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The most brilliant passages in the history of Spanish adventure in the New World are undoubtedly afforded by the conquests of Mexico and Peru, - the two states which combined with the largest extent of empire a refined social polity, and considerable progress in the arts of civilization. Indeed, so prominently do they stand out on the great canvas of history, that the name of the one, notwithstanding the contrast they exhibit in their respective institutions, most naturally suggests that of the other; and, when I sent to Spain to collect materials for an account of the Conquest of Mexico, I included in my researches those relating to The Conquest of Peru...
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Copyright © 2016 by William Prescott
Published by Perennial Press
Interior design by Pronoun
Distribution by Pronoun
Chapter I. Physical Aspect Of The Country. - Sources Of Peruvian Civilization. - Empire Of The Incas. - Royal Family. - Nobility.
Chapter II. Orders Of The State. - Provisions For Justice. - Division Of Lands. - Revenues And Registers. - Great Roads And Posts. -Military Tactics And Policy.
Chapter III. Peruvian Religion. - Deities. - Gorgeous Temples. - Festivals. -Virgins Of The Sun. - Marriage.
Chapter IV. Education. - Quipus. - Astronomy. - Agriculture. - Aqueducts. -Guano. - Important Esculents.
Chapter V. Peruvian Sheep. - Great Hunts. - Manufactures. - Mechanical Skill. - Architecture. - Concluding Reflections.
Book II: Discovery Of Peru
Chapter I. Ancient And Modern Science. - Art Of Navigation. - Maritime Discovery. - Spirit Of The Spaniards. - Possessions In The New World. - Rumors Concerning Peru.
Chapter II. Francisco Pizarro. - His Early History. - First Expedition To The South. - Distresses Of The Voyagers. - Sharp Encounters. - Return To Panama. - Almagro’s Expedition.
Chapter III. The Famous Contract. - Second Expedition. - Ruiz Explores The Coast. - Pizarro’s Sufferings In The Forests. - Arrival Of New Recruits. - Fresh Discoveries And Disasters. - Pizarro On The Isle Of Gallo.
Chapter IV. Indignation Of The Governor. - Stern Resolution Of Pizarro. -Prosecution Of The Voyage. - Brilliant Aspect Of Tumbez. -Discoveries Along The Coast. - Return To Panama. - Pizarro Embarks For Spain.
Book III: Conquest Of Peru
Chapter I. Pizarro’s Reception At Court. - His Capitulation With The Crown. - He Visits His Birthplace. - Returns To The New World. -Difficulties With Almagro. - His Third Expedition. - Adventures On The Coast. - Battles In The Isle Of Puna.
Chapter II. Peru At The Time Of The Conquest. - Reign Of Huayna Capac. - The Inca Brothers. - Contest For The Empire. - Triumph And Cruelties Of Atahuallpa.
Chapter III. The Spaniards Land At Tumbez. - Pizarro Reconnoitres The Country.- Foundation Of San Miguel. - March Into The Interior. - Embassy From The Inca. - Adventures On The March - Reach The Foot Of The Andes.
Chapter IV. Severe Passage Of The Andes. - Embassies From Atahuallpa. - The Spaniards Reach Caxamalca. - Embassy To The Inca. - Interview With The Inca. - Despondency Of The Spaniards
Chapter V. Desperate Plan Of Pizarro. - Atahuallpa Visits The Spaniards. -Horrible Massacre. - The Inca A Prisoner. - Conduct Of The Conquerors. - Splendid Promises Of The Inca - Death Of Huascar.
Chapter VI. Gold Arrives For The Ransom. - Visit To Pachacamac. - Demolition Of The Idol. - The Inca’s Favorite General. - The Inca’s Life In Confinement. - Envoy’s Conduct In Cuzco. - Arrival Of Almagro.
Chapter VII. Immense Amount Of Treasure. - Its Division Among The Troops -Rumors Of A Rising. - Trial Of The Inca. - His Execution -Reflections.
Chapter VIII. Disorders In Peru. - March To Cuzco. - Encounter With The Natives. - Challcuchima Burnt. - Arrival In Cuzco. - Description Of The City. - Treasure Found There.
Chapter IX. New Inca Crowned. - Municipal Regulations. - Terrible March Of Alvarado. - Interview With Pizarro. - Foundation Of Lima. - Hernando Pizarro Reaches Spain. - Sensation At Court. - Feuds Of Almagro And The Pizarros.
Chapter X. Escape Of The Inca. - Return Of Hernando Pizarro. - Rising Of The Peruvians. - Siege And Burning Of Cuzco. - Distresses Of The Spaniards. - Storming Of The Fortress. - Pizarro’s Dismay. - The Inca Raises The Siege.
Book IV: Civil Wars Of The Conquerors
Chapter I. Almagro’s March To Chili. - Suffering Of The Troops. - He Returns And Seizes Cuzco. - Action Of Abancay. - Gaspar De Espinosa. - Almagro Leaves Cuzco. - Negotiations With Pizarro.
Chapter II. F irst Civil War. - Almagro Retreats To Cuzco. - Battle Of Las Salinas. - Cruelty Of The Conquerors. - Trial And Execution Of Almagro. - His Character.
Chapter III. Pizarro Revisits Cuzco. - Hernando Returns To Castile. - His long Imprisonment. - Commissioner Sent To Peru. - Hostilities With The Inca. -Pizarro’s Active Administration. - Gonzalo Pizarro.
