Portilla starts out by giving a thorough background of the culture and religious beliefs. The reader can draw many theories on how this carried over to the Aztecs way of thinking and fighting. In addition to the religion and culture, Portilla shows the technology advantages the Spanish had over the Aztecs. He also goes on to describe the poor leadership of Motecuhzoma. Motecuhzoma will be portrayed as a coward. Portilla also writes about the strategy that worked rather well for the Spanish as they made alliances with the Tlaxcalatecas and other cities. He finally talks about plague that wiped out much of the Aztecs. This may have been the greatest factor in the fall of the Aztecs Empire. All of these factors combined effectively show how the Spaniards prevailed over this great Aztec Empire of the 15th and early 16th century.
The religion and culture of the Aztecs played a role in the way the way they thought and fought. They worshiped the war-god Huitzilopochtli. He was identified with the sun and was called "the Giver of life" and "the Preserver of Life" (xxxix). The religion carried some ridiculous rituals such as human sacrifice along with using magicians and wizards to cast spells. In war conditions, human sacrifice played a big role because the Aztecs would not fight to kill,...
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... The plague was brought over by the Spanish who where immune to the disease, but the Aztecs weren't so lucky. Many where killed over the course of seventy days, including the new King Cuitlahucs (92). Obviously this had a dramatic impact because they lost their leader. Those that remained where very weak with a milder form of the disease (93). Obviously this affected their strength to fight.
"The Broken Spears" by Miguel Leon-Portilla gives a different perspective on the defeat of the Aztecs. Through reasons such as religion and culture beliefs, the Spanish technological advancement, and their strategy of gaining alliances in the new land contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs. The two factors that played the biggest roles were the poor leadership of Motechuhzoma and the timing of the plague. Those two factors were indeed what brought down this great Empire.
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