Sapa Inka ( quechua Sapa Inka = "the only Inca" or Sapay Inka = "I, the only Inca"; Hispanicized Çapa [y] Inca or Sapa [y] Inca )) was the title of the ruler of the Inca empire Tawantinsuyu . The Sapa Inka understood themselves symbolically as “Inti Churin” or “Intipchurin” (quechua = son of the sun) and could be identified with the sun. He enjoyed cultic veneration as a supernatural god-emperor.
The Inca applied a system of dual power, after each domain, each “señorío” (Spanish = domination from pre-Columbian times) mostly according to topographical aspects in two halves, called “Saya” , in literature also as “Moietie” (from French moitié = half) were divided.
The city of Cuzco , for example, was divided into two halves, Upper Cuzco ( Hanan Qusqu or Hunan Qusqu) and Lower Cuzco ( Urin Qusqu and Hurin Qusqu). The two halves of the city were in turn subdivided into "Suyuos" , quarters. The two city leaders ruled together and were in principle equal, but the Hunan regent had greater prestige and thus dominated the Hurin regent.
This system of quartering found its equivalent in the division of the Inca Empire. The rulers of the four parts of the empire had the title "Apucuna" (quechua = old). The number four also plays a central role in one of the Inca myths of origin. This system is also called dual rule and was already to be found in other Andean cultures that preceded the Inca.
Pachacútec (quechua = reformer of the world , changer of the world , savior of the earth ) changed Cuzco comprehensively: Not only that he gave the imperial Cuzco the shape of a puma with the fortress Sacsayhuamán as the head of the puma. The "Panaca" or "Panaqas" , royal ayllus , who descended from Manco Cápac in both male and female bloodlines , were viewed as more sacred than those whose fathers were Inca but whose mothers belonged to a different lineage or no genealogical at all Connection to Manco Cápac. The ancestral seats of the Panaca of the first five Inca rulers were settled in Lower Cuzco, that part of historical Cuzco where the rulers up to Inca Roca had lived, who were called "Sinchi" (quechua = warlord) or "Cápac" (quechua = hereditary ruler or king), while the Panaca resided in Upper Cuzco from the sixth ruler, Pachacútec, and the rulers carried the title Sapa Inka . The monarchs of the Hanan Moietie retained this title until the time of the Spanish Conquista .
There are therefore reasoned considerations, e.g. For example, from Tom Zuidema and Pierre Duviols, that the number of 13 and 14 traditional Inca rulers is not a linear, chronological order, but is based on the misunderstanding of the conquistadors, because they transferred the familiar European concept of linearity to the Inca conditions. So they only gave the names of the Sapa Inca, the rulers of the Hanan moities, and the "Coyas" , the queens. Most of the names of the Hurin rulers are unknown. However, it cannot be ruled out that the history of the Inca rule can be interpreted as religious ideas or symbolic organizational principles. If the two Inca lines had actually ruled simultaneously rather than one after the other, the actually manageable period of Inca history would be astonishingly shortened. The concept of duality was lost during the Spanish conquest.
While European rulers usually traveled by carriage (when they were not going to war on horseback or traveling rivers and seas by ship), the Inca were unfamiliar with bikes and draft animals, so the Sapa Inca traveled through his country in a sedan chair . Thousands of servants swept the way before him. While bowing down on the knees, bowing ("servant") or curtsey as a sign of reverence was common in front of European potentates, Inca etiquette only required all indigenous people, including high-ranking nobles and generals, to go to the Sapa Inca as a sign of their humility approach barefoot and bent over, with at least a symbolic burden on your back. During audiences , he took a demonstratively indifferent stance in which he did not address his interlocutors directly. He hid himself behind a wall or his face behind a precious material. In Europe, this corresponded to the distance through the form of address (majesty, excellence, highness, high born etc.) and the language level (e.g. pluralis majestatis ). Perhaps in the case of the Inca this was not perceived in this way due to the communication and translation problems. When comparing the European monarchy and the Inca rulers, however, it must not be forgotten that the Europeans who described these details to us only perceived and reproduced what they already knew from their own culture. For this reason alone, many apparent or actual parallels can have been passed down, while such behavior and characteristics that were unknown, indeed incomprehensible, by European royal families, provided they did not meet with rejection (e.g. human sacrifice) or disloyalty to the occupying power, possibly were not even rumored.
