This edition of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis follows closely on the publication of other important contributions to our understanding of pre-Columbian Mexico, such as the Codex Mendoza. The significance of this new contribution is that Eloise Quiñones Keber has provided scholars with the first complete facsimile of the codex.

Although produced after the conquest, the Codex Telleriano-Remensis is an example of three different types of pre-Columbian texts. It comprises two calendrical sections and a history. The first section contains a description of the ceremonies of the solar year, called veintenas by the Spaniards because the year consisted of 18 ceremonies of 20 days each. The second is the tonalamatl, or divinatory calendar. This the Spaniards called trecenas; it contains 20 13-day calendrical cycles. The last section includes a more traditional pictorial chronicle, which begins with the Aztec migration, includes the reigns of nine rulers, and covers some four decades of European domination. Written on European paper and glossed by several different hands, the compilation gives a glimpse into the indigenous world before the conquest. Quiñones Keber has identified at least two different artists and six different annotators as having worked on it.

The codex gained its name from its later acquisition history. Although it was produced between 1553 and 1563 under the direction of Fr. Pedro de los Ríos, O.P., by the late seventeenth century it had passed into the possession of Charles-Maurice Le Tellier, archbishop of Reims. Thus when it became part of what would be the collection of the French Bibliothèque Nationale, it was identified with that ecclesiastical patron, gaining the name Telleriano-Remensis. The work has been published before, but never in complete facsimile form.

Because the volume is a compilation, it reflects several distinct native traditions rather than being a unified whole. Various sections show signs of influence from Tetzcoco [Texcoco], whereas others apparently come from the Puebla-Tlaxcala region. Still other evidence points to a Tenochtitlan provenance. Taking all of this into consideration, Quiñones Keber argues in favor of a Tlatelolco origin for the codex. While the work shares some features with Tenochtitlan or even Tetzcoco, it is sufficiently distinct as to be unique. Quiñones Keber notes that additional information may have been aggregated to the work as a result of Rios’ further investigations.

The Codex Telleriano-Remensis also bears similarities to other codexes in Western collections, namely the Codex Vaticanus A. Both include the divinatory calendar, the solar calendar, and a historical chronicle. The Codex Vaticanus A is larger, but it manifests less of an indigenous quality, which has prompted many scholars to posit that it was executed in Italy by a non-native illuminator. Be that as it may, the quality of the illustrations in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis is vastly superior, although the Vaticanus is more complete. Consequently, study of the Vaticanus has allowed scholars to piece together what is missing from the Telleriano-Remensis. On the other hand, Quiñones Keber believes that whoever compiled the Vaticanus copied either the Telleriano-Remensis or some intermediate copy of it. The glosses from the Telleriano-Remensis appear in the Vaticanus expanded, rearranged, reworded, corrected, and even deleted.

In summary, this publication is a valuable work. Not only does it provide the scholar with a high-quality facsimile of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, but it also includes important discussions of the three types of native traditions present and an excellent analysis of the work itself.