Institutiones grammaticae latino carmine

Juan de Vega was the first Franciscan provincial of the Kingdom of Chile. He was an active member of the seraphic order, always ready to recruit new friars to take them to the New World. That did not prevent him from holding political office, as a confessor to Viceroy García Hurtado de Mendoza.

Although he was a native of Valladolid, he appears in some texts as Portuguese due to his connection to the convent of La Rábida and the province of La Piedad in Portugal, where he trained and spent the first years as a Franciscan religious. In 1561 he moved to Peru with the expedition of the general commissioner, Fray Luis Zapata; but in 1563 he was already back in Spain, negotiating matters pertaining to the Franciscans of Peru.

Institutiones Grammaticae Latino carmine is an exemplary manual that shows the skill with which the Franciscans taught Latin with explanations in the vulgar language. It is a pedagogical text designed for all those interested in learning the Latin language. With the same orientation, he must have composed his Art or rudiments of grammar in the indigenous language of Peru that we only know from the mention that Nicolás Antonio makes of it in Bibliotheca Hispana Nova. Juan de Vega died in Lima in 1596, but in this volume there is an engraving that shows a Franciscan dressed in the characteristic paraphernalia of the pilgrim who evangelizes. It is not difficult to imagine that it is the author who carries his book on his hand.