The Inca Nobilities And Warriors On The Highways

The common people walked along the highway, but the Inca nobility were carried in litters. The floor of the litter was made of boards which rested on two long poles. The poles, in turn, rested on the shoulders of four men. The litters were enclosed by curtains, and inside there were low stools on which the travelers sat.

 The litters of the emperor’s household glittered with gold and jewels, and were sometimes preceded and followed by a retinue of a few thousand warriors, armed and ready for combat.

The sight of Inca warriors marching down the highways must have been dazzling. Although the soldiers averaged no more than five feet, three inches in height, their headdresses, painted with geometric figures and topped with shiny decorations of hammered copper, added at least eight inches to their height. The few hairs they had on their faces were plucked out with tweezers.

They wore straight hair long. The faces of the Inca soldiers – with its high cheekbones, arched nose, and low forehead – were painted with heavy black, red and yellow stripes. Each soldiers carried a shield made of boards covered with skins and decorated with cloth or feathers.

 Despite their simple weapons – clubs, spears, slings, shields, and a sharp knife for hand to hand combat – the Inca soldiers awed their enemies with their fierce appearance.


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