Abbildungen der Seite

this trial, which lasted thirty days, the royal neophyte fared no better than his comrades, sleeping on the bare ground, going unshod, and wearing a mean attire, a mode of life, it was supposed, which might tend to inspire him with more sympathy with the destitute. With all this show of impartiality, however, it will probably be doing no injustice to the judges to suppose that a politic discretion may have somewhat quickened their perceptions of the real merits of the heir-apparent.

At the end of the appointed time, the candidates selected as worthy of the honors of their barbaric chivalry were presented to the sovereign, who condescended to take a principal part in the ceremony of inauguration. He began with a brief discourse, in which, after congratulating the young aspirants on the proficiency they had shown in martial exercises, he reminded them of the responsibilities attached to their birth and station, and, addressing them affectionately as “children of the Sun," he exhorted them to imitate their great progenitor in his glorious career of beneficence to mankind. The novices then drew near, and, kneeling one by one before the Inca, he pierced their ears with a golden bodkin; and this was suffered to remain there till an opening had been made large enough for the enormous pendants which were peculiar to their order, and which gave them, with the Spaniards, the name of orejones.29 This ornament was so massy in the

29 From oreja, "ear.”_"Los caballeros de la sangre Real tenian orejas horadadas, y de ellas colgando grandes rodetes de plata y oro: llamaronles por esto los orejones los Castellanos la primera vez que los vieron." (Montesinos, Memorias antiguas historiales del Peru, MS., lib. 2, cap. 6.) The ornament, which was in the form of a wheel, did not depend from the ear, but was inserted in the gristle of

ears of the sovereign that the cartilage was distended by it nearly to the shoulder, producing what seemed a monstrous deformity in the eyes of the Europeans, though, under the magical influence of fashion, it was regarded as a beauty by the natives.

When this operation was performed, one of the most venerable of the nobles dressed the feet of the candidates in the sandals worn by the order, which

may remind us of the ceremony of buckling on the spurs of the Christian knight. They were then allowed to assume the girdle or sash around the loins, correspond. ing with the toga virilis of the Romans, and intimating that they had reached the season of manhood. Their heads were adorned with garlands of flowers, which, by their various colors, were emblematic of the clemency and goodness that should grace the character of every true warrior; and the leaves of an evergreen plant were mingled with the flowers, to show that these virtues should endure without end.30 The prince's head was further ornamented by a fillet, or tasselled fringe, of a yellow color, made of the fine threads of the vicuña wool, which encircled the forehead as the peculiar insignia of the heir-apparent. The great body of the Inca nobility next made their appearance, and, beginning with those nearest of kin, knelt down before the prince and did him homage as successor to the crown. it, and was as large as an orange. “La hacen tan ancha como una gran rosca de naranja; los Señores i Principales traian aquellas roscas de oro fino en las orejas." (Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.-Also Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, cap. 22.) “The larger

hole," says one of the old Conquerors, “the more of a gentleman!" Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS.

30 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6. cap. 27.

The whole assembly then moved to the great square of the capital, where songs and dances and other public festivities closed the important ceremonial of the huaracu. 31

The reader will be less surprised by the resemblance which this ceremonial bears to the inauguration of a Christian knight in the feudal ages, if he reflects that a similar analogy may be traced in the institutions of other people more or less civilized, and that it is natural that nations occupied with the one great business of war should mark the period when the preparatory education for it was ended, by similar characteristic ceremonies.

Having thus honorably passed through his ordeal, the heir-apparent was deemed worthy to sit in the councils of his father, and was employed in offices of trust at home, or, more usually, sent on distant expeditions to practise in the field the lessons which he had hitherto studied only on the mimic theatre of war. His first campaigns were conducted under the renowned commanders who had grown gray in the service of his father, until, advancing in years and experience, he was placed in command himself, and, like Huayna Capac, the last and most illustrious of his line, carried the banner of the rainbow, the armorial ensign of his house, far over the borders, among the remotest tribes of the plateau.

The government of Peru was a despotism, mild in 31 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. 24–28.-According to Fernandez, the candidates wore white shirts, with something like a cross embroidered in front! (Historia del Peru (Sevilla, 1571), Parte 2, lib. 3. cap. 6.) We may fancy ourselves occupied with some chive alrous ceremonial of the Middle Ages. Peru.-VOL. I.-B



its character, but in its form a pure and unmitigated despotism. The sovereign was placed at an immeasurable distance above his subjects. Even the proudest of the Inca nobility, claiming a descent from the same divine original as himself, could not venture into the royal presence, unless barefoot, and bearing a light burden on his shoulders in token of homage. As the representative of the Sun, he stood at the head of the priesthood, and presided at the most important of the religious festivals. 33 He raised armies, and usually commanded them in person. He imposed taxes, made laws, and provided for their execution by the appointment of judges, whom he removed at pleasure. He was the source from which every thing flowed,-al! dignity, all power, all emolument. He was, in short, in the well-known phrase of the European despot, “himself the state." 34

32 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. II.-Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 7." Porque verdaderamente á lo que yo he averiguado toda la pretension de los Ingas fue una subjeccion en toda la gente, qual yo nunca he oido decir de ninguna otra nacion en tanto grado, que por muy principal que un Señor fuese, dende que entrava cerca del Cuzco en cierta señal que estava puesta en cada camino de quatro que hay, havia dende alli de venir cargado hasta la presencia del Inga, y alli dejava la carga y hacia su obediencia.” Ondegardo, Rel Prim., MS.

33 It was only at one of these festivals, and hardly authorizes the sweeping assertion of Carli that the royal and sacerdotal authority were blended together in Peru. We shall see, hereafter, the importan und independent position occupied by the high-priest. “ Le Sacer doce et l'Empire étoient divisés au Mexique; au lieu qu'ils étoient réunis au Pérou, comme au Tibet et à la Chine, et comme il le fut à Rome, lorsqu' Auguste jetta les fondemens de l'Empire, en y réunissant le Sacerdoce ou la dignité de Souverain Pontife." Lettres Américaines (Paris, 1788), trad. Franç., tom. i. let. 7.

34" Porque el Inga dava á entender que era hijo del Sol, con este 35 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. I, cap. 22; lib. 6. cap. 28.Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 114.-Acosta, lib. 6. cap. 12.

The Inca asserted his claims as a superior being by assuming a pomp in his manner of living well calcu. lated to impose on his people. His dress was of the finest wool of the vicuña, richly dyed, and ornamented with a profusion of gold and precious stones. Round his head was wreathed a turban of many-colored folds, called the llautu, with a tasselled fringe, like that worn by the prince, but of a scarlet color, while two feathers of a rare and curious bird, called the coraquenque, placed upright in it, were the distinguishing insignia of royalty. The birds from which these feathers were obtained were found in a desert country among the mountains; and it was death to destroy or to take them, as they were reserved for the exclusive purpose of supplying the royal head-gear. Every succeeding monarch was provided with a new pair of these plumes, and his credulous subjects fondly believed that only two individuals of the species had ever existed to furnish the simple ornament for the diadem of the Incas. 35

Although the Peruvian monarch was raised so far above the highest of his subjects, he condescended to mingle occasionally with them, and took great pains personally to inspect the condition of the humbler classes. He presided at some of the religious celebrations, and on these occasions entertained the great nobles at his table, when he complimented them, after titulo se hacia adorar, i governava principalmente en tanto grado que nadie se le atrevia, i su palabra era ley, i nadie osaba ir contra su palabra ni voluntad ; aunque obiese de matar cient mill Indios, no havia ninguno en su Reino que le osase decir que no lo hiciese." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.

« ZurückWeiter »