Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Everything You Know Is Wrong ...

... at least when it comes to Machu Picchu.

The spectacular site was not, as [has been widely] supposed, the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or the final stronghold of the Incas in their losing struggle against Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Nor was it a sacred spiritual center occupied by chosen women, the "virgins of the sun," and presided over by priests who worshiped the sun god.

Instead, Machu Picchu was one of many private estates of the emperor and, in particular, the favored country retreat for the royal family and Inca nobility. It was, archaeologists say, the Inca equivalent of Camp David, albeit on a much grander scale.

Boy, and I thought being brutally disabused about the significance of "antidisestablishmentarianism" was bad enough.

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