If in the past, the royal court of Cuzco had blood liaisons with other less royal suyus such as the Antisuyu, now, under Pachacuti's new laws, it would not be possible. Due to the reformer Inca, the Andean world was changing and so were its rules and laws. Once again, the drama "Apu Ollantay" functions as a State device to spread the tightening up of Inca laws under the new emperor's system. With the strengthening of Inca power, the traditional Andean reciprocity was slowly transformed into the Inca redistributive system Godelier, It was precisely Inca Tupac Yupanqui, a refiner of Pachacuti's new Tawantinsuyu, who first tried albeit without success to establish the redistributive system over the traditional Andean reciprocity.
Again, this indicated a changing empire where ancient Andean laws were slowly disappearing to be replaced by an ever-increasing bureaucratic and controlling empire.
In many ways, "Apu Ollantay", by being one of the means used by the empire to spread the Inca word, portrays these transformations. Marriage, or the exchange of women via matrimony, was one of the ways in which the Incas interacted with Western Amazonian societies.
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In this system, which was one of many Inca strategies during the process of expanding the empire and acquiring new lands, the Incas would encourage marriage between themselves and members of local elites in order to facilitate their social interaction and communication Santos-Granero, , p. However, the manner in which it was done would only reinforce Inca supremacy: the Inca would choose women among the local elite to be his secondary wives in the Inca capital, Cuzco.
However, the opposite scenario, whereby royal Inca women would be chosen by local elite members as wives, would happen less often 9. The last is exactly the situation seen in the Quechua drama "Apu Ollantay". Remarkably, it was precisely among some Western Amazonian groups that this Inca logic would be inverted and threatened. For instance, in some Ashanika myths, the Incas were the ones who were vanquished and had their women turned into Ashanika wives.
Here, rather then taking women, the Incas were providing them in an inversion of the imperial rule.
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Also, among the Shipibo Indians there is a myth which tells that, after the disappearance of mankind, the last Shipibo who survived had taken an Inca servant as wife, and from their offspring the current Shipibo were created. Among the Amuesha Indians the situation was slightly different, but still an inversion of the usual Inca practice. However, according to the Amuesha story, it was the Inca who went to live among his new wife's relatives and had to position himself under her father's authority as well as serve him Santos-Granero, , p.
Under Inca imperial policy, it was always the Inca hanan who had the right to choose a wife; the wife would then move to Cuzco and take her position as a subordinate female hurin. Vete" Anonymous, , p. Bearing that in mind, there are compelling suggestions that the quarrels between Inca Pachacuti and Ollantay regarding Cusi Coyllur's hand described in "Apu Ollantay", represent also an Inca necessity to reinforce its power over the many Western Amazonian societies which persevered not only in opposing conversion to Inca sovereignty, but also in continuing to invert and subvert the logics of the empire.
Often, when confronted with the Antisuyu, the numerous tough laws of the Incas had little influence. As can be read in the quotation below from the words of the fortune-teller, the Inca offers alliance with the Antisuyu via Ollantay, however, solely in his own terms. Though the Inca recognises in him an honourable and worthy warrior, who had overcome innumerable enemies 10 , the king is inflexible and the warrior Ollantay was left with one single choice: in order to maintain the alliance between Cuzco and its Amazonian corners, it was essential that he had to forfeit his love for Cusi Coyllur.
Any other decision would cost him his life and a declaration of war with his country, the Antisuyu:. Tu brazo lo ha encontrado fuerte contra los golpes de sus enemigos, y los ha vencido a todos, por numerosos que han sido. Anonymous, , p. Over the next lines, Ollantay categorically refuses to accept any deal in exchange for his love for Cusi Coyllur.
For love he decides to fight the powerful empire.
Or, in another reading, he refuses to worship the sun and, for his beloved Coyllur the bright star he will fight. One could hardly resist not interpreting these lines as a complete refusal from the Amazonian hero and his Antisuyu followers to submit to Inca power in order to keep worshipping the sky, its stars and the jaguar, or Otorongo , whose skin is associated with the Milky Way Brotherston, If this hypothesis is correct, it would suggest that the ideological contents of "Apu Ollantay" are even stronger, as it would be a clear message for those who resist worshipping the sun and, therefore, oppose surrender to Tawantinsuyu.
Moreover, it would also suggest that even though the play was performed for the Inca elite in Cuzco, the drama was, more pragmatically speaking, addressed to a very specific audience, the insurgents of the Western Amazonia or, maybe, any other quarter or group considering to resist Inca presence.
