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Tlamatini (plural tlamatinime) is a Nahuatl language word meaning "someone who knows something", generally translated as "wise man". The word is analyzable as derived from the transitive verb mati "to know" with the prefix tla- indicating an unspecified inanimate object translatable by "something" and the derivational suffix -ni meaning "a person who are characterized by ...": hence tla-mati-ni "a person who is characterized by knowing something" or more to the point "a knower".[1]

The famous Nahuatl language translator and interpreter Miguel León-Portilla refers to the tlamatini as philosophers and they are the subject of his book Aztec Thought and Culture.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Maffie (2013). "To walk in balance: an encounter between contemporary Western science and conquest-era Nahua philosophy". In Sandra Harding, Robert Figueroa. Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology (pbk ed.). Routledge. pp. 73–74. ISBN 1134727321. 
  2. ^ "Use of "Tlamatini" in Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Nahuatl Mind - Miguel León Portilla". Google Books. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ Miguel León Portilla (1990). Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Nahuatl Mind (pbk, illustrated, reprint, revised ed.). University of Oklahoma Press. p. 120. ISBN 0806122951. 


Boone, Elizabeth Hill (1998). "Pictorial Documents and Visual Thinking in Postconquest Mexico" (PDF). In Elizabeth Hill Boone and Tom Cubbins (Eds.). Native Traditions in the Postconquest World, A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks 2nd through 4th October 1992 (PDF Reprint). Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. pp. 149–199. ISBN 0-88402-239-0. OCLC 34354931. 
León-Portilla, Miguel (1963). Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Náhuatl Mind. Civilization of the American Indian series, #67. Jack Emory Davis (trans.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. OCLC 181727.