Uwe Christian Plachetka /
Empire Revisited








The Empire in the Andean world   
Problem objective   
The heterodox pathway of the Inca Empire   
Case Study: The conquest of Chachapoyas   
The conquest of Chimor   
The definitive conquest of Chachapoyas   
The socio-political character of the Inca empire   
Toni Negri’s Empire – an innovative solution to the puzzles of American Civilization?   
The processual and the ethnohistorical approach to the study of early Empires   
Negri’s alternative conception of an Empire   
Used References   

The Empire in the Andean world    

Uwe Christian Plachetka [1]

being updated since October 7th, 2011


SUMMARY: The new redressed article is to discuss the conception of information-based World Systems as argued by Plachetka, Uwe Christian in the German written book: The Incas, the cooled Empire (Die Inka - das Imperium, das aus der Kälte kam), published in the series "Humans and Society" (Mensch und Gesellschaft) Peter Lang Verlag, see the sheet


wird umgeschrieben und entspricht der oben genannten Publikation

Problem objective    

By the year of 1552-53 when the Spaniards entered Peru, they were about to conquer the greatest realm of all American native civilizations: The realm of the Incas. It stretched from Southern Colombia down to the Rio Maule nearby the present Chilenian capital, Santiago de Chile. The realm of the Incas or – to archaeologists – the Inca empire – became one of the main fields within the horizontal program „Empire“ launched by the American Anthropological Association.

Anyway, this research focus is not restricted to social or cultural anthropology. The discourses on Empires began just before the definite end of the bi-polar world system, by other words, at the brink of Sowjet Union’s march into history. Political think-tank men such as Paul Kennedy by his influental work The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, (Kennedy 1989) Henry Kissinger who is a trained historian and others considered the desorientation following the end of the bi-polar world. The only known European intellectual to join this discourse was Emmanuel Todd (2002) who considered the discourse on the decline and fall of the United States among the intellectuals of the establishment as by far more radical a critique to the US way of doing than the works e.g. by Noam Chomsky. The crucial point is that the present world system is characterized by an assymetrical globalization whose gravity center or „black hole“ is the USA. Therefore some aspects of word(-)system theory may cope with the present global mess far better than the discourses on globalization by European anthropologists. So, the study of the socio-economical processes of the rise and fall or ancient empires or empires such as the British Empire (which is not soo adequate an intelligible field of study (Fergusson 2002)) by means of comparision is considered as the only adequate way of coming to terms with the present political and – perhaps – economic situation. There are only few empires in world history to furnish present intellectuals with an adequate framework of reference: The Chinese empire which is a tricky matter to be studied – especially because one has to learn Chinese, the Roman Empire which is a beloved reference case because „the situation is very different in the case of the United States which, for ober half a century now, has represented the sole example of geopolitical hegemony since the fall of Rome“ (Fergusson 2002:158), the Spanish Empire and the Inca empire (on the comparative methodology required see Gingrich, Fox (eds) 2002).

Although the USA claims global leadership – which is to be translated by „hegemony“ in academic parlance, the European critique of US global politics is that unlike Rome the domestic society of the USA is not well integrated. Todd (2002) consideres the fact that in both cases – Rome and France – legal differences between the ‘multitude’ of populations under Roman jurisdiction were abolished by equal citizenship for all subjects of the Empire. Furthermore the core society of the USA suffers from an inbalanced rate of interethnic exogamy or heterogeneous marriages indicating that equality among all ethnic groups within the USA is still not practized. As a French intellectual, Todd (2002) is mentally based on a structuralist’s view of the world, so it is needless to emphazise that exogamy is a social referendum on the social acceptance of aliens. In Central Europe supporting such an approach needs a dissertation of 500 pages (Plachetka 1998). So Todd draws a comparision between the Athenian hegemony during the Classics – just after the Persian wars – as a case study for a failed empire and the Roman case as a case for a sucessfull empire. The key difference between Athens and Rome is that Athens – as grounded on domestic democracy – practized a policy of exclusion in order to secure the demos i.e. the membership of the democratic agora – discourse. On the other hand, Imperial Rome – although bound to the principles of „divite et impera“ (divide and rule) practized a policy of integra et impera – by threatening all citizens as equals. In addition to, Todd suspects that the present US political system is turning into a meriocratic system whereas democracy is florishing among the periphery of the present World-System.

Concerning the Inca empire, the Spaniards arrived just in the moment of the transition from an expansive to a consolidaded empire.

The Inca empire is a good showcase for the following states of imperial integration: a) Nuclear empire: Establishing an imperial ideology (in the case of the Inca empire: the worship of the sun). b) Expansive empire: The campaigns under the rule of Inca Pachacutek and Tupac Yupanqui. c) Consolidation – as intended by Huayna Capac whose premature death caused the civil war between Huascar and Atahuallpa.