Chapter IV. Gonzalo Pizarro’s Expedition. - Passage Across The Mountains. -Discovers The Napo. - Incredible Sufferings. - Orellana Sails Down The Amazon. - Despair Of The Spaniards. - The Survivors Return To Quito.
Chapter V. The Almagro Faction. - Their Desperate Condition. - Conspiracy Against Francisco Pizarro. - Assassination Of Pizarro. - Acts Of The Conspirators. - Pizarro’s Character
Chapter VI. Movements Of The Conspirators. - Advance Of Vaca De Castro - Proceedings Of Almagro. - Progress Of The Governor. - The Forces Approach Each Other. - Bloody Plains Of Chupas. - Conduct Of Vaca De Castro.
Chapter VII. Abuses By The Conquerors. - Code For The Colonies. - Great Excitement In Peru. - Blasco Nunez The Viceroy. - His Severe Policy. - Opposed By Gonzalo Pizarro.
Chapter VIII. The Viceroy Arrives At Lima. - Gonzalo Pizarro Marches From Cuzco. - Death Of The Inca Manco. - Rash Conduct Of The Viceroy. - Seized And Deposed By The Audience. - Gonzalo Proclaimed Governor Of Peru.
Chapter IX. Measures Of Gonzalo Pizarro. - Escape Of Vaca De Castro.Reappearance Of The Viceroy. - His Disastrous Retreat. - Defeat And Death Of The Viceroy. - Gonzalo Pizarro Lord Of Peru.
Book V: Settlement Of The Country
Chapter I. Great Sensation In Spain. - Pedro De La Gasca. - His Early Life. - His Mission To Peru. - His Politic Conduct. - His Offers To Pizarro. - Gains The Fleet.
Chapter II. Gasca Assembles His Forces. - Defection Of Pizarro’s Followers. -He Musters His Levies. - Agitation In Lima. - He Abandons The City. - Gasca Sails From Panama. - Bloody Battle Of Huarina.
Chapter III. Dismay In Gasca’s Camp. - His Winter Quarters. - Resumes HisMarch. - Crosses The Apurimac. - Pizarro’s Conduct In Cuzco. - He Encamps Near The City. - Rout Of Xaquixa Guana.
Chapter IV. Execution Of Carbajal. - Gonzalo Pizarro Beheaded. - Spoils Of Victory. - Wise Reforms By Gasca. - He Returns To Spain. - His Death And Character.
THE MOST BRILLIANT PASSAGES IN the history of Spanish adventure in the New World are undoubtedly afforded by the conquests of Mexico and Peru, - the two states which combined with the largest extent of empire a refined social polity, and considerable progress in the arts of civilization. Indeed, so prominently do they stand out on the great canvas of history, that the name of the one, notwithstanding the contrast they exhibit in their respective institutions, most naturally suggests that of the other; and, when I sent to Spain to collect materials for an account of the Conquest of Mexico, I included in my researches those relating to the Conquest of Peru.
The larger part of the documents, in both cases, was obtained from the same great repository, - the archives of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid; a body specially intrusted with the preservation of whatever may serve to illustrate the Spanish colonial annals. The richest portion of its collection is probably that furnished by the papers of Munoz. This eminent scholar, the historiographer of the Indies, employed nearly fifty years of his life in amassing materials for a history of Spanish discovery and conquest in America. For this, as he acted under the authority of the government, every facility was afforded him; and public offices and private depositories, in all the principal cities of the empire, both at home and throughout the wide extent of its colonial possessions, were freely opened to his inspection. The result was a magnificent collection of manuscripts, many of which he patiently transcribed with his own hand. But he did not live to reap the fruits of his persevering industry. The first volume, relative to the voyages of Columbus, was scarcely finished when he died; and his manuscripts, at least that portion of them which have reference to Mexico and Peru, were destined to serve the uses of another, an inhabitant of that New World to which they related.
Another scholar, to whose literary stores I am largely indebted, is Don Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, late Director of the Royal Academy of History. Through the greater part of his long life he was employed in assembling original documents to illustrate the colonial annals. Many of these have been incorporated in his great work, “Coleccion de los Viages y Descubrimientos,” which, although far from being completed after the original plan of its author, is of inestimable service to the historian. In following down the track of discovery, Navarrete turned aside from the conquests of Mexico and Peru, to exhibit the voyages of his countrymen in the Indian seas. His manuscripts, relating to the two former countries, he courteously allowed to be copied for me. Some of them have since appeared in print, under the auspices of his learned coadjutors, Salva and Baranda, associated with him in the Academy; but the documents placed in my hands form a most important contribution to my materials for the present history.
The death of this illustrious man, which occurred some time after the present work was begun, has left a void in his country not easy to be filled; for he was zealously devoted to letters, and few have done more to extend the knowledge of her colonial history. Far from an exclusive solicitude for his own literary projects, he was ever ready to extend his sympathy and assistance to those of others. His reputation as a scholar was enhanced by the higher qualities which he possessed as a man, - by his benevolence, his simplicity of manners, and unsullied moral worth. My own obligations to him are large; for from the publication of my first historical work, down to the last week of his life, I have constantly received proofs from him of his hearty and most efficient interest in the prosecution of my historical labors; and I now the more willingly pay this well-merited tribute to his deserts, that it must be exempt from all suspicion of flattery.
