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Inca Divine Origins


The origins of the Incas are no doubt a mixture of mythical and folk legend. These legends appear to be accumulated in three versions. The monarchs established and expanded the civilization on an organized genius and technology which was comparable to the Roman. Their imposed social hierarchy embraced the principle of divine kingship, and the prestige of their authority was associated with the cult of the Sun which they propagated. At the pinnacle of the hierarchy were the rulers who were worshipped as Children of the Sun. The mythical origins of this dynasty have been discovered in the rituals of the cult of Huanacauri, such as the marriage of a reigning monarch to a sister.

The first version of the creation of the Inca Empire embodies a cliff having three small caves, or a building with three exits, from which came four brothers and four sisters, founders of the first dynasty, from the middle orifice. Their names vary according to the different versions. The non-royal Inca clans emerged from the other orifices. Gradually the appearance and dress of the brothers and sisters differed according to the customs of the people they ruled.

The concept of human ancestors emerging from rocks and caves is a common belief among the peoples of South America. Common in the central Andean area are stories of cultural heroes and tribal founders who were brothers often engaging in fratricidal strife. It is uncertain whether some Inca legends were adapted from prior folklore or fabricated by the Incas themselves.

In the second version the sun-god when seeing the first humans living in primitive barbarity felt pity on them. He sent to earth on the island in the Lake of Titicaca his two children Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, brother and sister, to teach the people how to live civilize. They were to journey northwards over the Altiplano carrying with them a long golden rod until they came to a place where the rod could be buried entirely in the earth. They found this location when reaching the Valley of Cuzco. Their first stop was at Huanacauri, and then proceeded to Cuzco. There the golden rod was completely submerged into the ground. They easily won over the natives teaching the art of civilization and establishing the religion of the sun cult.

It is suspected that this version of the Inca Creation is possibly linked to the flood story since prior to the flood people were barbaric. After destroying this barbarian way of life, following the flood the creator sun-god sent down culture heroes or founders who taught the new race how to be civilized. This version of the creation myth suppresses the memories of any important pre-Inca culture and paints a picture of benevolent Inca founders bringing civilization and culture to the people, which have currently became embodied in the folklore and legends of the Inca people of the highland.

According to the third version, the establishment of the Inca divine kingship originated through a cunning deception of an early Inca king. This person dressed in a in a shinning cloak of gold or beads and paraded himself before his ignorant subjects who were so impressed that they began worshiping him as the offspring and representative of the sun-god. Several chronicles mention this incidence with varying names. A.G.H.


Sources:

Lake Titicaca. <http://www.crystalinks.com/laketiticaca.html>.
Osborne, Harold. South American Mythology. "Library of the World's Myths and Legends." New York. Peter Bedrick Books. 1968, 1985. pp. 34-37.


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