Monday, March 22, 2010

Cultures that Practiced Human Sacrifice

This one is in no particular order.

10. Canaanites - 3500 - 1100 B.C. - "Canaanite" is an ancient term for what we now know as Israel, Lebanon, and parts of Syria and Jordan. Children were supposedly sacrificed to the god Moloch.

9. Aztecs - 500 A.D. - 1500 A.D. Sacrifice was an integral part of the religion of this Central Mexican group as well as others in Mesoamerica.

8. Etruscans - 800 - 100 B.C. Etruscans belonged to an ancient civilization in Italy between Florence and Rome. Their writings no longer exist, but their artwork shows evidence of human sacrifice.

7. Celts - 800 - 1 B.C. - Celtic sites throughout Europe show bodies with evidence of having been sacrificed. They also burned people alive in structures known as "Wicker Men."

6. Romans - 753 - 510 B.C. - A century before Julius Caesar, the Romans sacrificed criminals. Laws were considered handed down from the gods, so anyone who broke them was doomed to death.

5. Minoans - 2700 - 1450 B.C. - There has been evidence of human sacrifice in three different sites from this civilization on the island of Crete. In one site, it even looked like a sacrificial moment was interrupted by an earthquake.

4. Gauls - 700 - 500 B.C. - In roughly 50 BC, Julius Caesar wrote, in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, that [The Gauls] believe that unless a man's life is paid for by another man's, the majesty of the immortal gods cannot be appeased [...].

3. Carthaginians - 300 - 140 B.C.
- The Carthaginians of North Africa were disgusted by sacrificing their own children -- so they often bought children to sacrifice. However, in times of extreme crisis like war or drought, countless children of wealthy families would be sacrificed.

2. Scythians - 700 B.C. - A.D. 600 - Ancestors of modern-day Iranians, Scythians were excellent horsemen who, according to Greek historian Heroditus, also ate their enemies' flesh.

1. Chimu - 1000 A.D.- 1476 A.D. Not much is known about the Chimu civilization, though in 2002 the remains of over 200 fishermen were found -- the men had been bound and sacrificed.