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uses, see Aztec (disam iguation)! "his article needs additional citations for verification! #lease help improve this article y adding relia le references! $nsourced material may e challenged and removed! (January %&&') Aztec (mpire )apital "enochtitlan *fficial language +ahuatl ,overnment -ead of +ation -igh councillor (lecting council Approving )ouncil "ri utary (mpire -ueyi "latoani (non.hereditary autocrat) )ihuac/atl *ligarchs (military, religious, no ility) '&0 calpulli leaders (elder) 1issolution #opulation 23%& 23%2 est! 4%&,&&&,&&& "he Aztec 5orld Aztec society +ahuatl language Aztec calendar Aztec religion Aztec mythology -uman sacrifice in Aztec culture Aztec history Aztl6n Aztec codices Aztec 5arfare Aztec "riple Alliance 7panish con8uest of 9e:ico 7iege of "enochtitlan ;a +oche "riste -ern6n )ort<s -ueyi "latoani Acamapichtli (2=>?@2=A3) -uitzilBhuitl (2=A3@2C2>) )himalpopoca (2C2>@2C%>) Dtzc/atl (2C%>@2CC&) 9octezuma D (2CC&@2C?A) A:ayacatl (2C?A@2C'2) "Bzoc (2C'2@2C'?) Ahuitzotl (2C'?@23&%) 9octezuma DD (23&%@23%&) )uitl6huac (23%&) )uauht<moc (23%&@23%2) Aztec is a term used to refer to certain ethnic groups of central 9e:ico, particularly those groups 5ho spoke the +ahuatl language and 5ho achieved political and military dominance over large parts of 9esoamerica in the 2Cth, 23th and 2?th centuries, a period referred to as the ;ate post.)lassic period in 9esoamerican chronology!

*ften the term EAztecE refers e:clusively to the people of "enochtitlan, situated on an island in ;ake "e:coco, 5ho called themselves 9e:ica "enochca or )olhua.9e:ica! 7ometimes it also includes the inha itants of "enochtitlanFs t5o principal allied city.states, the Acolhuas of "e:coco and the "epanecs of "lacopan, 5ho together 5ith the 9e:ica formed the Aztec "riple Alliance 5hich has also ecome kno5n as the EAztec (mpireE! Dn other conte:ts it may refer to all the various city states and their peoples, 5ho shared large parts of their ethnic history as 5ell as many important cultural traits 5ith the 9e:ica, Acolhua and "epanecs, and 5ho like them, also spoke the +ahuatl language! Dn this meaning it is possi le to talk a out an Aztec civilization including all the particular cultural patterns common for the +ahuatl speaking peoples of the late postclassic period in 9esoamerica! From the 2%th century the Galley of 9e:ico 5as the nucleus of Aztec civilization: here the capital of the Aztec "riple Alliance, the city of "enochtitlan, 5as uilt upon raised islets in ;ake "e:coco! "he "riple Alliance formed its tri utary empire e:panding its political hegemony far eyond the Galley of 9e:ico, con8uering other city states throughout 9esoamerica! At its pinnacle Aztec culture had rich and comple: mythological and religious traditions, as 5ell as reaching remarka le architectural and artistic accomplishments! A particularly striking element of Aztec culture to many 5as the practice of human sacrifice! Dn 23%2, in 5hat is pro a ly the most 5idely kno5n episode in the 7panish colonization of the Americas, -ern6n )ort<s, along 5ith a large num er of +ahuatl speaking indigenous allies, con8uered "enochtitlan and defeated the Aztec "riple Alliance under the leadership of -ueyi "latoani 9octezuma DDH Dn the series of events often referred to as E"he Fall of the Aztec (mpireE! 7u se8uently the 7panish founded the ne5 settlement of 9e:ico )ity on the site of the ruined Aztec capital! Aztec culture and history is primarily kno5n: From archaeological evidence as it is found in e:cavations such as that of the reno5ned "emplo 9ayor in 9e:ico )ity and many others! From indigenous ark paper codices! From eye5itness accounts y 7panish con8uistadors such as -ern6n )ort<s and Iernal 1Baz del )astillo! And especially from 2?th and 2>th century descriptions of Aztec culture and history 5ritten y 7panish clergymen and literate Aztecs in the 7panish or +ahuatl language, such as the famous Florentine )ode: compiled y the Franciscan monk Iernardino de 7ahagJn 5ith the help of indigenous Aztec informants! )ontents KhideL 2 +omenclature 2!2 9e:ica 2!% Aztec % -istory %!2 9igrational #eriod %!% Rise of the "riple Alliance %!= 7panish con8uest %!C )olonial period population decline = )ultural patterns =!2 ,overnment =!% "ri ute and trade =!= (conomy =!C "ransportation =!3 9ythology and religion =!? -uman sacrifice =!> 7ocial structures =!' )lass structure =!A )uisine =!2& Recreation =!22 (ducation =!2% Arts

=!2= )ity. uilding and architecture C Relationship to other 9esoamerican cultures 3 ;egacy ? 9odern vie5s of the Aztec culture > 1iscussion of primary sources >!2 Aztec codices >!% "he con8uistadors >!= #riests and scholars >!C +ative authors ' +otes A References A!2 9odern 5orks, availa le in (nglish A!% #rimary sources, availa le in (nglish 2& 7ee also 22 (:ternal links

KeditL +omenclature 7culpture commemorating the moment 5hen Aztecs found the sign from the god -uitzilopochtli!According to the mythico.historical Au in code:, seven +ahua tri es lived in Aztl6n under the rule of a po5erful elite! "he seven tri es fled Aztl6n, to seek ne5 lands! "he 9e:icas 5ere the last group to leave! "he Au in )ode: relates that after leaving Aztl6n, their god -uitzilopochtli ordered his people to never identify themselves as Azteca, the name of their former masters! Dnstead they should henceforth call themselves 9e:McN! "he 5ord EAztecE 5as not originally an endonym for any ethnic group, ut achieved 5ide use as an e:onym first in the (nglish language and later in 7panish from the 2Ath century on! 7ome modern day scholars use the 5ord EAztecE to refer to the +ahuatl speaking peoples of 9e:ico efore the 7panish con8uest in 232A and the 5ord E+ahuaE to refer to the same peoples after the con8uest!K2L Iecause no people ever referred to itself as EAztecsE, and ecause the peoples to 5hom the 5ord is popularly used to refer never sa5 themselves as a unified ethnic group, many scholars no5 prefer to refer to particular ethnic groups individually e!g! the E9e:icaE, EAcolhuaE or E"epanecaE rather than su suming them under a single term such as EAztecE! "he 7panish con8uistadores referred to them as E9e:icasE or E)ulua.9e:icasE! Dn 9e:ico, archaeologists and museums use the term 9e:icas! "he 5ider population in and outside 9e:ico generally speaks of Aztecs! Dn this article, the term E9e:icaE is used to refer to the 9e:ica people up until the time of the formation of the "riple Alliance! After this, the term EAztecsE is used to refer to the three peoples 5ho made up the "riple Alliance, or in the 5ider conte:t to all the +ahuatl speaking peoples as earers of EAztec cultureE! KeditL 9e:ica 7ee also: "oponymy of 9e:ico! 9e:McN (D#A: KmeikaL) is a term of uncertain origin! Gery different etymologies are proposed: the old +ahuatl 5ord for the moon, the name of their leader 9e:itli, or a type of 5eed that gro5s in ;ake "e:coco! 9e:ican scholar 9iguel ;e/n.#ortilla suggests that it is derived from me:ictli, Enavel of the moonE, from +ahuatl metztli (moon) and :ictli (navel)!K%L Alternatively, me:ictli could mean Enavel of the magueyE using the +ahuatl metl and the locative EcoE! According to a 9e:ica legend, it 5as -uitzilopochtli, the 5ar deity and patron of the 9e:ica 5ho gave them their name! "he most pro a le interpretation is that the name comes from 9e:itl or 9e:i a secret name for the deity!K=L KeditL Aztec Dn +ahuatl, the native language of the 9e:icas, Aztecatl means Esomeone 5ho comes from Aztl6nE! Dn 2'2& Ale:ander von -um oldt originated the modern usage of EAztecE as a collective term applied to

all the people linked y trade, custom, religion, and language to the 9e:ica state and the "riple Alliance! Dn 2'C=, 5ith the pu lication of the 5ork of William -! #rescott, it 5as adopted y most of the 5orld, including 2Ath century 9e:ican scholars 5ho sa5 it as a 5ay to distinguish present.day 9e:icans from pre.con8uest 9e:icans! "his usage has een the su Oect of de ate in more recent years, and the term E9e:icaE is ecoming more common!KCL +ahuatl (nahuatlPna5atlahtolli) )lassical +ahuatl (also kno5n as Aztec, and simply +ahuatl) is a term used to descri e the variants of the +ahuatl language! "he maOority of the speakers live in )entral 9e:ico in the states of (stado de 9e:ico (l 1istrito Federal, #ue la, "la:cala, 9orelos, ,uerrero, Geracruz, 9ichoac6n and -idalgo! *ther variants of the language E+ahuatlE 5ere spoken y many of the central 9e:ican city.states under the domination of the Aztec (mpire! +ahuatl 5as originally 5ritten 5ith a pictographic script 5hich 5as not a full 5riting system ut instead served as a mnemonic to remind readers of te:ts they had learned orally! KeditL -istory 9ain article: -istory of the Aztecs KeditL 9igrational #eriod "he +ahua peoples egan to migrate into 9esoamerica from northern 9e:ico in the ?th century! "hey populated central 9e:ico dislocating speakers of *to.9anguean languages as they spread their political influence south! As the former nomadic hunter.gatherer peoples mi:ed 5ith the comple: civilizations of 9esoamerica, adopting religious and cultural practices the foundation for later Aztec culture 5as laid! 1uring the #ostclassic period they rose to po5er at such sites as "ula, -idalgo! Dn the 2%th century the +ahua po5er center 5as in Azcapotzalco, from 5here the "epanecs dominated the valley of 9e:ico! Around this time the 9e:ica tri e arrived in central 9e:ico! KeditL Rise of the "riple Alliance "he Galley of 9e:ico at the time of the 7panish )on8uest!"he true origin of the 9e:icas is uncertain! According to their legends, the 9e:ica tri e place of origin 5as Aztl6n! Dt is generally thought that Aztl6n 5as some5here to the north of the Galley of 9e:icoH some e:perts have placed it as far north as 7outh5estern $nited 7tates! *thers ho5ever suggest it is a mythical place, since Aztl6n can e translated as Ethe place of the originE! "he mythical story of these travels is recorded in a num er of codices from the 7panish colonial era, most prominently the Au in )ode: and the Ioturini )ode:! Iased on these codices as 5ell as other histories, it appears that the 9e:icas arrived at )hapultepec in or around the year 2%C'!K3L At the time of their arrival, the Galley of 9e:ico had many city.states, the most po5erful of 5hich 5ere )ulhuacan to the south and Azcapotzalco to the 5est! "he "epanecs of Azcapotzalco soon e:pelled the 9e:icas from )hapultepec! Dn 2%AA, )ulhuacan ruler )oco:tli gave them permission to settle in the empty arrens of "izapan, 5here they 5ere eventually assimilated into )ulhuacan culture! Dn 2=%=, the 9e:icas 5ere sho5n a vision of an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, clutching a snake in its talons! "his vision indicated that this 5as the location 5here they 5ere to uild their home! Dn any event, the 9e:icas eventually arrived on a small s5ampy island in ;ake "e:coco 5here they founded the to5n of "enochtitlan in 2=%3! Dn 2=>?, the 9e:icas elected their first -uey "latoani, Acamapichtli, 5ho 5as living in "e:coco at the time! For the ne:t 3& years, until 2C%>, the 9e:ica 5ere a tri utary of Azcapotzalco, 5hich had ecome a regional po5er, perhaps the most po5erful since the "oltecs, centuries earlier! 9a:tla, son of "ezozomoc, assassinated )himalpopoca, the 9e:ica ruler! Dn an effort to defeat 9a:tla, )himalpopocaFs successor, Dtzcoatl, allied 5ith the e:iled ruler of "e:coco, +ezahualcoyotl! "his coalition ecame the foundation of the Aztec "riple Alliance! Jaguar 5arrior, from the )ode: 9aglia echiano"he "riple Alliance of "enochtitlan, "e:coco, and "lacopan 5ould, in the ne:t 2&& years, come to dominate the Galley of 9e:ico and e:tend its po5er to

