Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle, and Sacrifice in Aztec by Caroline Dodds Pennock

By Caroline Dodds Pennock

The historical past of the Aztecs has been haunted by way of the spectre of human sacrifice. As bloody clergymen and brutal warriors, the Aztecs have peopled the pages of background, fantasy and fiction, their unbelievable violence dominating perceptions in their tradition and casting a veil over their specified lifestyle. Reinvesting the Aztecs with a humanity usually denied to them, and exploring their spiritual violence as a understandable component to existence and lifestyles, Caroline Dodds Pennock integrates a clean interpretation of gender with an leading edge learn of the typical lifetime of the Aztecs. This used to be a tradition of contradictions and problems, yet in among the grand ritual we will be able to locate the non-public and personal, the trivialities of existence which make the realm of those amazing humans immediately known. regardless of their violent bloodshed, the Aztecs have been a compassionate and expressive those who lived and labored in cooperative gendered partnership.

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If such a position is verifiable, then this accords to Aztec women a great ‘natural’ or innate influence, but such an exclusive attribute brings with it associated difficulties. 30 The assumption that nature must necessarily oppose culture has been an anthropological model for more than 40 years. The most influential exponent of this theory, Claude Lévi-Strauss, argued that all cultures structured their understanding of the world through binary pairs, expressed in myth and ritual. One of the most fundamental of these dichotomies was the opposition between nature and culture.

The ideals of manhood 34 Bonds of Blood were reinforced by Moctezuma’s expectations of Tlahuicolli’s behaviour. As a warrior colleague, the tlatoani was content to comfort his enemy on the misfortune of his capture, but as soon as the Tlaxcalan infringed masculine ideals by his cowardly display of homesickness, it became impossible for him to receive ‘manly’ treatment. In the behaviour and expectations of both warriors, ideals of manhood were displayed and reinforced. There is no suggestion that Tlahuicolli was concerned for his own life or condition: the assumption was made and unchallenged that, as a warrior, he was disdainful of his own life.

The life and death of an enemy commander, Tlahuicolli, shows clearly the nuances and ambiguities of warrior masculinity. Leader of the Tlaxcalan army, Tlahuicolli was a distinguished soldier, renowned throughout the Valley of Mexico for his courage and valour and, in the early sixteenth century, he was captured by Aztec forces and carried to the tlatoani Moctezuma II. Respecting his opponent’s courage and ability, the Aztec ruler welcomed Tlahuicolli and consoled him upon his capture, reminding him that ‘all warriors were subject to such conditions’.

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