Although scholars have long known of this work, only eighteen chapters were actually available until the s when the remaining sixty-four chapters were discovered in the collection of the Fundacion Bartolome March in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Narrative of the Incas presents the first complete English translation of the original manuscript of this key document. Although written by a Spaniard, it presents an authentic Inca worldview, drawn from the personal experiences and oral traditions told to Betanzos by his Inca wife, Dona Angelina, and other members of her aristocratic family who lived during the reigns of the last Inca rulers, Huayna Capac Huascar and Atahualpa. Betanzos wrote a history of the Inca empire that focuses on the major rulers and the contributions each one made to the growth of the empire and of Inca culture. Filled with new insights into Inca politics, marriage, laws, the calendar, warfare, and other matters, Narrative of the Incas is essential reading for everyone interested in this ancient civilization.
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Dana Buchanan is a professional translator. In Juan de Betanzos finished his Narrative of the Incas , the single most authentic document of its kind. He drew on testimony of descendants of the Inca kings who still remembered the oral history and traditions of their ancestors.
The colloquial style of his Narrative suggests that Betanzos had no more than a secondary school education. At the time, all university students had to learn Latin, but no trace of Latin can be found in his sentence construction, nor are there references to classical scholars, as in the works of educated writers like Bernabe Cobo. Betanzos reads more like the loose style of the soldier Pedro Pizarro, who only had a primary school education.
Juan de Betanzos became the most respected Quechua interpreter of the Viceroyalty of Peru. It took him several years to learn the Quechua language with no dictionaries, grammars, or textbooks.
In his prologue, which is a letter to Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza written in , Betanzos explains that he spent six years of his "mocedad," or youth, on a commission preparing a Spanish-Quechua Doctrina christiana , a manual for priests that included the essentials of Christian beliefs, two vocabularies, prayers, and confessionals. Unfortunately, the manuscript has been lost.
Nevertheless, the fact that the colonial government hired him for such an important assignment around shows that Betanzos had earned a reputation as the best Quechua interpreter and translator of that early colonial period. The Doctrina christiana Lima, , edited by Father Acosta, shows what a formidable task Betanzos undertook in pioneering the translation of Christian concepts foreign to the Quechua language.
At birth, she was taken to her uncle, the Inca Huayna Capac, who expressed his joy by calling her his mother. A year later the Inca named her Cuxirimay Ocllo and declared that she would marry his son Atahualpa. Thus in , shortly before the conquest, Cuxirimay, just ten years old, was taken from her native Cuzco to the northern province of Caranque, where she married Atahualpa.
Later she stayed with the imprisoned Atahualpa in Cajamarca. By around she had become the mistress of Francisco Pizarro.
She bore him two boys, Juan and Francisco. Juan died very young, but Francisco grew up with the great mestizo writer known as the Inca Garcilaso, who remembered playing with him when they were both about nine years old. Marriage to Angelina meant instant wealth for Betanzos because she had extensive land grants and property in the Cuzco area.
Their daughter, Maria, married in Cuzco. Though the Betanzos narrative reflects the brilliant memory of his wife and family, no one, not even Betanzos, ever told what she looked like or how she acted. This great woman, married to the last Inca king, taken as part of the plunder by the conquistador Pizarro, and used for her collective memory of the Inca saga, comes down to us as a shadowy figure behind the glitter of the men in her life.
In Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza ordered Betanzos to prepare an account of Inca history and traditions. The next year the viceroy died, but Betanzos kept to his Narrative until he finished rather abruptly in Betanzos asked to accompany an embassy to negotiate with the Inca Sayre Topa, head of the neo-Inca state northwest of Cuzco. The viceroy granted the request, and Betanzos spent several months trying to convince the Inca to come back under Spanish rule.
Since Betanzos ended his Narrative shortly before going on this embassy, one must read other sources to find out how Inca Sayre Topa came to Lima, got a warm reception from the viceroy, and settled in Cuzco.
Evidently, Betanzos received some compensation for translating Christian doctrine, recording Inca traditions, and acting as interpreter. Although he gives no details about how much he was paid, the tone of his introductory letter to the viceroy is more that of a paid official than of an independent scholar. His insistence on how long and hard he would have to work to translate an authentic account of Inca history and traditions sounds like justification for a handsome honorarium. He seems to have preferred working as an interpreter, however, because he requested that the viceroy grant him a place with the embassy to Sayre Topa rather than seeking another job translating.
After this assignment as an interpreter, Betanzos appears to have spent the rest of his life in Cuzco. Betanzos divided Narrative of the Incas into two parts.
Part I covers Inca history to the arrival of the Spaniards. Part II deals with the conquest, mainly from the point of view of the Incas, to They remembered some details of the mythological creation of the world by the god Viracocha and of the legendary foundation of Cuzco by Manco Capac chaps.
But from the second to the seventh Inca, the information dwindles to almost nothing chap. These poems included speeches or statements by the main characters in the account.
Pachacuti comes forth as a culture hero who defended Cuzco against overwhelming odds, successfully set out on military expeditions of conquest, and established the system of government, laws, city planning, and many of the Inca religious rites chaps.
His son Topa Inca and grandson Huayna Capac carried on the tradition of military exploits and expansion of the empire chaps. Part II has more of an eyewitness tone. Huascar, on the other hand, was born in a small town south of Cuzco, took scant interest in the military, openly slept with married women, killed their husbands if they complained, and drank to excess chaps.
