Mayan Bloodletting Rituals

Bizarre Rituals and Practices of Ancient Civilizations

Here are some of the craziest rituals and practices of ancient civilizations.


Have you ever thought about the bizarre rituals and practices of ancient civilizations? There are many that have been written down in history, and some of them are truly bizarre. In this article, I list five.

For millennia, societies across the world have come together, cultivating a myriad of traditions, rituals, and practices. Some of these rituals have stood the test of time, while others have been lost to history or evolved into practices we might find more familiar today. Yet there are a few that, when viewed through a modern lens, appear bizarre, even downright shocking. As we journey through history, let’s explore some of the most intriguing rituals and practices of ancient civilizations.

The Gladiatorial Games of Rome

The ancient Romans were renowned for their architectural feats, republican governance, and military prowess. But they were also fascinated with public spectacles, notably the gladiatorial games. Although seen as barbaric today, these games were a fundamental part of Roman culture, serving as a means for Emperors to demonstrate their power and entertain the populace. Gladiator battles to the death were a common feature, drawing vast crowds to the amphitheaters.

Pharaohs and Servants – Death and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, death was not considered the end but the beginning of a journey to the afterlife. To ensure a comfortable afterlife, pharaohs were often buried with their possessions, including jewelry, food, and even pets. But in the early dynasties, the practice went a step further – servants were sometimes killed and buried alongside their masters, believed to serve them even in death.


Mayan Bloodletting Rituals

The Mayans, renowned for their advanced mathematics and astronomical systems, held a belief that their gods gave them life by sacrificing their blood. To honor this, Mayan nobles often performed self-sacrificial bloodletting rituals during significant events, puncturing their bodies to offer blood to the gods.

Viking Funeral Pyres

The Norse seafarers, known as Vikings, believed in a warrior’s paradise, Valhalla. To ensure their fallen comrades reached this glorious afterlife, they would send them off on a ship laden with their possessions and set it ablaze. These grand, fiery funerals were a testament to the Viking’s deep respect for their warriors and belief in the life beyond.

Greeks and the Oracle of Delphi

In ancient Greece, consulting the Oracle of Delphi was a common practice. The oracle, a priestess known as the Pythia, was believed to channel the god Apollo to answer questions and make prophecies. People from all walks of life, including farmers, soldiers, and even kings, would travel long distances to seek her divine guidance, a practice now viewed as a curious mix of religion and superstition.

Reflecting on the Unfamiliar

Exploring these bizarre rituals and practices of ancient civilizations offers a fascinating glimpse into humanity’s past. They may seem unusual, even gruesome, to our modern sensibilities, but they were an integral part of the societies that performed them.


These rituals reflect the values, beliefs, and understandings of the world of those who lived so long ago. They serve as stark reminders of the diversity and richness of human culture, a testament to the myriad ways societies have sought to interpret and navigate their place in the world. So even as we marvel at the strangeness of these practices, let’s also appreciate them as valuable insights into our shared human history.

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Written by Justin Gurkinic

Hey, my name is Justin, and my friends call me Gurk. Why? Becuase of my last name. It sounds like a vegetable. Kind of. I love sleeping and writing. History is my thing.

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