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Bertonio Ludovico

Italian Jesuit missionary (1552-1625)

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Bertonio, Lunovico, an Italian missionary, b. 1552 at Rocca Contrada near Ancona; d. at Lima, Peru, August 3, 1625. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1575. Sent to Peru six years later, he labored principally among the Aymara Indians of Southern Peru and of Bolivia, and has left valuable works on the Aymara language. His earliest publications on that idiom appeared under the title “Arte breve de la lengua aymara para introducir el Arte grande de la misma lengua” (Rome, 1603), also “Arte y gramatica muy copiosa de la lengua aymara” etc. The printing press having been introduced and established by the Jesuits at the Indian mission of Juli in Southwestern Peru, Bertonio had the following works printed there, all in the year 1612:—”Arte de la lengua aymara con una selva de frases en la misma lengua y su declaracion en romance”; “Vocabulario de la lengua aymara” (first and second part); “Confesionario muy copioso en dos lenguas. aymara y espanola” etc.; “Libro de la vida y milagros de Ntro Senor Jesuchristo en dos lenguas, aymara y romance, traducido del que recopilb el Licenciado Alonso de Villegas” etc. The publications by Father Bertonio being as rare as they are important, Platzmann has published in facsimile the “Arte y gramatica” of 1603 and the Vocabularies. Manuel Vicente Ballivian in a pamphlet conclusively refutes the slur cast by Sir Clements Markham on Bertonio, that the latter invented the name “Aymara“.


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