The heterodox pathway of the Inca Empire    

under construction (but therefore astronomical software is needed): http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p719_Guide-8-0---astronomische-Software.html

Case Study: The conquest of Chachapoyas    

Chachapoyas, now a town in Eastern Peru north-east of Cajamarca, was named after „the Chachapoyas“ which had a kind of civilization hardly known due to the lack of reliable ethnohistoric documents. Anyway, an Austrian research center on the mummies found near „la Laguna de los Condores“ consists of a museum and the road was made clear by the present author in February 2004.

Anyway, the search for documental evidence on the Chachapoyas society is quite difficult by the fact that Chachapoyas was perhaps conquered at the moment when the Inca empire may have been about to get overstretched. Anyway lots of Inca quipus (knotted strings) were excavated nearby the burial sites of the chiefs of the Chachapoyas.

Quipus: Knotted strings as data storages

Their mummies were buried in strange effigies in the shape of humans.

Effigies as exposed in the ~Austrian~ museum in Leymebamba.

It is presumed that the Chachapoyas civilisation was the only advanced civilization which rooted in the Amazonian tropical forest tradition. In addition to it is very hard to find reliable literature on this matter as Chachapoyas belonged to the periphery of the Inca empire. According to reliable sources Inca Tupac Yupanqui was the first to reach Chachapoyas via Cajamarca. For geographical there are only two ways to Chachapoyas: Via Cajamarca and Celedin to Leymebamba and then down the Utcubamba to present Chachapoyas City – passing the stronghold of Kuelap, now known as the „Machu Picchu of the North“ (but still covered by Highland Jungles).

The other way is a direct way to Chachapoyas which appears to have been dynamited to cross the mountain range between the Marañon valley and the Utcubamba valley. Tupac Yupanqui reached Chachapoyas via Cajamarca according Cieza de León (II,56) whose Crónica de Peru is based on first-hand information and local oral traditions. According to the historian Maria Rostworowski de Diez Canseco (1988:111-116) the conquest of Chachapoyas was the result of the conquest of the great polity (kingdom) of Chimor at the coast. Although the ethnohistorical documents of Chimor are provided by the chronicle of Calancha Chimor is considered as a kingdom and the conquest of Chimor was the result of the fact that Capac Yupanqui, the brother of Yupanqui Pachacutek rushed via Chincha northwards – following perhaps the route which is now known as La Panamericana Norte – reaching the borders of the kingdom of Chimor. Anyway, the conquest of Chimor was a difficult matter so that Chimor has always been credited to have turned the rustic Inca state into a refined civilization.

The conquest of Chimor    

Tupac Yupanqui conquered Chimor but had to secure Inca dominance by conquering Cajamarca. Then he headed for Chachapoyas. The Chachapoya people resisted against Tupac Yupanqui, who sent many resettlers („mitimaes“) from Cusco to settle down in Cajamarca. They should develop the natives and construct temples of the Sun to perform the governmental sun-worship as ideology of the Inca empire (Cieza II,51). Afterwards Tupac Yupanqui headed for Quito „to dominate the yungas“ (Cieza II,57 (1984:208)) which are – unfortunately – the seaside yungas

After the conquest of Chimor, Tupac Yupanqui started off for a sea expedition to two islands in the South Sea by balsas.

Inca offshore balsa

These expeditions were exaggerated by Thor Heyerdahl to claim that Oceanian cultures came from South America. This view is called diffusionism and is perhaps nonsense as stated by Khaled Hakami:

Diffusionism - as an anthropological school of thought, was an attempt to understand the nature of culture in terms of the origin of culture traits and their spread from one society to another. Versions of diffusionist thought included the conviction that all cultures originated from one culture center (for example from Egypt, called heliocentric diffusion); the more reasonable view that cultures originated from a limited number of culture centers (culture circles); and finally the notion that each society is influenced by others but that the process of diffusion is both contingent and arbitrary. Diffusion may be simply defined as the spread of a cultural item from its place of origin to other places. A more expanded definition depicts diffusion as the process by which discrete culture traits are transferred from one society to another, through migration, trade, war, or other contact. It is very important, however, not to confuse diffusionism as an ideology and diffusion as a phenomenon in social evolution. While strict diffusionists usually rejected the notion of parallel evolution, evolutionists, on the other hand, never denied the phenomenon of diffusion. This becomes clear if one considers the very nature of these two paradigms: While diffusionism stands in opposition to independent evolution by defintion, evolutionism is able to include diffusion, because the notion of the spread of cultural traits does not stand in opposition to parallel evolution. A good example for a diffusionistic theory is the "stimulus diffusion" of Robert Heine-Geldern. He found some temples in Southeast Asia, similar in form to those in Mesopotamia. But for direct diffusion some 800 years or so were missing. Then he also found some small temples made of clay. So for him this was the missing link. There was no direct diffusion but the idea (!) of the temples remained in form of the small figures and was reproduced in reality some 800 years later. What can I say ... nonsens! (Quoted from: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/khaled.hakami/#glossary)

