Handbook of Inca Mythology
by Paul R. Steele With the assistance of Catherine J. Allen
December 2004, 319pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-354-4
$91, £70, 80€, A125
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-621-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Huatiacuri went to talk to his father, powerful Pariacaca, who in the form of five eggs, was waiting to be born…
Incan myths are filled with such interactions between humans, gods, and nature. Exploring these exotic tales stretches the boundaries of the imagination—and reveals much about the people who used the myths to explain the world.

The first introduction to the Incas and their myths aimed at students and general readers, bringing together a wealth of information into one convenient resource.

Full of hard to find information, Handbook of Inca Mythology provides an accessible introduction to the rites, beliefs, and spiritual tales of the Incas. It provides a concise overview of Incan civilization and mythology, a chronology of mythic and historical events, and an A–Z inventory of central themes (sacrifice, fertility, competition, reversaldualism, colors, constellations, giants, and miniatures), personages (Viracocha, Manco Capac, Pachackuti Inca), locations (Lake Titicaca, Corickancha), rituals, and icons.

The last Native American culture to develop free of European influence, the Incas, who had no written language, are known only from Spanish accounts written after the conquest and archaeological finds. From these fragments, a vanished world has been reborn and reintroduced into modern Andean life. There is no better way into that world and its mind-bending mythology than this unique handbook.


  • A detailed timeline places all key mythological tales and historical developments in chronological order, from the beginnings of the world to the Spanish conquest
  • A vividly illustrated A–Z dictionary section gives entries for key deities, creatures, characters, rituals, sacred objects, running themes, and beliefs in Inca mythology, as well as important cultural and historical terms, people, and places
Paul Steele, PhD, is an archivist for a commercial archaeological unit in London, England.

Catherine J. Allen, professor of anthropology and international affairs in the Department of Anthropology at George Washington University, Washington, DC, provided assistance with this book.


"Written by credible scholars in the field, the reader can have reasonable confidence in the reliability of the information provided. . . . Students will particularly appreciate the summary of relevant literature, the guide to best available videos, suggested Websites, the extensive section of reference, and a glossary."—American Reference Books Annual, March 1, 2005

"Highly recommended. Public, academic, art, anthropology, and Latin American studies libraries."—Choice, June 1, 2005
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