By Caroline Dodds Pennock
The historical past of the Aztecs has been haunted by way of the spectre of human sacrifice. As bloody clergymen and brutal warriors, the Aztecs have peopled the pages of background, fantasy and fiction, their magnificent violence dominating perceptions in their tradition and casting a veil over their detailed lifestyle. Reinvesting the Aztecs with a humanity usually denied to them, and exploring their spiritual violence as a understandable portion of existence and lifestyles, Caroline Dodds Pennock integrates a clean interpretation of gender with an leading edge examine of the standard lifetime of the Aztecs. This was once a tradition of contradictions and issues, yet in among the grand ritual we will locate the non-public and personal, the trivialities of lifestyles which make the realm of those striking humans immediately widespread. regardless of their violent bloodshed, the Aztecs have been a compassionate and expressive those that lived and labored in cooperative gendered partnership.
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Additional info for Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle, and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture (Early Modern History: Society and Culture)
For warriors, however, there was perhaps a greater sense of urgency in matters of death. Bearing his captives to the altar, a warrior was confronted directly with the horrors of sacrifice. Adorned in white at the communal consumption of his captive, watching and abstaining from the festivities, a warrior was constantly reminded of the likelihood that he too would fall victim to the same fate. Priests and nobles paid penance, releasing their blood to succour the gods. Although pain and mortality were unremitting companions of every Living with Death 33 Aztec’s existence, it was for warrior men that a precipitate death appeared preordained.
A slave who was to be sold also had a brief chance to escape. If he fled the market successfully, only the slave’s master and his sons having a right to stop him, then he would be set free if he could reach the tlatoani’s palace. Only an idle and delinquent slave could be sold, and not until he or she had been declared delinquent and traded three times did a slave become eligible to be sold as a human sacrifice. 15 The sacrificial death of slaves was not the detached slaughter of strangers but the killing of familiar members of the community.
Honour accrued to both captor and captive as shared ideals of valour and principle were expressed in the ceremony of human sacrifice. Significantly, human sacrifice was not a fate limited to strangers, but also befell individuals from within Tenochtitlan itself, and not only in foreign lands. 13 It is important to note at this point that slavery in Aztec society was a practice clearly distinct from our western conceptions. An Aztec slave, or tlacotli, although clearly at the bottom of the social scale, possessed some personal rights.