The definitive conquest of Chachapoyas    

The next one trying to conquer Chachapoyas was Huayna Capac. He was coronated as „Huayna Capac Zapalla [inca] tucuyllacta uya“ a declaration in Quechua translated by Cieza „Guayna Capac solo es el rey a él oygan todos los pueblos“ – „Huayna Capac is the only king who is obeyed by all peoples“ (Cieza II,61 1984:212). Anyway, Huayna Capac had to secure his power by going to „all people“ in Person. The lands between Jauja and Cajamarca were war-ridden because, as Cieza de León states, there were no lords there aside those which are very powerful and „se levantan y acaudillaban para hacer guerra y otorgaban paz cuando ellos quisieron“ (Cieza II,63). „Accaudilarse“ is derieved from ‘caudillo’ and should be considered in the context of the Spanish reconquista – especially in the context of El Cantar del mio Cid, the saga of Rodrigo Vivar who conquered Valencia. During the reconquista a caudillo was a war-lord who had many followers. In Medieval Italy these figures were known as condottieri but a caudillo was by far more than a war enterpreneur, a caudillo was a going-to be king. Since Cieza was an educated soldier working together with Pedro de la Gasca, he had the ethos of the Spanish frontier society forged by the reconquista and hence could have had by far a deeper insight in the real way of Inca politics. The Chachapoyas defeated Huayna Capac twice. At last, Huayna Capac conquered Chachapoyas perhaps by sheer force so that the Chachapoyenos surrendered. A part of the Chachapoya population was sent to Cusco and lived there even in the times of Cieza de León (around 1550) (Cieza II,63). The native chronicler Pachacuti Yamqui who is usually not mentioned as chroniclers to furnish us with informations on the Chachapoya culture, mentions that Guanca Auqui, a general of Huascar Inca, conquered the province of the pacclas of Chachapoyas – and fought among the people from Cajamarca and Chachapoyas – and lost the war (Pachacuti Yamqui f.38 (1993:257)). This indicates that the so-called ‘kingdom of Chachapoyas’ was in fact a confederation among several groups which was never been conquered completely by the Inca army, so that Huayna Capac sent soldiers and „mitimaes de la frontiera“ (Cieza II,63 (1993:215)) to settle down there. The Spanish conquistadores didn’t attac Chachapoyas at once. They were conquered by Alonso de Alvarado (Zarate II,13) on behalf of Vaca de Castro, the first royal Spanish governor of Peru, it remained a sparsely colonized area of the new viceroyality of Peru but came under the command of Gonzalo Pizarro who recruited men for his revolt against the Spanish crown. All these notices from the historical records indicate that Chachapoyas was a periferical polity of the Andean civilization, so that it is quite hard to find documents on the Chachapoyas culture.

The most important fact mentioned by several chroniclers is that Tupac Yupanqui brought women from Chachapoyas to the crown – and the Inca crown was always in need to recruit so-called „chosen women“.

The socio-political character of the Inca empire    

Among social anthropologists the Inca empire had been a disputed matter: Some hold that it should have been a „socialist state“, others – especially Marxists – disagreed and argued that the Inca Empire was a manifestation of the „Asian mode of production“ (for full details see Eich 1983). Due to the research work inspired by John Victor Murra ([1965] 1980) it was suggested that the Inca empire as the last horizon of the Andean civilization had its own mode of production called „verticalismo“. These were the fruitless discussions among evolutionary anthropology just before the fall of the so-called Socialist world. Anyway, the difference between the standards of research at the and of the „modern“ anthropology and the present state of affairs is tremendous. The idea of the Inca empire as a totalitarian state of the past or as a culturally uniform horizon was given up. Even the standards of ethnohistoric, archaeological and even anthropological research work underwent dramatic changes to cope with the matters of facts found out during the research campaigns since the late 1980ies: During the Upper Mantaro Research Project launched by the University of California D’Altroy (1992) applied a new theory to the aspects of a regional center of the Inca empire at Xauxa. The World(-)System theory by André Gunder Frank (Frank 1967, especially: Frank/Gills ed. 1993) had already been applied to the investigation of early empires by Doyle (1986). D’Altroy used this theory for an interpretation of the archaeological evidence at these provincial center of the Inca empire. By doing so the hitherto employed unilineal view (see e.g. the contributions at Köhler (ed) 1990) became amplified. The classical works of state formation (e.g. Claessen/Skalnik (eds) 1978) and the scheme set by evolutionary anthropology and „new archaeology“ based on Julian H. Steward and Karl Anton Wittfogel couldn’t cope with the lines of evidences presented by the research works inaugurated by the research focus „Empire“.

