First Part of the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas by the Ynca Garcillasso de la Vega

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Author: Vega, Garcilaso de la El Inca (1539-1616)

Year: 1869-71

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: London


2 volumes. Volume I (Containing Books I, II, III, and IV) xi+359 with indices; Volume II (Containing Books V, Vi, VII, VIII and IX) 553 pages with foldout frontispiece maps of Cuzco and index. Octavo (9" x 6") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt pictorial representation of the ship Victoria on the cover and edge ruled decorative blind stamp to covers. Translated and Edited, with Notes and an Introduction, by Clements R. Markham. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, First Series, Number 41 and 45. First edition.

The Comentarios Reales de los Incas Part 1 was first published in Lisbon in 1609.

Garcilaso de la Vega, the "Inca," was born Gomez Suarez de Figueroa in Cuzco on April 12th, 1539. His father was the prominent conquistador captain Sebastian Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas. His mother was Isabel Suarez Chimpu Ocllo, niece of Inca Huaina Capac and concubine to the Spanish captain. Her status as Inca princess and mother of his first-born son did not prevent Sebastian Garcilaso from later marrying a well-born Spanish woman (dona Luisa Martel, who was only four years older than Gomez) and marrying Isabel off to a commoner (Juan del Pedroche). Their son was thus one of the first Peruvian mestizos, and both sides of the family took care to ensure that he was exposed to the traditions of their respective cultures. He learned first Quechua and then Spanish before embarking on an elementary study of Latin in Cuzco. The first volume of this history recounts the origins and rise of the Inca empire, using accounts sent by native friends in Peru as well as Garcilaso's own childhood memories which were filled with stories handed down by Inca relatives. Again, the overall impression conveyed by the work is that the Incas ruled their realm wisely and well, on the classical model of pagan Rome. Their only real flaw was their unwitting idolatry, and Garcilaso lauded Spanish attempts at proselytization. His message, however, was clear: the Incas were a noble people deserving to be treated with respect and perhaps allowed a role in the governance of their own territories. With the publication of the Florida, Garcilaso's attention returned to the New World. For years he had collaborated with Gonzalo Silvestre, a survivor of de Soto's expedition to what are now the southeastern United States, to give an epic account of that voyage. Garcilaso's narrative used classical allusions to at once make the conquistadors into heroic figures and depict the Indians as noble pagans analogous to the ancient Romans and Greeks.


Spine age toned and gilt dulled, corners gently bumped, some foxing, bookplate on front pastedowns, some of the pages of volume 1 are roughly opened else a very good set.

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