this week i

drew jean-léon gérôme's bonaparte devant le sphinx.  emperor, conquer thyself

could write "takin' it easy on the zambezi and other rhymes of river relaxation" following trite tranquility triplet preposition freshwater rubric, won't

woke up short of breath before inti raymi, cusco more than twice altitude of kathmandu. viracocha bearded like santa claus, both drones and pride of inca nation flag flew over omens read from sacrificial llama intestines (same purpose as punxsutawney phil predictions). pizza, that's alpaca amore



read history of the conquest of peru by william hickling prescott (1796-1859).  story ends before tupac, pizarro illiterate, spaniards talibanesque

"cuzco, in the language of the incas..signifies navel."

no account assigns to the inca dynasty more than thirteen princes before the conquest

the queen was further distinguished, at least in her later reigns, by the circumstance of being selected from the sisters of the inca

they travelled with ease and expedition, halting at the tambos, or inns, erected by government along the route

his attendants and favorite concubines, amounting sometimes, it is said, to a thousand, were immolated on his tomb

the peruvians were as successful as the egyptians in the miserable attempt to perpetuate the existence of the body beyond the limits assigned to it by nature

a register was kept of all the births and deaths throughout the country, and exact returns of the actual population were made to government every year, by means of the quipus, a curious invention, which will be explained hereafter.  at certain intervals, also, a general survey of the country was made, exhibiting a complete view of the character of the soil, its fertility, the nature of its products, both agricultural and mineral, - in short, of all that constituted the physical resources of the empire.  furnished with these statistical details, it was easy for the government, after determining the amount of requisitions, to distribute the work among the respective provinces best qualified to execute it

without money, with little property of any kind, he paid his taxes in labor.  no wonder that the government should have dealt with sloth as a crime

the religion of the conquered was not treated with dishonor.  the sun was to be worshipped above all; but the images of their gods were removed to cuzco and established in one of the temples, to hold their rank among the inferior deities of the peruvian pantheon.  here they remained as hostages, in some sort, for the conquered nation, which would be the less inclined to forsake its allegiance, when by doing so it must leave its own gods in the hands of its enemies

gold, in the figurative language of the people was "the tears wept by the sun"

at the feast of raymi, the sacrifice usually offered was that of the llama; and the priest, after opening the body of his victim, sought in the appearances which it exhibited to read the lesson of the mysterious future

garcilasso de la vega flatly denies that the incas were guilty of human sacrifices..but in this material fact he is unequivocally contradicted by sarmiento

the peruvian quipus were, doubtless, a wretched substitute for that beautiful contrivance, the alphabet, which, employing a few simple characters as the representatives of sounds, instead of ideas, is able to convey the most delicate shades of thought that ever passed through the mind of man.  the peruvian invention, indeed, was far below that of the hieroglyphics, even below the rude picture-writing of the aztecs; for the latter art, however incompetent to convey abstract ideas, could depict sensible objects with tolerable accuracy.  it is evidence of the total ignorance in which the two nations remained of each other, that the peruvians should have borrowed nothing of the hieroglyphical system of the mexicans

the spanish conquerers threw down these pillars..which of the two were best entitled to the name of barbarians?

the potato, found by the early discoverers of chili, peru, new granada, and all along the cordilleras of south america, was unknown in mexico, - an additional proof of the entire ignorance in which the respective nations of the two continents remained of one another

they were not a commercial people, and had no knowledge of money.  in this they differed from the ancient mexicans, who had an established currency of a determinate value.  in one respect, however, they were superior to their american rivals, since they made use of weights to determine the quantity of their commodities, a thing wholly unknown to the aztecs.  this fact is ascertained by the discovery of silver balances, adjusted with perfect accuracy, in some of the tombs of the incas

the invasion of the valiant inca huayna capac..took place some years previous to pizarro's expedition

a fall from his horse, which so astonished the barbarians, who were not prepared for this division of what seemed one and the same being into two, that, filled with consternation, they fell back, and left a way open for the christians

one hundred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses for the cavalry.  he had provided himself with three vessels, two of them of a good size, to take the place of those which he had been compelled to leave on the opposite side of the isthmus at nombre de dios

one of those plagues from the vial of wrath, which the destroying angel, who follows in the path of the conqueror, pours out on the devoted nations

he learned that the country had been for some time distracted by a civil war between two sons of the late monarch, competitors for the throne.  this intelligence he regarded as of the utmost importance, for he remembered the use which cortes had made of similar dissentions among the tribes of anahuac.  indeed, pizarro seems to have had the example of his great predecessor before his eyes on more occasions than this

the theatre of combat was the skirts of the mighty chimborazo

the raconteur of these bluebeard butcheries

"know, whoever you may be," said the writing, "that may chance to set foot in this country, that it contains more gold and silver than there is iron in biscay"

the name of san miguel de piura, which it bears, still commemorates the foundation of the first european colony in the empire of the incas

he could not write

cortes had compelled his men to go forward heartily in his enterprise, by burning their vessels, and thus cutting off the only means of retreat.  pizarro, on the other hand, threw open the gates to the disaffected and facilitated their departure