D’Altroy belongs now to the chief promotors of this research focus. After the edition of the proceedings of a final conference on empires he belonged to the bords of editors of, D’Altroy ([2002]2003) published a monography on the present state of art concerning the Inka empire. What is an empire now? D’Altroy (2003:06) defines „Empire“ as follows: „Empires like Tawantinsuyu (i.e. the Inca empire) were the largest and most heterogeneous of the ancient societies which makes studying them confoundedly difficult. By the term Empire I am referring to an extensive polity – often containing millions of subjects and covering hundreds of thousands of square kilometers – in which a core polity gains control over a range of other societies. The dominion may be political, military, or economic and it may be remote or immediate but the essence of an empire is that the core society is able to assert its will over the other peoples brought under its egis".

Nota bene: The word State is not used here. Anyway, research works in Empires were not restricted to D’Altroy, Brian S. Bauer and other presently big names among the present investigatons on Tawantinsuyu. Conrad/Demerest ([1984] 1988:18), still cited by the present authors, define „Empire“ as follows: „Definimos como imperio un estado que abarca un gran territorio e incorpora a cierto número de sociedades antes autónomas y culturalmente heterogeéneas, una de los tales domina sobre las otras. La sociedad dominante,que ha conseguido esa posición gracias a la fuerza militar, explota los recursos que anteriormente controlaban las sociedades subordinadas“. Here – according to the modern zeitgeist of evolutionary anthropology the formal organization of the dominant society refered to as a state society is provided. The omission of a state society as a basis of an empire makes a sharp difference between D’Altroy’s conception after the research focus „Empire“ and the assumption by Conrad/Demarest (1984) before the research focus „Empire“, although this difference isn’t quite clear to some other researchers: The published research report by Bauer and Cowey on a couple of research projects on the development of the Inca empire in the Cusco region has: While anthropologists, archaeologists and historians have studied how empires expand, few have considered the relationship between the processes of state formation, integration of core and heartland regions and imperial expansion (Bauer / Cowey 2002:847. Emphasis is mine) although Bauer / Cowey (2002:846) are well aware that theoretical considerations far away from their research area won’t match the real Andean patterns of social development. They describe the methodological challenges in their concise way:

„In considering the ethnohistoric record[ ] we acknowledge the problems inherent to the study of these documents [a subtextual tribute to Franklin Pease G.Y.?] at the same time asserting that their anthropological [emphazised in the original] study can yield important perspectives on long-term regional development processes“.

Any other considerations on Empires couldn’t be grounded otherwise, since it’s the Inca empire to device the intelligble field of study.

Toni Negri’s Empire – an innovative solution to the puzzles of American Civilization?    

First of all, as already mentioned, the conception by Hardt/Negri (2000) is a disputed matter. As it is already known, Slavoj Zizek applauded this book - this might be due to his own philosophy of the consequences of eroding "patriarchal" that means solid and authoritarian societal structures [2].

Now, the theory by Hardt/Negri (Empire) is motivated by the rejection of Heglianian Marxism in favor of Spinoza - and what they understood about Spinoza's theory.

The first point is the subtextual potpourri I suppose to be beyond their conception of "poverty":

  • The Anglo-Saxon conception of poverty is a socio-economic category based on wages and purchase power.
  • The conception of poverty within the Mediterranean culture and Latin America - as having been conquered by the Spaniards - is chiefly a structural category that refers to one's marginal status in a society that hampers the individual to accumulate wealth and to dispose over one's own income. So belonging to the "clasas populares" is not only a question of income - that's first of course - but also a question of rights and social prejudice against the members of the "clasas populares" (This Latin American term refers to the well-known conflict between patricians and plebejans in the Roman Republic and is intended to do so).
If we assume that the category of "Multitude" is to be grasped via the "Latin" conception of powerty, the philosophical architecture or the basic structures of Hardt/Negri's discourse becames visible.

