1. Area inhabited/ruled [if members of your group emigrated, immigrated, or established settlement (colonies) outside of their home country you should include an explanation of that travel or settlement in this section; include places traveled and reasons for leaving home country]
  2. Everyday Life
  3. Social and Political Organization
  4. Religion
  5. Arts/Technology/Developed Culture

The extensive Mesoamerican Aztec Empire was in power through the late 15 and early 16 century. The Aztec Empire of 1519 was the most powerful Mesoamerican kingdom of all time. It stretched for more than 80,000 square miles through many parts of central and southern Mexico. The empire reached from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf coast and from central Mexico to the present-day Republic of Guatemala. The Aztecs of the 16 century lived in the south central part of Mexican Republic. Their Ancestral home according to legend is in the land of Aztlan. Aztlan was a marshy island in the middle of a lake. From Aztlan they migrated southward. They first settled in Mexico City. This is the map of the Aztec Empire

Aztec everyday life could be compared to modern day life, the husband was responsible for taking care of the family’s stability, such as supporting it and the wife's role was to make sure that there was enough food and clothes for everyone. This describes some modern day families where the dad works all day and the mom is a stay at home mom to help take care of kids and provide for the family. The difference is there are a lot of hardworking women out there nowadays and sometimes it’s the dads that stay at home. The men work in farming or craftsmanship all day whereas the women's day was mainly cooking or weaving. The people who lived in Aztecs houses were the husband, wife, and their children; once the children were married they moved out. But sometimes the husband’s relatives stayed with the family. Everyone in the household worked, including the children. Many of the members also made crafts to sell.

Education was an important part of everyday life. The boys were taught by their dad and the girls were taught by their mom until they were ten. After this, the boys wen to a school that is connected with the temple. These schools taught religion and military training. Girls sometimes went to these schools with them. Otherwise they would stay home and learn important household skills from their moms. There were two different types of schools, the calmeac, for more studies work such as, astronomy, writing and other school studies. The other school was called telopochcalli and it was for practical studies and to learn about the military.

This is a house that a commoner would live in, you can tell by the thatched roof and mud walls.
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The Aztecs had two major social classes, the commoners and nobility; the nobility class included the warriors. The commoners were not as rich as the nobles but still had privileges. In their houses, the nobility's houses were bigger and generally made up of sun dried brick, but if they were extremely wealthy, it could be made entirely of stone. All of their houses were painted white to make them look clean. Also each noble had their own steam bathing area. This was achieved by pouring water over heated stones, bathing and cleanliness was important to the Aztecs, they believed that bathing cleansed both the soul and body. Homes of commoners were less extravagant. They were small huts with thatched roofs; the furniture was limited though they may have a small rug or a place to keep their belongings. They had pottery to cook with and blankets to sleep with, but everyone, including farmers had a garden. They dressed differently too, the upper class people wore feathers and intricately designed outfits, and had fans made of feathers. Whereas if a commoner wore feathers or had a fan they would be executed.
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The Aztec government got its structure from the society that existed long before the Aztec empire was founded. The family unit was the base structure of the society. After the family unit the next basic unit of the government was the calpulli. The calpulli is a group of families that own land. The nobility and priesthood had a lot of power in the society, but although the nobility provided leadership, some were not made into government officials. City councils held most of the power. By the 1400s three city-states formed the Triple Alliance in Mexico. The cities were Tenochitilan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. The cities dominated a little of Mexico. Eventually the city-state Tenochitilan dominated the empire. In the city of Tenochtitlan, the city leaders led the empire. The senate leader was known as the Juet Tlactani, or Great Speaker. Moctezuma II is the famous Great Speaker who ruled when Hernan Cortes arrived in the New World. The empire's control did not stretch into every corner of life, they conquered lands and were forced to pay tribune. Though they conquered and forced the people to do things for them, they left a little freedom. Warriors made small attacks on surrounding peoples and took prisoners which would be scarified. Their cruelty on many of the people caused the people to turn against them when the Spanish gave the citizens the chance.
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It is a complicated story for how the Aztec religion came to be. It took the gods five tries to create the world. The reason it wouldn’t work was because every time they tried the gods were fighting between themselves. They actually had created it but it was destroyed every time. Once they finally got the earth created they realized that to have an earth they would need a sun. The gods who created the earth were going to take turns being the sun, except that didn’t work so they had a meeting and came to the conclusion that they would need to have someone sacrifice themselves to be the sun. So Nanauatl, a modest, ordinary god,was sacrificed and became the sun, but there was a glitch, he wasn’t moving. For there to be a sun they need it to move around the earth. So the gods all sacrificed themselves so the humans could keep living. This was a dangerous choice however, because the sun was weak and they it relied on the humans to keep the sun moving and to repay the gods for what they did.
external image AztecTemple.jpgThis is a temple that would have been used for sacrifice.

