PERU: COMMON PEOPLE LIVED MISERABLY

French economist Louis Baudin commented on Leguizamos will that exaggerations belonged to men of that time. Rhetorically, Baudin asks whether the morality that Leguizamo had admired in Peru was superficial as it was made mandatory by strict sanctions.

Poma, who sharply criticized the behavior of the Spaniards and who claimed not to have seen the Indians greedy for gold and silver, never to have met a liar, a cheater, a prostitute or a thief was not blind to the hardness in the Inca Empire, which he not personally had been able to see because he was born after the Spanish conquest.

In his manuscripts are illustrated five of the Incas punish-ments, which are difficult to reconcile with Leguizamos description of a country without thieves, lazy and unfaithful wives.

Pomas five drawings of Inca punishments showed:

– a person surrounded by predators and snakes, which he described as the Inca punishment that hit the evil, traitor and serious criminal. If the dangerous animals did not eat the man, it was considered a miracle, and the Inca would pardon the person.

– a person behind walls, which he described as the punishment that hit drunkards, liars, lazy and dirty, people who betrayed the Inca, players and rudes. In the prison, the criminal waited to be beaten to death or to be sent into the mines.

– two naked people on knees threatened with stoning, which he described as the punishment for adulterers. If the man had forced the woman, he was sentenced to death and the woman was given two hundred lashes and was put in a convent. If the woman was made responsible for the crime, she was sentenced to death by beeing thrown with stones and the man was whipped after which he was chased out in the jungle.

– a punishment for the Inca servants who had had sex. They were sentenced to death and should be hung in their hair. If one party had forced the other, then only the first mentioned should die. If a woman survived the punishment, she was never allowed to marry.

– a fifth punishment for those who poisoned others. They were to be punished along with their entire family, including children and grandchildren, by being left in areas where foxes, vultures and condors could take their parts.

These harsh punishments originated from a society based on an alleged divine, ie. IMMOVABLE ORDEN, which neither had to be discussed nor even criticized. Violation of Inca laws was not only treated as a crime in the society but as a sacrilege, because the person in question had violated the divine in the religiously based society. Thus the punishment had to be hard.

The Inca penal code was neither written down nor detailed, so people could not know what the sanction would be for a particular act. The sanction was not predictable; however, it was also judged by local custom. The penalties applied to offenses that we now find are very different and they were contrary to what we defend under the name of the principle of proportionality: With death, the one who had betrayed the Inca was punished, but also the drunkard and the dirty. Allowing a sentence to depend on a predators hunger seems unfair just as collective punishment is contrary to our legal view.

But the point of origin for the rule of law in Andes was a fundamentally different view of human beings than our individual. Collective punishment increased the social control, which probably has been extensive.

Poma referred to several penalties for sex; the adulterer could be severely punished, for the marriage was the framework of the smallest production unit and had to be protected. Perhaps Poma also highlighted sex offenders to face the widespread view of the Spaniards that Indians had cultivated promiscuous sex. Sex crimes were severely punished.

US-American anthropologist David Jones notes that the higher the status of the individual, the more severe the punishment. Discipline – submission – was crucial in all levels of society, so if one of the Incas generals – it could be one of his sons or brothers – surrendered or failed to fight or continues fighting eagerly to position himself on the expense of Sapa Inca himself, so he could be punished hard. As a rule, with a death sentence, or what was worse in this society, where mummies were so important, that is death sentence and extinction of the body, so that the mummy could not advise.

A local guide has explained that if a theft was due to hunger, the superior of the thief had not provided enough for his subordi-nates, and therefore this superior should be punished. Herein lies a care for subjects, a consequence of the principle of reciprocity that Pachaccútec had laid as foundation for his realm.

Conversely, another local guide has explained that a superior should not be punished as hard as a subordinate, for the superior had  honor and reputation to lose, and thereby the whole system would be shaken.

I have not been able to find written sources that can support these contradictory views.

——————————

(pp. 265-268 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

400  Dkr. for each volume (Danish tax is included) + shipping

Published by Selskabet for smukkere Byfornyelse

Sale: selskabetfor@outlook.dk

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