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Learn about the Moche of Ancient Peru and learn 10 new words in the context of our very interesting story in which we will dive into ancient history.


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Click play and see the words as you hear them. You can search for certain words and you can press on any word to start playing from there. You can choose to auto-scroll as you listen to the episode; you can find the toggle below. Enjoy 🙂

The Moche of Ancient Peru | Word Power

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The Moche of Ancient Peru

On a banner, meticulously wrought tiny golden human figures wear bracelets of minuscule turquoise beads, gilded copper chestpieces, and nose ornaments made of sheet gold. Seabirds, crayfish, land snails, and spiders march across mosaics of gold and semiprecious stones and shells. These are but a few examples of the grandiose treasure buried nearly 2,000 years ago by the Moche, a pre-Incan people who inhabited 250 miles of Peru’s coast. The Moche never developed a written language; they told their story in finely crafted precious metals and exceptional pottery.

During the first century A.D., when the Roman Empire was approaching its height, the Moche were creating one of the most remarkable civilizations of the ancient world. To sustain this florescent culture, they needed a diverse, thriving, and well-organized economy. They used rivers to create a network of irrigation canals that watered thousands of acres in arid coastal valleys, producing crops of corn, beans, avocados, squash, chili peppers, and peanuts. They domesticated ducks, llamas, and guinea pigs and harvested fish, shrimp, and crabs from the ocean.

The Moche excelled not only in art but also in technology. They built truncated pyramids that rose up to 135 feet and sprawled over ten acres. They were the first people in South America to produce pottery from molds, making a wide range of ceramics available to all. Centuries before the invention of electroplating, Moche metalsmiths devised a method that bound thin layers of gold and silver to copper. They perfected stamps to decorate pots and vessels with elaborate iconography that portrayed scenes from daily life. Moche sculptors were sublimely talented at rendering subtle facial features. Although later civilizations in the area produced impressive ceramics and metals, they never achieved the artistic genius of the Moche. By 800 A.D. Moche civilization had disappeared. Earthquakes and relentless droughts may have undermined the economic foundation of the civilization, but there were probably other forces at work as well. The art had lost many of the characteristics of the glory days. The artists even made mistakes, showing people in inappropriate costume. By the time the Spaniards arrived in the early sixteenth century, sporadic deluges from the destructive weather of El Nino had over the years eroded the mudbrick pyramids and palaces. Exactly what or who brought an end to the majesty of the Moche remains as much a mystery as the fall of their contemporaries, the Maya. Not even the Moche’s gold, silver, and ceramic creations can divulge that secret.

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[00:00:00] Danny: Welcome to a New Word Power episode from English Plus Podcast. This is your host, Danny, and today we’re going to dive into ancient history and we will talk about the Moche of ancient Peru. So if you’re interested, let’s dive right in. But of course, because this is a word power episode, we’re going to talk about 10 new words in context, and that is also interesting. So let me tell you about the 10 words we’re going to talk about in today’s episode, and then we will dive right into our story about the Moche of ancient Peru. The 10 words we’re going to talk about in today’s episode are meticulous, wrought, grandiose, florescent, arid, truncate, iconography, sublime, sporadic and deluge. So are you interested yet? I hope you are, because that’s what we’re gonna talk about. But first, let’s start talking about the Moche of ancient Peru that’s coming next. Don’t go anywhere.

[00:01:11] On a banner meticulously wrought tiny gold human figures wear bracelets of minuscule turquoise beads, gilded copper, chest pieces, and nose ornaments made of sheet gold. Seabirds, crayfish, land snails, and spiders march across mosaics of gold and semi-precious stones and shells. These are but a few examples of the grandiose treasure buried nearly 2000 years ago by the Moche.

[00:01:46] A pre-Incan people who inhabited 250 miles of Peru’s coast. The Moche never developed a written language. They told their story in finely crafted precious metals and exceptional pottery. During the first century A.D., When the Roman Empire was approaching its height, the Moche were creating one of the most remarkable civilizations of the ancient world. To sustain this fluorescent culture, they needed a diverse, thriving, and well organized economy. They used rivers to create a network of irrigation canals that watered thousands of acres in arid coastal valleys, producing crops of corn, beans, avocados, squash, chili, peppers, and peanuts. They domesticated ducks, llamas, and Guinea pigs, and harvested fish, shrimp, and crabs from the ocean.

