Sacred-Texts Native American Inca Index Previous Next

p. vii


MUCH as students would now prize the information that was collected by the Spaniards who first overran the New World, they can only obtain a small fraction of it. In these days, when scientific methods are understood, and all evidence can be sifted and receive its relative weight, much of that evidence is lost. Of all the narratives and reports furnished to Herrera, for his history of the Indies, and of which he made such scanty and unintelligent use, very few have been preserved. Diligent search, for which we have to thank Don Pascual de Gayangos, has brought four such documents to light, relating to ancient Peruvian history, translations of which have been selected by the Council of the Hakluyt Society to form a volume of their series. The originals are manuscripts in the National Library at Madrid, marked B 135.

 The first of these manuscripts is a report on the fables and rites of the Yncas, addressed by Christoval de Molina, the priest of the hospital for natives, at Cuzco, to Dr. Don Sebastian do Artaun, the bishop of that ancient capital. It must have been written between 1570 and 1584; the period during which Artaun was bishop of Cuzco.

p. viii

 The second is an account of the antiquities of Peru, by an Indian named Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti-yamqui Salcamayhua. His great-great grand parents were living at the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru; so that the author may have written in about 1620.

 The third is an account of the religion and traditions of the Indians of the mountainous province of Huarochiri, on the Pacific slope of the maritime Cordillera, near Lima, by a resident priest, named Dr. Francisco de Avila. It was written in 1608.

 The fourth is a report, written in a memorandum book, apparently as a rough draft, among the papers of the Licentiate Polo de Ondegardo, an able and accomplished statesman, who was Corregidor of Cuzco, in 1560.

 The first of these documents is the most important. Cristoval de Molina had peculiar opportunities for collecting accurate information. He was a master of the Quichua language; he examined native chiefs and learned men who could remember the Ynca empire in the days of its prosperity, and he was intimately acquainted with the native character, from his position in the hospital at Cuzco. In his opening address to the bishop, he mentions a previous account which he had submitted, on the origin, history, and government of the Yncas. Fortunately this account has been preserved, by Miguel Cavello Balboa,1 who tells us that his history is based on the p. ix learned writings of Christoval de Molina. The present manuscript shows the importance of Molina as an authority, and a special value is thus given to Balboa's work, which may now be looked upon as the most authentic version of early Yncarial traditions and history.

 The report on the fables and rites is supplementary to the history used by Balboa; but which is not now extant as a separate work. It contains a minute and detailed account of the ceremonies performed in the different months throughout the Ynca year, with the prayers used by the priests on each occasion in Quichua and Spanish, the sacrifices, and festivities. There are some very interesting points, which must be noticed in their order, in connection with Molina's account of the Yncas; for they throw fresh light on several doubtful questions.

 The first of these points is the position held by the Supreme Being or Creator, in the religion of the Yncas. Our knowledge of this subject has hitherto been derived from Garcilasso de la Vega, who tells us that, besides the Sun, the Yncas worshipped the true supreme God and Creator; that they called him Pachacamac, a name signifying "He who gives animation to the universe," or "He who does to the universe what the soul does to the body;" that they held Him in much greater inward veneration than the Sun; but that they did not build temples to him, p. x nor offer him sacrifices.2 He quotes from Blas Valera, that all subjugated tribes were ordered to worship the most powerful god Ticci-Uira-ccocha, otherwise called Pachacamac;3 and in another place, he says that the temple of Pachacamac, on the sea-coast, was the only one to the Supreme Being throughout the whole of Peru.4

 I have discussed the questions relating to the temple on the sea coast, in my introduction to the "Reports on the Discovery of Peru" (Hakluyt Society, 1872); and have shown that it was not dedicated to the Supreme Being of the Yncas. Garcilasso de la Vega wrote the particulars touching what he had heard in Peru, after a lapse of many years, but without conscious exaggeration. Indeed his statements, as a rule, are wonderfully accurate, as I shall presently show. But the evidence of Molina is more reliable, because he wrote on the spot, with a full knowledge of the language, and after carefully examining the surviving priests and wise men of the old Ynca court.

