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The Extirpation of Idolatry in Peru

The Extirpation of Idolatry in Peru

Pablo Joseph de Arriaga
Translated and Edited by L. CLARK KEATING
Copyright Date: 1968
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Extirpation of Idolatry in Peru
    Book Description:

    Long recognized as a classic account of the early Spanish efforts to convert the Indians of Peru, Father De Arriaga's book, originally published in 1621, has become comparatively rare even in its Spanish editions. This translation now makes available for the first time in English a unique record of the customs and religious practices that prevailed after the Spanish conquest.

    In his book, which was designed as a manual for the rooting out of paganism, De Arriaga sets down plainly and methodically what he found among the Indians -- their objects of worship, their priests and sorcerers, their festivals and sacrifices, and their superstitions -- and how these things are to be recognized and combated. Moreover, he evinces a steady awareness of the hold of custom and of the plight of the Indians who are torn between the demands of their old life and their new masters.The Extirpation of Idolatry in Peruis an invaluable source for historians and anthropologists.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6333-8
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-viii)
    L. Clark Keating
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Spain and Peru. In picturing the country with which our author is concerned, we must remember that geographically Peru was for him a vaguely defined territory which included at least as much as all of present-day Ecuador, all of Bolivia, and the northern half of Chile, as well as what is now called Peru. From the early Spanish point of view, which does not differ greatly from that of the non-Indian tourist of today, greater Peru was a grim, inhospitable land of impassable mountains and chasms and airless, treeless plateaus. Only by settling on the coast have newcomers found the...

  5. Father Pablo Joseph de Arriaga
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
    Carlos A. Romero

    Father Pablo Joseph de Arriaga, of the Society of Jesus, a Biscayan of noble antecedents, was a native of the city of Vergara, where, according to his early biographers, he was born in 1564. But the Fathers Backer maintain that he entered the novitiate of his order in his native city of Ocaña in 1679. (It was in 1579 that Father Arriaga entered the novitiate. He was only fifteen years old at the time.) He continued his studies in the Colegio de Madrid, where he was given his orders, and he then served in thecolegiosof Ocaña and Vergara....


      (pp. 3-4)
      Pablo Joseph de Arriaga

      Sir: The love which all your vassals bear Your Majesty and their desire to serve you in every way has awakened in the minds of many of them a desire to find new plans and new means of increasing your royal income in this new world. In the year 1602, while Your Majesty was in Valladolid, I was in Rome whither I had been sent from Lima by order of my superiors, and I learned of two persons who had gone forth from this kingdom of Peru who had given Spain the expectation of a means of increasing the royal...

    • PREFACE. To the Reader
      (pp. 5-8)

      While I was engaged in a visit for the extirpation of idolatry with two fathers of our Society and with Dr. Avendaiio, at present a priest of the Metropolitan Church in this city, I wrote this account. The curious nature of the things I saw provided its beginning, the utility that might be implied for the future insured its continuance, the necessity for a remedy for so great an evil as is being discovered led to its conclusion. I did not intend to write a history, although a long and varied one could be written of the antiquities, fables, rites,...

    • CHAPTER ONE How Idolatry Came to Be Discovered in the Archbishopric of Lima
      (pp. 9-22)

      Although the Indians of Peru have been Christians for years, it is well known that some traces of idolatry still persist in all their towns and provinces. Nor will it be marveled at that so ancient an evil, and one so deeply ingrained and natural to the Indians, should not have been completely eradicated. Anyone who has studied the ecclesiastical histories from the beginning, as well as the evolution of the church, and who understands what has happened in our Spain can see that the Jews are outsiders there still despite the fact that they came to the country more...

    • CHAPTER TWO What the Indians Worship Today and of What Their Idolatry Consists
      (pp. 22-32)

      Much could be said about this, and something has been written in the treatise at the end of the confession, compiled by order of the Council of Lima in the year 1582.¹ Anyone who reads it will know what the Indians formerly did, so I shall now summarize the objects of worship in the towns already visited and those now in process of visitation, for they will not differ from the objects of worship in towns yet to be visited.

      In many places, especially in the sierra, they worship the sun as Punchao,² which means day, and also under its...

    • CHAPTER THREE Concerning the Ministers of Idolatry
      (pp. 32-41)

      Those whom we commonly call sorcerers, although it is rare for them to kill anyone by their witchcraft, are generally calledumu, laicca,and, in some places,chacha, auqui,orauquilla,which means father or old man. But as they have various offices and ministries, so too they have their private names.

      Huacapvíllac,meaning the one who talks to the huaca, is the most important. To him is entrusted the care of the huaca, the right to talk to it and to fabricate its replies to the town (although sometimes the Devil speaks to them through the stone).¹ It is...

