As the last great Aztec ruler, Montezuma II inherited a sprawling yet fragile empire. This program studies his governance, its abrupt end at the hands of the conquistadors, and its historical meanings. Paralleling a major exhibition at the British Museum, the film features artifacts, architecture, and images that speak to Montezuma's humanity, his self-proclaimed divinity, and the cultural context in which he ruled. These include depictions from the Florentine Codex, the Templo Mayor disk depicting Coyolxauhqui, and the public works of Malinalco, Teotihuacan, and other locations. Analysis of Montezuma's face-off with Hernan Cortes reveals an agile strategist whose brutality was eclipsed only by that of the invaders.
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