The Aztec and Mayan civilizations were the most important civilizations from the new world. The Europeans were amazed with the Aztec and Mayan cultures, their ways of life, and their technology. Today we find that the Aztecs and the Mayans were similar in some ways of life like their culture, their technology, and some religious beliefs; but as we go further into the study of Aztec and Mayan worlds we see that there are many more differences than first accredited.
The Aztec civilization dominated the valley of Mexico during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Their culture was seen as unethical to the Europeans. Religion was tremendously important to the Aztecs. They worshipped hundreds of gods. Each god ruled one or more human activities or aspects of nature. They had a lot of agricultural gods because their culture was based so extremely on farming. They believed that these gods determined almost every aspect of life and nature. While some deities were generous and caring, others had terrifying personalities.
The Aztecs thought that the power of the gods should be highly acknowledged, so to avoid the problematic undertakings that their indifference might cause, the monumental ceremonial centers were built. The existence of the gods and their goodwill were acknowledged by the Aztecs with life. This was the origin of human sacrifice and the ritual of taking severe physical pain, which believers intentionally caused themselves.
The customary warmth of the Mayan religion was an extreme contrast to the bloody rituals of the Aztecs. Religious ritual was complex and commanding, with frequent festivals in honor of the gods of the winds, rain, the cardinal points, harvest of birth, death, and war, with special honors to the blessed national heroes Itzamná and Kukulcan.
Human sacrifice was forbidden by Kukulcan. It didn't come about until later years. It was never a prominent or recurrent feature, except at Chichen-Itzá, where it became customary, to...
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