Additionally, Sahagun refers to classes of religious specialists not affiliated with the established priesthood. Human sacrifice was a very complex ritual. Still, she gave birth to Huitzilopochtli on Mount Coatepec, her children beside her. The most spectacular ritual was the New Fire ceremony which took place every 52 years and involved every citizen of the Aztec realm. The Aztec culture - The Religion The Aztecs had many beliefs and many more gods. The world, called Tlaltipac, was conceived as a disk located in the middle of the universe. Aztec scholar H. B. Nicholson (1971) classed the gods into three groups according to their conceptual meaning in general Mesoamerican religion. 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. An important aspect of Aztec ritual was the impersonation of deities. Mixcoatl – The “cloud serpent” god that was incorporated into Aztec belief and represented war. The concept of the end of the world in Aztec religion was also related to the concept of the balance between the forces of nature. Those who drowned would go to Tlalocan.[7]. Larger temples were mostly built on the top of the pyramids. In one legend, the warrior Tlahuicole was freed by the Aztecs but eventually returned of his own volition to die in ritual sacrifice. It is said the Mexica/Aztec people built their city called Tehochtitlan, after they had received a vision telling them to do so in that location. Between A.D. 1345 and 1521, the Aztecs forged an empire over much of the central Mexican highlands. The Aztecs had at least two manifestations of the supernatural: tētl and tēixiptla. Aztec people took elements from other traditions and customs, and blended them with their own, and a lot of creation myths developed in the process. Every sacrifice had to be meticulously planned from the type of victim to the specific ceremony needed for the god. For the Mexica, this central axis was represented on earth by the Templo Mayor, the Main Temple located at the center of the sacred precinct of Mexico—Tenochtitlan. Tētl, which the Spaniards and European scholars routinely mistranslated as “god” or “demon,” referred rather to an impersonal, mysterious force that permeated the world. Like all other Mesoamerican cultures, the Aztecs played a variant of the Mesoamerican ballgame, named “tlachtli” or “ollamaliztli” in Nahuatl. Aztec religion revolved around maintaining this balance to preserve life on earth and it was believed that the more offerings they give to their gods, the more the gods blessed their way of life and the anger of the gods would be avoided. Everyone was affected by human sacrifice, and it should be considered in the context of the religious cosmology of the Aztec people. The temples had small stone tables upon which sacrifices, mostly human, were made and offered. A month in the Aztec sun calendar that represented drought and ritual renewal. Aztecs had two different calendars one of which was specifically related to Aztec religion and was meant to calculate the religious festivals. However, the Aztec religious organization was not entirely under his authority. Van Tuerenhout Dirk R., 2005, The Aztecs. Legend has it that this is the site on which the Mexicas built their capital city of Tenochtitlan. Nicoletta Maestri holds a Ph.D. in Mesoamerican archaeology with fieldwork experience in Italy, the Near East, and throughout Mesoamerica. Then there is the Tlaxochimaco Festival which celebrates the god of Merchants. It was considered necessary in order for the world to continue and be reborn each new day. It was a theme in the Olmec religion, which thrived between 1200 BCE and 400 BCE and among the Maya. The high priests, or Quetzalcoatls, were in charge of major centers like the capitol. Thus, unlike Europe at the time, the king was not just the political figurehead but also the supreme religious leader. During this, commoners would destroy house utensils, quench all fires, and receive new fire from the bonfire on top of Mt. Each of the 18 twenty-day months of the religious year had its particular religious festival—most of which were connected to agricultural themes. An example was the feast of Huey Tozoztli, this feast was held in respect of this god of rain which favoured the farmers and was of course of great importance for crops. While there were dozens of gods in Aztec pantheon, five of them were of supreme importance. traders (pochteca)) and wards (calpulli) each operated their own lodge dedicated to their specific god. During this ceremony, the victim was taken to the top of the pyramid where the priests cut out his or her heart and the body was thrown down the stairs of the pyramids where it was dismembered and eaten as another ritual. Aztec religion was a sophisticated polytheistic system of beliefs which borrowed several elements from the previous Mesoamerican civilisations. Aztec mythology shares similar characteristics as the mythology in other Mesoamerican cultures. These feats of architectural display were the sites of large sacrificial offerings and festivals, where Spanish reports said blood would run down the steps of the pyramids. The Aztec calendar is one of several similar Mesoamerican calendars. That structure was deeply rooted in a … The Aztec religion originated from the indigenous Aztecs of central Mexico. Every festival had a different god or goddess, and a specific ritual that included feasting and sacrifices. The cosmology of Aztec religion divides the world into thirteen heavens and nine earthly layers or netherworlds. The victim would be laid upon the table, held down and subsequently have his heart cut out. He had special priestly duties in different rituals on the state level. https://www.boundless.com/world-history/textbooks/boundless-world-history-textbook/, Outline the key points of Aztec religious practices and beliefs. The Mexicas decided to learn, and they took all they could from other peoples, especially from the ancient Toltec (whom they seem to have partially confused with the more ancient civilization of Teotihuacan). Most of these were associated with agricultural themes. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'aztecsandtenochtitlan_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',341,'0','0']));According to Aztec religion, the universe was created by four major gods called Tezcatlipoca, Nanauatl, Ehecatl, and Quetzalcoatl. Aztec Religion Religion was a very important part of the daily lives of the Aztec people and it was fiercely guarded. As soon as Huitzilopochtli was born, he defeated his brothers and they became the stars. This included wandering curers, black magicians, and other occultists (of which the Aztecs identified many types, most of which they feared) and hermits. A more specific classification based upon the functional attributes of the deities is as follows: Religion was part of all levels of Aztec society. Modern excavations have revealed that the Aztecs built more and more lavish temples to honour the gods, and the common practice was to build on top of the old templates and extend them. The most famous pyramid was Templo Mayor which had a height of 60m. The Aztec Empire was the last of the great Mesoamerican cultures. by Daniel G. Brinton) Ancient Aztec religion was a complex interaction of gods, dates, directions and colours. Copyright - 2007 - 2020 - Legends and Chronicles, Viking Funerals Buriels and the Afterlife, Medieval Chronicles - Medieval history, information and facts. Only through their sacrifice would the sun be set to motion and time and history could begin. [9] Excavations of the offerings in the main temple has provided some insight in the process, but the dozens of remains excavated are far short of the thousands of sacrifices recorded by eyewitnesses and other historical accounts. Likewise, each part of life had one or more deities associated with it and these had to be paid their dues in order to achieve success. This polytheistic religion has many gods and goddesses; the Aztecs would often incorporate deities that were borrowed from other geographic regions and peoples into their own religious practices. He directed the Mexicas to found a city on the site where they would see an eagle, devouring an animal (not all chronicles agree on what the eagle was devouring, one says it was a precious bird, and though Father Duran says it was a snake, this is not mentioned in any pre-Hispanic source), while perching on a fruit bearing nopal cactus. For example, the late winter month Altcahualo fell between February 14 and March 5 and represented a time of sowing crops and fertility. Thus it was necessary for him to participate in the religious ceremonies. The practice of this religion revolved around the Aztec calendar which had various festivals, rituals and sacrifices. Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, where modern-day Mexico City is located. [5] Other important temples were located in the four divisions of the town. Under the high priests, there were many lower levels of priesthood: priests, priestesses, 'nuns', and 'monks'. These rituals were the ones that involved a sacrifice of humans.

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