June 28, 2018

"Some conquistadors wrote about the tzompantli and its towers, estimating that the rack alone contained 130,000 skulls."

"But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture. As the centuries passed, scholars began to wonder whether the tzompantli had ever existed. Archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History... can now say with certainty that it did. Beginning in 2015, they discovered and excavated the remains of the skull rack and one of the towers underneath a colonial period house on the street that runs behind Mexico City's cathedral.... The scale of the rack and tower suggests they held thousands of skulls, testimony to an industry of human sacrifice unlike any other in the world...."

From "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital" (Science).

117 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

This is total bullshit!! Native Americans were peaceable teddy bears until the whites arrived and brought war and violence!!

Gahrie said...

I have never understood why Mexico glorifies the Aztecs. They were the assholes and NAZIs of Meso-America, constantly preying on the other tribes and ripping people's still beating hearts out.

It would be like the Germans having a swastika on their flag and glorifying the NAZIs today.

YoungHegelian said...

But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture.

What a steaming load! It wasn't the conquistadors who were prone to exaggerating. It was the historians & archaeologists who were prone to minimizing. What?! Did the conquistadores see themselves as pacifists or sumthin' that they felt the need to justify their conquests using the cruelty of the regime they were replacing? No, they conquered for God, king & country, & that was justification enough.

This same "oh, the Spanish made it up" crap has occurred repeatedly in questions of pre-Columbian archaeology. "Oh, the Incans didn't practice child sacrifice". Until they found the mummies, that is. "Oh, the Mayans were a peaceful people" Yeah, until we could read the hieroglyphs & found out that they fought like scorpions in a bottle.

Ray said...

Video clip from Babylon 5, season 4, with Delenn and academics that explains...

https://youtu.be/DrPe80sxlm4

Ken B said...

YH
And the denial of cannibalism in various places too. Until they found the gnawed bones and other evidence.

Nonapod said...

As much as people would like it to be true, there ain't no such thing as a bloodless history. Wherever you find a human civilization that's been around long enough, you'll find evidence of horrible things somewhere in their past. It's a human thing, not a racial thing.

AllenS said...

Native American culture was so much more better than those evil Europeans.

rhhardin said...

Piper named an airplane after them.

Henry said...

A long drive. A huge meal. Human sacrifice.

Is that one repulsive thing or three?

WK said...

I heard they were often refused service in popular restaurants.

Henry said...

disgusting, not repulsive

Shane said...

Here's hoping the human sacrifice and huge meal were not actually one, instead of two, of the three disgusting prongs from yesterday's drive. Not judging what a "best day ever" may have been.

Freeman Hunt said...

Knew or assumed that they exaggerated?

My name goes here. said...

But Pontiac named an ugly car after them. So, you know, we are even now.

Nonapod said...

Neil Young tries to make human sacrifice idyllic

Neil Young "Cortez The Killer"

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood
straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.


Caligula said...

"But what would it look like if we cared just as deeply about equality?" said john a. powell.

And if findings like this make descendants of these indigenous peoples feel bad, shouldn't such findings be suppressed?

buwaya said...

Bernal Diaz del Castillo (usually just called Bernal Diaz, naming conventions, ptui) did describe it, and a lot else.
He was an eye-witness.

BD should be required reading on Mexico.
And he is a great read.

Darrell said...

The cartels are well on their way to surpassing any ancient records.
There must be something in the water besides pathogens.

Roughcoat said...

The conquest of the Aztecs by Cortés was made possible by his Indian allies in the Valley of Mexico, who were legion and who absolutely hated the Aztecs. The army that Cortés commanded in the final battle for the twin cities of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco reliably numbered c. 500,000 combatants. Yes: 500,000. I have theorized that this constituted the largest field army to fight on a battlefield of such limited size. Probably this final struggle also involved highest number of combatants overall to fight in single relatively small battlefield (the twin cities), given that the cities, which were then probably the world's most populous, exceeding in size even the cities of imperial China, were swollen with refugees and might have harbored as many as 2 million people, all of whom -- men, women, children -- took part in the ferocious house to house fighting that characterized the battle. As a side note, the ability to maintain such huge cities and large field armies was testimony to the Mesomerican genius at organization and logistics. It is also interesting to note that the Tlascalans, who were the Aztecs' chief enemies, and who contributed a great many fighting men to Cortés army, did NOT practice human sacrifice.

mccullough said...

