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Moreover, the actions of any one member of the Council could easily be blocked by the other three, providing a simple system of checks on the ambition higher officials.
These four Council members were also generals, members of various military societies. The ranks of the members were not equal, with the tlacochcalcatl and tlaccatecatl having a higher status than the others.
These two Councillors were members of the two most prestigious military societies, the cuauhchique "shorn ones" and the otontin " Otomies ".
Traditionally, provinces and altepetl were governed by hereditary tlatoani. As the empire grew, the system evolved further and some tlatoani were replaced by other officials.
The other officials had similar authority to tlatoani. As has already been mentioned, directly appointed stewards singular calpixqui , plural calpixque were sometimes imposed on altepetl instead of the selection of provincial nobility to the same position of tlatoani.
At the height of empire, the organization of the state into tributary and strategic provinces saw an elaboration of this system.
The 38 tributary provinces fell under the supervision of high stewards, or huecalpixque , whose authority extended over the lower-ranking calpixque.
These calpixque and huecalpixque were essentially managers of the provincial tribute system which was overseen and coordinated in the paramount capital of Tenochtitlan not by the huetlatoani , but rather by a separate position altogether: the petlacalcatl.
On the occasion that a recently conquered altepetl was seen as particularly restive, a military governor, or cuauhtlatoani , was placed at the head of provincial supervision.
One was stationed in the province itself, perhaps for supervising the collection of tribute, and the other in Tenochtitlan, perhaps for supervising storage of tribute.
Tribute was drawn from commoners, the macehualtin , and distributed to the nobility, be they 'kings' tlatoque , lesser rulers teteuctin , or provincial nobility pipiltin.
Tribute collection was supervised by the above officials and relied upon the coercive power of the Aztec military, but also upon the cooperation of the pipiltin the local nobility who were themselves exempt from and recipient to tribute and the hereditary class of merchants known as pochteca.
These pochteca had various gradations of ranks which granted them certain trading rights and so were not necessarily pipiltin themselves, yet they played an important role in both the growth and administration of the Aztec tributary system nonetheless.
The power, political and economic, of the pochteca was strongly tied to the political and military power of the Aztec nobility and state.
In addition to serving as diplomats teucnenenque , or "travelers of the lord" and spies in the prelude to conquest, higher-ranking pochteca also served as judges in market plazas and were to certain degree autonomous corporate groups , having administrative duties within their own estate.
Originally, the Aztec empire was a loose alliance between three cities: Tenochtitlan , Texcoco , and the most junior partner, Tlacopan.
As such, they were known as the 'Triple Alliance. However, over time, it was Tenochtitlan which assumed paramount authority in the alliance, and although each partner city shared spoils of war and rights to regular tribute from the provinces and were governed by their own Huetlatoani, it was Tenochtitlan which became the largest, most powerful, and most influential of the three cities.
It was the de facto and acknowledged center of empire. Though they were not described by the Aztec this way, there were essentially two types of provinces: Tributary and Strategic.
Strategic provinces were essentially subordinate client states which provided tribute or aid to the Aztec state under "mutual consent".
Tributary provinces, on the other hand, provided regular tribute to the empire; obligations on the part of Tributary provinces were mandatory rather than consensual.
Rulers, be they local teteuctin or tlatoani, or central Huetlatoani, were seen as representatives of the gods and therefore ruled by divine right.
Tlatocayotl , or the principle of rulership, established that this divine right was inherited by descent.
Political order was therefore also a cosmic order, and to kill a tlatoani was to transgress that order. For that reason, whenever a tlatoani was killed or otherwise removed from their station, a relative and member of the same bloodline was typically placed in their stead.
The establishment of the office of Huetlatoani understood through the creation of another level of rulership, hueitlatocayotl , standing in superior contrast to the lesser tlatocayotl principle.
Expansion of the empire was guided by a militaristic interpretation of Nahua religion, specifically a devout veneration of the sun god, Huitzilopochtli.
Militaristic state rituals were performed throughout the year according to a ceremonial calendar of events, rites, and mock battles.
