The Use of Sacrifice to Satisfy

Within the Aztec empire the use of sacrifice is pretty sickening but intriguing nonetheless. I find that the drive for sacrifice being the manner in which they nourish and replenish the strength of their gods super interesting. You have to wonder how that idea first came into existence and how they pitched that to the rest of the people. It probably was not too difficult as they were a pretty war and violence based state. I’ve known that the Aztec were pretty keen on ritual sacrifice for a while, it was pretty much the only thing I knew about that region and its ancient states. What I did not know was that it was only the prisoners of war that were captured in order to be sacrificed to the gods. Huitzilopochtli was their sun God (the main god) and needed enoguh nourishment every 52 years in order to continually fight off the darkness and bring the light every single day. I also did not know that there were different types of sacrifice besides the sacrificing of humans. It’s interesting that the person providing the ritual would also give up their own blood to the Sun god but did not have to die. I also did not know that they sacrificed animals in order to satiate this hunger for nourishment by their gods. Previously, I only knew that the heart was cut out from the body. I did not know that it was done while living nor did I know that they were kicked down the stops afterwards either, talk about adding insult to injury.  Upon deeper reflection on the idea it makes sense though. If you want a strong state you can’t really be killing your own people because you would be losing that which gives you your support and strength as a government. Although we do not know if this is entirely true as the information was passed down through the conquerors from the Spanish which means that it could be biased in attempts to make the “savage” impression of the Aztecs. I do not doubt that it happened, we see artwork and other things that support the ideas, but maybe it was much less savage in manner and more ritualistic. We won’t ever know the true answer to it for some time if at all, but it still is a pretty interesting thought to swell upon. It definitely is something I would like to delve further into in my own despite the morbidness.

One thought on “The Use of Sacrifice to Satisfy”

  1. I too have been wondering what the reason was/is behind human sacrifices. Clearly there was religious connotation, and there is evidence for that all over artifacts from that time period. I did not know that it was mainly prisoners of war that were sacrificed, but maybe I got bad information from watching too many period movies (I.E. Apocalypto…). The different methods of sacrifice and blood letting are the most interesting aspects of human sacrifice. Apparently, the priest in charge of the sacrifice would present a rope laden with thorns to a member of the royal family, and that person would cut a hole in their tongue and thread the thorny rope through it, making a personal blood sacrifice before the main event. I have to wonder if the person that was going to be sacrificed knew what was going to happen to them; had they seen other sacrifices or were they kept separate from everyone, completely in the dark? Out of curiosity, I googled human sacrifice, and one of the results was a report on the Inca drugging young children before being sacrificed. I’ve never heard of human sacrifice victims being drugged before the sacrifice happens, and it makes me wonder if the actual sacrifice was more gruesome because the victims were younger. That probably makes no sense, but it’s just something I wondered after reading it. In the report, researchers said that they discovered the children had ingested copious amounts of alcohol and a sedative called coca a year before they were to be sacrificed, and again six months later. I wonder if the Aztec had ever thought about sedating their victims. Actually, they probably didn’t ever think about that.

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