Betanzos also conferred with other eyewitnesses. The rest of his account covers events occurring shortly before and after Betanzos came to Peru. Betanzos brings his account to an abrupt end with a trip in to Lima, where he asked to be included in the embassy to Sayre Topa chap. Betanzos gives no indication that he aspired to publish his work. He did not even bother to update the introductory letter of or to add a letter to the new viceroy in Presumably, someone took the work back to Spain, but no one mentions it until Father Gregorio Garcia states in his work on the origin of the Indians published in that he found Betanzos very valuable for Inca traditions.
No one else seems to have used Betanzos until William Prescott, working in Boston, mentions him briefly in his History of the Conquest of Peru , published in This incomplete manuscript includes only the introductory letter and eighteen chapters of Part I, which led scholars to date the manuscript at Unfortunately, this Atlas edition contains many transcription errors.
Sometimes phrases come out garbled. These examples make it clear that any serious scholar interested in the Betanzos Narrative must work with the Palma manuscript see the Note on the Translation. The colloquial style of the Narrative suggests that Betanzos spoke with his informants in Quechua and then dictated his account to a scribe. This account was transcribed in the Palma manuscript with the regular lettering of an early seventeenth-century copyist or educated author, which makes it relatively easy to read.
Each chapter has a heading in bold printing followed by a continuous stream of words, mostly in longhand, generally without periods and usually not divided into paragraphs. Phrases and sentences are repeatedly separated by the conjunction "y," meaning "and. Most lettering appears to be lowercase with random use of uppercase letters, though uppercase does appear at the beginning of some proper names. Written accent marks were not used. Each folio averages about 3 z lines of about fourteen words.
The few standard abbreviations can generally be recognized in context. The 1 5z folios make up handwritten pages. Most doubtful passages in the Palma manuscript can be attributed to errors by the copyist. For example, in the Palma manuscript, f. Punctuation marks and paragraphs have been used in the English translation to make it more readable. Careful study of the Betanzos Narrative adds many insights into Inca history and traditions. For example, there has long been a controversy over Inca chronology.
Traditionally, scholars have followed the work of the Inca Garcilaso in his Royal Commentaries , first published in This work places much of the expansion of the empire before the ninth Inca. Rowe argues convincingly that the first eight Inca rulers conquered only towns near Cuzco and that Pachacuti provided the catalyst that turned a small regional state into a great empire.
No matter how one interprets the Betanzos Narrative , it corroborates the theory of catalytic development under Pachacuti. Inca marriage customs have often been debated, especially marriage of the Inca rulers to their full sisters. Whether she was his full or half-sister is not clarified. However, Huayna Capac appears to be the only Inca ruler who came from the union of brother and sister.
He arranged the marriage of Atahualpa to a cousin, Cuxirimay see Part I, chap. All the Incas had numerous secondary wives for their sexual pleasure. The Betanzos Narrative gives many other details about rites performed at birth, weaning, puberty, marriage, and death as well as about how the Incas performed many religious festivals. Many other important passages cover Inca administration, laws, social customs, the calendar, the post system, warfare, weapons, and engineering works.
For example, the instructions for constructing a suspension bridge make it sound as though any well-trained gang of workers could do it. Furthermore, Betanzos states Part I, chap. XLV that he visited the great temple of Viracocha at Cachi, now better known as the temple of Racchi. His description of this temple coincides with recent studies by Graziano Gasparini and Luise Margolies in Inca Architecture , trans.
Patricia J. Betanzos spins a dramatic and complex tale of revenge during the conquest period mainly from the point of view of the Incas.
After the sudden death of Huayna Capac, the bitter civil war between his sons Huascar and Atahualpa emerges as a test of honor rivaling that of the proudest Spaniard. Pregnant women have their wombs opened and their unborn children stripped from their bodies Part II. The arrival of the Spaniards leaves Atahualpa stunned at first, which explains the massacre at Cajamarca.
However, by the Incas come to know the Spaniards. Though never acknowledged as such, the feminine touch of Doha Angelina comes through in the details about rites of birth, coming of age, marriage, and death. The full and accurate details of this monumental work finally appear in English with this translation of the Palma manuscript.
Both scholars and readers who study this Betanzos Narrative will reshape their views of Inca civilization. Roland Hamilton In ancient times, they say, the land and the provinces of Peru were dark and neither light nor daylight existed.
In this time, there lived certain people who had a lord who ruled over them and to whom they were subject. The name of these people and that of their ruler have been forgotten. During this time of total night, they say that a lord emerged from a lake in this land of Peru in the province of Collasuyo and that his name was Contiti Viracocha. They say that he brought with him a certain number of people, but they do not remember the number. When he had emerged from the lake he went from there to a place near the lake where today there is a town called Tiahuanaco in the province of Collao referred to above.
When he and his people arrived there, they say that he suddenly made the sun and the day and ordered the sun to follow the course that it follows.
Narrative of the Incas
Although scholars have long known of this work, only eighteen chapters were actually available until the s when the remaining sixty-four chapters were discovered in the collection of the Fundacion Bartolome March in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Narrative of the Incas presents One of the earliest chronicles of the Inca empire was written in the s by Juan de Betanzos. Narrative of the Incas presents the first complete English translation of the original manuscript of this key document. Although written by a Spaniard, it presents an authentic Inca worldview, drawn from the personal experiences and oral traditions told to Betanzos by his Inca wife, Dona Angelina, and other members of her aristocratic family who lived during the reigns of the last Inca rulers, Huayna Capac Huascar and Atahualpa.