It was under Tlacaelel that Huitzilopochtli assumed his elevated role in the state pantheon and who argued that it was through blood sacrifice that the Sun would be maintained and thereby stave off the end of the world.
It was under this new, militaristic interpretation of Huitzilopochtli that Aztec soldiers were encouraged to fight wars and capture enemy soldiers for sacrifice.
Though blood sacrifice was common in Mesoamerica, the scale of human sacrifice under the Aztecs was likely unprecedented in the region.
The most developed code of law was developed in the city-state of Texcoco under its ruler Nezahualcoyotl.
It was a formal written code, not merely a collection of customary practices. The law code in Texcoco under Nezahualcoyotl was legalistic, that is cases were tried by particular types of evidence and the social status of the litigants was disregarded, and consisted of 80 written laws.
These laws called for severe, publicly administered punishments, creating a legal framework of social control. Much less is known about the legal system in Tenochtitlan, which might be less legalistic or sophisticated as those of Texcoco for this period.
These laws served to establish and govern relations between the state, classes, and individuals. Punishment was to be meted out solely by state authorities.
Nahua mores were enshrined in these laws, criminalizing public acts of homosexuality, drunkenness, and nudity, not to mention more universal proscriptions against theft, murder, and property damage.
As stated before, pochteca could serve as judges, often exercising judicial oversight of their own members.
Likewise, military courts dealt with both cases within the military and without during wartime. There was an appeal process, with appellate courts standing between local, typically market-place courts, on the provincial level and a supreme court and two special higher appellate courts at Tenochtitlan.
One of those two special courts dealt with cases arising within Tenochtitlan, the other with cases originating from outside the capital. The ultimate judicial authority laid in hands of the Huey tlatoani , who had the right to appoint lesser judges.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Aztec Empire as a political entity.
For Aztec culture, see Aztecs. For Aztec society, see Aztec society. Other vendors were professional merchants who traveled from market to market seeking profits.
The pochteca were specialized long distance merchants organized into exclusive guilds. They made long expeditions to all parts of Mesoamerica bringing back exotic luxury goods, and they served as the judges and supervisors of the Tlatelolco market.
Although the economy of Aztec Mexico was commercialized in its use of money, markets, and merchants , land and labor were not generally commodities for sale, though some types of land could be sold between nobles.
In Aztec marketplaces, a small rabbit was worth 30 beans, a turkey egg cost 3 beans, and a tamal cost a single bean.
For larger purchases, standardized lengths of cotton cloth, called quachtli, were used. There were different grades of quachtli, ranging in value from 65 to cacao beans.
About 20 quachtli could support a commoner for one year in Tenochtitlan. Another form of distribution of goods was through the payment of tribute.
When an altepetl was conquered, the victor imposed a yearly tribute, usually paid in the form of whichever local product was most valuable or treasured.
Several pages from the Codex Mendoza list tributary towns along with the goods they supplied, which included not only luxuries such as feathers, adorned suits, and greenstone beads, but more practical goods such as cloth, firewood, and food.
Tribute was usually paid twice or four times a year at differing times. Archaeological excavations in the Aztec-ruled provinces show that incorporation into the empire had both costs and benefits for provincial peoples.
On the positive side, the empire promoted commerce and trade, and exotic goods from obsidian to bronze managed to reach the houses of both commoners and nobles.
On the negative side, imperial tribute imposed a burden on commoner households, who had to increase their work to pay their share of tribute. Nobles, on the other hand, often made out well under imperial rule because of the indirect nature of imperial organization.
The empire had to rely on local kings and nobles and offered them privileges for their help in maintaining order and keeping the tribute flowing.
Aztec society combined a relatively simple agrarian rural tradition with the development of a truly urbanized society with a complex system of institutions, specializations and hierarchies.
The urban tradition in Mesoamerica was developed during the classic period with major urban centers such as Teotihuacan with a population well above ,, and at the time of the rise of the Aztec, the urban tradition was ingrained in Mesoamerican society, with urban centers serving major religious, political and economic functions for the entire population.
The capital city of the Aztec empire was Tenochtitlan , now the site of modern-day Mexico City. Built on a series of islets in Lake Texcoco , the city plan was based on a symmetrical layout that was divided into four city sections called campan directions.
Houses were made of wood and loam , roofs were made of reed, although pyramids, temples and palaces were generally made of stone.
The city was interlaced with canals, which were useful for transportation. Anthropologist Eduardo Noguera estimated the population at , based on the house count and merging the population of Tlatelolco once an independent city, but later became a suburb of Tenochtitlan.
Michael E. Smith gives a somewhat smaller figure of , inhabitants of Tenochtitlan based on an area of 1, hectares 3, acres and a population density of inhabitants per hectare.
The second largest city in the valley of Mexico in the Aztec period was Texcoco with some 25, inhabitants dispersed over hectares 1, acres.
The center of Tenochtitlan was the sacred precinct, a walled-off square area which housed the Great Temple, temples for other deities, the ballcourt , the calmecac a school for nobles , a skull rack tzompantli , displaying the skulls of sacrificial victims, houses of the warrior orders and a merchants palace.
Around the sacred precinct were the royal palaces built by the tlatoanis. The centerpiece of Tenochtitlan was the Templo Mayor , the Great Temple, a large stepped pyramid with a double staircase leading up to two twin shrines — one dedicated to Tlaloc , the other to Huitzilopochtli.
This was where most of the human sacrifices were carried out during the ritual festivals and the bodies of sacrificial victims were thrown down the stairs.
The temple was enlarged in several stages, and most of the Aztec rulers made a point of adding a further stage, each with a new dedication and inauguration.
The temple has been excavated in the center of Mexico City and the rich dedicatory offerings are displayed in the Museum of the Templo Mayor.
Archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma , in his essay Symbolism of the Templo Mayor , posits that the orientation of the temple is indicative of the totality of the vision the Mexica had of the universe cosmovision.
He states that the "principal center, or navel, where the horizontal and vertical planes intersect, that is, the point from which the heavenly or upper plane and the plane of the Underworld begin and the four directions of the universe originate, is the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan.
Other major Aztec cities were some of the previous city state centers around the lake including Tenayuca , Azcapotzalco , Texcoco , Colhuacan , Tlacopan , Chapultepec , Coyoacan , Xochimilco , and Chalco.
In the Puebla valley, Cholula was the largest city with the largest pyramid temple in Mesoamerica, while the confederacy of Tlaxcala consisted of four smaller cities.
In Morelos, Cuahnahuac was a major city of the Nahuatl speaking Tlahuica tribe, and Tollocan in the Toluca valley was the capital of the Matlatzinca tribe which included Nahuatl speakers as well as speakers of Otomi and the language today called Matlatzinca.
Most Aztec cities had a similar layout with a central plaza with a major pyramid with two staircases and a double temple oriented towards the west.
Aztec religion was organized around the practice of calendar rituals dedicated to a pantheon of different deities.
Similar to other Mesoamerican religious systems, it has generally been understood as a polytheist agriculturalist religion with elements of animism.
Central in the religious practice was the offering of sacrifices to the deities, as a way of thanking or paying for the continuation of the cycle of life.
The main deities worshipped by the Aztecs were Tlaloc , a rain and storm deity , Huitzilopochtli a solar and martial deity and the tutelary deity of the Mexica tribe, Quetzalcoatl , a wind , sky and star deity and cultural hero, Tezcatlipoca , a deity of the night, magic, prophecy and fate.
The Great Temple in Tenochtitlan had two shrines on its top, one dedicated to Tlaloc, the other to Huitzilopochtli.
Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca each had separate temples within the religious precinct close to the Great Temple, and the high priests of the Great Temple were named " Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqueh ".
In some regions, particularly Tlaxcala, Mixcoatl or Camaxtli was the main tribal deity. A few sources mention a deity Ometeotl who may have been a god of the duality between life and death, male and female and who may have incorporated Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl.
Additionally the major gods had many alternative manifestations or aspects, creating small families of gods with related aspects.
