Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Conquest of New Spain.

Díaz has left me completely exhausted:

" ... the whole ninety-three days of our siege of the capital, Mexican captains were yelling and shouting night and day, mustering the bands of warriors who were to fight on the causeway, and calling to the men in the canoes who were to attack the launches and struggle with us on the bridges ... Then there was the unceasing sound of their accursed drums and trumpets, and their melancholy kettle drums in the shrines and on their temple towers. Both day and night the din was so great that we could hardly hear one another speak. But after Guatemoc's capture, all the shouting and the other noises ceased ..." - The Conquest of New Spain, The Siege and Capture of Mexico.

Of all the crazy tales I have read, whether fiction or non-fiction, this one is as intense and amazing as it gets. At the same time, it wasn't written by a novelist but rather a soldier writing of his memories. In some ways it is a reminder of the Lord of the Rings with the vast armies attacking the small band of soldiers day after day. Tolkien's battle of Helm's Deep would seem a good comparison, except that the hopelessly outnumbered band was sleeping outdoors with no fortifications and taking the offensive as often as being in defense. The high tower of Huichilobos with the sacrifices and the papas dressed in black like a Catholic monk bring back memories of Indiana Jones movies or some other works of fiction:

"For great courage was at that time required of a soldier. I must say that when I saw my comrades dragged up each day to the altar, and their chests struck open and their palpitating hearts drawn out, ... "

Enough. Reality is stranger than fiction.

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