Myth, Cosmic Terror, and the Templo Mayor

We have a "fractured image" of the religion and society of the ancient Aztecs, says David L. Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America in the Faculty of Divinity and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

We may wonder how "a people who conceived of and carved the uniquely marvelous calendar stone and developed one of the most accurate calendrical systems of the ancient world [could] spend so much time, energy, and wealth to obtain and sacrifice human victims for every conceivable feast day in the calendar?"

In his article, "Myth, Cosmic Terror, and the Templo Mayor," Prof. Carrasco seeks to explain such seeming contradictions by examining The Templo Mayor and the city of Tenochtitlan as paradigmatic expressions of a pattern of Aztec social organization characterized by "conflict, warfare, and human sacrifice at major temples."