Death is a necessary gift when life depends on pleasing the gods. But are the legends of fertility sacrifices true? Did Aztecs really cut the hearts out of thousands of victims? Examining the truth behind these ancient sacrificial rituals – with the help of scientific re-enactments – a fascinating three-part series BLOOD FOR THE GODS premieres Monday, May 10 at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT on Discovery Civilization.
Meant to promote life through gruesome death offerings, ritual killings reveal the price of power, sacrifice and fertility. Uncovering the facts of these legendary sacraments BLOOD FOR THE GODS finds out if a knife made of volcanic flint would really work to decapitate a victim and whether it’s even possible to skin a human in one piece.
From China and Africa, to Egypt and Mexico, ancient ritual sacrifice was once a common and widespread practice. Victims were typically killed in a ritual ceremony meant to please and appease gods, spirits or the deceased. But in a time when these acts of violence seem only a figment of our imaginations, BLOOD FOR THE GODS turns to the science labs to test the methods, tools and execution of these ancient ritual bloodbaths.
The “Egyptian throat slash” was a ritual in ancient Egypt where young noblemen are shown offering up their lives for the promise of serving their pharaoh in the afterlife. The “Pawnee fertility sacrifice” – practiced by the Pawnee tribe of the American Plains as late as the early 1800s – was a bloody fertility ceremony which involved shooting arrows into the body of a young woman. And the “Aztec body skinning” ritual involved priests skillfully removing the entire skin of sacrificial victims and then wearing it as a ritual celebration of the corn god’s symbolic regeneration.