Thank God for Cortez and Spain. These dudes were not noble savages. Rousseau was a fucking idiot.

People still flee to the West. No one goes to the shitholes. That is all you need to know.

PackerBronco said...

Jeez, next thing you know someone's going to try to prove that these peace-loving brown skin cultures were practicing slavery and we all KNOW it was just the racists whites doing that.

buwaya said...

Neil Young is an idiot.

And no-one exaggerated, this all is true.
The Mexica (Aztecs) were extraordinary, probably unique in the sheer numbers, and moreover in the organization of their system of human sacrifice and cannibalism. The only things that come close (barring more pre-Columbian American archaeology) are the child-sacrifices of Carthage.

EDH said...

"'El que hace trofeos de los hombres' means 'the demon who makes trophies of man'."

Paul Snively said...

Nonsense. I'm reliably assured that indigenous cultures are noble savages, and only European Christian culture is rapacious, murderous, and destructive.

Char Char Binks said...

Sure the Aztecs were murderous religious fanatics, but at least they weren't racist.

Darrell said...

Sure the Aztecs were murderous religious fanatics

Another religion the Left loves.

buwaya said...

Hugh Thomas IIRC estimates 100,000 under Cortez, at Tenochtitlan.
Even with this 99 out of a hundred men under his command were Indians.
And that would still be the biggest army in one military operation in the Americas until the US Civil War.

buwaya said...

He who makes trophies of men.

No demon in it (except by implication).

Roughcoat said...

Cortés IMHO was one of the most astounding and brilliant military commanders in the history of organized warfare. His conquest of Mexico was an epic feat, truly astonishing.

Hugh Thomas's "Conquest" provides the best account, but Prescott's classic (which Thomas greatly admires) is also magnificent. And Bernal Diaz, of course.

Roughcoat said...

Hugh Thomas IIRC estimates 100,000 under Cortez, at Tenochtitlan.

Other scholars, writing after Thomas, assert significantly higher numbers. Their arguments for doing so are quite convincing. Certainly the Mesoamerican allies with their aforementioned genius for organization and logistics, and drawing on the incredibly productive agricultural output of the region, were capable of fielding and sustaining field armies that would be accounted as enormous even by today's standards

exiledonmainstreet said...

Left-wingers have attempted to halt archaeological digs, saying that they are disrespectful to Native American sensibilities. The real reason they object is that evidence frequently turns up which spoils the "Noble Savage" narrative.

Lucien said...

@ My Name Goes Here:

And just what kind of car do you suppose Walter White drove? (Before the Caddy with the M-60 rigged in the trunk.) His head count was pretty good, too.

William said...

There's no doubt that the conquistadors inflicted great cruelty upon the people they conquered. It's also a matter of record that there were Dominicans among them who recorded and protested against those acts of cruelty.......Spanish society was capable of imagining a society that was more merciful and just than Spanish society. There was no one in Aztec society who was capable of protesting against that society's evils or imagining that there might be a better way.......Marina, the Mexican consort of Cortes, was sold into slavery by her mother. Mexicans like to think that Marina betrayed her people, but it was the people of Mexico who had betrayed Marina........I don't know if the Spaniards exaggerated the atrocities of the Aztecs, but the English certainly exaggerated the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition.

Michael said...

The Neil Young song is catchy and my favorite part is the verse asserting that the temples could not be replicated today. LOL. The lefty version of a romantic and idyllic meso-america that never existed. Mayans were good at math, however.

robother said...

"They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on."

