chapter  IV
35 Pages

The Inca In Legend and History

INCA HISTORY has its origin in myth and continues in legend. History was memorized and handed down by trained pro-fessionals with the aid of the quipu and was embodied in epic poems and romances which are lost. I t has been suggested that the Inca preoccupation with history may have been derived in the first place from the coastal peoples-in the kingdom of Chimu, particularly, great importance was attached to genealogy and genealogy among primitive peoples involves both history and legends of the deeds of ancestors. As has been said in an earlier chapter, at some time during the Inca dynasty, perhaps in the reign of Pachacuti, the Incas began to centralize and formalize historical records and in doing so adapted history to their own ends. In particular they abstracted all history which was not Inca history and so telescoped the 'official' memories, leaving a gap between the semi-mythical period before the emergence of settled communities with political organization and the beginning of the Inca dynasty, thus representing the Incas as contemporary with the emergence of civilized life.