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In this way Duverger continues with an academic career that has been characterized by attempts to alter some of the most established paradigms of Mesoamerican history.

The Cprtes verdadera contains references to Homer, Cicero and other Latin classics, as well as great richness of vocabulary and a clear influence of both Latin constructions and those of the native languages of Mesoamerica.

Duverger believes that someone of humble origins like Bernal, who had not undergone any formal education and was probably illiterate could never have produced such a work.

Hernán Cortés, the humanitarian | In English | EL PAÍS

Then there is the issue of the great detail contained in this chronicle. To this end he would have projected a double memoir: This would have been the manuscript of the Historia verdadera.

After the failure of this uprising, one of them would codtes sent the manuscript to Bernal in order to keep it safe. He and his son would then have reworked the manuscript so as to claim authorship of it for Bernal, thus sending historians and literary critics on a false trail for the past four centuries. Indeed, most attempts to challenge the authorship of canonical texts on the basis of lacunae or implausible claims run the risk of posing hypotheses that are equally difficult to believe.


To portray Bernal Herban as a straw man for Cortes demands a fabulous sequence of coincidences. On the other hand, it may very well be true that Diaz was comparatively poorly educated.

Remember, however, we do have evidence that he could write, for his signature appears upon a nearly year-old Guatemalan government document as a member of a cortfs group of Spanish Guatemalan officials. For my part, I have always believed that Diaz was interviewed — debriefed if you will — by someone more educated than he, someone who could write and write well, comfortable with editing and arranging text and with the conventions — chriztian pretensions — of the times.

If so, it is not impossible to believe that this individual might have have ascribed authorship of the book to the man he interviewed or heard tell it.

Neither should we forget that a number duverter conquistadors remained in New Spain after the conquest. Many assumed high positions and gained great wealth.

Hernán Cortés, the humanitarian

It would be only natural to assume they would have met with one another and relived those great events at every opportunity, so impossible was it even for them to believe they had subjugated nearly a quarter of a continent. Then there is this: After all, the story needed no padding to rank as one of the great adventures of all time, regardless of the teller — bloody as it was, and as calamitous as it was for the Indian civilization then extant.


Homer and Diaz, each waxing long and eloquent, duvrger despite old age by the reliving of their tale, practiced in its telling again and again, and always before a hushed crowd of awed and astounded men, women, and children who would tell it in their turn. Given the deep implications of this theory for the history of the period, can you tell me if there has been any published response from serious professional historians of the period?

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: Codex — Wikimedia Commons Then there is the issue of the great detail contained in this chronicle.

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