Civilizations In America The Mexica-Aztecs

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Civilizations in America: The Mexica/Aztecs The overwhelming aspect of Aztec religious life in the imaginations of non-Aztecs was the predominance of human sacrifice. This had been practiced all throughout the Mesoamerican world, but the Tenochca practiced it at a scale never seen before or since. We don't know a great deal about the details, but we have a fairly good idea of its general character and justification. Throughout Mesoamerica, the theology involved the concept that the gods gave things to human beings only if they were nourished by human beings. Among the Maya, for instance, the priests would nourish the gods by drawing their own blood by piercing their tongues, ears, extremities, or genitals. Other sacrifices involved prayer,…show more content…
But the Aztec theologians also developed the notion that the gods are best nourished by the living hearts of sacrificed captives; the braver the captive, the more nourishing the sacrifice. This theology led to widespread wars of conquest in search of sacrificial victims both captured in war and paid as tribute by a conquered…show more content…
The ritual year lasted for 260 days and the solar year lasted for 365 days. Every fifty-two years these two calendars would resynchronize; the Aztecs, then, lived in 52-year cycles. In Aztec religion, the destruction of every era always occurred on the last day of each 52 year cycle (although each era lasted for several of these cycles). Every 52 years, then, the Aztecs believed that the world was about to end and the close of the 52 year cycle was the most important religious event in Aztec life for this period was the most dangerous period in human life. This was the time when the gods could decide to destroy humanity. Every cycle ended with the New Fire Ceremony. For five days before the end of the cycle, all religious altar fires were extinguished and people all over the Aztec world destroyed furniture and possessions and went into mourning for the world. On the last day, the priests went to the Hill of the Star, a crater in the Valley of Mexico, and waited for the constellation of the Pleiades to appear. If it appeared, that meant that the world would continue for fifty-two more years. The priests would light a fire in an animal carcass, and all the fires of the Valley of Mexico would be lit from this single fire. The day after saw sacrifices, blood-letting, feasting, and renovation of possessions and houses.http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM |
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