Of Gods And Blood: Aztec Religion And Human Sacrifice

By | November 20, 2019

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An Aztec Temple. Source: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Aztec Empire was one of the most sophisticated civilizations in world history. They were magnificent engineers and mathematicians. They composed elaborate poetry, had excellent medical knowledge for the time, and were the first civilization to implement universal compulsory education. Yet the Aztecs had a dark side that has often overshadowed these significant achievements -- the spectacle of mass human sacrifice.

While many cultures throughout the world have historically sacrificed human beings as part of their religious beliefs, the Aztecs are the most famous.

Be cautioned that this article will contain some unsettling accounts.

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Map of the Aztec Empire. Source: (Wikimedia Commons)

In the 13th century A.D., the people that would form the Aztec Empire settled in the Valley of Mexico. The empire, forged from a so-called Triple Alliance of three city-states, solidified and expanded its power so that by the 15th century it dominated most of Central Mexico and had to influence throughout other areas of Mesoamerica.