[00:02:44] The Moche excelled not only in art, but also in technology. They built truncated pyramids that rose up to 135 feet and sprawled over 10 acres. They were the first people in South America to produce pottery from molds, making a wide range of ceramics available to all. Centuries before the invention of electro-plating, Moche Metalsmiths devised a method that bound thin layers of gold and silver to copper.

[00:03:17] They perfected stamps to decorate pots and vessels with elaborate iconography that portrayed scenes from daily life. Moche sculptors were sublimely talented at rendering subtle facial features. Although later civilizations in the area produced impressive ceramics and metals, they never achieved the artistic genius of the Moche. By 800 AD, Moche civilization had disappeared.

[00:03:47] Earthquakes and relentless droughts may have undermined the economic foundation of the civilization, but there were probably other forces at work as well. The art had lost many of the characteristics of the glory days. The artists even made mistakes showing people in inappropriate costume. By the time the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century, sporadic deluges from the destructive weather of El Nino had over the years eroded the mud brick pyramids and palaces. Exactly what or who brought an end to the majesty of the Moche remains as much a mystery as the fall of their contemporaries, the Maya. Not even the Moche’s gold, silver, and ceramic creations can divulge that secret.

[00:04:38] So that was our story about the Moche of ancient Peru. I hope you like the story. I hope you learned something new, because that’s what word power is all about. That’s what English Plus is all about. Never stop learning, not only English, but also about other things, cultural things, scientific things, history, everything. Because all of that is important, but of course, because we are English plus, English comes first. So we’re going to talk about 10 new words in context, in the context of this great story about the Moche of ancient Peru.

[00:05:11] Let me remind you again. We’re going to talk about meticulous, wrought, grandiose, florescent, arid, truncate, iconography, sublime, sporadic, and deluge.. That’s coming next, so don’t go anywhere. We will start with the very first word, meticulous. I’ll be right back.

[00:05:38] So our very first word is meticulous. M E T I C U L O U S. Meticulous. Let’s remember how we used that in context. We said on a banner meticulously wrought tiny gold human figures wear bracelets of minuscule turquoise beads, gilded copper, chest pieces, and nose ornaments made of sheet gold. So what are we talking about here?

[00:06:06] What if we want to replace this word meticulously, which word or words do you think could best replace meticulously in this context? Could we replace meticulously with carefully and precisely? Intellectually? Overwhelmingly? Or foolishly? Which one do you think is the right answer? Take some time. Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:06:32] Now, for those of you who thought carefully and precisely is the right answer, you are absolutely right. If you describe someone as meticulous, you mean that they do things very carefully with great attention to detail. And this is the perfect word we can use to describe the outstanding art of the Moche of ancient Peru.

[00:06:53] So remember, the word is meticulous. Of course we used it in the context as an adverb, but you know that you can simply add -ly to the adjective and then it becomes an adverb. But the meaning is meticulous is in the adjective itself. So that was our very first word, and I hope it’s a new word that you can add to your active vocabulary bank. And remember, if you wanna do that, there’s a very simple way. First, you will need to listen to the episode. Of course, after you finish listening to the episode, there is a link in the description of the episode that will take you to the custom post I created for this episode, specifically for this episode on my website, englishpluspodcast.com.

[00:07:31] The Post has everything you need to take your English to the next level, especially to make these 10 words part of your permanent vocabulary bank. We have interactive activities that you can do on the website from any device you’re using, and we have a PDF practice worksheet that you can download and practice if you prefer pen and paper of course.

[00:07:52] And in the PDF practice worksheet, there’s something special as well that it is not only about the 10 words that we’re learning in today’s episode, but it’s also about the words we learned in the previous four word power episodes. So don’t miss out on this opportunity, and I will have to tell you as well that there is also the interactive transcript that I’ve been adding recently to all my posts.

