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Role Of Religion In The Inca Civilization

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The Inca Civilization existed from the mid-fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries (1438-1532 C.E.) in South America, which is parts of Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador today. It was one of the largest and most successful empires on the world at its height. The most reliable records from these societies actually come from those they were conquered by—the Spanish. Such is the case with Juan de Betanzos’ Narrative of the Inca, which captured the lives, traditions, and beliefs of the Inca through the eyes of those they were ultimately destroyed by. Like any civilization in the pre-modern world, politics, religion, and violence all played integral roles in the shaping and governing of their society. Additionally, these themes are…show more content…
The Sun, in addition to other aspects of the sky, also seems to play a key role within the religious practices of the Inca (15). Worshiping the sun was not uncommon in civilizations that relied on it so heavily, and they even built temples to honor it (47). The places where powerful deities stepped foot (or designated as significant) were often revered and seen as sacred places. One city became the site of a sacred statue and ultimately the religious capital of the Inca Empire after the creation god spent time there (11). Viracocha also raised a lesser lord to build a fortress and make the city strong (13). This anecdote also highlights the importance of gold to Incan religion as it seemed to be a way to display divinity and power. Sorcerers and shamans also had a place in Incan society (17). These figures could have plays roles in religion, rituals, or even medicine. Gold was also used as a form of tribute to the gods (10). Religion also seemed to rely on naturalistic elements as it placed great emphasis on the roles of the sun, moon, stars, and mountains within both creation and daily existence of their people (12). Politics and religion seem to intersect in that they use gods to explain real-life happenings, such as the building of empires and cities. For example, one influential lord from Incan history was said to be summoned directly from the earth (11). Sacrifices (animals, food, garments, gold and silver),
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