From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
At least as early as the ninth century BC, artwork in the ancient Near East attests to the practice of cutting off the arms, hands, feet, or other body parts of vanquished enemies. Scholars who have studied this ancient custom suggest the severed limbs might have served as vouchers for rewards or mercenary pay upon presentation to an authority.
It has just recently been shown that the Aztecs had a similar practice. Ancient artwork depicts Aztec warriors holding the severed arms of their enemies like trophies. Aztecs who proved their prowess in battle often gained social privileges such as the right to wear special clothing and enjoy special foods. Bringing back the severed arms of an enemy was one way to prove valor in combat.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.