Romances vocabulary not entered here will be found either in the Concordance to Proper Nouns or in the Cantares dictionary (DICT). Single-object transitive verbs are entered with the indefinite form of the (direct) object, TE (human) or TLA (general), e.g., HUIMOLOA:TLA. Definitions are presented ...

Appendix I: Two Versions of the Myth of the Origin of Music

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pp. 207-210

Appendix II: Corrections for the Cantares Edition

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pp. 211-220

Bibliography

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pp. 221-232

Index

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pp. 233-237


E-ISBN-13: 9780292793569
E-ISBN-10: 0292793561
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292718524
Print-ISBN-10: 0292718527

Page Count: 253
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere