* Since he had contact with the Mexica in 1519, the conquistador watched with astonishment how the natives sacrificed hundreds of human beings, cut up their corpses and cooked the different parts with vegetables before eating them
To reach such a conclusion, a set of 45 human skulls and around 250 lower jaws that were deposited as offerings in the Templo Mayor and in surrounding areas have been examined.The Templo Mayor was the spiritual center of the Mexicas and is located in the center of Tenochtitlán, the great capital, predecessor of the current Mexico City; Tibias, fibulas, humeri and jaws were found there, showing cut marks and prolonged exposure to fire, which has allowed us to corroborate the anthropophagous character of the Mexica people during the postclassic period, from the year 900 to 1521 AD.
López Arenas affirms in his thesis “Decapitation and dismemberment in rituals of the ceremonial enclosure of Tenochtitlán: an interpretation of its symbolism” that the victims were immolated and disembodied immediately after, judging by the large number of skeletal remains with cuts or alterations that were made in fresh bone, as well as traces that demonstrate its direct exposure to fire.“These macabre practices were intended to absorb the divine force that was housed in the bodies of the sacrificed. For the Mexica, the human victims were the incarnation of the gods they represented and, by eating their meat, they practiced a kind of communion with divinity”.
The researcher cites Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, a 16th century writer from Toledo, who, when referring to the cannibalism ritual, explained that the legs and arms were the most appreciated parts and those that were consumed most frequently; while the hands and feet were exclusively for the high priest and the ruler, as they were the most appetizing.
López Arenas assures in his thesis that blood was never consumed, since it was the exclusive food of the gods.
On the other hand, and according to what the Sevillian historian Diego Durán wrote, the warriors could eat human flesh in certain ceremonies: In certain festivities they could dress in cotton and bring shoes to the palace, eat male meat and drink wine. In addition, they could receive part of the tribute delivered by the conquered peoples.“López Arenas explains that these rituals were carried out on specific dates, such as the Atlcahualo festivities, the first month of the year in the Mexica calendar, during which they sacrificed children in honor of the gods of water or rain and, once dead, They cooked them and ate them.”
The human offerings were delivered to the priests so that they carried out the ritual occision (violent death), and thus contributed the vital energy of human beings to the gods: that of the captive warriors would be destined to the Sun and that of the slaves to the gods of water and maintenance.Similar rituals were carried out in other latitudes and other cultures, such as that of the Mayans in Guatemala.