oth the ,ulf of 9e:ico and the #acific shore! *ver this period, "enochtitlan gradually ecame the dominant po5er in the alliance! "5o of the primary architects of the Aztec empire 5ere the half. rothers "lacaelel and 9octezuma D, nephe5s of Dtzcoatl! 9octezuma D succeeded Dtzcoatl as -ueyi "latoani in 2CC&! Although he 5as also offered the opportunity to e tlatoani, "lacaelel preferred to operate as the po5er ehind the throne! "lacaelel reformed the Aztec state and religion! According to some sources, he ordered the urning of most of the e:tant Aztec ooks claiming that they contained lies! -e thereupon re5rote the history of the Aztec people, thus creating a common a5areness of history for the Aztecs! "his re5riting led directly to the curriculum taught to scholars and promoted the elief that the Aztecs 5ere al5ays a po5erful and mythic nationH forgetting forever a possi le true history of modest origins! *ne component of this reform 5as the institution of ritual 5ar (the flo5er 5ars) as a 5ay to have trained 5arriors, and created the necessity of constant sacrifices to keep the 7un moving! KeditL 7panish con8uest 9ain article: 7panish con8uest of 9e:ico "he empire reached its height during AhuitzotlFs reign, 2C'? until 23&%! -is successor, 9otecuzQma Rocoyotzin ( etter kno5n as 9ontezuma or 9octezuma DD), had een -ueyi "latoani for 2> years 5hen -ern6n )ort<s and the 7paniards landed on the ,ulf )oast in the spring of 232A! 1espite some early attles et5een the t5o, )ort<s allied himself 5ith the AztecsS long.time enemy, the )onfederacy of "la:cala, and arrived at the gates of "enochtitlan on +ovem er ', 232A! "he 7paniards and their "la:callan allies ecame increasingly dangerous and un5elcome guests in the capital city! Dn June, 23%&, hostilities roke out, culminating in the massacre in the 9ain "emple and the death of 9ontezuma! "he 7paniards fled the to5n on July 2, an episode later characterized as ;a +oche "riste (the 7ad +ight)! "hey and their native allies returned in the spring of 23%2 to lay siege to "enochtitlan, a attle that ended that August 2= 5ith the destruction of the city! 1uring this period the no5 crum ling empire 5ent through a rapid line of ruler succession! After the death of 9octezuma DD, the empire fell into the hands of severely 5eakened emperors, such as )uitl6huac, efore eventually eing ruled y puppet rulers, such as Andr<s de "apia 9otelchiuh, installed y the 7panish! 1espite the decline of the Aztec empire, most of the 9esoamerican cultures 5ere intact after the fall of "enochtitlan! Dndeed, the freedom from Aztec domination may have een considered a positive development y most of the other cultures! "he upper classes of the Aztec empire 5ere considered no lemen y the 7paniards and generally treated as such initially! All this changed rapidly and the native population 5ere soon for idden to study y la5, and had the status of minorsKcitation neededL! "he "la:calans remained loyal to their 7panish friends and 5ere allo5ed to come on other con8uests 5ith )ort<s and his men! KeditL )olonial period population decline 9ain article: #opulation history of American indigenous peoples "he Aztec (mpire, on the eve of the 7panish )on8uest!Dn 23%&.23%2, an out reak of smallpo: s5ept through the population of "enochtitlan and 5as decisive in the fall of the city! Dt is estimated that et5een 2&T and 3&T of the population fell victim to this epidemic! 7u se8uently, the Galley of 9e:ico 5as hit 5ith t5o more epidemics, smallpo: (23C3.23C') and typhus (23>?.23'2)! "he 7paniards, to consolidate the diminishing population, merged the survivors from small to5ns in the Galley of 9e:ico into igger ones! "his roke the po5er of the upper classes, ut did not dissolve the coherence of the indigenous society in greater 9e:ico! "he population efore the time of the con8uest is unkno5n and hotly contested,K?L ut disease is kno5n to have ravaged the regionH thus, the indigenous population of the Galley of 9e:ico is estimated to have declined y more than '&T in the course of a out ?& years!K>L

KeditL )ultural patterns KeditL ,overnment "he Aztec (mpire 5as an e:ample of an empire that ruled y indirect means! ;ike most (uropean empires, it 5as ethnically very diverse, ut unlike most (uropean empires, it 5as more a system of tri ute than a single system of government! Dn the theoretical frame5ork of imperial systems posited y Ale:ander J! 9otylK'L the Aztec empire 5as an informal or hegemonic empire ecause it did not e:ert supreme authority over the con8uered lands, it merely e:pected tri utes to e paid! Dt 5as also a discontinuous empire ecause not all dominated territories 5ere connected, for e:ample the southern peripheral zones of Roconochco 5ere not in direct contact 5ith the center! "he hegemonic nature of the Aztec empire can e seen in the fact that generally local rulers 5ere restored to their positions once their city.state 5as con8uered and the Aztecs did not interfere in local affairs as long as the tri ute payments 5ere made!KAL Although the Aztec form of government is often referred to as an empire, in fact most areas 5ithin the empire 5ere organized