Thursday, January 16, 2014

Aztecs and Adultery

The Aztecs are usually known for their pyramids and their heart-snatching rituals. They are a civilization full of culture and rigid social traditions. One aspects of Aztec life that is interesting about the Aztecs is their laws concerning infidelity of a wife - or adultery.

Although polygamy was accepted in Aztec culture, adultery, however, was not. Adultery was widely blamed to the temptation of the goddess of purification and sins, Tlazolteotl. Draconian laws were instituted to root out adultery. These were brutal and deadly. If a man was caught, sometimes, the punishment seemed to be very lenient. However, with a highly patriarchal society, if a woman was caught having an affair, she would be under big and bloody trouble.  If both adulterers were caught in the act, they either be stoned to death or sometimes, the male adulterers was brought to the husband of the female adulterer. The husband would then serve as the judge on the faith of the male adulterer. He could kill him with a strong blow to the head or he would give mercy and forgiveness to the male adulterer. For the female adulterers, it was immediate, she would be strangled to death. These laws certainly shows the contempt of Aztecs to adultery.
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 

Johns, Christina Jacqueline. The Origins of Violence in Mexican Society. Conncticut: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc, 1995.


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