    • CHAPTER FOUR What Is Offered in Their Sacrifices and in What Manner
      (pp. 41-46)

      The principal offering, the best and most important part of Indian sacrifices, is chicha. By it and with it the festivals of the huacas begin. It is everything. For its use they have receptacles and tumblers of many forms and materials. It is a common saying with them that when they go to worship the huacas they are giving them a drink. For each festival there are special ministers, as we have noted.¹ In the lowlands, from Chancay south, the chicha offered to the huacas is calledyale,and it is made ofzoraamixed with chewed corn. They also...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Festivals Celebrated for the Huacas
      (pp. 46-52)

      After the visits had begun, in the towns where they were expected the Indians stopped celebrating the festivals of the huacas with as much solemnity as before. Individuals have said during confession that they put aside their huacas when they heard that a visitor was on his way. But where the visits have not yet begun and are not expected, they carry on their festivals up to this very day. Not more than a week ago an individual reported that he found himself in the midst of one, and that in a town not far from here the Indians celebrated...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Abuses and Superstitions of the Indians
      (pp. 52-60)

      Indian superstitions and abuses are as different and diverse as are their provinces and towns, for as regards a single subject some have one superstition, others another. They only agree by being in error and mistaken in their beliefs. I shall demonstrate how in the matters already seen and touched, so to speak, some of the practices in villages not yet visited are either the same or similar to those in towns already visited.

      When a woman is in childbirth, they send for the sorcerer to sacrifice to the conopa that the woman calls her own. He places it upon...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Concerning the Roots and Causes of the Idolatry That Is Found among the Indians Today
      (pp. 60-66)

      The chief source and root of the evil so common in this archbishopric, which we fear is to be encountered throughout the kingdom, is the failure to teach Christian doctrine; if this could be remedied the remaining sources and roots would dry up and disappear. For even though we call every curacy among the Indians adoctrinuor mission, in some places it is so in name only. In towns where a crown agent is stationed, or where the best trained of the boys can repeat the rudiments, or sing them, or teach them to the youngsters who come together...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Other Causes of the Idolatry of the Indians
      (pp. 67-74)

      Another contributory cause of Indian idolatry is the large number of ministers and teachers thereof that they have among them, a fact to be inferred from the cases discovered and punished in the towns. If a reckoning is made of all the greater and lesser ministers, we generally find one minister or teacher for every ten Indians or less. Each clan and faction has its own priests, and even when no more than three or four houses are left in a clan, they have their huaca and a priest to guard it. I saw one clan composed of but a...

    • CHAPTER NINE Proving That in the Provinces Not Yet Visited Much Idolatry Remains
      (pp. 74-80)

      The first of my two suppositions is that in the provinces not yet visited, there is as much idolatry as in those already visited. The second is that in those visited, many traces and roots of idolatry yet remain. And as the one supposition is as sure as the other, and both are true as such, like principlesper se notos,I have desisted from trying to prove them. But because I know that some persons in great authority doubt what has been said, despite the evidence that makes it plain, as specified in previous chapters, I will add the...

    • CHAPTER TEN Showing That in the Provinces That Have Been Visited Many Roots of Idolatry Remain
      (pp. 80-90)

      It has been sufficiently proved by what has been said that no less idolatry remains in the other provinces of the kingdom than was found in those of this archbishopric. Let us now see whether it is not just as true that the tangled growth and roots of idolatry cannot be removed by that preliminary plowing which is performed during the first visit. Sufficient testimony on this point can be found in the letters and reports sent this past week to the Lord Viceroy and Lord Archbishop of this city by Licentiate Rodrigo Hernández Príncipe. This priest served the mission...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN The Means of Uprooting Idolatry
      (pp. 90-102)

      I should be very happy to hear a discussion of this point among experienced men who are zealous for the good of the Indian and to write down the means employed by others which have proved useful and efficacious. Meanwhile, I shall describe briefly the means that I know.

      The two main causes of the idolatry of the Indians have already been given. The first is their vast ignorance of the matters of our faith, because they have not been taught to them, and the false conviction which they continue to hold concerning their huacas and superstitions, of which they...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE What Sort of Visitor Is Needed for the Extirpation of Idolatry
      (pp. 102-106)

      In the gathering already referred to, which was called together by the Lord Viceroy Prince of Esquilache, and at which were present gentlemen of the Royal Audience, members of the Ecclesiastical Chapter, and serious and experienced men of religion, the most important point that was decided was to build a house of detention for sorcerers in the town of the Cercado outside the walls of this city. I was ordered to draw up a plan, to begin properly, and to devote all my energies to the building so that the project might be well started before I set out on...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN What a Visitor Should Do upon Reaching a Town, Distribution of Time and Sermons
      (pp. 107-113)

      The first day is the most difficult and arduous, as all beginnings are. It is even more difficult in this enterprise where a new start is being made. Therefore one must proceed with patience and prayer.

      For this reason, a visit is not begun in a large town nor in the capital of a province, but in some remote and faraway place, in a small town. If this town is near one that has already been visited, and if by this means or some other a glimpse of the idolatry in the town has been obtained, we will have gained...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN How a Visit Should Be Begun
      (pp. 113-116)

      The day after one’s arrival all the townspeople should be received according to the poll list, if this has not already been done the day before, to see whether the missing persons are readily able to come.