 The name Pachacamac occurs three times in the prayers given by Molina, as an attribute of the Deity; but the term most constantly used was Pachayachachic, "the teacher of the universe." Another name was Tecsi-viracocha, which Molina interprets, "the incomprehensible God." In the prayers, however, the first word is Aticsi, probably from Atini (I conquer), and the meaning would rather be the p. xi conquering Uiracocha. Respecting the meaning of the word Uira-cocha, I am at present doubtful; but Garcilasso has clearly shown that it does not mean, as has been suggested by writers unacquainted with the language, "the foam of the sea."5 The usual names for the god of the Yncas, and those which occur in their prayers, are Pachayachachic Aticsi-Uiracocha. Molina relates that one of the Yncas erected a temple to the Supreme Being at Cuzco,6 on a site now occupied by the Church of the Nazarenes, and in Molina's days by the house of Hernan Lopez de Segovia.7 The Indian Salcamayhua also mentions this temple, and it is quite true that on the site indicated, there are the walls of an ancient edifice, with serpents carved in relief on the stones. Molina adds, that there was a golden statue to represent the Creator in this temple, which received honours at all the periodical festivals.

 The sun, moon, and thunder, appear to have been deities next in importance to Pachayachachic; sacrifices were made to them at all the periodical festivals, and several of the prayers given by Molina are addressed to them. Another image, called Huanacauri, which is said to have been the most sacred of the ancestral gods of the Yncas, received equal honours. In all this we may discern the popular religion of the Andean people, which consisted in the belief that all things in nature had an ideal or soul which ruled and guided them, and to which men might pray for p. xii help. This worship of nature was combined with the worship of ancestors; the nature gods being called huaca, and the ancestral deities pacarina or pacarisca. The universal tradition pointed to a place called Paccari-tampu, as the cradle or point of origin of the Yncas. It was, from Cuzco, the nearest point to the sun-rising; and as the sun was chosen as the pacarisca of the Yncas, the place of their origin was at first assigned to Paccari-tampu. But when their conquests were extended to the Collao, they could approach nearer to the sun, until they beheld it rising out of lake Titicaca, and hence the inland sea became a second traditional place of royal origin.

 The language of the Collas, Pacasas, and Lupacas, the people in the basin of the lake Titicaca (erroneously called Aymara), added very few words to the rich idiom of the Yncas; but a vast number of Quichua words were adopted by the Collas. Two or three Colla words, however, occur in the manuscripts of Molina and Salcamayhua, which may give rise to speculation. According to Molina, the Ynca name for the sun was Punchau,8 the god of day, and not Ynti, as given by Garcilasso. In the prayers, the word used is always Punchau. But Salcamayhua records a speech which the chief of the Collas made to the Ynca: "Thou art Lord of Cuzco, I am Lord of the Collas. I have a silver throne, thy throne is of gold. Thou art a worshipper of Uira-ccocha Pachayachachic. p. xiii I worship Ynti."9 Further on we are told that Ynti was the god of the Collas,1 and that the Ynca adopted the name when he set up an image at Titicaca.2 According to these accounts, Punchau was the sun-god of the Yncas, and Ynti was that of the Collas. Yet the modern word for the sun, in the Collao, is Lupi, from the Quichua word Rupay, meaning heat and warmth. The word for the moon in the Colla dialect (Pacsa) also occurs twice in the manuscript of Molina. He speaks of Pacsa-mama,3 in one place, as the name of the moon-god, the Quichua word being Quilla; and he gives two names for the month of July.4 One is Tarpui-quilla, composed of two Quichua words, meaning "the sowing month." The other is Moron-pasca, the last word being the Colla name for the moon.

 A fourth point of interest is the additional proof furnished in these manuscripts of the antiquity of the Quichua drama of Ollanta.5 Hitherto no evidence has been discovered of the word Ollanta being as old as the time of the Yncas; and the place now called Ollantay-tampu, the traditionary scene of the events recorded in the drama, is simply called Tampu by all other old Spanish writers. But both Molina6 and Salcamayhua7 speak of it as Ollanta-tampu. This is a proof that the name is not of modern origin. p. xiv In the introduction to my translation of the Quichua drama,8 I gave a derivation of the word Ollanta, suggested by Señor Barranca. A more probable etymology has since been given by Dr. Vicente Lopez.9 Oll, he says, should be Uill or Uilla, a legend, from Uillani (I record); and Anta, the Andes—Ollanta, "a legend of the Andes." So that before the Spanish conquest, as we now learn from Molina and Salcamayhua, there was a place called Ollanta-tampu—"the site of the legend, or drama of the Andes." Salcamayhua mentions plays as being enacted at the festivals of the Yncas; one called Anay-sauca, which means literally, "How pleasant!" another Hayachuco, and others.

