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Maya Religion - sacrifice

60 second histories

This video covers:  A look at why the Ancient Maya believed in sacrifice and how they carried it out - not too gruesome but not for the feint-hearted either.


There is a dark side to our religion. We believe in human sacrifice to appease the gods, you know keep them happy. Although we do sacrifice animals, it is human sacrifice that is the most important. We believe that the gods will be nourished by human blood. The victims are often criminals or men captured in war who are tortured and then bent over a sacrificial stone on their back while a priest cuts a hole just below his ribs. The priest then reaches inside his body and tears out the beating heart of the victim which is then burned to nourish the gods. But this bloodletting isn’t just confined to sacrifice, the more important you are, the more you are expected to spill some of your own blood to appease the gods. For example, you could put a pin through your ear and let blood drip onto paper then burn it or worst of all make a hole through your tongue and pull a string woven with thorns through it to make it bleed. Ouch!
Ancient Maya
Maya warrior
Key words: 
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