Aztec Religion and Religious Sacrifice

Aztec Religion and Religious Sacrifice

Document details
Category: Anthropology Essay
Subcategory: Evolution and Human Origin
Words: 3616
Pages: 5

Aztec Sacrifice The Aztecs religion consisted of many gods, including Uitzilopochtli (the sun god), Coyolxauhqui (the moon goddess), Tlaloc (the rain god), and Quetzalcoatl (inventor of writing and the calendar, who was also associated with resurrection)(AC). The gods were most often fed captured soldiers or slaves through sacrifice. One reported occurrence was that the priests would buy babies and small children for more special sacrifices, to Tlaloc, who was apparently fond of the sound of screaming children. When the Great Temple was built, it was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, and to honor him the Aztecs performed a sacrificial rite never attempted before mass sacrifice. This would become the greatest sacrifice of humans in all of Mexico, and quite possibly the world (Frederiksen). They felt the need to something as an offering to Huitzilopochtli, for the purpose of him answering their prayers and also to regain his respect. As an offering, they gave blood, which sustained life. These acts of the Aztecs, as well as their fellow ancient civilizations, went down in history as some of the most gory yet fascinating methods of worship ever performed. An Aztec tale told of two gods who stepped forward to offer themselves. The first was the arrogant Tecuciztecatl (lord of the conch shells), and the second was the modest Nanahuatzin (meaning purulent or pustuled one)(Leon-Portilla, 15). The ritual called for the use of fir tree needles for drawing blood, before they would each have the chance to cast themselves into a huge fire, only to emerge as the sun. However, Tecuciztecatl was content in simply offering up spines made of coral, while Nanahuatzin bled himself profusely with the needles, and offered up authentic fir branches and sharp maguey needles (15). When the time came to run into the fire, Tecuciztecatl was the first to go. He made four attempts, but was too afraid. This resulted in him losing to opportunity to cast himself into the fire. Next, Nanahuatzin...

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