I'm sure that those beheaded by Mexican drug lords similarly cheerfully sacrifice themselves, so that others may go on. We need more of that literally self-sacrificing spirit here in the USA. Open borders!

Bill Peschel said...

Old Leftist Line: "There was no human sacrifice! It's all a lie made up by the privileged white Conquistadors."

New Leftist Line: "When we say there was no human sacrifice, we mean that there was some, but the people wanted to be sacrificed."

Wish I could say this was parody.

traditionalguy said...

The community of blood sacrifice empowered witchcraft is making come back. And boy are they mad at Trump for letting Reformed Christianity fight them again. It's the end of their world.

buwaya said...

Prescott is a better, more poetic writer than Thomas.
Thomas is painstaking and more complete.
Diaz is the compelling, almost novelistic grunts-eye view of the thing. Diaz, the narrator of his own account, is himself an interesting character, a "grognard". Its a unique book, an oddly modern peek into an authentic medieval-early modern world, transported into an utterly alien place.

Between all the original sources, the conquest is remarkably well documented on the Spanish side. Its a tremendous story that deserves an HBO "Rome" type of treatment. These were all complex people in a bizarre, incredibly dramatic situation.

My ancestor, an adventurer of this stripe, went off to conquer Davao in 1847 under a very similar set of circumstances, as a private expedition licensed by the Spanish governor. Indeed, he was criticized for imagining he was Cortez. But he conquered too. My ancestress, his mistress, accompanied the expedition, willing to share its fate. That business deserves its own book. And a romance novel, probably.

becauseIdbefired said...

I met a 90 year old man at the foot doctor who had fought in WW II, was now a US citizen, though previously he was a South African citizen, in a little town in California.

As we discussed, he told me he didn't think the Blacks in South Africa were civilized, and upon waiting for the answer, he continued that tribes in some places would eat you.

Naturally, these tribes have but one cultural expression among many equally valid ones. Like that here in the west.

Roughcoat said...

And, yes, the Aztecs should properly be called "Mexica," but in these discussions it's vastly more convenient to follow modern convention, as in "Bernal Diaz."

Even with this 99 out of a hundred men under his command were Indians.

The ratio was probably higher (if the higher numbers for Cortes's army are correct).

But Cortes was the key to it all. His Indian allies thought he was the cat's pajamas, that's for sure. They thought he was magnificent, and not because he was suspected to be Quezecoatl, the missing "White God." The Indian allies understood quite well that he was a mortal man from "outremer." They respected him and followed him into battle because he was natural born leader, with a charismatic personality on a par with that of Alexander and Napoleon, who provided them with the opportunity and means to annihilate the hated Aztecs.

Confused said...

So historians and archaeologists did NOT know that the conquistadors were prone to exaggeration. Noted.

YoungHegelian said...

@becauseIdbefired,

As we discussed, he told me he didn't think the Blacks in South Africa were civilized, and upon waiting for the answer, he continued that tribes in some places would eat you.

But, the true test of their level of civilization is, when they eat you, do they choose the correct wine to serve with you.

rightguy said...

Whenever ol' Neil wrote about history, it always sounded like he couldn't be bothered spending an hour at the library getting the facts straight.

Roughcoat said...

buwaya:

I wholly agree with your assessment of the relative merits of Prescott, Thomas, and Diaz.

I shudder to think of what a cinematic treatment of the Conquest by today's Hollywood would entail. If it was written and directed by John Milius, well then, maybe ...

Michael K said...

BD should be required reading on Mexico.
And he is a great read.


Yes, and Shellebarger wrote a fine novel in "Captain from Castile." It's too bad he died fairly young as his novels were great history made palatable for a kid, like I was.

Roughcoat said...

I do not see where the conquistadors exaggerated. Native (i.e. Aztec/Mexica) accounts and records (e.g., the codices, among other sources) confirm what the conquistadors said.

mockturtle said...

As the centuries passed, scholars began to wonder whether the tzompantli had ever existed.

