John F. Schwaller schwallr at
Tue Dec 13 21:57:17 UTC 2005

Could anyone help us on this?

>From: "Bradley Skopyk" <bds134 at>
>To: John F Schwaller <schwallr at>
>Subject: mesantli
>Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 13:19:06 -0500
>Dear Professor Schwaller:
>I am one of Elinor Melville's PhD. students at York University, working on a
>dissertation about agrarian/environmental change in Tlaxcala in the 16th and
>17th centuries.  Professor Melville suggested I contact you with this query.
>In certain 16th century documents I found the term mesantli (alternatively
>mehuitzantli, huizantles), but I do not know, precisely, its meaning.
>The context is the following, "junto a el pueblo de san simon asi mismo
>dando vuelta como p'ta {or, p'ra} el sur conlinda con las tierras del pueblo
>de san martin xaltocan y por la parte des sur hasta el norte tiene dos mil
>ciento y dies y siete mehuizantlis cordeles de largo y de ancho mil y cuatro
>cientos cordeles huizantles"
>I suspect it is a system of measure that counts maguey cacti on field
>borders. Both the Dicc. Breve de Mexicanismos and the _Dictionnaire de la
>langue nahuatl classique_ relate the word to cacti (huitzli = acacia
>farmesiana agave; and Metzontli = agave, respectively).
>Have you come across or heard of this system of measurement before? I would
>like to know how common it was, the time period of its usage, and what
>exactly might be its equivalency in more standardized measures. If you have
>any information at all, I would greatly appreciate your response.
>Best Regards,
>Bradley Skopyk

John F. Schwaller
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean
315 Behmler Hall
University of Minnesota, Morris
600 E 4th Street
Morris, MN  56267
FAX 320-589-6399
schwallr at

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