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Author Topic: Weak spot - human sacrifice  (Read 6801 times)
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« Topic Start: May 29, 2008, 05:08:41 pm »

I was defending the Aztecs for having a much higher standard of hygiene than Spaniards on a different forum, and reasoned that this was due to them not being ashamed of their body, like the psycho religious folk were.
Someone's reply was simply this: "Is that why they were into human sacrifice?" It's like that question cuts straight to the bone. I'm both angry at the question and at a loss of how to reply, because I've no idea why they performed human sacrifice.

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?
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« Reply #1: May 29, 2008, 05:14:37 pm »



*scratches head*
Sorry, somehow I don't get the connection here?
What was the one saying 'Is that why...' refering to?
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« Reply #2: May 29, 2008, 05:27:46 pm »

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

I can, but the author of this blog does it much better: http://tlacochcalli.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/why-sacrifice/

I hope that helps a little! Smiley
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« Reply #3: May 29, 2008, 05:32:28 pm »


Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

It's a somewhat controversial topic, but its undeniable that sacrifice was an important theme in Mesoamerican cultures. In some legends, it is the gods that sacrifice themselves so that the people live and the idea that ongoing sacrifice sustains the universe - this religious reciprocity, bloody as it was, was considered to be an essential and sacred obligation.

That's why it was so important.
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« Reply #4: May 29, 2008, 05:33:57 pm »



I'm confused.  What does better hygiene have to do with human sacrifice?

Or were you arguing that the Aztecs were better people than the 'psycho religious folk' you mention, rather than just cleaner?  And was that the term you actually used to refer to them?

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« Reply #5: May 29, 2008, 06:46:16 pm »

Someone's reply was simply this: "Is that why they were into human sacrifice?" It's like that question cuts straight to the bone. I'm both angry at the question and at a loss of how to reply, because I've no idea why they performed human sacrifice.

I must be missing something here too--largely what everyone else has already said, but I'll add:  Why does this cut straight to the bone?  Why does this hurt you?  I'm confused at the outrage over a question about religious history.  And although it might have been in a nonsensical context with perhaps rude overtones, it's a valid question, IMO; I think it can be hard for us now to comprehend why human sacrifice might once have been considered appropriate, especially if one has not (as I presume this person hadn't) been exposed to that sort of idea in any context outside of ooky-spooky-weird-scary before.  "Why" is a perfectly understandable question.
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« Reply #6: May 29, 2008, 07:32:02 pm »

I was defending the Aztecs for having a much higher standard of hygiene than Spaniards on a different forum, and reasoned that this was due to them not being ashamed of their body, like the psycho religious folk were.
Someone's reply was simply this: "Is that why they were into human sacrifice?" It's like that question cuts straight to the bone. I'm both angry at the question and at a loss of how to reply, because I've no idea why they performed human sacrifice.

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

The Aztecs sacrificed human blood to the hungry sun god, who told them when to be at war, at peace, when to celebrate, when to sacrifice, etc. Aztec leaders were actually very crafty in the way that they kept track of the sun's movements and used it as a way to pull the strings. For example, they would tell the people, "If the sun shines here, then such-and-such should be done". Therefore it made manipulating the civilization all-too-easy for those who studied the sun's patterns.. hence why the religious leaders were THE leaders.

I don't know... from what I interpreted of it, it was less about the body itself, and more about the blood and the heart. It needed to be sacrificed because it was VALUABLE. It wasn't just because they wanted to throw it out for no reason.. the body was sacred, and therefore perfect for sacrifices.
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« Reply #7: May 30, 2008, 04:38:49 am »

I was defending the Aztecs for having a much higher standard of hygiene than Spaniards on a different forum, and reasoned that this was due to them not being ashamed of their body, like the psycho religious folk were.
Someone's reply was simply this: "Is that why they were into human sacrifice?" It's like that question cuts straight to the bone. I'm both angry at the question and at a loss of how to reply, because I've no idea why they performed human sacrifice.

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

They were perform human sacrifice because they were in a period of long famine and getting desperate. They thought the sun god was angry and them and were trying to appease him. Or at least thats what I have heard from the latest archologist studies. Its not something that they can be really blames for, they were desperate and not really sure what to do.
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« Reply #8: May 30, 2008, 10:23:43 am »

I was defending the Aztecs for having a much higher standard of hygiene than Spaniards on a different forum, and reasoned that this was due to them not being ashamed of their body, like the psycho religious folk were.

