More than four hundred years ago, Pedro de Cieza de Leon set out to conduct the readers of his time and of subsequent generations over the Royal Road of the Incas. His chronicles of Peru, published in 1553 and 1880, rank with Bernal Diaz del Castillo s account of the conquest of Mexico.
While previous English translations have been much abridged, and for many years unavailable, this translation of the Inca materials by Harriet de Onis is not only accurate but possesses a superb literary quality of its own. Victor W. von Hagen skillfully interjoined Cieza s two chronicles to read as one, in order to bring Cieza together with himself after four hundred years of excision.
As a boy of thirteen, Cieza arrived in Cartagena in 1535 and traveled through South America for the next seventeen years, observing the country and its peoples and preserving the achievements of Inca civilization, even as it was being destroyed. Cieza was no fine scholar recording the conquest, but wrote that he saw strange and wonderful things that exist in this New World of the Indies, and there came over me a great desire to write certain of them. And write them he did."