Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Narrative of Some Things of New Spain and of the Great City of Temestitan,1 México.
Written by a Companion of Hernan Cortes, The Anonymous Conqueror.
Edited by Alec Christensen



Chapter   1
Chapter   2
Chapter   3
Chapter   4
Chapter   5
Chapter   6
Chapter   7
Chapter   8
Chapter   9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24


THEY take him who has to be sacrificed, and first they carry him through the streets and squares, very finely adorned, with great festivities and rejoicing. Many a one recounts to him his needs, saying that since he is going where his God is, he can tell him so that he may remedy them. Then he gives him refreshments and other things. In this manner he receives many gifts, as is the case when some one has killed a wolf, and carries the head through the streets. And all the gifts go to those who offer the sacrifice. They lead him to the temple, where they dance and carry on joyously, and the man about to be sacrificed dances and carries on like the rest. At length the man who offers the sacrifice strips him naked, and leads him at once to the stairway of the tower where is the stone idol. Here they stretch [52] him on his back, tying the hands to the sides and fastening the legs. Then all commence to sing and dance around him, chanting the principal message which he is to bear to the God. Soon comes the sacrificing priest--and this is no small office among them--armed with a stone knife, which cuts like steel, and is as big as one of our large knives. He plunges the knife into the breast, opens it, and tears out the heart hot and palpitating. And this as quickly as one might cross himself. At this point the chief priest of the temple takes it, and anoints the mouth of the principal idol with the blood; then filling his hand with it he flings it towards the sun, or towards some star, if it be night. Then he anoints the mouths of all the other idols of wood and stone, and sprinkles blood on the cornice of the chapel of the principal idol. Afterwards they burn the heart, preserving the ashes as a great relic, and likewise they burn the body of the sacrifice, but these ashes are kept apart from those of the heart in a different vase. [53] At other times they sacrifice human beings according to some slow ritual lasting hours,33 roasting the heart, and wrapping the bones of the legs or of the arms in many folds of their paper, and keeping them as valuable relics. But the inhabitants of each province have their own method of sacrifice and idolatry according to their particular deities, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Serpents, Lions, or other wild animals. They have figures and statues of these in mosques, and in other provinces, particularly that of Panuco, they adore indecent objects in their mosques,34 and openly they have them displayed in sculptures in their squares, in reliefs of the most filthy character (representing the different methods of embracement of a woman by a man).35 In this province of Panuco the men are great sodomites, cowards, and drunkards; it is almost incredible the length to which they carry their passion for intoxicating fluids (when they can no longer stand and drink, they lie down and have it injected by a squirt into their breech).36 It is [54] notorious that in the figures of their idols they had in view the devil who enters into those idols, and spoke to them, ordering them to sacrifice, and to give human hearts, because they did not eat other things. From this cause came their earnest desire to sacrifice men to them, and to offer them hearts and blood. And also the demon ordered them to do many other things which they did punctually, in conformity with what he told them. These people of all whom God has created are the most devoted to their religion, and observant of it; in so much so that they offered themselves as voluntary sacrifices for the salvation of their souls; also drawing blood from their tongues, their ears, their legs, and their arms to offer it in sacrifice to their idols. There are in the environs and along the roads many hermitages, or oratories, where travelers go to shed their blood and offer it to their idols. Even on the tops of the highest mountains their oratories existed and were held in peculiar veneration.37

Previous Page  |  Table of Contents  |  Next Page

Return to top of page