To follow this argument: What is then the dialectics between the imperial aristocracy and the Multitude? According to a new view of the Inca Empire (work in progress - based on the findings of Albert Meyers and the Samaipata expedition realized in 2006) - the chief capability of an Imperial Aristocrat at the Inca Empire was exclusive knowledge that enabled her or him to introduce (then) new technology into a territory to be integrated into the Inca Empire. In the case of Samaipata this was the technology of growing maize during a prolonged drought (all this will be printed soon but at peer-reviewed journals I hope). This exclusive knowledge was never on sale (which is a real obstacle in investigation Moray) nor accessible by people outside the ruling elite. The basic assumption and/or conception of the Final Report of the project "OilReducedAgriculture" is that Vavilov centers - especially the Andean one - are the human footprints of information-based Empires, but how could an Empire be information-based? This is why the conception of Empire of a deterritorialized and decentralized political unit that can be reproduced by any aristocrat who knew the "source codes" of this empire (in the case of the Incas the technology of growing maize during a prolonged period of drought), so that the Inca Empire was in fact a multi-core fractal Empire and not a static "Old World Empire" with definable cores and peripheries. So this will be the next project, if possible, because the Final Report has 296 pages, is the final report of a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary project which I had to carry out alone.

Update given August 8, 2007

The processual and the ethnohistorical approach to the study of early Empires    

Given the difference between Conrad/Demarest’s definition of empires and the present discourse as hold by D’Altroy, Bauer and others – and, last but not least, Rostworowski (1988) insisting that that she used the term Tawantinsuyu in the sense of incario – not as incanato or Inca empire because the Inca empire didn’t match the patterns of Old World Empires to her – we have to reconsider the traditional conceptions of state applied to the required ethno-politology of the New World. Claessen and Skalnik (1978) were somehow the first to present a concise study on early states in order to do away with the idea that early states or early empires are political units compareable to a modern nation state. Anyway, traditional archaeology tried to find the evolutionary stage of state-building within the sequences of the development of the Andean civilizations. Traditionally minded archaeologists use the sequences of the socio-political integration in the realm of Classical Archaeology (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome) in order to match the aspects and patterns of the archeological rests excavated in the Andean world with the patterns of an assumed general scheme of the development of civilization. This methodology – according to Makowski (1996) – would furnish us with the idea that the Andean civilization was by no means a civilization and there wouldn’t be something like an Inca empire. The political reason for doing so is obvious: Traditionally the Andean civilization and the Inca empire plaid an important rôle within the political discourse of the Peruvian progressive parties such as the APRA in the times of Mariátegui. We are well aware of the fact thah Victor Haya de la Torre had no idea about the culture and both, the problems and ways of life of the people living in the sierra, the Peruvian highlands. Anyway: According to Mariátegui and others Peru was „una tótalidad histórica compleja“ but the indigenous communities – according to scientific state of art at his time – were organized in a way which was then called „communistic“ and is now to be called communitarian. Although Mariátegui had little concepton of the Inca „mode of production“ (Germaná 1995:65-81) his political writings together with his liberal precursor Manuel Gonzales Prada and other intellectuals are to be understood in the context of an ongoing process of segregation within the Peruvian society. The splendid Inca past served as a justification for the integration of the Andean communities, later the land reform (as it happened during the revolution of 1968 which modernized the country, see Cotler 1978) and the fact that the history of the American classics served to maintain the human rights of the American natives is known since the disputa de Valladolid between Ginés de Sepúlveda and Bartolomé de las Casas in 1550. Within the last years the interpretative scheme for investigations in the Andean past – as well as in the Amazonian past – were changed. This didn’t concern the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Inca heartland only. Traditional explanations „of the rise of complex societies up to now have focussed on five factors: patterns of the environment, the impetus of human population growth, economic growth as well as cultural diffusion and the interaction of polities“ (Roosevelt 1999:264). New comparative data on cultural trajectories in the different environments reveal conomic factors not seriously considered, e.g. the human carriage capacity of the Amazon environment proved to have been under-estimated as the rôle of cultivated crops such as maize became over-estimated by earlier research works. Hunting and gathering may have supplied enough staple-food especially with bontiful aquatic ressources. During the „Middle Horizon“ (the Wari-Empire, precursors of the Inca empire) corn became 70% of human foodstuff (Roosevelt 1999:265-343). The search for Amazonian civilizations is now on the agenda. In addition to the conception of „horizons“ in archaeology is now challenged. Traditionally there were three horizons: The Chavín horizon, then early regional developments (intermedio temprano) the Middle Horizon (Tiwanaku – Wari), the second time of regional-departamental developments (intermedio tardio) and the late horizon (the Inca empire). The Early Regional Development required a change of interpretative frameworks as the Andean cultural area broke up into an area of cultural heterogeneity (Shimada 1999:358-434). By other words – cultural heterogeneity or multiculturalism was a challenge to any imperialists so that Bauer/Cowey (2002) insist on the development of an adequate sequences of social development by means of ethnohistory.

