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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 (eds.). Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology (pbk ed.). Routledge. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-1134727322.
  2. ^ Portilla, Miguel León (1963). Use of "Tlamatini" in Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Nahuatl Mind - Miguel León-Portilla. ISBN 9780806122953. Retrieved 12 December 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.