The Conquest

Totally off-topic, but what the hell...

I've always been interested in Mexican history, and every time I go there I come back wanted to learn more. My latest order from Amazon arrived today, with two related books. The first is The Conquest Of New Spain by Bernal Diaz. It's a first-hand account of the conquest of Mexico by one of Cortes' captains. The second is even more interesting: The Broken Spears, The Aztec Account Of The Conquest Of Mexico, which is the recording of the oral tradition passed down by the descendants of the Aztecs, preserving their view of the events. I'm trying to force myself to eke some time out of my impossible schedule to do some reading. This is admittedly ambitious, since I rarely finish reading the books I start, but it's intriguing enough that I have a chance of getting through both.

I had lunch today with Chris, and showed him the Broken Spears book. He flipped through it and was initially surpised at the level of detail that had been preserved through an oral tradition lasting over 400 years. But we then talked about the Homeric epics, which preserve a very high level of detail, yet initially existed as an oral tradition. I also vaguely remember hearing about some asian epic (Uyghur, maybe?) that has never been written down, and is 10 times longer than the Iliad and Odyssey combined. I don't think you get through that in one night...