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Old September 5th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #1

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Aztec vs Incas


Pretend the Europeans didn't conquer them for, meh, forever.

And the Aztecs and Incas get to booooooooom!

Who do you think would be more powerful? ;D
Like, like, who do you think would win in wars, be more advance in technology, you know, those things!
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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #2

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I think on a strategic level a drawn-out war between these two peoples (perhaps even diplomatic relations of any nature) would be virtually impossible to conduct; at best the conflict would be them pitting allied tribes on their borders against each other.

In an actual battle between typical armies of the two peoples, I'm not entirely sure whom I would expect to have the upper hand. Incan armies put more emphasis on the use of missile weapons and light infantry, it would seem, and I suspect that the Inca had less of an "evil emperor" appearance to his followers than the emperor in Tenochtitlan, thus perhaps a figure capable of inspiring more heroics.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:18 PM   #3

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The Aztecs. The Incans were very advanced but not as much as the Aztecs; they didn't even have a writing system.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:21 PM   #4

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Man vs. llama - I suspect the Incans made a much better choice of beast-of-burden. That would count for quite a lot in a war.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:38 PM   #5

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Thread moved. 'What if's" belong in speculative history. Carry on mates.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 02:42 PM   #6

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I see! I think the Incans would be a bit more stable since they wouldn't sacrifice people :O

edit: thanks pedro!
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Old September 5th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho35 View Post
The Aztecs. The Incans were very advanced but not as much as the Aztecs; they didn't even have a writing system.
The Mongols didn't have a writing system either untill they adopted that of conquered people... guess how that worked out for the other side?

As for the OP, a quick analysis of the nature of both empires is in my opinion quite revealing:

A) -> Aztec empire = glorified amalgan of tributary city-states bound essentially by marital ties (through hyperpolygyny).
B) -> Inca empire = empire with an overarching imperial structure.


A) The Aztec empire was NOT a centralised empire in the sense of a large bureaucratic entity. It did not rule its vast possessions by dominating them territorially, instead it ruled by dominating them hegemonically. In essence the Aztec empire was an engorged city-state. It did not destroy its opponents, it didn't garrison them, it didn't displace local leaders, it didn't culturally indoctrinate the subjugated, etc... it basically left them intact and ruled through the perception that she could enforce her will at any time. To the avid observer the first question that pops into mind is obviously: but isn't this system dangerously unstable? Indeed at first glance it is, yet the Aztec empire was seldomly plagued by revolt, the question begs itself as to what kept this loose empire together? The Aztecs practiced 2 distinct modes of integration: a direct one and one making use of existing customs and turning them to their advantage.

The first was the use of the calendar, this was the one and only direct cultural change the Aztecs imposed upon the conquered (!). Throughout Mexico everyone shared the same calendar system: a 365-day solar calendar of 18 20-day months + 5 "waste" days coupled with a 260-day sacred calendar composed of 13-day cycles. These 2 cycles ran simultaneously to yield a still larger cycle of 52-years, the Calendar Round, after which the whole circle began anew. Amongst the various societies the names of days and months would differ, but the structure was shared by all. The Mexican cultures did not share a common pantheon with the Aztecs and the latter didn't bother to impose such a bothersome thing, they specifically only altered the calendar system. Why? The Aztecs could care little as to when her tributary city-states celebrated their religious feasts, they DID care that they paid their tributes simultaneously and on time. The Aztecs wanted this done so that the cumulative effect made it all the more impressive and to serve as a political statement. To organise this with varying calendars would have meant a costly enterprise, so the only solution was to imposition of a means of self-coördination: this was to be the calendar system. So the Aztecs imposed their calendar not for a supernatural reason, but to ensure an empire that was chronologically linked.

The second binding tool the Aztecs used required no imposition, it was basically the use of an already widespread custom which they exploited to their benefit: noble intermarriage. Following each conquest the Aztecs would simply insert themselves in the leading local strata through means of marriage. This formed the key element to preserving peace in Mexico. Ironically in the case of the Aztecs this system truly worked like charm while in Europe the conduct of marriages led to a cascade of dynastic warfare. The Succession in the Aztec empire was such that (by the time that they were no longer tributaries and the head of an empire themselves, prior to this the Aztecs were ruled by kings that were succeeded patrilinear yet not through primogeniture) the reigning king was chosen by the upper nobles from amongst the proven warriors of their class. One important condition which people often overlook however was the need to have women of (near-)marriageable age to cement political alliances. This essentially came down to already having daughters and thus this meant being older: thus as we see the empire emerging, the age of Aztec rulers at succession jumped with nearly a generation compared to the pre-imperial times. An empire was essentially larger then a single city-state and thus the number of marriages to be concluded was larger, in other words the demand for king's daughters increased. The consequence of this need was 'hyperpolygyny'. Royal polygyny had been a rule in Mexican society but the scale of the Aztec empire prompted this to the next level as it were. This practice moreover was no longer restricted to the king, but to all upper nobles, since all were essentially eligible to be the next ruler of the Aztec empire and the number of daughters to marry off was quite an important factor. So each noble with royal ambitions was to have many wives and sire many daughters prior to even being considered fit to be the next ruler.