the royal tambos or caravansaries

son of the sun

the horses of the whole troop to be shod with silver

the emissaries were men of a very low stamp, and, puffed up by the honors conceded to them by the natives, they looked on themselves as entitled to these, and contemned the poor indians as a race immeasurably beneath the european.  they not only showed the most disgusting rapacity, but treated the highest nobles with wanton insolence.  they even went so far, it is said, as to violate the privacy of the convents, and to outrage the religious sentiments of the peruvians by their scandalous amours with the virgins of the sun

 to reduce the whole to ingots of a uniform standard, for the spoil was composed of an infinite variety of articles, in which the gold was of very different degrees of purity.  these articles consisted of goblets, ewers, salvers, vases of every shape and size, ornaments and utensils for the temples and the royal palaces, tiles and plates for the decoration of the public edifices, curious imitations of different plants and animals.  among the plants, the most beautiful was the indian corn, in which the golden ear was sheathed in its broad leaves of silver, from which hung a rich tassel of threads of the same precious metal.  a fountain was also much admired, which sent up a sparkling jet of gold, while birds and animals of the same material played in the waters at its base

the garrote is a mode of execution by means of a noose drawn round the criminal's neck, to the back part of which a stick is attached.  by twisting this stick, the noose is tightened and suffocation is produced.  this was the mode, probably, of atahuallpa's execution

from the hour that pizarro and his followers had entered within the sphere of atahuallpa's influence, the hand of friendship had been extended to them by the natives.  their first act, on crossing the mountains, was to kidnap the monarch and massacre his people..the long confinement of the inca had been used by the conquerers to wring from him his treasures with the hard gripe of avarice.  during the whole of this dismal period, he had conducted himself with singular generosity and good faith.  he had opened a free passage to the spaniards through every part of his empire; and had furnished every facility for the execution of their plans.  when these were accomplished, and he remained an encumbrance on their hands, notwithstanding their engagement, expressed or implied, to release him, - and pizarro, as we have seen, by a formal act, acquitted his captive of any further obligation on the score of the ransom, - he was arraigned before a mock tribunal, and, under pretences equally false and frivolous, was condemned to an excruciating death.  from first to last, the policy of the spanish conquerers towards their unhappy victim is stamped with barbarity and fraud

they thought to dig for gold; but they dug only their graves

one weapon, peculiar to south american warfare, was used with some effect by the peruvians.  this was the lasso, a long rope with a noose at the end, which they adroitly threw over the rider, or entangled with it the legs of his horse, so as to bring them both to the ground

the young inca, in particular, accoutred in the european fashion, rode a war-horse which he managed with considerable address, and, with a long lance in his hand, led on his followers to the attack..the aztec, who, in his long collision with the spaniards, was never so far divested of his terrors for the horse as to venture to mount him

as the conspirators traversed the plaza, one of the party made a circuit to avoid a little pool of water that lay in their path.  "what!" exclaimed rada, "afraid of wetting your feet, when you are to wade up to your knees in blood!"

no army, up to the period before us, had ever risen to a thousand

a young cavalier named geronimo de alvarado, who obstinately refused to quit the field; and shouting out, - "we slew pizarro! we killed the tyrant!" they threw themselves on the lances of their conquerers, preferring death on the battle-field to the ignominious doom of the gibbet

i have seen the spaniards, long after the conquest, amuse themselves by hunting down the natives with bloodhounds for mere sport..the young maiden was torn without remorse from the arms of her family to gratify the passion of her brutal conqueror

many a llama was destroyed solely for the sake of the brains - a dainty morsel, much coveted by the spaniards

herbs as they found on the way-side, which, for want of better utensils, the soldiers were fain to boil in their helmets

the wayworn horses, without food, except such as they could pick up in the wilderness, were often spent with travel, and, becoming unserviceable, were left to die on the road, with their hamstrings cut, that they might be of no use to the enemy; though more frequently, they were despatched to afford a miserable banquet to their masters

pizarro made his entry into the capital with two of his principal captains on foot, holding the reins of his charger, while the archbishop of lima, and the bishops of cuzco, quito, and bogota..rode by his side

blank letters, bearing the royal signature, were delivered to him, which he was to fill up at his pleasure

one of those suspension bridges formerly employed by the incas, and still used in crossing the deep and turbulent rivers of south america.  they are made of osier withes, twisted into enormous cables, which, when stretched across the water, are attached to heavy blocks of masonry, or, where it will serve, to the natural rock

the example of cepeda was contagious.  garcilasso de la vega, father of the historian, a cavalier of old family, and probably of higher consideration than any other in pizarro's party, put spurs to his horse, at the same time with the licentiate, and rode over to the enemy.  ten or a dozen of the arquebusiers followed in the same direction

the mail-clad cavalier, brandishing his bloody lance, and mounted on his war-horse, riding over the helpless natives, or battling with his own friends and brothers; fierce, arrogant, and cruel, urged on by the lust of gold, or the scarce more honorable love of a bastard glory