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Aztecs and Human Sacrifice

            The Aztec culture was a group of people that lived in Central Mexico from the 12th century to the 16th century. The Aztecs were mainly polytheistic, which means they worshipped multiple gods and goddesses. To please these gods and goddesses, they performed many rituals of sacrifice including animals, adults and even children. Many cultures within that timeframe took part in human sacrifice, but the Aztecs are renowned for their gifts to the gods and goddesses because the act was so gruesome and was an everyday occurrence. In, "The Mystery of Aztec Sacrifice," the author, Michel Graulich, stated, "'In the centuries before the Spanish conquest in the early 1500s, the Aztecs of Mexico ritually sacrificed at least 20,000 people a year. What was their intent? The usual explanations given by scholars are that the Aztecs wanted to propitiate their gods, to nourish them with the victims' hearts, or to revitalize these deities by symbolically killing them.' This type of religion has died out for the most part over the years, but there is rich history of numerous cultures and tribes taking part in similar procedures. The Aztecs were the most remembered in history for their religious sacrifices because of the amount and frequency of their killings," ("The Mystery of Aztec Sacrifice").
             According to Mimetic Rituals of Child Sacrifice in the Hopi Kachina Cult by Susan E. James, the gods and goddesses worshipped by the Aztecs were Tlaloc, who caused the rain to fall, to his female aspect, Chalchiuhtlicue, goddess of ground waters, and to three avatars of the Mother Goddess, the ferocious Coatlicue and Cihuacoatl, and the beneficent Tonantzin, whose children were manifold and included not only the ears of corn that grew in each farmer's field but also the stars in the sky. (2) These three, led by their sister the moon, fought a perpetual celestial war in heaven against the sun. This duality of creation and destruction is found not only in the opposition of Coatlicue and Cihuacoatl with Tonantzin but within the mythos of each individual deity.

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