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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Father Bernabe Cobo. BOOK I RELIGION Chapter 1: Concerning the false
religion that the Indians of V.
to It The Indians of Peru were so idolatrous that they worshiped as Gods almost
every kind of thing created. Since they did not have supernatural insights, they
fell into the same errors and folly as the other nations of pagans, and for the same
In fact, it will be seen that many of the ancient philosophers had some opinions
that were more simpleminded and less reasonable than those of the Indians.
Similarly, it does not follow logically to argue that the Indians were incompetent
The false religion that the Indians had was always their main interest. For this
same reason the Indians felt obliged to worship the second causes the same as
the Creator, and this gave origin to an infinite number of idolatries and
For that reason, I decided to begin this treatise about the knowledge and belief,
on which these Indians based their opinions, ... All of the Indian nations of this
Kingdom of Peru agreed that man's beginning was followed by a Universal Flood
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