If tradition is any guide, human sacrifice seems in many important areas to be of secondary character; in spite of the great development of the rite among the Aztecs, tradition says that it was unknown till two hundred years before the conquest; in Polynesia human sacrifices seem to be comparatively modern; and in India they appear to have been rare among the Vedic peoples.
Among human sacrifices may be mentioned the suttee, or custom of immolating a widow on the funeral pyre of the husband, and the Khond sacrifice of the Meriah, who was either purchased or the son of a victim father.
In Mexico human sacrifices were very common; the lowest estimate is 20,000 annually.
Besides the local Baal there were " the god of heaven" (El) and other deities; human sacrifices as a means of propitiating the divine wrath were not uncommon.
These legends show how closely the heroine is associated with the cult of Artemis, and with the human sacrifices which accompanied it in older times before the Hellenic spirit had modified the barbarism of this borrowed religion.