Aztec mythology is known from a number of sources written down in the colonial period. One set of myths, called Legend of the Suns, describe the creation of four successive suns, or periods, each ruled by a different deity and inhabited by a different group of beings.
Each period ends in a cataclysmic destruction that sets the stage for the next period to begin. In this process, the deities Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl appear as adversaries, each destroying the creations of the other.
The current Sun, the fifth, was created when a minor deity sacrificed himself on a bonfire and turned into the sun, but the sun only begins to move once the other deities sacrifice themselves and offers it their life force.
In another myth of how the earth was created , Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl appear as allies, defeating a giant crocodile Cipactli and requiring her to become the earth, allowing humans to carve into her flesh and plant their seeds, on the condition that in return they will offer blood to her.
And in the story of the creation of humanity, Quetzalcoatl travels with his twin Xolotl to the underworld and brings back bones which are then ground like corn on a metate by the goddess Cihuacoatl, the resulting dough is given human form and comes to life when Quetzalcoatl imbues it with his own blood.
Huitzilopochtli is the deity tied to the Mexica tribe and he figures in the story of the origin and migrations of the tribe. On their journey, Huitzilopochtli, in the form of a deity bundle carried by the Mexica priest, continuously spurs the tribe on by pushing them into conflict with their neighbors whenever they are settled in a place.
In another myth, Huitzilopochtli defeats and dismembers his sister the lunar deity Coyolxauhqui and her four hundred brothers at the hill of Coatepetl.
The southern side of the Great Temple, also called Coatepetl, was a representation of this myth and at the foot of the stairs lay a large stone monolith carved with a representation of the dismembered goddess.
Aztec religious life was organized around the calendars. As most Mesoamerican people, the Aztecs used two calendars simultaneously: a ritual calendar of days called the tonalpohualli and a solar calendar of days called the xiuhpohualli.
Each day had a name and number in both calendars, and the combination of two dates were unique within a period of 52 years. The tonalpohualli was mostly used for divinatory purposes and it consisted of 20 day signs and number coefficients of 1—13 that cycled in a fixed order.
The xiuhpohualli was made up of 18 "months" of 20 days, and with a remainder of 5 "void" days at the end of a cycle before the new xiuhpohualli cycle began.
Each day month was named after the specific ritual festival that began the month, many of which contained a relation to the agricultural cycle.
Whether, and how, the Aztec calendar corrected for leap year is a matter of discussion among specialists. The monthly rituals involved the entire population as rituals were performed in each household, in the calpolli temples and in the main sacred precinct.
Many festivals involved different forms of dancing, as well as the reenactment of mythical narratives by deity impersonators and the offering of sacrifice, in the form of food, animals and human victims.
Every 52 years, the two calendars reached their shared starting point and a new calendar cycle began. This calendar event was celebrated with a ritual known as Xiuhmolpilli or the New Fire Ceremony.
In this ceremony, old pottery was broken in all homes and all fires in the Aztec realm were put out.
Then a new fire was drilled over the breast of a sacrificial victim and runners brought the new fire to the different calpolli communities where fire was redistributed to each home.
The night without fire was associated with the fear that star demons, tzitzimime , might descend and devour the earth — ending the fifth period of the sun.
To the Aztecs, death was instrumental in the perpetuation of creation, and gods and humans alike had the responsibility of sacrificing themselves in order to allow life to continue.
As described in the myth of creation above, humans were understood to be responsible for the sun's continued revival, as well as for paying the earth for its continued fertility.
Blood sacrifice in various forms was conducted. Both humans and animals were sacrificed, depending on the god to be placated and the ceremony being conducted, and priests of some gods were sometimes required to provide their own blood through self-mutilation.
It is known that some rituals included acts of cannibalism , with the captor and his family consuming part of the flesh of their sacrificed captives, but it is not known how widespread this practice was.
While human sacrifice was practiced throughout Mesoamerica, the Aztecs, according to their own accounts, brought this practice to an unprecedented level.
For example, for the reconsecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in , the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 80, prisoners over the course of four days, reportedly by Ahuitzotl , the Great Speaker himself.