      When the people are gathered together, mass is sung, said, or prayed, and at the end of the doctrine, at the time of the sermon, the edict is read to them. It is taught and explained in their language; then the first sermon is preached, exhorting them in this, as in everything else, to reveal their huacas and idolatry and to show them...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN How a Sorcerer or Any Other Indian Who Reveals or Gives Information about Huacas Is to Be Examined
      (pp. 117-123)

      What has been said in the previous chapter serves but to call attention to the quarry, so to speak. Let us now see how we are to hunt it down and how we are to examine the sorcerer or other person giving the information.

      In the first place, the examination must be performed by the visitor alone, without a notary or any other person present, because of the fear of the Indians and their reticence about revealing a secret so many years hidden. They are convinced that whoever hears them speak will give them away and accuse them to the...

    • CHAPTER SIXTEEN How a Visit Is to Be Conducted
      (pp. 123-134)

      In provinces where visits are now being conducted, less effort and diligence are required, and the aforementioned problems are not likely to arise. For the caciques and alcaldes who come to the visitor and to the fathers generally identify their sorcerers without resistance. As already related, within half an hour of our arrival all three hundred and fifty inhabitants of a certain town came to reveal themselves and the alcaldes presented no less than thirty sorcerers and ministers of idolatry. To dispel their fears and win their good will, we treated them kindly, and the visitor gave them a present....

    • CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Conclusion and Summary of Everything That Has Been Said
      (pp. 134-139)

      In the prologue we proposed to divide this treatise into three parts. The first was concerned with showing what huacas and idols the Indians worship, what they give them as offerings, what festivals they celebrate for them, what abuses and superstitions they have, and what priests, teachers, and ministers of idolatry there are. The second was to treat the causes and roots thereof, why on the one hand they were so well hidden, why they flourished, and what the remedies are to uncover and uproot them. The third, what method and practice of visits is the best and most immediate...

    • CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Remedies for the Extirpation of Idolatry in This Archbishopric and How They Now Stand at the Beginning of Lent, 1621
      (pp. 139-144)

      In this archbishopric, where so much energy has been expended to uproot idolatry, there are still towns and no few of them that have yet to be visited for the first time, although many, as has been noted, have been visited twice. It was about three weeks ago that three fathers left to accompany Master Julián de los Ríos, of the province of Checras, on a visit. At the time he was at his mission with no expectation of being called, but he was sent out with title of visitor to the province of Chinchacocha and other places, because his...

    • CHAPTER NINETEEN The State of Christianity outside This Archbishopric and in the Rest of Peru
      (pp. 145-158)

      Anyone who has read thus far, especially if he comes from outside this kingdom, would, I believe, like to know how Christianity fares in provinces and bishoprics other than this.

      It can be said, in a word, that the area under discussion is the best and the most cultivated region, whether already visited or in the process of being visited, and that its condition is as already described. From this it can be imagined what the rest of the country must be like. But in order that the situations may be more easily comprehended, let me tell the story in...

    • CHAPTER TWENTY Of the Importance of Missions
      (pp. 158-164)

      One thing leads to another and although I shall probably add nothing to what I have already said, since for my purpose I have no need to do so, still it may occur to the reader of this work that I praise my needles a lot considering how blunt their points are, as the saying goes. It may also be thought that I am blind compared with those whose sight is what it should be. And some may say, and not without foundation, that we appear to be elevating our own Society in this kingdom of Peru through missionary effort,...

    • An Edict against Idolatry
      (pp. 165-168)

      I, ––––––, visitor general and ecclesiastical judge of this archbishopric in the cases of idolatry, in the name of the illustrious –––––– of His Majesty’s Council, bring greetings and grace to you, our neighbors, the dwellers in and inhabitants of this town. You know and are to know that the holy fathers, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, in sacred and holy councils, have justly and properly ordained that all prelates and pastors of the church (unless they are legitimately prevented) are each of them obliged to make a general visitation and solemn scrutiny of the life and customs of all subjects...

    • Regulations to Be Left by the Visitor in the Towns as a Remedy for the Extirpation of Idolatry
      (pp. 169-174)

      In the town of ––––––, on the –––– day of the month of ––––––, 16––, ––––––, visitor general and ecclesiastical judge of the archbishopric in the cases of idolatry, for His Illustrious Lordship ––––––, having completed the visit conducted in this town concerning the aforesaid idolatry, in order to remove from it every occasion for a relapse, and so that the offense to Our Lord God may cease, by the commission he holds from His Most Illustrious Lordship ––––––, has drawn up and ordained the following regulations.

      First. If from now on any Indian man or woman shall lapse into...

  7. APPENDIX. Quechua Glossary
    (pp. 175-186)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 187-192)