Posts Tagged ‘Inca empire’

Winner: Droppin’, followed by Big John, the Driver, and Eric.

Lots of players tonight, but Doppin’ was able to stay ahead of the pack, probably because he was the only one to know that the ancient Egyptians used stones as pillows and that only 22% of the river Nile is located in Egypt.

Good question!: Which of the following empires had no written language?

Choices: a. Inca   b. Aztec   c. Mayan  d. Olmecs

Atahualpa, last of the great Inca emperors, murdered by that dirtbag soldier of fortune, Francisco Pizzaro.

Answer: Inca

How could the highly developed Inca civilization, the largest empire in the western hemisphere, have no written language? If you have ever been to the magnificent ruins at Machu Picchu, the question becomes even more baffling.

BTW, the Incas did have a spoken language, Quechua, which Rosebud is somewhat proficient in, having learned it from a native taxi driver in Cusco, Peru.

Questioning the Inca Paradox

Did the civilization behind Machu Picchu really fail to develop a written language?
By Mark Adams (slate.com)


 Historic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

“When the Yale University history lecturer Hiram Bingham III encountered the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru 100 years ago, on July 24, 1911, archaeologists and explorers around the world (including Bingham himself) were stunned, having never come across a written reference to the imperial stone city. Of course, the absence of such historical records was in itself no great surprise. The Inca, a technologically sophisticated culture that assembled the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere, have long been considered the only major Bronze Age civilization that failed to develop a system of writing—a puzzling shortcoming that nowadays is called the “Inca Paradox.”

The Incas never developed the arch, either—another common hallmark of civilization—yet the temples of Machu Picchu, built on a rainy mountain ridge atop two fault lines, still stand after more than 500 years while the nearby city of Cusco has been leveled twice by earthquakes. The Inca equivalent of the arch was a trapezoidal shape tailored to meet the engineering needs of their seismically unstable homeland. Likewise, the Incas developed a unique way to record information, a system of knotted cords called khipus (sometimes spelled quipus). In recent years, the question of whether these khipus were actually a method of three-dimensional writing that met the Incas’ specific needs has become one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Andes.”

Werner Herzog’s great film “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” about a ruthless Spanish conquistador, takes place a few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire.



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Winner: Lenny

Already known as the best bowler in town, Lenny proved tonight he has other skills. He played a strong, silent game at the end of the bar, and led all night, followed by Paula (who may have been home studying, lo these many weeks), and Jon the Bodyguard. On a night filled with difficult medical questions and not a single Princess Diaries question, Jon was happy with his second place finish.

Pluto on the other hand appeared confused all night, missing one question after another.  After guessing that kite flying, not sumo wrestling, was the national sport of Japan, he even said that he wished that Mistress Daphne was back in charge (although he retracted that soon after).

Good Question: Who conquered the Incan Empire?

Choices:   a. Cook   b. Pizarro   c. Da Gamma    d. Ponce de Leon


Answer: Pizarro

High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the Inca built a dazzling empire that governed a population of 12 million people. Although they had no writing system, they had an elaborate government, great public works, and a brilliant agricultural system. In the five years before the Spanish arrival, a devastating war of succession gripped the empire. Atahuallpa was the 13th and last emperor of the Incas. In 1532, Atahuallpa’s army defeated the forces of his half-brother Huascar in a battle near Cuzco. Atahuallpa was consolidating his rule when Pizarro and his 180 soldiers appeared. Pizarro and his men are known as “conquistadores”. I think of them more like soldiers of fortune, who by historical accident (and gunpowder) were able to conquer (and destroy) a superior civilization. It was a damn shame!

501215-statue-of-inca-king-atahualpa-in-cuzco-peru                                      statue of Atahuallpa in Cuzco, Peru

Pizarro had sailed down  from Panama to Peru, landing at Tumbes. He led his army up the Andes Mountains and on November 15, 1532, reached the Inca town of Cajamarca, where Atahuallpa was enjoying the hot springs in preparation for his march on Cuzco, the capital of his brother’s kingdom. Pizarro invited Atahuallpa to attend a feast in his honor, and the emperor accepted. Having just won one of the largest battles in Inca history, and with an army of 30,000 men at his disposal, Atahuallpa thought he had nothing to fear from the bearded white stranger and his 180 men. Pizarro, however, planned an ambush, setting up his artillery at the square of Cajamarca.

On November 16, Atahuallpa arrived at the meeting place with an escort of several thousand men, all apparently unarmed. Pizarro sent out a priest to exhort the emperor to accept the sovereignty of Christianity and Emperor Charles V., and Atahuallpa refused, flinging a Bible handed to him to the ground in disgust. Pizarro immediately ordered an attack. Buckling under an assault by the terrifying Spanish artillery, guns, and cavalry (all of which were alien to the Incas), thousands of Incas were slaughtered, and the emperor was captured.

Atahuallpa offered to fill a room with treasure as ransom for his release, and Pizarro accepted. Eventually, some 24 tons of gold and silver were brought to the Spanish from throughout the Inca empire. Although Atahuallpa had provided the richest ransom in the history of the world, Pizarro treacherously put him on trial for plotting to overthrow the Spanish, for having his half-brother Huascar murdered, and for several other lesser charges. A Spanish tribunal convicted Atahuallpa and sentenced him to die. On August 29, 1533, the emperor was tied to a stake and offered the choice of being burned alive or strangled by garrote if he converted to Christianity. In the hope of preserving his body for mummification, Atahuallpa chose the latter, and an iron collar was tightened around his neck until he died.

The execution of Atahuallpa, the last free reigning emperor, marked the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.

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