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How Art Made the World Episode 5 The Skulls
of Jericho
Moche
Civilization

The Aztecs
of Mexico

The Etruscans

scholar:

Solomon & Greenberg:
Death Images
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The Aztecs of Mexico

Aztec historians recorded that in 1487, at the great pyramid of Tenichitilan, executioners sacrificed four lines of prisoners, each two miles long. But before they were ritualistically killed, the victims were forced to climb up the pyramid's two hundred and thirty seven steps. At the top were two killing rooms, with priests wielding sacrificial knives.

Sacrifices were necessary to satisfy their hungry sun-god who demanded blood as payment for creating the world.

This was killing on an industrial scale, which the Aztec's meticulously documented in their art. According to Aztec beliefs, the sacrifices were necessary to satisfy their hungry sun-god who demanded blood as payment for creating the world. If his gory fee were not paid, the sun would go out. By constantly reminding the people of the debt they owed the sun-god through the imagery of this wholesale slaughter, the Aztec leaders instilled loyalty and obedience throughout the population.

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