- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology
Aztec religion and sacrifice
also on the aztecs
Why did the Aztecs sacrifice people?
In Aztec religion people would be sacrificed for the gods. The gods were pleased by blood letting and death. If a person wasn’t sacrificed they believed the sun would not rise the next day; this made sacrifice a daily thing. Aztecs would sacrifice lots of people in hope for good rain to make the crops grow.
How were victims sacrificed?
Victims of Aztec sacrifice were killed in many ways, the most popular way was to cut out the persons live and beating heart and hold it up to the sun. Another was for the sacrifice to be impaled on a barrel cactus or their skin peeled off. There were even some in which they ate the sacrifice (cannibalism).
They were usually killed by the priest who would be covered in blue or black paint. The Aztecs had many ways of disposing of the dead bodies from feeding it to the animals or throwing them down the stairs of a temple.
What were skull racks?
Skull racks were big walls by a temple with heads of sacrificed people on them. The point of them was to honour the gods and show their power.
The Aztecs believed in hundreds of gods and goddesses! Every god had their own power over nature, emotion or actions. The Aztecs had many plant gods because they relied lots on farming. Aztec war heroes also became gods.
They believed that every thing in the whole world like rain, sun or fire- and life and death of people depended on the happiness of these gods. While some were nice and kind, others were very terrifying.
The Aztecs thought that the gods should be worshiped, so as to avoid the danger of an angry god or goddess. Ceremonial centres (sacrificial temples) were built. Life of the Aztecs and the gods was thanked by offering up the best thing a human
Chalchiuhtlicue was one of the Aztec goddesses. Her name means she of the Jade Skirt. She was the goddess of lakes and streams. She also had power over birth and is worshiped in Aztec baptisms. In the Aztec story of creation she had ruled the fourth world, which ended up destroyed in a great flood. In Aztec paintings Chalchiuhtlicue wore a green skirt and with black lines on her face. In some drawings babies were seen floating in water coming from her skirt. There is a picture below.
Who is Quetzalcoatl and why is he special?
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was white skinned. He was believed to have made the fifth world and he had power over maize. His name meant ‘serpent with feathers of the Quetzal’ .Quetzalcoatl was related to another god- Tezcatlipoca, the god of darkness! Tezcatlipoca also controlled temptation, war and other bad things. Quetzalcoatl was also known as White Tezcatlipoca, Tezcatlipoca, who was called Black Tezcatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were rivals; they had to take it in turns creation and destruction of the world. Quetzalcoatl made the fifth world so he would also end it.
He is special because when Hernan Cortés and the Spanish attacked the Aztecs, the Aztec Emperor (Moctezuma) thought that Hernan was Quetzalcoatl. It was believed Quetzalcoatl would return. By the time the Aztecs realised that he wasn’t a god Cortés already had a plan and it was too late and the Spanish conquered the aztecs.