Table of contents:

Why serving is a holiday and other subtleties from the life of women of the Inca empire
Why serving is a holiday and other subtleties from the life of women of the Inca empire
A girl from the former Inca country
A girl from the former Inca country

Before the advent of the Spaniards armed with gunpowder weapons, the Inca army was the strongest in South America, and the empire included many lands and peoples. It had a compulsory conscription, an education system, a postal system, a water supply system, and roads comparable to those laid for centuries by Roman soldiers throughout Europe. The Incas used penicillin. At the same time, it was a state with amazingly harsh laws. And the position of a woman would not be pleasant to our contemporary.

Severe childhood

When a girl was born in the country of the Incas, her first days were little different from the first days of the boy. On the fourth day, after making sure that the baby survived, the family gathered and celebrated the birth of the newborn. But that was where the similarities with European customs ended. The Incas had a real cult of tempering. Babies were only bathed in cold water, and it was considered useful to expose the cradle with the sleeping baby out in the cold at night. The only thing mothers worried about was getting the top of their head wet.

Up to three months, the baby's hands were swaddled tightly, otherwise, as it was believed, they would be weak. The mother in no way took the child in her arms or knees, so as not to spoil it. She even fed, bending over the cradle. The cradles themselves looked like wooden benches with bumpers. One leg was slightly shorter than the other so that the cradle could be rocked. Only a folded coarse net was laid under the baby.

The Incas practiced feeding by the hour. The mother came to give her daughter or son milk only three times a day, no matter how much the rest of the time the child cried from hunger. It was believed that otherwise the baby would grow up greedy and gluttonous, and could also get sick with vomiting and diarrhea. Nevertheless, they loved their children, raised themselves, without nannies, even in noble houses. They breastfed until the mother had enough milk.

When the child grew up a little, they could arrange a playpen for him by digging a hole in the ground up to the baby's armpits. The hole was lined with rags and toys were placed in it.

Girls and boys received their name only after a year, at a special hair cutting ceremony. This name was a child's, with growing up it was supposed to be replaced. Before the ceremony, relatives gathered, feasted, and then one by one they came up, cut off a lock and gave a gift in return to the baby. This holiday was the same both in poor houses and in rich ones, the difference was only in the price of gifts.

Rising to her feet, the girl began to help her mother around the house as much as she could. Even at preschool age, she learned to sew, wash, cook, clean, look after the kids. However, no one held the sisters for serious nannies.

Women in the former Inca country changed their dress and treatment of children, but not their faces
Women in the former Inca country changed their dress and treatment of children, but not their faces

A holiday in your honor is when you serve

Every year, the most beautiful commoner girls 9-10 years old were selected to study at the House of Girls in their province. A special official was responsible for this. In the House of Girls, nuns taught girls the basics of religion and more complex women's work: spinning, weaving and dyeing woolen and cotton fabrics, preparing more sophisticated dishes, and making chicha, a kind of mash used at festivals and religious ceremonies. Of course, girls would have learned many of these skills at home. Probably good manners were also taught to the girls.

The girls who have completed four years of training, the official responsible for them took them to the capital for the Sun Festival. They were introduced to the emperor. The most beautiful became concubines and maids of honor of the emperor (alas, it was impossible to refuse this honor). The rest were distributed to nuns, temple maids, to marry courtiers and officials who pleased the emperor. Sometimes the girl was kept for a special sacrifice.

The mummy of a sacrificed girl. Before the death of the victims, the Incas did not torture
The mummy of a sacrificed girl. Before the death of the victims, the Incas did not torture

The education of girls, of course, was many times simpler and poorer than that of boys. True, only the sons of noble people studied at the boarding school. Girls from the vast imperial family, in addition to the program presented in the monasteries, learned to fight with weapons. However, no one let them out on the battlefield - this skill simply had to distinguish a representative of the imperial family from any other.

Every girl, poor or well-born, went through the kikochiko ceremony after her first menstrual period. Before the holiday, the girl fasted for three days, while her mother was weaving a new outfit for her daughter. In this dress and sandals of white wool, with braided hair, the girl went out to the family. Relatives were already catching up to this day. During the kikochiko, there was a feast for two days, and the girl at the feast was a servant, bringing food and drinks to everyone. After the feast, she received gifts from everyone, and the most influential man of her family gave her a name along with parting words to be obedient and please mom and dad.

The name of the girl was given one that would sound like a compliment. For example, “Gold” (Corey). A woman is known who, for her exquisite fragility, received the name "Egg" ("Runta").

Is it easy to be an adult

The further, the more there were differences in the rights of a girl and a boy. An adult woman, for example, was banned from giving evidence in court, or having an abortion (every child belonged to the state from the moment of conception, and the punishment for termination of pregnancy was the death penalty for a boy and two hundred lashes for a girl). For manicide, they were punished much more severely than for murder, by hanging a woman upside down in the square. In addition, in adultery, even if the woman was raped, both parties were found guilty. Both were killed.

A girl got married at the age of 16-20, and men usually got married after 25 years, having completed compulsory military service. Commoners usually could only have one wife. Nobles - two or more. The emperor had the right to every woman as to his wife. But only his own sister was considered the main thing for him; her son inherited the throne.

It is interesting that, for all the modestness of the social role of women among the Incas, the emperor's sister was considered an equal co-ruler. Many state acts were attributed to the empresses, although researchers doubt that such activity for a woman was possible in such a cruelly patriarchal state.

