Discussion Question(This post must be at least 200 words.)
What is unique about the tone of “Orders Given to the Twelve”? What was the tone? Do you think it is appropriate for the kind of document it is, given when it was written, and why it was written? Why or why not? How does that contrast to the tone in the second document (The Holy Men Respond…)?
Lecture, Week 4
Here is an excerpt from a historian (Camille Townsend) who talks about some of the myths surrounding Cortes’s arrival in Mexico (keep an eye out for what I put in bold):
“In 1552, Francisco López De Gómara, who had been chaplain and secretary to Hernando Cortes while he lived out his old age in Spain, published an account of the conquest of Mexico. López de Gómara himself had never been to the New World, but he could envision it nonetheless. “Many [Indians] came to gape at the strange men, now so famous, and at their attire, arms and horses, and they said, ‘These men are gods!’ “ The chaplain was one of the first to claim in print that the Mexicans had believed the conquistadors to be divine. Among the welter of statements made in the Old World about inhabitants of the New, this one found particular resonance. It was repeated with enthusiasm, and soon a specific version gained credence: the Mexicans had apparently believed in a god named Quetzalcoatl, who long ago had disappeared in the east, promising to return from that direction on a certain date. In an extraordinary coincidence, Cortes appeared off the coast in that very year and was mistaken for Quetzalcoatl by the devout Indians.”
Of course, Townsend continues by saying that no educated person really believes this story. In fact, it was largely fabricated by a chaplain who had never been to the Americas, but rather was taking care of Cortes in Spain during his last years.