The manuscript itself is a map of linguistic evolution. Four different languages are represented. It would be only natural to find Latin and Spanish. But two native tongues of the Mayan Empire, K’iche’ and Kaqchikel, are also part of this written record…The existence of this language into the modern age is a testament to a people who vehemently resisted the Catholic Church’s attempts to convert them and the efforts of Europeans to assimilate them.
Source: The Mayans Wrote Books, Too
Great post about the political meaning of the Libro de Sermones Varios en Lengua Quiche (1690). It’s the oldest manuscript in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives, and has been recently digitized (for more on the book, see the links in the post). For more information on Mayan culture in general, see WorldView Software’s World History A, Chapter 12 Pre-Columbian Latin America.
“Yet combining the accounts, as later streamlined tradition inevitably does, results in a nonexistent clarity over the event: one account places the vision on the day before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, another leaves out the night dream and betrays neither a Christian or pagan slant, while the earliest account of the Italian campaign mentions no vision or dream at all, but does assume Constantine was divinely guided: “You must share some secret with that divine mind, Constantine, which has delegated care of us to lesser gods.” Perhaps counterintuitively, the inconsistencies in the accounts may speak to the genuinely strange nature of the experience, which was remembered, retold, and reinterpreted, throughout Constantine’s life.”
— excerpt from word and silence
[Exploration of a turning point in history: the conversion of Emperor Constantine. For background, read Chapter 6: Rise and Fall of Rome in WorldView Software’s World History A. Read more of the excerpt at word and silence; the entire article is available in the current edition of Military Heritage.]
[Featured image is a detail from the painting Constantine at the battle of Milvian Bridge by a member of the Raphaelite School.]