The great sixteenth-century Spanish scholar of Nahua culture and language, Franciscan fray Bernardino de Sahagún, is already famous in many circles, but he surely deserves to be better known by the public at large. This book goes far toward making his life more accessible. Readers of biographies usually want to know details of the protagonist’s life, starting with childhood, yet for many great figures of the past such details are unknown and unrecoverable. Sahagún is a prime example: we have only the barest skeleton of facts and reliable deductions for the time before he came to New Spain, based primarily on offhand remarks in his own work. León-Portilla fleshes these out by exploring the intellectual aspects of Sahagún’s home milieu and the current trends and conflicts in Spanish religion and the Franciscan order. In this way, Sahagún comes to life for us, and...

You do not currently have access to this content.