National Geographic : 1973 Dec
Capac and his sister-wife, the queen. But Ata huallpa, Huascar's half brother, governor of Quito, reportedly refused to accompany his father's mummy to Cuzco and render homage. His generals, veterans of Ecuadorean wars, backed his insurgency, and civil war flared. Huascar sent a huge inexperienced army against Atahuallpa, but it perished in battle near Ambato, Ecuador. The chronicler Cieza, who saw the skeleton-strewn battlefield twenty years later, wrote that the body count of 15 or 16 thousand was an underestimate. Huascar conscripted army after army, in cluding peasants from as far away as Argen tina. Thousands who had escaped the plague now fell under the northerner's onslaughts. Perhaps 200,000 men fought in the final bat tle near Cuzco. The unthinkable occurred: Atahuallpa's generals tumbled Huascar from his golden litter. Cuzco's defenders fled in terror. The Son of the Sun had fallen. The generals dressed the emperor in wom en's clothes. They forced him to eat excrement in Cuzco's streets and watch the extermina tion of his multitudinous family and courtiers. Bitterness engendered by the war between the brothers persists to this day. "Bad blood between Peru and Ecuador began with Inca politics and culminated in our 1941 border war," a neighbor declared when I lived on Los Incas, between Huascar and Atahualpa streets. "Ecuadoreans call Atahuallpa an emperor, but in my history book he was just a bastard usurper." TAHUALLPA had left Quito to make tri umphal entry into Cuzco when he got word of his generals' victory. But at this moment coastal chiefs warned him of Pizar ro's approach. A mere 62 cavalrymen and 106 foot soldiers, armed with Toledo blades and a few guns and crossbows, were winding slowly into the mountains of northern Peru. The Spaniards passed smoldering ruins and corpses swinging from trees, mute evi dence of the war between the brothers. In their own words, Pizarro's men wet their pants with fear, but they had lunatic nerve and military expertise honed by centuries of holy war against the Moors. Their intention was to conquer Peru just as Cortes had won Mexico, by exploiting civil strife to gain allies, by surprise attack, and by capture of the king. Curious to see the strangers, their beasts, and their magic staves that commanded the (Continued on page 779) utility. They operated on a man suffering speech impairment from a brain lesion, using a tourni quet around his head Inca-style ststop bleeding. The man recovered. Ceramic jug from the coast (right)shows a doctor straddling his patient while performing a trepanation. Use of narcotic coca may explain the patient's placid expression.