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Aztecs – good riddance, I say

Yesterday Perry and I went to see the Aztecs exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The event has been widely advertised, commented upon and heralded as “once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the grandeur and sophistication of this once great civilisation”.

It was certainly unique – most of the Aztec artefacts were for the first time shown outside Mexico and the exhibition presented a powerful image of the extinguished culture. It also felt rather alien, without any reference point to a known cultural context. Greek and Roman art is familiar, and we have grown accustomed to aesthetic norms of other cultures – Indian, Far Eastern, Arabic, Egyptian, Assyrian etc. We have come to terms with the diversity and varied beliefs across history and view them with a tourist’s curiosity and fascination.

We have also restrained ourselves from pronouncing any judgement on other cultures and their ways, satisfied with our understanding of why they did things the way they did. We only heap judgement and condemnation on the European ancestors and their evil, corrupt and dark ways – slavery, imperialism, feudalism, colonialism, fascism, unrestrained capitalism, the list of -ism is long, conspicuously lacking Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism… But I digress.

And so I encountered an uncomfortable paradox. The Aztec culture was bloodthirsty, obsessed with death and killing in a way that surpassed any other civilisation known to us in its cruelty and disregard for human life. At the exhibition you can see the stone across which they bent the humans about to be sacrificed, sliced their breastbone open and tore the beating heart out to offer it to one of their insatiable blood-craving gods. There is also a funny looking vessel, with a carpet of little blobs on its surface, complete with a lid to keep the stench of human skins of the flayed victims of Aztec religious rituals. The surface is meant to look like human skin turned inside out. How artistic and in the best possible taste!

Kneeling Cihuateotl. (one monkey) Stone. The British Museum, London. Photo © The British Museum, London

Yes, there are also many splendid works of art. A rattle snake carved out of stone, a stunning jade mask that was a valuable Olmec antique to Aztecs themselves, numerous statues of people, gods and animals, breath-taking in their beauty and strangeness. The Aztecs’ artistic skill, however, did not make them a civilisation worthy of respect and propagation.

Mosaic mask of Tezcatlipoca, Aztec. Human skull, mosaic of turquoise and jet, eyes of shell and pyrite. The British Museum, London. Photo © The British Museum, London

Their society was rigidly ordered and controlled. It was totalitarian and authoritarian in the most sublime matters and in the most trivial. It required human and blood sacrifice and its warriors were used almost exclusively for capturing humans for sacrifice. It also prescribed to a minute detail what people were allowed to wear depending on which class they belonged to. OK, the last one may sound just like a typical feature of a feudal society with its rigid medieval hierarchy but believe me there is a difference. For the Aztecs, the only good death was a violent death and they believed that dying as a human sacrifice was one of the most ‘valuable’ deaths. Dying in childbirth was another one. Go figure. They also believed that sacrificing humans was essential to all existence. Their gods required blood and without it the sun, moon, earth and other bits would cease to exist. By the time of the Spanish Conquistadors this cosmology ‘required’ them to sacrifice 10,000 people a year in their main temple.

Sacrificial knife, Mixtec Aztec. Flint with turquoise mosaic handle. The British Museum, London. Photo © The British Museum, London

Now, if someone tells me that it was alright for Aztecs to kill 10,000 people, ‘cos the poor dears believed that the sky will fall on their heads if they don’t, I would tell them that they have lost their marbles. To me it is a manifestation of a primitive and barbaric civilisation that was doomed. And if it wasn’t, I am glad it was exterminated. I do not agree with the Spanish Conquistadors and their methods any more than I’d agree with raiding for sacrificial victims but Aztec culture was demonic. I am glad I can see what the Aztec artists created and marvel at their talent and skill but I rejoice that they are in a museum.

I want to be able to condemn what I see as evil in their civilisation just as we criticise societies in our past and present. So in the West we have animal rights activists who would not allow us to wear fur coats but will admire a civilisation whose priests wore skins of their human victims until it rotted off their bodies (their heads too, yuck). Of course, to them it’s not the same, for we want to fiendishly protect our bodies from cold, or God forbid, adorn ourselves (how beastly!), whilst the Aztecs symbolise renewal and the preference for human skin was merely part of their spring festival (how quaint!).

Just like the masterpieces of da Vinci and Michelangelo do not suggest that the contemporary societies and their rulers were just and equally inspired in their expression, let’s not confuse the strange appeal of Aztec art with the inhuman nature of their society. I may be inspired by the Aztec art, but there my inspiration ends and so does my admiration for their culture and civilisation.

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40 comments to Aztecs – good riddance, I say

  • Surely, this is just one of the odder manifestations of the systems of meaning that humans construct to explain their place in the world.

    We find the notion of systematised religious slaughter and sacrifice to be alien and barbaric. They thought sacrifice was a ‘good death’.

    I am surprised that you did not draw out the parallels between the drive of the Aztecs towards slaughter and the current motives of Islamists to fulfil their own code of behaviour through war and terror, culminating in martyrdom.

    Was there anything about the exhibition that had a modern resonance in this regard?

    Haven’t visited as yet.

  • My understanding is that the Aztecs were less technologically sophisticated than the Mayan civilization of a few centuries earlier. I need to see whether the Mayans were more or less fond of human sacrifice than the Aztecs. The trouble is the lack of cultural reference points, however, plus the fact that the Conquistadors destroyed everything they could (including a great many written documents).

  • Jeremy

    A lot of the Mayan history actually survived because it was written in stone. They too were remarkably bloodthristy. They also would do some extremely painful rituals to themselves (the noble class) – genital mutilation, essentially.

  • Indeed. This is another example of the horrifying effects that religion can have on the human psyche (and I’m including the fanatical followers of Mao, Stalin, et. al.) I say down with the whole lot of them.

    This civilization was surely extremely oppressive, and so were the conquestadors who came after them (though to a much lesser degree). Oppression, it seems, is not a zero-sum game.

  • George H. Beckwith

    It seems that the Aztecs were so paralized by their superstitions that they were rendered incapable of defending themselves against less than 2000 Europeans. Those Europeans were mainly from Spanish military families who had been fighting the Muslims for 700 years; when Cortes landed at Vera Cruz on Good Friday of 1519, only 27 years had passed since militant Islam was driven from Andalusia.

    Aztec warfare was largely a ritual matter in which hostilies ceased when the victims for human sacrifice were captured. The extremely disiplined Spanards frequent surprised the Aztecs, but were never surprised themselves and never ceased to attack audacity

    The Spanish, being “more Roman than the Romans”, applied the dictum of divide and rule with genius. They suceeded in their seemingly impossible venture by mobilizing the Tlaxcalans and other enemies of the Aztecs.

    Perhaps the saga of Cortez and the Aztecs holds some lessons for the present clash of civilizations. Like those infantrymen from Extremedura, certain “tribes” of the West are capable of being both clever and ruthless in applying their superior technology to war. The Islamic world might be prudent not to push the Angosphere and their friends too far. The defeat of Japan and Germany wasn’t that long ago.

  • Byna

    I found Orson Scot Card’s book on time travel to be fascinating. It explores the dynamic between Europe, North America, and the hard choices that people have to make.

    Pastwatch Redemption

    Not only did Orson write the best book of all time (Ender’s Game), but his other books are also very good. Once the premise of time travel is accepted, the ideas behind Pastwatch are very intriguing.

  • J. Austin Wilde

    Human sacrifice was endemic to the pre-Columbian Meso-American world. The Aztecs, though relative Johnny-Come-Latelies to central Mexico (their empire existed for a little less than two centuries before Cortes put it down), were just following the customs of the day, and most of them from the Toltec and Mayan cultures.

    There is still much we do not know about the earliest Mexican cultures. The fantastic pyramids of the Sun and Moon northeast of modern Mexico City at Teotihuacan were not even built by the Aztecs, but appropriated by them when they came down from northern Mexico in the late 1200s early 1300s. (Indeed, when asked by the Spanish about the pyramids shortly after the Conquest, the Aztecs essentially shrugged and said that they had been standing long before them, and anyone else in the region.) Perhaps they were built by the Olmecs, themselves equally mercurial and enigmatic. Olmec megalithic structures and massive stoneworks in the Yucatan depict persons with obviously caucasian and negroid features, and even more enlightening, it was obvious from the carvings that these two non-American races lived as equals – leading to speculation in some quarters that the Quetzalcoatl myth that led to the Aztecs’ downfall (they believed Cortes was Q returning as promised after his disgrace at the hands of Tezcatlipoca) descended from the original relatively advanced, possibly caucasian/negro civilization living in Mexico at least 3,000 years ago.

    Cortes certainly filled the bill of Quetzalcoatl, since he was white, bearded (like the Olmec carvings), had advanced technology that the Aztecs could not take for anything other than magic at first, had horses (no draft animals in Mexico, Pre-Columbus), and possessed a moral code and religious creed that found human sacrifice and its attendent cannibalism abhorrent (Odd parallels with the mysteries Christianity aside, of course, though Quetzalcoatl was best known among his many great achievements for forbidding human sacrifice in his time, which was one of the reasons fellow god Tezcatlipoca engineered his removal from Mexico.)

    So yes, I’m glad to see the Aztecs as footnotes in the dustbin of history, but I really wish more had been preserved from that time, as it might have answered the many lingering unanswered questions of ancient Mexico.

  • I can’t resist repeating a comment I made in the Libertarian Alliance Forum: the really suprising achievement of the Aztecs was that they actually managed to make the Spanish Empire look gentle by comparison.

  • Ernie G

    How does one react to such a culture if one is steeped in the multiculturism of the day? I lifted the following from the July 2002 Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College. It was taken from a speech by Mark Helprin, a novelist and a contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal:

    “Several years ago, I was speaking in a university town in Massachusetts. By some quirk which I hope never to see reproduced, and before I knew what was happening, I found myself debating my entire audience on the subjects of human sacrifice and cannibalism. These well-educated and polite people — only a few of whom would actually have murdered or eaten one another — who had sons and daughters, Ph.D.s, and BMWs, were defending the Mayan and Aztec practice of human sacrifice — that is, in the main, of children — and the South Sea custom of cannibalism. It wasn’t that they were for such things: they weren’t. It wasn’t that they were not against them: they were. It was that to take the position that human sacrifice and cannibalism are wrong is not only to reject relativism but to place oneself decisively in the ranks of Western Civilization, such a position being one of its characteristic distinctions, and this they would not do. They were ashamed to do so, and they were afraid to do so.”

  • Here’s something to argue about: should I award Cortez one of my liberty prizes?

  • It should perhaps be noted that, whilst Mesoamerican society was not a society that one would want to experience firsthand (especially as a war captive), Inca society (and the Incas were even more parvenus than the Aztecs) made the Aztecs look, well, libertarian by comparison.

  • A_t

    I suppose the only basis for moral relativism on this one is that they were ignorant.

    I mean, in terms of their belief system, if they didn’t sacrifice all these people, the sun might not shine, the rain might not fall etc. etc.

    Undoubtedly, they were wrong, and it was screwy for their society to get pushed in that direction, but I don’t see the logic as very different from what we use now.

    For instance, when bombing Afganistan, we accepted the probability of civilian casualties, in the belief that this action would prevent, or make less likely, further Al-Quaida attacks. Now I don’t want to make this an argument about the nature of war, or the long term effectiveness of action in Afganistan, but I reckon overall the Aztecs were much more ‘certain’ of what the consequences of their actions would be than we were. Seeing as we went ahead with bombing Afganistan, with certain common beliefs to justify ourselves, some of which may turn out to be baseless, it’s hard, indeed dangerous, to say “we’re so unlike them in every way”.

    I’m very thankful we don’t sacrifice people, don’t get me wrong, & if a country existed that practised this kind of thing now, i’d be speaking out about it, and trying to stop these practices; sod cultural relativism; some things are absolute. But to totally distance ourselves from stuff like this, as with colonialism or anything else, is foolish. Humans haven’t changed much since those times, & we’re still very much capable of acting like that.

  • Biased Observer

    I was reading along comfortably “Animal rights activists against fur coats” – yes,okay, makes sense. Then I hit a minor intellectual derailment. “Animal rights activists admire a civiliization… (that wears human skins)”. Screeching halt.

    I am not a supporter of PETA, or other militant animal rights groups, so I usually just ignore them. So it is entirely possible I might have missed that part of their pamphlet/protest banner/news conference refering to the Aztecs. I think I would remember it because any Aztec reference would pretty much jump right out due to its unusual nature and utter irrelevance.

    My experience is those groups are fairly preoccupied with only those issues that fall within their narrow agenda. I cannot think of any instance where animal rights group ever referred to the Aztec civilization. No, I can’t recall it ever coming up at all.

    Since the Aztec/animal rights connection is a bit of a stretch, and certainly not immediately obvious, on what evidence is this statement made? Can the connection actually be demonstrated, or is this just an unfair accusation against animal rights activists?

  • I really wish I could get down to see this exhibition. The Aztecs might have created a basket-case civilisation but these pieces do have a certain something, don’t they? They’re horribly vital.

    I suppose it’s one of these contradictions that we can judge a culture to be bloodthirsty – quite correctly – and still be fascinated by its ghoulish artifacts.

  • Seth D. Michaels

    “Since the Aztec/animal rights connection is a bit of a stretch, and certainly not immediately obvious, on what evidence is this statement made? Can the connection actually be demonstrated, or is this just an unfair accusation against animal rights activists?”

    Well put – I can’t imagine that too many people really need to be taken to task for being “soft on Aztecs.” There are bigger fish to fry.

  • Brian

    “Here’s something to argue about: should I award Cortez one of my liberty prizes?”

    You write:

    “To advance liberty is to achieve, by military or cultural means, victory over the crimes that threaten it: assault against person and property, theft of property, coercion to prevent peaceable speech and pursuit of peaceable interest, and coercion to adopt and express undesired beliefs and to pursue undesired interests. ”

    I say go for it. Human sacrifice seems a bit of an assault against persons to me. And Cortes was about civilizing and coexisting with the Indians, rather than the standard massacre-and-loot strategy. He had plenty of style too, burning his ships behind him, beating terrible odds, always taking the wild risk. And to top it off he always told the Crown of Spain to shove off when they started giving him orders. Very cool to my way of thinking.

    Not that Pizarro, though – he was just a crook.

  • The exhibition was described as one of a great civilisation. The Prime Minister wrote a foreword to the catalogue or some such material for the exhibition that was just full of such PC lefty stuff about how great and sophisticated they were and what an enormous contribution to civilisation blah blah blah. The exhibition audio guide presented the most gruesome exhibits as cultural curiousity and the apparent cruelty connected with them as justifiable in the interest of diversity. These are the same people who froth at mouth at a mere mention of anything that ‘interferes’ with nature and animals, yet the barbaric practices of non-white, non-European civilisations are by definition excluded from any judgement. That is what my post was about, in case you missed it….

    My example of animal rights activists had more to do with the PC mindset in general rather than any particular points of their campaign. Read my lips – there is no connection between animal rights activists and Aztecs that I know of. No need to be so literal…

  • A-t, wanna see you rip a beating heart from someone’s cracked ribcage. Go for it, you know you can do it…

    Philip Chaston: No there was no resonance with Islam and our current predicament. Aztecs were so alien that they make muslims look like our long lost brothers… The analogy you mention wouldn’t work, Aztecs believed they were the center of the universe, Islam’s raging against the West is based on fear of its own demise.

  • Lou Gots

    “I do not agree with the Spanish Conquistadores or their methods. . .” Really? Pray tell, what methods would have ended this horror? Should Cortez have obtained a United Nations Security Council resolution? The horror ended because brave men with weapons willed it so. It is striking to see the similarity between the reaction of the conquistadores to the Aztecs and that of the men who liberated the Nazi death camps. Sometimes witchcraft is so evil that only fire will do. There is a great line in Tolkien’s The Two Towers that touches on it. “Kill gorgun. Kill orc-folk. No other words make wild men happy. Drive away bad night with bright iron.”

  • I do not agree with destroying a culture, its traces and artefacts. Alright, the Conquestadors were conquerors, not archaeologists but replacing one totalitarian system with another, albeit less bloody, does not warranty my approval…

    I am simply trying to avoid a black and white view of the situation. Until recently, according to the ‘anti-imperialists’ mantra, Aztecs as the conquered nation were the good guys, Cortez, the bad guys. Now Aztecs not good guys anymore, indeed seems very bad guys, so the Spanish are now being revalued as the good guys. Not so simple. They were pretty nasty guys themselves…

  • J. Austin Wilde

    At the risk of sounding like a moral relativist, for the Conquistadores, the Spanish pursuit of Glory, God, and Gold in the New World was a seamless endeavor. You could not really take one of the three out of the equation and capture the motivation behind a guy like Cortes. Toppling the Aztecs brought Glory to the troops and Glory to God; Conquering Mexico brought Gold to the troops, Gold to His Most Catholic Majesty, and Gold to God (with mother Church taking its cut…); Civilizing the Americas brought more people into the house of God – in the Spaniards’ minds, they were saving those poor heathens from a fiery fate.

    Now we can argue the legitimacy of the Catholic Church, Christianity, and belief in God until the cows come home, and none of us will know with absolute certainty if we’re right until we kick the bucket (if then). But for the Spanish, for guys like Cortes who gave up everything back home for a shot at the 3G’s, there was never any doubt that they were doing the right thing.

    As for the Aztecs, they might well have believed that they were doing the right thing – until “Quetzalcoatl” came back, when they suddenly remembered that the part about cutting beating hearts out of people’s chests was something He frowned mightily upon… From their acceptance of Cortes into their capitol, it was clear that they were suddenly very nervous about offending their god.

  • I have long believed that Cortez did the world a favor — although the vast majority of his “victims” died of smallpox and other European diseases days before he physically encountered them himself. Read Gary Jennings’ excellent book _Aztec_ and see if you don’t agree. He says the rate of bloody sacrifice was vastly higher than what you’ve cited here. Swell folks, the Aztecs.

  • Kevin

    Comparing the relative atrocities of Aztecs and the Spaniards ignores the reality of what has happened since the 1500’s. In truth, ALL peoples of that century were nasty, brutal, and vicious by today’s standards. What the Europeans did to the North Americans was no different than what the North Americans did to each other; the Europeans prevailed over all indigenous cultures because they had superior numbers, organization, and technology, not because they were morally superior.

    However, since then the European West have embraced a rational, critical philosophy that puts the individual above the state or tribe and elevates objective truth over myth. Politically, this philosophy is best embodied in the US Constitution. Arguing over who was the most evil misses the progress that has been made since that era. And it also prevents us from seeing what societies today are still living in the 1500’s.

    Kevin

  • As a follow-on to Neil’s comment, I see that Gary Jennings has written a number of books in the Aztec series. I’ve not yet read one, but they look interesting.

    I’m surprised that Neil didn’t take the opportunity to plug his 1993 novel The Crystal Empire, an alternate universe work with quite a bit of Aztec involvement.

  • George Stewart

    Both the Aztecs and the Spanish did what they were driven to do – they believed in peculiar myths that perpetuated war, that led them to kill and loot. Their behaviour was insectile – very much like ants, dictated by co-dependence on certain food sources.

    They are to be morally condemned, of course. One wonders if there is any moral equivalence, or some weight either side. It would be interesting to note relative body counts – does Rummell have anything on this?

    And hey, don’t forget those brave Jesuits who criticised what their countrymen were doing, using natural law arguments!

    It’s interesting – that Aztec stuff reminds me of some of the early Chinese stuff (Shang dynasty bronzes, etc.) The Shang was a pretty bloodthirsty culture, at least towards the end, and their motifs are very similar to some of the Mesoamerican(?) stuff.

  • George: funny you should mention the Shang dynasty: Neil’s novel (mentioned earlier) has a Sino-Aztec culture of bad guys. Fun reading.

  • where’s the BLOODY toad!?!?

  • where’s the BLOODY toad!?!?

  • evan

    WOW!!!!that is cool how yhey stayed alive when the briten people came and when they found out about the human sacrifice.

  • I totally agree with your view point. Just because a culture is ancient I do not see why we feel everything that they did was “ok”. True, they were advanced astrologically and may have contributed that knowledge to the world today. Though we can’t forget that they were till blood thirsty peoples whose life centered around a polytheistic demonic religion. I feel no sympathy for what happened to them and find their fate only inevitable due to their actions. Don’t get me wrong, I am not just saying the Aztecs are wrong. I also feel the Spaniards that conquered them were unjust and equally mislead in their beliefs. Atually the reason I found your site was because I had to do a project/presentation on the Aztecs and happened to find your site.

  • Luis

    In my opinion, both were wrong (at different degrees, one might argue) and both the Aztec and the Spanish societies were, by modern standards, very rough and barbaric to live in. Human sacrifice, as pointed out, derived from their religious beliefs, such as the solar movement depended on human blood. They didn’t have any sort of scientific enlightment or previous contact with Christianity to tell them that they were wrong.

    Besides, I don’t see why human sacrifice creates so much scandal if earlier European cultures (such as the Carthaginians) did the same. To me, it sounds as sheer hipocrisy. Dismissing them as barbarians because of that is rather unreflexive (as a footnote, they considered the tribes of the north such as the Apaches barbarians, calling them collectively “chichimecas” which stands for sons of bitches).

    I don’t agree either with the opinion that they were just a “footnote” in history, and good that we got rid of them. They could have potentially evolved into a more benevolent society given time (and contact with European or Asian civilisations). It should be remembered that they were mostly isolated (only other high civilisations were the then declining Mayas and the Inca Empire in the Andes), so they didn’t happen to have much in the sense of a pacifying influence.

    The Spaniards method of conquest “by the cross and the sword” killed an enormous amount of the indian population, aztec or not (Tenochtitlán being larger than European cities of the time), not only because of war but mostly because of disease. Cortés’s allies, the Tlaxcalans, traded one form of servitude with another, serving as cannon fodder for the Spanish conquest of the Phillippines.

    On their contributions to humanity, you can count the crops and livestock they gave to the world, as well as their farming systems (lost or deteriorated since). If you have never heard about their poetry, Netzahualcóyotl was their most illustrous exponen. If you happen to speak Spanish, I recommend you the novel “Tlacaélel, el azteca entre los aztecas” for a different view.

    Even though I don’t agree with neither’s cruelty nor methods, history is not something that we can change by condemning. Civilisations rise and fall, and none of them have been exactly peace doves. Thinking that “these guys are all bad, and it’s so good that they were destroyed” sounds too much like today’s problems between the US and the Arab world.

    In the end both societies ended up mixing, forming after almost 500 years the Mexico we know (or don’t know) today. That the result is good or bad doesn’t correspond me to say, as Mexicans inherited beneficial and prejudicial traits from both.

  • samantha

    why dont you have anything about the mask quitzicatal or something like that my project is due in less than a week

  • robert

    The lives lost by aztec and mesoamerican sacrafices are nothing compared to the lives lost by blood thirsty Europeans. For instance, the Romans killed many more people in their Gladiator games than all of the sacrafices in the western hemisphere combined, and that was just for enternainment! Christians have killed and tortured millions of more lives than any other religon known to man/woman.
    In regards to the comments made about the mesoamericans being ignorant, they a had much better understanding of nature and the universe than most European based societies of it’s time. As a matter of fact, their is still alot for us to learn about how their knowledge and philosophies can benefit us today.

  • Lynette Najjar-VAldez

    I think that the comments posted by the original author of this piece are ignorant. Mesoamerican people were not “bloodthirsty” they just practiced what they believed, it was their faith. Walking under a ladder is a superstition, the Aztecs believing that the sky was falling was their belief, not a superstition. Besides your ignorant comments in regards to their beliefs everything else you stated is in good taste and well composed. Civilization is spelled with a “Z” not an “S” as you show it.

  • Lynette Najjar-Valdez

    I think that the comments posted by the original author of this piece are ignorant. Mesoamerican people were not “bloodthirsty” they just practiced what they believed, it was their faith. Walking under a ladder is a superstition, the Aztecs believing that the sky was falling was their belief, not a superstition. Besides your ignorant comments in regards to their beliefs everything else you stated is in good taste and well composed. Civilization is spelled with a “Z” not an “S” as you show it.

  • Peter D'Antonio

    Good stuff

  • Sara Lindeen

    It is sad that some people actually admire those bloody thirsty barbarians! I feel sorry for anyone who feels that what they did was justified in any way because in our society we look at that as torture and murder. Even the crazy people know it’s wrong!

  • Audrey Kunkel

    I think the Spanish conquisition was one of the greatest things that ever happened. The Spaniards brought the Catholic Faith to the Aztecs, and I’m sure there were alot of Indians who were happy to worship a God who didn’t require human sacrifice. Instead, this God sacrificed his Son to make up for the sins of mankind, and to open the gates of heaven.

  • Erin Mills

    Audrey Kinkel: You have not been very well informed of what the Spanish did to the Aztecs. They commited mass genocide simply for gold. God didn’t send them, Hernando Cortes sent himself, and when Queen Isabella sent soldiers to extract him, he killed them all. He killed the Aztecs for gold, and the Aztecs that exist today still aren’t christians. Well, for that matter, neither am I.

  • Erin Mills

    Also, to say something else, the Spanish did no “liberating”. They just did a shitload of slaughtering. The Aztecs would not be happy to be converted to catholicism, and you can’t generalize. Not all of the Aztecs were bloodthirsty, and their culture has lasted for hundreds of years. Who were they to argue with their anscestors? Also civillisation is spelled with a ‘s’ in other countries apart from America. I would also like to say that I am meant to be doing an assignment on the Aztecs, which is in our year eight cirriculum. I hoped to find information on the statue of Xipe Totec, but instead I found something to rant about. Also, the Aztecs created chocolate. They *are* swell folks, the Aztecs.