In the list of those to whom I have been indebted for materials, I must, also, include the name of M. Ternaux-Compans, so well known by his faithful and elegant French versions of the Munoz manuscripts; and that of my friend Don Pascual de Gayangos, who, under the modest dress of translation, has furnished a most acute and learned commentary on Spanish-Arabian history, - securing for himself the foremost rank in that difficult department of letters, which has been illumined by the labors of a Masdeu, a Casiri, and a Conde.
To the materials derived from these sources, I have added some manuscripts of an important character from the library of the Escurial. These, which chiefly relate to the ancient institutions of Peru, formed part of the splendid collection of Lord Kingsborough, which has unfortunately shared the lot of most literary collections, and been dispersed, since the death of its noble author. For these I am indebted to that industrious bibliographer, Mr. O. Rich, now resident in London. Lastly, I must not omit to mention my obligations, in another way, to my friend Charles Folsom, Esq., the learned librarian of the Boston Athenaeum; whose minute acquaintance with the grammatical structure and the true idiom of our English tongue has enabled me to correct many inaccuracies into which I had fallen in the composition both of this and of my former works.
From these different sources I have accumulated a large amount of manuscripts, of the most various character, and from the most authentic sources; royal grants and ordinances, instructions of the Court, letters of the Emperor to the great colonial officers, municipal records, personal diaries and memoranda, and a mass of private correspondence of the principal actors in this turbulent drama. Perhaps it was the turbulent state of the country which led to a more frequent correspondence between the government at home and the colonial officers. But, whatever be the cause, the collection of manuscript materials in reference to Peru is fuller and more complete than that which relates to Mexico; so that there is scarcely a nook or corner so obscure, in the path of the adventurer, that some light has not been thrown on it by the written correspondence of the period. The historian has rather had occasion to complain of the embarras des richesses; for, in the multiplicity of contradictory testimony, it is not always easy to detect the truth, as the multiplicity of cross-lights is apt to dazzle and bewilder the eye of the spectator.
The present History has been conducted on the same general plan with that of the Conquest of Mexico. In an Introductory Book, I have endeavoured to portray the institutions of the Incas, that the reader may be acquainted with the character and condition of that extraordinary race, before he enters on the story of their subjugation. The remaining books are occupied with the narrative of the Conquest. And here, the subject, it must be allowed, notwithstanding the opportunities it presents for the display of character, strange, romantic incident, and picturesque scenery, does not afford so obvious advantages to the historian as the Conquest of Mexico. Indeed, few subjects can present a parallel with that, for the purposes either of the historian or the poet. The natural development of the story, there, is precisely what would be prescribed by the severest rules of art. The conquest of the country is the great end always in the view of the reader. From the first landing of the Spaniards on the soil, their subsequent adventures, their battles and negotiations, their ruinous retreat, their rally and final siege, all tend to this grand result, till the long series is closed by the downfall of the capital. In the march of events, all moves steadily forward to this consummation. It is a magnificent epic, in which the unity of interest is complete.
In the “Conquest of Peru,” the action, so far as it is founded on the subversion of the Incas, terminates long before the close of the narrative. The remaining portion is taken up with the fierce feuds of the Conquerors, which would seem, from their very nature, to be incapable of being gathered round a central point of interest. To secure this, we must look beyond the immediate overthrow of the Indian empire. The conquest of the natives is but the first step, to be followed by the conquest of the Spaniards, - the rebel Spaniards, themselves, - till the supremacy of the Crown is permanently established over the country. It is not till this period, that the acquisition of this Transatlantic empire can be said to be completed; and, by fixing the eye on this remoter point, the successive steps of the narrative will be found leading to one great result, and that unity of interest preserved which is scarcely less essential to historic than dramatic composition. How far this has been effected, in the present work, must be left to the judgment of the reader.
No history of the conquest of Peru, founded on original documents, and aspiring to the credit of a classic composition, like the “Conquest of Mexico” by Solis, has been attempted, as far as I am aware, by the Spaniards. The English possess one of high value, from the pen of Robertson, whose masterly sketch occupies its due space in his great work on America. It has been my object to exhibit this same story, in all its romantic details; not merely to portray the characteristic features of the Conquest, but to fill up the outline with the coloring of life, so as to present a minute and faithful picture of the times. For this purpose, have, in the composition of the work, availed myself freely of my manuscript materials, allowed the actors to speak as much as possible for themselves, and especially made frequent use of their letters; for nowhere is the heart more likely to disclose itself, than in the freedom of private correspondence. I have made liberal extracts from these authorities in the notes, both to sustain the text, and to put in a printed form those productions of the eminent captains and statesmen of the time, which are not very accessible to Spaniards themselves.
M. Amedee Pichot, in the Preface to the French translation of the “Conquest of Mexico,” infers from the plan of the composition, that I must have carefully studied the writings of his countryman, M. de Barante. The acute critic does me but justice in supposing me familiar with the principles of that writer’s historical theory, so ably developed in the Preface to his “Ducs de Bourgogne.” And I have had occasion to admire the skillful manner in which he illustrates this theory himself, by constructing out of the rude materials of a distant time a monument of genius that transports us at once into the midst of the Feudal Ages, - and this without the incongruity which usually attaches to a modern-antique. In like manner I have attempted to seize the characteristic expression of a distant age, and to exhibit it in the freshness of life. But in an essential particular, I have deviated from the plan of the French historian. I have suffered the scaffolding to remain after the building has been completed. In other words, I have shown to the reader the steps of the process by which I have come to my conclusions. Instead of requiring him to take my version of the story on trust, I have endeavoured to give him a reason for my faith. By copious citations from the original authorities, and by such critical notices of them as would explain to him the influences to which they were subjected, I have endeavoured to put him in a position for judging for himself, and thus for revising, and, if need be reversing, the judgments of the historian. He will, at any rate, by this means, be enabled to estimate the difficulty of arriving at truth amidst the conflict of testimony; and he will learn to place little reliance on those writers who pronounce on the mysterious past with what Fontenelle calls “a frightful degree of certainty,” - a spirit the most opposite to that of the true philosophy of history.
