Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Inca Life

Early Civilizations: Inca Life by David Drew, Ticktock Guides, Baron’s Educational Series, Spain, 2000
This is a short book with lots of pictures, and includes a ton of information about the Incas, and their way of life.  Some of the most prominent features are the way they were able to work stone without the aid of mortar.  A three tiered great wall around Cusco, Sacsahuaman would have taken many people years to build with some stones weighing as much as 100 tons and having to be moved quite a distance.  (I and my missionary friends visited here on our tour of Machu Picchu.)  Their diet contained very little meat.  Guinea Pigs were the primary source of meat.  Llama and Alpaca were too precious to kill for meat.  They had no written language, but used a quipa, a bunch of knotted cords, to relay information.  They had an extensive system of trails.  In places relay runners were set up to take messages quickly from place to place.  They would also deliver food from the sea to Cusco for the royalty.  They could make the trip in as little as two days, from the ocean to Cusco.  The Inca, and many other people’s in the Andes created beautiful art, mostly as a tribute to the gods.  When Pizarro first invaded he took the Incan emperor, Atahaulpa hostage, and demanded ransom.  They brought a room full of gold as ransom.  He took the gold, and killed the emperor.  It is valued at $50 million at the time of printing 2000.  The Spanish tried to spiritually conquer the Inca.  They did this by destroying all idols (melting them and sending gold to Spain.)  They also destroyed many buildings.  In Cusco there are many buildings build on top of the walls of the Inca.  The stone work of the Inca has withstood the ages, while that on top has crumbled due to earthquake or other causes.  The Incan had a highly sophisticated medical practice, including brain surgeries.  They also used many different types of herbs as medicine.   Something different than what I have read before.  This book contends human sacrifice was relatively rare, but more common among the peoples the Inca conquered.   I find the Inca fascinating and am always interesting in reading about them. 

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