Negri’s alternative conception of an Empire    

Just before the new standards on Empire research were published (Alcock et. al. Eds 2001) the best-seller Empire by Hardt/Negri (2000) became published and hyped by fascinated journalists of the New York Times. The chief focus of this book is the transformation of the present World Order into an Empire – which is not the USA. Empire, according to Hardt/Negri (2003:12) is not a Metaphor to compare the ancient empires with the present situation but a conception requiring a theoretical approach. Although the book by Hardt/Negri (2000) is burdened by post-structuralist wizardy (and many of the commentaries published in the World Wide Web are suggesting that the enlighted public has difficulties to understand the modell presented by Hardt/Negri (2000)) the chief idea which may have possibly been set up by Negri was to consider the transformation of the international system into an empire. Therefore Hardt/Negri (2003:12) insist that the USA, based on their constituion are not the core land of the empire but they do have a privileged position within the forthcoming empire owed to their advanced system of souvereignity. The empire – in this case – is therefore not an imperialistic state as e.g. the British Empire, that means a state with dependencies or colonies, but it is a state such as the Roman Empire. In a rough, evolutionary minded sense one may speculate that Hardt/Negri’s empire is a level of socio-political integration (and dominance) beyond the state level. The strands of the ‘anthropological history’

According to the traditional way of telling the Inca past based on colonial documents (called „crónicas“) it was the 9th Inca Cusi Yupanqui Pachacutek to turn the rather small polity of the Incas into an empire (Bauer 1996:20-35). Whereas investigators having acquired credibility as historians (e.g. Markham 1910) were quite easy about the problems inherent to the „chronicles“, with the research works done by Maria Rostworowski de Diez Canseco and John Victor Murra it became clear that Andean ethnohistory is a difficult task and became a heterodox discipline (Millones 1982) . With the 3rd generation of the Ecole des Annales Nathan Wachtel published his more-or-less structural analysis of the pachacutek (turning the world upside down) the Spanish conquest meant to the First Americans in Peru (Wachtel 1973) after having published important articles on the works of Zuidema and Murra to solve the dispute between historians and structuralists i.e. the disciples of Claude Lévi-Strauss . Godelier (1971) explained, with special reference to Lucien Lévy–Bruhl and Durkheim, the structuralistic approach to the historians by the „armature sociologique“ of any mythological story. Needless to say that the founding fathers of the Annales, Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre were firm with Durkheim and sometimes on Lévy-Bruhl (Burke 1991:22-3) . The era of post-modern anthropological history requires hence the ‘armature ethnologique’(inspired by Hill (ed) 1988).

The intercultural methodology is an asset to solve specific problems inherent to the colonial documents on the Inca past, since the narratives on the Andean past are – according to Howard Malverne (1990) – structurated by a cosmological meta-narration ignored by the Spanish chroniclers. As an analogon to Godelier (1971) this cosmovisionary meta-history is here refered to as „armature ethnologique“ which was taken into account by Bauer/Covey (2002:846) by the subtextually mentioned concept of agency thereby avoiding any determinism. Mythistory and the Andean civilization

Here Mythistory is a conception stemming from the research work on the emergence of the Inca empire – especially since Urton (1990) is cited in almost all relevant publications on the Inca empire. Whereas the concepts of „new archaeology“ backed the Fujimori ideology that there had never been an Inca empire as the Inca was said to be an archetype in the sense of Mircea Eliade it were Urton (1990) and Bauer to allow a new interpretation of the development of the Inca empire based on „interethnic“ i.e. interlocal relations and networks . With the Empire focus (Alcock, D’Altroy et.al. eds 2001) Bauer and Cowey (2002) traced back the way the Inca empire emerged (followed by my first expedition with mules and students on field trip, (Plachetka 2003)) considering factors of social development towards states and empires, among them the integration of the core or heartland of the forthcoming empire in the context of state formation. According to Wendell C. Bennet the frontier of the Inca empire are those of the cultural area of the Andean civilization (Kaufmann Doig 1991:108f).

