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The purpose of Aztec blood rituals

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Montezuma
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2010, 07:16:48 pm »

Read part one here: http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/3722-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals.html

and stay tuned for part 3!

 

 

 

Jasmyne Pendragon

 



 

The author Jasmyne Pendragon has bachelor of archaeology (ABATR) and is working on her Archaeology Honours (AHAR) in the Latrobe University in Australia. She has participated in the Bamburgh Castle Research Project in 2009 and the Bellarine Bayside Archaeological Program in 2010 as well as participated in the Glenrowan Siege Project and the Willoughby Bean Project.   Research interests are rituals and death in human history.

 

You can contact her at:

 E-mail: jlpendragon@students.latrobe.edu.au
elvinblood1@hotmail.com
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Montezuma
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2010, 07:17:33 pm »

References

Berdan, Frances F. (1982) Human Sacrifice. in 'The Aztecs of Central Mexico: an imperial society.'  Holt, Rinehart & Winston. New York.     

Brinton, Daniel G, M.D. (1976) Myths of the New World: The Symbolism and Mythology of the Indians of the Americas. Multimedia Publishing Corp.  New York. 

Burland, C.A and Forman, Werner. (1975) Feathered Serpent and Smoking Mirror. G.P. Putnam's & Sons.  New York.   

Coe, Michael D and Koontz, Rex.  (2005) Mexico from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. Thames & Hudson.London. 

Diaz, Gisele and Rodgers, Alan. (1993) the Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Manuscript. Dover Publications. New York.   

Forman, Werner. [Ed]. (1998) The Aztecs: Gods and fate in Ancient Mexico.  Orbis Publishing. London.

 Hultkrantz, Ake. (1981) Belief and Worship in Native North America. Syracuse University Press. New York. 

Irish, Donald P, Lundquist, Kathleen F and Jenkins Nelson, Vivian. [Ed].  (1993) Ethnic Variations in Dying, death and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Taylor & Francis. Philadelphia. 

McIntosh, Jane and Twist, Clint. (2003) Civilizations: Ten Thousand Years of Ancient History. BBC Worldwide Limited. London.

Ortiz De Montellano, Bernard R. (June 1983) Counting Skulls: Comment on the Aztec Cannibalism theory of Harner-Harris.  in 'American Anthropologist.'  Vol. 85. No.  2. 

Portillo, José López. (1977) Quetzalcoatl: A Myth. James Clark & Co Ltd. Cambridge.   

Renfrew, Colin and Bahn, Paul. (2006)Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson. London.   

Scarre, Chris. (2005) The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies.Thames & Hudson. London.   

Scarre, Christopher and Fagan, Brain M. (2003) Ancient Civilizations. Second [ed]. Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 

Séjourné, Laurette.  (1976) Burning Water Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico.  Shambhala Publications.  Berkeley.

Tompkins, Ptolemy. (1990) This Tree Grows Out of Hell: Mesoamerica and the search for the Magical Body. Harper & Collins.  New York.

Townsend, Richard F. (2003) The Aztecs. Thames & Hudson. London.

Waters, Frank. (1975) Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness. Swallow Press Incorporated. Chicago.

Nuttall, Zelia.  (December 1904) A Penitential Rite of the ancient Mexicans.  Museum Cambridge. Mass.   

 

 

                                                                 Web Sources

Acolnahuacatzin, Shield Jaguar. (1 September 2006) The Aztec War of the Flowers: the role of ritualized warfare in Aztec society. [Online] http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Artical/733369 [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Del Campo, Edgar Martin, Ph.D (no date) Edgar's Mesoamerican Art Page: Back from Mexico with major news. [Online] http://members.aol.com/emdelcamp/edgar2.htm [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Harris, Marvin. (1978) Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Cultures. In 'Here Be Cannibals: Cannibalism in Middle America.' The Heretical Press [online]http://www.heretical.com/cannibal/mamerica.html [accessed] 28 May 2008.

****, Richard. (1996) Civilizations in America: The Mexica / Aztecs. [Online]http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM [accessed] 28 May 2008. 

Kastenbaum, Robert. (No date) Sacrifice. in 'Encyclopedia of Death and Dying∷ Py=Se.' [Online]http://www.deathreference.com/Py-Se/Sacrifice.html    [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Raggio, Nora. (Spring 2000) Pre-Columbian Sacrifice. [Online]http://gallery.sjsu.edu/sacrifice/precolumbian.html [accessed] 28 May 2008. 

Sahagun, Bernardino. (No date) Florentine Codex. [Online] http://www.finns-books.com/florpic1.htm[accessed] 28 May 2008.

 

Images courtesy of Del Campo

 

Copyright:  Archnews and Jasmyne Pendragon

 All rights reserved:  www.archnews.co.uk

http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/4282-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals-part-2.html
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Montezuma
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2010, 07:19:00 pm »

References

Berdan, Frances F. (1982) Human Sacrifice. in 'The Aztecs of Central Mexico: an imperial society.'  Holt, Rinehart & Winston. New York.     

Brinton, Daniel G, M.D. (1976) Myths of the New World: The Symbolism and Mythology of the Indians of the Americas. Multimedia Publishing Corp.  New York. 

Burland, C.A and Forman, Werner. (1975) Feathered Serpent and Smoking Mirror. G.P. Putnam's & Sons.  New York.   

Coe, Michael D and Koontz, Rex.  (2005) Mexico from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. Thames & Hudson.London. 

Diaz, Gisele and Rodgers, Alan. (1993) the Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Manuscript. Dover Publications. New York.   

Forman, Werner. [Ed]. (1998) The Aztecs: Gods and fate in Ancient Mexico.  Orbis Publishing. London.

 Hultkrantz, Ake. (1981) Belief and Worship in Native North America. Syracuse University Press. New York. 

Irish, Donald P, Lundquist, Kathleen F and Jenkins Nelson, Vivian. [Ed].  (1993) Ethnic Variations in Dying, death and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Taylor & Francis. Philadelphia. 

McIntosh, Jane and Twist, Clint. (2003) Civilizations: Ten Thousand Years of Ancient History. BBC Worldwide Limited. London.

Ortiz De Montellano, Bernard R. (June 1983) Counting Skulls: Comment on the Aztec Cannibalism theory of Harner-Harris.  in 'American Anthropologist.'  Vol. 85. No.  2. 

Portillo, José López. (1977) Quetzalcoatl: A Myth. James Clark & Co Ltd. Cambridge.   

Renfrew, Colin and Bahn, Paul. (2006)Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson. London.   

Scarre, Chris. (2005) The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies.Thames & Hudson. London.   

Scarre, Christopher and Fagan, Brain M. (2003) Ancient Civilizations. Second [ed]. Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 

Séjourné, Laurette.  (1976) Burning Water Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico.  Shambhala Publications.  Berkeley.

Tompkins, Ptolemy. (1990) This Tree Grows Out of Hell: Mesoamerica and the search for the Magical Body. Harper & Collins.  New York.

Townsend, Richard F. (2003) The Aztecs. Thames & Hudson. London.

Waters, Frank. (1975) Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness. Swallow Press Incorporated. Chicago.

Nuttall, Zelia.  (December 1904) A Penitential Rite of the ancient Mexicans.  Museum Cambridge. Mass.   

 

 

                                                                 Web Sources

Acolnahuacatzin, Shield Jaguar. (1 September 2006) The Aztec War of the Flowers: the role of ritualized warfare in Aztec society. [Online] http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Artical/733369 [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Del Campo, Edgar Martin, Ph.D (no date) Edgar's Mesoamerican Art Page: Back from Mexico with major news. [Online] http://members.aol.com/emdelcamp/edgar2.htm [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Harris, Marvin. (1978) Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Cultures. In 'Here Be Cannibals: Cannibalism in Middle America.' The Heretical Press [online]http://www.heretical.com/cannibal/mamerica.html [accessed] 28 May 2008.

****, Richard. (1996) Civilizations in America: The Mexica / Aztecs. [Online]http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM [accessed] 28 May 2008. 

Kastenbaum, Robert. (No date) Sacrifice. in 'Encyclopedia of Death and Dying∷ Py=Se.' [Online]http://www.deathreference.com/Py-Se/Sacrifice.html    [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Raggio, Nora. (Spring 2000) Pre-Columbian Sacrifice. [Online]http://gallery.sjsu.edu/sacrifice/precolumbian.html [accessed] 28 May 2008. 

Sahagun, Bernardino. (No date) Florentine Codex. [Online] http://www.finns-books.com/florpic1.htm[accessed] 28 May 2008.

