Ancient Psychopaths: “How unnoble, ignoble, or innoble in reason”

The human mind is a wonderful thing. There nothing else quite like it. As the bard famously said, “How noble in reason” he elegantly cited exactly what the human mind is capable of:

“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.” he goes further to distinguish humans. “the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Norman Bates (from Psycho), Leatherface, (from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and Buffalo Bill (from Silence of the Lambs) are three of the most iconic fictional horror characters of all time. They’re all loosely based on one man: Ed Gein. I used Ed Gein in “Meeting Sam.”

I write a lot of historical fiction and in order to remain authentic to the era I must research the ways and norms of that time period. And a lot of the practices are truly insidious.

I came to the conclusion that much of the senseless brutality and madness committed was laid at the altar of religious belief or superstitious beliefs…but I don’t buy that. I have never bought that. I firmly believe many of these people were psychopaths and sadists using the religious beliefs or superstitious beliefs to justify their actions.

How did I arrive to this conclusion? Self-examination is how I drew this conclusion. As Shakespeare said ” humans are infinite in faculties, and in reasonings“. Humans are all pretty much the same and haven’t changed in millions of years of existence and if I know it’s wrong to massacre people or do all manner of evil to others, then I’m not convinced for one second that ancient man or medieval man didn’t know the same.

Humans are wonderfully made. They were endowed with the ability to make conscious decisions of right and wrong. Ancient man could think and reason.

If I know when something is right or wrong, then, I’m not buying it that many of the ancients didn’t know what was right or wrong.

Alcibiades Being Taught by Socrates

For example of behavior of psychopathic behavior. The Aztecs were a culture obsessed with death and the afterlife. They believed that human sacrifice was the highest form of honor and karmic healing of the people. I’m very sure their victims had a very different opinion.

When the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated in 1487, the Aztecs recorded that 84,000 people were slaughtered in four days. People were usually captured from surrounding village or jungle and brought in against their will.

While it’s clearly possible that the Spanish undoubtedly inflated their figures—Spanish historian Fray Diego de Durán reported that 80,400 men, women and children were sacrificed for the inauguration of the Templo Mayor under a previous Aztec emperor—evidence is mounting that the gruesome scenes illustrated in Spanish texts are true. The bodies left behind is proof it happened. Anyone familiar with this practice know that today the front plaza of the temple is a vast grave yard.

Some historians believe it is possible that around 20,000 people were sacrificed a year in the Aztec Empire. Special occasions demanded more blood – when a new temple to Huitzilopochtli was dedicated in 1487, an estimated 80,400 people were sacrificed.

Tlaloc is the god of rain, water, and earthly fertility. The Aztecs believed that if sacrifices were not supplied for Tlaloc, rain would not come, their crops would not flourish, and leprosy and rheumatism, diseases caused by Tlaloc, would infest the village.

Just as I’m not convinced that African chieftains didn’t know it was wrong to invade villages, massacre the people and sell the survivors into slavery.

The Spanish Inquisition was another example of madness and atrocious covered up by the alleged cloth of righteousness when it was really nothing but a vehicle used to control and wreck mayhem. It had nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth.

Inquisition Victim

This sort of madness was repeated throughout the world, throughout history, and in some parts of the world are still in practice today. They may manifest in a different way, but it is the same old madness. I’m not convinced for one second that those participating didn’t know any better back then. I believed they did. Just as people today, know better.

I wonders who decided such atrocious, madness would appease some god?

Even today, talking to people about their wrongness is as mind-wrecking as it was nearly three thousand years ago when Socrates was trying to teach Alcibiades something.,

About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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12 Responses to Ancient Psychopaths: “How unnoble, ignoble, or innoble in reason”

  1. Hamlet is saying that man is like an angel in apprehension, reasoning and understanding, or like a god in apprehending things. He’s referring to the belief that Man is the noblest of all God’s creations, the “quintessence of dust” Despite being so noble man is made from dust.


  2. Brendan says:

    I agree. There’s no way to deny some of these crimes. There’s no way these people shouldn’t have possibly not known it was wrong. The person was screaming in pain. That alone was enough to tell them they were wrong. You’re right. They knew it was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brendan says:

    It’s clear to all who bothered to take a look that many of the atrocious deeds of the past were the work of a sick and criminal mind hiding behind religious and cultural belief. You are right. It’s being done today. For example, no one can’t express your opinion about Mohammed without someone feeling they have a right t kill you. I view it as worship of a prophet not God as alleged to be. There’s no need to kill anyone about a prophet or any holy person. Their work speaks for itself.
    Oh, I forgot, it did speak for itself. Mohammed was running around killing people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s terrible we had to create laws to prevent the crimes of the past. You are correct, you can’t say you promotion love and peace but yet you believe it’s ok to kill people who do not agree with you. No one can have it both ways.


