A 16th century document considered one of the most important primary sources on the Aztecs of pre-Columbian Mexico went digital Thursday with a new app that aims to spur research and discussion.
The Codex Mendoza is a 1542 illustrated report ordered by Spanish viceroy Antonio de Mendoza that details sources of riches, Aztec expansion and territorial tributes, and chronicles daily life and social dynamics.
The new interactive codex lets users page through the virtual document, mouse-over the old Spanish text for translations into English or modern Spanish, click on images for richer explanations and explore maps of the area.
Presented by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, the digital codex is available free both on the Internet and through Apple’s App Store as a 1.02-gigabyte app.
“Never before had these tools been used to amplify understanding of a document of these characteristics,” said Ernesto Miranda, the institute’s director of academic innovation.
The original Codex Mendoza was compiled by Aztec and Spanish artisans to inform the king of Spain about conditions in the viceroyalty.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History created the app in collaboration with Oxford’s Bodleian Library and King’s College London.