Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/229

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


cilasso. Without making due allowance for that mysterious earlier civilisation, older than the Incas, whose cyclopean buildings are the wonder of travellers, Garcilasso attributes the introduction of civilisation to his own ancestors. Allowing for what is confessedly mythical in his narrative, it must be admitted that he has a firm grasp of what the actual history must have been. He recognises a period of savagery before the Incas, a condition of the rudest barbarism, which still existed on the fringes and mountain recesses of the empire. The religion of that period was mere magic and totemism. From all manner of natural objects, but chiefly from beasts and birds, the various savage stocks of Peru claimed descent, and they revered and offered sacrifice to their totemic ancestors.[1] Garcilasso adds, what is almost incredible, that the Indians tamely permitted themselves to be eaten by their totems, when these were carnivorous animals. They did this with the less reluctance, as they were cannibals, and accustomed to breed children for the purposes of the cuisine from captive women taken in war.[2] Among the huacas or idols, totems, fetishes, and other adorable objects of the Indians, worshipped before and retained after the introduction of the Inca sun-totem and solar cult, Garcilasso names trees, hills, rocks, caves, fountains, emeralds, pieces of jasper, tigers, lions, bears, foxes, monkeys, condors, owls, lizards, toads, frogs, sheep, maize, the sea, "for want of larger gods, crabs" and bats. The bat was also the totem of the Zotzil,

  1. Com. Real., vol. i., chap. ix., x., xi., pp. 47–53.
  2. Cieza de Leon, xii., xv., xix., xxi., xxiii., xxvi., xxvii., xxxii. Cieza is speaking of people in the valley of Cauca, in New Granada.