as city.states, kno5n as altepetl in +ahuatl! "hese 5ere small polities ruled y a king (tlatoani) from a legitimate dynasty! "he (arly Aztec period 5as a time of gro5th and competition among altepetl! (ven after the empire 5as formed (2C%') and egan its program of e:pansion through con8uest, the altepetl remained the dominant form of organization at the local level! "he efficient role of the altepetl as a regional political unit 5as largely responsi le for the success of the empireFs hegemonic form of control!K2&L KeditL "ri ute and trade 7everal pages from the )ode: 9endoza list tri utary to5ns along 5ith the goods they supplied, 5hich included not only lu:uries such as feathers, adorned suits, and greenstone eads, ut more practical goods such as cloth, fire5ood, and food! "ri ute 5as usually paid t5ice or four times a year at differing times!K22L Archaeological e:cavations in the Aztec.ruled provinces sho5 that incorporation into the empire had oth costs and enefits for provincial peoples! *n the positive side, the empire promoted commerce and trade, and e:otic goods from o sidian to ronze managed to reach the houses of oth commoners and no les! "rade partners included the enemy "arascan, a source of ronze tools and Oe5elry! *n the negative side, imperial tri ute imposed a urden on commoner households, 5ho had to increase their 5ork to pay their share of tri ute! +o les, on the other hand, often made out 5ell under imperial rule ecause of the indirect nature of imperial organization! "he empire had to rely on local kings and no les and offered them privileges for their help in maintaining order and keeping the tri ute flo5ing! K2%L KeditL (conomy "he Aztec economy 5as an e:ample of a commercial economy! 7everal types of money 5ere in regular use! 7mall purchases 5ere made 5ith cacao eans, 5hich had to e imported from lo5land areas! Dn Aztec marketplaces, a small ra it 5as 5orth =& eans, a turkey egg cost = eans, and a tamale cost a single ean! For larger purchases, standardized lengths of cotton cloth called 8uachtli 5ere used! "here 5ere different grades of 8uachtli, ranging in value from ?3 to =&& cacao eans! *ne source stated that %& 8uachtli could support a commoner for one year in "enochtitlan! A man could also sell his o5n daughter as a se:ual slave or future religious sacrifice, generally for around 3&& to >&& eans! A small gold statue (appro:imately &!?% kg P 2!=> l ) cost %3& eans! 9oney 5as used primarily in the many periodic markets that 5ere held in each to5n! A typical to5n 5ould have a 5eekly market (every 3 days), 5hile larger cities held markets every day! )ort<s reported that the central market of "latelolco, "enochtitlanFs sister city, 5as visited y ?&,&&& people daily! 7ome sellers in the markets 5ere petty vendorsH farmers might sell some of their produce, potters sold their vessels, and so on! *ther vendors 5ere professional merchants 5ho traveled from market to market seeking profits! "he pochteca 5ere specialized merchants organized into e:clusive guilds! "hey made lengthy e:peditions to all parts of 9esoamerica, and they served as the Oudges and supervisors of the "latelolco market! Although the economy of Aztec 9e:ico 5as commercialized (in its use of money, markets, and merchants), it 5as not Ea capitalist economy ecause land and la or 5ere not commodities for sale!EK2=L

KeditL "ransportation "he main contri ution of the Aztec rule 5as a system of communications et5een the con8uered cities! Dn 9esoamerica, 5ithout draft animals for transport (nor, as a result, 5heeled vehicles), the roads 5ere designed for travel on foot! $sually these roads 5ere maintained through tri ute, and travelers had places to rest and eat and even latrines to use at regular intervals, roughly every 2& or 23 km! )ouriers (paynani) 5ere constantly travelling along those 5ays, keeping the Aztecs informed of events, and helping to monitor the integrity of the roads! 1ue to the steady surveillance, even 5omen could travel alone, a fact that amazed the 7paniards, as that 5as not at all possi le in (urope since the time of the Romans! After the con8uest those roads 5ere no longer su Oect to maintenance and 5ere lost in time! KeditL 9ythology and religion 9ain articles: Aztec religion and Aztec mythology "he )oat of Arms of 9e:ico, from Aztec mythology"he 9e:ica made reference to at least t5o manifestations of the supernatural: tUQtl and tUi:iptla! "UQtl, 5hich the 7paniards and (uropean scholars routinely mistranslated as EgodE or EdemonE, referred rather to an impersonal force that permeated the 5orld! "Ui:iptla, y contrast, denoted the physical representations (EidolsE, statues and figurines) of the tUQtl as 5ell as the human cultic activity surrounding this physical representation! "he 9e:ica EgodsE themselves had no e:istence as distinct entities apart from these tUi:iptla representations of tUQtl (Ioone 2A'A)! Generation of -uitzilopochtli, the personification of the sun and of 5ar, 5as central to the religious, social and political practices of the 9e:icas!K2CL -uitzilopochtli attained this central position after the founding of "enochtitlan and the formation of the 9e:ica city.state society in the 2Cth century! #rior to this, -uitzilopochtli 5as associated primarily 5ith hunting, presuma ly one of the important su sistence activities of the itinerant ands that 5ould eventually ecome the 9e:ica! According to myth, -uitzilopochtli directed the 5anderers to found a city on the site 5here they 5ould see an eagle devouring a snake perched on a fruit. earing nopal cactus! (Dt 5as said that -uitzilopochtli killed his nephe5, )/pil, and thre5 his heart on the lake! -uitzilopochtli honoured )/pil y causing a cactus to gro5 over )/pilFs heart!) ;egend has it that this is the site on 5hich the 9e:icas uilt their capital city of "enochtitlan! "his legendary vision is pictured on the )oat of Arms of 9e:ico! According to their o5n history, 5hen the 9e:icas arrived in the Anahuac valley (Galley of 9e:ico) around ;ake "e:coco, the groups living there considered them uncivilized! "he 9e:icas orro5ed much of their culture from the ancient "oltec 5hom they seem to have at least partially confused 5ith the more ancient civilization of "eotihuacan! "o the 9e:icas, the "oltecs 5ere the originators of all cultureH E"oltecayQtlE 5as a synonym for culture! 