That's a really thin reed to attach better hygenie for the Aztecs to as opposed to the Spainairds.  Do you have any proof beyond that?

I'm not even sure that you can prove that the Aztecs were less ashamed of their bodies. 

I think I can safely say that the European Jews and Muslims were just as body modest as the Spainairds, but both the Jews and Muslims had (and still do) a requirement of washing before prayers, ie fairly reqularly. 



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« Reply #9: May 30, 2008, 12:46:57 pm »

like the psycho religious folk were

Psycho religious folk? What makes the religious beliefs of the Spanish more "psycho" than the religious beliefs of the Aztecs?
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« Reply #10: May 30, 2008, 01:04:22 pm »

Psycho religious folk? What makes the religious beliefs of the Spanish more "psycho" than the religious beliefs of the Aztecs?

That was my first thought.  Technically, the beliefs of the Aztecs were just as "psycho" as the Spanish if you're basing it on killing someone in the name of a god.
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« Reply #11: May 30, 2008, 01:39:20 pm »

They were perform human sacrifice because they were in a period of long famine and getting desperate. They thought the sun god was angry and them and were trying to appease him. Or at least thats what I have heard from the latest archologist studies. Its not something that they can be really blames for, they were desperate and not really sure what to do.

Could you post a link to that set of studies? I'd not heard that one before, and I'd be interested to read up on it. I just wonder how common this theory is amongst archaeologists...any idea?
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« Reply #12: May 30, 2008, 01:47:24 pm »

Could you post a link to that set of studies? I'd not heard that one before, and I'd be interested to read up on it. I just wonder how common this theory is amongst archaeologists...any idea?


That sounds like Harner's theory (drought/famine --> sacrifice/cannibalism). Here's a refutation:

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/aztecs/montellano.htm
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« Reply #13: June 01, 2008, 09:37:50 pm »

It needed to be sacrificed because it was VALUABLE. It wasn't just because they wanted to throw it out for no reason.. the body was sacred, and therefore perfect for sacrifices.

Yes, the body was sacred. To the Aztecs a person had three essences, the tonalli (head), the teyolia (heart) and the ihiyotl (liver). The tonalli was what governed their fate and the hair of the individual held the essence of the person’s tonalli essentially its energy which is why decapitation after the original sacrifice the heart was also sometimes practiced and why heads where put on a tzompantli (skull rack). The teyolia was where the soul was which is why the sacrifice of the heart was so important and highly regarded because essentially you were offering a person’s soul to the Gods. The ihiyotl was the seat (if you will) of an individual’s primitive reactions.

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

The concept of sacrifice in general was very important in the Aztec religion, for several reasons. As the article another member posted all of the Gods sacrificed something during the creation and thus sacrificing to the Gods in return showed devotion and it was believed that it help ‘fuel’ and empower the Gods. As said above the Aztec believed that the vessel of the soul (teyolia) was the heart and thus sacrificing an individual’s heart was like offering up a soul it was the most one could give to the Gods. Not only that but blood was said to contain a special essence called, chalchihuatl, which was considered nourishment for the Gods, which is also why auto-sacrifices were practiced among the Aztecs as well. Sacrifice was called nextlaoaliztli or “the giving of that which is right,” which again goes back to the idea that if the Gods sacrificed themselves on our behalf then it was only suitable that we sacrifice to them to nourish and empower them while simultaneously showing our gratitude and devotion to them. That is why it was so important.
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« Reply #14: June 02, 2008, 12:50:20 am »

I was defending the Aztecs for having a much higher standard of hygiene than Spaniards on a different forum, and reasoned that this was due to them not being ashamed of their body, like the psycho religious folk were.
Someone's reply was simply this: "Is that why they were into human sacrifice?" It's like that question cuts straight to the bone. I'm both angry at the question and at a loss of how to reply, because I've no idea why they performed human sacrifice.

Can someone please explain why human sacrifice was so important?

AFAweK, people all over the world perform the religious rites that they have been taught will please their gods.  Not all the blood sacrifices that the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas (and their neighbors) conducted involved killing humans, either: there was one rite, Mayan I think, in which the king took the dried barb off a sting ray and ran it through his tongue and/or his penis, using it to thread a fairly thick cord (think manila clothesline) through his flesh.  The bloodied cord was offered on the altar afterward.

The people believed:  the Spaniards documented people standing in long lines for hours in order to be sacrificed.  They were feeding their gods as their gods required.

What that has to do with civil sanitation or private personal hygiene I can't imagine...

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