« ZurückWeiter »
these numerous settlements by means of the great roads which traversed the mountain-passes and opened an easy communication between the capital and the remotest extremities of the empire.
The source of this civilization is traced to the valley of Cuzco, the central region of Peru, as its name implies. The origin of the Peruvian empire, like the origin of all nations, except the very few which, like our own, have had the good fortune to date from a civilized period and people, is lost in the mists of fable, which, in fact, have settled as darkly round its history as round that of any nation, ancient or modern, in the Old World. According to the tradition most familiar to the European scholar, the time was when the ancient races of the continent were all plunged in deplorable barbarism; when they worshipped nearly every object in nature indiscriminately, made war their pastime, and feasted on the flesh of their slaughtered captives. The Sun, the great luminary and parent of mankind, taking compassion on their degraded condition, sent two of his children, Manco Capac and Mama Oello Huaco, to gather the natives into communities and teach them the arts of civilized life. The celestial pair, brother and sister, husband and wife, advanced along the high plains in the neighborhood of Lake Titicaca to about the sixteenth degree south. They bore with them a golden wedge, and were directed to take up their residence on the spot where the sacred emblem should without effort sink into the ground. They proceeded accordingly but a short distance, as far as the valley of Cuzco, the spot indicated by the performance of the miracle, since there the wedge speedily sank into the earth and disappeared forever. Here the children of the Sun established their residence, and soon entered upon their beneficent mission among the rude inhabitants of the country; Manco Capac teaching the men the arts of agriculture, and Mama Oello' initiating her own sex in the mysteries of weaving and spinning. The simple people lent a willing ear to the messengers of Heaven, and, gathering together in considerable numbers, laid the foundations of the city of Cuzco. The same wise and benevolent maxims which regulated the conduct of the first Incaso descended to their successors, and under their mild sceptre a community gradually extended itself along the broad surface of the table-land, which asserted its
7 "Cuzco, in the language of the Incas," says Garcilasso, “signifies navel." Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. I, cap. 18.
8 Mama, with the Peruvians, signified "mother." (Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 4, cap. 1.) The identity of this term with that used by Europeans is a curious coincidence. It is scarcely more so, however, than that of the corresponding word papa, which with the ancient Mexicans denoted a priest of high rank; reminding us of the papa, "pope," of the Italians. With both, the term seems to embrace in its most comprehensive sense the paternal relation, in which it is more familiarly employed by most of the nations of Europe. Nor was the use of it limited to modern times, being applied in the same way both by Greeks and Romans; "Túnna qihe," says Nausikaa, addressing her father, in the simple language which the modern versifiers have thought too simple to render literally.
9 Inca signified king or lord. Capac meant great or powerful. It was applied to several of the successors of Manco, in the same man ner as the epithet Yupanqui, signifying rich in all virtues, was added to the names of several Incas. (Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 41.Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 17.) The good qualities commemorated by the cognomens of most of the Peruvian princes afford an honorable, though not altogether unsuspicious, tribute to the excellence of their characters.
superiority over the surrounding tribes. Such is the pleasing picture of the origin of the Peruvian monarchy, as portrayed by Garcilasso de la Vega, the descendant of the Incas, and through him made familiar to the European reader. "o
But this tradition is only one of several current among the Peruvian Indians, and probably not the one most generally received. Another legend speaks of certain white and bearded men, who, advancing from the shores of Lake Titicaca, established an ascendency over the natives and imparted to them the blessings of civilization. It may remind us of the tradition existing among the Aztecs in respect to Quetzalcoatl, the good deity, who with a similar garb and aspect came up the great plateau from the east on a like benevolent mission to the natives. The analogy is the more remarkable as there is no trace of any communication with, or even knowledge of, each other to be found in the two nations."
10 Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. I, cap. 9–16.
