Manco Cápac

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Manco Cápac
Manco Cápac
Colonial image of Manco Cápac
Spouse(s) Mama Ocllo or Mama Cello (sister)
Children Sinchi Roca
Parent(s) Inti and Mama Quilla
This article is about the first Sapa Inca. For the later figure also known as Manco Cápac, see Manco Inca Yupanqui.

Manco Cápac (Quechua Manqu Qhapaq "founder royal") was the legendary first Sapa Inca of the Kingdom of Cusco[1]:144 and a figure of Inca mythology. There are several versions of his origin story, which connect him to the foundation of Cusco.

Inti legend[edit]

In one myth, Manco Cápac was a son of the sun god Inti and Mama Quilla, and brother of Pacha Kamaq. Manco Cápac himself was worshipped as a fire and a Sun God. According to the Inti legend, Manco Cápac and his siblings were sent up to the earth by the sun god and emerged from the cave of Pacaritambo carrying a golden staff, called tapac-yauri. Instructed to create a Temple of the Sun in the spot where the staff sank into the earth, they traveled to Cusco via underground caves and there built a temple in honour of their father Inti.

Viracocha legend[edit]

In the Viracocha legend, Manco Cápac (Ayar Manco) was the son of Viracocha of Paqariq Tampu (six leagues or 25 km south of Cusco). He and his brothers (Ayar Auca, Ayar Cachi and Ayar Uchu) and sisters (Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Raua and Mama Ipacura) lived near Cusco at Paqariq Tampu, and they united their people with other tribes encountered in their travels. They sought to conquer the tribes of the Cusco Valley. This legend also incorporates the golden staff, thought to have been given to Manco Cápac by his father. Accounts vary, but according to some versions of the legend, the Manco got rid of his three brothers, trapping them or turning them into stone, thus becoming the leader of Cusco. He married Mama Occlo, and they begot a son named Sinchi Roca. Manco Capac died in the year 665, at the age of 144 years, after ruling Cusco for 44 years.[2]:28-38


According to native belief, Inca Manco Capac chose the Cusco valley for his imperial city, because "in obedience to the will of his father the the place indicated by the golden wand", the place where he could sink "the wand into the ground with a single thrust." He established a code of laws, "taught them to till the soil, build homes, make irrigation channels", and "do unto one another as they themselves would be done." The code of laws forbade marrying within their family group. However, he married his sister, Mama Ocllo Huaco, or Mama Cello, since they were "children of the Sun and Moon", and the "Moon was the sister and wife of the Sun". He built a temple to the Sun and proscribed "adoration and service to the Sun and the Moon." He was called Inca Manco Capac, in which Inca means "king", and Capa Inca means "sole king".[3]:3,7-9,20,65

In fiction[edit]

The Scrooge McDuck comic book Son of the Sun, written by Don Rosa, features Manco Cápac as the original owner of various lost treasures. The treasures serve first chapter of Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man the appearance of a fictional protagonist is compared to Cápac's appearance out of Lake Titicaca.

In P.B. Kerr's Eye of the Forest, the fifth book in the Children of the Lamp series, Manco Cápac is said to be a powerful Djinn who took his place as a god amongst the Incas by displaying his power of matter manipulation.

In British author Anthony Horowitz's fantasy-thriller book series The Power of Five, Manco Cápac is the son of Inti, and one of five children destined to keep the universe safe from the forces of evil. Cápac is reincarnated in the 21st century as a Peruvian street beggar called Pedro.


  1. ^ Prescott, W.H., 2011, The History of the Conquest of Peru, Publishing, ISBN 9781420941142
  2. ^ de Gamboa, P.S., 2015, History of the Incas, Lexington, ISBN 9781463688653
  3. ^ de la Vega, G., "El Inca", 2006, Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., Inc., ISBN 9780872208438
Preceded by
Sapa Inca
c. 1200 CE
Succeeded by
Sinchi Roca