Logically, one may wonder why in "Apu Ollantay" it is an Antisuyu hero who takes centre stage in the drama rather than a Colla or a Conde. Would it be irrelevant for the purposes of the play, or was the election of Ollantay from the Antisuyu an intentional Inca choice?
There is a good chance that the answer to this question lays in the particular way that the Incas related to their Amazonian quarter Bertazoni, It is notable that from all the suyus of the empire, the Antisuyu was the corner which the Incas had least success if compared to the other parts of Tahuantinsuyu. The relationship established between Cuzco and the Antis was heavily based on gift giving or flattery policy, vertical control and reciprocity and few, if any, Antisuyu groups were operating fully under the Inca redistributive system Santos-Granero, The drama's hero, thus, seems to have been picked extremely carefully by the Inca elite in order to demonstrate to the whole empire the perils of rebellion against the Inca sovereign.
Yet, the very same Inca Emperor, given the appropriate and convenient circumstances in his own favour, may also forgive the insurgent. In the play, there is a clear-cut turning point in Inca policy at the moment Tupac Yupanqui acceded to power following the death of his father, Inca Pachacuti. After ten years of discord, Tupac Yupanqui restored the good relationship with the Antis by pardoning Ollantay, freeing his sister Cusi Coyllur and allowing them both to reunite with their daughter.
In this sudden and surprising shift of State policy, Inca Tupac Yupanqui not only forgives Ollantay, but also places the Anti warrior in one of the highest positions within the empire: as the Inca's substitute while he is away marching against the Collasuyu. In Tupac Yupanqui's speech, the king asks Ollantay to announce to the whole of Tahuantinsuyu that he will occupy the king's place and will rise with the sun.
Ollantay refuses the offer claiming that Cuzco is not his place since he is a warrior and thus used to battlegrounds. Only after the Inca Emperor's insistence and suggestion that he finds a wife and settles in Cuzco again the marriage alliance , did Ollantay accept.
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Though in the play he does not expressly say so, it is implied by the fortune-teller's announcement of the news to everybody. This passive acceptance reinforces the argument that, in the play, Ollantay was a character manipulated by the Inca.
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Even though he tries through the whole play, the Anti had no agency at all. Everything happens according to the Inca Emperors' wills, either Pachacuti or Tupac Yupanqui, and it is clearly implied that had Inca Tupac Yupanqui not changed his mind in an act of forgiveness, Ollantay would certainly have been killed in Cuzco. Throughout the whole play, the Antis's fate is in the Inca Emperors' hands. This unexpected change in Inca attitude could be understood in many ways. First, it could merely be a case of zancay as described by Guaman Poma, where after a period of years the captive would be released by the Inca king and forgiven, thus restoring the prisoner's honour.
However, this possibility excludes the fact that it was Cusi Coyllur who suffered the zancay punishment, not Ollantay who, far from being in prison, declared himself the king of the Antis country, ready to fight Cuzco at any time. On the other hand, there is evidence showing that forgiving rebels, on behalf of diplomacy and the wellbeing of the Inca Pax , was a common practice among the Incas. The Incas would only annihilate their enemies in case of a complete refusal in recognising Inca power.
Often, when rebels accepted the laws of the empire, the Inca Emperor would allow them to take back their local leadership. Thus indicating that the sudden pardoning of Ollantay by Tupac Yupanqui is in complete agreement and harmony to Inca tradition. Alternatively, the absolving of Ollantay could also be interpreted as the ultimate display of Inca power and authority as well as projecting an image of a good-hearted Inca which could also have politically positive outcomes, since it is only the king who could decide on the warrior's destiny.
Or else, it could also be considered that the radical shift performed by Inca Tupac Yupanqui in relation to Ollantay could represent a historical moment which indicates that during Inca Tupac Yupanqui's reign, Cuzco either decided or was forced to change its policies regarding the Western Amazonian peoples that the Incas interact with in a way or another.
Does this marked shift in Inca attitude in the play correspond to any particular historical turning point concerning the Antisuyu? On a deserted mountain road in the Dominican Republic in , three young women from a pious Catholic family were assassinated after visiting their husbands who had been jailed as suspected rebel leaders. The Mirabal sisters, thus martyred, became mythical figures in their country, where they are known as Las Mariposas the butterflies. Three decades later, Julia Alvarez, daughter of the Dominican Republic and author of the acclaimed How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, brings the Mirabal sisters back to life in this extraordinary novel.
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