Commentary, Customs

Inca Weapons Helped Create an Empire and a Culture

Liwi Was Used with a Huaraca

Cuzco is a place characterized by its culture, traditions, history, and gastronomy. It has a great historical importance which has left us a grand legacy. Among other parts of this past we can explore the weapons with which the Incas won their great battles and formed one of the world’s most amazing empires.

These weapons were made from a diversity of natural materials. Among these we find leather, stone, and more. With the passage of time they have mostly disappeared. Today we only see in regular usage the waraka, the sling which is commonly used still in the countryside, as well as in typical dances.

In any case, the waraka is not made in the same way as anciently. In the city it is made for decoration, so that it can form part of the dances that crowd around our Plaza on feast days.

Nevertheless, many of these weapons have been found in archeological sites and are now kept in the city’s museums, such as the Inca Museum (Museo Inca) on Córdoba de Tucumán street in Cuzco.

Hacha Weapon
Hacha Weapon

You can also see this weaponry portrayed in theatrical scenes such as those of Inti Raymi and the Huarachikuy, among others. Furthermore, on murals such as the one on the Sun Avenue you can see them represented. Authors, such as the Inca Garcilaso also describe them; he and others tell many things about the Incas, the lives, their tools, their clothing, their weapons and their history.

These weapons include the boleadoras (a set of three cords to which stones have been attached), the slings, clubs, macanas–staffs with sharpened stones, hatchets, shields, lances, and others. In ancient times our ancestors would take them to go to war and fight body against body, although some of them are meant to be used from some distance. These latter include the slings and the boleadoras.

Today we can only imagine the sound and fury of the battles where bodies would pound into bodies with beating weaponry. Much depended on the soldiers strength, skill, and strategy. It is said that even stones came forth to be soldiers and fight in our battles.

 

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