Mythology
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12 Insanely Violent Stories From Ancient Aztec Mythology

Updated January 7, 2020 48.7k views12 items

Aztec mythology is made up of wild, bloody, and one-of-a-kind stories. If myths reveal a lot about the culture that produced them, then it should come as no surprise that Aztec religion, like ancient Aztec civilization, incorporated elements of gore and violence. The Aztecs were infamous for their use of blood sacrifices during religious, civic, and political rituals. Given these violent practices, Aztec myths run the gambit from the peculiar to the downright bloody. 

These crazy Aztec myths employ a cast of some of the most important gods in their universe. As with crazy and disturbing Greek myths, bloody Aztec myths feature a pantheon of noble, jealous, and vengeful gods that take up insane rivalries, take on various forms, and use humans as playthings. Aztecs, like other civilizations, had their own creation story; however, in their version, the gods repeatedly built and destroyed the world, and humanity suffered.

These stories were not just for entertainment - they also served a purpose by explaining the world, extolling culturally specific virtues and values, teaching particular lessons, and even imagining a mythic history of the Aztec people. These violent Aztec myths demonstrate how complex and culturally rich that world was, especially since each story had several versions. And at the end of the day, they are also just plain fun to read.

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  • Tlaloc's Favorite Tears Were The Tears Of Dying Children

    Tlaloc's Favorite Tears Were The Tears Of Dying Children
    Photo: William Croome / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Since they were an agriculturally based society, the Aztecs regarded their rain god with the utmost reverence and respect. It was the god Tlaloc, they believed, who made the rains come or go. So, Aztecs made sacrifices to Tlaloc with gusto.

    The rain god's preferred sacrificial victims were maidens and children - and according to their stories, the more tears dying children cried, the better the coming rainy season would be

  • Xochiquetzal Was Carried To The Underworld And Brutally Raped

    Xochiquetzal Was Carried To The Underworld And Brutally Raped
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Like the Greeks, the Aztecs had their own troubling myth revolving around a fertility goddess, the underworld, and a brutal rape.

    Xochiquetzal was the beautiful goddess of flowers and fertility. She was so beautiful, in fact, that the god Tezcatlipoca became obsessed with her the moment he saw her. Though he tried to woo her, she politely refused, since she was in love with her husband, the god Tlaloc. Tezcatlipoca did not take no for an answer; he grabbed Xochiquetzal and carried her off to the underworld, where he brutally raped her. While Tezcatlipoca rested after the terrible act, Xochiquetzal managed to escape and return to Earth.

  • Tlaloc Unleashed A Burning Rain Of Death To Destroy The World

    Tlaloc Unleashed A Burning Rain Of Death To Destroy The World
    Photo: Jean de Tovar / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    According to the Aztecs, the world was created and destroyed several times over. During the so-called "third sun," or third world, Tezcatlipoca kidnapped Xochiquetzal, Tlaloc the rain god's wife.

    Tlaloc was so devastated that he gave no rain to the Earth - instead, he rained fire down onto the Earth, destroying the world yet again and forcing the gods to create a new one.

  • Xipe Totec Cloaked Himself In The Flayed Skin Of A Dead Person

    Xipe Totec Cloaked Himself In The Flayed Skin Of A Dead Person
    Photo: Juan de Tovar / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Xipe Totec was probably one of the grossest gods to behold - his trademark look was draping himself in the flayed skin of a dead person.

    The gesture was supposed to symbolize rebirth and springtime - as in, sloughing off the old to anticipate the new - and this meant that important Aztec priests wore the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim for an entire month to honor this god.