Now that there was an earth and a sun the people who lived there had to be created. Quetzalcoatl was the one who was going to create the humans. People had been created before, so he went to the underworld to get their bones since if you add hos blood to the bones the humans live again. But he tripped as he was leaving and dropped the bones and they shattered, that is why everyone is a different shape and size.

Sacrifices were an important part of the Aztec religion. They believed that to keep the gods strong and healthy they needed human blood. Which is why they participate in bloodletting, this is when you purposefully are harmed to shed blood. Some gods, they believed, required living hearts. All humans were good, but the best ones were the bravest ones. It could be one sacrifice at a time or hundreds and thousands, but all sacrifices took place in the same manner. They were taken to a temple or pyramid and placed on an altar, the priest took a knife and made a cut at the ribcage and cut all the way to the living heart. The heart was removed and burned, and then the body was pushed down from the temple. If the captive who was sacrificed was brave or noble, they would be carried down instead of pushed. Huehueteotl was a particular god, who was the god of warmth, cold, and death. He was a special god since he provided light in times of darkness and food when there was none. For him the sacrifices changed a little bit. The captive was first thrown into the fire, and then pulled out with hooks before dying; the living heart was taken out and thrown back into the fire. Sacrifices were messy and bloody, but they do it to please their gods so they can live better lives.
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Art cam from the history of tribes. There was a word for art that came from the group of people called the Toltecats. The word for art was Toltec at. Common people were not to own a piece of art or to even paint or draw. Art was traded. The art usually reflected insects, birds, fish, animals, jaguars ducks, monkeys, snakes, deer, dogs. The drawings were sharp, angular, and measured. Pictures usually represented stories. Art was made with gold, silver, copper, jewelry, feathers, coral, clay and stone. Mosaics were common art. There are many types of poetry. Yaocuicatl was devoted to war and the gods of war. Teocuictl was devoted to the gods and creation of myths. Xochicuicatl was devoted to flowers. Nature was a big part of poetry. A famous collection of poems was Romances de los senores de la nueva espana. Their stonework was similar to the ancient Greeks. Their palaces were similar to the Spaniards who conquered them.
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Aztec technology is so remarkable that they are still looked upon today. Some of the accomplishments are the development of mathematics, the canoe, the highly specialized Aztec calendar, and remarkably helpful forms of medicine. The Aztecs had no iron or bronze to make their tools and weapons. The ancient Aztec people had to develop other ways of creating effective tools and weapons. Many Aztec tools were made with obsidian and chert. After the Spanish Conquistadors conquered the Aztecs they started using copper. Axe blades were starting to be made with stone or copper. The Aztecs made many useful weapons, such as the atlatl, which made spear throwing easier. The Aztecs also used a macuahuiti, which was a wooden club which contained pieces of volcanic glass, or obsidian. It was used to disable an enemy without killing him. Aztec technology was also so advanced that they were familiar with the wheel. The wheel was not used in real life, but used in toys. The Aztecs traveled by horses, mules, and other animals that were capable of transported things. They also developed canoes which they transported themselves and their goods through lakes, canals, and waterways. The Aztec had very good education. The Aztecs were very advanced scientific mathematicians. The number system was very advanced than any other tribe in that tribe. The Aztecs were also very familiar, and developed in the field of Medicine. Aztec medicines were found in many forms, such as ointments, drinks, and salves. The Aztec Calendar relied on math, which is why their calendar is so good because the Aztecs were great mathematicians.
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Aztec Culture is a combination of the cultures of the people that made the empire. They were two main social classes, the Nobility and Common People. The Nobility were the Pilli, and the Common People were the macehualli. They had slaves that were well treated. All Aztecs had to be educated. Girls focused on running a home, cooking, and caring for a family. Boys were taught fighting and leadership skills. In the beginning the Aztec Children all studied in the same groups but now they are slit into 2 groups. Calmecac, was for nobility and telpochcalli, were for the common children. The Calmecacs' were taught how to be priests, teachers, doctors, and leaders, while the Telpochcalli were taught Aztec culture and religion and trade skills. When kids were in their mid-teens their adult life would start. Girls would get married.
Boys would go off to military or go work. There were various classes of nobility and common people. The Aztec Ball game was very famous for the people. Taking prisoners and sacrificing them to the gods was an important ritual. The culture included shopping, music, meals, entertainment, poetry, dramatic presentations, art and athletics. People who died would be cremated or buried, depending on how they died and the family's choice.
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This game was played by kids, and professional players. In the professional
Game, whoever lost was sacrificed. They would play until the shadow of the
Main building was past the line, then the game would end.