By: Jase Miller & Spencer Turk
Human sacrifice was a religious practice characteristic of pre-Columbian Aztec civilization, as well as of other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya and the Zapotec.
Sacrifice was a common theme in Mesoamerican cultures. In the Aztec "Legend of the Five Suns", all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live. Some years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Human sacrifice was in this sense the highest level of entire panoply of offerings through which the Aztec's sought to repay their debt to the gods.
The sacrifice of animals was a common practice for which the Aztec's bred dogs, eagles, jaguars and deer.
Self-sacrifice was also quite common; people would offer maguey thorns, tainted with their own blood and, like the Maya kings, would offer blood from their tongue, ear lobes, or genitals.
But it was probably thousands each year were sacrificed - tens of thousands or more all together. Some estimates claim 20,000 a year.
The body would be disposed of in various ways, such as feeding animals at the zoo or putting on display (the heads) they used the heads to play soccer with. The bodies would be thrown down the temple steps without a head.
There were other ways that humans would be sacrificed - shot with arrows, drowned, burned, or otherwise mutilated.
The priests painted their bodies black in order to symbolize religion and war. The sacrifices were for their god Huitzilopochtli the god of the sun.