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Old December 25th, 2017, 03:34 AM   #11

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I was unclear, Jax. What I meant was that the expedition was made up of men bred, born and trained in warfare and the use of violence. Like you, I doubt any fought themselves in the Reconquista, but they were the following generation who grew up still immersed in it.
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Old December 25th, 2017, 05:50 AM   #12
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I was unclear, Jax. What I meant was that the expedition was made up of men bred, born and trained in warfare and the use of violence. Like you, I doubt any fought themselves in the Reconquista, but they were the following generation who grew up still immersed in it.
That sounds right. I am under the impression that any prior battle experience most of his men had was against the Indians in the Caribbean, not back in Europe.
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Old December 25th, 2017, 12:32 PM   #13

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We have both obviously been influenced by Diaz and Prescott's books on the discovery and conquest of Mexico, so I would suppose our views are similar. The two sources, I think, need to be "done" in parallel. Diaz was closer to the action, but Prescott had the advantage of there being time for reason to prevail. Ah, there was so much lost during the Conquest of Mexico, so all we have left of the Aztec POV are a few scattered Codex.

On the other hand, there are extensive studies available on how Mexican culture evolved later into modern Mexico. We owe much to the Archaeologists of all sorts and Anthropologists who have devoted their careers to those studies.

The long wars on the Iberian Pen., produced a culture used to violence and War. During the several centuries prior to the discovery of the New World, most of Europe struggled through difficult times where conflict was not uncommon. After the Black Death when the population was greatly reduced, Feudalism was challenged by new inventions, innovations, and social models. Modern States with centralized governments became more common as monarchs brought their nobility to heal. There was the Hundred Years War, and the Christianity was no longer the sole Church. So the whole of Europe was developing military doctrines where ritual, formal local wars and skirmishes gave way to Wars that gloried in mayhem and destruction. The idea of property ownership became more important, and how that property was obtained wasn't necessarily condemned if successful. Spain just happened to get a head start on carving up the New World.

There wasn't any single reason for the successes of Cortez and the other expeditions that followed. Some of it was just dumb luck. The difference in military doctrines of the Europeans, and the aboriginal population, also gave the Spanish a big boost. Divide and conquer is a hoary old means of reducing one's opponents to manageable levels. Cortez, for whatever else he might have been, was a determined and ambitious leader with a firm grip on managing his forces, and with the help of his mistress probably had a better understanding of the Aztec than they did of him. Disease killed significant portions of the native populations, and those who survived disease and losses on the battlefield, were defeated also in spirit and lost their will of resistance. But, not entirely.

If one wants to speculate on what would happen if an alien species showed up on our doorstep, then a careful study of the history of Mexico should be essential.
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Old December 25th, 2017, 03:05 PM   #14
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Actually, it is Ross Hassig's Mexico and the Spanish Conquest (2006, 2nd edition) version of the conquest of the Aztecs that I find most compelling. He describes the major claims of academic historians since the 1960s and argues that, until the final assault on Tenochtitlan, it was the Tlaxacalans who were using Cortez and driving the show, rather than the other way around. Although he uses Diaz's account, he uses Cortez's more, saying that it is likely more factual because of its proximity to the event. Of course he realizes that both account were written for personal purposes and their factual content is suspect.

Hassig claims, against previous accounts, that it was Cortez's Indian allies who understood the political situation far more than Cortez and La Malinche, and they did most of the decision making through the first couple of years. For Hassig, weapons, horses, armor, etc were all secondary factors. He claims that about 1,000 Spaniards died during the conquest, but the "pivotal role was played by his 200,000 Indian allies," noting that the total Indian deaths (Aztec and their enemies), numbered in the tens of thousands.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 02:19 AM   #15

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Actually, it is Ross Hassig's Mexico and the Spanish Conquest (2006, 2nd edition) version of the conquest of the Aztecs that I find most compelling. He describes the major claims of academic historians since the 1960s and argues that, until the final assault on Tenochtitlan, it was the Tlaxacalans who were using Cortez and driving the show, rather than the other way around. Although he uses Diaz's account, he uses Cortez's more, saying that it is likely more factual because of its proximity to the event. Of course he realizes that both account were written for personal purposes and their factual content is suspect.

