Mesoamerican Culture

Learning about the most fascinating sites around the world made for an interesting class, but one topic actually caused me to go out and research on my own. The Inca, Mayan and ,especially, the Aztec cultures in Mesoamerica. Specifically, there ideologies and views on war. The Aztec capital was, to the Aztec people, the center of the Universe. The Aztec people lives revolved around the fact that they were chosen by the Gods to keep the fifth sun world from ending. Human hearts were what the Gods wanted to stay happy. The rulers would explain all their poor judgments with a story that a deity committed the same sin. I wonder if the rulers of this time were as clueless as the citizens or if they maliciously lied. As a ruler, they were expected to communicate with the Gods. When it was time for the ruler to give a message from the gods, did the rulers simply make up a message? Were drugs involved and the rulers actually believed their message? Or did the rulers truly believe enough to hear a message on their own?

I can’t help but assume that the rulers created a story for power. It seems far too convenient that the Gods chose each civilization to make the ruler happy so he might translate. Perhaps the citizens never bought into it anyway. We know from excavation that their were tribute being made by commoners, but we have no way of knowing if they were by force or choice. It’s entirely possible that the reason rulers were creating so much propaganda (which demonstrated themselves as having a divine right to rule) was because the commoners were forced to give their possessions. It seems more likely, though, that the commoners bought into the religion. There is clear evidence that this was a militaristic society and I’m sure that played its role in the religions stability.

The Aztecs gave meaning to every event, especially war. So, to the Aztecs, when the Spanish conquistadors came with intention to attack it was seen as just another method for tribute to the deities. I don’t think that, since they assumed the Gods needed them to stay alive, the Aztecs would ever realize that they were outmatched. Not to mention that the Spanish brought foreign disease. As they began to be slaughtered by more advanced technology, I can’t imagine that they every admitted defeat.