The University Libraries' Mesoamerican codices collection consists of high quality facsimiles held in Special Collections, mass published facsimiles found on our shelves, early microfilm proxies of originals, and scholarly interpretations.
The categorization on this page is based on the work of John B. Glass and his book, Catalogo de la Coleccion de Codices, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico, 1964.
(*Oversized Collection.) Written by an Indian physician in Aztec and translated into Latin by another Indian, this manuscript gives a picture of Aztec medicine at the time of the conquest. It is an herbal, and therefore deals with the pharmacological treatment of diseases. Because the manuscript is illustrated with pictures which are helpful in identifying plants, it is a valuable source of Aztec lexicography since the Aztec names were used.
Online exhibit from the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library with a selection of herbal recipes from the Badianus Manuscript. (http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/rare_books/herbalism/badianus.cfm)
(***Oversized. Introduction in German and French; summaries in English, French, and Spanish.) The date of this early calendrical source is controversial, with some arguing for a preconquest date and others for an early colonial date, possibly before 1541. The manuscript has four major sections. Part I is a tonalpohualli or 260-day divinatory almanac. Part 2 shows the association of the 9 Lords of the Night with the yearbearer days for a 52-year period. Part 3 is an 18-month festival calendar for a New Fire ceremony year. Part 4 repeats one of the month ceremonies and continues with year dates for a 52-year period.
(*Oversized. Summaries in English, French, and Spanish.) Generally considered to be among the finest specimens of Pre-Columbian art, this manuscript is the most important, detailed, and complex pictorial source extant for the study of Central Mexican gods, ritual, divination, calendar, religion, and iconography. Most of the 28 sections are devoted to different aspects of the Tonalpohualli, the Mesoamerican 260-day divinatory period. Other sections depict complex rituals whose significance remains obscure.
The Florentine Codex is the final and complete manuscript of the 12 books of the Historia general. It contains the Nahuatl text and a parallel Spanish text. It is illustrated by 1,846 drawings, not counting decorative tailpieces and ornamental designs. The 12 books contain information on gods; ceremonies of the 18 months; the divinatory almanac; various customs; omens; moral philosophy; the lords of Mexico, Tlatelolco, Texcoco, and Huexotla; people; natural history; and the conquest of Mexico City and Tlatelolco by the Spaniards.
This is a divinatory almanac in 17 sections. Most sections concern specific aspects of the tonalpohualli, the 260-day Mesoamerican augural cycle. Some sections of the obverse with bar-and-dot numerals may relate to unidentified ceremonies or offerings.