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Mass murder or religious homicide? Rethinking human sacrifice and interpersonal violence in Aztec society

Massenmord oder religiöse Tötung? Menschenopfer und interpersonale Gewalt in Aztekischer Gesellschaft überdenken
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Dodds Pennock, Caroline

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Abstract "The Aztec practice of human sacrifice is one of the most sensationalized and bloody cases of mass killing in history, raising essential questions about cultural definitions, personal perceptions and the interrelationship of different forms of violence. Produced as part of a project on the long-term history of interpersonal and mass violence in Latin America, this article assesses the available sources for human sacrifice rates in pre-colonial Tenochtitlan, and lays the groundwork for a comparative analysis of homicide rates, by estimating the number of victims of human sacrifice. Offering an analysis which addresses key themes and structures in the history of violence, this study attempting to reconcile the frequency of 'official' violence with the apparent unacceptability of interpersonal aggression, and interrogates the sensationalism and cultural sensitivities which have often hindered impartial and empathetic studier of the human sacrifice in Aztec society." (author's abstract)
Keywords Latin America; mass murder; American Indian; indigenous peoples; homicide; violence; Mexico; religion; ritual; science of history; comparative research; sixteenth century; Elias, N.; civilization; Spain; colonialism; Europe; cultural factors; Central America; developing country
Classification General History; Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Sociology of Religion
Method historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 276-302
Journal Historical Social Research, 37 (2012) 3
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works