By Mary W. Helms

Ancient Panama provides intensity to our realizing of the political and spiritual elite ruling in Panama on the time of the eu conquest. Mary W. Helms's examine significantly expands wisdom of the distribution, volume, and structural nature of those pre-Columbian chiefdoms.

In addition, Helms delves extra deeply into decide on facets of historic Panamanian political structures, together with the connection among elite festival and mainly prestige, using sumptuary items within the expression of elite energy, and the function of elites in nearby and long-distance trade networks. In an important departure from conventional considering, she proposes that the quest for esoteric wisdom was once extra very important than financial alternate in constructing long-distance touch between chiefdoms.

The basic information for the research are derived from sixteenth-century Spanish documents by way of Oviedo y Valdés, Andagoya, Balboa, and others. the writer additionally turns to ethnographic information from modern local humans of Panama, Colombia, tropical the USA, and Polynesia for analogy and comparability. the result's a hugely leading edge examine which illuminates not just pre-Columbian Panamanian elites but in addition the character of chiefdoms as a particular cultural type.

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Extra info for Ancient Panama: Chiefs in Search of Power

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This continued for about ten days, at the end of which they both decided to try to learn who was helping them so much in a time of great need. Thus the eldest of them decided to hide, and he saw two birds arrive, which they call aguaque; they [also] use the alternative name of torito and in our language we call them guacamayos [macaws]. They came dressed like Cañaris, [with] the hair on their heads tied in front like they do now. When the eldest of them reached the hut, the hidden Indian saw her remove her lliclla [mantle], which is the mantle that they use, and she began to prepare food from what they had brought.

They said] that [the huacas] were angry with all of the [Christian Indians] because they had been baptized and that [the huacas] would kill them all if they did xxx ] Account of the Fables and Rites of the incas not return to them, reneging on the Catholic faith. Those who wanted the friendship and grace [of the huacas] would live in prosperity, grace, and health. In order to return to [the huacas], they were to fast some days, not eat salt or chili, nor have sexual relations, nor eat colored maize, nor eat things of Castile, nor use them in food or in clothing, nor enter the churches, nor pray, nor respond to the calls of the priests, nor call themselves by Christian names.

And that if he were the Creator of All Things, then one day he would rest; and from that place he would illuminate the entire world and order what he wanted. 6 It was shaped like a standing man, his right arm raised high, with the hand almost closed, and the thumb and second finger raised, like a person who was ordering. Although the Incas had knowledge of a Creator of All Things from the beginning, and they revered him and made sacrifices to him, he had not been revered as much as he was from this Inca onward.

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