The Art of the Aymara Language: A Compendium of Phrases in the Same Language and Their Equivalent Meanings in Spanish


Arte de la lengua aymara, con una silva de phrases de la misma lengua, y su declaración en romance (The art of the Aymara language: A compendium of phrases in the same language and their equivalent meanings in Spanish) was published in Lima, Peru, in 1612. The book is by Ludovico Bertonio (1555−1628), an Italian Jesuit missionary who labored among the Aymara Indians of southern Peru and Bolivia, and who wrote several important works about the Aymara language. The first printing press in South America was established in Lima by Antonio Ricardo (circa 1540−1606), an Italian who had worked for a time as a printer with the Jesuits in Mexico City. This book is part of a collection of 39 first editions in the National Library of Peru, produced at the press between 1584 and 1619. The collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2013. In Latin, Spanish, and several Amerindian languages, these books are an important part of the record of the encounter between two worlds: the Amerindian civilization of the Incas and the European culture represented by the Spanish conquistadors. They are important sources for the study of the dissemination of ideas in the Spanish Empire, including the evangelization process and the diffusion of Catholicism on the one hand and the debate over the indigenous peoples and their condition as human beings on the other. Several of the books provide insights into the political, cultural, and social organization of the vanquished Inca civilization, as well as a record of the Quechua and Aymara languages spoken by the Incas.

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José Toribio Medina, Lima, Peru

Title in Original Language

Arte de la lengua aymara, con vna silva de phraʃes de la miʃma lengua, y ʃu declaración en romance

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Last updated: May 24, 2017