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You climb the steep stairs of the temple As you look around you see the blood of your fellow prisoners pooled on the floor You see the priests They are caked with the blood of their former victims You hear the drums start They will muffle your screams The time is 1531 The place is the great Aztec city of Tenochtitlan You are about to have your heart ripped out of your still living body to appease the angry gods This is an example of sun worship In some cultures the sun was a blood-hungry deity that required human hearts to shine To others the sun was the creator of the earth and every thing on the earth The three most noteworthy cultures that had solar religion were the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs All of these civilizations had a belief of sacred kingship and an extremely well developed urban culture For example when the Spanish conquistadors came to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan they were amazed by the city We were amazedon account of the great towers and temples and buildings rising from the water and all built of masonry And some of our soldiers even asked whether the things we saw were not in a dream 1 Their rulers governed by the power of the sun and their royal families believed that they were descended from the sun Forms of sun worship still exist today in the mien of some of Christianitys most revered holidays and our modern customs Cults of the sun as we know from many sources had attained great vogue during the second third and fourth centuries Sun-worshippers indeed formed one of the big groups in that religious world in which Christianity was fighting for a place Many of them became converts to Christianity and in all probability carried into their new religion some remnants of their old beliefs The complaint of Pope Leo in the fifth
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