Yet it must be admitted, that the chronicler who records the events of an earlier age has some obvious advantages in the store of manuscript materials at his command, - the statements of friends, rivals, and enemies, furnishing a wholesome counterpoise to each other; and also, in the general course of events, as they actually occurred, affording the best commentary on the true motives of the parties. The actor, engaged in the heat of the strife, finds his view bounded by the circle around him, and his vision blinded by the smoke and dust of the conflict; while the spectator, whose eyes ranges over the ground from a more distant and elevated point, though the individual objects may lose somewhat of their vividness, takes in at a glance all the operations of the field. Paradoxical as it may appear, truth founded on contemporary testimony would seem, after all, as likely to be attained by the writer of a later day, as by contemporaries themselves.
Before closing these remarks, I may be permitted to add a few of a personal nature. In several foreign notices of my writings, the author has been said to be blind; and more than once I have had the credit of having lost my sight in the composition of my first history. When I have met with such erroneous accounts, I have hastened to correct them. But the present occasion affords me the best means of doing so; and I am the more desirous of this, as I fear some of my own remarks, in the Prefaces to my former histories, have led to the mistake.
While at the University, I received an injury in one of my eyes, which deprived me of the sight of it. The other, soon after, was attacked by inflammation so severely, that, for some time, I lost the sight of that also; and though it was subsequently restored, the organ was so much disordered as to remain permanently debilitated, while twice in my life, since, I have been deprived of the use of it for all purposes of reading and writing, for several years together. It was during one of these periods that I received from Madrid the materials for the “History of Ferdinand and Isabella,” and in my disabled condition, with my Transatlantic treasures lying around me, I was like one pining from hunger in the midst of abundance. In this state, I resolved to make the ear, if possible, do the work of the eye. I procured the services of a secretary, who read to me the various authorities; and in time I became so far familiar with the sounds of the different foreign languages (to some of which indeed, I had been previously accustomed by a residence abroad), that I could comprehend his reading without much difficulty. As the reader proceeded, I dictated copious notes; and, when these had swelled to a considerable amount, they were read to me repeatedly, till I had mastered their contents sufficiently for the purposes of composition. The same notes furnished an easy means of reference to sustain the text.
Still another difficulty occurred, in the mechanical labor of writing, which I found a severe trial to the eye. This was remedied by means of a writing-case, such as is used by the blind, which enabled me to commit my thoughts to paper without the aid of sight, serving me equally well in the dark as in the light. The characters thus formed made a near approach to hieroglyphics; but my secretary became expert in the art of deciphering, and a fair copy - with a liberal allowance for unavoidable blunders - was transcribed for the use of the printer. I have described the process with more minuteness, as some curiosity has been repeatedly expressed in reference to my modus operandi under my privations, and the knowledge of it may be of some assistance to others in similar circumstances.
Though I was encouraged by the sensible progress of my work, it was necessarily slow. But in time the tendency to inflammation diminished, and the strength of the eye was confirmed more and more. It was at length so far restored, that I could read for several hours of the day, though my labors in this way necessarily terminated with the daylight. Nor could I ever dispense with the services of a secretary, or with the writing-case, for, contrary to the usual experience, I have found writing a severer trial to the eye than reading, - a remark, however, which does not apply to the reading of manuscript; and to enable myself, therefore, to revise my composition more carefully, I caused a copy of the “History of Ferdinand and Isabella” to be printed for of my own inspection, before it was sent to the press for the publication. Such as I have described the preparation of the “Conquest of Mexico”; and, satisfied with being raised so nearly to a level with the rest of my species, I scarcely envied the superior good fortune of those who could prolong their studies into the evening, and the later hours of the night.
But a change has again taken place during the last two years. The sight of my eye has become gradually dimmed, while the sensibility of the nerve has been so far increased, that for several weeks of the last year I have not opened a volume, and through the whole time I have not had the use of it, on an average, for more than an hour a day. Nor can I cheer myself with the delusive expectation, that, impaired as the organ has become, from having been tasked, probably, beyond its strength, it can ever renew its youth, or be of much service to me hereafter in my literary researches. Whether I shall have the heart to enter, as I had proposed, on a new and more extensive field of historical labor, with these impediments, I cannot say. Perhaps long habit, and a natural desire to follow up the career which I have so long pursued, may make this, in a manner, necessary, as my past experience has already proved that it is practicable.