In addition to the emperor, the right to marry sisters had to know, but only if the bride and groom have different mothers. Commoners were forbidden to marry by kinship up to the fourth generation. The problem was, however, that the peasants were obliged to marry within their community, so very often marriages were not played out of mutual sympathy - relatives and officials chose a wife for a man, based on considerations of not too close kinship. Marrying was the duty of every man in the empire.

The Inca empire was a mountain state, maybe that's why it was so harsh
The Inca empire was a mountain state, maybe that's why it was so harsh

The marriage was officially registered at a special ceremony held once a year. The Incas were generally obsessed with ordering everything natural in time as much as possible. It is clear that there could be no spontaneous weddings. The spouses became pairs and went to register in orderly rows. In the capital, the ceremony on the main square of the country was conducted personally by the emperor! True, only for girls and boys who are related to him. But there were many of them.

After the wedding feast, the groom would come to fetch the bride at her parents' house and, kneeling down, put a sandal on her right leg. White woolen sandals were reserved only for virgins, the rest of the brides wore herbal ones. He took the bride by the hand, and relatives from both sides led the young to the groom's house. Already there, the bride gave the groom a woolen shirt and jewelry, which he immediately put on. Then, until the evening, the parents instructed the young, explaining their responsibilities.

For the wedding, the young people must have a separate house built in advance. Relatives gave home utensils at the wedding, one at a time. In general, the Incas had a lot in common with us on such a day. The house was built by the whole community; building a house for representatives of the nobility was part of the public duties of ordinary inhabitants of the empire. There was no furniture in the houses. They slept and ate on the floor, utensils were stored in niches in the walls.

After the wedding, divorce was only possible with the younger wife. That is, it was inaccessible to the commoners. In addition, the younger wife was considered the elder's servant, and when the elder had an heir to the house, she was assigned to him first as a nanny, then, after his 14 years, as the first mistress. It was strictly forbidden for widowed men to appoint the youngest wife as their main wife. It was supposed to take another main wife. Probably, they wanted to prevent the murders of the chief wives by the younger wives in order to take their place.

But it was almost impossible for a widow to remarry. But they were often transferred to the upbringing of orphans, who, upon reaching puberty and until the creation of their family, were their official lovers. After the wedding, the orphans were supposed to support the guardian, like younger wives.

Swelling for beauty and work for rest

Grown women and girls tried to embellish themselves. Since the Incas loved women with full calves and hips, women of fashion tied tight strips of cloth around their legs under the knees. From this, the legs swelled, acquiring the desired fullness. Of course, there was nothing useful about it.

A woman's dress usually consisted of a piece of cloth folded in half and sewn so that there were holes for the hands. A collar was cut from above. The dress was girded with a wide, elegantly trimmed belt. No underwear was supposed to be underneath. In addition, women actively used metal (silver, bronze, gold) jewelry. The ends of some ornaments, such as hairpins, were shaped like small discs and served as mirrors.

Women very carefully looked after their hair, monitored its cleanliness, and combed it. If the hair burned out in the sun and began to appear reddish or if it showed gray hair, women tried to make up. It was not an easy process, during the coloring of the hair I had to sit for a long time, dipping my hair into a vat with a boiling decoction of herbs. This broth not only dyed, but also gave the hair a glossy shine, which was very much appreciated.

The rainbow was considered the national colors of the imperial house of the country of the Incas
The rainbow was considered the national colors of the imperial house of the country of the Incas

The woman had no chance to go against the system and do an interesting craft instead of homework. The girl was strictly monitored by her mother, and the married woman was constantly checked by a special local inspector. He assessed the cleanliness of the room, the neatness of the woman and her children, hygiene when preparing food, and whether children were treated correctly.

In addition to the usual female household chores, the commoner participated in the collection of taxes from the household. The highest quality wool was sent from the imperial palace to all houses, and within a year a linen was to be woven from this wool, which was sent back to the palace.

The woman was not allowed to look idle at all, so if she wanted to take a walk, chat with friends, relax, she took a spindle and spun. Fortunately, no one checked how quickly she does it. True, the lady who came to visit the princess had no right to bring her work. So she had to ask for some work on the spot. The hostess graciously allowed one of the daughters to be helped.

The younger wives and servants of the emperor had special duties. They not only cooked and served food =. If he wanted to spit, one of the women put out her hand so that he would not do this uncivilizedly on the ground. Under the emperor Atahualpa, who apparently suffered from paranoia, if hair fell from his head onto his clothes, one of the women would pick him up and eat him so that no one else could take him and jinx the head of state.

Besides a wife, a servant, or a nun, a woman could become a prostitute. But I never chose such a share at will. The Incas had no analogue of expensive courtesans. The prostitutes lived separately in huts outside the city. These were women who for some reason were abandoned by the family or left without a family at all. Decent women were not allowed to talk to prostitutes under the threat of punishment and divorce.

Women gave birth without midwives, hoping for nature and the guidance of older women. If twins or a child with a visible physical defect were born, it was believed that the gods punished the family for something. So the whole family fasted after that. It must be said that such children were not killed, and subsequently the state provided the disabled with work within their powers. They were also given clothes from the emperor's storerooms. But the law required that they enter into marriage only with people with the same kind of injury.

Inca cruelty so similar to the toughness of the ancient Romans, very bizarrely combined with a very humane social policy and a well-organized matter of providing the elderly and disabled with everything they need, including work with obvious benefits for society. After Columbus presented America on a platter to plunder Spain, everything was destroyed, and the social system of the Incas, of course, too. Nobody else cared about the disabled and the elderly. Everyone survived.

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