As the centuries passed and scholars became woke....

Jupiter said...

"Their arguments for doing so are quite convincing."

Cite a few. I'm having a hard time seeing how people without wheels perform prodigies of logistics. Most contemporary accounts of ancient battles claim absurd numbers of combatants.

Teller said...

Agree about Hugh Thomas'"Conquest". "The Slave Trade" was also an illuminating read. And I don't care what anyone says, Gibson's "Apocalypto", despite the pat ending, had great production design for the Mayan city.

Bob Boyd said...

You can see a very impressive tower of over 5000 human skulls today in Cambodia. They aren't very old. Another beautiful example of where empowered central planners always end up.

Google killing fields monument images

AZ Bob said...

The funny think about Neil Young's Cortez the Killer is that the subject of human sacrifice is not ignored, although there is some whitewashing. I find it more ridiculous that he states that "hate was just a legend and war was never known." That is propaganda.

Young has said he wrote the lyrics in high school in Winnipeg, which for him would have been in the early 1960's. What I think he was driving at might be revealed in the end of the song:

And I know she's living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can't remember when
Or how I lost my way.

Who is the she to whom he refers? I think it is Mother Nature.

For me, I don't buy in to Young's myths but I do like the guitar playing and the overall mood of the recording. His guitar tone is perfect using his prized 1953 Les Paul (single coil P-90's are standard) and his trademark tweed Fender Deluxe amp vintage 1959.

Here's the YouTube posted studio recording of Cortez the Killer which can be appropriately enhanced by opening a bottle of mezcal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-b76yiqO1E

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

I'm having a hard time seeing how people without wheels perform prodigies of logistics.

That's because you don't know what you're talking about and have no evident knowledge of the workings of Aztec society. All transport of foodstuffs into the urban areas was accomplished by endless streams of porters as part of a disciplined and highly regimented system. You can find out about this in countless sources, Thomas's book among them. Do your own fucking research, I'm not going to do it for you.

Sebastian said...

The human sacrifice whitewash reflects the bigotry of noble-savagery.

But then, prog arguments are never about Them, they are always about us, evil us.

History, like ethics and linguistics and civility and law, is just a tool.

Unfortunately, even progs sometimes have to face facts.

robother said...

O'l Neill was a longtime fan of human sacrifice, huh? Has anyone seen hide nor hair of Crosby, Stills or Nash recently?

Jay Elink said...

Once mighty and fearsome , today they've been reduced to "Yard Aztecs", armed only with leaf blowers and shovels.

Kinda like the dinosaurs evolving into little birdies.

The Drill SGT said...

all cultures are equal

Earnest Prole said...

I stumbled into Leviticus the other day and read its wacky elaborate rules for animal sacrifice. The urge to appease the gods appears universal.

The Drill SGT said...

"Jay Elink said...
Once mighty and fearsome , today they've been reduced to "Yard Aztecs", armed only with leaf blowers and shovels."

except the guys with machetes and battery acid

kill, rape and control

Jay Elink said...

"Neil Young is an idiot."

***************

I dunno....one of his songs comes in handy around our house; I sing a line from it to our live-in son all the time:

"You can't be twenty-seven, and live on Sugar Mountain..."

Jupiter said...

"All transport of foodstuffs into the urban areas was accomplished by endless streams of porters as part of a disciplined and highly regimented system."

Gonna take a lot of porters to carry as much as one railcar. I suppose if you have an "endless stream", that would be a lot of porters. Of course, they'd eat a lot, too.

johnhenry100 said...

Isn't this what President Trump is doing? Metaphorically, of course.

Driving our country's enemies before him and making a monument of their empty skulls?

And Amen! to what several others have already said. The Aztecs, and most Indian tribes north and south, were bloodthirsty genocidal maniacs.

John Henry

mockturtle said...

I stumbled into Leviticus the other day and read its wacky elaborate rules for animal sacrifice. The urge to appease the gods appears universal.