From this statement - too long, I fear, for his patience - the reader, who feels any curiosity about the matter, will understand the real extent of my embarrassments in my historical pursuits. That they have not been very light will be readily admitted, when it is considered that I have had but a limited use of my eye, in its best state, and that much of the time I have been debarred from the use of it altogether. Yet the difficulties I have had to contend with a very far inferior to those which fall to the lot of a blind man. I know of no historian, now alive, who can claim the glory of having overcome such obstacles, but the author of “La Conquete de l’Angleterre par les Normands” who, to use his own touching and beautiful language, “has made himself the friend of darkness”; and who, to a profound philosophy that requires no light but that from within, unites a capacity for extensive and various research, that might well demand the severest application of the student.
The remarks into which I have been led at such length will, I trust, not be set down by the reader to an unworthy egotism, but to their true source, a desire to correct a misapprehension to which I may have unintentionally given rise myself, and which has gained me the credit with some - far from grateful to my feelings, since undeserved - of having surmounted the incalculable obstacles which lie in the path of the blind man.
Boston, April 2 1847
OF THE NUMEROUS NATIONS WHICH occupied the great American continent at the time of its discovery by the Europeans, the two most advanced in power and refinement were undoubtedly those of Mexico and Peru. But, though resembling one another in extent of civilization, they differed widely as to the nature of it; and the philosophical student of his species may feel a natural curiosity to trace the different steps by which these two nations strove to emerge from the state of barbarism, and place themselves on a higher point in the scale of humanity. - In a former work I have endeavoured to exhibit the institutions and character of the ancient Mexicans, and the story of their conquest by the Spaniards. The present will be devoted to the Peruvians; and, if their history shall be found to present less strange anomalies and striking contrasts than that of the Aztecs, it may interest us quite as much by the pleasing picture it offers of a well-regulated government and sober habits of industry under the patriarchal sway of the Incas.
The empire of Peru, at the period of the Spanish invasion, stretched along the Pacific from about the second degree north to the thirty-seventh degree of south latitude; a line, also, which describes the western boundaries of the modern republics of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chili. Its breadth cannot so easily be determined; for, though bounded everywhere by the great ocean on the west, towards the east it spread out, in many parts, considerably beyond the mountains, to the confines of barbarous states, whose exact position is undetermined, or whose names are effaced from the map of history. It is certain, however, that its breadth was altogether disproportioned to its length. *1
[Footnote 1: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 65. - Cieza de Leon,
Cronica del Peru, (Anvers, 1554,) cap. 41. - Garcilasso de la
Vega, Commentarios Reales, (Lisboa, 1609,) Parte 1, lib. 1, cap.
According to the last authority, the empire, in its greatest breadth, did not exceed one hundred and twenty leagues. But Garcilasso’s geography will not bear criticism.]
The topographical aspect of the country is very remarkable. A strip of land, rarely exceeding twenty leagues in width, runs along the coast, and is hemmed in through its whole extent by a colossal range of mountains, which, advancing from the Straits of Magellan, reaches its highest elevation - indeed, the highest on the American continent - about the seventeenth degree south, *2 and, after crossing the line, gradually subsides into hills of inconsiderable magnitude, as it enters the Isthmus of Panama. This is the famous Cordillera of the Andes, or “copper mountains,” *3 as termed by the natives, though they might with more reason have been called “mountains of gold.” Arranged sometimes in a single line, though more frequently in two or three lines running parallel or obliquely to each other, they seem to the voyager on the ocean but one continuous chain; while the huge volcanoes, which to the inhabitants of the table-land look like solitary and independent masses, appear to him only like so many peaks of the same vast and magnificent range. So immense is the scale on which Nature works in these regions, that it is only when viewed from a great distance, that the spectator can, in any degree, comprehend the relation of the several parts to the stupendous whole. Few of the works of Nature, indeed, are calculated to produce impressions of higher sublimity than the aspect of this coast, as it is gradually unfolded to the eye of the mariner sailing on the distant waters of the Pacific; where mountain is seen to rise above mountain, and Chimborazo, with its glorious canopy of snow, glittering far above the clouds, crowns the whole as with a celestial diadem. *4
[Footnote 2: According to Malte-Brun, it is under the equator that we meet with the loftiest summits of this chain. (Universal Geography, Eng. trans., book 86.) But more recent measurements have shown this to be between fifteen and seventeen degrees south, where the Nevado de Sorata rises to the enormous height of 25,250 feet, and the Illimani to 24,300.]
[Footnote 3: At least, the word anta, which has been thought to furnish the etymology of Andes, in the Peruvian tongue, signified “copper.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 15.]
[Footnote 4: Humboldt, Vues des Cordilleres et Monumens des
Peuples Indigenes de l’Amerique, (Paris, 1810,) p. 106. -
Malte-Brun, book 88.
The few brief sketches which M. de Humboldt has given of the scenery of the Cordilleras, showing the hand of a great painter, as well as of a philosopher, make us regret the more, that he has not given the results of his observations in this interesting region as minutely as he has done in respect to Mexico.]
The face of the country would appear to be peculiarly unfavorable to the purposes both of agriculture and of internal communication. The sandy strip along the coast, where rain rarely falls, is fed only by a few scanty streams, that furnish a remarkable contrast to the vast volumes of water which roll down the eastern sides of the Cordilleras into the Atlantic. The precipitous steeps of the sierra, with its splintered sides of porphyry and granite, and its higher regions wrapped in snows that never melt under the fierce sun of the equator, unless it be from the desolating action of its own volcanic fires, might seem equally unpropitious to the labors of the husbandman. And all communication between the parts of the long-extended territory might be thought to be precluded by the savage character of the region, broken up by precipices, furious torrents, and impassable quebradas, - those hideous rents in the mountain chain, whose depths the eye of the terrified traveler, as he winds along his aerial pathway, vainly endeavours to fathom. *5 Yet the industry, we might almost say, the genius, of the Indian was sufficient to overcome all these impediments of Nature.