1 These several traditions, all of a very puerile character, are to be found in Ondegardo, Relacion Segunda, MS.,-Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 1,-Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 105.-Conquista i Poblacion del Piru, MS.,—Declaracion de los Presidente é Oydores de la Audiencia Reale del Peru, MS.,—all of them authorities contemporary with the Conquest. The story of the bearded white men finds its place in most of their legends.*
* [Such legends will not be considered “puerile," nor will then similarity with those of remote races seem inexplicable, when they are viewed in their true light, as embodying conceptions of nature formed by the human mind in the early stages of its development. Thus considered, “ the very myths," as Mr. Tylor remarks, “ that were discarded as lying fables, prove to be sources of history in ways that their makers and transmitters little dreamed of." The Peruvian traditions 12 Some writers carry back the date five hundred, or even five hundred and fifty, years before the Spanish invasion. (Balboa, Histoire du Pérou, chap. i.-Velasco, Histoire du Royaume de Quito, tom. i. p. 81.-Ambo auct. ap. Relations et Mémoires originaux pour servir à l'Histoire de la Découverte de l'Amérique, par Ternaux-Compans (Paris, 1840).) In the Report of the Royal Audience of Peru, the epoch is more modestly fixed at two hundred years before the Conquest. Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.
The date usually assigned for these extraordinary events was about four hundred years before the coming of the Spaniards, or early in the twelfth century." But, however pleasing to the imagination, and however popular, the legend of Manco Capac, it requires but little reflection to show its improbability, even when divested of supernatural accompaniments. On the shores of Lake Titicaca extensive ruins exist at the present day, which the Peruvians themselves acknowledge to be of older date than the pretended advent of the Incas, and to have furnished them with the models of their architecture. 13
The date of their appearance, indeed, is
13 “ Otras cosas ay mas que dezir deste Tiaguanaco, que passo por no detenerme: concluyédo que yo para mi tengo esta antigualla por la mas antigua de todo el Peru. Y assi se tiene que antes q los Ingas reynassen con muchos tiempos estavan hechos algunos edificios des. tos: porque yo he oydo afirmar a Indios, que los Ingas hizieron los edificios grandes del Cuzco por la forma que vieron tener la muralla o pared que se vee en este pueblo." (Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 105.) See also Garcilasso (Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 3, cap. 1), who given an account of these remains, on the authority of a Spanish
seem, in particular, to deserve a closer investigation than they have yet received. Besides the authorities cited by Prescott, the relations of Christoval de Molina and the Indian Salcamayhua, translated by Mr. Markham, are entitled to mention, both for the minuteness and the variations with which they present the leading features of the same oft-reneated nature-myth.-ED.]
manifestly irreconcilable with their subsequent history, No account assigns to the Inca dynasty more than thirteen princes before the Conquest. But this number is altogether too small to have spread over four hundred years, and would not carry back the foundations of the monarchy, on any probable computation, beyond two centuries and a half,- -an antiquity not incredible in itself, and which, it may be remarked, does not precede by more than half a century the alleged foundation of the capital of Mexico. The fiction of Manco Capac and his sister-wife was devised, no doubt, at a later period, to gratify the vanity of the Peruvian monarchs, and to give additional sanction to their authority by deriving it from a celestial origin.* ecclesiastic, which might compare, for the marvellous, with any of the legends of his order. Other ruins of similar traditional antiquity are noticed by Herrera (Historia general de los Hechos de los Castellanos en las Islas y Tierra Firine del Mar Océano (Madrid, 1730), dec. 6, lib. 6, cap. 9.) McCulloh, in some sensible reflections on the origin of the Peruvian civilization, adduces, on the authority of Garcilasso de la Vega, the famous temple of Pachacamac, not far from Lima, as an example of architecture more ancient than that of the Incas. (Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian, concerning the Aboriginal History of America (Baltimore, 1829), p. 405.) This, if true, would do much to confirm the views in our text. But McCulloh is led into an error by his blind guide, Rycaut, the translator of Garcilasso, for the latter does not speak of the temple as existing before the time of the Incas, but before the time when the country was conquered by the Incas. Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6. cap. 30.
* [This theory of the origin of the story is scarcely more plausible or philosophical than that of Garcilasso de la Vega, who conjectures that Manco Capac "may have been some Indian of good understanding, prudence, and judgment, who appreciated the great simplicity of those nations, and saw the necessity they had for instruction and