Monday, January 4, 2010

Those darn Moche
Tom Smith


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Tom Smith


Mass human sacrifice, including children, followed be cannibalism and accompanied by endemic torture. Do we wonder at the response of the Spanish? Would we not have come to the same conclusion, that these were demon-possessed cultures, whose extirpation was a great, good work?

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jan 4, 2010 11:11:44 AM

You wouldn't happen to know of a book about the Spanish response to their first exposure to say the Incan culture, would you? Did they actually think they were demon-possessed for example?

Posted by: Tom Smith | Jan 4, 2010 11:26:46 AM

They certainly thought exactly that about the Aztecs and the Mayans, and with good cause. Soldiers and priests alike wrote of the pre-Columbians as Devil-worshippers. I recall reading about such reactions in Peru, but not to that extent, and I don't recall any specific source. We may contemplate their reactions, and how similar those feelings must have been to those of American or Russian soldiers coming upon Nazi Vernichtungslager.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jan 4, 2010 2:37:01 PM

A great book is Bernal Diaz's "The Conquest of New Spain." Diaz was one of the conquistadors with Cortez. It's a remarkable narrative. Diaz explicitly says that they believed the Aztecs were worshiping devils.

Posted by: Ben A | Jan 4, 2010 3:44:53 PM

Bishop deLanda's Yucatan Before and After the Conquest is a similar primary source..

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jan 4, 2010 10:10:40 PM