[Footnote 5: “These crevices are so deep,” says M. de Humboldt, with his usual vivacity of illustration, “that if Vesuvius or the Puy de Dome were seated in the bottom of them, they would not rise above the level of the ridges of the neighbouring sierra” Vues des Cordilleres, p. 9.]
By a judicious system of canals and subterraneous aqueducts, the waste places on the coast were refreshed by copious streams, that clothed them in fertility and beauty. Terraces were raised upon the steep sides of the Cordillera; and, as the different elevations had the effect of difference of latitude, they exhibited in regular gradation every variety of vegetable form, from the stimulated growth of the tropics, to the temperate products of a northern clime; while flocks of llamas - the Peruvian sheep - wandered with their shepherds over the broad, snow-covered wastes on the crests of the sierra, which rose beyond the limits of cultivation. An industrious population settled along the lofty regions of the plateaus, and towns and hamlets, clustering amidst orchards and wide-spreading gardens, seemed suspended in the air far above the ordinary elevation of the clouds. *6 Intercourse was maintained between 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.
[Footnote 6: The plains of Quito are at the height of between nine and ten thousand feet above the sea. (See Condamine, Journal d’un Voyage a l’Equateur, (Paris, 1751,) p. 48.) Other valleys or plateaus in this vast group of mountains reach a still higher elevation.]
The source of this civilization is traced to the valley of Cuzco, the central region of Peru, as its name implies. *7 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 neighbourhood 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 for ever. 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 *8 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 Incas, *9 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 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. *10
[Footnote 7: “Cuzco, in the language of the Incas,” says Garcilasso, “signifies navel.” Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 18.]
[Footnote 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 less 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.]
[Footnote 9: Inca signified king or lord. Capac meant great or powerful. It was applied to several of the successors of Manco, in the same manner 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.]
[Footnote 10: Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 9 - 16.]
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. *11
[Footnote 11: 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 e 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.]
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. *12 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 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.
[Footnote 12: Some writers carry back the date 500, or even 550, years before the Spanish invasion. (Balboa, Histoire du Perou, chap. 1. - Velasco, Histoire du Royaume de Quito, tom. I. p. 81. - Ambo auct. ap. Relations et Memoires Originaux pour servir a l’Histoire de la Decouverte de l’Amerique, par Ternaux-Compans, (Paris, 1840.)) In the Report of the Royal Audience of Peru, the epoch is more modestly fixed at 200 years before the Conquest. Dec. de la Aud. Real., Ms.]
[Footnote 13: “Otras cosas ay mas que dezir deste Tiaguanaco, que passo por no detenerme: concluyedo 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 destos: 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 gives an account of these remains, on the authority of a Spanish 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 Firme del Mar Oceano, (Madrid, 1730,) dec. 6, lib. 6, cap. 9.) McCulloch, 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.]
We may reasonably conclude that there existed in the country a race advanced in civilization before the time of the Incas; and, in conformity with nearly every tradition, we may derive this race from the neighborhood of Lake Titicaca; *14 a conclusion strongly confirmed by the imposing architectural remains which still endure, after the lapse of so many years, on its borders. Who this race were, and whence they came, may afford a tempting theme for inquiry to the speculative antiquarian. But it is a land of darkness that lies far beyond the domain of history. *15
[See Antiquities: Artistic handicrafts of the ancient people of
[Footnote 14: Among other authorities for this tradition, see Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 3, 4, - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 6, - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms., - Zarate, Historia del Descubrimiento y de la Conquista del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 10, ap. Barcia, Historiadores Primitivos de las Indias Occidentales, (Madrid, 1749,) tom. 3.
In most, not all, of the traditions, Manco Capac is recognized as the name of the founder of the Peruvian monarchy, though his history and character are related with sufficient discrepancy.]
[Footnote 15: Mr. Ranking,
“Who can deep mysteries unriddle,
As easily as thread a needle,”
finds it “highly probable that the first Inca of Peru was a son of the Grand Khan Kublai”! (Historical Researches on the Conquest of Peru, &c., by the Moguls, (London, 1827,) p. 170.) The coincidences are curious, though we shall hardly jump at the conclusion of the adventurous author. Every scholar will agree with Humboldt, in the wish that “some learned traveller would visit the borders of the lake of Titicaca, the district of Callao, and the high plains of Tiahuanaco, the theatre of the ancient American civilization.” (Vues des Cordilleres, p. 199.) And yet the architectural monuments of the aborigines, hitherto brought to light, have furnished few materials for a bridge of communications across the dark gulf that still separates the Old World from the New.]
