Murtana Profession in Valley of Man | World Anvil
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by hughpierre



  • Medical Knowledge
  • Dance Skills
  • Vocal Training
  • Architectural Experience

Payment & Reimbursement


Murtanas have worked in religious orders and were awarded in accordance to the adulation of their audience. This could have taken the form of cheers, flowers, rich foods and noble patronage.   As time continued on, temples merged with palaces and so their talents were used in conjunction with justice and punishments. Far less glamorously, they would earn a simple salary no more than a proper priest.



A non-priest who organises extravagant deaths for sacrificial victims, not necessarily within the conditions dictated by the priesthood, for the explicit purpose of creating a more entertaining human sacrifice.

Social Status

Functionally; a murtana is overly qualified for the part of 'just a priest'.
But if certain people have these skills, and limited themselves to the standardized sacrificial practices, then they can earn more than the common priest. For the simple fact that they can do more for their community.
— Jaguar Investigator


Though there have been men and women who have taken charge of entertaining events, there is a perception that murtanas are dominated by women.



  • Sharp Knives
  • Paralytic Drugs
  • Screamers
  • Powders
  • Costumes
  • Paints and Makeup
  • Theater Props


Given that the murtana oversees a performance, they require a stage with certain acoustic elements surrounding it. But because such 'murder theater' is forbidden, such a place can only be established in secret outside Sangsalgu's borders: surrounding hostile deserts, damp forests, shallow rills, hidden inclines and rocky outcrops.

Provided Services

Murtanas in the classical sense, prided themselves in their artistic vision. They were never shy in drawing inspiration from either myth or tragedy.
— Folklorist

Imitating the Gods

  • A criminal named Motsqueh was clothed and made to act as the gods, then burnt alive in imitation of the godly sacrifices made to humans.
  • In the Age of Alliances: Chīchīltechalōtl describes a criminal plunging his hand into a fire voluntarily, in imitation of Xiuhcoatl; because apparently had he not, he would have been burnt entirely. Others are dressed as the previous four sun-gods to-be and are incinerated.
  • Women criminals could be coupled with an aggressive animal(s), in mimicry of mythological stories (like with Olmecs and their jaguars). If she survived the experience she may or may not be killed afterwards.
  • Courtiers record criminals being dressed up as Centeotl, the castrated corn god, in preparation to be publicly castrated.

Human Curiosities

  • Otoerm records a grave bandit king, who was placed on a wooden imitation of the Bad Step, built above a pit of red hot spikes: the mountain was made to collapse at a given signal, and he fell into the pit where he survived the initial skewing but was slowed cooked in near the places the metal was stuck.
  • Supposedly by the recommendation of the criminal himself, the condemned was made to dress like a noble and play the lyre to wild animals, while being torn apart.
  • In recreation of a genuine accident with the Flying Eagles that inspired murtanas; a human projectile was catapulted next to an orator splattering the them with blood. Among bears, the victim could also be flown into an enclosure on rope where the wings then ‘broke’.
  • Perce, a rebel general was to have been dressed up in a mythological costume: but refused to cooperate so was tied up and brought out nude into an arena to be pelted.

Dangers & Hazards

Being more than without the blessing of officials in the Sacred Precinct and Religious Bureaucracy, murtanas caught in their services are treated as criminals.

Banned for trivializing holy duties
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Cover image: The Sacrifice by Alex van der Linde


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