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Narratives of the rites and laws of the Yncas (1873).

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Narratives of the rites and laws of the Yncas (1873)

Narratives of the rites and laws of the Yncas.











ESIitfj Notes ana an Entrotiuction,




Published by


514 West n3th Street

New York 25, N. Y.



An Account of the Fables and Rites of the Yncas, by Christoval

de Molina . . _ . Page 3


An Account of the Antiquities of Peru, by Juan de Santa Cruz

Pacbacuti-yamqui Salcamayhua — — — C



A Narrative of the errors, false gods, and other superstitions and
diabolical rites in which the Indians of the province of
Iluarochiri lived in ancient times, by Dr. Francisco de Avik 123

Report by Polo de Ondegardo — — — 151


I. Subjects — — — — — 173

II. Names of Places — — — — — 177

III. Quichua "Words — — — — — 186

IV. Names of Gods and Huacaa — — — — 211

V. Names of Indian men, women, lineages, and tribes — 214

VI. Names of Spaniards — — " — — 219


Much as students would now prize the information
that was collected by the Spaniards who first over-
ran the New World, they can only obtain a smaU
fraction of it. In these days, when scientific me-
thods are understood, and aU evidence can be sifted
and receive its relative weight, much of that evi-
dence is lost. Of all the narratives and reports fur-
nished 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 fight, 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 ori-
ginals 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 de 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.


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 tradi-
tions 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 pecuUar 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 em-
pire in the days of its prosperity, and he was inti-
mately acquainted with the native character, from
his position in the hospital at Cuzco. In his open-
ing address to the bishop, he mentions a previous
account which he had submitted, on the origin, his-
tory, and government of the Yncas. Fortunately
this account has been preserved, by Miguel Cavello
Balboa,^ who tells us that his history is based on the

1 A French translation of the work of Balboa was published by
Ternanx Compans, in the second series of his translations, in 1840.


learned writings of Christoval de Molina. The pre-
sent manuscript shows the importance of Molina as
an authority, and a special value is thus given to Bal-
boa'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 supple-
mentary 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 con-
nection 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 ani-
mation 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,

Balboa commenced his work at Quito in 1576, and completed it
in 1586 ; the very period when Molina was prosecuting his re-
searches at Cuzco.


nor ofFer him sacrifices.^ He quotes from Bias Valera,
that all subjugated tribes were ordered to worship
the most powerful god Ticci-Uira-ccocha, otherwise
called Pachacamac ;'^ 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.»*

1 have discussed the questions relating to the
temple on the sea coast, in my introduction to the
« Reports on the Discovery of Peru» (Hakluyt So-
ciety, 1872) ; and have shown that it was not dedi-
cated 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 state-
ments, as a rule, are w^onderfuUy 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 ex-
amining 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 Pa-
chayachachic, «the teacher of the universe.» Another
name was Tecsi-viracocha, which Molina interprets,
«the incomprehensible God.» In the prayers, how-
ever, the first word is Aticsi, probably from Atini
(I conquer), and the meaning would rather be the

2 G. de la Vega, i, p. 106. jj^i^j^ j,^ p 33.
4 Ibid., ii, p. 186.


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.»^ 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," on
a site now occupied by the Church of the Nazarenes,
and in Molina's days by the house of Hernan Lopez
de Segovia/ 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 ; sacri-
fices were made to them at all the periodical festivals,
and several of the prayers given by Molina are ad-
dressed 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

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

' P. 11.


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 near-
est 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
CoUao, 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 (erro-
neously called Aymara), added very few words t

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