The iconography of the Aztecs lead us to believe that they were an especially blood-thirsty culture. But consider the scenario where there was some major catastrophe in the USA, reducing the population to barbarism. A future archaelogical team unearthing all the crime-thrillers, the end-of-world science fiction, and the war video games could possibly conclude from this that the USA was a particularly bloodthirsty culture.
Our current perception is that the average citizen of the USA is generally non-violent. It is entirely possible that the average Aztec, during the height of their existence, considered themselves to be generally non-violent, though having certain ceremonies, that might be considered barbaric from a modern Western perspective.
Has any research been conducted that would indicate how the Aztecs perceived themselves, or even how other tribes may have perceived them?