9e:ica legends identify the "oltecs and the cult of Vuetzalcoatl 5ith the mythical city of "ollan, 5hich they also identified 5ith the more ancient "eotihuacan! KeditL -uman sacrifice -uman sacrifice as sho5n in the )ode: 9aglia echiano!9ain article: -uman sacrifice in Aztec culture For most people today, and for the (uropean )atholics 5ho first met the Aztecs, human sacrifice 5as the most striking feature of Aztec civilization! While human sacrifice 5as practiced throughout 9esoamerica, the Aztecs, if their o5n accounts are to e elieved, rought this practice to an unprecedented level! For e:ample, for the reconsecration of ,reat #yramid of "enochtitlan in 2C'>, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 'C,C&& prisoners over the course of four days, reportedly y Ahuitzotl, the ,reat 7peaker himself! -o5ever, most e:perts consider these num ers to e overstated! For e:ample, the sheer logistics associated 5ith sacrificing 'C,&&& victims 5ould e over5helming, %,&&& eing a more likely figure! A similar consensus has developed on reports of canni alism among the Aztecs!

Dn the 5ritings of Iernardino de 7ahagJn, Aztec Eanonymous informantsE defended the practice of human sacrifice y asserting that it 5as not very different from the (uropean 5ay of 5aging 5arfare: (uropeans killed the 5arriors in attle, Aztecs killed the 5arriors after the attle! Accounts y the "la:caltecas, the primary enemy of the Aztecs at the time of the 7panish )on8uest, sho5 that at least some of them considered it an honor to e sacrificed! Dn one legend, the 5arrior "lahuicole 5as freed y the Aztecs ut eventually returned of his o5n volition to die in ritual sacrifice! "la:cala also practiced the human sacrifice of captured Aztec 5arriors! KeditL 7ocial structures 9ain articles: Aztec society and Aztec slavery KeditL )lass structure A painting from )ode: 9endoza sho5ing elder Aztecs eing given into:icants!"he highest class 5ere the pWpiltin or no ility!K23L *riginally this status 5as not hereditary, although the sons of pillis had access to etter resources and education, so it 5as easier for them to ecome pillis! ;ater the class system took on hereditary aspects! "he second class 5ere the mXcehualtin, originally peasants! (duardo +ogueraK2?L estimates that in later stages only %&T of the population 5as dedicated to agriculture and food production! "he other '&T of society 5ere 5arriors, artisans and traders! (ventually, most of the mXcehuallis 5ere dedicated to arts and crafts! "heir 5orks 5ere an important source of income for the city!K2>L 7laves or tlacotin also constituted an important class! Aztecs could ecome slaves ecause of de ts, as a criminal punishment or as 5ar captives! A slave could have possessions and even o5n other slaves! -o5ever, upon ecoming a slave, all of the slaveFs animals and e:cess money 5ould go to his purchaser! 7laves could uy their li erty, and slaves could e set free if they had children 5ith or 5ere married to their masters! "ypically, upon the death of the master, slaves 5ho had performed outstanding services 5ere freed! "he rest of the slaves 5ere passed on as part of an inheritance! "raveling merchants called pochtecah 5ere a small, ut important class as they not only facilitated commerce, ut also communicated vital information across the empire and eyond its orders! "hey 5ere often employed as spies! KeditL )uisine 9ain article: Aztec cuisine "he Aztec staple foods included maize, eans and s8uash to 5hich 5ere often added chilies and tomatoes, all prominent parts of the 9e:ican diet to this day! "hey harvested acocils, a small and a undant shrimp of ;ake "e:coco, as 5ell as 7pirulina algae, 5hich 5as made into a sort of cake rich in flavonoids! Although 9esoamerican diet 5as largely vegetarian the Aztecs consumed insects such as grasshoppers (chapulines), maguey 5orm, ants, larvae, etc! Dnsects have a higher protein content than meat, and even no5 they are considered a delicacy in some parts of 9e:ico! "he only domesticated animals kno5n to the Aztecs 5ere dogs and turkeys 5hich 5ere also oth consumed! "he 9esoamerican, as 5ell as the modern, domesticated turkey is a descendant of the Wild "urkey of the Americas, rather than the *cellated "urkey 5hich is found in far southern 9e:ico! 9esoamerican cultures relied on the turkey (9e:ican 7panish guaOolote, from +ahuatl hue:olotl) as a maOor source of protein (meat and eggs), and utilized its feathers e:tensively for decorative purposes! "he turkey 5as associated 5ith their trickster god "ezcatlipoca,K2'L perhaps ecause of humorous aspects of its ehavior! "urkeys 5ere taken to (urope y the 7panish, 5here they also ecame popular as a domesticated animal! Wild game 5as also a part of the Aztec diet! Aztec elites are also kno5n to have consumed human flesh in certain ceremonial conte:ts ut it is du ious that it ever formed an important part of their diet!

