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Social Hierarchy

Social Hierarchy. Social Hierarchy. Rulers Aristocrats Priests Peasant cultivators of common birth. Social Structure. The Incas had a very clear social structure. The ruler, the Sapa Inca, and his wives, the Coyas, had supreme control over the empire.

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Social Hierarchy

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  1. Social Hierarchy

  2. Social Hierarchy Rulers Aristocrats Priests Peasant cultivators of common birth

  3. Social Structure • The Incas had a very clear social structure. • The ruler, the Sapa Inca, and his wives, the Coyas, had supreme control over the empire. • The High Priest and the Army Commander in Chief were next.

  4. “The Inca” • The Sapa Inca was formally married to his sister, the Coya, but had legal access to a large group of "Chosen Women." • Some of these were devoted to the church and celibate, but other were effectively other wives of the Sapa Inca. • A son was chosen from among the offspring of the Coya or from any of the 200 or so concubines. • Thus brother and sister, King and Queen in the Incas could be developed from a large group of half-brothers and half-sisters.

  5. The Incas • The term 'Incas' (or Inkas) is often used to refer to the people of the empire as a whole, whereas strictly it refers to the ruling aristocracy. • The position of Inca, the supreme ruler of the empire, was a more or less hereditary position, although strict precedence was often waived in favour of superior political or military ability.

  6. Social Structure • Military • Then came the Four Apus, the regional army commanders. • Next came temple priests, architects, administrators and army generals. • Merchants and Middle Class • Next were artisans, musicians, army captains and the quipucamayoc, the Incan "accountants." • At the bottom were sorcerers, farmers, herding families and conscripts.

  7. Important Positions • Local governors responsible for exacting labor tax which could be paid by service in army, on public works, or in agricultural work • Coya carried out important religious duties and governed when Sapa Inca absent • Nobles ruled provinces w/ chieftains Inca conquered

  8. Social Hierarchy • Chief ruler was a god-king who theoretically owned everything and was an absolute and infallible ruler • Dead rulers retained their prestige even after death • Remains were mummified and state deliberations often took place in their presence in order to benefit from their counsel • Were seen as intermediaries with the gods

  9. Social Hierarchy • Aristocrats lived privileged lives including fine foods, embroidered clothes, and large ears spools • Spanish called them “big ears” Inca ear spools

  10. Incan People • The nobility of Quechua-speaking tribes assimilated into the empire were absorbed into the ruling Inca aristocracy. • The Inca were warriors with a strong and powerful army. Because of the fierceness of their army and their hierarchical organization, they became the largest Native American society.

  11. Social Hierarchy • Priests often came from royal and aristocratic families • They lived celibate and ascetic lives • Influenced Inca society by education and religious rituals

  12. Social Hierarchy • Peasants worked lands allocated to them and delivered substantial portions of their production to the bureaucrats • Surplus supported the ruling, aristocratic, and priestly classes as well as providing public relief in times of famine or to widows • Also owed compulsory labor services to the Inca state • Men provided heavy labor • Women provided tribute in the forms of textiles, pottery, and jewelry

  13. Political Philosophy • policy of forced resettlement ensured political stability • officials collected taxes, enforced laws, kept records on a quipu (collection of knotted colored strings) which noted dates, events, population, crops • use of road system strictly limited to government, military business • all land belonged to Inca, crops allotted to specific groups, government took possession of each harvest • private property forbidden, crime nonexistent, citizens never starved • no written records; oral tradition preserved through generations

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