Aztec Indians 2 Essay Research Paper Introduction

Aztec Indians 2 Essay, Research Paper

Introduction to the People of the Sun

The Sun is a seeable, astronomical fact & # 8211 ; & # 8220 ; the one changeless fact of being, the beginning of all life on earth. & # 8221 ; It journeys overhead from E to west by twenty-four hours, dips into darkness, and by dark travels underground west to east to lift triumphantly once more at morning & # 8211 ; the start of a new twenty-four hours ( Waters 203 ) . The Sun has been the focal point of energy and worship in many civilizations throughout the universe. The Aztecs were one civilization that used the visible radiation of the Sun to prevail over the Central Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs were so & # 8220 ; the people of the Sun & # 8221 ; . The Aztecs rotated their lives and structured their society around the spirit of the Sun.

In regard of the Aztec beginning, this paper will focus on it & # 8217 ; s readings around the beams of the Sun. The Sun seems to be the root from which the Aztec civilization grew and produced.

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Warfare and human forfeit provided the map of refilling that root. The first subdivision of this paper will exemplify three myths centered around the Sun. The proceeding subdivision will demo how these myths helped construction the Aztec society.

I. Myths Of The Aztecs

In order to understand the Aztec civilisation as a whole, it is necessary to look at the function myths played in developing and keeping the Aztec manner of life. Myths are a mixture of historical fact and fiction which can be used to explicate the construction of societal and political organisation, and the significance of warfare and human forfeit among the Aztecs. Myths will supply a gateway into the complexnesss of the Aztec manner of life.

Smith raises an of import point in that the Aztecs had a figure of different, even contradictory, myths depicting the creative activity of the universe, the Gods, and it & # 8217 ; s people ( 205 ) . There are so legion myths that can be interpreted as being the ground why the Aztecs lived the life that they did. The fact of the affair is that no 1 myth or combination of beliefs can genuinely explicate the complexnesss of a society that existed centuries ago. The manner of life of the Aztecs was culturally constructed and anyone exterior of that civilization can merely unravel readings. This paper will focus on readings around myths of the Sun.

The Four Sun

At the beginning of creative activity there was an original & # 8220 ; two-deity & # 8221 ; high God, Ometeotl, who existed in both male signifier and female signifier. This twosome produced four boies: Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, Quetzalcoatl, and Huitzilopochtli. With the births of these four Gods, a rhythm of creative activity and devastation began that continues to the present twenty-four hours. In the undermentioned Michael Smith illustrates this rhythm of the four boies:

There have been four old ages or & # 8220 ; suns & # 8221 ; , each controlled by a different God and peopled by a typical race. Each Sun was destroyed by a different catastrophe. The God Tezcatlipoca presided over the first Sun, when a race of giants roamed the Earth. This Sun was destroyed by panthers who ate the giants and destroyed the Earth. During the 2nd Sun, presided over by Quetzalcoatl, worlds who lived on acorns populated the Earth. This Sun was destroyed by hurricanes, and the people were transformed into monkeys. Peoples of the 3rd Sun, under the god Tlaloc, ate aquatic seeds. The universe was destroyed by a fiery rain and worlds were turned into Canis familiariss, Meleagris gallopavos, and butterflies. The 4th Sun, presided over by Clalchiuhtlicue, was a clip of gathers who ate wild seeds. They were turned into fish in a great inundation. ( Smith 205 )

This rhythm of creative activity and devastation brings us to the present reigning 5th Sun. It & # 8217 ; s regulating divinity is Tonatiuh and its people are maize-eaters. Harmonizing to Aztec myth, this universe excessively will be destroyed, by temblors, and its people will be devoured by sky monsters. The devastation of a universe age or Sun can merely come at the terminal of a 52- twelvemonth rhythm known as the calendar unit of ammunition, but the figure of rhythms that will go through before the apocalypse is unknown.

This belief that the Aztec leader, the Sun, would be defeated must hold placed a feeling of fright and pessimism deep in the psyche of the Aztec people. & # 8220 ; This profound melancholy contrasts aggressively with the energetic construct of being a chosen people & # 8221 ; ( Caso 95 ) . The Aztecs were a powerful civilization who conquered provinces from the seashore of one ocean to the other, and reigned over this imperium for 100s of old ages. How could such reigning warriors believe that one twenty-four hours their ultimate power, the Sun, would be defeated?

In the 2nd subdivision of this paper, one will gestate a people who centered their lives around their great god the Sun. Human forfeit and warfare will demo their loyalness to the Sun and the power it created in the endurance of the Aztec civilization. Even though the Acts of the Apostless of the Aztecs may hold appeared loyal and brave, one must retrieve the myth of the four Sun and the rhythm that would do their Sun to one twenty-four hours be conquered. Pessimism and fright must hold laid in the psyche of the Aztec people. Possibly this fright can assist explicate the Aztecs & # 8217 ; great devotedness and dependance on their Gods, which will be described subsequently through sacrificial steps.

The Creation Of The Complete Sun

How the Gods had their beginning and where they began is non good known. But this is obviously, [ that ] there at Teotihuacan & # 8230 ; when yet there was darkness, there all the Gods gathered themselves together, and they debated who would bear the load, who would transport on his dorsum & # 8211 ; would go & # 8211 ; the Sun. And when the Sun came to originate, so all [ the Gods ] died that the Sun might come unto being & # 8230 ; And therefore the ancient 1s thought it to be. ( Friar Bernardino do Sahagun )

Harmonizing to the Aztec myth of creative activity the 5th Sun was created through forfeit. Michael Smith tells about The Birth of the Sun at Teotihuacan, which begins with the Gods assemblage in the darkness at Teotihuacan to convey forth the Sun. The two Gods that were chosen to go the Sun were: Tecciztecatl & # 8211 ; a rich, powerful and disdainful Godhead ; and Nanahuatzin & # 8211 ; a weak, hapless, scab-covered God. A immense fire was built for forfeit. Tecciztecatl showed fright in his effort to throw himself into the fire, so he became the Moon, while Nanahuatzin manifested as the Sun. But the Sun did non travel in the sky and when asked why he replied, & # 8220 ; Why? Because I & # 8217 ; m inquiring for their blood, their colour, their cherished substance & # 8221 ; ( Bierhorst 148 ) . With this response, the Gods realized they must give themselves in order to do the Sun move across the sky. & # 8220 ; Quetzalcoatl performed the title, cutting open the thoraxs of the Gods and taking their hears to offer up to Tonatiuh. And so the Sun assumed its right way across the sky & # 8221 ; ( Smith 208 ) .

As illustrated in this myth, the suns creative activity and motion began with the forfeit of assorted Gods. Malinowski states that & # 8220 ; the myth of creative activity acted as a charter which legitimized the pattern of human sacrifice. & # 8221 ; The Aztecs believed that merely as the Gods sacrificed themselves for the Sun, the people must besides supply blood and Black Marias in order to maintain the Sun polishing.

The Battle of the Sun Against the Powers of Darkness

& # 8220 ; Huitzilopochtli was the Sun, the immature warrior, born each forenoon from the uterus of the old goddess of the Earth and deceasing once more each eventide to light with his deceasing light the universe of the dead & # 8221 ; ( Caso 13 ) . It was believed that at the beginning of each twenty-four hours Huitzilopochtli, the embodiment of the Sun, had to open combat with his brothers, the stars, and his sister, the Moon. This conflict of twenty-four hours is clearly illustrated in The Aztecs by Alphonso Caso: Armed with the snake of fire, Huitzilopochtli frightens off the stars and Moon with his & # 8220 ; pointers of light & # 8221 ; . When he achieves his triumph, he is carried up to the centre of the sky by the liquors of warriors who have died in combat or sacrificial rock. When afternoon begins, he is picked up by the liquors of adult females who have died in childbearing, for they are equal to warriors because they besides died taking a adult male captive & # 8211 ; the newborn kid. During the afternoon the psyche of the female parents lead the Sun to its scene, where the stars die and where the Sun, like the bird of Jove in his autumn to decease, is gathered near once more to the Earth.

Each twenty-four hours this Godhead combat is begun afresh, but in order for the Sun to prevail he must be strong and vigorous. For that ground adult male must give nutriment to the Sun. The Aztecs were the people of Huitzilopochtli and hence the chosen people of the Sun. It was their responsibility to provide him with nutrient, or & # 8220 ; the charming substance that is found in the blood of adult male & # 8221 ; ( Caso 13 ) . With this rule in head, war can be viewed as a signifier of worship and a necessary activity in the Aztec & # 8217 ; s continuance of life.

II. The Implications Myths had on Aztec Society

In this subdivision it will go evident to the reader that, to a certain extent, Aztec world paralleled Aztec myth. The rhythm of devastation of the four old Suns, the creative activity of the complete Sun and the conflict it fights to lift each twenty-four hours, can warrant the importance of warfare and human forfeit amongst the Aztecs. These two facets of Aztec civilisation were non merely a agency in which the people paid testimonial to the Gods and restored the Sun energy, but besides instruments that helped construction the political and societal systems. The forfeits to the great Sun besides restored the importance of common mans in the Aztec category system. Fear may hold lied deep in the psyche of the Aztecs with the fact that their 5th Sun would some twenty-four hours be defeated. But that fright and their trueness to the great Sun, allowed the Aztecs to lift and reflect for many old ages over many lands.

The Function of Warfare Amongst the Aztecs

The term Xochiyaoyotl or & # 8220 ; flowery war & # 8221 ; was established to foreground the Aztec impression that war was fought chiefly to take captives for forfeit to the Sun. The map of war for the Aztecs was non to derive new districts or to demand testimonial from conquered people, even though this seems to be a natural happening for the victors of war. War was non merely necessary for the life of a new twenty-four hours, but besides for the enlargement of the Aztec Empire.

As the population of the Aztec Empire grew so did the demand for nutrient, goods, natural stuffs and labour. These demands were met through the enlargement of trade paths, the add-on of common mans to the imperium, raising the cost of transporting goods, and increasing tribute duties. Warfare was responsible for the steady addition in demands for goods and services by the province. Traders evoked onslaughts against neighbouring communities, supplying the Aztecs with a ground for war and the subsequent sweep of the imperium. Expansion of the imperium meant increased demands for goods and services which were supplied by the agencies stated supra. This rhythm of war, enlargement and increased demands for goods and services by the province repeated itself clip and clip once more. This procedure could hold been damaging to the Aztec Empire if it were non for the menace of human forfeit which kept everyone in line.

Warfare was responsible for the supply of tribute goods to the province from environing communities. When the Aztecs went to war they would provide their enemy with all of the equipment needed for war every bit good as inform their enemy that war was in the hereafter. Once this was done the community under onslaught had two picks. If the enemy wished to give up peacefully they would run into their encroachers bearing gifts of gold, nutrient, and natural stuffs. By making this a community was non merely giving into Aztec domination, but besides condemning itself to a life-time of paying testimonial and providing able work forces for war. The 2nd pick that was available to a community under onslaught from the Aztecs was to support themselves against the encroachers. By taking to support themselves a community was seting themselves in a hazardous state of affairs. A community conquered by the Aztecs had to pay really heavy testimonial and about all warriors captured in war were sacrificed at the Templo Mayor. The menace of human forfeit guarantee

vitamin D that the surrounding towns would set up really small opposition to Aztec regulation as they feared mass forfeit as a effect for seeking to keep independency, and thereby aided in the enlargement of the Aztec Empire.

& # 8220 ; The battle of the Sun against the powers of darkness was non merely a battle of the Gods, but it was besides, above all, the battle of good against immorality. The mission of the Aztecs, was, so, to be on the side of the Sun, the symbol of good, opposing the fearful Gods of darkness, the symbols of evil & # 8221 ; ( Caso 94 ) . This quotation mark carries the message that the Aztecs found justification for their enlargement and conquerings. They were non simply a people who used the menace of human forfeit to derive rule over the city states, furthermore they were a people on a mission to give strength to their Gods and win the war of good over immorality.

The Function of Human Sacrifice Amongst the Aztecs

& # 8230 ; they took [ the prisoner ] up [ to the pyramid temple ] before the Satan, [ the priests ] traveling keeping him by his custodies. And he who was known as the organizer [ of prisoners ] , this one laid him out upon the sacrificial rock.

And when he had laid him upon it, four work forces stretched him out, [ hold oning ] his weaponries and legs. And already in the manus of the fire priest lay the [ sacrificial knife, with which he was to cut down open the chest of the ceremoniously bathed [ confined ] .

And so, when he had split unfastened his chest, he at one time seized his bosom. And he whose chest he laid unfastened was rather alive. And when [ the priest ] had seized his bosom, he dedicated it to the Sun.

