January 22, 2013

"Tiwanaku was not a violent culture... to expand its reach Tiwanaku became very political creating colonies, trade agreements... and state cults."

This was around 400 A.D., in the place that today is Boliva (today's "History of" country):
The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states that "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population." Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them.... The elites gained their status by the surplus of food they gained from all of the regions and then by having the ability to redistribute the food among all the people. This is where the control of llama herds became very significant to Tiwanaku....

Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, their main source of power, dried up. The land was not inhabited for many years after that.
Later came the Inca and the Spanish.



mccullough said...

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were killed in Bolivia. I'll never visit that place.

virgil xenophon said...


But look on the bright side, so was Che Guevera!

virgil xenophon said...

Food production "dried up?' Must have been AGW and those nasty SUVs!

Global Warming! Global Warming! Global Warming!

virgil xenophon said...

PS: ummm ummm ummm..

traditionalguy said...

It was the neolithic Incas fault. They were so backwards that the only invention they gave the wise Latinos Conquistadors was tattoos, syphillis and potatoes.

MadisonMan said...

BolivIa. Not Boliva.

William said...

I feel that the gentleness and generosity of the Tiwanaku people is based mostly on our ignorance of the their culture. Before they cracked the code of Mayan glyphs, scholars used to to think that Mayans were a peaceable people ruled by philosopher kings. Ha. The Mayans had quite a lot of enthusiasm for mass murder and child torure.....Most peoples and civilizations have managed to achieve genocide, intolerance, and wasteful wars without western influence. I feel certain that further study of the Tiwanakus will show that their civilization did not collapse because their rulers were too gentle and generous.

Lyle said...

Buncombe on the it wasn't a "violent culture". That's like the Texas anthropologist saying the Aztecs weren't a violent society.

virgil xenophon said...

Time for someone to Google "The Llama Song"..


Craig Landon said...

The llamas will eff you up.

virgil xenophon said...

FYI y'all. The famed llama butchers have quit blogging for a while now, sigh..

YoungHegelian said...

I honestly don't know what records from the Inca the Spanish transcribed & so saved (e.g. like they saved the Mayan Popol Vuh). But when the article talks about Tiwanaku, that's all archaeological-based speculation.

Take that stuff with a honking big grain of salt. For example, as William says "their gentleness & generosity". What sort of remains show they were gentle & generous? Lots of FTD Florist receipts found in the ruins? Get a grip!

ricpic said...

Remarkably, the Bolivian Indian women wear bowler hats. Well, it was remarkable to me when I looked at pictures of native Bolivians in the World Book Encyclopedia. I must have been ten at the time. Also tin. And llamas, as already noted. That's the Bolivia frozen in my mind. Bolivia is north of Peru, or Pewoo as I prefer to pronounce it. I could go on. No? Fine.

YoungHegelian said...


I must have been ten at the time..

And when the teacher said the words "Lake Titicaca" you & every other kid in the class looked at each other and tried very hard not to break out laughing. "They call it Lake Piss&Shit??!!"

Don't lie!

virgil xenophon said...

@Young Hegalian/

At the risk of sounding priggish, remarkably I can't think of a single member of my generational cohort with whom I grew up and went to school with who made jokes about things like "Uranus" (and we did pronounce it "Your-Anus" straight-faced w.o. any sense of anal humor whatsoever--just never occured to us)OR "Titicaca"--our minds just didn't work that way. But then you wouuld probably say that a bunch of white Univ High Lab School kids in the early 50s were hopelessly naive, obliviously non-cosmopolitan and totally lacking in "street smarts" in our little mid-western rural town...or maybe our generational cohort was just more adult than that--even as fifth graders..

YoungHegelian said...


..or maybe our generational cohort was just more adult than that--even as fifth graders..

Would you like a medal, or will you be satisfied that I put in a good word towards your canonization with Il Papa the next time we speak?

I'm sorry, but I'm hard pressed to imagine a group of schoolboys who could let "Uranus" pass by. And I went to a Catholic school! In Alabama!

Not even any Star Trek jokes?:

Q: Why is Captain Kirk like toilet paper?

A: Because both of them keep the Klingons off Uranus.

Dude, you missed out.

virgil xenophon said...

@Young Hegelian/

No, not seeking any medals--just pointinmg out that, imho, there is one helluva sharp cultural divide between those born in the war years and the "baby-boomers" that followed--even if the divided by only a couple, three years. And I really can't explain it because outwardly (in terms of the cultural references we were exposed to) someone like me born in 1944 outwardly thought of himself pretty much like the "baby boomer" crowd born starting the next year, but somehow there does seem to exist a significant cultural divide and why/how it came about between two so otherwise almost seamlessly homogenized cohorts I am at a loss to explain..

But miss out? Hey, I made up for it at LSU, lol. PLUS the drinking age was 18 in those days w. New Orleans only 90 miles away!

Kirk Parker said...


Must be some new meaning to the word "north"?

edutcher said...

One of only 2 landlocked countries in South America.

You read about The Inca's intel system and hope Commandante zero knows nothing of Pre-Columbian history.

PS Anybody said Lake Titicaca when i was a kid, we all saw Anita Ekberg.

Mitch H. said...

Take that stuff with a honking big grain of salt. For example, as William says "their gentleness & generosity". What sort of remains show they were gentle & generous?

Presumably somebody's done some statistically valid gravesite study, although I'm not sure how you'd distinguish "egalitarian and generous" from "relatively rich by neolithic standards and burying their elites with lots of stuff, and tossing the paupers into the river to be washed into the lakebed". Gentleness ought to be evaluated based on statistical evaluation of damage-to-remains-from-violence, which is pretty much a science these days, if someone cares to practice it, and there's enough remains to evaluate.

One of only 2 landlocked countries in South America.

Well, it wasn't originally, and then Chile kicked their asses in the War of the Pacific, and after that, it was all downhill for the mighty Bolivarian Republic. Fifty years later, they got their asses handed to them by the even more landlocked Paraguayans.

That "History of" reads a lot like the product of some overeager, clever junior high scholar. A little credulous and wonkily written. I kind of suspect there's a lot of rattlepated nonsense in there.