This number, however, is not universally accepted and may have been exaggerated. The scale of Aztec human sacrifice has provoked many scholars to consider what may have been the driving factor behind this aspect of Aztec religion.
In the s, Michael Harner and Marvin Harris argued that the motivation behind human sacrifice among the Aztecs was actually the cannibalization of the sacrificial victims , depicted for example in Codex Magliabechiano.
Harner claimed that very high population pressure and an emphasis on maize agriculture, without domesticated herbivores, led to a deficiency of essential amino acids among the Aztecs.
Harris, author of Cannibals and Kings , has propagated the claim, originally proposed by Harner, that the flesh of the victims was a part of an aristocratic diet as a reward, since the Aztec diet was lacking in proteins.
Ortiz also points to the preponderance of human sacrifice during periods of food abundance following harvests compared to periods of food scarcity, the insignificant quantity of human protein available from sacrifices and the fact that aristocrats already had easy access to animal protein.
The Aztec greatly appreciated the toltecayotl arts and fine craftsmanship of the Toltec , who predated the Aztec in central Mexico. The Aztec considered Toltec productions to represent the finest state of culture.
The fine arts included writing and painting, singing and composing poetry, carving sculptures and producing mosaic, making fine ceramics, producing complex featherwork, and working metals, including copper and gold.
Artisans of the fine arts were referred to collectively as tolteca Toltec. The Mask of Xiuhtecuhtli; ; cedrela wood, turquoise, pine resin, mother-of-pearl, conch shell, cinnabar ; height: Kneeling female figure; 15th—early 16th century; painted stone; overall: Frog-shaped necklace ornaments; 15th—early 16th century; gold; height: 2.
The Aztecs did not have a fully developed writing system like the Maya, however like the Maya and Zapotec, they did use a writing system that combined logographic signs with phonetic syllable signs.
Logograms would, for example, be the use of an image of a mountain to signify the word tepetl, "mountain", whereas a phonetic syllable sign would be the use of an image of a tooth tlantli to signify the syllable tla in words unrelated to teeth.
The combination of these principles allowed the Aztecs to represent the sounds of names of persons and places. Narratives tended to be represented through sequences of images, using various iconographic conventions such as footprints to show paths, temples on fire to show conquest events, etc.
Epigrapher Alfonso Lacadena has demonstrated that the different syllable signs used by the Aztecs almost enabled the representation of all the most frequent syllables of the Nahuatl language with some notable exceptions ,  but some scholars have argued that such a high degree of phoneticity was only achieved after the conquest when the Aztecs had been introduced to the principles of phonetic writing by the Spanish.
The image to right demonstrates the use of phonetic signs for writing place names in the colonial Aztec Codex Mendoza. Song and poetry were highly regarded; there were presentations and poetry contests at most of the Aztec festivals.
There were also dramatic presentations that included players, musicians and acrobats. There were several different genres of cuicatl song : Yaocuicatl was devoted to war and the god s of war, Teocuicatl to the gods and creation myths and to adoration of said figures, xochicuicatl to flowers a symbol of poetry itself and indicative of the highly metaphorical nature of a poetry that often utilized duality to convey multiple layers of meaning.
A key aspect of Aztec poetics was the use of parallelism, using a structure of embedded couplets to express different perspectives on the same element.
For example, the Nahuatl expression for "poetry" was in xochitl in cuicatl a dual term meaning "the flower, the song".
A remarkable amount of this poetry survives, having been collected during the era of the conquest. In some cases poetry is attributed to individual authors, such as Nezahualcoyotl , tlatoani of Texcoco, and Cuacuauhtzin , Lord of Tepechpan, but whether these attributions reflect actual authorship is a matter of opinion.
The Aztecs produced ceramics of different types. Common are orange wares, which are orange or buff burnished ceramics with no slip.
Red wares are ceramics with a reddish slip. Very common is "black on orange" ware which is orange ware decorated with painted designs in black.
