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CORTES Cortes The Life of the Conqueror was written by Cortes assistant chaplain and secretary Francisco Lopez de Gomara The text an epic written in a courtly style that tends to simultaneously enumerate and generalize the presented accomplishments follows the life of Hernan Cortes briefly touching on his early life and spending the majority of its pages detailing the explorers various conquests in Mexico The author since he was a companion advisor and secretary to Cortes and was also a secular priest can be said to be biased towards the glorification of his subject with whom he was allied and against the native inhabitants in his vehement disavowal of the indigenous populations culture and society His point of view is one of unrestrained admiration mixed with the sureness that Cortes every action was inspired by the greater good of Christianizing the new land The sources used by Gomara can be assumed to be a combination of direct reports from Cortes recollections reconstructions of events of which he was not a direct observer and letters and receipts In my opinion the book is a formidable historical document that goes into great detail but is also a presentation of a historical point of view that sees the unitizing force of a Christian God to be its ultimate goal and thus though it may list physiological and architectural descriptions of non- Christian cultures it otherwise serves no other purpose than to disparage them while assuring the reader that the actions of its heroic protagonist were universally just Nonetheless the history is very readable is at times humorous and does not shy away from the elaborate presentation of detail often found in epic poetry of which it reminded
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