Codex Xolotl

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The Aztec emperor Chimalpopoca in Huitzilopochtli costume, from the Codex Xolotl.

The Codex Xolotl (also known as Codicé Xolotl) is a postconquest cartographic Aztec codex, thought to have originated before 1542.[1] It is annotated in Nahuatl and details the preconquest history of the Valley of Mexico, and Texcoco in particular, from the arrival of the Chichimeca under the king Xolotl in the year 5 Flint (1224) to the Tepanec War in 1427.[2][3]

The codex describes Xolotl's and the Chichimeca's entry to the, at the time, unpopulated valley as peaceful. Although this picture is confirmed by the Novahispanic historian Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl (1568 or 1580–1648), there is other evidence that suggests that the area was inhabited by the Toltecs.[4]

Ixtlilxochitl, a direct descendant of Ixtlilxochitl I and Ixtlilxochitl II, based much of his writings on the documents[5] which he most probably obtained from relatives in Texcoco or Teotihuacan.[6] The codex was first brought to Europe in 1840 by the French scientist Joseph Marius Alexis Aubin, and is currently held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.[7]

The manuscript consists of six amatl boards measuring 42 by 48 centimetres (17 in × 19 in), with ten pages and three fragments from one or more pages.[8] While it is unknown who did the binding of the manuscript, it is cast like a European book back to back.[8] The Codex Xolotl has been an important source in giving detailed information on material, social, political and cultural changes in the region during the period.[9] It is one of the few still surviving cartographic histories from the Valley of Mexico and one of the earliest of its type.[10]