Abstract: Decoding the Astronomical Narrative in the Codex Borgia


The Codex Borgia, one of the great masterpieces of ancient Mexico, contains a unique narrative section that has been studied for more than a century. Using modern computer simulations of astronomical events, I have proposed a definitive reading of the narrative. The colorful images displayed over 18 page sequence link the cycle of ceremonies of the Central Mexican calendar to specific astronomical observations, including Venus events and lunar cycles, and the only total eclipse of the sun witnessed in Central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period (AD 1325-1520).


Related publications by Susan Milbrath:

Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico: Astronomy and Seasonal Cycles in the Codex Borgia, University of Texas Press, 2013.

“Real-Time” Climate Events in the Borgia-Group Codices: Testing Assumptions about the Calendar Ancient Mesoamerica, 22 (1):37-51, 2011 (second author with Chris Woolley).

White Paper: The Role of Venus in and the Great Eclipse of 1496 in Codex Borgia 39-40. In Cosmology in Amerindian Culture, electronic publication of the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, on line February 2011. http://www.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/11-02-007.pdf

Astronomical Cycles in the Imagery of Codex Borgia 29-46.  In Cultural Astronomy in New World Cosmologies. Clive Ruggles and Gary Urton (editors), pp. 157-207. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, 2007.

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