Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Review: Lost CIvillization: The Inca

The Inca by James A. Corrick, Lucent Books, San Diego, CA, 2001.  I found this book a bit hard to read, but honestly it tells more about certain aspects of Inca life and civilization than any other book I have read.  It does a very thorough job of described the preIncan societies, and how the Inca empire came to  be.  At one point, things really were in a balance, and the Incan emperor fled Cusco with one of his sons.  However another son stayed to defend Cusco, and the were able to turn back the tide.  The legend says even the rocks fought in the defense of Cusco. 
This book also gives a very good look at the fall of the Inca.  Their were several things that happened before Francisco Pizarro arrived.  The Inca had an internal civil war, which resulted in a change of power.  They also had been subject to a plague, likely of some European disease such as smallpox.  It may have spread from central America, or Pizarro and some of his men who had previously visited to scout out the Inca and their mounds of gold.  For these reasons, the Incan empire was week; still Pizarro's force was much smaller than the warriors available to the Inca.  The used treachery, invited the Incan emperor to a celebration.  They then attacked the guards (2000) with canon and horses, new tools of war to the Inca, and captured the emperor.  The emperor negotiated for his freedom, a room of gold and silver.  It too six months for the Inca to deliver but they did; however Pizarro did not, and had the emperor killed thinking that if the Inca had no head they would be easier to conquer.  The Spanish then fought their way into Cusco.  Their was resistance after this, which the Spanish eventually quelched.
The Inca did offer human sacrifices to their gods.  The think I did not know was that the majority of these sacrifices were young people, who were considered more pure.  Sometimes they were given alcohol before the sacrifice, making it so the were less aware of what was happening.  Many different methods of sacrifice were used.  And although sacrifice at alters for ceremonies was performed, also sacrifices were offered at high mountain peeks which were considered sacred.  
The after effects of the Incan empire are many.  The introduced tomatoes, potatoes and corn to the world.  Their influence in the region through language and culture is still felt. 

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