We could – submissively of course – ask Manco Cápac, Son of the Sun: How can you, Divine Ruler, name your heir, your son? As Son of the Son of the Sun?
Do you think so? The name is jarring in the ears! That is the problem of a hereditary, supposedly divine, power to a human being since a human being is a human being. Not least if we claim that all people are born free and equal in dignity, what they didn’t do at the time of the Incas, either in the Andes or in Spain.
The answer was that even the greatgreatgrand child who once had to take the Incathrone would be considered the Son of the Sun. In all, I will mention seventeen Sapa Incas by their own names – for this has been done since the Spanish conquest for the sake of clarity.
And now I am by the titles: Sapa Inca, The Only Ruler, does first give meaning from the 9th Inca, who founded Tawantinsuyu, the Inca Empire. His eight predecessors had other titles as rulers of the minor Inca kingdom or the tribe that had been wandering and established.
Only an inner circle dared to use the name that the Inca chose when he was crowned; the name was so sacred and powerful so no one dared to pronounce it except this inner circle and then with the deepest respect. So the names will be kept between us – to keep track of who is who!
In general, titles such as Huachacuyac were used, ie. Lover and do-gooder of the poor, or Ticci Cápac, ie. Richest of Monarchs, or Intip Churin, ie. Sons of the Sun, or even Cusco – which we believe to know was the name of the Incas capital. Initially, Cusco referred to the ruler himself; that Cusco was a ruler title, experienced the first Spaniards who reached Tawantinsuyu, for they heard there was a distinction between Cusco and his father, Old Cusco. The Spaniards also heard of Cuscos houses, and these words referred to the city and not the ruler.
Since it would be pointless to juggle Cusco, Old Cusco, The Ancient Cusco, The Oldest Cusco for not talking about Oldencusco and Origincusco, I will use the rulers names and the numbered Sapa Incas – even though it is not quite historically correct and in those days was sacrilege.
Generally, a new ruler replaced a deceased. That is why I will start with an obituary over the first Inca.
Thus died Manco Cápac, according to the accounts of those of his ayllu or lineage, at the age of 144 years, which were divided in the following manner. When he set out from Pacaritambo or Tampu Tocco he was 36 years of age. From that time until he arrived at the valley of Cusco, during which interval he was seeking for fertile lands, there were eight years. For in one place he stayed one, in another two years, in others more or less until he reached Cusco, where he lived all the rest of the time, which was 100 years, as Cápac or Supreme and Rich Sovereign.
They say that he was a man of good stature, thin, rustic, cruel though frank, and that in dying he was converted into a stone of a height of a vara and a half. The stone was preserved with much veneration in the Inti Cancha until the year 1559 when, the licentiate Polo Ondegardo being Corregidor of Cusco, found it and took it away from where it was adored and venerated by all the Incas, in the village of Bimbilla near Cusco.
Thats how Pedro Sarmiento Gamboa heard the Indian witnesses respond and how he wrote, so that Spains King – the then 44-year-old Philip – could know how old the Son of the Sun, his counterparts oldest ancestor, had become. 144 years. Thats it!
Sarmiento reproduced informations on the names, ages, years of reigns and deaths of the ruling Incas. According to what he had been informed, Manco Cápac established in Cusco in the year 565 CE:
1. Manco Cápac became 144 years, ruled for 100 years and died in year 665
2. Sinchi Roca became 127 years, ruled for 19 years and died in year 675
3. Lloque Yupanque became 132 years, ruled for 111 years and died in 786
4. Mayta Cápac became 112 years, ruled for an unknown number of years and died in the year 896
5. Cápac Yupanqui became 104 years, ruled for 89 years and died in the year 985
6. Inca Roca became 123 years, ruled for 103 years and died in the year 1088
7. Yáhuar Huácac became 115 years, ruled for 96 years and his year of death is unknown
8. Viracocha became 119 years, ruled for 101 years and his year of death is unknown
9. Pachacútec became 125 years, ruled for 103 years and died in 1191
10. Túpac Inca Yupanqui became 85 years, ruled for 67 years and died in 1258
11. Huayna Cápac became 80 years, ruled for 60 years and died in the year 1524
12. Huáscar became 40 years, ruled for 9 years and died in the year 1533
Richard Pietschmann, the university librarian who regained Sarmientos manuscript, drew this outline from scattered informations in the manuscript, and thus some irregularities became apparent. Pietschmann drew among others attention to that the very high ages of the Incas could not fit – and not at all if it were biological sons who had inherited.
Undoubtedly, there were problems in Sarmientos list – we immediately notice the unexplained time lapse between the 10th and 11th Sapa Inca.
It is not unknown that when one has to tell about the oldest ancestors, who one has not personally known, they are referred to as very old, because it is a long time since they lived. That is a problem at the oral tradition, where no written sources such as church records or public records are to support. And maybe it could explain that the last Incas did not achieve the same high age as the first. Or the other way around?
A high age can both be due to good health – but also to lack of information of the person, a family pride of ancestors, and the desire to strengthen the familys historical right to power. An inherited kingdom prefers to legitimize with a very long history. That is implemented ancestral worship and myth creational, so it cannot be used as historical evidence.
Part of the divinization of the Incas was the information that Manco Cápac, the Son of the Sun, at his death had turned into a stone of a height of 5 ft, which had been stored in Inti Cancha, the House of the Sun in Cusco. The Spanish judge in Cusco, Polo Ondegardo, is said to have found and removed it from a village, thus Manco could no longer be worshipped. At least not there.
A stone figure can be set as a monument to a deceased. When the deceased is the Son of the Sun, who is said to have transformed himself into a stone, then the stone is part of the myth and it becomes more than a memorial. The stone becomes the concerneds personification, that is, also divine. The personification may be of stone or of gold; the Incas called such one a guauqui.
(pp. 142-145 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERU. Edited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael Witte. Volume 1 + Volume 2
476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors
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