It’s common for people planning a Machu Picchu vacation tour to be curious about the history of the Inca Civilization. When travelers from other countries visit the ancient city of Cusco, they want to know more about the Inca society.
Here’s a closer look at the Incans to help you learn more about them:
Structure and Classes
The Inca society consisted of four classes:
- Sapa Inca — who was the emperor, and the most powerful person among the Incans.
- Royalty — this class consisted of the Sapa Inca’s sons and close relatives.
- Nobility — this class included other relatives of the Sapa Inca and people who played an important role in society, such as chiefs and priests.
- Ayllu — the ayllu included the bulk of the population. Essentially, anyone who wasn’t related to the Sapa Inca or held a prominent position could be considered part of the ayllu.
Citizens in the Inca society had to comply with three basic laws:
- Ama sua meaning “Do not steal.”
- Ama llulla meaning “Do not lie.”
- Ama quella meaning “Do not be lazy.”
The Incans didn’t have prisons, and any violations and crimes were punished severely to set an example for others. Mutilation, hanging, stoning, or being pushed off a cliff were some common punishments at the time. A public scolding was given for minor offenses.
The Incans worshipped many gods. Among them, Viracocha was considered the creator of the universe, and Inti was their sun god. They also heavily worshipped mountain deities as well as water. The former were venerated with human sacrifices in elaborate ceremonies called Capacocha.
Gender Roles in the Inca Society
Men and women were assigned parallel roles in the Inca society, but both were given their due importance. Monogamy was enforced for men of lower social standing, but high-ranking men were allowed to practice polygamy.
Women’s duties included gathering and preparing food, child-rearing, caretaking of animals, and weaving cloth for the government. Both men and women worked in the fields, hunted, and fished as needed. Men also served in the military and performed other physical labor as required.
The Incans also used trial marriages to assess the suitability of a couple. A couple would agree to be married for a few years, and they could separate at the end of this period. If not, the marriage would be finalized—and divorce would only be possible if the couple didn’t have children.
The Incas’ influence can still be observed in many cities across Peru, most notably in Cusco, which was their capital. Have a look at our tour packages in Cusco, Sacred Valley tours, and Inca Trail tours to experience Peru’s rich history for yourself. Contact us for more details.