A possible explanation for the Aztec human sacrifices ?
Where did these Pre-Columbian Amerindians come from ? Amerologists have long debated the problem of the anthropological origins. Were their ancestors natives or immigrants from Europe, Asia or elsewhere? Their work has already produced some results. In addition to prehistoric origins, archaeological and linguistic evidence has been found of immigration from around 1000 BC: Egyptians, Venetians, Central Asians, Hebrews, Greeks, Spaniards, Irish, Vikings, Melanesians and others have left traces of their "visits". For example achaean swords have been found. Among the "savages" of Brazil exterminated by the "civilised people" there were blondes with blue eyes.
The visit of the Irish monks of St Brendan to the east coast of North America, a thousand years before Columbus and their return to Ireland has been historically attested. What is the meaning of the cross encountered by an expedition led by Juan de Grijalva in 1518 on the "island" of Yucatán, as the peninsula was called before they had completely explored it ? They found that the Mayans there: " worship a large white marble cross surmounted by a golden crown and say that on it died someone who was more luminous and resplendent than the Sun."(2) Barry Fell, professor of maritime biology and zoology at the University of Harvard, basing his theory on numismatic discoveries and inscriptions on tombs encountered in North America, believes that ,in 800 BC, a Basque colony established itself in Susquehenna Valley, 150 Km. from Philadelphia.
A collection of more than 400 stones bearing inscriptions, discovered about 120 km from the mouth of the Susquehanna River is attributed by Fell to Bronze Age writing found in the ancient province of Trasos-Montes. According to Chinese coins discovered in Mexico, Chinese people led by a Buddhist monk arrived in the country around the 5th century AD. Inscriptions on tombs have also been discovered in Tennessee in the United States, dating from 1000 BC. Equally, specialists in Indian folklore presume that the customs and language of the Yuchi Indians show evidence of a Hebrew heritage.
Added to this, certain Turkish words are also found in the language of the Mayans as well as that of the Aztecs. Indo-German words are found in Quecha, the language of the Incas and the features of the Mapuchas are not so different from our own. The Indians of Central America have physical characteristics which are close to those of the Mongols.
Speaking of the Mongols, the work of Sahagún on the "things" of the Indians could put us on the track of a partially central Asian origin of the Aztecs. Fray Bernardino was struck by the similarities of certain rites with those of the Christian religion, especially those concerning the Eucharist. This Christian sacrament (Matthew Ch. 26, v. 26-28) where Jesus gives his disciples his body to eat and his blood to drink symbolised by bread and wine, was celebrated by the Aztecs with the flesh and blood of a young man made divine for a year and then ritually sacrificed by five priests.(3)
And there was not only the Eucharist. Many more of the Aztecs' religious manifestations are similar to Christian rites, which had disagreeably surprised Spanish priests. They were astonished to see the people approaching their priests for communion and receiving a piece of flesh of the sacrifice, because they did it with the same devotions as Christians do with the host. A type of mass also preceded their communion. When the Spanish priests saw baptism ceremonies proceeded by a solemn invocation where the lips and the head of the baby were anointed, they thought it scandalous: "the devil has inspired them to make our sacred faith profane", they said.
Not subject to this kind of reaction, Sahagún managed, after much patient work, to reconstitute this prayer of the Aztec priests: "let this baptism destroy the evil that was given to you before the beginning of the world". ? Surely this must refer to the original sin.
The numerous crosses that the Spaniards encountered in Indian temples were also taken for the "work of Satan". The work of Fray Bernardino, on the points of commonality between the Aztec religion and Christianity encouraged a hypothesis to be put forward on "Satan" which scandalised the Spanish priests. This "evil one" could be Nestorius, the ex-patriarch of Constantinople, anathematised by the Council of Ephesus in 431
Nestorians were mainly Syrian Christians (5), who sought refuge in Persia and some as far as Central Asia. They even sent missionaries into China from 635 AD (Steven Runcinian, A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES). Their first ecclesiastical province was founded there by the patriarch Salibasacha in the 7th Century AD. In 1625, Jesuit missionaries discovered Christian inscriptions in China dating from 781. At the museum in SIAN, we can admire today tables sculpted from stone, reflecting the Nestorian cult which flourished in China from 635.
The Nestorians were great missionaries. They were not Greek but their religious language was. The people they converted kept their national language but used Greek for their liturgy, as did the Eastern Europeans with Latin. In Central Asia there were Mongol kings, queens and princes who embraced Christianity thanks to the Nestorians. Genghis Khan's sympathy for Christianity is notorious and his son Tului was married to a devout Nestorian from the Turkish Keraits tribe. Numerous Turkmen people (Keraits and Cuighours) were converted to Christianity by the Nestorians.
One can certainly speculate on Turkmen people emigrating from Central Asia to America by the Bering straits, bringing vague notions of Christianity, passed on by the oral tradition. Progressively, the Christian celebration of the Eucharist (you will eat my flesh and you will drink my blood) was perhaps taken literally, with the people believing they served God better in this way then symbolically.
The history of the Oriental Church does not suffice to explain the "Satan" of the Aztecs. The language of the Turkmen was Turkish.Is it a coincidence that countless place names in Mexico are still today suffixed with "tepec" (a Turkish word meaning hill) to designate places on a hillside. Other place names, just as numerous, are prefixed by "teo", which, in Greek (theo) means God. The Aztecs were very devout.
Moreover, all Aztec vocabulary which has to do with divine concepts is Greek in origin. Their temples were called TEOCALI. In Greek TEO = God, and KALI = Hut. TEOMANIA, which in Greek means divine transport or divine inspiration, meant CONTEMPLATING, MEDITATING, PRAYING, in Mexican. In addition, the word TEOTOCOS (Greek, for Mother of God), in their language meant : IDOLATOR. "Idolator", because according to Nestorian dogma, the Virgin Mary, a mortal woman, could not carry God in her belly According to the Nestorians it was after his birth that Christ became God. As a consequence, his mother was not Theotocos but Christotocos.
The Nestorians were subtle - not Hellenic, but full of Hellenisms. Words beginning with TEO filled three pages of Molina's "Mexica-Castellano" dictionary, and all the references have a link with divine matters. But allowing me to offer this hypothesis on the ancestors of the Aztecs, would only solve part of the puzzle, because before conquering Tenotchtitlán they were already mixed with lots of other people (Toltecs, Tepanecs, Chichimecs, and others).
1/. Paul RIVET, LES ORIGINES DE L'HOMME AMERICAIN, Gallimard 1957, pages 171 to 176.
2/. Augustin Yañez, CRONICAS DE LA CONQUISTA, Universidad Nacional Autonome de México,1950, page 24.
3/. Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, HISTORIA GENERAL DE LAS COSAS DE LA NUEVA ESPAÑA, Mexico 1946, Vol I, pages 148 to 158.
4/. Idem, page 629.
5/. "Heretics" whose "heresy" was their reaction to national oppression forced upon them by the Byzantine emperors in the name of the "orthodoxy of their patriarchs.