As a sign of his royal dignity, the Sapa Inka wore the "Mascapaicha" or "Maskapaycha" , a ribbon with the purple "Llauto" , a long forehead tassel, on his head. He wore his elaborately made robes only once. The clothes he wore, like his leftovers, were carefully collected and burned every year on the occasion of a large celebration.
The Sapa Inka came from a dynasty comparable to a European monarch . But while the European monarchs legitimized their rule with the divine right , the Inca rulers invoked their direct descent from their god Inti , the sun. While European aristocrats only married members of comparable sexes (blood), the Sapa Inca married their sister from the same genealogy since Pachacútec when they "ascended the throne" in order to emphasize their divine origin, to ensure the purity of their blood and in imitation of the Inca creation myth . Each ruler founded a "Panaca" , a dynastic clan association , with all of his descendants, with the exception of the son who took over the rule . There are reasons to believe that the genealogical position of a clan was determined by the status of the woman. As long as the Inca could raise their status vis-à-vis the neighboring ethnic groups through marriage alliances , they married the daughters of the neighboring kings. Pachacútec radically broke with this tradition: He introduced sister marriage, probably to ensure that the Inca did not "lose their caste". Daughters of the Panaca continued to be married to Incas and rulers of more distant territories. In addition to the "bloodthirsty" marriage, the Sapa Inca, like the rest of the Inca nobility, lived in polygamy . When the Sapa Inka died, his wives also had to kill themselves.
The central role that genealogy played in Inca ideas can also be seen in the cult of mummies . The cult of the royal mummies was more than just ancestor worship . First and foremost, it was a fertility ceremony, because with processions and toasts, the dead kings were asked as "Illapa" (quechua = god of lightning and thunder) for rain without devastating storms. In addition, they were the materialized legitimation of a dynastic-theocratic claim to rule by the Inca elite. At the same time, the cult also strengthened the ritual and social solidarity within the ten "Panacas" , the royal "Ayllus" .
Real estate and privileges
In Tahuantinsuyu the production factor soil was “God's land”, that is, state property. Private ownership on the ground was unknown. The acreage was divided into three: a third belonged to the Sapa Inca and the nobility as a state domain , a third was cultivated for cult, while the last third of the acreage was available as common land. If Cuzco was the religious and political center of the empire, then Hurin Qusqu was the ceremonial and political center of the Inca metropolis . In addition to the “ Coricancha ” and the “Yachgayhuasi” explained below, there were also the palaces of the Sapa Inca in Lower Cuzco . Each Inca had their own new palace built and the residences of their deceased predecessors turned into “memorials”.
One of the privileges of the nobility was that they held important positions in the military hierarchy and the clergy. Usually the "Villac Umu" , the high priest of the sun cult, was a brother or half-brother of the Sapa Inka. In addition, it was one of the prerogatives of the nobility to live polygamous, to wear sumptuous clothing made of vicuña wool and gold ear pegs (which earned them the nickname “Orejones” = Spanish long ears among the Spaniards), to be called “Inca” and coca leaves to enjoy. Only the sons of the royal ayllus, the Inca nobility and the subjugated princes received the privilege of four years of education in the "Yachgayhuasi" or "Yacha huaci" (quechua = house of knowledge, house of learning), a special quarter in Cuzco where the schools and the “Amautu” , the scholars and the “Haravec” , the poets, concentrated. Since the Incas saw themselves as an educated people under barbarians, the meaning of the Yachgayhuasi has been compared to a university.
Although the Inca state - even by European standards - was able to expand its territory in an astonishingly short time, it did not have a standing army . However, the Sapa Inca had a bodyguard made up of Cañari warriors from the northern Azuay region , according to other sources from Chachapoya . The existence of a royal guard made up of non-members of the Inca tribe leads to the conclusion that tensions must have existed within the Inca people and that the Sapa Inca had already distanced themselves so far from their people that they resorted to this means that broke all forms of tradition.
Since the Inca society was organized in " ayllus " , clans, and the numerous descendants of each Sapa Inca formed their own royal ayllu, strong clan associations emerged, between and within which there was pronounced rivalry and open hostility at times. This could have been the reason for the establishment of the Sapa Inka's life guard. The civil war between the two half-brothers Atahualpa and Huáscar proves how real it is to accept tensions within the Inca dynasty.
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