Anyway, the emergence of the Inca empire is associated with the conception of pachacutek (transforming the world). Traditionally pachacutek was the 9th Inca. Imbelloni (1946), Léviller (1956) and Pease (1991:33) suggest a religios and political crisis in the era ascribed to this Inka Pachacutek. Polo de Ondegardo refers to the huaccas (the holy shrines, holy sites etc) and ceques (lines) telling the story of the Inca dynasty who didn’t conquer anyone before their victory over the Chankas gained by Inka Pachacutek – and the history of the Chanka war is given in the chapter on the („guacas“) huaccas or purumruna (CTM 18:10-11). Ceques are imagined lines around Cusco marked by huaccas – and those ceques played a prominent rôle within the rituals at the Inca capital. Documentary evidences (as far as I’ve already studied (Plachetka 1994) are Cobo, Cristobal de Molina „el Cusqueño“ and Polo de Ondegardo whose research reports had been copied by the majority of so-called „chroniclers“ (Wedin 1966). The loss of this chapter on the huaccas and the other works of Polo de Ondegardo on them has caused problems, speculations and structuralistic wizardy since: „Since the publication of Zuidema’s monograph [Zuidema 1964] interest in the Cusco ceque sytsem has grown to become one of the most widely debated, and perhaps most misunderstood, aspects of Andean studies“ (Bauer 1998:10). The chief objective of Urton (1990) was the reconstruction of the rituals associated with the Chanka war on the dial of the ceque system (according to Zuidema’s versions) so that Cusi Yupanqui had allies from the Iñaca Panaca whose chief, Chanan Qori Cuca, is marked on the ceque dial by the Ceque IVa3a/c. Having defeated the Chancas Pachacutek went on pilgrimage to the pacarina (the cave of origin) of the Iñaca Panaca thereby „re-founding“ it as „Hatun Ayllu“ and obtaining the title of „Manco Capac“ and Señor de Pacaritambo (Urton 1990:61). This ritual act connected the royal ayllus of Cusco with the non-royal ayllus of Cusco. Although Urton’s view on the importance of the rituals associated with the ceques (and astronomical events marked by them) can be described polemically as Zuidema’s data proceeding machine , José de Acosta (1590 Bk.V, ch.27) says that the Incas had regular festivals and special festivals to commemorate special events and Sarmiento de Gamboa mentiones the Capac Raymi as having been founded by Inca Pachacutek to celebrate the coronation of Tupac Yupanqui (Sarmiento Ch. 43). Considering the ceque system the way Urton does by applying the concept of „ritual history“ the Spaniards may have confused the ritual calendar with the real history .

How and why on earth should the coronation of Tupac Yupanqui give the reason for an extra festival? Writing my first credited work on the Inca past (my master’s thesis, Plachetka 1994) I tried to back the data produced by (sorry) „Zuidema’s ceque sliderule“ by documental evidences following the traces of Markham (1910) as Markham insisted that the quechua drama Apu Ollantay (which is not an objective of the present project) is to be considered the same way as the Ilias. As there was no need to excavate the site of Ollantaytambo (Protzen 1993), the missing link were documents, fieldnotes of colonial inquiry men, „visitas“ whatsoever allowing any kind of connex between the „Ollantay story“ and aspects of the development of the Inca empire. This methodology to back informations supplied by the so-called chronicles by consulting local documents was chosen inter alia by Pärsinnen (1992). In the case of the emergence of the Inca empire i.e. the rituals and events which are associated with this aspect of the process of the development of the Andean society the fieldnotes of Francisco de Toledo’s survey on informations of the Inca past gave some important hints: Toledo started his survey at November 20th 1570 in Jauja, came to Huamanga (Ayacucho) 12/14 1570, then Tambo de Vilcas 1/27 1571, Tambo de Pincos 1/31 1571, Rimaq Tambo 2/6-7 1571, Tambo de Mayo 2/10 and before he came to Cusco he did interviews in the valley of Yucay 3/19 1571 according to Jimenes de la Espada’s edition of those fieldnotes. At Ayacucho Toledo was informed that Pachacutek was the son of Manco Capac, whereas Viracocha Inca came from the Pacaritambo panaca (Montesinos e.d. Jímenez 1882:209). The Yucay file (3/19 1571) contains the story of someone who belonged to the panaca of Amaru Tupac Inka, the brother of Tupac Yupanqui Inka, than a descendent of the ayllu of Viracocha Inca and Yahuar Huacac Inca. Don Diego Moyna Inca claimed to be a descendence of Viracocha Inca and Pachacutek Inca . His father belonged to the „ayllo de los ingas“ this is to say, the Iñaca Panaca (ibid.:220).

These reports, the Parecer del Anonimo de Yucay, Toledo’s own reports to the king and the Sarmiento Chronicle are to be considered as contents of only one file Francisco de Toledo prepared for his defense in a possible trial on his illegal conquest of the Incas of Vilcabamba . Therefore there are lawyer’s signs at the pages of the Sarmiento chronicle.

As a matter of fact, even the powerful viceroy Francisco de Toledo needed a „legitime inca“ to back his own position, so he declared the Incas from Vilcabamba rebelled against the legitime Inca lineage (Provisión del Virrey 8/11 1572 cf. Dunbar Temple 1949:41) thus furnishing him with the legal titles for a „just war“ against them (see Vitoria 1539)).

