Maya priests in the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula sacrificed children to petition the gods for rain and fertile fields by throwing them into sacred sinkhole caves, known as “cenotes.” The caves served as a source of water for the Mayans and were also thought to be an entrance to the underworld.
Generally only high status prisoners of war were sacrificed, with lower status captives being used for labour. Human sacrifice among the Maya is evident from at least the Classic period (c. AD 250–900) right through to the final stages of the Spanish conquest in the 17th century.
Hassig states “between 10,000 and 80,400 persons” were sacrificed in the ceremony. The higher estimate would average 15 sacrifices per minute during the four-day consecration. Four tables were arranged at the top so that the victims could be jettisoned down the sides of the temple.
While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec , Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented in the Americas—if not in
Today , human sacrifice has become extremely rare. Most religions condemn the practice , and modern secular laws treat it as murder.
The Maya today number about six million people, making them the largest single block of indigenous peoples north of Peru. Some of the largest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most important of these being the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and the Tzeltal (80,000).
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . Serfs typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader. There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and elites were both permitted to own slaves .
In ancient Mesoamerica human sacrifices were viewed as a repayment for the sacrifices the gods had themselves made in creating the world. In Mesoamerican culture human sacrifices were viewed as a repayment for the sacrifices the gods had themselves made in creating the world and the sun.
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
The Druids were said to believe that the soul was immortal and passed at death from one person into another. Roman writers also stated that the Druids offered human sacrifices for those who were gravely sick or in danger of death in battle.
It is likely that human sacrifice occurred during the Viking Age but nothing suggests that it was part of common public religious practise. Instead it was only practised in connection with war and in times of crisis.
The name derives from combining the consonants of the Hebrew melech (“king”) with the vowels of boshet (“shame”), the latter often being used in the Old Testament as a variant name for the popular god Baal (“Lord”).