Peru - The Theocratic Empire of the Incas

The theocratic empire of the Inca. – When the Spaniards conquered the region, they found a great political unity established there, the so-called empire of the Inca, referred to in the language of the country with the official name of Tahuantinsuyu, or “The four cantons”, or provinces. These were: the Western, or Cuntisuyu; the northern one, or Chinchaysuyu; the southern, or Collasuyu and the eastern or Antisuyu. The pivot of the four quadrants was “Cuzco”, the capital which was both the hearth of origin and the organizing center of the state. of territorial accessions determined by the conquest of peoples different by race and civilization, in subsequent epochs. The state of the Incas included the territory currently occupied by the modern states of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the northern part of Chile and the northwest of Argentina.

Of the 12 members of the Inca dynasty, a critically compared list has been given elsewhere (see Inca), distinguishing the two periods of their dynastic history, namely the Incas of Hurin-Cuzco and the Incas of Hanan-Cuzco. The first group begins with Sinchi Rocca and includes 4 sovereigns; the second with Inca Rocca, fifth sovereign. It has been noted that “Sinchi” is the name and dignity of the first four, while from the fifth onwards the epithet “Inca” prevails. It is now ascertained that the social organization of the Peruvians, previously and independently of the Inca regime, was based, as it is still based in the areas where the Indian element prevails, on the institution called ayllu (which will be discussed later), and both Sinchi and Inca are names of special magistracies of this purely indigenous community: the Sinchi, military leader, of temporary duration, in the guise of the dictator ; the Inca, civil authority, for life; both of an elective nature.

It is not easy to reconstruct historically what were the origins of the Inca power. In fact, alongside the epic and traditional version handed down, albeit with some variations, by the chroniclers, modern writers have woven an analytical narrative, certainly less leafy and mythical, but also often contrived and contrived.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the first event is the founding of Cuzco. According to the traditional story exposed by Peru Sarmiento de Gamboa, four brothers, chiefs of tribes or ayares, led by the eldest, Manco Capac, came out of the “grotte dell’aurora” in Paccaritampu (8 km. South of Cuzco) with their four sisters, all descended from a divine post, “Sons of the Sun”, whose will was dictated to Manco by a fetish in the shape of a bird, Inti, set out in search of new lands, with the help of a stick of ‘gold. During the pilgrimage, the three brothers of Manco perished a violent death, and it was these who, testing the fertile land of the valley of the Huatanay stream with a stick, decided to stop there with the ten ayllu conducted by him, and found Hurin-Cuzco there. Critics refer to this narration as the “myth of Paccari-tampu”. The modern reconstruction instead wants the Inca to come only in later times to form a lineage. A certain number of ayllu, gathered in the valley, would subsequently supply the incipient state with their Sinchi; then one of them would have assumed the dignity of Inca, also not always hereditary, which after the coup of the Inca Rocca and the reforms of Pachacutec, would be transformed into an absolute and theocratic monarchy.

In any case, the beginnings of the state were very modest. The Sinchi had to extend their dominion not much beyond the limits of the original district, and consolidate their power over the neighboring tribes, despite the armed raids attributed to Sinchi Rocca’s successors: Lloque Yupanqui, Mayta Capac and Capac Yupanqui, respectively up to in Vilcanota, throughout the Collao (basin of Lake Titicaca) and on the Pacific coast, in Nasca. The consolidation of hegemony throughout this territory was achieved only during the second dynastic period, which is headed by a sovereign of great energy, the Inca Rocca, also famous for construction and civil activity (supply of water to the capital, foundation of schools, arrangement of new districts, enlargement of the Cori Cancha, or golden temple). This consolidation followed an exceptionally critical period for the monarchy, caused by the invasion of the armies of the neighboring Chanca nation, which took advantage of the indolence of Rocca’s successor, Yahuar Huaccac. It was the son of this, Viracocha, who managed to save the dynasty and the state in the plain of Anta, and was proclaimed Inca on the battlefield.

With the coming to power of the ninth sovereign, called Pachacutec, i.e. the Reformer, not only is the reconstruction of events less inaccurate and incomplete (period of the semi-historical Inca), but also the period of the truly continental action of the Inca state opens., which had to face no longer mediocrely amalgamated human units, but powerful state organizations, such as the Chincha kingdom, Pachacamac and other minor ones, all flourishing on the Pacific coast, as well as the kingdom of the Great Chimú, which from Barrancas reached as far as Tumbes. Yupanqui, his successor, went further north, conquering Ecuador, and under him and the following ruler, Huayna Capac, the frontiers were brought to the maximum limit, even towards the south, ensuring the vassalage of the Argentine Tucumán and the Northern Chile.

Considering the ethnic map of the empire, it is easy to deduce that the semi-civilized peoples of the Andean area penetrated without great difficulty into the structure of the Inca state, while the rougher tribes of the south and east opposed an irreducible resistance to Peruvian arms; so are the Chiriguano of the forest plain, to the east, and the proud Araucani of Chile. We can therefore speak of a certain cultural determinism that outlines the circle of Andean imperial unity a priori.

However, even though these data have been ascertained with regard to the political increase in the power of the Incas, the more substantial question remains unsolved, whether, and to what extent, the culture they represent formed part of the heritage of the peoples they subjected: both material culture, industrial and artistic, as well as economic and spiritual, especially in relations with the organization of society and religion. The problem of the Inca period can therefore be formulated with this dilemma: do the Incas represent the organization, by natural development, of cultural elements already existing in the population of pre-Inca Peru (Costa, Sierra or Montaña), or are instead the agents of the forced acclimation of original goods, coming from other neighboring or distant areas?

Tradition presents the dynastic family and the group or jamb linked to the Inca, the Orejones or “Big ears” (so called for the elongated and artfully pierced ear, which was its distinctive), as a minority of aristocratic nature, of divine birth, which operates, commands and imposes his will with a criterion of paternalism and providentialism that would totally exclude the first hypothesis. In terms of religion, for example, it is evident that the Incas undergo a profound and not free from resistance transformation, which brings a mass of groups fervently linked to the animistic belief in the huaca proper to each ayllu., in the uniform state of a heliolatrous people. But it is also true that tradition, as it is handed down to us, is affected by the effects of a late compilation and reworking, which tells a posteriori and it refers to mythical origins, that is to the first Inca period, institutions, beliefs and events of the last period of the state and of the caste, that is, when the Inca and the Orejones had already definitively shaped the political and social reality of the state. All the Spanish chroniclers and most of the modern Peruvianists started from the vision made official in the times of Pachacutec, who was not only the author of great conquests and reforms, but also of the total διασκευασία of the history of ancient Peru, yes that it is also today it is extremely difficult to escape the deception of perspective that is its effect in the right measure.

Without any doubt the forms of civil life in ancient Peru do not date from the Inca, and it is therefore necessary to sort out and organize the data that the various investigations allow to gather around the obscure pre-Inca period. Following in this rapid reconstruction the reverse direction of the chronological order, we will first describe the culture that was found by the Spaniards, and then turn to previous eras: it is the only means of proceeding with prudence, that is, from the best documented to the less known.

Peru - The Theocratic Empire of the Incas