"La Ley Azteca" - Re: homosexualidad y lesbianismo

IXTLIL at aol.com IXTLIL at aol.com
Tue May 22 02:38:22 UTC 2001

kohler's work, although highly accurate and commendable for its time, is
decades out of date.  Bernarda Reza Ramirez could use a more modern study.

certainly, the rules and penalties reported are representative of what is
found in the sources describing fifteenth and sixteen century central mexico.
 application of the rules is more difficult to ascertain in the various
"Aztec" (and other central Mexican) groups, particularly with respect to
prosecutorial zeal or disinterest, strict or lax application of rules to
cases and general custom and practice in the societal groups in question.
all these help to expand and modify the meaning of "rules." it is quite
possible that these rules were absent in some locales and mere guidelines and
advisories in other locales, although it is known that Texcocan jurisprudence
(which is the origin of several of these rules)  emphasized strict
application of rules to cases. this was in response to a perceived need to
control ethnically diverse groups living in close proximity in times of
considerable social change.  unfortunately most of the evidence of this
diversity is irretrievably lost. (the term "aztec" captures about as much of
the diversity that there was in Central Mexico as does the term "Chinese" for
the many groups in "China").

the "aztecs' of tenochtitlan were only a small part of the story in central
mexico. with the apparent decline of the single party state in mexico, we may
see more scholarship devoted to the distribution of power over time among the
various groups of pre-hispanic central mexico rather than to studies
stressing centralization under  the "aztecs" of tenochtitlan--who had come
over time to be the de facto icon of the one party system.

i would have hoped by now that scholarship would have advanced beyond this
old routine--using rules and penalties out of context to create the familiar
"Aztec Crime and Punishment Side (i.e. Freak) Show" and causing unnecessary
concern instead of studying their interesting jurisprudential system in as
full a cultural and historical context as we are fortunate enough to have.

jerry offner

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