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The Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, folios I-II
  • Jacob S. Neely, University of Kentucky

The Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1 (ca. 1500) and The Mixtec Group

The Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, also known as the Vienna or the Leopoldino, is a member of the Mixtec Group. This group is similar in style and origin to the Borgia Group, but contains historical and genealogical narratives instead of divinatory manuals.

The Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1 is a record of the rulers of Tilantongo, a Mixtec city-state in Oaxaca. Scholars generally agree that it was likely owned by Lord 4 Deer (named for his birthdate according to the Tonalpohualli), the last pre-Hispanic ruler of Tilantongo.

The Codex begins with the mythological origins of the ruling dynasties. This rhetorical strategy lends credibility to the genealogy that follows by suggesting that the ruling families have a divine right to rule. On the displayed folios I-II, you can see a list of rulers, tracing the family lines back centuries.

Unusually, the chain of custody of this Codex is clear. We know that it was in Spain by 1521 – the year Cortés’ coalition took control of Tenochtitlan/Mexico City– because there is an archival trail.

Which of the four categories of CONTINUITY apply to the Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1?


Jansen, Maarten E.G.R.N. "Vienna, Codex." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 13 Sep. 2018.

Pool, Christopher and Barry Kidder. “Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, p. 3.”A Glimpse into Ancient Mexico: Writings of the Aztecs, Mixtec, and Maya. Sep. 2013-Present. University of Kentucky Special Collections, Lexington, KY. 13 Sep. 2018.

Valero de García Lascuráin, Ana Rita. Entre Códices. México: Universidad Anáhuac México Norte, 2012, pp. 78-81.

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All scans courtesy of University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center and carried out by Jacob S. Neely.

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Citation Information
Jacob S. Neely. "The Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, folios I-II" (2018)
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