Hassig claims, against previous accounts, that it was Cortez's Indian allies who understood the political situation far more than Cortez and La Malinche, and they did most of the decision making through the first couple of years. For Hassig, weapons, horses, armor, etc were all secondary factors. He claims that about 1,000 Spaniards died during the conquest, but the "pivotal role was played by his 200,000 Indian allies," noting that the total Indian deaths (Aztec and their enemies), numbered in the tens of thousands.
I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but all the primary sources need to be considered, not only Cortez letters or Diaz account, even if those are two essential ones.

On other hand dead estimates, both Spanish and Indians, must be taken as approximates, just not to call them wild guesses. Even the Spanish ones, since there was a kind of “Civil War” among various factions, like later in Peru.

As for who used who, or who was manipulating who… the Tlaxacalans really used Cortez and the Spanish, like Cortez used them, and we saw the Spanish (and the Portuguese for the same timeline) being used in other parts of the world in the Early Modern Period, mostly in a successful way (for them), others not so successfully (like in Cambodia).

But in the end, those relations can work both sides only until a certain point, and here the issue as that in the end, in political terms, the Tlaxacalans lost what they probably wanted to achieve, in other words, in political terms their relation served mostly he Spanish, and that was somewhat a constant in all the European Age of Exploration. The Europeans constantly used proxies to serve their interests.

Like I said, I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but if he considerers the technological gap (not only materiel but also mental) as a secondary factor, personally I cannot agree with him on that.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 06:09 AM   #16
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I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but all the primary sources need to be considered, not only Cortez letters or Diaz account, even if those are two essential ones.

On other hand dead estimates, both Spanish and Indians, must be taken as approximates, just not to call them wild guesses. Even the Spanish ones, since there was a kind of “Civil War” among various factions, like later in Peru.

As for who used who, or who was manipulating who… the Tlaxacalans really used Cortez and the Spanish, like Cortez used them, and we saw the Spanish (and the Portuguese for the same timeline) being used in other parts of the world in the Early Modern Period, mostly in a successful way (for them), others not so successfully (like in Cambodia).

But in the end, those relations can work both sides only until a certain point, and here the issue as that in the end, in political terms, the Tlaxacalans lost what they probably wanted to achieve, in other words, in political terms their relation served mostly he Spanish, and that was somewhat a constant in all the European Age of Exploration. The Europeans constantly used proxies to serve their interests.

Like I said, I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but if he considerers the technological gap (not only materiel but also mental) as a secondary factor, personally I cannot agree with him on that.
No one said Hassig only used Cortes' and Dial's accounts. Asherman said something about Diaz and I mentioned that Hassig considers Cortez' more valuable for his project. You are jumping to conclusions. And he also uses the codices, and Bernardino de Sahagún's work, discussing the difficulties in evaluating them.

And of course his death tools are estimates. Do you think someone counted the bodies of every dead Indian? But it is rather foolish to suggest they are "wild guesses" before reading his book because Hassig footnotes his death numbers so his sources can be verified. it seems that my description of his claim is threatening some belief you feel compelled to hold onto.

Hassig is one of the top Aztec anthropologists and he specializes in Meso-American political infrastructure and Aztec warfare. If you are well read on the Aztecs I'm a bit surprised that you don't know who he is. I don't care whether you agree with him or not, but maybe you should try reading his book and try to follow his reasoning and examine his evidence before claiming you know better than he does.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Hassig
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Old December 26th, 2017, 07:29 AM   #17

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No one said Hassig only used Cortes' and Dial's accounts. Asherman said something about Diaz and I mentioned that Hassig considers Cortez' more valuable for his project. You are jumping to conclusions. And he also uses the codices, and Bernardino de Sahagún's work, discussing the difficulties in evaluating them.

And of course his death tools are estimates. Do you think someone counted the bodies of every dead Indian? But it is rather foolish to suggest they are "wild guesses" before reading his book because Hassig footnotes his death numbers so his sources can be verified. it seems that my description of his claim is threatening some belief you feel compelled to hold onto.

Hassig is one of the top Aztec anthropologists and he specializes in Meso-American political infrastructure and Aztec warfare. If you are well read on the Aztecs I'm a bit surprised that you don't know who he is. I don't care whether you agree with him or not, but maybe you should try reading his book and try to follow his reasoning and examine his evidence before claiming you know better than he does.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Hassig
Jax,

First of all thank you for the Wikipedia link.