 

Images courtesy of Del Campo

 

Copyright:  Archnews and Jasmyne Pendragon

 All rights reserved:  www.archnews.co.uk

http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/4282-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals-part-2.html
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Montezuma
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2010, 09:10:03 pm »

The purpose of Aztec blood rituals part 3
By Chief_Editor 6 hours 41 minutes ago
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Victims of the warrior class courtesy of Mexican Codices Victims of the warrior class courtesy of Mexican Codices

This is part three and the final part in the series of Aztec Blood rituals with blood sacrifice using examples of information sourced from various Mexican Codices and other documents and will include some Aztec creation myths and religious doctrine to hypothesise the true meaning and belief behind the Aztec people's constant need for ritualistic blood sacrifices.

The Flowery Wars were ritual battles that were usually held monthly by the warriors of the Aztec triple alliance (Acolnahuacatzin 1 September 2006: online; McIntosh & Twist 2003: 221; Waters 1975: 71) for the purpose of gaining military skills and to get as many victims to sacrifice as possible.  The sacrificial victim was often dressed as the god for the purpose of symbolically embodying and, therefore becoming the god (Scarre & Fagan 2003: 463)  Two of the states in the triple alliance would go to war for the purpose of attaining prisoners to sacrifice to the war god Huitzilopochtli, and ultimately for testing their manhood (Scarre & Fagan 2003: 463). This was in contrast to the usual purpose of Aztec warfare, which was to gain new land and more power through conquest and acquisition (Waters 1975: 71; Acolnahuatzin 1 September 2006: online).  Aztec warriors and in fact, most of the previous Mesoamerican cultures, played a sacred ball game in which the losers head was cut off and sacrificed to the gods (Burland 1975: 12-13).  Aztec warriors were not alone in their sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli because at the ritual song festival, merchants who had attained higher status were expected to buy at least four slaves and have their hearts ripped out at the top of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan (Coe & Koontz 2005: 197).

Apparently there is possibly five ways which a warrior could be sacrificed after they had been ritually bathed. The most common technique was to stretch the prone body over a sacrificial stone [the flowery stone] and cut out the victims heart using flint or obsidian knives, which was then placed in a eagle vase carved from stone and offered to the gods; the second was decapitation which was usually conducted only for females impersonating goddess's (Burland 1975: 66-67); the third, gladiatorial warriors were tied to a round stone and forced to protect themselves from seasoned warriors with a sword-club. However, the attacker used a sword-club encrusted with sharp obsidian blades leaving the captive warrior with no chance of survival. The fourth was that warriors were tied to scaffolds and repeatedly shot with darts, and the fifth form of sacrifice, according to Coe and Koontz (2005: 205), was after the victim had been thrown repeatedly into a fire their heart was ripped out of their chest with a sharp obsidian or flint knife. 
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Montezuma
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 09:11:13 pm »




Cannibalism was practiced by the Aztecs, however most historians and archaeologists argue about the exact number of victims that were eaten, what members of the Aztec populace actually participated in cannibalism and for what purpose it was practiced (Ortiz De Montellano June 1983: 403-406).  However, according to Townsend (2003: 204), the Codex Mendoza depicts warriors feasting on flesh taken from the arms and thighs of their prisoners during special ritual occasions.  Some scholars, for example Harner and Harris (cited from Ortiz De Montellano 1983: 403-406), argue that cannibalism was practiced by Aztec nobles to gain protein supplements that were otherwise missing in their diets, though it is probably untrue.  One can assume, however, that ritual cannibalism was a symbolic act of becoming one with deity. 

In summary this paper has argued the purpose and importance of Aztec blood rituals was to appease the gods in order to ensure the continuation of the Aztec world, the growth of plentiful crops and to ensure the health and happiness of the Aztec people.  I have also implied throughout this essay that fear of the gods and fatalistic attitudes towards life were a very strong contributing force behind the ritual importance of blood sacrifice; fear of the fate of the destruction of the world and fear of the repercussions from vengeful destructive gods.  Lastly, this paper has argued that blood sacrifice was part of a reciprocal relationship between humankind and deity.
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Montezuma
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« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2010, 09:12:19 pm »



The author Jasmyne Pendragon has bachelor of archaeology (ABATR) and is working on her Archaeology Honours (AHAR) in the Latrobe University in Australia. She has participated in the Bamburgh Castle Research Project in 2009 and the Bellarine Bayside Archaeological Program in 2010 as well as participated in the Glenrowan Siege Project and the Willoughby Bean Project.   Research interests are rituals and death in human history.

