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When the Aztec Empire emerged to dominate central Mexico from 1460
to 1519, vast amounts of tribute wealth flowed into the capital
city of Tenochtitlan, enabling artists and architects to create
sophisticated works on a monumental scale. Confronting a
civilization without precedent, some Spanish conquistadors and
missionaries looked to the classical past for explanations and
parallels were drawn between two great empires--the Aztec and the
Most studies of medieval warfare in the late 14th and 15th centuries concentrate on the Hundred Years' War between England and France and the Wars of the Roses. But meanwhile, on the Iberian peninsula, the foundations of Spain's military `Golden Age' were being laid as the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon under the Trastamara dynasty grew in power, ambition and success. Featuring spectacular full-colour artwork, and rare manuscript illustrations, this book depicts the fighting men whose skill and tactical flexibility made Spain into a world power at the close of the Middle Ages, carving out empires from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
The Conquest of Mexico is a legendary chapter in the annals of military history. Accounts vary, but all portray the fall of the Aztec Empire as a super-human feat achieved against hordes of superstitious savages by only a few hundred Spaniards armed with superior weaponry and guided by the military genius of Cortes. Nevertheless, as heroic as this legend has been portrayed in popular writing, the reality of those events is even more astounding. This volume explodes the myth of the Conquest of the New World by examining what factors led to the emergence of the Spanish citizen-soldier as the most effective killer Europe had seen since the Roman legionnaire. The author seeks to shed light on Cortes and his highly-trained men, as well as their finely-tuned killing methods. He examines how the machine of war had evolved so far that a new campaign almost had to be found to keep the hordes of soldiers occupied. The volume also gives a "soldier's eye view" of the Conquest, through the story of one of the many foot soldiers, who felt compelled to write down his experiences in later years.
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