[00:08:15] It’s not just this fancy thing that you can see the words while listening to them. While that on its own is a great benefit for many people who find it a little bit difficult sometimes to understand every single word I say. That is very useful, but the interactive part doesn’t stop here. You can also search for certain words and go to these words directly in the recording without having to listen through the whole episode just to get to a word or to a section of the episode that you’re just trying to find.

[00:08:45] That can be very handy if you want to review the content later. If you wanna come back and search for a certain word that you know we talked about when we talked about the Moche of ancient Peru, but you don’t remember exactly where it was. So instead of listening to the entire episode all over again, although it’s good, But anyway, if you don’t have time for that, you can search for the word you want or the part you want, and then get right into it by using the interactive transcript.

[00:09:13] So all of that is on the website on this custom post I created for this episode on the website, englishpluspodcast.com. The link is in the description. After you finish listening to the episode, just take the link, go there and take your English to the next level. And now let’s continue with the next word wrought.

[00:09:31] And by the way, wrought here, we’re not talking about the past of write. You know that write, W R I T E. In the past it becomes wrote, W R O T E. But this wrought, although it is pronounced the same way, it is spelled differently. And the meaning obviously is so different. Wrought here is W R O U G H T. It is pronounced exactly the same way like the past of write — wrote, but it is spelled differently, and of course it has a different meaning.

[00:10:01] Now let me remind you again. We used it in the same context we just talked about when we were talking about meticulous. But let me remind you. On a banner meticulously wrought tiny gold human figures wear bracelets of minuscule turquoise beads, gilded copper, chest pieces, and nose ornaments made of sheet gold.

[00:10:19] This is our word wrought. Now, what if you want to replace this word, which word or words could best replace wrought in this line? Could we replace it with relieved of obligation? Supplied to the fullest extent? Established? Or created, or formed? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it. Take some time and I’ll be right back with the answer and some more information about wrought. Don’t go anywhere.

[00:10:51] Now, for those of you who thought created or formed is the right answer, you are absolutely right because that’s what it is. If something is wrought, remember W R O U G H T we’re talking about here, right? Okay. So if something is wrought in a particular material or in a particular way, it has been created in that material or that way.

[00:11:12] So we’re talking about something formed. Something constructed, something fashioned in a way. So that is the meaning of wrought. And we’re talking about it as an adjective obviously. That was our second word, but that’s not the last word. Remember, we have 10 words in context that we’re going to learn in today’s episode, and our very next word is grandiose, G R A N D I O S E, grandiose.

[00:11:37] Now, let’s remember how we used that in context. We said, These are but a few examples of the grandiose treasure buried nearly 2000 years ago by the Moche a pre-Incan people who inhabited 250 miles of Peru’s coast. So we’re talking about a grandiose treasure. What do you think it means? Which word or words could best replace grandiose in this context?

[00:12:03] Could we replace it with passing away quickly? With boldly stylish? With impressive? Or with showing little preparation? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:12:22] Now, for those of you who thought impressive is the best word to replace grandiose, you are absolutely right. We’re talking about an impressive treasure here that’s grandiose, but I will have to tell you a little bit more about grandiose because grandiose can have a negative meaning as well. We don’t always use it in a positive meaning like we use it here.

[00:12:42] Of course when we have treasure, we can’t have enough of a treasure, right? So there can’t be just more than enough. But when we use grandiose to describe something else, if you describe something as grandiose, you mean it is bigger or more elaborate than necessary. It’s like pretentious, extravagant. It’s good, yes, impressive absolutely, but a little bit too much. More than necessary. That’s what we usually use grandiose for. But of course, you always have to consider the context. Now, in the context of our story here, we use it to describe a treasure. So obviously we can’t say that the treasure is more than necessary.

[00:13:18] We can’t have enough of treasures, right? Especially when we talk about, uh, cultural treasure or something from the past. So it’s definitely on the positive side. We use grandiose positively here, and it leans more towards the meaning of impressive, grandiose. Now let’s move to the next word, florescent, F L O R E S C E N T florescent. And by the way, you might confuse this word with a fluorescent light, but fluorescent light starts with F L U O, not F L O. So this one is different, another subtle difference, and the pronunciation is mostly identical, but the meaning is obviously different. So let’s remember how we used this florescent in context, we said: To sustain this florescent culture. Of course we’re not talking about the light here, right? So to sustain this florescent culture, they needed a diverse, thriving, and well organized economy. So this is the context. Now, my question is, which word or words could best replace florescent in this context?