Indeed, blood sacrifice was almost universal and foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice, God's sacrificing his own Son whose blood was spilled once and for all for our sins.

rightguy said...

Maybe Hollywood will maka a Dances with Wolves style fairy-tale about the Aztecs- where the white-eyes are mostly greedy, blood-thirsty, and evil, while the Indians are noble, ecologically correct, and avuncular.

Bob Boyd said...

The urge to appease the gods appears universal.

Indeed. The priests of climate change call for sacrifices to insure favorable weather and forestall storms and floods.

AZ Bob said...

We have another Cortez on the march to once again collapse a foreign culture:

https://nypost.com/2018/06/27/ocasio-cortez-wants-to-be-president-mom-says/

Sheridan said...

Long ago, 50 years or more I read a short story in a science fiction magazine (Analog, I think) about how humans were viewed by various non-human galactic cultures. As I recall, the consensus was that humans were and would always remain primitive and uncultured but at the same time were seen as the most capable, violent and successful mercenary fighters in the galaxy. If violence was required, make a contract and bring in the humans. Murdering people, dominating them, sacrificing them to some religion or greater good or noble purpose (or just for the fun of it) seems to be the métier of humanity. It's in our Id. I think that's why many people become enflamed with politics. It's another extension of warfare.

Earnest Prole said...

The priests of climate change call for sacrifices to insure favorable weather and forestall storms and floods.

Zactly.

CarolynnS said...

We should be tolerant of the practices of other cultures; no one culture is better than another. Isn't that what we've been told? Not to make cultural judgments?

buwaya said...

They may not have had to transport food very far. The valley of Mexico and its lake (mostly gone now) had an extremely productive, high-tech agriculture, very advanced by European standards, including floating gardens. Most transport there was waterborne, not by porter. Tenochtitlan was not the only place that reminded the Spanish of Venice.

One of the great diplomatic successes of Cortez was in peeling away, eventually, all the lakeshore peoples, themselves Aztecs, from their confederation with Tenochtitlan. Better than half of his army were residents of that lakeshore, not just the Tlascalans and other ancient enemies of the Mexica.

JaimeRoberto said...

Neil Young should remember that Cortez's men don't need him around anyhow.

n.n said...

Ritual abortions (sacrificial rites) in the South... and intertribal and intratibal genocide North of the Rio Grande. Slavery, too.

n.n said...

Clinical cannibalism is a universal practice. In Africa, they cannibalize white (albino) people for parts and clumps of cells. In America, they cannibalize fetuses, offspring, babies (i.e. recycled-child) for parts and clump of cells. That said, there has been extraordinary progress since those barbaric days. Today, the veil of privacy is formidable, awaiting an external force to raise and expose the lies beneath. Also, we have effective incinerators. Out, out damned spot, indeed.

n.n said...

Modern people practice abortion rites for wealth, pleasure, leisure, narcissism, stability, and to appease mortal gods.

Milwaukie Guy said...

The people of the lakeside cities were not Mexica. They were simply the first peoples conquered during the 150-year Aztec Empire.


As the final battle was being won by the Cortez coalition, the Tlaxcalans went on a rampage and slaughtered every man, woman and child Mexica. The Spaniards tried to stop them so they could be saved for slavery but the Tlaxcalans answered, you don't know these people, we've been fighting them off for a hundred years.

buwaya said...

Some of the lakeshore peoples were Mexica indeed as Tenochtitlan wasn't the only place the Mexica settled, and others were Nahuatl-speaking non-Mexica Aztecs. And then there were others.

The whole messy thing is in Thomas.

Milwaukie Guy said...

The Mexica arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the early 1300s and originally settled on marshland that became the city of Tenochtitlan. They hired themselves out as mercenaries to the lakeside cities, basically Toltecs, in their numerous wars.

During the empire period, Mexica moved and settled throughout the empire but did not obliterate the other peoples they ruled over entirely although there was a state culture.

