The term mythistory has been part of the English vocabulary since at least 1730 albeit with a continually evolving understanding (Mali 9). John Foster stresses a view that mythistory “does not imply a blurring of the metaphysical boundaries between history and myth” (107). more ›

Books and Writing Were Uncommon

There simply is no evidence that highland Maya had copious glyphic ‘texts’. Editors and scholars of Popol Vuh frequently write and speak of “hieroglyphic books” among the Maya. The idea of Amerindian books and the prevalence of the same among the Maya derives from the memoire of Fray Diego de Landa more ›

Francisco Ximénez

Father Francisco Ximénez (1666 – 1729) came as a Dominican missionary to the New World in February 1688. His companions were initially dispatched throughout the province to learn the native languages. Although initially delayed by the completion of his novitiate and his subsequent acceptance of an administrative assignment at the seminary, by 1691 Ximénez was in San Juan Sacatepéquez learning Cakchiquel. He attained sufficient mastery in only two months so as to be more ›

Juan Gavarrete

The name Juan Gavarrete appears only in connection with Popol Vuh and his identity remains apocryphal and elusive. Whatever can be gleaned from the scant historical record indicates that Gavarrete was an archivist working in Guatemala City in the mid-nineteenth century.more ›

Carl Scherzer

Karl Ritter von Scherzer (1821 – 1903) was born May 1821 in Vienna. Scherzer‘s true occupation remains a mystery, but he was never a physician. He worked a stint as a printer in both Leipzig and Paris and his participation in the 1848 revolution resulted in temporary exile. Scherzer spent three years in North America with Moritz Wagner from 1852 to 1855. It was during this trip that in 1854 Scherzer encountered several colonial manuscripts in the municipal library and in the library of the Universidad de San Carlos including three of Ximénez’s works: more ›

Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg

Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (1814 – 1874) was born September 1814 in Bourbourg, France. After his ordination in 1845, Brasseur was recruited by Abbé Léon Gingras to serve in Québec. While his superiors insisted on additional studies in ecclesiastical history, Brasseur instead delved into the archdiocesan archives there at Québec and “published” his Esquisse biographique sur Mgr. de Laval, premier Evêque de Québec. Brasseur then left for Boston where he had previously formed a good relationship with Bishop John Bernard Fitzpatrick. Brasseur returned to France in late 1846 or early 1847. He joined an expedition to Mexico where he resided from 1848 to 1851.more ›

Alphonse Pinart

Alphonse Pinart (1852 – 1911) ambled through adolescence without direction until he met Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg at the 1867 World Fair in Paris. He was inspired to pursue a career in ethnology, though not in the same line as Brasseur. Whereas Brasseur keenly focused on Central American ethnohistory, Pinart preferred the languages of the Pacific ocean, from North America to the Indonesian islands.more ›

Adrián Recinos

Adrián Recinos (1886 – 1962) was born July 1886 in Antigua, Guatemala to a notable family of Huehuetenango. He graduated from the Instituto Nacional Central de Varones in 1902 and subsequently earned a law degree from the Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales at the Universidad de Guatemala in 1907. Recinos entered politics the following year more ›

Alphonse Pinart’s Occupation

Alphonse Pinart was never a book dealer. There is not much internet information on Alphonse Pinart, but the biography composed by Ross Parmenter documents that Alphonse Pinart was an ethnolinguistmore ›

Popol Vuh’s Title

Empiezan las historias del origen de los indíos de esta provinçia de Gvatemala tradvzido de la lengva Qviche en la castellana para mas commodidad de los minístros de El Sto EvangelíoPopol Vuh is not an original title. Ayer ms 1515 (which is the oldest surviving source text) does not have an actual title and its heading merely says “las historias del origen de los indios.”more ›