Aztec Religion: the Foundation of a Civilization

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The religion of the Aztec, including their beliefs, customs and religions, acted as a tremendous influence on their government, economy, and culture. Religion was the foundation for the infamous culture of the Aztec Civilization. Through ceremonies of sacrifice, and the infusion of cosmology into their religion, the Aztecs sculpted a culture unlike that of any other civilization, and left behind a legacy to be studied and admired for generations to come. Religion ultimately shaped the unique civilization of the Aztecs, through cultivating the general outlook and values of the Aztecs, expanding the empire, and influencing the architecture and layout of their city. Sacrificial rituals acted as an important factor to the economy of their civilization and their general philosophies. The Aztecs believed that the Gods required consistent sacrifices in order to maintain peace, and constantly surrendered victims up to the Gods through gory and taboo rituals. However, death through sacrifice was not considered negative in their culture, but rather considered an honor. Only the finest, most accomplished and feared warriors were chosen to be sacrificed - in order to please the Gods with worthy victims. This custom was celebratory and a tradition of glorification and great recognition. One form of sacrifice - the Ixiptla Sacrifice - symbolized and demonstrated the reincarnation of god through a chosen human. The preparations for this ceremony often took up to a year, and during this time, the chosen victim was treated as if he were a god among men for his remaining time on Earth. Preparations included: the physical and ritual cleaning and purification of the body and soul, the dressing up in the traditional attire of the given god, and rituals specified for the god, such as dancing, singing and ceremonial processions. The chosen human was given luxuries such as food, and women for sexual pleasure, and attended by several priests. This ritual was consummated through the...