Now I'm just speculating here, but perhaps most of the Mexica who lived lakeside would have become refugees during the final days. Quien sabes?

James Pawlak said...

It is so sad that those horrid, White, Spanish, Male invaders put halt to this cultural expression and practice at a cost of far fewer humans intentionally killed that those "sent to speak to the gods".

That with the assistance of other Mexicans who strangely seemed to tire of having their hearts ripped out and their bodies eaten.

Those horrid persons also inflicted literacy and the fullness of music on the surviving Mexicans.

Douglas said...

Where does "cultural appropriation" fit into this picture. I mean, we can't really discuss relations between primitives and the West without talking about cultural appropriation, can we?

Known Unknown said...

When I celebrate Indigenous People's Day, my wonderful routine involves traveling to the next town over, kidnapping a inhabitant, dragging him to our courthouse steps, cutting out his heart, cutting off his head, and then kicking his still-twitching body down the steps.

Fun all the way round!

Known Unknown said...

I forgot to add that sometimes I take the disembodied head to the local playground for some serious hoops action!

Fernandistein said...

I really liked the "Pyramid of Skulls" Lego set.

Rabel said...

Rolling the body down the steps of the temple to the bloodthirsty crowd below after they cut out the living heart was a nice PR touch.

I wonder if the Chief Priest had a catchphrase he'd use when he gave the body a push, like "Hasta la Vista, Baby" or "You're Fired" or "That's Gonna Leave a Mark."

William Chadwick said...

So that's the new party line, that Aztec Democide wasn't as bad as the Spanish made it out to be? Figures.

The Drill SGT said...

"Known Unknown said...
When I celebrate Indigenous People's Day, my wonderful routine involves traveling to the next town over, kidnapping a inhabitant, dragging him to our courthouse steps, cutting out his heart, cutting off his head, and then kicking his still-twitching body down the steps."

I see myself as an Apache. raiding a Hopi settlement and hanging the surviving Hopi men head down over low fires till their brain cases burst.

AJ Lynch said...

Mel Gibson's movie Apocalypto depicted the savageness of the primitive Latinos.

I am not sure why anyone had to think their brutality was exaggerated by the white man? WTF up until 150-200 years ago, true civilization in N. America barely existed.

What was exaggerated was the claim that the white man caused the death of 15-20 million native Americans- did these archeologists look for the mass graves that would have required?

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...

Piper named an airplane after them.


Piper started naming airplanes after Indian tribes in the 1950s. Apache, Comanche, Aztec (an upgraded Apache), Cherokee, Dakota, Seneca, Seminole, Navaho, etc. I don't think the use of the Aztec name was really meant to honor them as much as it was just another tribal name.

n.n said...

On one hand. On the other hand. Always and forever.

#PrinciplesMatter Ideally, they are internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

mockturtle said...

In reading about feudal Japan it is interesting to note that the hilly and rocky terrain made wheeled vehicles impractical. Tens of thousands of soldiers and supplies were moved by horses and on foot.

Rick Turley said...

You can get the Prescott and Diaz books on Amazon Kindle for $.99 each. Reserved the Thomas book from the local library. Imagine 20 years ago reading about books and having them in your hands within hours at a cost of under $2. We truly live in an age of wonder.

Bad Lieutenant said...

It's interesting that the ancients there had not invented, or used, the wheel-but they certainly knew how to build roads, and used them extensively. I was just beat to a mention of Japan as a high civilization where the wheel, though known, was little used for transport.

readering said...

Rick Turley: Amen to that. And yet it seems fewer readers for books.

If you belong to a large metropolitan library you can put a hold on a book over the internet and have it delivered from any branch in the system to the downtown central branch (which happens to be where I work). You get an email alert when ready for pickup.

Big Mike said...

Three or four years ago the archeologists excavated a site in Mexico where skeletons were found of Europeans who were captured, sacrificed, and eaten, including approximately fifty women and ten children. Here is one account of the findings. It's believed that this was a "convoy" bringing supplies to Cortez which was attacked and the noncombatants captured while Cortez was himself besieged by an Aztec uprising.

