Continuity and Change in Mesoamerican Religion

All cultures are centered around belief structures that continue over a long period time, but some of the practices and rituals associated with these beliefs can become shuffled and this can drastically set two religions apart. The Mayans and the Aztec of Mesospheric are no different in this sense. Both cultures were “obsessed” with the stars and their movement in the heavens and they each built large observatories to watch and record what was happening, buildings that still exist to this day.

Next, both cultures were ruled by kings who were considered gods and these rulers emission large monuments to be built to honor the gods and assure their place in the afterlife. However, the major dissimilarity occurred in the process and scale of sacrifice, as well as the way of obtaining victims which greatly differed among the two cultures. The continuities and changes of both regions may be attributed to their relative geographic isolationism, with few outside forces affecting the religion of people in Mesospheric.

Academic anxiety?
Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task
Get your paper price

124 experts online

The Mayans and the Aztec continually watched the stars as a way of predicting the future and interpreting religious phenomena. The Mayans built a number of observatories in their various city states, with a notable one in the city of Cheney Ditz. Through the careful and detailed observations the Mayans made, they were able to accurately to predict the transit of Venus as well as construct a clock that, by some accounts, was more accurate than today’s atomic clock.

The Mayans furthermore used the stars to schedule sacrifices, write the Amman Codices, and orient buildings. The impact of celestial alignment on culture is not unique to this area; orchestration focuses on how ancients used astronomy around the world, n places like Stonehenge and the great pyramids in Egypt. The Aztec likewise used the stars as a meaner of scheduling religious holidays that required human sacrifice, as well as to predict the future and to orient pyramids, Just like the Mayans.

These similarities may be attributed to the proximity of the two regions, with the Mayans influencing the Aztec, being a pre-classical civilization similar to how the Greeks influenced the Romans. In a similar way, the Amman and the Aztec rulers were considered gods and they emission many engineering feats which were remarkable, especially in light of the fact that they lacked the wheel. The Mayans believed that their ruler was an incarnation of the sun god, Equatorial.

To reinforce their standing and assure their safe passage into the afterlife, the kings commissioned large, architectural feats which were voluntarily erected by the citizens, showing that they truly believed in the divinity of the king. Along this same line, the leaders were buried in splendid tombs so that they would live forever in complete happiness with the gods. An excellent example is the tomb of Pascal in Applique that was built underneath a massive pyramid. The Aztec also had the same gods and similarly believed that their ruler was related to ten sun go, Equatorial.

I en Aztec rulers Dull massive pyramids to the gods to please them and keep order in balance, which was supported by the people, Just as in the Amman culture. These continuities may be the effect of cultural diffusion, with the Amman ideas “migrating” from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Aztec in Central Mexico. The Mayans and the Aztec continued the use of the astronomy and the belief that he rulers were gods over time, but the Aztec changed the way that sacrifice was performed as well as the scale of it.

The Mayans came up with the practice of self- mutilation in which a king would basically fast, then take hallucinogenic drugs, and finally bleed himself onto paper and burn it while going into a trance in which he could communicate with the gods. Less frequently, the Mayans practiced human sacrifice in which they would paint the victim in a blue pigment called Maya Blue and then cut out the heart of the victim and throw his body into a sacred well such as the en in Cheney Ditz in which archaeologists have found hundreds of bodies.

The Mayans got their victims from wars and from selection of “suitable” candidates which were usually young children and women. On the other hand, while the Aztec also practiced human sacrifice, they did not perform self-mutilation. Furthermore, sacrifice was done at a much greater level in which many people were sacrificed every day and, on holidays, thousands were sacrificed to keep the sun rising and to please the gods. The Aztec performed the basic sacrifice in the same way as the Mayans, but they did not paint the victim.

Instead, they cut off the limbs of the victims, which were given to the soldiers who captured them to eat, and instead of throwing the body in a sacred well, they would throw the body down the steps of the pyramid. This has been depicted in Aztec paintings from this time as well as in accounts from various tribes who lived in that region. In acquiring their sacrifices, the Aztec would wage flower wars in which they would go to conquered towns and capture victims for sacrifice at their capital city of Denominational.

This practice was also shown in pictures and it instilled fear in the inhabitants of their empire, helping to prevent rebellion. The State’s sacrifice ritual was similar to that which was done in the Middle East with animals but people were chosen in Mesospheric because of the lack of draft animals. The Mayans came up with many different ideas that the Aztec would later adopt as part of their own culture but the Aztec would change certain aspects to meet their needs. Both cultures continued to use astronomy in their religion as a meaner to predict the future and schedule religious holidays.

Additionally, the two cultures continued to believe that their rulers were related to the sun god Equatorial and that the people should help to glorify the ruler by helping to build massive public works projects. However, the procedure of sacrifice greatly changed among the two cultures, with the Aztec molding the Amman sacrifice to fit their own needs. The two cultures developed independently but the trade that was fostered by the state aided in cultural diffusion that resulted in many similarities that continued throughout the period, with changes spurred by the unique needs that arose over time.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

Need a custom essay sample written specially to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper Without paying upfront

Continuity and Change in Mesoamerican Religion. (2017, Sep 04). Retrieved from