ancient cultures that practiced human sacrifice | by The Mystery Writer | April 2022

How could the sacrifice of humans prevent the Sun from dying?

Human sacrifice | Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

AAThe ancients followed many unimaginable rituals that may or may not make sense to modern humans. However, learning more about these gives us a lot of information about the story. One of the most popular services during the ancient period was human sacrificial killings. Whether for power or to worship gods, people were ruthlessly sacrificed.

Here are some of the most famous cultures that have practiced such rituals.

Photo credits: IBTimes UK

In the ancient world, Carthaginian society was paradoxically the richest and most powerful civilization. Culture, however, has contributed to some deadly horrors. Even today, one of the most brutal acts associated with the Carthaginians is the child sacrifice.

The goal was to win the favor of their gods. According to some experts, the sacrifice of infants allowed the Carthaginians to gain more control. Unfortunately, this was a deliberate act by wealthy parents to maintain their wealthy lifestyle.

Between 800 BC. AD and 146 BC. AD, when the Romans conquered Carthage, about 20,000 babies were sacrificed. Yet not all experts agree that the Carthaginians committed such atrocities. According to some, the remains of infants found are those of children who died naturally.

Ancient Israelites | Photo credits: The Conversation

Ancient sacrifices were often seen as “gifts” to the divine. According to some scholars, antiquity Israelites also offered children to the Canaanite god Moloch as a “holocaust”.

Experts say, however, that the worship of Moloch was limited to one particular cult. This cult has dedicated its life to this ritual. As the debate continues, many scholars continue to assert that there was no such God in ancient Israel.

Human sacrifice by the Israelites is also mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible. However, scholars have differing opinions on its existence. Therefore, the debate continues to this day.

Photo credits: Encyclopedia of World History

As an ancient people, the Etruscans had adopted much of their culture from the Romans, living in “Tuscany”. Most of these people were farmers and traders. They had their commercial transactions with Greece and Carthage. However, the controversial practices of human sacrifice are also associated with them.

For many years scholars refused to accept that the Etruscans indulged in such brutality. However, archaeologists in Italy have uncovered relative evidence, which has conclusively proven that the Etruscans practiced human sacrifice. Among the remains found were infants, children, and adults who were either foreigners or sick or lower-ranking citizens.

We do not know enough about their sacrificial methods, but it is possible that they participated.

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During the Shang dynasty, human sacrifice was popular among the Chinese. The murder was either a measure of political control or a method of religious communication.

Their rituals began by beheading the male members of their tribes as a tribute to male ancestors. More heads were opened if the ancestor was significant.

The first method was a pit sacrifice, where young men were sacrificed. They were buried without belongings after their bodies were dismembered. According to archaeological evidence, the other method of sacrifice was to kill innocent children and their deaths were very violent.

These inhuman actions were intended to appease the ancestors of the Chinese.

Photo credits: Egypt today

While some experts disagree that the ancient Egyptians practiced human sacrifice, evidence indicates otherwise. At Abydos, the sacrificial tombs indicate the use of restraint ritual sacrifices. Did they also commit such atrocities in ancient times?

There are several references to servants of pharaohs killed to continue serving them in the afterlife. Egyptian scholar George Reisner has suggested that the the tombs of King Djer and King Aha contained the bodies of those who were buried alive with them.

Eventually the servant sacrifices were ended and replaced with symbolic human figures.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

It may surprise you, but Hawaiians have also engaged in sacrificial practices. They did this to gain the favor of Ku, the god of war, in order to achieve victory in their battles.

Temples were the places where these sacrifices were performed and the captives were usually the leaders of other tribes. Intense torture was used to the point where captives were hung upside down from wooden rocks. The anointing with the sweat of the sacrifice would be the priest’s sign of blessing.

In addition, the bodies were repeatedly beaten until their flesh became smooth. Once gutted, the flesh was either cooked or eaten raw, by the priest himself.

Photo credits: Information guides

The Incas also believed in human sacrifice (to stop natural disasters). Their empire suffered from many natural calamities including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods.

As absurd as it may seem today, they believed that offering their children to the gods would put an end to their difficulties. Several of the sacrificial victims were prisoners of war. Some children were raised only to be killed in the ritual. Physically healthy children were considered the purest sacrifices the Incas could make.

A fundamental part of their blind faith was the belief that these children would have a better and happier afterlife. Ironically, the victims were pampered and fed before the sacrifice, only to die later.

Photo credit: Britannica

It would not be right to speak of human sacrifice without mentioning the Aztecs. Their society believed in offering human lives so that the sun would not die. How could human beings save the sun by sacrificing other humans?

The ancients believed that human blood was a “sacred life force”. According to them, he brought nourishment and appeasement to their Sun God.

These brutal and gruesome human sacrificial killings included both volunteers and tribesmen captured during the war. To perform the ritual, they had to climb the stairs of a temple to reach the top. There, the priest opened their stomach from their throat to their belly.

At the foot of the temple, the sacrificed human bodies were dismembered, but the hearts went to the gods. However, there is much controversy surrounding the extent of these sacrifices as only a few natural sources are available.

Surprisingly, not all cultures openly engaged in such activities during ancient times. Today, fortunately, no one would offer a sacrifice based on unjust reasons, making life in the modern world a privilege.