Aztecs also used maguey e:tensivelyH from it they o tained food, s5eetening additives (aguamiel@Ehoney 5aterE), fi ers for ropes and clothing, and drink (pul8ue, a fermented everage 5ith an alcoholic content roughly e8uivalent to eer, used mainly in ceremonial conte:ts)! )acao eans 5ere used as money and also to make :ocolatl, a frothy and itter everage, lacking the s5eetness of modern chocolate drinks! "he Aztecs also kept eehives and harvested honey! A study y *rtiz de 9ontellanoK2AL sho5s a mean life e:pectancy of => (Y=) years for the population of 9esoamerica! After the 7panish con8uest, some foods 5ere outla5ed, particularly amaranth ecause of its central role in religious rituals! "here 5as less diversity of food 5hich led to chronic malnutrition in the general population! KeditL Recreation As 5ith all 9esoamerican cultures, the Aztecs played a variant of the 9esoamerican allgame, named tlachtli or ollamaliztli in +ahuatl! "he game 5as played 5ith a all of solid ru er, called an olli, 5hence derives the 7panish 5ord for ru er, hule! "he players hit the all 5ith their hips, knees, and el o5s and had to pass the all through a stone ring to automatically 5in! "he Aztec variant of the 9esoamerican allgame is the only one to e descri ed in postcolonial sources, and not much is kno5n a out ho5 other 9esoamerican peoples played the game! "he Aztecs also enOoyed oard games, like patolli and totolo8ue! Iernal 1iaz records that )ort<s and 9octezuma DD played totolo8ue together! KeditL (ducation Representation of Aztec education!$ntil the age of fourteen, the education of children 5as in the hands of their parents, ut supervised y the authorities of their calpQlli! #art of this education involved learning a collection of sayings, called huUhuetlZtolli (Esayings of the oldE), that em odied the AztecsF ideals! Judged y their language, most of the huUhuetlatolli seemed to have evolved over several centuries, predating the Aztecs and most likely adopted from other +ahua cultures! At 23, all oys and girls 5ent to school! "he 9e:ica, one of the Aztec groups, 5ere one of the first people in the 5orld to have mandatory education for nearly all children, regardless of gender, rank, or station! "here 5ere t5o types of schools: the telpochcalli, for practical and military studies, and the calmecac, for advanced learning in 5riting, astronomy, statesmanship, theology, and other areas! "he t5o institutions seem to e common to the +ahua people, leading some e:perts to suggest that they are older than the Aztec culture! Aztec teachers (tlatimine) propounded a spartan regime of education 5ith the purpose of forming a stoical people! ,irls 5ere educated in the crafts of home and child raising! "hey 5ere not taught to read or 5rite! All 5omen 5ere taught to e involved in religionH there are paintings of 5omen presiding over religious ceremonies, ut there are no references to female priests! KeditL Arts "his ornament features a tur8uoise mosaic on a carved 5ooden ase, 5ith red and 5hite shells used for the mouths! #ro a ly 5orn across the chest, this ornament measures %& cm y C= cm (' in y 2> in)! Dt 5as likely created y 9i:tec artisans from an Aztec tri utary state! 2C&&.23%2, from the Iritish 9useum K2L!7ong and poetry 5ere highly regardedH there 5ere presentations and poetry contests at most of the Aztec festivals! "here 5ere also dramatic presentations that included players, musicians and acro ats! #oetry 5as the only occupation 5orthy of an Aztec 5arrior in times of peace! A remarka le amount of this poetry survives, having een collected during the era of the con8uest! Dn some cases poetry is attri uted to individual authors, such as +etzahualcoyotl, tlatoani of "e:coco, and )uacuatzin, ;ord of

"epechpan, ut 5hether these attri utions reflect actual authorship is a matter of opinion! 9iguel ;e/n. #ortilla, a 5ell.respected Aztec scholar of 9e:ico, has stated that it is in this poetry 5here 5e can find the real thought of the Aztecs, independent of EofficialE Aztec ideology!K%&L Dt is also important to note that the 7panish classified many aspects of the AztecP+ahuatl culture according to the le:icon and organizational categories 5ith 5hich they 5ould distinguish in (urope! Dn the same 5ay that the second letter of )ortez made a mention of Emes8uitasE, or in (nglish, Emos8uesE, 5hen trying to convey his impression of Aztec architecture, early colonists and missionaries divided the principal odies of nahuatl literature as EpoetryE and EproseE! E#oetryE 5as in :ochitl in cuicatl a dual term meaning Ethe flo5er and the songE and 5as divided into different genres! [aocuicatl 5as devoted to 5ar and the god(s) of 5ar, "eocuicatl to the gods and creation myths and to adoration of said figures, :ochicuicatl to flo5ers (a sym ol of poetry itself and indicative of the highly metaphorical nature of a poetry that often utilized duality to convey multiple layers of meaning)! E#roseE 5as tlahtolli, also 5ith its different categories and divisions (,arganigo et! al)! "ur8uoise mask! 9i:tec.Aztec! 