What Did the Aztecs Sacrifice?


Quick Answer

Both humans and animals were sacrificed by the Aztecs. The sacrifices were given to appease the gods since the Aztecs believed they owed a debt of blood to the gods and that the only way to avoid disaster was to pay it.

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Full Answer

According to archaeological evidence and eyewitness accounts, the Aztecs made sacrifices of human life during their monthly festivities. Each month, in Aztec life was 20 days long. Generally, the victim of the human sacrifice was painted and positioned on a slab. The heart of the victim was removed and then held up to the sun before the body was cast down the stairs of a temple. Humans might also be burned, drowned, shot with arrows or even killed in a gladiator-style fight. Usually, enemies were sacrificed but, sometimes, the Aztecs sacrificed their own people.

It wasn't uncommon for the Aztecs to offer up their own blood as a sacrifice, sometimes offering blood from the genitals, ear lobes andtongue or sacrificing thorns tinged with their blood.

Deer, jaguars, eagles and dogs were bred specifically for sacrifice to the gods. One particular cult within the Aztec culture also sacrificed hummingbirds and butterflies. Objects could also be broken and offered as sacrifices to the gods.

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