Aztec I is characterized by floral designs and day- name glyphs; Aztec II is characterized by a stylized grass design above calligraphic designs such as s-curves or loops; Aztec III is characterized by very simple line designs; Aztec four continues some pre-Columbian designs but adds European influenced floral designs.
There were local variations on each of these styles, and archeologists continue to refine the ceramic sequence.
Typical vessels for everyday use were clay griddles for cooking comalli , bowls and plates for eating caxitl , pots for cooking comitl , molcajetes or mortar-type vessels with slashed bases for grinding chilli molcaxitl , and different kinds of braziers, tripod dishes and biconical goblets.
Vessels were fired in simple updraft kilns or even in open firing in pit kilns at low temperatures. Aztec painted art was produced on animal skin mostly deer , on cotton lienzos and on amate paper made from bark e.
The surface of the material was often first treated with gesso to make the images stand out more clearly. The art of painting and writing was known in Nahuatl by the metaphor in tlilli, in tlapalli - meaning "the black ink, the red pigment".
There are few extant Aztec painted books. Of these none are conclusively confirmed to have been created before the conquest, but several codices must have been painted either right before the conquest or very soon after - before traditions for producing them were much disturbed.
Even if some codices may have been produced after the conquest, there is good reason to think that they may have been copied from pre-Columbian originals by scribes.
The Codex Borbonicus is considered by some to be the only extant Aztec codex produced before the conquest - it is a calendric codex describing the day and month counts indicating the patron deities of the different time periods.
After the conquest, codices with calendric or religious information were sought out and systematically destroyed by the church - whereas other types of painted books, particularly historical narratives and tribute lists continued to be produced.
Sculptures were carved in stone and wood, but few wood carvings have survived. In Aztec artwork a number of monumental stone sculptures have been preserved, such sculptures usually functioned as adornments for religious architecture.
The Coyolxauhqui Stone representing the dismembered goddess Coyolxauhqui , found in , was at the foot of the staircase leading up to the Great Temple in Tenochtitlan.
The most well known examples of this type of sculpture are the Stone of Tizoc and the Stone of Motecuzoma I , both carved with images of warfare and conquest by specific Aztec rulers.
Many smaller stone sculptures depicting deities also exist. The style used in religious sculpture was rigid stances likely meant to create a powerful experience in the onlooker.
An especially prized art form among the Aztecs was featherwork - the creation of intricate and colorful mosaics of feathers, and their use in garments as well as decoration on weaponry, war banners, and warrior suits.
The class of highly skilled and honored craftsmen who created feather objects was called the amanteca ,  named after the Amantla neighborhood in Tenochtitlan where they lived and worked.
The Florentine Codex gives information about how feather works were created. The amanteca had two ways of creating their works.
One was to secure the feathers in place using agave cord for three-dimensional objects such as fly whisks, fans, bracelets, headgear and other objects.
The second and more difficult was a mosaic type technique, which the Spanish also called "feather painting. Feather mosaics were arrangements of minute fragments of feathers from a wide variety of birds, generally worked on a paper base, made from cotton and paste, then itself backed with amate paper, but bases of other types of paper and directly on amate were done as well.
These works were done in layers with "common" feathers, dyed feathers and precious feathers. First a model was made with lower quality feathers and the precious feathers found only on the top layer.
The adhesive for the feathers in the Mesoamerican period was made from orchid bulbs. Feathers from local and faraway sources were used, especially in the Aztec Empire.
The feathers were obtained from wild birds as well as from domesticated turkeys and ducks, with the finest quetzal feathers coming from Chiapas, Guatemala and Honduras.
These feathers were obtained through trade and tribute. Due to the difficulty of conserving feathers, fewer than ten pieces of original Aztec featherwork exist today.
Mexico City was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, gradually replacing and covering the lake, the island and the architecture of Aztec Tenochtitlan.
This meant that aspects of Aztec culture and the Nahuatl language continued to expand during the early colonial period as Aztec auxiliary forces made permanent settlements in many of the areas that were put under the Spanish crown.
The Aztec ruling dynasty continued to govern the indigenous polity of San Juan Tenochtitlan, a division of the Spanish capital of Mexico City, but the subsequent indigenous rulers were mostly puppets installed by the Spanish.
