The Foundation Of The Inca Civilization: Religion

1969 words - 8 pages

Religion is the belief or worship of a higher power such as many or one god. Religion is the foundation of the world. Without religion, a person or group may not convey to others how he or she lives his or her life because religion helps people on the outside looking in understand the way an individual lives and how he or she believes in life. The Inca civilization is an example of how religion gave a group of people an identity. Inca culture evolved from the various Andean cultures that are traced back to twenty thousand years previously. The Valdivia and Chavín are known to provide the foundation of the Inca religious system, which was created under the authority of the Incan leader Túpac yupanqui, or under his predecessor Inca Pachacuti. The empire of the Inca expanded from its capital city Cusco to territory that had other cultures living under. The Inca took over those cultures and established the religious system (Littel 246-247). Temples to accommodate the sun god, Inti and temples parallel to the Great Temple in Cusco developed over time. The conquered kept the existent faith but had to accept the Inca religious system and give respect to the Inca and their gods.
In late 1528, the Inca Empire came under the authority of Huayna Capac. When he died, his two sons, Huáscar and Atahualpa fought over who had control over the empire. The civil war lasted until 1532 and Atahualpa won the war. As, the empire fell to ruins, Francisco Pizarro arrived and defeated the rest of weakened Inca military. Following the conquest, the Inca suffered from a population decline due to European diseases and war deaths. Those who remained alive where enslaved (Littel 463). Christianity evolved within the conquered Inca culture and various themes of Christianity paralleled traditional designs. Pizarro forcefully converted the Inca to Christianity and soon after, the entire region emerged fully converted to Christianity. As a result, traditional art, family and social life, and government became influenced by Christianity and Inca religious systems.
The early Inca civilization practiced polytheism. The Inca primary god, Viracocha, was the creator god. "Below Viracocha were three major gods: Inti, the sun god; Illapa, the thunder god; and Mama-Quilla, the moon god" (Corrick 56). The creator god known as Viracocha, created the world and traveled the earth while doing good deeds. He created the sky with all the stars and took the moon and sun out of the Island in Lake Titicaca to illuminate the sky. Then he formed people and animals out of clay in Tihuanaco. After instructing his people, he walked on waves across the Pacific from the shore of Ecuador. The statue of Viracocha represents a human man made out of solid gold in a statue that stood 4 feet tall in Cusco. The statues right arm appears raised with a clenched fist excluding the thumb and forefinger (Corrick 56). One of many legends states that Inti is his son and Mama-Quilla and Pachamama , the agriculture...

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