The same mists that hang round the origin of the Incas continue to settle on their subsequent annals; and, so imperfect were the records employed by the Peruvians, and so confused and contradictory their traditions, that the historian finds no firm footing on which to stand till within a century of the Spanish conquest. *16 At first, the progress of the Peruvians seems to have been sow, and almost imperceptible. By their wise and temperate policy, they gradually won over the neighbouring tribes to their dominion, as these latter became more and more convinced of the benefits of a just and well-regulated government. As they grew stronger, they were enabled to rely more directly on force; but, still advancing under cover of the same beneficent pretexts employed by their predecessors, they proclaimed peace and civilization at the point of the sword. The rude nations of the country, without any principle of cohesion among themselves, fell one after another before the victorious arm of the Incas. Yet it was not till the middle of the fifteenth century that the famous Topa Inca Yupanqui, grandfather of the monarch who occupied the throne at the coming of the Spaniards, led his armies across the terrible desert of Atacama, and, penetrating to the southern region of Chili, fixed the permanent boundary of his dominions at the river Maule. His son, Huayna Capac, possessed of ambition and military talent fully equal to his father’s marched along the Cordillera towards the north, and, pushing his conquests across the equator, added the powerful kingdom of Quito to the empire of Peru. *17
[Footnote 16: A good deal within a century, to say truth. Garcilasso and Sarmiento, for example, the two ancient authorities in highest repute, have scarcely a point of contact in their accounts of the earlier Peruvian princes; the former representing the sceptre as gliding down in peaceful succession from hand to hand, through an unbroken dynasty, while the latter garnishes his tale with as many conspiracies, depositions, and revolutions, as belong to most barbarous, and, unhappily, most civilized communities. When to these two are added the various writers, contemporary and of the succeeding age, who have treated of the Peruvian annals, we shall find ourselves in such a conflict of traditions, that criticism is lost in conjecture. Yet this uncertainty as to historical events fortunately does not extend to the history of arts and institutions, which were in existence on the arrival of the Spaniards.]
[Footnote 17: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 57, 64. - Conq. i.
Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Velasco, Hist. de Quito, p. 59. - Dec. de la
Aud. Real., Ms. - Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 7, cap.
18, 19; lib. 8, cap. 5-8.
The last historian, and, indeed, some others, refer the conquest of Chili to Yupanqui, the father of Topa Inca. The exploits of the two monarchs are so blended together by the different annalists, as in a manner to confound their personal identity.]
The ancient city of Cuzco, meanwhile, had been gradually advancing in wealth and population, till it had become the worthy metropolis of a great and flourishing monarchy. It stood in a beautiful valley on an elevated region of the plateau, which, among the Alps, would have been buried in eternal snows, but which within the tropics enjoyed a genial and salubrious temperature. Towards the north it was defended by a lofty eminence, a spur of the great Cordillera; and the city was traversed by a river, or rather a small stream, over which bridges of timber, covered with heavy slabs of stone, furnished an easy means of communication with the opposite banks. The streets were long and narrow; the houses low, and those of the poorer sort built of clay and reeds. But Cuzco was the royal residence, and was adorned with the ample dwellings of the great nobility; and the massy fragments still incorporated in many of the modern edifices bear testimony to the size and solidity of the ancient. *18
[Footnote 18: Garcilasso, Com. Real., lib. 7, cap. 8-11. - Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 92.
“El Cuzco tuuo gran manera y calidad, deuio ser fundada por gente de gran ser. Auia grandes calles, saluo q era angostas, y las casas hechas de piedra pura co tan lindas junturas, q illustra el antiguedad del edificio, pues estauan piedras tan grades muy bien assentadas.” (Ibid., ubi supra.) Compare with this Miller’s account of the city, as existing at the present day. “The walls of many of the houses have remained unaltered for centuries. The great size of the stones, the variety of their shapes, and the inimitable workmanship they display, give to the city that interesting air of antiquity and romance, which fills the mind with pleasing though painful veneration.” Memoirs of Gen. Miller in the Service of the Republic of Peru, (London, 1829, 2d ed.) vol. II. p. 225.]
The health of the city was promoted by spacious openings and squares, in which a numerous population from the capital and the distant country assembled to celebrate the high festivals of their religion. For Cuzco was the “Holy City”; *19 and the great temple of the Sun, to which pilgrims resorted from the furthest borders of the empire, was the most magnificent structure in the New World, and unsurpassed, probably, in the costliness of its decorations by any building in the Old.
[Footnote 19: “La Imperial Ciudad de Cozco, que la adoravan los Indios, como a Cosa Sagrada.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., parte 1, lib. 3, cap. 20. - Also Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms.]
Towards the north, on the sierra or rugged eminence already noticed, rose a strong fortress, the remains of which at the present day, by their vast size, excite the admiration of the traveller. *20 It was defended by a single wall of great thickness, and twelve hundred feet long on the side facing the city, where the precipitous character of the ground was of itself almost sufficient for its defence. On the other quarter, where the approaches were less difficult, it was protected by two other semicircular walls of the same length as the preceding. They were separated, a considerable distance from one another and from the fortress; and the intervening ground was raised so that the walls afforded a breastwork for the troops stationed there in times of assault. The fortress consisted of three towers, detached from one another. One was appropriated to the Inca, and was garnished with the sumptuous decorations befitting a royal residence, rather than a military post. The other two were held by the garrison, drawn from the Peruvian nobles, and commanded by an officer of the blood royal; for the position was of too great importance to be intrusted to inferior hands. The hill was excavated below the towers, and several subterraneous galleries communicated with the city and the palaces of the Inca. *21
[Footnote 20: See, among others, the Memoirs, above cited, of Gen. Miller, which contain a minute and very interesting notice of modern Cuzco. (Vol. II. p. 223, et seq.) Ulloa, who visited the country in the middle of the last century, is unbounded in his expressions of admiration. Voyage to South America, Eng. trans., (London, 1806,) book VII. ch. 12.]
