General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Nov 2017/9 Rain
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Professor Camilla Townsend

Question for September 2014

Why did the Aztecs sacrifice the men and not the women? Asked by Birch Hill Primary School. Chosen and answered by Professor Camilla Townsend.

An Aztec ‘tzompantli’ or skull rack, depicted in the Codex Ramífrez - drawn after the Spanish Conquest
An Aztec ‘tzompantli’ or skull rack, depicted in the Codex Ramífrez - drawn after the Spanish Conquest (Click on image to enlarge)

To some extent, this is a myth. That is, women were definitely sacrificed. However, it is true that far more victims were male than female. This is because most people who were sacrificed were prisoners of war - male warriors who had been defeated. When a whole town was vanquished, and women as well as men were captured, most of the women became slaves. A few, however, were in fact sacrificed in specific ceremonies requiring the death of a woman.

Image:-
from Wikipedia (Human sacrifice in Aztec culture).

Professor Camilla Townsend has answered 5 questions altogether:

Is it true a boy was punished by being held over burning chiles but a girl was just threatened with this?

Would a son inherit the family house from his father when he grew up?

When they got married, were they arranged marriages?

What was the highest position a woman could reach?

Why did the Aztecs sacrifice the men and not the women?

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