Aztec Religion: the Foundation of a Civilization

1456 Words Jun 2nd, 2011 6 Pages
The religion of the Aztec, including their beliefs, customs and religions, acted as a tremendous influence on their government, economy, and culture. Religion was the foundation for the infamous culture of the Aztec Civilization. Through ceremonies of sacrifice, and the infusion of cosmology into their religion, the Aztecs sculpted a culture unlike that of any other civilization, and left behind a legacy to be studied and admired for generations to come. Religion ultimately shaped the unique civilization of the Aztecs, through cultivating the general outlook and values of the Aztecs, expanding the empire, and influencing the architecture and layout of their city.
Sacrificial rituals acted as an important factor to the economy of their
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The first being political political: the subjugation of enemy city states in order expand the empire and demonstrate power and superiority. The second objective was religious and socioeconomic: the taking of captives to be sacrificed in religious ceremonies. According to Friar Diego Durán’s accounts of the Aztec civilization, Tlacaelel - a king of the Aztec Empire - arranged with leaders of other Pre-Columbian city states to engage in ritual battles that would provide all parties with enough sacrificial victims to appease the gods. Tlacaelel reigned over a period of great famine in the empire in year 1450. The Aztec Religion believed that Gods required sacrifices to keep all running smoothly. There were several gods that the Aztecs worshiped to for agricultural purposes, for example: Tláloc, who sends rain and nourishes maize7, Centeotl, the god of maize in general, Teteoinnan, the god of agriculture as well as sexual fertility, and Xipe Totec, god of rituals and sacrifice8. The Aztecs believed that through worshipping certain gods, and generously providing them with a steady supply of sacrifices and blood, the gods would in return keep things balanced. When there was not enough victims, Tlacaelel resorted to these battles to collect more humans to be sacrificed. War was a dominant aspect of the Aztec civilization, and they aspired to exponentially expand their empire through military conquest, while also collecting tribute from the