Ingestion of human meat among aztecs

David Sanchez davius_sanctex at terra.es
Wed May 9 23:39:41 UTC 2001


Dear Itzcoatl:

I think we have crashed with a extremely "euro-american" taboo.
I'm an inconditional admirer and lover of Ancient Mesoamerican
civilization and of its achievements and wisdomful civilized practices.
But scientific studies of hypotheses must be free from political or
culture prejudices of the investigators.

> What non sense it this?
Why a non-sense? It is only an hypothesis, no one has claimed it is a
conclusive fact.

Michael Harner (1977) appointed this hypothesis, and althought it has
been criticized, it is the best explanation of the ritualization of
cannibalism,
in terms of anthropological infrastructure. Ingestion of the bodies of
enemies is a common in many non-state cultures. But state civilizations
generally regard more useful slavery and other forms of submission that
imply exploitation of manpower of defeated enemies. Only in situations
where the cannibalism take advantage is maintained.

In general modern anthropologist tend to explain facts about the structure
(organization that regulates exchange of goods, work and information)
and superstructures (behaviour concerning religious, artistic, entertainment
and
intellectual facts) in terms of infrastructure (technologies, available
resources,
environmental constrictions). This view has been named by some
anthropologists, "cultural materialism". There is a strong evidence
supporting this view. A great number of differences among cultures have
been explained very satisfactorily in terms of infrastructure. For example,
pigs are a very important foodstuff among New Guineans and consequently
in their religious believes pigs are important. On the other hand, pigs were
relatively insignificant for south-arabic peoples and Islam in fact forbids
the
ingestion of pork (this couldn't have been successful in New Guinea!)

>Humans don't even need meat to have a healthy diet if enough protein is
>available.

But in fact, human tend to desire animal proteins, because it is a more
rich and concentrate source of proteins. Cultures like that of the yanomamo
(Amazonian forest) shows that although they can be nourished only with
vegetable foods (mainly bananas), they declare war on their enemies for a
better access to animal meat.

> Human sacrifice and ritual canabalism are not related to any phenomena
> that involves protein difficiency.

Theology and cosmology as "cultural materialism" demonstrates is extremely
dependent of environmental and infra-structural factors!

Best wishes, for your Mexica Movement!

David Sanchez
UNIVERSITAT POLIT√ąCNICA DE CATALUNYA
C/ Jordi Girona, 13 08034 Barcelona



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