from The Royal Commentaries of the Incas, By the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega

From The Royal Commentaries of the Incas

By the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega

From the translation by Sir Paul Rycaut (1688)

Edited by Jared Aragona.


From BOOK I. Ch. VII

[…] in ages past, all this Region and Country you see around was nothing but mountains and wild forest, and the People in those times were like so many brute Beasts, without Religion or Government. They neither flowed, nor ploughed, nor clothed themselves, because they knew not the art of weaving with Cotton or Wool. They dwelt by two and two, or three and three together, as they happened to meet in Caves, or holes in the Rocks and Mountains. Their food was Herbs, or Grass, Roots of Trees, and wild Fruits, and all the coverings they had were Leaves or Barks of Trees, and Skins of Beasts. In sum, they were altogether savage, making use of their Women as they accidentally met, understanding no property, or single enjoyment among them.

[…] Our father the Sun, (for this is the language of the Incas, which is a title of Reverence and Respect, which they always adjoin to as often as they name the Sun, for they avail themselves much of the Honor of being descended from him, and his Name is so precious, that it is blasphemy for any, and by Law he is to be stoned, who dares to take this Name into his mouth, who is not an Inca, or descended from that Lineage.) Our Father the Sun (said the Inca) beholding Men such as before related, took compassion on them, and sent a Son and Daughter of his own from Heaven to Earth, to instruct our people in the knowledge of Our father the Sun, that so they might worship and adore him, and esteem him for their, God: giving them Laws and Precepts, whereunto they might conform their Lives, like followers of Reason and Civility that they might live in Houses and Society, learn to plow the Land, cultivate Trees, and Plants, feed their Flocks, and enjoy them, and other Fruits of the, Earth, as rational Men, and not as brute Beasts. With these Orders and instructions Our Father the Sun placed his two Children in the Lake Titicaca, which is about eighty Leagues from hence, giving them liberty to go, and travel which way they pleased, and that in what place soever they chose to sleep they should strike a little wedge of Gold into the ground, (which he had given them,) being about half a yard long, and two fingers thick. And where with one Stroke this wedge should sink into the Earth, there should be the place of their Habitation, and the Court unto which all People should resort. Lastly, he ordered them, that when they should have reduced People to these Rules and Obedience, that then they should conserve and maintain them with Reason, Justice, Piety, Clemency and Gentleness, performing all the good Offices of a pious Father towards those Children which he loves with tenderness, and that in imitation of him, and by his example, who doeth good to all the World, affording them light to perform their business, and the actions of Life, warming them when they are cold, making their pastures, and their seeds to grow, their trees to fruitfulness, and their flocks to increase, watering their Lands with dew from above, and in its season best owing cheerful and favorable weather. And to manifest his care of all things, he said, “I every day take a turn around the World, to see and discover the necessities and wants of all things, that so as the true Fomenter and Parent of them, I may apply myself to their succor and redress. Thus, after my example, and as my Children, sent upon the Earth, I would have you to imitate me, and to instill such Doctrine into this People, as may convert them from Beasts into Men: and from henceforth I constitute and ordain you Lords and Princes over this People, that by your Instructions, Reason and Government, they may be conserved.” Thus Our Father the Sun, having declared his pleasure to these his two Children, he dispatched them from him, and they taking their journey from Titicaca Northward, at everyplace where they came to repose, they tried with their wedge to strike it in the ground, but it took no place, nor would it enter. At length they came to a poor Inn, or place to rest in, about seven or eight Leagues Southward from this City, which to this day is called Pacarec Tainpil, which is as much as to say, the Shining or Enlightened Dormitory. This is one of those Colonies which this Prince planted, the Inhabitants whereof boast of this Name and Title which our Inca bestowed upon it from whence he and his Queen defended to the Valley of Cuzco, which was then only a wild and barren Mountain.



From Book I. Ch. IX

But how many years it may be since our Father the Sun sent his Offspring amongst us, I am not able precisely to declare, because my Memory may fail me in it, but I imagine, they may be about 400 Years. This our Inca was named Manco Capac, and his Queen Coya Mama of Huaco, who were, at I have said, Brethren of the Sun and Moon.


