Historians have long recognized that the classical heritage of ancient Rome contributed to the development of a vibrant society in Spanish South America, but was the impact a one-way street? Although the Spanish destruction of the Incan empire changed the Andes forever, the civil society that did emerge was not the result of Andeans and Creoles passively absorbing the wisdom of ancient Rome. Rather, Sabine MacCormack proposes that civil society was born of the intellectual endeavors that commenced with the invasion itself, as the invaders sought to understand an array of cultures. Looking at the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century people who wrote about the Andean region that became Peru, MacCormack reveals how the lens of Rome had a profound influence on Spanish understanding of the Incan empire.
Tracing the varied events that shaped Peru as a country, MacCormack shows how Roman and classical literature provided a framework for the construal of historical experience. She turns to issues vital to Latin American history, such as the role of language in conquest, the interpretation of civil war, and the founding of cities, to paint a dynamic picture of the genesis of renewed political life in the Andean region. Examining how missionaries, soldiers, native lords, and other writers employed classical concepts to forge new understandings of Peruvian society and history, the book offers a complete reassessment of the ways in which colonial Peru made the classical heritage uniquely its own.
Winner of the 2007 John E. Fagg and James A. Rawley Prizes, American Historical Association
"An extraordinarily erudite and richly documented--dare I say brilliant--discussion of the various ways in which the world of antiquity, especially that of Rome in particular, colored the manner in which Spanish and Creole chroniclers viewed not only the history of Incas, but also, starting in the seventeenth century, that of the whole of Peru." --Richard L. Kagan, International History Review
"Historian MacCormack offers a fresh examination of Spanish understanding of culture and history in the lands that became Peru. . . . This clearly written, thoughtful, and perceptive volume is based on outstanding research in printed primary and secondary materials in Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and English." --Choice
"[E]legantly written and erudite . . . . This book fits into an ever-expanding historiography on and re-evaluation of the chronicles. Its most significant contribution is MacCormack's encapsulating analyses of their authors. . . . MacCormack's book places her capable analyses at the service of her colleagues and our students." --Susan Elizabeth Ramirez, American Historical Review
"MacCormack provides a stunning and imaginative reconstruction of the way in which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish and Peruvian historians perceived the history of the Inca world." --James Muldoon, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru . . . is deeply learned and persuasive, a model of how to write the intellectual history of empires and imperialism. . . . MacCormack has contributed greatly to the intellectual history of early modern Spain and Spanish America. More than this, she has offered a model of how such investigations might proceed elsewhere on the edges of European empires." --Caroline Winterer, Hispanic American History Review
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