2C&&.23%2!"he most important collection of these poems is Romances de los se\ores de la +ueva (spa\a, collected ("ezcoco 23'%), pro a ly y Juan Iautista de #omar!K%2L Iautista de #omar 5as the great.grandson of +etzahualcoyotl! -e spoke +ahuatl, ut 5as raised a )hristian and 5rote in ;atin characters! (7ee also: EDs Dt [ou]E, a short poem attri uted to +etzahualcoyotl, and E;ament on the Fall of "enochtitlanE, a short poem contained 5ithin the E$nos Anales -ist/ricos de la +aci/n 9e:icanaE manuscript!) "he Aztec people also enOoyed a type of dramatic presentation, a kind of theatre! 7ome plays 5ere comical 5ith music and acro ats, others 5ere staged dramas of their gods! After the con8uest, the first )hristian churches had open chapels reserved for these kinds of representations! #lays in +ahuatl, 5ritten y converted Dndians, 5ere an important instrument for the conversion to )hristianity, and are still found today in the form of traditional pastorelas, 5hich are played during )hristmas to sho5 the Adoration of Ia y Jesus, and other Ii lical passages! KeditL )ity. uilding and architecture "enochtitlan, looking east! From the mural painting at the +ational 9useum of Anthropology, 9e:ico )ity! #ainted in 2A=& y 1r! Atl!"he capital city of the Aztec empire 5as "enochtitlan, no5 the site of modern.day 9e:ico )ity! Iuilt on a series of islets in ;ake "e:coco, the city plan 5as ased on a symmetrical layout that 5as divided into four city sections called campans! "he city 5as interlaced 5ith canals 5hich 5ere useful for transportation! "enochtitlan 5as uilt according to a fi:ed plan and centered on the ritual precinct, 5here the ,reat #yramid of "enochtitlan rose 3& m a ove the city! -ouses 5ere made of 5ood and loam, roofs 5ere made of reed,K%%L although pyramids, temples and palaces 5ere generally made of stone! Around the island, chinampa eds 5ere used to gro5 foodstuffs as 5ell as, over time, to increase the size of the island! )hinampas, misnamed Efloating gardensE, 5ere long raised plant eds set upon the shallo5 lake ottom! "hey 5ere a very efficient agricultural system and could provide up to seven crops a year! *n the asis of current chinampa yields, it has een estimated that 2 hectare of chinampa 5ould feed %& individuals and A,&&& hectares of chinampas could feed 2'&,&&&!K%=L Anthropologist (duardo +oguera estimates the population at %&&,&&& ased in the house count and merging the population of "latelolco (once an independent city, ut later ecame a su ur of "enochtitlan)! Df one includes the surrounding islets and shores surrounding ;ake "e:coco, estimates range from =&&,&&& to >&&,&&& inha itants!K%=L KeditL Relationship to other 9esoamerican cultures Aztecs admired 9i:tec craftsmanship so much that they imported artisans to "enochtitlan and re8uested 5ork to e done in certain 9i:tec styles! "he Aztecs also admired the 9i:tec codices, so some of them 5ere made to order y 9i:teca for the Aztecs! Dn the later days, high society Aztec

5omen started to 5ear 9i:tec clothing, specifically the 8ue:8uemetl! Dt 5as 5orn over their traditional huipil, and much coveted y the 5omen 5ho could not afford such imported goods! "he situation 5as analogous in many 5ays to the #hoenician culture 5hich imported and duplicated art from other cultures that they encountered! For this reason, archeologists often have trou le identifying 5hich artifacts are genuinely #hoenician and 5hich are imported or copied from other cultures! Archaeologists usually do not have a pro lem differentiating et5een 9i:tec and Aztec artifacts! -o5ever, the 9i:tec made some products for Ee:portE and that makes classification more pro lematic! Dn addition, the production of craft 5as an important part of the 9e:ica economy, and they also made pieces for Ee:portE! KeditL ;egacy 9ost modern day 9e:icans (and people of 9e:ican descent in other countries) are mestizos, of mi:ed indigenous and (uropean 7panish ancestry! 1uring the 2?th century the racial composition of 9e:ico egan to change from one that featured distinct indigenous (9e:icas and mem ers of the many other 9e:ican indigenous groups) and immigrant (mostly 7panish) populations, to the population composed primarily of mestizos that is found in modern day 9e:ico! "he +ahuatl language is today spoken y 2!3 million people, mostly in mountainous areas in the states of central 9e:ico! ;ocal dialects of 7panish, 9e:ican 7panish generally, and the 7panish language 5orld5ide have all een influenced, in varying degrees, y +ahuatl! 7ome +ahuatl 5ords (most nota ly chocolate and tomato) have een orro5ed through 7panish into other languages around the 5orld! 9e:ico )ity 5as uilt on the ruins of "enochtitlan, making it one of the oldest living cities of America! 9any of its districts and natural landmarks retain their original +ahuatl names! 9any other cities and to5ns in 9e:ico and )entral America have also retained their +ahuatl names (5hether or not they 5ere originally 9e:ica or even +ahuatl.speaking to5ns)! A num er of to5n names are hy rids of +ahuatl and 7panish! 9e:ican cuisine continues to e ased on and flavored y agricultural products contri uted y the 9e:icasPAztecs and 9esoamerica, most of 5hich retain some form of their original +ahuatl names! "he cuisine has also ecome a popular part of the cuisine of the $nited 7tates and other countries around the 5orld, typically altered to suit various national tastes! "he modern 9e:ican flag ears the em lem of the 9e:ica migration legend! 