Aztec religion and religious sacrifice

New info Aztec sacrifice In spite of all the great accomplishments of the empire, it's the Aztec sacrifice that the people are often remembered for. Why were sacrifices offered?

Aztec religion and religious sacrifice

On the state level, religion was controlled by the Tlatoani and the high priests governing the main temples in the ceremonial precinct of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This level involved the large monthly festivals and a number of specific rituals centered around the ruler dynasty and attempting to stabilize both the political and cosmic systems, these rituals were the ones that involved a sacrifice of humans.

For example, on the feast of Huey Tozoztlithe ruler himself ascended Mount Tlaloc and engaged in autosacrifice in order to petition the rains. Throughout society, each level had their own rituals and deities and played their part in the larger rituals of the community. For example, the class of Pochteca merchants were involved in the feast Tlaxochimaco where the merchant deity would be celebrated and slaves bought on specific slave markets by long-distance traders would be sacrificed.

On the feast of Ochpaniztliall commoners participated in sweeping the streets, and they also undertook ritual bathing. The most spectacular ritual was the New Fire ceremony which took place every 52 years and involved every citizen of the Aztec realm, during this commoners would destroy house utensils, quench all fires and receive new fire from the bonfire on top of Mt.

Aztec religion and religious sacrifice

Huixachtlan, lit on the chest of a sacrificed person by the high priests. Priests and Temples[ edit ] In the Nahuatl language, the word for priest was tlamacazqui meaning "giver of things"—the main responsibility of the priesthood was to make sure that the gods were given their due in the form of offerings, ceremonies and sacrifices.

The Hierarchy of Aztec Gods

The Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan was the head of the cult of Huitzilopochtli and thus of the state religion of the Aztec empire. He had special priestly duties in different rituals on the state level. However, the Aztec religious organization was not entirely under his authority.

Sahagun and Duran describe the pairs of high priests Quetzalcoatls who were in charge of the major pilgrimage centres Cholula and Tenochtitlan as enjoying immense respect from all levels of Aztec society — akin to archbishops — and a level of authority that partly transcended national boundaries.

Sahagun reports that the priests had a very strict training, and had to live very austere and ethical lives involving prolonged vigils, fasts and penances. For instance, they often had to bleed themselves and undertake prescribed self-mortifications in the buildup to sacrificial rites. Additionally, Sahagun refers to classes of religious specialists not affiliated with the established priesthood.

This included wandering curers, black magicians and other occultists of which the Aztecs identified many types, most of which they feared and hermits. Finally, the military orders, professions e. The heads of these lodges, although not full-time religious specialists, had some ritual and moral duties.

Duran also describes lodge members as having the responsibility of raising sufficient goods to host the festivals of their specific patron deity.

Ancient Aztec Religion

Aztec temples were basically offering mounds: Buildings around the base of the pyramid, and sometimes a small chamber under the pyramid, stored ritual items and provided lodgings and staging for priests, dancers and temple orchestras.

The pyramids were buried under a new surface every several years especially every 52 years — the Aztec century. Thus the pyramid-temples of important deities constantly grew in size.

In front of every major temple lay a large plaza.

Plazas were where the bulk of worshippers gathered to watch rites and dances performed; to join in the songs and sacrifices the audience often bled themselves during the rites and to partake in any festival foods. Nobility sat on tiered seating under awnings around the plaza periphery, and some conducted part of the ceremonies on the temple.

Continual rebuilding enabled Tlatoani and other dignitaries to celebrate their achievements by dedicating new sculptures, monuments and other renovations to the temples. For festivals, temple steps and tiers were also festooned with flowers, banners and other decorations.

Each pyramid had a flat top to accommodate dancers and priests performing rites. Close to the temple steps there was usually a sacrificial slab and braziers.

The temple house calli itself was relatively small, although the more important ones had high and ornately carved internal ceilings.The role of sacrifice in Aztec culture. Sacrifice was a common theme in the Aztec culture.

In the Aztec "Legend of the Five Suns", all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live. Ancient Aztec religion was focused on how the gods, humans and nature were interconnected.

There was a strong emphasis on the worship of Huitzilopochtli. There was . The Aztec religion is the Mesoamerican religion of the|Aztecs]. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it had elements of human sacrifice in connection with a large number of religious festivals which were held according to patterns of the Aztec calendar.

The Aztec religion is composed of an incredibly complicated, yet interesting, set of beliefs. Filled with stories of human sacrifices and demanding Aztec gods and goddesses, the Aztecs have left behind a legacy that will be studied and marveled for years to come.

Blood was a common theme - the sacrifice that the gods required (see Aztec religion for more on Aztec sacrifice). So, animals would be sacrificed, as well as humans.

Also, there was ritual blood-letting, where people would cut . For the Aztecs, human sacrifice fulfilled multiple purposes, both at the religious and socio-political level. They considered themselves the “elected” people, the people of the Sun who had been chosen by the gods to feed them and by doing so were responsible for the continuity of the world.

Aztec Religion | Human Sacrifices, Rituals, Mythology, Gods & Goddesses