Glossary of Terms

1490 Poets Conference: Held by King Tecayehehuatzin in Huetzotcinco. In this conference, the deepest questions that plague the human heart were pondered and considered.

Altepetl: (altepeme, pl.) Meaning “water hill,” this was basic social and territorial unit of Nahua speakers. Every altepetl had its tutelary deity, and unique beliefs.

Altituto Divini Consilii- Papal bull of 1537 addressing the millions of baptisms in Mexico, 1531-1537. It laid out rubrics and protocols for giving the sacraments to the masses who requested them.

Aztecs/Mexica: A people from the northwest who immigrated to the Valley of Mexico in the late 13th century. They later came to dominate and subjugate most of Central Mexico.

Cantares Mexicanos- a collection of 91 of the 180 known Nahuatl poems, Sahagun’s team of 4 grammarians compiled between 1553-1580. See Bierhorst, John. Songs of the Aztecs, 1985.

Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco: Franciscan operated advanced educational center for native nobles (1533-ca 1580s) Graduates included native public figures like Antonio Valeriano.

Colhua: Name of the people that threw the Mexica out of their region after the Mexica sacrifice their beloved princess on her wedding night and danced around in her skin before her father. After fleeing this tribe, the Mexico discovered their present homeland of Tenochtitlan, currently known as Mexico City around 1325AD.

Cronica Mexicayotl- chronicle of the Aztec Empire written by Aztec Nahua historian Fernando Alvarado Tezozómoc around 1598.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae- JP II’s 1991 encyclical dedicated to the renewal of Catholic higher education through adherence to the Magisterium, academic rigor, and faith-centered community

Fides et Ratio- “Faith and Reason” is an encyclical written by JPII and published 14 Sept 1998. It’s primary supposition is that faith and reason are not only compatible, but essential to one another.

Florentine Codex - Bernardino de Sahagun compiled the 12 volumes of this systematic exposition of traditional Nahua culture, the largest collection of information of its kind

Historia Eclesiastica Indiana: 1870 chronicle by Jeronimo de Mendieta outlining early evangelization in the New World written in the 16th century, but not published until the late 1800’s.

Huetzotcinco: Enemies of Aztecs. Known for their heavy patronage of the arts.

Icelteotl: “Only God” - term used to describe the concept of an omniscent entity used by a few rulers of the Valley of Mexico

In Tloque Nahuaque: “Lord of the Far and the Near,” this term has had many meanings that reflect the processes of conversion from traditional pantheism to Christianity. Under the ancestral meaning, the title stressed the back-and-forth movement of the cosmic energy of teotl as it continually tended toward balance (Maffie). Yet other preconquest figures, such as Nezahualcoyotl invoke a sentient being with the name (Leon-Portilla, Filosofia Azteca). The first instances of natives and mestizos using the term in their writings as an equivalent for the True God appear in the 1600s.

In xochitlalpan in tonalcatlalpan: An expanded form of Xochitlalpan, this parallel phrase (difrasismo) translates as “Lo, it is the Flowery Land; Lo it is the Land of Sustenance.”

Ipalnemohuani: Meaning “The Giver of Life”. The name appears in Nican Mopohua, when Guadalupe claims that she is the “mother of Ipalnemohauni.”

Mesoamerica: The region of North America that encompasses the large central plateau of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the rest of Central America, up to Panama.

Monarquia Indiana: (1615) by Juan de Torquemada. It is a survey of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of New Spain together with an account of their conversion to Christianity.

Nahua: General name of the cultural groups that were affiliated with the Uto-Aztecan language family in Mexico.

Nahuatl: Lengua franca of Central Mexico before the conquest, throughout New Spain as a vernacular for three hundred years, and which today has approximately 1.5 million native speakers.

Nican Mopohua- The priest Luis Lasso de la Vega published this official story of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1649. An earlier version of the account dates to 1548-1556, kept in NY Public Library

OFM: Abbr. for the Franciscan Order

Ometeotl: Ome- means “two” and teotl “that which is sacred.” Ometeotl may refer to a being who blends male and female qualities (Lopez Austin), or to an ungendered “Sacred Duality” (Bierhorst).

OP: Abbr. for the Dominican Order

Preparatio Evangelica- Eusebius’ text on Christian apologetics, in which he explains how God prepares pagan cultures with ideas and themes that will later find their fulfillment in Christianity.

Quetzalcoatl: Name of one of the cardinal Nahua gods. He is the god of wind, learning, arts, crafts and knowledge. He was considered the patron god of the Aztec priesthood.

SJ: Abbr. for Jesuit Order

Teotl: Meaning “that which is sacred,” the term refers to the cosmic energy Nahuas believed constituted all reality. A kind of pantheism, the view that all reality is one in essence, and that all is sacred.

Tlatoani: Head ruler of the Mexica peoples. He would be considered a king or an emperor in our way of thinking.

Tonantzin: “Revered Mother” a reverential term of endearment used to honor someone. Not an Aztec god/goddess.

Trans-modernity: The view that past ages and the present contain worthy elements for building a future of inclusion, in response to a legacy of colonial exclusion in Latin America (Enrique Dussel)

Uto Aztecan Language Family: Native language family extending from El Salvador north into the Western United States. Included are Shoshoni, Hopi, Tarahumara, Yaqui and Nahua.

Xochitlalpan: This “Flowery World” of the Nahuas in Central Mexico represents a creative and vivifying aspect of reality. Sages (tlamatinime) could access this side of reality through their songs. According to ancestors, only warriors or other nobles could hope to live in Xochitlalpan after death. They believed that almost all other people would experience a shadowy existence after death in Mictlan, the Land of the Dead. Song-poets often evoked Xochitlalpan as a metaphor for the origin of the truth about reality and human experience. The notion of Xochitlalpan as a direct parallel to the Christian Heaven has fascinated westerners ever since the colonial period. Although the comparison has limitations, Xochitlalpan as a paradise does evoke imagery similar to biblical representations. Eden was a paradise; the Song of Songs is full of flowers and colorful birds; the Promised Land is verdant and fertile; the prophets foretell of a world free from sin and suffering; Christ promised the thief on the cross an entrance into Paradise; and the New Heaven and Earth of Revelation are garden-like and sublime. Franciscans, including Bernardino de Sahagun, perceived these resonances and composed Nahuatl song-poems populated with the colorful, flowery images of Xochitlalpan (Psalmodia Christiana).