Only one of two opening compositions in the Codex Xolotl has been recognized. The conventional version shows the entry of Xolotl, Nopaltzin, and six lesser rulers into the Basin of Mexico from near Tula, Hidalgo, followed by settlement at Xoloc and later a place that will become Tenayuca. The manuscript’s two larger fragments, assembled correctly for the first time, show Xolotl and Nopaltzin observing and moving across a more settled eastern basin into regions to the south ranging from Puebla to Morelos, notably including Cuernavaca. At the same time, they and their six followers are shown settled among caves in the western basin around the future Tenayuca. The two Chichimecs attract fellow Chichimecs from the Cuernavaca region to the Tepetlaoztoc region and trouble ensues. These two realizations of a Chichimec vision of empire are well recorded by the remarkable Aztec graphic communication system. Its portrayal of changes to different ways of life over the centuries reveals an interplay of an oral gathering and hunting culture with a settled society, recording the Chichimec experience and their own way of life with their combined oral and graphic system. Elements of the Chichimecs’ visions of empire endure throughout the Codex Xolotl as its messaging power shines across the contact period and into early colonial times.

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