 

You can contact her at:

 E-mail: jlpendragon@students.latrobe.edu.au
elvinblood1@hotmail.com

 You can also read the other parts here.

Part 1 http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/3722-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals.html

Part 2 http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/4282-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals-part-2.html

 

 

References

 

Berdan, Frances F. (1982) Human Sacrifice. in 'The Aztecs of Central Mexico: an imperial society.'  Holt, Rinehart & Winston. New York.   

Brinton, Daniel G, M.D. (1976) Myths of the New World: The Symbolism and Mythology of the Indians of the Americas. Multimedia Publishing Corp.  New York.

Burland, C.A and Forman, Werner. (1975) Feathered Serpent and Smoking Mirror. G.P. Putnam's & Sons.  New York.

Coe, Michael D and Koontz, Rex.  (2005) Mexico from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. Thames & Hudson. London.

Diaz, Gisele and Rodgers, Alan. (1993) the Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Manuscript. Dover Publications. New York.

Forman, Werner. [Ed]. (1998) The Aztecs: Gods and fate in Ancient Mexico.  Orbis Publishing. London.

Hultkrantz, Ake. (1981) Belief and Worship in Native North America. Syracuse University Press. New York.

Irish, Donald P, Lundquist, Kathleen F and Jenkins Nelson, Vivian. [Ed].  (1993) Ethnic Variations in Dying, death and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Taylor & Francis. Philadelphia. 

McIntosh, Jane and Twist, Clint. (2003) Civilizations: Ten Thousand Years of Ancient History. BBC Worldwide Limited. London.

Ortiz De Montellano, Bernard R. (June 1983) Counting Skulls: Comment on the Aztec Cannibalism theory of Harner-Harris.  in 'American Anthropologist.'  Vol. 85. No.  2.

Portillo, José López. (1977) Quetzalcoatl: A Myth. James Clark & Co Ltd. Cambridge.

Renfrew, Colin and Bahn, Paul. (2006)Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson. London.

Scarre, Chris. (2005) The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson. London.

Scarre, Christopher and Fagan, Brain M. (2003) Ancient Civilizations. Second [ed]. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Séjourné, Laurette.  (1976) Burning Water Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico.  Shambhala Publications.  Berkeley.

Tompkins, Ptolemy. (1990) This Tree Grows Out of Hell: Mesoamerica and the search for the Magical Body. Harper & Collins.  New York.

Townsend, Richard F. (2003) The Aztecs. Thames & Hudson. London.

Waters, Frank. (1975) Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness. Swallow Press Incorporated. Chicago.

Nuttall, Zelia.  (December 1904) A Penitential Rite of the ancient Mexicans.  Museum Cambridge. Mass. 

 

 

                                                                 Web Sources

 

Acolnahuacatzin, Shield Jaguar. (1 September 2006) The Aztec War of the Flowers: the role of ritualized warfare in Aztec society. [Online] http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Artical/733369 [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Del Campo, Edgar Martin, Ph.D (no date) Edgar's Mesoamerican Art Page: Back from Mexico with major news. [Online] http://members.aol.com/emdelcamp/edgar2.htm [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Harris, Marvin. (1978) Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Cultures. In 'Here Be Cannibals: Cannibalism in Middle America.' The Heretical Press [online] http://www.heretical.com/cannibal/mamerica.html [accessed] 28 May 2008.

****, Richard. (1996) Civilizations in America: The Mexica / Aztecs. [Online] http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM [accessed] 28 May 2008. 

Kastenbaum, Robert. (No date) Sacrifice. in 'Encyclopedia of Death and Dying∷ Py=Se.' [Online] http://www.deathreference.com/Py-Se/Sacrifice.html    [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Raggio, Nora. (Spring 2000) Pre-Columbian Sacrifice. [Online] http://gallery.sjsu.edu/sacrifice/precolumbian.html [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Sahagun, Bernardino. (No date) Florentine Codex. [Online] http://www.finns-books.com/florpic1.htm [accessed] 28 May 2008.

Image: Courtesy of Raggio

Copyright:  Archnews and Jasmyne Pendragon

 All rights reserved:  www.archnews.co.uk

http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/4523-the-purpose-of-aztec-blood-rituals-part-3.html
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Boreas
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2011, 09:35:42 pm »

They say that there is a purpose for the blood rituals that others do not understand.

Do u have any sources for that - or is the meaning so incomprehensible its beyond explanation...?!  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 09:37:41 pm by Boreas » Report Spam   Logged

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