This essay has a total of 2659 words and 13 pages.


Like the Athenians and Spartans of ancient Greece, the Inca and the Aztec bear resemblance
to the two other ancient cultures. The Athenians and Incas were both more interested in
developing their Arts as well as their military, but both the Spartans and the Aztecs were
highly interested more so in warfare than religion. Although the Aztec and Inca never had
to face each other, it is interesting to compare them because of their dominant positions
of extremely large and powerful tribes. I am going to compare and contrast religion and
the social system along with their system of government, which can be put together.

The Inca and Aztec were both extremely religious. Their entire lives revolved around
religion. They both also had different ways of interpreting their faith. They both
believed in gods, festivals, and afterlife. The Aztec had many gods that they believed
in, for example, Huitzilopotchli, the war god, and Tlaloc, the rain god. This showed
significance in the dualism of belief because one deals with war and the other is with
agriculture, two major occupations of the Aztec. Their worshipping is also similar to
modern day North American Indians. They worship corn because it was food and was
associated with fertility. Similar to the Inca, the Aztec believed in a god that
controlled from the heavens. It was a god which beared the characteristics of both males
and females and was called Omelecuhtli. His temple was the universe and he sat alone. In
his hands, he held a drop of water that contained a green seed and the seed was actually
the Earth submerged into the ocean. There were no temples for him because he was so
important; he was in the hearth of every family's home.

The Inca had a different interpretation of faith. Like the Aztec, they worshipped gods
and deities but unlike the Aztec, they worshipped many sacred places. They believed in
good and evil things and saw omens in many things such as rainbows, falling stars, and the
hoot of an owl.

They believed that Viracocha was the most important god of all. He was similar to
Omelecuhtli, the Aztec god. He was the creator of the Sun, Moon, and Stars that were all
seen as gods. The Sun was the life giver and was the most important server of Viracocha.
He watched over the crops and was the father of the Emperor. His image was a human face
surrounded by rays of flowing hair.

The Moon was the wife of the Sun. It was believed that an eclipse was the result a great
serpent or mountain lion trying to eat her. To frighten off the creatures, they would
point their weapons at the moon and start screaming and shouting at it.

The constellations, or Stars, all had duties assigned to them by Viracocha. For example,
Pleiades had the job of looking over the seeds in the fields, and Lyra, which looked like
a llama, looked after the herds.

They also worshipped some other gods such as Thunder, the god of weather, who was an
important deity. He was pictured as a man with a war club and a sling in the other hand.
Thunder and lightning came from the sling and he drew rain from the Milky Way. Farmers
worshipped the Earth Mother and fishermen worshipped that Mother Sea.

The Aztec and Inca both had very different beliefs for the afterlife.

The Aztec, like most Indians, believed that the four directions of the world were
extremely important. One important thing to remember about the Aztecs is that they used a
language that was very symbolic and used many allusions. They perceived the North (where
the Sun was never visible), South (where the sun was highest in the sky), East (where the
sun rose), and West (where the sun set), were key to understanding magical and religious
thinking. The sequence of the Sun also represented the sequence of life. They believed
that the body rises, becomes stronger, weakens, and finally dies. The east was the home
of the morning star, the west was the home of the Lord of the Jewels, the south was the
home of mother Earth, and the north was the land of the dead and maize seed.

The afterlife only came to those who died of natural causes. Unlike the Incas, the Aztec
went into the Earth. The body was dressed in his best finery and was accompanied by a
slaughtered, red dog, and a package of food. On the third day after death, the body was
cremated and began the journey to the afterlife. The soul had first to travel on a road
that goes west into the Earth but on the way; there were several horrible obstacles that
the soul must have had to survive. One of them was the Clashing Rocks which, now and
then, would crash together. If the soul were caught between them, that would be the end
of the journey. If the soul survived that, it then had to negotiate a narrow
mountain-ledge and if not, it would fall off and die. Finally, if the soul was successful
in it's three year journey, it went through the final "Wind of Knives", which was just
flint, and would reduce the body into a skeleton. After that final ordeal, they spent the
rest of their lives with the death gods and enjoy their good company. There were several
different divisions of the underworld for different states of being. There was one for
babies that contained trees with fruit that was shaped as breasts and nursed the babies
until it was time for them to return to Earth. There was also the Tlalocan heaven that
was for people who died of water-related causes. It was the home of the rain god.

The best of the heavens was dedicated to the people who died for their country showing
their nationalism. It was also for women who died during childbirth.

The Inca believed that good people went up to heaven and lived with the Sun. There they
had warmth, food, and chica. The bad people, like witches, went to live in the Earth,
opposite the Aztec. In the earth, it was cold and dark and they were given stones to eat.
The nobility always lived with the Sun, regardless of what they did.

Both the Inca and the Aztec had some sort of belief in supernatural spirits and ghosts.
The Aztec believed that ghosts were always in the natural form of humans. Their purpose
was to reveal information or request for better behavior on Earth. They also believed
that diseases were small, insect-like, spirits that were sent at people for one reason or
another. They secured themselves and sucked on the blood of humans or took the soul of
the human. There were also happy visits from the ghosts to say that all is well. They
also appeared as beautiful butterflies and flew around the house.

The Inca believed in spirits, supernatural beings, and sacred places, unlike the Aztec.
The evil spirits were not worshipped, but feared. They believed that spirits were
actually witches on Earth and at night, they went around causing trouble. Supernatural
beings were actually friends of man and were full of kindness. They punished
transgressors with bad luck, but never to the extent of being harmful.

Nobles, generals, even the emperor consulted the supernatural before they set out on
journeys. A few famous beings were: one that lived at Pachamac, just south of Lima, and
another, Aporimal, who was actually a tree trunk. They built a house around him and
dressed him in fine women's clothing. It did not speak, but merely acknowledged with
movement such as the shaking of his leaves.

Also sorcerers foretold the future. They drank themselves into unconsciousness and later woke up to tell what they saw.

For the Aztecs, fire was symbolic for the life of every person. Fire was thought more of
as a tool that would help foretell the future. Another important thing about Omelecuhtli
is that he was thought of as the one, who fertilized the womb of a woman therefore, the
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