 The full details of Ynca ceremonies given by Molina furnish incidental evidence of the truthfulness of Garcilasso de la Vega. Thus the account of the feast of Situa, in the Royal commentaries,1 would serve as a very accurate abstract of the fuller and more detailed narrative of Molina.2 Garcilasso wrote from memory, forty years after he had left Peru, with the aid of letters from correspondents.3 His main object was to publish a commentary, correcting the errors of Spanish authors who professed to give a history of the Yncas without being acquainted with their language. In doing this, he added much precious information from the storehouse of his own p. xv memory, and the more his work is sifted and examined, the more clearly does it appear that he was scrupulously truthful, and that, allowing for the disadvantages under which he laboured, his statements are wonderfully accurate. Perhaps the excellence of the Ynca's memory is best shown in his topographical details. He gives the conquests of each successive Ynca, mentioning the places through which the conquerors marched in the gradual acquisition of their vast empire. He enumerates three hundred and twenty places in Peru, yet, in describing the marches, he does not make a single mistake, nor give one of these places out of its order, or in the wrong position. When Garcilasso's routes of each conquering Ynca are placed on a map, they furnish convincing proofs of the remarkable accuracy of the author. The narrative of Molina also supplies more than one incidental corroboration of the correctness of Garcilasso's statements.

 The words of the prayers actually offered up by the Ynca Priests to their Deities are the most valuable part of Molina's report. He gives fourteen of these prayers: four to the Supreme Being; two to the Sun; one for fruitful flocks; four for the Yncas; two for or to the other huacas or gods, and one to the earth. Unfortunately the Quichua words have, in many instances, been incorrectly transcribed, so that the meaning is not always clear; and the translations in Spanish, which are now given in English, are in some cases far from literal. Under these circumstances I have thought the best course would be to give all the Quichua words in an alphabetical index, with the p. xvi English meanings of those which can be recognized.4 The translations in the text give the meaning of the Quichua with general accuracy.

 The second Report, entitled "An Account of the Antiquities of Peru," by an Indian named Salcamayhua, was written about forty years after the time of Molina. It is curious and valuable, because it gives the traditions of Ynca history, as they were handed down by the grandchildren of those who were living at the time of the Spanish conquest, to their grandchildren. Salcamayhua gives two prayers which are traditionally attributed to Manco Ccapac, the first Ynca, in the original Quichua, and two or three other Quichua prayers and speeches. His narrative of events, and record of customs and ceremonies, are valuable so long as they are given their due place. They are entitled to a certain authority as coming from a recipient of native tradition, living a generation or two after the death of the last man who had seen the Ynca empire in the days of its glory. Salcamayhua, as an authority, ranks after Cieza de Leon, Polo de Ondegardo, Molina, Balboa, and Garcilasso de la Vega; but before Spanish writers who were ignorant of the native language, though they lived and wrote before his time, such as Zarate, Fernandez, and Acosta. Montesinos both wrote after Salcamayhua, and is totally unreliable. The Indian Salcamayhua was intimately acquainted with the language, which was his own, and he received the traditions from his own people. But neither he nor Molina corroborate one of the fabulous stories p. xvii told by Montesinos; whose pretensions to having received his list of a hundred kings, and other absurdities, from the Indian Amautas or wise men, are discredited by the absence of all corroborative testimony. It is clear that Montesinos was ignorant of the Quichua language, and his work, in my opinion, is quite inadmissible as an authority.

 The third document in the present collection is a narrative of the false gods and other superstitions of the Indians of the province of Huarochiri, by the Dr. Francisco de Avila, Priest of the principal village in the province. This is one of the very few fragments from which we can glean some slight knowledge of the mysterious civilized nation which occupied the coast of Peru, before the Ynca conquest. Researches into the history of this coast-people are surrounded by peculiar difficulties. The Yncas conquered the Peruvian coast two or three generations before the arrival of the Spaniards, and used all their influence and power to substitute the Quichua language, and to destroy the separate polity and religion of the conquered race. Hence many Quichua words appear in their traditions, as told by Father Avila, and the student must carefully eliminate them, before forming any conclusions respecting the intellectual position of the original people of the Pacific coast. For instance, the god of the Huarochiri is said to be Coniraya Uiracocha, the former word being indigenous, and the latter a foreign term introduced by the Yncas; just as we should say the God Vishnu, combining an English and a Hindu word. The root Con, in the words Coniraya and p. xviii Conopa, is the term for the deity, or for anything sacred in the language of the coast, and has nothing to do with Quichua.

