human sacrifice mayan

human sacrifice mayan

Human sacrifice was practiced right up until the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, well after the decline of the city. She is also a regular contributor. These sacrifices were sometimes conducted in their temples, and many of the victims may have been prisoners of war. If they were still alive by morning, obviously the gods wanted that person to live. These rituals provided hope and security to the Maya culture and demonstrated their own outlooks on death. The nacom was in charge of cutting out the hearts of the victims. The Earth mother Teteoinnan’s offerings generally required skinned female victims. The reasoning behind this ritual was due to the belief that it was offering of nourishment to the gods. 295, 297. de Díos González 2008, p. 25. However, it was much more common for them to decapitate or disembowel their sacrificial victims, or else tie them up and push them down the stone stairs of their temples. Maya kings and lords would pierce their flesh—generally genitals, lips, ears, or tongues—with sharp objects such as stingray spines. [10] The first, called Little Arrow, is a song calling upon the sacrifice to be brave and take comfort. To make things even worse, it was typically the woman’s brother’s duty to perform the task, or at least superintend it. This was one way they offered blood to the gods to keep their gods happy. They included Francisco Custodio, Marcos de Muros, and an unnamed lay brother. Over the years, people have obsessed over finding the best ways to dispense of adversaries as well as win conflicts amongst each other; however, not all human violence existed merely for warring purposes. Death is already an uncomfortable topic to talk about, let alone the idea of human sacrifices. The victim was bound to a stake during a ritual dance, and blood was drawn from the genitals and smeared onto the image of the presiding deity. Additionally, human sacrifice is described in a number of late Maya and early Spanish colonial texts, including the Madrid Codex, the K'iche' epic Popol Vuh, the K'iche' Título de Totonicapán, the K'iche' language Rabinal Achi, the Annals of the Kaqchikels, the Yucatec Songs of Dzitbalche and Diego de Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán. Why did the Maya perform human sacrifices? The “thuggees” – or as we would say nowadays, “thugs” – were a fanatical religious group in India who were infamous for their ritualistic assassinations, carried out in the name of the Hindu Goddess Kali. [25] The Popol Vuh also describes how the Hero Twin Hunahpu was sacrificed with both the removal of his heart and his head. Your email address will not be published. Such spines are often found in tombs of Maya royalty. Even at its height, the Maya Empire was never unified politically. At times of war and at ruler's accessions, human sacrifices may have had a political meaning in that the ruler was indicating his ability to control others. The other prisoners were fattened for killing, although Aguilar and Guerrero managed to escape. There are many early Roman references to the extensive practice of human sacrifice by the Celtic Druids. Sculpture in the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza depicting sacrifice by decapitation. It is also now evident that, like their later neighbors the Aztecs, the Maya regularly practiced human sacrifice. in Vernon Scarborough and David R. Wilcox (eds.). To the Maya, death and sacrifice were spiritually linked to the concepts of creation and rebirth. But some people were not given a chance to survive. Historians believe that the Mayans were first introduced to human sacrifice by the Toltecs. These killers traveled in groups throughout India for hundreds of years, performing their rituals in order to please their Goddess. That the Mayan people practiced human sacrifice is not in doubt, but providing motives is part speculation. Sharer and Traxler 2006, p. 774. 38, 52. López Luján, Leonardo; Guilhem Olivier; Alfonso de María y Campos; Alicia Mayer (2010) (in Spanish). Schele, Linda; David Freidel (1991). [32] There they were seized by the Maya Lord Halach Uinik. The victims were generally sacrificed by decapitation. the way of the warrior. The sacrifice of an enemy king was the most prized offering, and such a sacrifice involved decapitation of the captive ruler in a ritual reenactment of the decapitation of the Maya maize god by the Maya death gods. On occasion, when the need was great and their problems were many, they also used human sacrifice. Thompson 1977, 2014, loc. Warning: some of these forms of sacrifice are downright cruel, so if you aren’t interested in learning all of the gritty details, stray away whilst you may (as they say). [16], Classic period Maya vessel with a scene of human sacrifice, Human sacrifice is depicted in Late Classic artwork and sometimes involved torture; sacrifice was generally via decapitation. Sharer, Robert J.; Loa P. Traxler (2006). The figure at left holds the severed head of the figure at right, who spouts blood in the form of serpents from his neck, During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya culture was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. The course is taught by Dr. Liv Nilsson Stutz who is an archaeologists with a special interest in mortuary archaeology and ritual studies. Means 1917, pp. Captain Vildivia was sacrificed with four of his companions, and their flesh was served at a feast. An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Jones 1998, p. 48. Ample evidence of human sacrifice has been excavated at Iximche, their capital. Leaps of Faith – or Did the Mayans Push Them? in Lawrence H. Feldman. [9], Some rituals involved the sacrifice being killed with bow and arrows. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. In the Popol Vuh, the first Maya pierced their skin to offer blood to the gods Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. A famous image carved in stone at Chichén Itzá shows a victorious ballplayer holding aloft the decapitated head of the opposing team leader. It consisted of a semi-suicidal ritual in which the warrior was required to cut himself. This was apparently the most extreme sacrifice that could be performed at the time, and was therefore the best means for protecting the entire community. Human sacrifices were conducted at specific festivals in their annual calendar, at times of crisis, at dedications of buildings, at the ends or beginnings of warfare, at the accession to the throne of a new ruler, and at the time of that ruler's death. [28] A pentatonic flute crafted from a child's femur was recovered from one of the temples and is also indicative of human sacrifice.

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