[Footnote 21: Betanzos, Suma y Narracion de los Yngas, Ms., cap. 12. - Garcilasso, Com Real., Parte 1, iib. 7, cap. 27-29.
The demolition of the fortress, begun immediately after the Conquest, provoked the remonstrance of more than one enlightened Spaniard, whose voice, however, was impotent against the spirit of cupidity and violence. See Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 48.]
The fortress, the walls, and the galleries were all built of stone, the heavy blocks of which were not laid in regular courses, but so disposed that the small ones might fill up the interstices between the great. They formed a sort of rustic work, being rough-hewn except towards the edges, which were finely wrought; and, though no cement was used, the several blocks were adjusted with so much exactness and united so closely, that it was impossible to introduce even the blade of knife between them. *22 Many of these stones were of vast size; some of them being full thirty-eight feet long, by eighteen broad, and six feet thick. *23
[Footnote 22: Ibid., ubi supra. - Inscripciones, Medallas, Templos, Edificios, Antiguedades, y Monumentos del Peru, Ms. This manuscript, which formerly belonged to Dr. Robertson, and which is now in the British Museum, is the work of some unknown author, somewhere probably about the time of Charles III.; a period when, as the sagacious scholar to whom I am indebted for a copy of it remarks, a spirit of sounder criticism was visible in the Castilian historians.]
[Footnote 23: Acosta, Naturall and Morall Historie of the East
and West Indies, Eng. trans., (London, 1604,) lib. 6, cap. 14. -
He measured the stones himself. - See also Garcilasso, Com.
Real., loc. cit.]
We are filled with astonishment, when we consider, that these enormous masses were hewn from their native bed and fashioned into shape, by a people ignorant of the use of iron; that they were brought from quarries, from four to fifteen leagues distant, *24 without the aid of beasts of burden; were transported across rivers and ravines, raised to their elevated position on the sierra, and finally adjusted there with the nicest accuracy, without the knowledge of tools and machinery familiar to the European. Twenty thousand men are said to have been employed on this great structure, and fifty years consumed in the building. *25 However this may be, we see in it the workings of a despotism which had the lives and fortunes of its vassals at its absolute disposal, and which, however mild in its general character, esteemed these vassals, when employed in its service, as lightly as the brute animals for which they served as a substitute.
[Footnote 24: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 93. - Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms. Many hundred blocks of granite may still be seen, it is said, in an unfinished state, in a quarry near Cuzco.]
[Footnote 25: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 48. - Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms. - Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 7, cap. 27, 28.
The Spaniards, puzzled by the execution of so great a work with such apparently inadequate means, referred it all, in their summary way, to the Devil; an opinion which Garcilasso seems willing to indorse. The author of the Antig y Monumentos del Peru, Ms., rejects this notion with becoming gravity.]
The fortress of Cuzco was but part of a system of fortifications established throughout their dominions by the Incas. This system formed a prominent feature in their military policy; but before entering on this latter, it will be proper to give the reader some view of their civil institutions and scheme of government.
The sceptre of the Incas, if we may credit their historian, descended in unbroken succession from father to son, through their whole dynasty. Whatever we may think of this, it appears probable that the right of inheritance might be claimed by the eldest son of the Coya, or lawful queen, as she was styled, to distinguish her from the host of concubines who shared the affections of the sovereign. *26 The queen was further distinguished, at least in later reigns, by the circumstance of being selected from the sisters of the Inca, an arrangement which, however revolting to the ideas of civilized nations, was recommended to the Peruvians by its securing an heir to the crown of the pure heaven-born race, uncontaminated by any mixture of earthly mould. *27
[Footnote 26: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 7. - Garcilasso,
Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 26.
Acosta speaks of the eldest brother of the Inca as succeeding in preference to the son. (lib. 6, cap. 12.) He may have confounded the Peruvian with the Aztec usage. The Report of the Royal Audience states that a brother succeeded in default of a son. Dec. de la Aud. Real., Ms.]
[Footnote 27: “Et soror et conjux.” - According to Garcilasso the heir-apparent always married a sister. (Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 4, cap. 9.) Ondegardo notices this as an innovation at the close of the fifteenth century. (Relacion Primera, Ms.) The historian of the Incas, however, is confirmed in his extra-ordinary statement by Sarmiento. Relacion, Ms., cap. 7.] In his early years, the royal offspring was intrusted to the care of the amautas, or “wise men,” as the teachers of Peruvian science were called, who instructed him in such elements of knowledge as they possessed, and especially in the cumbrous ceremonial of their religion, in which he was to take a prominent part. Great care was also bestowed on his military education, of the last importance in a state which, with its professions of peace and good-will, was ever at war for the acquisition of empire.
In this military school he was educated with such of the Inca nobles as were nearly of his own age; for the sacred name of Inca - a fruitful source of obscurity in their annals - was applied indifferently to all who descended by the male line from the founder of the monarchy. *28 At the age of sixteen the pupils underwent a public examination, previous to their admission to what may be called the order of chivalry. This examination was conducted by some of the oldest and most illustrious Incas. The candidates were required to show their prowess in the athletic exercises of the warrior; in wrestling and boxing, in running such long courses as fully tried their agility and strength, in severe fasts of several days’ duration, and in mimic combats, which, although the weapons were blunted, were always attended with wounds, and sometimes with death. During 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.
[Footnote 28: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 26.] 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 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.
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