Inca Religion and Customs
University of Texas Press, 28/06/2010 - 279 páginas
Completed in 1653, Father Bernabe Cobo's Historia del Nuevo Mundo is an important source of information on pre-conquest and colonial Spanish America. Though parts of the work are now lost, the remaining sections which have been translated offer valuable insights into Inca culture and Peruvian history.
Inca Religion and Customs is the second translation by Roland Hamilton from Cobo's massive work. Beginning where History of the Inca Empire left off, it provides a vast amount of data on the religion and lifeways of the Incas and their subject peoples. Despite his obvious Christian bias as a Jesuit priest, Cobo objectively and thoroughly describes many of the religious practices of the Incas. He catalogs their origin myths, beliefs about the afterlife, shrines and objects of worship, sacrifices, sins, festivals, and the roles of priests, sorcerers, and doctors.
The section on Inca customs is equally inclusive. Cobo covers such topics as language, food and shelter, marriage and childrearing, agriculture, warfare, medicine, practical crafts, games, and burial rituals.
Because the Incas apparently had no written language, such postconquest documents are an important source of information about Inca life and culture. Cobo's work, written by one who wanted to preserve something of the indigenous culture that his fellow Spaniards were fast destroying, is one of the most accurate and highly respected.
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As part of his account of Inca religion, Cobo described five great Inca holy places,
the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco, the temple of Pachacama, the shrine of Titicaca
near Copacabana, the ruins of Tiahuanaco, and the oracle of Apurima.
He also visited the ruins of Copacabana and Tiahuanaco. During subsequent
years, Father Cobo served as a Latin teacher in Arequipa and probably became
director of a school in the coastal town of Pisco. After 1620, he spent most of his ...
Father Cobo provides excellent descriptions of the monuments at Cuzco,
especially the Temple of the Sun, Copacabana, Tiahuanaco, and Pachacama as
he saw them in the early part of the seventeenth century. This information is very
For example, at one point he recounts a Spanish folk tale about the treasures
buried at Tiahuanaco to teach a lesson about covetousness. This story indicates
that the ancient rulers of Tiahuanaco were reputed to have had vast treasures ...
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