So the notorious „school of Francisco de Toledo“ – as postulated by Means – did in fact exist to denounce the Incas of Vilcabamba and the ideas of Bartolomé de las Casas who, according to the Parecer del anonímo de Yucay, should have been the only one insisting on the legitimate titles of the Incas. Las Casas gave a history on the Inca empire perhaps furnished by Domingo de Santo Tómas and Las Casas (1939 ch. XXV) is the most explicit author on the question why the Capac Raymi was inaugurated to comemorate the coronation of Tupac Yupanqui: Amaro Tupac (or Tupac Amaru) was rejected „by the sun“ (i.e. the solar oracle to confirm the new Inca). Therefore Cusi Yupanqui Pachacutek had to install Tupac Yupanqui as the new Inca – that means Pachacutek founded a new dynasty and the Chanca war is to be seen in the context of a revolution and the Capac Raymi was installed not to commemorate the reconstruction of the „old order“ after the war but to install a new order . It may be possible that the members of the royal ayllus having been founded by the Incas before Pachacutek were in opposition to this changes.

The process of colonial field research is to be reconstructed to device proper criteria for an evaluation of colonial documents, especially due to the fact that the so-called „Toledian School of Inca Historiography“ insisted on favorizing the version supplied by the Vaca-de Castro-Quipu. In his work De procuranda Indorum saluta (editon Cologne 1596) José de Acosta says:

„Quod quidem nisi aliundi perturberatur iniuria aequm ac salutare esse constat. Alios vero titulos quos affere quidam nituntur Regiae potentiae ut mihi quidam videntur assertores non necessarij me assentationes dicam qui minimum ex tyrranide Ingaru[m] in hoc regno atque ursurpatio per vim imperio; itaque ex polycratia gentium plurimarum legitimo Rege carentium (has Hispani Behetrias vocant) contendunt christiano Principis regnandi ius facere (Acosta 1596:259).

Since the Behetrias were self-governed communities (see Parecer Ch. 3 (Pérez Férnandez 1995:142-146)) the Spaniards and especially the Jesuits ursurpated certain aspects of the Andean way of life and political system. The discussion on the legitimity of this or that royal dynasty of the Inca justified their enforcement of transculturation. The system of multi-level governance of the original Inca empire (for details: Regalado de Hurtado 1993) had never been understood by the Spaniards and is to be reconstructed by following the way of research work of the so-called „chronistas“. This means that the blueprint of the original spatio-temporal order is to be reconstructed but not as an „armature sociologique“ according to the Structural Anthropology but as an „armature ethnologique“ concerning the communicative ethnohistory (Zips 1986 in the sense of Lyotard (1986) ).


A restudy on the ideological and sociological processes of the Inca empire cannot be supplied here because this would require a full research project and a full book. Anyway, the interpretation of the Inca empire as a mature empire is hampered by the fact that the Spaniards entered just after the death of Huayna Capac so that we should consider Manco Inca as a candidade to the throne to integrate the Inca empire. The way Manco Inca organized the war against the Spaniards by a general assembly in the „Sacred Valley“ of the Inca one may consider the Spaniards as the unfiying factor of the Inca empire. Manco Inca remained as the undisputed Inca so that Pizarro’s policy to rise a competitor to the throne became such a failure that even the competitor’s name is forgotten now. The most important fact is that Peru became the theater of the clash of two empires – both in the transition phase from an extractive empire to a consolidated empire. In terms of logistics and strategy the Inca were far superior to the Spaniards so they could resist against Spanish dominaton up to 1570. The „years of turmoil and crisis“ (Andrien 2001:43) are to be characterized by the struggle against the Spaniards and for continuing the consolidation process from the Inca’s point of view and by the struggle to do away with feudal privileges and the installation of a modern state by the Spanish point of view. The conquistadores were frontier men who fought „para ennobilizarse“ – to get a title. This was common during the reconquista but this vertical social mobility came to an end in the course of the Spanish Empire’s consolidation.

Used References    

a) Abbreviations (sigles)

CTM = Colección de documentos inéditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y colonialisación de los posesiónes Españoles en América y Oceania sacados en su mayor parte del Real Archivo de las Indias bajo la dirección de D. Joaquin F. Pacheco, Francisco de Cárdenas y Torres de Mendoza, 42 Vols. Madrid (usually refered to as Colección Torres de Mendoza).

CHNA = The Cambridge History of the Native People of the Americas (edited by Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz) Vols. 1-2, Cambridge

stw = suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main

W.P. = Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (orig. fojos)

JWSR= http://www.jwsr.ucr.edu/ : Journal of World System Research


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[1] https://forschung.boku.ac.at/fis/suchen.person_uebersicht?sprache_in=de&menue_id_in=101&id_in=101343

[2] See the abridgment in: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavoj_Žižek