Manco Capac

In the mythology of the Incas, Manco Capac was the founder of their nation and a culture hero who set the Incas on the road to glory. There are several versions of his story.

The best-known source, The Royal Commentaries of the Inca by Inca Garcilaso de 1a Vega, relates that the sun god was distressed that the people of earth did not live in a civilized way. As he crossed the sky each day, he saw that they wore only leaves and animal skins for clothing, lived in caves, and gathered wild plants and berries for food. So the sun god decided to send his son Manco Capac and daughter Mama Ocllo to teach the people how to improve their way of life. He gave his children a golden rod and told them to push it into the ground wherever they stopped to rest. When they reached a spot where the rod sank completely into the ground with a single push, they should build a sacred city of the sun, to be named Cuzco.

Setting out from Lake Titicaca, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo wandered across the land and finally came to a valley where the golden rod sank easily into the soil. There they gathered all the people from near and far and taught them how to build homes, weave cloth, make tools, and grow crops. They also taught the people how to use weapons so that they could defend themselves and defeat others.

culture hero mythical figure who gives people the tools of civilization, such as language and fire

Another version of the myth says that Manco Capac was one of six siblings who emerged from a cave near Cuzco. The siblings gained control over the people of the earth, and Manco Capac became the first ruler of the Incas. Still another tale says that Manco Capac deceived people into believing that he was the son of the sun god. He did this by standing on a mountain wearing silver plaques that shone in the sun and made him look like a god.

See also Inca Mythology .

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