Human Sacrifice in the Aztec Empire

After the Sala (Room) Teotihuacan, the next major exhibit is the Sala Mexica.

The empire from Mexico’s central plateau which we call the Aztec Empire, was actually comprised of many different groups of people and emerged around the 13th Century CE (is that before or after the year 0?). The museum refers to the empire as the Mexica, but the Aztec people did found the empire’s capital city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan in the 14th Century CE. The empire grew to dominate much of the region that we call Mesoamerica.

The Mexica empire located its main cities on Lake Texcoco by constructing manmade islands called chinampas. These islands gave the Mexica people more land for their cities as well as for growing crops. They used the waterways between the islands like streets, so it was easier to trade and communicate between cities.

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The Mexica empire was focused heavily on militarism and warfare. Its main gods were gods of war and the ceremonies around capturing of prisoners and human sacrifice were central to everyday life.

OI000435.jpgOI000436.jpgOI000434.jpgThe images above show a rock used in sacrifice. The rock was found at the edge of the pyramids. The person to be sacrificed was placed lying face-up over the rock so that his chest arched up, making it easier for the priests to take out his heart.

OI000432.jpgAbove: a knife used in human sacrifice.

The nobles in society formed two prestigious military societies — the eagle warriors and the jaguar warriors. OI000430.jpgOI000429.jpgThe symbol of the Eagle warriors!



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