Human Sacrifice And The Aztec Culture Essay

Human Sacrifice And The Aztec Culture Essay

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Human sacrifice was a religious practice characteristic of the Aztec civilization, and much of Mesoamerica. Spanish conquistadors, Hernan Cortes, made observations of and wrote reports about the practice of human sacrifice. These reports tended to be great exaggerations of what they saw, nor did they comprehend the significance of sacrifice among the Aztec culture. These tales were fabricated to convince the people of the world that the Aztecs were less than human. An array of reasons and interpretations of the Aztec practice of human sacrifice have been proposed by modern scientists.
While unsure whether the Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice before reaching Tenochtitlan, the first report sacrifice was that of the killing and skinning of the daughter of the king Coxcox of Culhuacan. After that, the Aztec would usually perform their rituals on war prisoners, sacrificing them with sharp obsidian blades, and then offer the blood to the god Acolnahuacatl. The ritual killing would end when the god was appeased. The Legend of the Five Suns tells the doctrine of the Aztec and other Nahua people in which the present world was preceded by four other cycles of creation and destruction. It is a mixture of mythological, cosmological, and eschatological (a part of theology concerned with the end of the world) beliefs and traditions of earlier cultures. In this legend, Quetzalcoatl would not accept the destruction of his people so he stole their bones from the underworld and dipped them in his blood to resurrect them. They reopened their eyes to the current sun, Huitzilopochtli. The other children of Ometeotl became jealous of Huitzilopochtli, and the goddess of the moon, Coyolxauhqui, led them in an attack on the sun during the night, but woul...


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... the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan. These children are usually diseased or very unhealthy, and would probably have suffered a long death. More archaeological evidence for sacrifice included the sacrificial stones and knives, the skull rack, and traces of blood of floor and alters in the temples. There is no evidence of cannibalism among the Aztecs, although many accounts of the conquest include cannibalism in their reports.
Aztec philosophy serves to unite elite alliances, establish the worth of rewards for the warriors, elevate the status of the warriors, increase stability among the commoners, and dominate subordinate groups. Spaniards used the excuse of Aztecs committing human sacrifice to perpetrate genocide. Human sacrifice was an important part of Aztec life and culture. They believed if they didn’t sacrifice humans, the world would literally be destroyed.

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