The Aztecs

The Aztecs
The Empire
The empire of the Aztecs were made up of city states
The city states were independent and the emperor did not interfere
To gain their independence they had to pay the emperor a tribute
The Social Hierarchy
The hierarchy was very similar to the renaissance's hierarchy
With the King or Emperor at the top
The place where the Aztecs lived was called Tenochtitlan
Nobles and Priests
Merchants, farmers, and Soldiers
Peasants and Slaves
When the emperor would die one of the high ranking would take his place, the person chosen was a relative
Slaves had rights and were treated with respect since they were necessary
Would be killed if they killed they beat their slaves to death
Tenochtitlan was separated into four quadrants because that's how the Aztecs believed how the world was
A son wasn't always chosen as an emperor, it could sometimes be a brother who was more fit to lead
Slaves could own land and the children of slaves weren't slaves
The Aztecs had a pretty normal set of laws that were easy to follow
But the Aztecs had a one time forgiveness rule where if you confess to your crime before it has become known, you'll be forgiven. You could only do this one time
There was also a huge temple in the middle of Tenochtitlan stained with blood from human sacrifices
They also built temples on the tops of mountains because they would be closer to the home of the gods
Mountains surrounded Tenochtitlan and that gave the Aztecs a sense of security
The mountains acted like fort walls that protected the Aztecs from outside invaders but because of the mountains steep slopes flash floods could happen and did happen
The Aztecs built a dam from the earth to help control the water levels
The mountains also kept clouds away as well as rain
Aqueducts were also built to bring water into the cities from underground springs that also helped Tenochtitlan have fresh water in time of drought
Causeways were built that helped people cross over the swampy land and reach the mainland
There were small gaps under these bridges that allowed small boats to go under them. The bridges connected the causeways together
These causeways could also be destroyed during battle to protect the city
Punishment for some crimes would be fines, enslavement, and death
There was also canals that people used to travel through the city
Everyone was expected to follow the laws even the nobles
The nobles were judged more seriously when put on trial
Slaves could gain their freedom by escaping and running to the emperors palace, if they reached it they would be set free
Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec empire and it was where the emperor lived
Being a slave wasn't shameful
Family life
The woman of the family would make clothing, clean, and make food for the family
The men would work outside as a farmer, craftsman, and warrior
The children would go to school and help around the house
Poor people lived in huts that had 4 rooms inside them and made of wood and palm leaves
Wealthy people lived in homes made of sun dried bricks that had many rooms
The 4 rooms consisted of;
A cooking area
A sleeping area
An eating area
A shrine of the gods
The Aztecs ate mostly tortillas, beans, and squash
The tortillas were made of grounded up maize
The sleeping area had mats on the floor that were used to sleep on
The rooms in this home were similar to the ones in the poor peoples homes, except the wealthy people had a bathing room and steam room
Bathing was an important aspect to the Aztecs daily lives
The woman wore a blouse and a long skirt
The men wore a loincloth and a long cape that covered the front and back of them
The Aztecs believed in many gods
Huitzilopochtli was the god that the Aztecs sacrifice humans to
The Aztecs thought Cortez was Quetzalcoatl the god of life and wind, in human form. But they were wrong and were probably in denial when
Priests were responsible for all religious acts including;
Human sacrifices
Animal offerings
Religious ceremonies
Highly respected in the Aztec society
The Aztecs did all sorts of art including;
Featherwork was used to make headdresses for nobles and the emperor
Used to keep track of their history, social life styles, and to praise the gods
Very metaphoric in their paintings and sculptures
Poetry was very important to the Aztecs as they were passed down verbally
Most of their poems were about the gods and sometimes about daily life
The Aztecs poems were only written down when the Spanish came
Music was played for the gods as well as being used as a tool to ask the gods for good crops and rain
The Aztecs carved statues of their gods and displayed them in public areas and temples
Male statues were shown with their legs crossed and females statues kneeling on their knees
The statues could be small or large
One of the main differences of the statues would be their features and symbols depending on what god they were sculpting
Aztec pottery was valued by other nations due to its patterns and variety
Potters took great pride in their work and used a potters wheel to make their pottery
Pottery could consist of small bowls to large pots
One of the most prized art forms in the time of the Aztecs as only the wealthy could wear the feather cloaks and headresses
The Aztecs spoke Nahuatl
Nahuatl is still spoken in parts of Mexico and some English words come form the language
The Aztecs wrote using pictures called glyphs
Only priests knew how to write and most of the Aztecs writings have been destroyed
The Aztecs used Chinampas to grow their crops
Chinampas were man made islands that were on a lake, the crops grew well in the chinampas because of the rich soil and plenty of water
Aqueducts were very important to Aztec culture due to that they bathed one a day, meaning they needed a lot of fresh water to do so
The Aqueducts brought water from springs right into the capital Tenochtitlan
The Aztecs used many herbs and steam bathes to try to cure the sick
They believed that the heat from the steam bathes could make ill person sweat the poison out of them.
They believed that illnesses came from natural causes and from the gods
View of time
The Aztecs had two calendars called Tonalpohualli and the Xiuhpohualli
The Tonalpohualli was used for the gods and festivals
The Tonalpohualli consisted of 260 days
The Aztecs organized the calendar so each god had the same amount of time to be celebrated to keep the universe in balance
The Xiuhpohualli was used to track time, Xiuhpohualli was also called the solar year
The Xiuhpohualli consisted of 18 months 20 days each, 365 days in one solar year
The extra 5 days were considered bad luck
Every 52 years the Tonalpohualli and the Xiuhpohualli would start on the exact same day, that's when the Aztecs though the would was going to end
The Aztecs then preformed a New Fire Ceremony
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