The Golden Stick: Cuzco’s Divine Foundation Myth and The Scientific Connections
Tahuantinsuyo, in ancient Quechua language, is the name indicating the Inca Empire, one of the largest of the South American continent, much more than the Aztec and Maya Empire. In 1532 BC, the Inca Kings ruled over a geographical region including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. It was an extensive territory inhabited by different communities. Among them, the national group Q’eros had a very special role, because of the characteristics of their mythological traditions. One of the most fascinating tales refers to the myth of Cuzco’s founding, the majestic capital of the great Inca Empire, with its mysterious buildings.
The Founding of Cuzco
Q’eros were direct descendants of the Inca priest caste, and they broke off through the internal areas of Peru, to save themselves from Spanish persecution and murder. They were able to save a great part of their ancient documents, trying to ward off the impending storm of Spanish expedition.
A Q'ero village ( Public Domain )
The myth of Cuzco’s (or Cusco) foundation is a very interesting matrix, because of the circumstances and particularity of narration. The myth persists to this day due the Peruvian writer Garcilaso de la Vega. Nicknamed El Inca by the Spanish because of his very indigenous features, he was a result of the marriage between his Spanish father and his royal Inca mother.
El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, a famous Peruvian writer. ( Public Domain )
“General History of Peru” is the title of his famous book, written in 1617 during his residence in Spain. In 1609, the writer established in Spain, where he wrote another well-known book “The Royal Commentaries of the Incas”, based on very precious novels told by Peruvian population living in Cuzco during his visit to the ancient capital of Inca Empire.
Symbol of Inti the Incan Sun God. ( Public Domain )
The history told about the great hero Manco Capac, the sun god Inti’s son. His father called him to build the new Capital of the Empire, because it was in downfall.
Colonial image of Manco Cápac and the Sun God, Inti. ( Public Domain )
“Near to the Titicaca Lake, the people lived like savages, since they don’t have any kind of religious guides that bring them together. They also do not have any kind of agricultural techniques and textile abilities, and that is the reason why they were naked, living on the caves, eating wild animals and eating the fruits that are in their region. The Sun god has concern about these people, and decides to bring them out to his sons, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who were also husband and wife, to civilize these people. Manco Capac teaches to the men how live in society and worship the Sun god, and Mama Ocllo teaches to the women tasks like textiles and domestics labors. Their father, the Sun god told them to search for a fertile and good land to found the empire, this land was the region of the Titicaca Lake, and gave to Manco Capac a golden stick, the one that if it sinks that’s the sign of the promised land. When they came to the Lake, the people who lived around thought that they were gods, because of his clothing and jewelry. Days go by and they can find a good place to found their city, but one day they came to a place where the golden stick sinks, and decide to found their empire”.
I refer to the story because of the several weird points which it seems to contain. One of them refers to the ‘golden stick’ Inti wants to offer to his son Manco Capac…
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Top Image: Deriv; Inset – Cusco founder Manco Capac, First Inca, 1 of 14 Portraits of Inca Kings ( Public Domain ), and the incredible stone masonry of the walls of Sacsayhuamán, Cusco, Peru. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
By Armando Mei