Ludovico Bertonio

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Ludovico Bertonio (1552 in Rocca Contrada – 3 August 1625 in Lima) was an Italian Jesuit missionary to South America.


He entered the Society of Jesus in 1575. Sent to Peru six years later, he worked principally among the Aymara of southern Peru and of Bolivia.


Title page, Vocabulario de la lengua aymara, 1612
Title page, Arte y grammatica muy copiosa de la lengua aymara, 1603

He wrote on the Aymara language. His earliest publications 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 [es] in southwestern Peru, Bertonio had the following works printed there, including four in the year 1612 alone:

The publications by Bertonio are rare. Julius Platzmann published in facsimile the Arte y grammatica of 1603 and the Vocabularies. The Peruvian historian Clemente Markham claimed that Bertonio invented the name "Aymara"; the Bolivian geographer Manuel Vicente Ballivian rejected this in a pamphlet.


  • Albó, Xavier; Layo, Félix (July 1984), Ludovico Bertonio (1557-1625): Fuente única al mundo Aymara temprano (PDF), Revista Andina, no. 1
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ludovico Bertonio". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. The entry cites:
    • Torres Saldamando, Los antiguos Jesuitas del Peru (Lima, 1882);
    • Mendiburu, Diccionario (Lima, 1876), II:
    • Ballivian, Boletin de la Sociedad geografica de la Paz.

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