Other former Aztec city states likewise were established as colonial indigenous towns, governed by a local indigenous gobernador.
This office was often initially held by the hereditary indigenous ruling line, with the gobernador being the tlatoani , but the two positions in many Nahua towns became separated over time.
Indigenous governors were in charge of the colonial political organization of the Indians. In particular they enabled the continued functioning of the tribute and obligatory labor of commoner Indians to benefit the Spanish holders of encomiendas.
Encomiendas were private grants of labor and tribute from particular indigenous communities to particular Spaniards, replacing the Aztec overlords with Spanish.
In the early colonial period some indigenous governors became quite rich and influential and were able to maintain positions of power comparable to that of Spanish encomenderos.
After the arrival of the Europeans in Mexico and the conquest, indigenous populations declined significantly. This was largely the result of the epidemics of viruses brought to the continent against which the natives had no immunity.
Aztec 'high lords', who were in the top social class. Merchants , members of "the commoners," carry things they want to sell a long way away.
The Aztecs studied astrology and used the movements of the planets and the stars to create different calendars. They also had a religious calendar which was made up of days.
The Aztecs also studied and taught many complex subjects, including geometry , mathematics , debate , law , music , poetry , architecture , and agriculture.
The most popular Aztec sport was Tlachtili. They played this game using rubber balls and vertical hoops on opposite walls in the middle of the court.
The game's goal was to shoot the ball into the hoop using their knees. The first team to score won the game. The conquistadors defeated the Aztecs, took their empire, and made it into a Spanish colony.
Today many Mexicans have Aztec and other Native American forefathers. People still use Aztec symbols in Mexico.
On the Mexican flag , there is a picture of an eagle on a cactus with a snake in its mouth. This was an Aztec symbol.
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Map of city-states in the 16th century. Main article: Aztec Empire. Main article: Tenochtitlan.
Main article: Mesoamerican ball game. Main article: Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Great Empires of the Past: Empire of the Aztecs.
Infobase Publishing. Voyages in World History, Volume I. Centgage Learning. UNM Press. The Aztec World. The Aztec faith shared many aspects with other Mesoamerican religions, like that of the Maya , notably including the rite of human sacrifice.
The Aztec calendar, common in much of Mesoamerica, was based on a solar cycle of days and a ritual cycle of days; the calendar played a central role in the religion and rituals of Aztec society.
The first European to visit Mexican territory was Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, who arrived in Yucatan from Cuba with three ships and about men in early In March , Cortes landed at the town of Tabasco , where he learned from the natives of the great Aztec civilization, then ruled by Moctezuma or Montezuma II.
Defying the authority of Velasquez, Cortes founded the city of Veracruz on the southeastern Mexican coast, where he trained his army into a disciplined fighting force.
Cortes and some soldiers then marched into Mexico, aided by a native woman known as Malinche, who served as a translator. Thanks to instability within the Aztec empire, Cortes was able to form alliances with other native peoples, notably the Tlascalans, who were then at war with Montezuma.
Though the Aztecs had superior numbers, their weapons were inferior, and Cortes was able to immediately take Montezuma and his entourage of lords hostage, gaining control of Tenochtitlan.
The Spaniards then murdered thousands of Aztec nobles during a ritual dance ceremony, and Montezuma died under uncertain circumstances while in custody.
European diseases like smallpox, mumps and measles were also powerful weapons against the local population, who lacked immunity to them.
At base, it shared many of the cosmological beliefs of earlier peoples, notably the Maya , such as that the present earth was the last in a series of creations and that it occupied a position between systems of 13 heavens and 9 underworlds.
Closely entwined with Aztec religion was the calendar, on which the elaborate round of rituals and ceremonies that occupied the priests was based.
The Aztec calendar was the one common to much of Mesoamerica, and it comprised a solar year of days and a sacred year of days; the two yearly cycles running in parallel produced a larger cycle of 52 years.
The Aztec empire was still expanding, and its society still evolving, when its progress was halted in by the appearance of Spanish explorers.
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