 The province of Huarochiri, of which a map is given to illustrate the curious narrative of Avila, is very mountainous. It occupies the western slopes of the maritime cordillera of the Andes, overhanging the coast plain from the latitude of Lima to that of Pachacamac. Avila unconsciously furnishes evidence that the inhabitants of Huarochiri originally came from the coast. "They declare," he says, "that in the days of Coniraya their country was yunca,"5 "and that the crops ripened in five days." Avila enters into an elaborate explanation to prove that this is impossible. But obviously the tradition referred to the time when the ancestors of the Huarochiri people inhabited the yuncas of the coast.

 The sources of information respecting the civilized race of the Peruvian coast are very scanty, and consequently very precious. We have the silent testimony of the grand ruins of Chimu near Truxillo,6 and in other coast valleys, of the great mounds, and of the works of irrigation. There is a grammar and vocabulary of their language, written by Fernando de la Carrera in 1644; and the Lord's Prayer in Mochica, one of their dialects, preserved by Bishop Orè, and published at Naples in 1602. Cieza de Leon7 travelled through the coast valleys in the early p. xix days of the Spanish conquest, and gave an interesting account of what he saw, to which Garcilasso de la Vega8 has added some additional particulars. Balboa9 relates the legends of the coast Indians of Lambayeque respecting their first arrival by sea; and the curious report of Arriaga1 on the destruction of idols in the provinces of Yauyos and Conchucos, has some bearing on the people of the coast. But here again great care must be taken to eliminate all Ynca words and ideas, before use can be made of the report, in an inquiry as to the Yuncas of the sea board. A still more remarkable report was made by an Augustin2 friar, in 1555, on the idolatry and superstitions of the inhabitants of the province of Huamachuco, which, like Conchucos, Yauyos, and Huarochiri, overhangs the coast valleys. It is from these scanty materials that some knowledge can be acquired, after careful study, of the civilized race on the coast, and of the extent to which branches from it had spread over the mountainous districts of the maritime cordillera. The most curious of these sources of information, is, I think, the narrative of Father Avila, which has never been printed in Spanish, and a translation of which is now printed for the first time.

p. xx

 The last document in this volume is a Report by Polo de Ondegardo, an accomplished lawyer and statesman who came to Peru with the President Gasca. He was Corregidor of Charcas, and afterwards of Cuzco, and studied the language and laws of the Yncas with minute care, in order that he might be better able to conduct the administration of the provinces under his charge. The document is in the form of a rough draft or set of notes, apparently intended as material for a more finished report. He describes the principle on which the Ynca conquests were made, the division and tenure of land, the system of tribute, the regulations for preserving game and for forest conservancy, and other administrative details; and he points out, here and there, the way in which the wise legislation of the Yncas ought to be utilized and imitated by their conquerors.

 These four curious papers, which have never been printed in the language in which they were written, are now translated for the first time; and it is believed that they will form an important addition to the sources of knowledge respecting the early civilization of the American races.



p. viii

1 A French translation of the work of Balboa was published by Ternaux Compans, in the sccond series of his translations, in 1840. p. ix Balboa commenced his work at Quito in 1576, and completed it in 1586; the very period when Molina was prosecuting his researches at Cuzco.

p. x

2 G. de la Vega, i, p. 106.

3 Ibid., ii, p. 38.

4 Ibid., ii, p. 186.

p. xi

5 G. de la Vega, ii, p. 66.

6 P. 11.

7 P. 11.

p. xii

8 See also Arriaga. Extirpacion de la idolatria del Peru.

p. xiii

9 P. 90.

1 P. 101.

2 P. 112.

3 P. 37.

4. P. 19.

5 See "Ollanta, an ancient Ynca Drama, translated from the original Quichua, by Clements R. Markham, C. B. (Trübner, 1871.)

6 P. 51.

7 P. 116.

p. xiv

8 P. 11.

9 Les races Aryennes du Pérou, p. 327.

1 See my translation, ii, p. 228.

2 Pp. 20-34.

3 See my translation of the Royal Commentaries, i, p. 76.

p. xvi

4 See p. 186.

p. xviii

5 Yunca is a warm tropical plain or valley.

6 Described by Rivero, and photographed, in detail, by Mr. Squier.

7 See my translation, pp. 233-63.

p. xix

8 See my translation, ii, pp. 147, 154, 185, 193, 195, 424, 428, 460.

9 P. 89 (Ternaux Compans' ed.)

1 Extirpacion de la idolatria del Peru, dirigido al Rey N.S., en su real Consejo de Indias: por el Padre Pablo Joseph de Arriaga de la Compania de Jesus (Lima, 1621.).

2 Translated into French by M. Ternaux Compans, in his Recueil de Documents et Mémoires originaux sur l'Histoire des Possessions Espagnoles dans l'Amérique (Paris, 1840), p. 85.