The Arts of History and the Arts of Rule

Mark Thurner

in History's Peru

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035383
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038940 | DOI:
The Arts of History and the Arts of Rule

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This chapter explores the enduring complicities between the “arts of history” and the “arts of rule” in colonial Peru, principally via the foundational texts of Inca Garcilaso. This chapter probes the ways in which the arts of rule and the arts of history conspired in the invention of words and things Peruvian. If the subject of history named “Peru” was born in a colonial abyss of history that shook the world, Inca Garcilaso's arts of history equipped that subject with a numinous past in that world which it had only recently joined. The impulse to chronicle the events of conquest and relate the customs, rights, and ancient things of the fabled land of “Peru” was from the beginning driven by the need to legitimize Spanish rule in faraway but regimented lands, that is, to name, claim sovereignty, and then rule over vast lands and peoples already graced with republics, lords, and mosques.

Keywords: art of history; art of rule; colonial Peru; Inca Garcilaso; Spanish rule; republics; lords; mosques

Chapter.  11089 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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