From Book I. Ch. X

And in regard the Beginning and Foundation of this history consists of the actions of this first Inca, it will be very pertinent to this matter to particularize them distinctly, that so we may not be obliged to repeat them in the Lives of his Successors, who having a great value for his Person and Virtues, made it their chief aim and intention to imitate the Humor, Actions and Customs of this their first Prince Manco Capac


From Book I. Ch. XII

The Inca, Manco Capac, as he planted his Colonies, so everywhere he taught them to plow, and cultivate the Land, how to make Aqueducts and Conservatories for their Water, and all other matters tending to the more commodious well-being of human Life. He gave them also some rules of Civility necessary in society for maintenance of Friendship and Brotherhood, as the Laws of Nature and Reason dictated; that laying aside all animosities and passions one against the other, they should do as they would be done by, maintaining without partiality the same Law for others which they allow for themselves: but above all he recommended to them a respect which they ought to bear towards the Bodies of their Wives and Daughters, for in that vice they were the most blamable and barbarous, and in order hereunto he made Adultery, Murder and Robbery mortal crimes, and punishable with death. He ordered that no man should have more than one Wife at a time, and that in their Marriages they should confine themselves to their Tribes, that they might not make a confusion in the Lineage, and that from twenty years and upwards they might marry, because before that time their prudence was not ripe enough to manage their Affairs, nor govern their Families. He employed others to gather the more gentle sort of Cattle into flocks, which ran dispersed and wild through the Woods and Fields, causing them to make garments of their Wool, according to the Art which the Queen Mama Ocllo Huaco had taught them for spinning and weaving. He showed them also how to make that sort of Shoes which they now wear, and which they call Usuta. Over every one of these Colonies he ordained a Chief, which they called Curaca, and is the same which Cacique signifies in the Language of Cuba and Santo Domingo, which is as much as a Ruler over Subjects: and these were chosen for their merits, for when any one was more gentle, affable, pious, ingenious and more zealous for the public good than others, he was presently advanced to Government, and to be an Instructor of the ignorant Indians, who obeyed him with as much reverence, as Children do their Parents, and till these things could be put into execution, and till the Earth could produce these fruits, which by labor and art of Cultivation might be expected, a general store of Provisions were collected into a common place, to be distributed agreeable to the necessities and largeness of Families. And that they might not live without Religion, he prescribed the Rites and Ceremonies for their Idolatry. He appointed out the place and design where and how to erect a Temple to the Sun, that they might sacrifice to him, for in regard they esteemed him the great God of all, by whose heat and light, they lived, the Fields produced their Fruits, and their Cattle multiplied, and that they received a thousand favors and benefits from him; it was but natural reason for them to acknowledge these benefits, and especially they esteemed themselves obliged to render service and adoration to the Sun and Moon, for having Sent their own Children to them, who had reduced them from a Life of Beasts, to the present condition arid state of human Reason. It was likewise ordained, that a House should be built for Virgins dedicated to the Sun, and that the same should be possessed by none, but such as were of the Royal Blood and Family, and supplied from thence, so soon as the number of the Royal Race was sufficiently increased.


From BOOK II. Ch. 1

We have already declared the actions of Manco Capac, how, and in what manner he reduced the Indians to live in a political way of Society, teaching them to sow and plant, to build houses, and provide all things conducing to Humane Life: and how Mama Ocllo, his Wife, instructed the Indian Women in the art of spinning and weaving, and all other ways of good Housewifery : We have declared also that it was this Manco Capac who taught them to adore the Sun, by representing to them the many benefits that he had conferred on them, saying that this Pacha Chamac (which signifies as much as the sustainer of all things) had in vain exalted them above the Stars, whom he had made their Servants, if they did not advance his Worship above all other Creatures, and had ill conferred his benefits on them, in case they should stoop to the mean Idolatry of low and base things, such as Toads and Frogs and Lizards, forsaking the service of that true Deity, whose Glory and Brightness struck awe and reverence into all Creatures.

The Indians, convinced by these arguments, and more by the sensible benefits received, acknowledged the Sun for their God, without assuming a Father, or a Brother into society with him. Their Kings they ever styled to be children of the Sun, and descended from Heaven, and adored them with as much Veneration as the ancient Gentiles, such as the Greeks and Romans, did their Jupiter,Mars, Venus, etc. Thus, the Idolatrous Worship of the Sun, and of the Incas, as they believed, descended from him, prevailed, and even to this day they never name their Kings ( the Incas ) but with wonderful reverence and adoration so that if they be asked, why they worship those for Gods whom they know to be but Men, they will presently reply that it is true, they are now undeceived, and can consider them no otherwise in reality than as Men, yet having received so much good and benefit from them, they cannot esteem them less than of Divine Race, and did others appear in these days equal or comparable to them, they would readily perform the same Honors and Adorations towards them.






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