  4. Reblogged this on The Novel: UnHoly Pursuit: Devil on my Trail and commented:

    Here is the post one of you all asked me to reblog. Thanks for the request. 🙂


  5. voodooville says:

    I seriously doubt that the Aztecs sacrificed humans to appease the Gods, in spite of the “evidence” provided by mainstream archeologists. Look at Brien Foerster exploring ancient structures in South America, the impossible structures that were created in stone. I doubt people who created such structures, and that includes Aztecs, got their capabilities doing human sacrifice.
    The “evidence” is more like what was done in Cambodia, using the many human remains from American carpet bombing in Cambodia, that were then piled up and blamed on Pol Pot.
    There is a lot to learn from the ancients, those people were likely vegetarians. Not saying there was no evil before, there would have been very little evil, and I believe most archeological information that we are provided is propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for visiting and your comment.

      I’m curious, therefore I must ask you a question—whom do you say they sacrificed people to appease? There was a rhyme or reason for doing it.

      I say they did because why else would we be finding all this evidence today. Actually, it’s hard pressed to find an ancient society and its religion that didn’t engaged in human sacrifice. That was a way of life back then. And with all of them, the sacrifices were to a deity to grant them a favor.

      The blood stained altars and chambers are not merely “evidence” provided by mainstream archeologists to prove anything. It was done so many times these areas are permanently stained red.

      Those who opposed these Aztec human sacrifices lived in the jungles to escape them. There were wars fought between those who supposed them and those who did not. The victims were almost, always chosen from the common people. It was considered an honor to be selected.

      It was the Cambodian people who said Po Pot did these things. The killing field of Cambodia was conducted by the opposing armies. Po Pot’s army. That’s the same as saying: The Nazi didn’t kill the Jewish people. The Americans bombing Berlin is what killed them. Or the slaver from the 6th century until 1840 didn’t kill 25 million Africans. Who knows who killed them.

      I majored in history but never heard anything about using the many human remains from American carpet bombing in Cambodia. What were the bodies used for?

      It was a jungle. War is never humane, that’s why we should work diligently to prevent one.

      People’s ability to construct wonderful, marvelous things has nothing at all to do with their abilities to commit atrocious deeds.

      The account we have today of what the Aztecs did didn’t come from a propaganda orientated agenda. Or any modern person like Brien Foerster. It came from the only surviving members of Cortez’s crew whom Montezuma the Second let lived. He let these live as a witnessed to how angry he was. The African slaves and the priest were the only members he let lived. They are who told what was done. And I don’t think someone captured from Africa, dragged across the waters, and enslaved cared enough about the Aztecs nor the Spanish to lie about what they saw being done. I think they were perhaps too busy wondering if they would be next?

      We may not always like history and much of it is very terrible, but we can’t erase it. We can learn from it. Learn what not to do.


  6. voodooville says:

    I agree with you that people can be violent, wars can get very ugly, and that people might sacrifice other humans for victory over enemies, or better harvest as the “history” books say.
    You know who thought Pol Pot was a good man, doing good for his country? Noam Chomsky, a spook, much better known for his theory of linguistics.
    I’m not saying he is right.
    You might want to take a look at the writings of Miles Mathis, there is a lot more propaganda, and fakery everywhere.
    My concern is this, by making claims that ancient society was bad, we ignore their great achievements, their ability to live in sync with nature, and their many contributions to science, arts and culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t say ancient societies were all bad, and many did give us many things we still use today. Especially those like Egypt, but many ancient societies and many of their practices would not be acceptable today because they are wholly against human rights, and I’m sure no one gave consent for a priest to cut their heart out while it’s still beating. I said a lot of the madness we see today can be traced back to a not so distant past. But that’s no excuse to continue the madness just because it’s the way we were raised. When we know better, then we’re to do better. I said I believe the ancients knew better than a lot of the things they did too. Human nature was the same back then as we do today.

      I will admit, I’m not familiar with Noam Chomsky, nor his way of thinking.

      I don’t have to read a book written by Miles Mathis. What I’m saying is that I know people personally, who were alive back when these things happened. What you’re saying is the same thing pot-heads were saying back in the sixties. It’s not new. According to the hippies the US was wrong for Vietnam and had not the US gotten involved stopping the spread of communist would have reached our shores by now.

      Thanks for your suggest of readership, but I must tell you what I say about Vietnam, Cambodia and Po Pot was not spoken by any historian, but by soldiers who were actually there in those jungles while those you speaking of were sitting at home, someplace safe.
      Had not those guys gave their lives to stop the spread of communism you and I wouldn’t be talking today.

      Communism rules with an iron fist. You don’t have the right to speak what’s on your mind without dying. No, America is not perfect, and could be a lot better. America has an ugly history of slavery and massacres, but I will take it over living under a Communist or tribal rule. Most tribal rules are extremely sexist and women are treated horribly.

      No one summed up what I’m saying better than Shakepeare:

      What a piece of work is a man, How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, In form and moving how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel, In apprehension how like a god, The beauty of the world, The paragon of animals.

      This is exactly why I don’t buy the reasoning that the ancients didn’t know any better. A lot of these ancient practices were quests for power and control. What greater way to rule than through fear?

      If they were so in sync with nature then why they didn’t treat all of their people equally?

      Liked by 1 person

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