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Mexican records, known as the Mendoza Collection (Codex Mendoza), Written about the second quarter of the 16th century in Mexico

MS. Arch. Selden A. 1

  • Request

Mexican records, known as the Mendoza Collection, and consisting of three parts:

  1. Fols. 1-18r, a Mexican Chronicle, 1324-1520 (death of Montezuma II)
  2. Fols. 18v-55v, Tributes paid by the towns or communities
  3. Fol. 56v-71v, The social and political life of Mexico

Each part consists of Mexican hieroglyphics in colour, with Spanish interpretations, notes, and introductions.

Fols. 73-82 (which are insititious) contain tables of the comparative value of Roman, Greek, English, and French money: the date 1563 occurs on fol. 74. Fol. 83 bears a note by dr. John Greaves (Gravius: (d. 1652) that these tables do not agree with those of sir Thomas Smith.


  • Creation: Written about the second quarter of the 16th century in Mexico


84 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • Spanish; Castilian

Conditions Governing Access

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MS. Arch. Selden A. 1


Old Selden mark = A. 1

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, no. 3134

Custodial History

This remarkable and valuable volume was made in Mexico at the command of Mendoza, the viceroy of Mexico, and sent as a present to the emperor Charles v, but the ship carrying it was captured by the French, and the volume fell into the hands of André Thevet, the geographer, whose signature in 1553 is on fols. 1r, 70v, 71v, and the cover. After his death in 1590 Richard Hakluyt bought it, and left it by his will in 1616 to Samuel Purchas, who regarded it as 'the choisest of my Iewels', and reproduced many of the hieroglyphics, and most of the facts represented, in his Pilgrimes (3rd part, Lond. 1625: bk. 5, pp. 1065-1117); and the above history of the volume is from Purchas's account: see also H. H. Bancroft's Works, vol. ii (= Native Races, vol. ii), pp. 241, 529.

Manuscript 3147 acquired by the Bodleian Library

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital surrogate available in Digital Bodleian.

Related Materials

The whole has been reproduced in lord Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico (Lond. 1831), the hieroglyphics in colour in vol. i, the Spanish text in vol. 5, an English translation in vol. 6.

Physical Facet

On paper, with many coloured pictures


12 7/8 × 9 in.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom