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Song of the Hummingbird - Essay Example

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Smith, Professor of Anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, describes the literature on Aztec religion, especially Aztec rituals in “Chapter 35: Aztecs.” He depends on archeology and ancient objects…
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Song of the Hummingbird
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Download file to see previous pages In terms of temples, Smith illustrates that Aztec temples generally had standard types and forms. Many of their temples had high platforms or pyramids with a stairway running on one side toward one or more cult rooms. Many powerful Aztec capitals had twin-temple pyramids with two cult rooms and two stairways that are parallel to each other. Every Aztec city had one of more gods and had cults dedicated to them in the city’s temple. In the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan, two shrines were dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, for instance.
Public ceremonies are one of the most familiar dimensions of Aztec religion to the public because of a number of movies highlighting these rituals and written records from Spanish friars and documents. Smith underscores that the Spanish sources of the Aztec human sacrifices that said that thousands were sacrificed for individual ceremonies may be biased because they wanted to make the Aztecs look inhumane as part of their colonization agenda. Smith confirms that human sacrifices were indeed part of Aztec rituals but archeological evidence is not enough to determine the exact intensity and frequency of these sacrifices. Rites of human sacrifice were connected to beliefs that human blood is sacred and that people owe debts to gods that must be repaid with human blood or life itself. The Aztecs also practiced other rituals and festivities, such as the monthly (‘Veintena’) ceremonies, new fire ceremony, and domestic rituals. Smith describes these rituals and the objects used during these practices too. Thus, Smith’s chapter on “Aztecs” gives a useful overview on Aztec ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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