I was a bit surprised by your tone, that in a translation to my code and language seems a bit harsh in my direction, and that was not the tone that I intended to meet in this thread.

You say that I am jumping into conclusions but I said, and pardon me to quote myself from my previous post “…I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but if he considerers the technological gap (not only materiel but also mental) as a secondary factor, personally I cannot agree with him on that.” Maybe I should underlined the “if”, that was an assumption from me after reading your post, if that assumption is incorrect I misread you. My apologies.

But I sustain that any dead rates for that time are mostly disputable wild guesses, if the term is not correct I can substitute it for approximate estimates, both for Indians and Spanish. And we see year after year, decade after decade studies with so different numbers that we really don’t know, just because one thing: We don’t have enough data.

Furthermore, stating that I don’t know Hassig’s work I was not questioning his value, that I don’t know, I was only stating my ignorance about his work, and I really think that you are the one jumping to a conclusion stating “If you are well read on the Aztecs…” because I never claimed to be well read about the Aztecs. I just allowed myself to express my opinion about a specific perspective that you mentioned, no reason at all to raise tones here.

Anyway if you post some more about his book, I will certainly read your post.

Happy holydays!
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Old December 26th, 2017, 09:20 AM   #18
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Jax,

You say that I am jumping into conclusions but I said, and pardon me to quote myself from my previous post “…I don’t know Ross Hassig's work, but if he considerers the technological gap (not only materiel but also mental) as a secondary factor, personally I cannot agree with him on that.” Maybe I should underlined the “if”, that was an assumption from me after reading your post, if that assumption is incorrect I misread you. My apologies.
First, the only thing I said you were jumping to conclusions about was that Hassigs was only using Cortez's and Diaz accounts. I don't see how you weren't jumping to conclusions about that.

And you didn't need to underline the "if." As I said Hassig does claim that Cortez' Indian allies were the "primary factor" and, until you read his book and show me why he is wrong, I don't care that you think he has it wrong.

I don't know exactly where you are getting the opinion that Spanish technology was the primary reason for the Aztec defeat (Jared Diamond, maybe?) but I don't have any time for someone's opinion that one view is better than another until both views have been read and compared.

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But I sustain that any dead rates for that time are mostly disputable wild guesses, if the term is not correct I can substitute it for approximate estimates, both for Indians and Spanish.
"Approximate estimates" and "wild guesses" are not nearly the same thing. If you are now saying "approximate estimates" then you seem a bit more reasonable than I first thought.

Quote:
And we see year after year, decade after decade studies with so different numbers that we really don’t know, just because one thing: We don’t have enough data.

Furthermore, stating that I don’t know Hassig’s work I was not questioning his value, that I don’t know, I was only stating my ignorance about his work, and I really think that you are the one jumping to a conclusion stating “If you are well read on the Aztecs…” because I never claimed to be well read about the Aztecs. I just allowed myself to express my opinion about a specific perspective that you mentioned, no reason at all to raise tones here.
I wasn't jumping to the conclusion that you were well read on the Aztecs, I was actually suggesting you weren't, which you just confirmed. And since you say you aren't well read on the Aztec, how do you know "that we don't have enough data" about Indian deaths. Maybe Hassig has it, how would you know without reading his book???

And Hassig knows he is using "approximate estimates," and using his estimates he is pretty convincing to me (you know, the one of us who has actually read his book) that Cortez's Indian allies are responsible for far more Aztec deaths than the vastly smaller number of Spanish, even with their technology. And he also addresses the view that the Aztec were supposedly psychologically intimidated by the Spanish technology and other factors, such as believing the Spanish were Gods.

Quote:
Anyway if you post some more about his book, I will certainly read your post.
I'm not going to post more on his book. I only mentioned it because Asherman thought I was influenced in my views by some other works. But I work on the assumption that anyone interested enough in any historical topic to make claims about it would want to read alternate interpretations by respected experts.

I don't know what the history book buying situation is in your country, but in the U.S., a used copy of Hassig's book in very good condition, delivered, is available right now on Amazon for $8. If you get a copy and read it, then I will discuss it with you and any competing versions you want to discuss. But to put up more information just to hear why you think your view is better than Hassig's wouldn't be worth my time.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-list...dVeryGood=true
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