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Encyclopedia > Codex Borgia
Divine being Quetzalcoatl in human form, using the symbols of Ehecatl, from the Codex Borgia.

The Codex Borgia (or Codex Yoalli Ehecatl) is a Mesoamerican ritual and divinatory manuscript. It is generally believed to have been written before the Spanish conquest of Mexico, somewhere within what is now today southern or western Puebla. Image File history File linksMetadata Quetzalcoatl_Ehecatl. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Quetzalcoatl_Ehecatl. ... Information in this article or section has not been verified against sources and may not be reliable. ... This article is about the culture area. ... A manuscript (Latin manu scriptus, written by hand), strictly speaking, is any written document that is put down by hand, in contrast to being printed or reproduced some other way. ... Aztec empire The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of America. ... The Mexican state of Puebla is located in the center of the country, to the east of Mexico City. ...

The Codex Borgia is made of animal skins folded into 39 sheets. Each sheet is a square 27 cm by 27 cm (11x11 inches), for a total length of nearly 11 meters (35 feet). All but the end sheets are painted on both sides, providing 76 pages. The codex is read from right to left. First page of the Codex Argenteus A codex (Latin for block of wood, book; plural codices) is a handwritten book, in general, one produced from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. ...

The codex is named after the Italian Cardinal Stefano Borgia, who owned it before it was acquired by the Vatican Library. In 2004 Maarten Jansen and Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez proposed that it be given the indigenous name Codex Yoalli Ehecatl, Nahuatl for "Night and Wind", although it is not certain that its creators were Nahuas.[1] The Vatican Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana) is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nahuatl ( [1] is a term applied to a group of related languages and dialects of the Aztecan [2] branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, indigenous to central Mexico. ... The Nahua are a group of indigenous peoples of Mexico. ...



  • The first section of the codex is a tonalamatl ("pages of days") and is based on the tonalpohualli, the sacred 260-day calendar of Mesoamerica. The first 4 pairs of pages shows 65 day signs running horizontally through the middle of the pages, flanked by deity and other supernaturnal paintings.
  • Pages 29 through 46 of the codex constitute the longest section of the codex, and the most enigmatic. They apparently show a journey but the complex iconography and the lack of any comparable document have led to a variety of interpretations ranging from an account of actual historical events, to the passage of Quetzalcoatl -- as a personification of Venus[citation needed] -- through the underworld, to a "cosmic narrative of creation". The sequence apparently ends with a New Fire ceremony, marking the end of one 52-year cycle, and the start of another.
  • Pages 47 through 56 show a variety of deities, sacrifices, and other complex iconography.
  • Pages 57 through 60 allowed the priest to determine the prospects for favorable and unfavorable marriages according to the numbers within the couple’s names.
  • Pages 61 through 70 are similar to the first section, showing various day signs winding around scenes of deities. Each of the 10 pages shows 26 day signs.
  • Pages 71 through 76 show various deities and directional iconography.

The original page 13 of the Codex Borbonicus, showing the 13th trecena of the Aztec sacred calendar. ... The Tonalpohualli,the day-count in English, is the 260 day sacred calendar of early Mesoamericans. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... Adjectives: Venusian or (rarely) Cytherean Atmosphere Surface pressure: 9. ...

The Borgia Group

A number of other codices have been grouped with Codex Borgia based on several similarities:

Codex Vaticanus B (Apostolic Library, the Vatican.)
Codex Fejérváry-Mayer (Merseyside County Museum, Liverpool)
Codex Laud (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)
Codex Cospi (Biblioteca Universitaria, Bologna)

Also, the one page fragment known as Codex Fonds Mexicanus 20, now in the Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, is often categorized as a member of the Borgia Group. First page of the Codex Fejérváry-Mayer The Codex Fejérváry-Mayer is an Aztec Codex of central Mexico. ... For other uses, see Liverpool (disambiguation). ... The Codex Laud or Laudianus ((MS. Laud Misc. ... Entrance to the Library, with the coats-of-arms of several Oxford colleges The Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in England is second in size only to the British Library. ... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... For the food product, see Bologna sausage. ... The new buildings of the library. ... This article is about the capital of France. ...


The Codex Borgia was brought to Europe, likely Italy, some time in the early Spanish Colonial period. It was discovered in 1805 by Alexander von Humboldt among the effects of Cardinal Stefano Borgia. The Codex Borgia is presently housed in the Apostolic Library, the Vatican. An 1859 portrait of Alexander von Humboldt by the artist Julius Schrader, showing Mount Chimborazo in the background. ...

See also

Detail of first page from the Boturini Codex, depicting the departure from Aztlán. ... Page 9 of the Dresden Codex (from the 1880 Förstermann edition) Maya codices (singular codex) are folding books stemming from the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, written in Maya hieroglyphic script on Mesoamerican paper, made from the inner bark of certain trees, the main being the wild fig tree or...


  1. ^ Jansen and Jiménez: p. 270.


  • Boone, Elizabeth Hill. Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate. Austin: University of Texas Press. 
  • Dia, Gisele; and Alan Rodgers (1993). The Codex Borgia. New York: Dover Publications. 
  • Jansen, Maarten; and Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez (2004). "Renaming the Mexican Codices". Ancient Mesoamerica 15 (2): pp.267–271. ISSN 0956-5361. 

Prof. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ...

External Links

  Results from FactBites:
The Codex Borgia (1300 words)
The Codex Borgia is one of the most beautiful of the few surviving pre-Columbian painted manuscripts.
The exact place of origin of this codex is not known, however there is no doubt, that it originates from the central Mexican highlands (possibly near Puebla or the Tehuacán Valley), an area which was under Aztec rule at the time of the conquest.
The drawings are based on the Dover edition “The Codex Borgia - A full-color restoration of the ancient Mexican manuscript”, which is the result of a seven year restoration project, undertaken by Gisele Díaz and Alan Rodgers.
GBonline | Borgia Group of Codices (858 words)
The Borgia Codex is the finest example of what has been identified as a group of ritual-divinatory manuscripts that appear to have common content and share similar iconographic attributes.
The Codex Borgia : A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript is a Dover publication that is highly recommended.
Goddesses in the Borgia Codex Group written by Marìa de los Angeles Ojeda Dìaz is available in English and in Spanish as Las Diosas en los Còdices del Grupo Borgia: Arquetipos de las mujeres del Postclàsico.
  More results at FactBites »



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