After the bosom was removed, the victims, & # 8220 ; were sent turn overing down the stairss of the temple, and the stairss were bathed in blood. & # 8221 ; A priest so cut off the caput for mounting on a skull rack next to the pyramid. ( Smith 223 )

After witnessing such a gruesome bloodshed, one must inquire how such an dismaying sacrificial slaughter could be the footing of paying trueness to a God, and in bend making and keeping a powerful society. Without the pattern of human sacrifice life as the Aztecs knew it would merely discontinue to be, for the Sun would be unable to give energy to life if it did non have energy from sacrificial victims. The Aztecs believed that life depended on a uninterrupted regeneration of energy between the Sun, which gave energy to all earthly life signifiers, and sacrificial victims, who gave up their & # 8220 ; tonalli & # 8221 ; ( heat from the Black Marias of sacrificial victims ) to the Sun so that it may go on to prolong life.

These repeated forfeits were reverberations of fabulous events. Forfeits kept the myth of the conflict between the Sun and the Moon, the visible radiation and dark, twenty-four hours and dark alive for the Aztecs. The day-to-day birth of the Sun is nestled in the energy given through human forfeit. It was this energy beginning, the & # 8220 ; tonalli & # 8221 ; , which covered up the fright of a defeated Sun and resurrected the visible radiation it shone for that present twenty-four hours and rhythm.

Forfeits non merely restored the Sun energy, but besides provided a rhythm that conserved the Aztec & # 8217 ; s societal and political systems. To stay a member of Aztec society an person had to function the province by: engaging war on environing communities ; paying testimonial to the province ; or giving one & # 8217 ; s ain life to guarantee the continuance of the province. Human forfeit functioned to keep societal organisation by inculcating each member of the Aztec community with a sense of what must be done in order for the State to go on to map.

Human forfeit non merely provided the power for the Sun to reflect, but besides glorified the enlargement and power of the Aztec Empire. The pattern of human forfeit was symbolic of the high quality the Aztec Empire and Lords had over all conquered communities. Sacrifice was non merely a symbol of ageless life, it was besides a tool used by the Aztecs to penalize insubordination and refusal to pay testimonial. The pattern of slave forfeit ensured the cooperation of the common mans within a community, for any disobedient slaves were eligible for forfeit.

Transformation from Human to Ixiptla

As stated above, the menace of human forfeit was used by the Aztecs as a agency for enlargement, guaranting future testimonial to the province, and maintaining all members of the Aztec Empire in their topographic points executing their portion to guarantee the endurance of the imperium. A cardinal construct that may be losing in this belief is that even though it may look like human forfeit was used in a overpowering and baleful manner, the victims of this ritual were non considered ordinary persons. Merely as the great Gods sacrificed themselves, so excessively were these common mans & # 8217 ; and slaves & # 8217 ; giving up at that place lives for the good of the people. Michael Smith points out ixiptla translated as & # 8220 ; divinity imitator & # 8221 ; as being one of the cardinal constructs of human forfeit among the Aztecs.

The readyings for a forfeit began long before the existent cut of the knife, sometimes every bit much as a twelvemonth in progress. Most victims for forfeit were enemy warriors captured in conflict. Victims were carefully chosen to fit the demands of the God to be honored. The individual who captured the victim sponsored the forfeit, thereby deriving prestigiousness. The higher the rank of the victim, the greater the prestigiousness. Through a series of rites and ritual cleaning, the human victim was transformed into the incarnation of the God on Earth. The greatly-respected ixiptla spent his last yearss or months populating as a God, and when the twenty-four hours of forfeit arrived, he went with award to run into his destiny.

Many forfeits were followed by a ceremonial repast at which the household of the capturer or patron ate a part of the victims organic structure. This was a extremely spiritual juncture designed to honour the victim & # 8217 ; s memory. & # 8220 ; The victim was viewed as a symbolic kin relation of his capturer, and this act of cannibalism was a sacred portion of the whole rite of forfeit & # 8221 ; ( Smith 225 ) . Parts of the organic structure and blood were distributed among these people and the Gods as a manifestation of the Restoration of life & # 8217 ; s energy. To the Aztecs, so, human forfeit was so necessary if life was to go on for the people of the Sun and the province.

The Aztec Class System

The predating construct that slaves were chosen to be transformed into Ixiptla, sacrificed to the Gods and manifested by the people who captured them, in a manner contradicts the Aztec category system. There existed two groups of people within the Aztec society: the Godheads, Lords, and priests ( pipiltin ) made up one group ; while the common mans and workers ( macehualtin ) made up the other. The pipiltin controlled the economic, political, societal and spiritual systems within their ward. They were people born of high descent, who enjoyed many privileges and had authorization over the common mans of their ward. The bulk of Aztec population was made up by the common mans or the on the job category citizens. These people were non of baronial birth and as a consequence they all had to pay testimonial to the supreme leader with their merchandises and services, which were required by the State. All of the macehualtin were required to take portion in war and enlargement. Extreme courage on the battleground was about the lone manner that members of the macehualtin group could increase their position or possible get land of their ain.