The notion that sacrifices didn't occur, or occurred rarely, never really had any traction among archeologists who had actually bothered to study the skeletons and the Aztec carvings.

Jupiter said...

buwaya said...
"Most transport there was waterborne, not by porter."

I was wondering about that. Before railroads, most transport was by water. It doesn't look like there are any very extensive river systems, but I do gather that they whole place used to be a lot damper. I have read of porters moving goods up from Acapulco, but that would be high-value trade goods, not food.

Gahrie said...

but I do gather that they whole place used to be a lot damper.

The site of Mexico City used to be a lake. The Aztec built their city in the middle of it and used causeways to reach the shore. They used floating gardens and canals extensively.

Michael K said...

I was just beat to a mention of Japan as a high civilization where the wheel, though known, was little used for transport.

I think there was also a political reason. Peasants and samurai,

Char Char Binks said...

"The people worked together
And they lifted many stones."

What a beautiful depiction of slavery!

At least it wasn't racist slavery. It was the good kind of slavery.

Teller said...

One of the best revelations in Thomas' "Conquest" was the people Cortes met first in Mexico offered to lead him to Moctezuma - their conqueror - because they were tired of paying him a high percentage of their crops as annual tribute. Conquered - subjugated - taxed. A time-honored process requiring no introduction by Euroswine.

AllenS said...

Since most illegal immigrants from south of us are Native American, why not keep them on our Indian Reservations?

Michael K said...

Genealogy is going to be very important is the history of these populations.

A primer.

Greg Cochran on Diaz.

The comments are the best part. He has a lot of knowledgable commenters.

mockturtle said...

In my reading of history, my favorite genre, I have never read about Latin American history, other than a couple of bios of Pershing [heh]. If I live long enough, it sounds like I've got a whole new field to explore!

FIDO said...

I recall I was assigned a book in a sociology class (a warning sign right there).


This sociologist had read all the prior literature of those who studied the Jivaro Indians and essentially to a man, they had all determined they were war like, unpleasant little bastards who would just as soon cut you as look at you.

Well, nitwit decided he was going to prove them all wrong. And little things happened like men threatening him with murder unless he coughed up 10 ax blades. (But he was strong and stalwart and negotiated them down to 5 ax blades).

See, everyone before his enlightened self was a racist and an unreliable witness.

So you had slews of academics who needed to 'prove' that things seen by their ancestors were horrible false. American Indians didn't torture their victims: they were giving them fatal manhood tests which were somehow consensual, never mind the ropes. Cannibalism isn't 'real'. Please ignore those skulls with teeth marks on them. Those hatchets weren't for FIGHTING despite there being dozens of them...no...they were MONEY and those thousands and thousands of arrow heads were small change.


And thus you get academic assumptions such at this: that there was only ridiculous overexaggeration of human sacrifice.

Something went woefully wrong in the Academy in the 70's and it has only gotten worse.

Milwaukie Guy said...

I just finished Bolívar by Marie Arana. It is a very good intro to Latin America.

mockturtle said...

So you had slews of academics who needed to 'prove' that things seen by their ancestors were horrible false. American Indians didn't torture their victims: they were giving them fatal manhood tests which were somehow consensual, never mind the ropes. Cannibalism isn't 'real'. Please ignore those skulls with teeth marks on them. Those hatchets weren't for FIGHTING despite there being dozens of them...no...they were MONEY and those thousands and thousands of arrow heads were small change.

Contemporaneous accounts tend to be the most reliable sources, IMO, but there's always some graduate student needing an edgy topic as well as ambitious historians/cultural anthropologists wanting to rewrite history.

Sheridan said...

