Throughout my education, all the history and geography courses I have taken have always talked about the Mesoamerican peoples. Everyone has heard of the Mayan, Aztecs, and the Incans. Learning about some of their practices and other traditions as well as seeing photos of the massive pyramids they built were all part of the curriculum. With knowing this, I am glad we went over these ethnic groups in this course and it has just further peaked my interest. Like most people, I am particularly interested in the Aztecs and their human sacrifice rituals. I think the reason this is so fascinating to us is because we see this practice as cruel and so different than anything we do now. As I have come to find out, the Aztecs had their reasons for doing it and it seemed like they had no intent on stopping.
The Aztecs had one huge ideology: that the sun god needed to be nourished to keep the universe running. Let me explain: the Aztecs believed that the sun god was in constant struggle with darkness and in order to keep the darkness at bay and the universe running, the sun god needed to be nourished by sacrifice. These sacrifices were both animals and people. Most of the human sacrifices were captured prisoners of war (P.O.W.s) The Aztecs believed that every 52 years, the universe cycled. Meaning, that the sun god needed nourishment (blood of sacrificial claims) to keep the universe running.
Why does this interest us so much? I think the fact that the Aztecs sacrificed humans is what catches our attention. Though the Spanish did publicize and overly state how much and how often the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice to portray them as barbarians and uncivilized people, the fact is that they still did it and this is what fascinates us. Many other cultures have interesting practices, but when murder is involved you can bet that people will be more than interested to learn about it. I think something that is equally as fascinating as the Aztecs need for human sacrifice are the monuments erected in their name. Just like the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Mesoamerican people built enormous structures that are still standing today. The fact that they were organized and skilled enough to build such lasting monuments is awe-inspiring and something that proves the intelligence of these people. I would love to be able to visit Mexico and see these awesome structures one day.