Ancient rituals are overwhelmingly fascinating. How ancient tribes prayed to the gods was utterly unique and sometimes graphically gory. Take the Aztecs for example. They practiced some crazy stuff.

The ancient Aztecs were pretty hardcore

Although the concept of human sacrifice may seem over the top for some, the ancient Aztecs weren’t afraid of a little bloodshed. Naturally, their main prerogative was to please the gods.

Aztec priests would use terrifyingly-sharp blades to rip open the chests of victims. They would then offer up their hearts to the gods — some of which were still beating. They would then carelessly throw their bodies down the side of the Templo Mayor, which was built on death and sacrifices in itself.

The Templo Mayor was a scary sight

The Templo Mayor—where all of the religious sacrifices took place—was literally built on the bones of those who were sacrificed.

Literally composed of skull towers and skull racks, the Templo Mayor was built on the bones of around 80,400 men, women, and even young children. But don’t worry, it wasn’t all so grim. These sacrifices weren’t necessarily friends and neighbors.

It was an intimidation tactic

The Aztec empire would not have thrived if they allowed their enemies to believe their people were weak. Many sacrifices were war captives, allowing the Aztecs to prove that they were nothing to mess with.

DNA results of skulls found within the Templo Mayor reveal that the majority of sacrifices were those who did not belong to the empire, so the Aztecs weren’t entirely cold-hearted. The Aztec empire was obviously built on badass rituals and strong religious beliefs. And if you were a war captive or some sort of enemy, may they have mercy upon your soul. Probably not, but one could dream.