Religion cemented the unity of the Inca empire. At its heart was the cult of Inti, the Sun. Other important deities were Mamaquilla (the Moon), Pachamama (Mother Earth), Mamacocha (Mother Water) and Illapa (Thunder). These gods all represented Viracocha, the Creator. The Incas also worshipped holy sites, called huacas. The High Priest of the Sun and his assistants belonged to the imperial family. Mamacunas (chosen women) lived in convents. It was their duty to teach the acllas (virgins).
The Inca Calendar Of Inca Religion
The Incas observed the sun, moon, and stars. They established a calendar of twelve months, in accordance with the sun’s position in the sky, which was marked by special stones. The Inca calendar cycle was respected throughout the empire.
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So little is known about the calendar used by the Inca that one can hardly make a statement about it for which a contrary opinion cannot be found. Some workers in the field even assert that there was no formal calendar but only a simple count of lunations. Since no written language was used by the Inca, it is impossible to check contradictory statements made by early colonial chroniclers.
The Sapa Inca
To assert his power, each ruler claimed to be the son of the Sun. As the Sun ruled the skies, so the Supreme Inca ruled on Earth. When the Sapa Inca died, it was said that the Sun had summoned him. The bodies of dead rulers were mummified and were consulted as oracles. Their wishes were interpreted by the living Sapa Inca.
Ceremony and Sacrifice
The entire Inca empire revolved around religious observance. A significant portion, one-third, of all resources were devoted to the worship of Inti and the respected priests who played a crucial role in Inca society. Interestingly, llamas and guinea pigs were also included in this religious “taxation.” Only those that had no defects were selected for sacrifice, as they were offered to the elements of air, frost and water to ensure a bountiful harvest. In addition, daily sacrifices were made to honour the rising sun that illuminated the city of Cuzco.
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The Cult Of The Sun
Inti, known as the Sun, held great reverence as the bestower of life. Numerous temples were erected across the empire to honour the cult of Inti. Within the main temple in Cuzco, the Incas safeguarded golden figurines representing the Sun. Herds and crops, dedicated to Inti, were used as offerings and in sacred ceremonies. The festivals of the cult were intricately linked to agricultural cycles. The Feast of the Sun, called Inti Raimi, took place on the winter solstice during the month of
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Egyptian Sun worship
From very early times the Sun was also worshipped in the Nile valley. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt (c. 2666- 1640 B.C.), the supreme deity was Ra, the Sun God. His symbols were the pyramid and the obelisk and he was shown sailing the heavens in a boat. The cult of Ra showed itself most clearly in the raising of magnificent temples. For Egyptians, Ra was embodied in the Pharaohs, who were worshipped in the same way as Ra himself.
The Incas revered the remains of their ancestors. Following the demise of every emperor, their internal organs would be extracted and interred separately, while their body would undergo a preservationDressed in fine fabrics and surrounded by precious objects, the bodies remained in the palace that each had inhabited in life. Thousands of years before, the Egyptians had also mummified their dead, and in South America, the Paracas people placed mummy bundles in deep caves.