9e:icoFs premier religious icon, the Girgin of ,uadalupe has certain similarities to the 9e:ica earth mother goddess "onantzin! For the 2A'? FDFA World )up Adidas designed the official match all to sho5 in its EtriadesE Aztec architectural and mural designs K%L! KeditL 9odern vie5s of the Aztec culture ;aurette 7<Oourn<, a French anthropologist, 5rote a out Aztec and 9esoamerican spirituality! -er depiction of the Aztecs as a spiritual people 5as so compelling that ne5 religions have een formed ased on her 5ritings! 7ome parts of her 5ork have een adopted y esoteric groups, searching for occult teachings of the pre.)olum ian religions! 7<Oourn< never endorsed any of these groups!Kcitation neededL 9iguel ;e/n.#ortilla also idealizes the Aztec culture, especially in his early 5ritings!Kcitation neededL *thers, such as Antonio Gelazco, have transformed the 5ritings y 7eOourn< and ;e/n.#ortilla into a religious movement! Antonio Gelasco #i\a has 5ritten three ooks, "lacaelel, (l Azteca entre los Aztecas, ;a muOer dormida de e dar a luz, and Regina! When mi:ed 5ith the currents of +eopaganism, these ooks resulted in a ne5 religious movement called E9e:icanistaE! "his movement called for a return to the spirituality of the Aztecs! Dt is argued that, 5ith this return, 9e:ico 5ill ecome the ne:t

center of po5er! "his religious movement mi:es 9esoamerican cults 5ith -indu esoterism! "he 9e:icanista movement reached the peak of its popularity in the 2AA&s! KeditL 1iscussion of primary sources A painting of "laloc, as sho5n on page %&R of )ode: Rios!(ach of the historical sources has its o5n uni8ue pro lems! +one of the sources is free from ias and every source must e vie5ed 5ith some skepticism until cross.checked against other contemporary sources or the archaeological records! KeditL Aztec codices "here are fe5 e:tant Aztec codices created efore the con8uest and these are largely ritual te:ts! #ost. con8uest codices, like )ode: 9endoza or )ode: Rios, 5ere painted y Aztec tlacuilos (code: creators), ut under the control of 7panish authorities! "he possi ility of 7panish influence poses potential pro lems for those studying the post.con8uest codices! KeditL "he con8uistadors "he accounts of the con8uistadors are those of men confronted 5ith a ne5 civilization, 5hich they tried to interpret according to their o5n culture! )ort<s 5as the most educated, and his letters to )harles G are a valua le firsthand account! $nfortunately, one of his letters is lost and replaced y a posterior te:t and the others 5ere censored prior their pu lication! Dn any case, )ort<s 5as not 5riting a dispassionate account, ut letters Oustifying his actions and to some e:tent e:aggerating his successes and do5nplaying his failures! Iernal 1Baz del )astillo accompanied )ortes, ut he 5rote decades after the fact, he never learned the native languages, and he did not take notes! -is account is colorful, ut his 5ork is considered erratic and e:aggerated! Although Francisco ;/pez de ,/mara 5as )ortesF chaplain, friend, and confidant, he never visited the +e5 World so his account is ased on hearsay! KeditL #riests and scholars "he accounts of the first priests and scholars, 5hile reflecting their faith and their culture, are important sources! Fathers 1iego 1ur6n, 9otolinia, and 9endieta 5rote 5ith their o5n religion in mind, Father 1uran 5rote trying to prove that the Aztec 5ere one of the lost tri es of Dsrael! Iartolom< de las )asas 5rote instead from an apologetic point of vie5! "here are also authors that tried to make a synthesis of the pre.-ispanic cultures, like E*viedo y -erreraE, Jose de Acosta, and #edro 96rtir de Anghera! #erhaps the most important source a out the Aztec are the manuscripts of Iernardino de 7ahagJn, 5ho 5orked 5ith the surviving Aztec 5ise men! -e taught Aztec tlacuilos to 5rite the original +ahuatl accounts using the ;atin alpha et! Iecause of fear of the 7panish authorities, he maintained the anonymity of his informants, and 5rote a heavily censored version in 7panish! $nfortunately the +ahuatl original 5as not fully translated until the %&th century, thus realising the e:tent of the censorship of the 7panish version! "he original +ahuatl manuscript is kno5n as the Florentine )ode:! KeditL +ative authors *ther important sources are the 5ork of Dndian and mestizo authors, descendants of the upper classes! "hese authors include 1on Fernando Alvarado "ezoz/moc, )himalpahin )uauhtlehuanitzin, Juan Iautista de #omar, and Fernando de Alva )ort<s D:tlil:ochitl! D:tli:ochitl, for e:ample, 5rote a history of "e:coco from a )hristian point of vie5! -is account of +etzahualcoyotl, an ancestor of D:tlil:ochitlFs, has a strong resem lance to the story of ^ing 7olomon and portrays +etzahualcoyotl as a monotheist and a critic of human sacrifice! 1iego 9u\oz )amargo (23%2 . c! 2?2%), a "la:calan mestizo, 5rote the -istory of "la:cala si: decades after the 7panish con8uest! 7ome parts of his 5ork have a strong "la:cala ias