Recently I started researching the concept of human sacrifice, after I realized that it’s strange so many people revere ancient Aztec culture but fail to understand that certain people who claimed to rule over the society instituted policies of religious human sacrifice.
I was interested in the topic because there are parallels to the modern practice of sending soldiers to die in war, and human sacrifice. Different actions undertaken by the state and its allies actually cause people to die, and can be looked at as modern forms of human sacrifice. The question is, does anyone in power today actually have a religious belief in human sacrifice?
Here are 7 ancient societies that ritualistically killed infants, children, and adults for some supposed spiritual purposes. It’s a practice so horrific, so unjustifiable and strange, it baffles the mind to wonder how they could be convinced to do such a thing.
I suspect that the reason they did this was something stranger than what we know. I don’t know why they did it, but it makes little sense that they killed human beings to sacrifice to gods that were actually imaginary.
1. The Aztecs
Just like other ancient cultures that worshiped the Sun, they sacrifice people. They would basically cut out people’s hearts to supposedly participate in something called liberating the istli, reuniting someone’s soul with the Sun.
It’s commonly known that the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice, and they are of course native to Central Mexico, particularly the people who spoke the Nahuatl language.
Late in the day for ancient societies to practice it, they allegedly did this from the 1300’s to 1500’s until the Spanish conquered them. The Spanish were violent, ruthless conquerors and the Aztec leaders supposedly sacrificed people. It seems that forever, the people in power anywhere have been corrupt and insane.
2. The Celts
The Iron Age, and Medieval European tribal societies known as Celts reportedly practiced human sacrifice as part of religious rituals.
A Greek geographer and philosopher named Strabo discussed Celtic human sacrifice in his book titled Geography, saying:
“they [the Celts] would strike a man who had been consecrated for sacrifice in the back with a sword, and make prophecies based on his death-spasms; and they would not sacrifice without the presence of the Druids.”
Apparently an infamous figure known as the “wicker man” is involved, continuing from Strabo’s book:
“They would construct a huge figure of straw and wood, and having thrown cattle and all manner of wild animals and humans into it, they would make a burnt offering of the whole thing.”
How could so many cultures all believe the same thing, when it sounds so unnatural and violently opposed to the natural order?
Some scholars have debated the account of Strabo, but this was proven to be reality when a male body was found in a Lindow swamp, proving that the Celts sacrificed people. The body from that era was reportedly beaten, strangled, and his throat was cut before being thrown into the swamp.
3. The Chinese
A very long time ago in China, from around 1600 BC- 1046 BC officially, human sacrifice was practiced on a sickeningly large scale during the Shang Dynasty.
These sacrifices were for purposes of both religious communication and political control. Three distinct types of sacrifices existed: pit, foundation, and internment sacrifices.
Pit sacrifices were young, healthy able men who would be cut into pieces and buried shamefully without their possessions.
Babies and children were sacrificed in particularly violent ways, disrespectfully buried without their possessions under foundation sacrifices.
Under internment sacrifices, young girls were murdered and buried with a very slight amount of respect compared to the rest.
4. The Carthaginians
The society of Carthage was a very wealthy and powerful ancient civilization. More wealth and power? That means more evil.
It was a Semitic civilization resting on the Phoenician city-state known as Carthage, outside what is now Tunisia in Northern Africa.
They killed infants to “gain favor with the gods,” and to preserve the wealth of the wealthy. They are notorious for sacrificing babies and small children.
Around 20,000 babies were sacrificed between 800 BC And 146 BC as the Romans conquered Carthage.
5. The Etruscans
These are ancient Italians, who lived in what is now known as Tuscany. Scholars really didn’t want to believe these people preceding the Roman Catholic Church and Roman Empire were into human sacrifice.
The truth is, they too ritualistically killed children. An 8 year old boy from the era was found decapitated, with his feet carefully placed underneath a wall and at the base of something, like a “foundation deposit.” A stone altar and occult symbols of secular power were all put at the scene.
This society was particularly wealthy, and powerful. The powerful and wealthy always end up doing the most harm to people, and it’s been that way forever.
6. The Hawaiians
Unfortunately the Hawaiians also practiced human sacrifice, according to people that actually may not be trustworthy as they were in the business of conquering lands like Hawaii. An account comes from Jacques Arago, from the early 1800’s.
Apparently Ancient Hawaiians believed that Ku, their god of war and defense could be eased by killing people.
However, these captives were mostly chiefs from other tribes, not innocent people. It’s pretty barbaric though: they took sweat from the hung people and put it on the bodies of priests. They they would beat the flesh of the sacrifice, disemboweled them, and eat the human flesh raw or cook it: unbelievable.
7. The Mesopotamians
People know about this one: Babylon is famous for human sacrifice, it was located in Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq.
The Bible talks about child sacrifice in Babylon, and the official narrative says that adults were sacrificed to accompany their leaders in the afterlife. The truth probably isn’t pretty.
In conclusion, what could possibly persuade all of these ancient people of wealth and influence to start instituting policies of human sacrifice? Is there something we don’t know?
(Image credit: Wikipedia)