The Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl
From the Codex Vaticanus B, Vatican Library, Rome
(Photo of a facsimile of 1898. Thames Hudson Archive)
When Cortez saw the flourishing Aztec city Tenochtitlan for the first time, he was impressed by its beauty and its inconceivable wealth and luxury. The medical care and the hygiene facilities in this Aztec city were also exemplary.
Cortez reports: 'We found houses which were apothecaries, where you could buy prepared healing juices, salves and plasters for wounds.'
When the Spaniards withdrew in 1521, they left behind a city which was destroyed and violated; the inhabitants had almost been wiped out. In the 'pious anger' of their calling, the Spaniards destroyed almost all evidence and records of the natural religion of the Aztecs. Only very little material was left, and it has to be interpreted with great care today.
In spite of the cruelty of its human sacrifices, the Aztec faith appears to have been based on a way of thinking which was rooted in nature.