General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Apr 2021/4 Wind
Text Size:

Link to page about the Maya Calendar
Today's Maya date is: - 3043 days into the new cycle!
Link to page of interest to teachers
Click to find out how we can help you!
Search the Site (type in white box):

An Aztec youth captures his first warrior, Codex Mendoza

Reward for your first captive!

Only when a young Mexica (Aztec) warrior captured his first enemy soldier without anyone else’s help did he really take his first step on his career in the Aztec army. As a reward, for the first time he was allowed to wear clothing with designs. The main picture here is taken from the Codex Mendoza, and written in the Spanish ‘gloss’ (description) are the words ‘A youth, who captured one [warrior] in battle, was given a manta [cape] of flower style, as in this square, as a sign of bravery’.

A colourful Aztec cape with a floral design; Codex Magliabechiano, page 4
A colourful Aztec cape with a floral design; Codex Magliabechiano, page 4 (Click on image to enlarge)

There were seven ranks a warrior could pass through, and for each successful step up he was rewarded with ever more beautiful and distinguished cloaks or capes. When not kitted out as a warrior, he could wear this cape in public on special occasions as a mark of honour (a bit like soldiers sporting their medals and rank today).

Note, from the main picture, that the youthful warrior is shown looking very similar to his captive: both wear simple quilted cotton armour, carry an undecorated shield and identical obsidian-spiked war clubs. The victor holds his prisoner by a tuft of hair from the top of his head, forcing him down into a ‘surrender’ position that’s always used in codices to show a captured/conquered person.

Information from The Essential Codex Mendoza by Frances Berdan and Patricia Rieff Anawalt, 1997.
Pictures sources:-
• Image from the Codex Mendoza scanned from our own copy of the James Cooper Clark 1938 facsimile edition, London
• Image from the Codex Magliabechiano scanned from our own copy of the ADEVA 1970 facsimile edition, Graz, Austria.

Feedback button

Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: The Codex Magliabechiano has several pages of them! You can view them online in the archives of FAMSI. Try the following link -