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Incas and Jews
New Worlds and Forgotten Peoples
The ninth Inca emperor has been described as "a politician and artist, the most enlightened person in America of old". His name was Pachaktec, transformer of the world, and in the fifteenth century, in campaigns comparable to those of Alexander the Great, he began the expansion of his people who in less than a century would reign over almost two million square kilometers, from Ecuador to Chile.
In Machu Picchu, the old peak, one can sense the empire's ancient splendor. The intact fortress served as a refuge for the Inca rulers when their capital Cuzco fell to the Spanish invaders. From this time, and over many years, a final desperate attempt was made to conserve the culture of the Incas, but this was doomed to failure against the invincible firearms of the Crown of Castille.
In 1572, four decades into the royal conquest, the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo sent five thousand armed men to loot the entire region. Confronted by their imminent defeat, the Incas decided to abandon this pre-Columbian center. And Machu Picchu remained solitary. It was only three and a half centuries afterwards that it was discovered by the scientific world, when the Hawaiian archaeologist Hiran Bingham, of Yale University, reached its peak in 1911.
At Machu Picchu, the Incas final home, one is infused by mystery. The hand of man competes with divine Creation, building a scene of overwhelming serenity. This was the last fortress of a civilization in which social and economic organization permitted neither misery nor unemployment, as production, consumption and demographic distribution reached almost mathematical equilibrium. The evidence of the definitive abandonment poses an enigmatic question: Was Machu Picchu the Masada of the Incas?
If we let our fantasy guide us through history we may find this reference to the Jewish past all but arbitrary. Three thousand years ago, from the coast of Etzion Gever (near today's Eilat), King Solomon's sailors set sail towards Ophir, a country famous for its gold. We do not know its precise position. It has been variously identified as India, a Red Sea island, the Oriental African coast... what if it were the Americas?
The implications would be surprising: the Israelite sailors would have arrived there two thousand five hundred years before Columbus. Abundant evidence exists. In 1618, the Portuguese soldier Fernandes Brandao contended that the native Brazilians were descendants of Solomon's sailors. In 1968 the scholar Cyrus Gordon presented a Phoenician stone tablet found in America as possible proof that the fleet of Solomon's ally, the Phoenician king Hiram, had indeed reached America.
Furthermore, South American writings have been found to bear similarities to those of the Semites. Solomon's Temple employed construction techniques identical to those used in the Cuzco Temple. The punishment for adultery was death by stoning in both the ancient Jews and Cuzcovians. The god-creator of the Incas, Wiracocha, could have no form or representation -it was absolutely abstract.
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