A Halloween Special: The Aztec Empire

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A Halloween Special: The Aztec Empire

Post  Mira W. on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:30 pm

During 1345-1521 CE, the Aztecs had ruled Mexico with their own quite disturbing, but nevertheless unique culture. Their sacrificial rituals that included ripping one's still-beating heart out, decapitation, and skinning have become famous amongst historians.

While these traditions seem cruel and inhuman, the Aztecs saw them as necessary compensations to their Gods for creating humanity. They believed two of the most powerful gods, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca had ripped the reptile-monster Cipactli to shreds to form Earth - mountains, rivers, forests were all made out of Ciapctli's body parts. To satisfy the monster's spirit, they had to repay the sacrifice using the most precious thing on Earth: human blood. Another mythology says a god constructed humans using stolen bones from the Underworld. Therefore, people must apologize and perform fatal rituals.

Even so, being a sacrifice for the gods was treated like an honorable position. Only those worthy of being sacrifices were killed, such as the most handsome, or most skilled warrior. Children weren't spared, either. To please the rain god Tlaloc, it was believed a child must be killed for their tears will bring rain. Many times, a few chosen ones would impersonate a god for a year before being sacrificed. They would be treated like kings and queens, later to be skinned  or decapitated.

The Aztecs had to continuously make such sacrifices to keep the balance in the world. For instance, if Tezcatlipoca - their sun god - wasn't kept happy, they believed the sun wouldn't rise, ensuring the end of the world. For this reason, gods' statues were often covered with blood, and skulls were hung on the walls of sacred places. While the Aztecs did have rituals that did not require cutting short one's life, they were equally alarming. Such practices included killing other creatures, self-harm (priests piercing their tongues, ears), or eating statues of gods made of amaranth, blood, and honey.

As seen the video, the most common sacrificial ceremony involved throwing the chosen person on a stone table, with four people holding each limb out. Then, their heart would be carved out of their chest and flung into fire - often told while still beating. Another variation that was used mostly on women included decapitation (cutting off their heads), and having them pushed down the stairs of a pyramid. A more common ritual for men had the person thrown into fire repeatedly. After such sacrifices, the people's heads would be kept and, as earlier mentioned, hung on the walls of their churches. Most disturbingly of all, sometimes the flesh of those sacrificed would be consumed by high-ranking individuals.



Aztecs thought these practices to be appropriate because they were strong believers live after death. Those who died as warriors, mothers bearing children, or sacrifices went immediately to their sun god (Heaven). Those who died normal lives first had to go live nine lifetimes in the Underworld (Hell). All this was done to honor their gods who themselves made sacrifices to create Earth; they were eternally grateful and in debt to their hundreds of gods.


Last edited by Mira W. on Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A Halloween Special: The Aztec Empire

Post  CicelyS on Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:42 pm

Their practices seem so brutal, but what's strange to think about is that if they were put into our civilization and how things roll nowadays, they might think we are the brutal ones and are damned. Great post, super interesting to read.
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Re: A Halloween Special: The Aztec Empire

Post  ebznski on Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:46 pm

it's scary to know that they did that to their own people just to please their gods but I guess back then if a god was mad your life was over so I can understand it just wish it was a little different.
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