[00:14:22] Could we replace it with harmless? Blossoming? Immoral? Or peculiar? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:14:37] Now, for those of you who thought blossoming is the right answer, you are absolutely right. When you describe a period or a culture as florescent, and remember here, it’s F L O R, right? Not U O R. It’s F L O R florescent, you mean it is at a state or period of being in blossom or of flourishing. It is flourishing.

[00:14:58] And here we’re talking about the culture. The culture was flourishing to sustain this flourishing culture. They needed a diverse, thriving, and well organized economy. That’s the word florescent. And the next word is not exactly as this one. It’s maybe kind of the opposite, although it is about something else.

[00:15:17] It is arid, A R I D, arid. How do we use that in context? Let’s see. We said: They used rivers to create a network of irrigation canals that watered thousands of acres in arid coastal valleys, producing crops of corn, beans, avocados, squash, chili peppers, and peanuts. So what are we talking about here? When we say arid here, let’s try to replace this word.

[00:15:44] Which word or words do you think could best replace arid in this context? Could we replace it with readily accessible,? Easily irritated? Clumsy? Or dry and barren? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:16:01] Now for those of you who thought dry and barren is the right answer, you are absolutely right. Arid land is so dry that very few plants can grow on it. It’s dry. It’s like a desert or something. And that was exactly the case of those coastal valleys. These were arid coastal valleys. But of course, they fixed this problem by using rivers to create a network of irrigation canals that watered those thousands of acres in arid coastal valleys producing all those kind of crops.

[00:16:35] So that was our word, arid. Now let’s move on and talk about the next word, truncate. T R U N C A T E. Truncate. Let’s see how we used that in context. We said: The Moche excelled not only in art, but also in technology. They built truncated pyramids that rose up to 135 feet and sprawled over 10 acres. So we’re talking about huge buildings, huge constructions back in the day, so that not only needed their art, but that needed some technology as well.

[00:17:08] But let’s focus on the word truncate. Now, when we say something is truncated, what do we mean? How can we best explain truncated in this context? Could we explain it by saying it’s grossly wicked? Dense? Shortened as if a part were cut off? Or lopsided? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it and I’ll be right back.

[00:17:37] Now for those of you who thought shortened as if a part were cut off, you’re absolutely right to truncate is to shorten by cutting off a part and or top of something. And here we’re talking about truncated pyramids, and I’m sure you’ve seen those pyramids, if not in a documentary. I’m sure you’ve seen it in a movie because they were featured in a lot of movies.

[00:17:57] Those famous truncated pyramid. Anyway, that was our word truncate, and that’s not the last word we’re gonna talk about today. We’re gonna talk also about a couple of more words, and the next word is iconography. I C O N O G R A G H Y, iconography. How did we use that in context? We said: They perfected, of course, we was talking about the Moche, we said they perfected stamps to decorate pots and vessels with elaborate iconography that portrayed scenes from daily life. So what do you think this means? How can we best explain iconography? Can we explain by saying it’s pictorial illustration of a subject,? Simultaneous playing of one melody by several instrument? Extraction of different substances from precious metals? Or science of measuring time? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it and I’ll be right back.

[00:18:59] Now for those of you who thought pictorial illustration of a subject is the right answer, you’re absolutely right. The iconography of a group of people consists of the symbols, pictures, and objects, which represent their ideas and way of life, so that was the meaning of iconography. Let’s move on to the next word, sublime.

[00:19:19] S U B L I M E, sublime. Let’s remember how we used that in context. We said Moche sculptors were sublimely talented at rendering subtle facial features. Although later civilizations in the area produced impressive ceramics and metals, they never achieved the artistic genius of the Moche. So definitely, it’s a good word.