Members of my father's family emigrated from England (as yeomen) to the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1635. By 1680 some of them had moved to Rindge, NH. Like all of the adult male colonists, they were members of the local militia. A father/son duo were a Lieutenant and a Captain of Militia, respectively. The positions were not ceremonial but merit based. And the need for a militia was self-evident every day of life on the New England frontier. I wish I could travel back in time and obtain the reality-based perspective of those two ancestors.

rcocean said...

The Aztec diet was short on Meat. They had lots of corn and beans, but no Cattle, sheep or Pigs. The aristocracy, however, had plenty of Ducks and waterfowl.

Basically, the Aztecs weren't even at the Roman Level of civilization. More like the Ancient Egyptians. Not savages, but probably 2,000 years behind Europe.

BTW, the Incas did a lot with human transport too. But Human pack-animals are very inefficient.

rcocean said...

As someone stated up thread, the current "Game" in academia is to prove that (1) there were a zillion natives in the New World in 1492 and (2) they were incredibly civilized.

The more natives you can show in 1492, the more you can wank on about how the Europeans "killed" millions. And of course, the higher the civilization of the Aztecs or Inca's - the less justification for the European conquest.

There's actually a book called "1492" which incorporates this ahistorical narrative and sells it as the truth.

Michael K said...

So you had slews of academics who needed to 'prove' that things seen by their ancestors were horrible false.

I was at Dartmouth in 1994-95 in a masters program after I retired from practice. As part of a class, I wrote a paper on ancient civilizations in Europe, Of course, Dartmouth was all about Rousseau and the "Noble Savage."

My paper was about the massacres found in ancient archeological sites. It was about four years after the Iceman was found.

MY daughter and I visited him about 8 years later but before the arrow wound was found in his back.

He was murdered. Nothing unusual.

chuck said...

> As the centuries passed, scholars began to wonder whether the tzompantli had ever existed.

"Scholars", which is to say, revisionist lefties with the intelligence of insects. See same BS apropos cannibalism.

AZ Bob said...

The Aztec diet was short on Meat. They had lots of corn and beans, but no Cattle, sheep or Pigs. The aristocracy, however, had plenty of Ducks and waterfowl.

As an act of kindness, the Spanish introduced cattle, sheep and pigs to the new world. They brought horses too.

I wonder if the lack of a steady source of protein had an impact on brain development.

Earnest Prole said...

Nice rack.

Bob Loblaw said...

Cortés IMHO was one of the most astounding and brilliant military commanders in the history of organized warfare. His conquest of Mexico was an epic feat, truly astonishing.

It was, but he could never have done it except for the fact the source of all those human sacrifices were the surrounding tribes conquered by the Aztecs. It's very much a question of reaping what you sow - after what is now Mexico city fell Cortez couldn't stop his allies from killing every Aztec they could get their hands on.

It seems like history's most barbaric peoples get remembered fondly with the passage of time - the Mongolians, the Aztecs, the Assyrians... makes you wonder how Hitler and Stalin will be remembered in a thousand years.

DEEBEE said...

Such depravity should result in all vestiges of Aztecs to be removed from polite society and their descendants to pay reparations. No!?

Rusty said...

"The Aztec diet was short on Meat. "
It has been put forth that the bodies of the sacrificed were given to the peasnts to consume.
This may be true because while there were racks of skulls-the history I've read was by a priest. racks, taller than a man on horseback and extending a league or more.-there is very little evidence of what happened to the rest of the remains of the sacrificed. No mass graves.

Char Char Binks said...

"There's actually a book called "1492" which incorporates this ahistorical narrative and sells it as the truth."

Maybe, but do you actually mean "1491" by Charles C. Mann?

Mac McConnell said...

rightguy said...
"Maybe Hollywood will remake a Dances with Wolves style fairy-tale about the Aztecs- where the white-eyes are mostly greedy, blood-thirsty, and evil, while the Indians are noble, ecologically correct, and avuncular."

That would be the second remake of Dances With Wolves, the first remake being Avatar.

rcocean said...

Maybe, but do you actually mean "1491" by Charles C. Mann?

Yep. And "1493"