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Aztec Culture Stereotypes

Just about any race, culture or sub-group of people has a few stereotypes assigned to them by other races and culture : For example, “all black people are good dancers”, “all Americans are obese”, and “all Italians are good lovers”.   Even some of the ancient races have their own assigned stereotypes.  For example, it is assumed “all Australian aborigines can throw a boomerang” and “all Vikings wore helmets with horns”.   The same can is true for the Aztec people.  Aztec culture stereotypes exist today mostly due to the reports of the conquering Spaniards to their homeland.

Human Sacrifice

On of the most well known Aztec culture stereotypes is the obscene numbers of human sacrifices the priests of these people made.  Per reports from the ancient conquering Spaniards upwards of 50,000 people were sacrificed in a few days.  Thinking logically about this fact, it would be nearly impossible to sacrifice so many people in such a short time.  However because of these over-exaggerated reports, the Aztec people are considered barbarians who conducted untold numbers of human sacrifices. In the end, executions for criminal offences were confused for sacrifices by the Church.

Cannibalism 

One of the other popular Aztec culture stereotypes is the act of cannibalism.  After the human sacrifices were completed the bodies were prepared, cooked and eaten by the Aztec people.  While there have been some skeletons found with tooth marks on their bones to lend credence to this stereotype it probably did not happen as claimed by the Spaniards. New research shows it was invented by the Inquisition.

Intelligence

Thanks to the incredible intricacy of the famous Aztec calendar, it is assumed that the Aztec people were brilliant in astronomy, match, and science.  While the calendar is a work of both art and science, its author is unproven.  It could be the work of one man or several women.  To generalize a group of people based on one artifact is very stereotypical.

Most Aztec culture stereotypes were developed from historical accounts and not accurate and verifiable data.  They were developed as a way to easily understand a people that constituted a potential threat to the expansion of the Spaniards.