Pyramids And The Incas

Today we will explore one of the last of the great American cultures that used pyramids as central religious edifices and cultural centerpieces in their daily lives, the contemporaries of the Aztecs, the Incas in Peru….The ancient Egyptians in Africa and the ancient pre-Incas/Incas evolved on different sides of the globe, and were never in contact…. They were separated by approximately 12,336 kilometers or 6661 nautical miles spread over thousands of years!…Yet, both cultures possessed the same strikingly identical body of ancient art, architecture, symbolism, mythology and religion, a mystery that has never been satisfactorily resolved……

According to my Google sources: “The Inca Empire in South America existed at about the same time as the Mayans to the north, and it too fell victim to the Spanish Conquistadors, in approximately 1533…..The Spanish general Francisco Pizarro took the Inca Emperor Atahualpa prisoner, extorted millions in silver and gold from him, then executed him..(His contemporary Montezuma, the Aztec ruler died in 1520 for similar reasons when Hernando Cortez imprisoned him and looted and extorted millions in gold and silver himself.).. .The Inca Empire at it’s height covered 3,000 miles of the western coast of South America and included parts of the present day countries of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

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Almost at the same time that the Aztecs extended their control over much of Mesoamerica, a great imperial state was rising in the Andean highlands, and it eventually held sway over an empire some 3000 miles in extent. The Inca Empire incorporated many aspects of previous Andean cultures but fused them together in new ways – and with a genius for state organization and bureaucratic control over peoples of different cultures and languages, it achieved a level of integration and domination previously unknown in the Americas.

What impelled the Inca conquest and expansion? The usual desire for economic gain and political power that we have seen in other empires provides one suitable explanation, but there may be others more in keeping with Inca culture and ideology. The cult of the ancestors was extremely important in Inca belief. Deceased rulers were mummified and then treated as intermediaries with the gods, paraded in public during festivals, offered food and gifts, and consulted on important matters by special oracles.

Like the Aztecs, the Incas held the sun to be the highest deity and considered the Inca to be the sun’s representative on earth. The magnificent Temple of the Sun in Cuzco was the center of the state religion, and in its confines the mummies of the past Incas resided. The cult of the sun was spread throughout the empire, but the Inca did not prohibit the worship of local gods.”

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Comparing The Incas And Aztecs

“Both the Inca and the Aztec empires were based on a long development of civilization that preceded them; and while in some areas of artistic and intellectual achievement earlier peoples had surpassed their accomplishments, both represented the success of imperial and military organization. Both empires were based on intensive agriculture organized by a state that accumulated surplus production and then controlled the circulation of goods and their redistribution to groups or social classes. In both areas this nobility was also the personnel of the state, so that the state organization was almost an image of society…

Peru is a spiritual land where pyramids can be found. The pyramids of Peru had the same functions as those found in other areas of the planet where once great civilizations existed. Most were used as places of worship to the gods having rituals (at various equinoxes and solstices) – and ceremonial rites of various kinds….Incas didn’t have any written record so that is their one undeveloped aspect but both civilizations were very advanced compared to their time period and their limited supplies…

Investigation of the area around Tucume in northern Peru resulted in an incredible new archaeological discovery of 26 pyramids. Forty tombs pre-dating the arrival of the Spaniards were opened, and enough Inca and Chimu artifacts unearthed to justify the building of a museum at Tucume, Peru…. These Inca pyramids, also called huacas are actually pyramid bases designed as residences for the various deities, although some were used for administrative and religious purposes as well….These Inca pyramids were also used by the king for administrative functions; official mandates were usually issued from these symbolic centers of power.

The Incas also practiced human sacrifice, much like their Aztec contemporaries, but on a much smaller scale…The human sacrifices took place in Inca times apparently only for the most momentous occasions, such as famine, pestilence, earthquakes, the death of a ruler-god, or on a more “positive” side, the accession of a ruler.

One mummy, named Juanita was very well preserved because she was an “ice mummy”found at an elevation of 18,000 feet…Most of her hair, her skin, and her stomach remained intact as well as her sumptuous clothing. DNA studies were conducted to track her ethnicity and the contents of her stomach were sampled to learn more about the Inca diet. Other young girls who were sacrificed included the “Chosen Women” or the “Virgins of the Sun”. These were beautiful young girls, between 8 and 10 years old, chosen by the Inca officials throughout the vast empire. They were taken into a temple, for example in Machu Picchu, (were several corpses of young women were found), and were forbidden to leave for six to seven years…”

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NOVA: The Great Inca Rebellion: Premiering, Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at 8pm ET/PT on PBS (check local listings), NOVA and National Geographic uncover evidence from a Lima cemetery to reveal the untold final chapter of the Spanish conquest of Peru. Pictured: Classic Inca burial in crouched sitting position. Credit: Guillermo Cock Usage: This image may be used only in the direct promotion of NOVA. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only.

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So we can see the amazing parallels between the pyramids as symbols of the religious beliefs of Egypt, Meso (or Middle) American civilizations such as the Maya and the Aztecs, and there are some very striking similarities between the religion and pyramids of the Egyptians and the Incas.. The pyramids of the Americas were used more for ceremonial and religious functions as opposed to the Egyptian concept of a final resting place for the Pharaoh, although there have been mummies discovered in the American pyramids as well…..

This is why the pyramids of the Americas have flat tops and steps for easy access to allow these religious ceremonies in front of thousands of onlookers…But the practice of mummification and the symbolic similarities between the religious beliefs between these geographically isolated areas is striking! How the Egyptian influence spread to the Americas is still unknown, it is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”….The Incas left behind many beautiful artifacts as well…

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As they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and perhaps we will never know exactly how this connection was forged…But there is no doubt of it’s existence and it’s strength and power over the lives of the inhabitants of Egypt, Mesoamerica and the Incas in South America at the time….All these mighty empires had advanced knowledge of astronomy, built roads, developed trade, created stone architecture, made beautifully worked gold art and jewelry, became skillful potters, and wove lovely fabrics….

And they ALL had pyramids as their largest, most significant religious and cultural edifices, structures so mighty and awe inspiring that they dominated the landscape for miles around and were a symbol of the might and power of the ruling classes…And were an integral part of the daily lifestyles of the people they ruled…

For more articles by John Whye, click on johnwhye@wordpress.com

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