Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Aztecs butchered, ate invaders


Aztecs butchered, ate invaders. This grisly story is from today's online edition of CNN. Domestic nations have tried many tactics over the ages to repel invading armies. The Aztecs were no different and a recent find indicates they even resorted to sacrificing and eating hundreds of people in 1520.

The article notes, "Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archeological site near Mexico City show about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say."

Most of the victims were not Spanish soldiers. The were part of a large party that was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks. As such, it was a slow moving group and proved an easy target to the Aztecs who were normally unable to defeat the Spanish in battle.

The prisoners were kept in cages for months on end and each day a few were dragged out and killed at dawn until all were dead. Fortunately, the Aztecs showed some mercy. The article notes, "Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen."

When the Aztecs learned the Spanish were coming to the sacrifice site, they threw all the evidence down wells. This hid the evidence from the Spanish but preserved it for future generations to find. I have a great deal of respect for Aztec culture and I do not mean to sound ethnocentric. However, I do not have much respect for this barbaric act against a group made up primarily of non-combatants. The Spanish conquest of Mexico and destruction of Aztec culture was wrong. But so was human sacrifice...

3 comments:

Jennie W said...

I'm suitably disgusted now. Lunch is not sounding so good....

Steve Muhlberger said...

Long ago I read Prescott's book on the conquest of Mexico and learned that the Aztecs lost because so many of their subjects hated them.

d said...

Fortunately, the Aztecs showed some mercy. The article notes, "Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen."

If only my university were so generous before faculty senate meetings.

Thanks for the link. I'll be using that article next week in class...