From their mythical origins to astonishing feats of engineering, an expertly informed reassessment of one of the great empires of the Americas: the Inca.
In their heyday, the Inca ruled over the largest land empire in the Americas, reaching the pinnacle of South American civilization. Known as the “Romans of the Americas,” these fabulous engineers converted the vertiginous, challenging landscapes of the Andes into a fertile region able to feed millions, alongside building royal estates such as Machu Picchu and a 40,000-kilometer-long road network crisscrossed by elegant braided-rope suspension bridges.
Beautifully illustrated, this book examines the mythical origins and history of the Inca, including their economy, society, technology, and beliefs. Kevin Lane reconsiders previous theories while proposing new interpretations concerning the timeline of Inca expansion, their political organization, and the role of women in their society while showcasing how their legacy endures today.
About the Author
Kevin Lane is a researcher of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and the Institute of Cultures (IDECU), University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has published widely on South American archaeology.
"In The Inca, Lane, a researcher at the University of Buenos Aires, offers a concise and well-illustrated introduction to this bygone realm, describing its history and culture and chronicling its rise and fall. Like much about the Incas, their origins are open to debate. Lane—with this subject and many others—sorts through competing theories, showing how recent scholarship is reshaping traditional ideas and providing a more persuasive explanation for the limited archaeological evidence. . . . The Inca is a volume in the Lost Civilizations series, which prompts Lane to wonder: ‘How lost are the Incas?’ He reports that, five hundred years after the Incas’ conquest and marginalization, their descendants retain a vital culture, experiencing a ‘steadily growing pride and revindication’ of their indigenous past, including their language and religion. The Inca empire may have gone the way of all empires, but, like the sapa Inca, who lived on after death, its spirit is very much alive." — Gerard Helferich
“This book is a valuable new contribution to Inca studies. Lane skillfully integrates the Inca historical narrative (from chroniclers’ accounts and archaeology) with details of local languages, gender relations, and everyday life to retell the fascinating story of South America’s largest empire. Lane’s book is carefully researched, engagingly written, and highly readable, an excellent introduction to the Incas.” — Elizabeth DeMarrais, University of Cambridge
"Lane has succeeded in producing an outstanding exploration of up-to-date Inca scholarship. . . . [The Inca] is a comprehensive outline of Inca culture which includes a good examination of how native pre-Hispanic traditions continue to have relevance and currency in the present-day Andean republics." — Frank M. Meddens, University of Reading, coeditor of "Inca Sacred Space"