The above in turn prompted another side-effect which led the Aztec empire to be nearly continuously at war: the empire caused the influx of wealth to Tenochtitlan which fueled the growth of the Aztec nobility in both numbers and importance, the shift in the succession system that accompanied empire increased the amount of royal aspirants and with them as mentioned the need for daughters to tie to the growing number of tributaries. This prompted a need for more wives, and once expansion thus had been cemented in the new political/social system, it encouraged further warfare (to acquire new tributaries and new options to marry).

I won't digress on the commoners for now nor on the nature of Aztec conquest, just that it was a farcry away from total warfare and often ended with a voluntary submitting by the opponent. The biggest problem was of course the cementing of relationships with say a city which had formerly had powerful allies. An example of this is Tepeyacac, which prior to her submitting to the Aztecs had been allied to Tlaxcallan. To ensure that they would not relapse (for as said, the Aztecs did not practice direct control other then the calendar-system), the tribute of Tepeyacac was uniquely required to include a human captive to be sacrificed in Tenochtitlan. This captive of course could not come from another Aztec tributary bordering Tepeyacac, as such it was prompted to continuously wage war on her former allies, creating a constant friction with them and thus minimising the danger of Tepeyacac to break away from Aztec control.

Of course revolts did occur for the system is inherently weak by default, however they did not occur that frequent as one may think. The reason is that the Aztecs had more subtle methods then simple economic extraction backed up by fear of force. For example the consequence of the tributary system was that it altered the local socio-economic configuration of tributary communities. In essence the extraction of tribute impoverished the tributaries and reduced the number of upper class nobles amongst them, generating a larger group of lower nobles. The latter were most likely disaffected by their now lowered social status, but in turn this prompted greater coherence amongst the upper nobles. Another means was related to the marriage-pattern. A possibility that arose for the conquered was to supply the Aztec ruler with a new wife (aside from himself already receiving a new wife from the Aztec ruler), to the Aztec ruler this meant little and added him no real prestige and it was largely symbolic in nature, contrary to how minor this was for the Aztec ruler's domestic order, it had an enormous consequence for the tributary ruler. Local rulers were also prompted to look for Aztec protection to defend themselves from internal and external enemies. Having been conquered by the Aztecs they had shown weakness which undermined their position. The Aztecs also didn't conquer entire alliances at once and thus regional alliances often simply overlapped and were not remained intact upon conquest. Of course when the Aztecs came into the picture the most important wife became the Aztec one and her son became the most obvious successor to the throne. The consequence was that the sons of earlier marital alliances lost all their chances to rise to power, erstwhile sons and former allies now became possible enemies and the only way to retain his position was to either revolt against the Aztecs, but the recent defeat of course had shown that this was most likely futile. The alternative thus was to cleave strongly to the Aztecs and thus ensure their support in once internal affairs, this was the common result upon Aztec conquest. Another consequence of the above was that within a generation, the throne would be succeeded by a maternal Aztec ruler who would in turn also have at least one Aztec wife to further cement alliances with Tenochtitlan.


B) Upon conquest the Inca's unlike the Aztecs did impose an overarching political system. Governors were installed who were responsible to organise produce activities in each province adn to provide support for new campaigns and the dynastic cult and to rationalise the local economies. Apparently some notable rebellions occured yet no province ever succeeded in recovering its independence.

Both societies were quite warlike, the Aztecs for reasons already mentioned above, the Inca's for somewhat the same reason, for example when the great Inca expansion under Pachacuti began, his reason to march north against the Soras was motivated easily: there were to many rulers claiming to be "capac", there should only be one, namely himself. Capac-status was - suprise suprise - proven by succes in battle. "Capac" was a hereditary trait passed on amongst the descendants of Manco Capac and a sister who had emerged from the central window at Pacaritambo 11 generations before the Spaniards arrived. Capac status was not something the Inca had known they possessed all along, on the contrary, it was something that was only gradually revealed to them in several episodes by a solar deity connected to warfare.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 03:33 AM   #8

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Bweuh the thread was moved think I should consider putting the above in some sort of essay form...
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Old September 6th, 2011, 04:10 AM   #9
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I bet my money on the Incas (hoping that I won't go bankrupt).
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Old September 6th, 2011, 06:19 AM   #10

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I'll go with the Aztecs.
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