The Incas of Peru

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1. Punuc rucu (old man sleeping), sixty years and upwards.

2. Chaupi rucu ("half old"), fifty to sixty years. Doing light work.

3. Puric (able-bodied), twenty-five to fifty. Tribute payer and head of the family.

4. Yma huayna (almost a youth), twenty to twenty-five. Worker.

5. Coca palla (coca picker), sixteen to twenty. Worker.

6. Pucllac huamra, eight to sixteen. Light work.

7. Ttanta raquizic (bread receiver), six to eight.

8. Macta puric, under six.

9. Saya huamrac, able to stand.

10. Mosoc caparic, baby in arms.1

This was not, however, a spontaneous growth but was developed by the government for administrative purposes.

The serious aspect of the structuralization of society on the basis of age is seen at the point of transition from youth to manhood, in connection with the very general puberty ceremonies just described. Australia is peculiar in the prolongation of this period of transition. Among the Arunta, for example, the initiatory rites do not last for a few days or weeks or months, but extend over a period of about twenty years. At the last of the ceremonies, termed the enwurga or fire ceremony, the candidates for manhood are between twenty-five and thirty years of age, and this single performance, as described by Spencer and Gillen, covered a period of about four months.2 Young manhood is thus extraordinarily subordinated and the importance of the older men on this continent is unique and tends to increase with increasing age.

1Markham, C.R.n/an/an/an/a, , 161–162.

2 Spencer, >B., and F. J. Gillen The Arunta, 1: 223–304 (The Macmillan Company. By permission).

[While there is no question as to the period of time covered by the series of ceremonies as a whole, it has been pointed out by another authority that in this particular case the natives were putting on a show for the whites and enjoying their hospitality for as long a period as possible. "It is not unlikely," says Mathews, "that the wise men of the Arunta prolonged all the details of the meeting to their utmost limit, in order to extend their sojourn in such a veritable ’Tom Tiddler’s Ground.’ " (Mathews, R. H., "Notes on the Arranda Tribe," Roy. Soc. of New So. Wales, Jour. and Proc., 41: 158).]

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Chicago: The Incas of Peru in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed May 28, 2022,

MLA: . The Incas of Peru, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 28 May. 2022.

Harvard: , The Incas of Peru. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 28 May 2022, from