#12 from Natural & Moral History of the Indies
(José de Acosta, 1589)

Of Superstitions They Used to the Dead

The Indians of Peru beleeved commonly that the Soules lived after this life, and that the good were in glorie and the bad in paine; so as there is little difficultie to perswade them to these articles. But they are not yet come to the knowledge of that point, that the bodies should rise with the soules. And therefore they did vse a wonderfull care, as it is saide, to preserve the bodies which they honoured after death; to this end their successors gave them garments, and made sacrifices vnto them, especially the kings Yncas, being accompanied at their funeralls with a great number of servants and women for his service in the other life and therefore on the day of his decease they did put to death the woman he had loved best, his servants and officers, that they might serve him in the other life.

Whenas Huayna Capac died (who was father to Atahualpa, at what time the Spaniards entered), they put to death aboue a thousand persons of all ages and conditions, for his service, to accompany him in the other life; after many songs and drunkennes they slew them; and these that were appointed to death, held themselves happy.

[#12] “Of the Superstitions They Used to the Dead,” from José de Acosta, Natural & Moral History of the Indies, ed. Clements R. Markham, vol. II (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1880, pp. 313-14.


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#12 from Natural & Moral History of the Indies
(José de Acosta, 1589)

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