The male monarch was the supreme leader of the Aztec Empire. He was responsible for all of the states and people over which he had control. The male monarch was highly powerful as a consequence of the Aztec belief that male monarchs were the posterities of the God Huitzilopochtli, the God of war who was responsible for the motion of the Sun. This belief manifests the function of male monarchs as being in the place to intercede between the Gods and work forces, and originate the heavenly activity of human forfeit. It is of import to observe that the male monarchs, unlike the victims of forfeit, were non regarded as Gods. It was merely those slaves who were chosen for forfeit that genuinely became connected with the great Aztec Gods.

The priests were in charge of the disposal and care-taking of the temple ; larning about and educating others about the Gods, rites, the calender and uranology ; and most significantly the priests were in charge of executing the rites. Priests kept the sacred fires firing in big brasiers, played music at ceremonials, and made legion offerings to the Gods. & # 8220 ; Their faces and organic structures were bleached black. Much of their organic structure was scarred and mutilated from changeless bloodletting. Their common hair, worn long, became matted with dried blood from their ears and linguas & # 8221 ; ( Smith 221 ) . This description of a typical Aztec priest may paint a bloodstained image to foreigners, but it besides shows their true devotedness to the Gods. They would give up their blood through & # 8220 ; autosacrifice & # 8221 ; or piercing in order to pay testimonial to the Gods and rekindle the Sun energy. Although autosacrifice was an of import and prevailing rite, it was merely a replacement for the more powerful human forfeit.

The Godheads, Lords and priests may look more of import than the common mans and working category citizens, nevertheless these lower category citizens were indispensable in making the powerful Aztec society. It was the testimonial of merchandises and services that the common mans paid to the State which allowed the upper category to bask their olympian life style. As stated above, it was the slaves who could go the formations of great divinities and dice for the Sun and it & # 8217 ; s people. It is dry that these lower ranked citizens were so the 1s who became closer to the great Gods and provided in many ways for the rise of the Aztec civilization. Each individual, hence, had an of import function to play in the building of the imperium and the continuance of the life of the great Sun.

Decision to the People Of The Sun

Light, life or affair in electronic province is transmitted from the Sun, reflected by the planets to Earth in molecular province ; and this, combined with the Earth & # 8217 ; s mineral province of affair, produces cellular affair or organic life on the surface of the Earth. But when the organic organic structures integrating this energy dice, their energy is reconverted into light and returns to the Sun. ( Waters 206 )

This illustration of the Sun can be seen as the footing for which the Aztecs lived. The Aztecs were so the people of the Sun. They held many myths that centered around the creative activity and rise of the Sun, and it was through these myths that they created their ain society and rose as a great imperium. The Aztecs offered their ain bloods and Black Marias to reconstruct the Sun, and the Sun returned this energy for life back to the people. It was the Sun who inspired the Aztecs to suppress the surrounding towns and turn as a powerful civilization. It was the Sun which allowed even the lowest graded people to attest as the people of the Sun. Even though the Aztec life was permeated by the profound unhappiness of a hereafter of licking, it still remained strong and critical. Each twenty-four hours that the Sun rose was a conflict to be celebrated by the Aztec people, for the God of life has reigned.

As has been stated before, myths are a mixture of fact and fiction. This is adequate to do one wonder how much truth there is in the myths that have been discussed in this paper. It is the determination of each person to make up one’s mind what they want to believe, because there are in fact many ways to be human. The mode in which the Aztecs decided to populate was their ain cultural building, and is merely left for others to build readings and cosmopolitan significances. One thing is certain, the Sun played a critical function in the manner of life of the Aztec people. The Aztecs decided to pay testimonial to the Sun as an of import beginning of energy that gives visible radiation and life to all creative activities. Through this energy given off by the Sun, the Aztecs grew and flourished as a powerful people. Although some facets of Aztec life may look ruthless to it & # 8217 ; s translators, one beam of visible radiation can be sent to all of humanity. Every life psyche lives beneath the same bright Sun, and with the morning of each twenty-four hours one should be grateful and observe the gift of life they have received for that new twenty-four hours.

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