[00:19:41] It’s a positive word, right? We are praising the artistic excellence of the Moche sculptors, but what about the word itself? Sublime? Which word do you think could best replace sublimely in this context? Could we replace it with moderately? Supremely? Rebelliously? Or deliberately? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:20:08] Now, for those of you who thought supremely is the right answer, you are absolutely right. If you describe something as sublime, you mean that it has a wonderful quality that affects you deeply. It is magnificent. It’s noble, glorious. That’s the meaning of sublime. And remember, we used it to say that the Moche sculptors were sublimely talented.

[00:20:30] That was about sublime. We still have two words to go, sporadic and deluge. Let’s start with sporadic. S P O R A D I C. Sporadic. Let’s remember we said by the time the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century, sporadic deluges from the destructive weather of El Nino had over the years eroded the mud brick pyramids and palaces.

[00:20:56] So that was our context. Now, what do you think, which word or words could best replace sporadic in this context? Could we replace sporadic with richly interesting? Constant? Unhurried? Or occurring irregularly? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:21:21] Now for those of you who thought occurring irregularly, you are absolutely right because sporadic occurrences of something happen at irregular intervals. So when we say something is sporadic, it’s like scattered, isolated, occasional, there’s no predictable pattern. And here remember in the same context we talked about sporadic deluges.

[00:21:40] So the next word, and actually the final word for today’s episode is deluge. D E L U G E, deluge. Well, what about this one? What do you think it means? I’ll remind you again, just in case you forgot about the context. We said By the time the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century, sporadic deluges from the destructive weather of El Nino had over the years eroded the mud brick, pyramids and palaces. So we’re talking about sporadic deluges. How do you think we can best explain the word deluges in this context? Could we explain it by saying, great floods,? Dominant themes? Vital parts? Or ancient precious stones? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it and I’ll be right back.

[00:22:28] Now for those of you who thought great floods is the best word to describe deluges you’re absolutely right. At deluge is a sudden and a very heavy fall of rain that usually causes great floods. That’s the meaning of deluge. But that’s not everything about deluge. By the way, we can use deluge to talk about things.

[00:22:50] A deluge of things is a large number of them, which arrive or happen at the same time. So you can talk about a deluge of problems sometimes, but of course, let’s stick to how we use deluge in this context. We’re talking about great floods here. All right. That was about all the words I wanted to share with you in today’s episode.

[00:23:08] Let’s remember again, we talked about 10 words in context. We started with the word meticulous, and then we talked about the word wrought, and that’s not the past of write, remember it is W R O U G H T. It’s a different word. Then we talked about grandiose. Florescent, and we’re not talking about the light here.

[00:23:27] Again, it’s F L O R, not F L U O R. So florescent as well. We talked about arid, truncate, iconography, sublime, sporadic. And finally, we talked about deluge in the context of our interesting story for today, the Moche of Ancient Peru. I hope you learned something new when we talked about the Moche of ancient Peru.

[00:23:49] Maybe you haven’t heard of them before. Maybe you just heard the name, but you don’t know exactly who they were and what’s special about their culture. Of course, we didn’t cover everything about them, and maybe you want to learn more about them. Never stop learning. Just go out there, search for the Moche and learn more about them if you want.

[00:24:05] But again, we also learned 10 words in context. That’s very good thing. And remember, if you wanna take it to the next level, take the link. I left you in the description of the episode. It will take you to my website, English Plus Podcast. To the custom post I created for this episode where you will find the interactive transcript that you can use to your advantage.

[00:24:25] And of course, we have the interactive activities that you can do on the website from any device you’re using. And there’s also the PDF practice worksheet that you can download if you prefer pen and paper. And in the PDF practice worksheet, we don’t only have the words from today’s episode, we also have the words from the previous four word power episodes.

[00:24:45] So if you would like to review what you’re doing, if you’re really serious about building your vocabulary, you can download the PDF practice worksheet. And follow along with the progress of our series Word Power series. That brings me to the end of today’s episode. We talked about the Moche of ancient Peru, and next time we’re gonna have another interesting episode, word power, and we’re having some very special word power-like episodes, but they’re kind of different.

[00:25:10] They’re coming very soon, so stay tuned. You don’t wanna miss those as well. That will be everything for today, folks. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English Plus Podcast. This is your host, Danny. I will see you next time.

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