Precolumbian Codices Overview

Although it is a small corpus of great international importance it is difficult for a student to find a definitive and complete list of pre-Columbian codices. Partly this is because it is not clear what should be included or not included for few reasons: it's difficult to identify a precise date for some codices; the conquest occured over a period of time; the Spanish arrived at different places at different times; codices may have been made after contact with Spanish but in the pre-contact style; even if a codex is clearly mixed some parts may be described as pre-Columbian; some pre-Columbian texts only survive in facsimile form made by Europeans; some important texts are not strictly defined as codexes, but scrolls or rolls, or 'lienzo's (such as maps); the authenticity of some has been doubted. To help clarify the following list provides an overview. The term 'PreColumbian' here indicates that the codex does not appear to have been created with any Spanish influence in mind, while 'InterSpanish' indicates pre-Columbian content that is clearly being related to Spanish content, such as were indigenous imagery is accompanied by Spanish glosses, etc. There are other important indigenous texts from the early colonial period but they are too many to include here.

Conventional NameAlternate NamesPeopleSourceDatePurposeNote
BoturiniAztecFAMSI1530-1541InterSpanishBiblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia
IxtlilxochitlAztecFAMSIearly 17CInterSpanishFAMSI
MagliabechianoAztecFAMSImid 16CInterSpanishFAMSI
BorgiaAztecFAMSIpreConquestPreColumbianFAMSI British Museum
CospiAztecFAMSIpreConquestPreColumbianFAMSI British Museum
LaudAztecFAMSI16CInterSpanishFAMSI University of Utah Library
Tonalamatl AubinAztecFAMSI1400-1599CuspNot to be confused with Codex AubinFAMSI Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia
Vaticanus 3738Vaticanus A, Codex RiosAztecFAMSI1570-1589InterSpanishIdentifies major gods. See also Telleriano-Remensis.FAMSI
Vaticanus 3773Vaticanus BAztecFAMSI?PreColumbianRitual calendarFAMSI
MendozaAztecBodleian Library/Wikipediac.1541InterSpanishWikipedia
MoctezumaAztecc.1600InterSpanishBiblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia
AubinAztec1576-1607InterSpanishNot to be confused with Codex Tonalamatl AubinBritish Museum British Museum
CozcatzinAztecc.1439InterSpanishBibliothèque Nationale de France
Oztoticpac Lands Map of TexcocoAztecc.1540InterSpanishLibrary Of Congress
Badianus ManuscriptLibellus de Medicinalibus Indorum HerbisAztec1552InterSpanish
Telleriano-RemensisAztec16CInterSpanishIdentifies major gods. See also Vaticanus 3738.FAMSI
DresdensisDresdenMayaFAMSI1200-1345PreColumbian FAMSI
Tro-CortesianusMadridMayaFAMSI1250-1450PreColumbian FAMSI
Grolier (disputed)Maya (Disputed authenticity)Justin Kerr12C-13CPreColumbian (disputed)FAMSI
Egerton 2895Mixtec (Ñuu Dzaui)PreColumbianFAMSI
Yuta TnohoVindobonensis Mexicanus 1Mixtec14CPreColumbianFAMSI British Museum (licence)
TonindeyeZouche-NuttalMixtec14CPreColumbianFAMSI British Museum
Becker I/IIMixtecPreColumbianFAMSI
Iya NacuaaColumbinoMixtecWDL12CPreColumbianWDL WDL
AñuteSeldenMixtecc.1556InterSpanishBodleian Library FAMSI
Selden Roll (not codex)The Roll of the New FireMixtec16CInterSpanishBodleian Library
Ñuu Tnoo & Ndisi NuuBodleyMixtec14C-15CPreColumbianFAMSI
Aglio? (untitled)AztecBritish Museumc.1499PreColumbian (facsimile only)British Museum
Codex Humboldt / BerlinAztecBritish Museumc.1500PreColumbian (facsimile only)British Museum
Mayan VasesMayaJustin KerrJustin Kerr