The Aztecs

By:Lupe Vazquez-Acosta

Aztec Map

The Aztec Empire is located in Tenochtitlan, what is today we know as Mexico City.

Aztec Timeline

This is a timeline of the Aztec Empire.  

Aztec Clothing

The clothing was loose fitting and didn’t cover they whole body. The clothing was different based in what class you were in. The upper class would wear cotton clothes and feather headdresses. The clothes were brightly colored; the color often used was gold. Jewelry was also used by the upper class like necklace, earrings and bracelets. By law only upper class Aztecs could wear cotton. If commoners wore cotton clothes they could be put to death. Ordinary people wore clothes made from maguey plant fiber. Men wore loincloths and cloaks tied with a knot at one shoulder. Women wore wrap around skirts and tunics with short sleeves. Married women coiled their hair on top of their heads.

Aztec Food

Maize was the staple crop of the Aztecs. Aztec food also included beans, chilies, tomatoes, limes, cashews, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and of course chocolate. They would grow their food, hunted and fished and used animals such as deer, rabbits, iguana, fish and shrimp for food. They would even collect large amounts of algae from the surface of the Texcoco Lake water. They were high in protein. This algae was used to make bread and cheese type foods. One of the most treasured in the Aztec Empire was the cacao bean. They would make a thick chocolate drink from the cacao beans.

Aztec Worriers

The warrior was a glorified position in the society. A boy became a man in society at the age of 17. For a commoner wanting to go to war, this meant starting out in the lower ranks in the army. There were servants, who basically just carried weapons and supplies. Then there was the youth in training, who had not yet captured his first prisoner. That first capture was an initiation into the world of the real Aztec warrior. When word went out that a war was coming, the man had to prepare to leave his family and join the ranks. He may join a small group, or an army of several thousand. Provisions and weapons had to be carried. Warriors carried a simple decorated shield. Common Aztec weapons included the maquahuitl, clubs, the atlatl, and bows and arrows. The military had their own costumes; based on what military group they belonged to. Some clothing of the warrior offered some protection, and their headdresses also served as helmets. Some of the chiefs even wore a layer of gold.

Gods

The Aztec religion was a complex interaction of gods, dates, directions and colors. Many different cultures made up the empire, so their gods were frequently adopted and either added to the descriptions of existing gods.

Quetzalcoatl was an important deity, since he had been the creator of humans. Huitzilopochtli was a warrior sun god, requiring blood sacrifice to help him win the battle against darkness. Xipe Totec, or the Flayed one, was the god of the seasons, renewal, and growing things.

Track of time

The first calendar of the Aztec people was called thexiuhpohualli, the counting of years. This was a 365-day year, of course very helpful for planning you’re farming and predicting the weather. There were 18 months, each 20 days long, or 4 (5 day) weeks. Then to bring the year up to 365 days there were 5 "unlucky" days added. Each year would also be divided into 4 seasons. The thetonalpohualli is considered the sacred calendar. The rituals were all divided up among the gods.

Aztec  Society  

Aztec society was divided into classes. At the very top was the emperor. Below him were the nobles and priests. Below them were merchants, craftsmen, peasants and then slaves.Most of the slaves were people who had committed a crime and been sentenced to slavery or very poor people who sold themselves into slavery. However Aztec slaves did have some rights. They could own property and marry.

Aztec Family

Life in an Aztec family was permeated by religious beliefs, right from the start. Each decision was ruled by the laws of religion, and often had a connection to the sacred days in the Aztec calendar. Marriage usually happened when men were in their 20's and for women in their mid-teens. The marriage was arrange by family members . Men were allowed to have more than one wife, but it would be his primary wife that would go through all the ceremony. The children of the principal wife would be the inheritors. During this time society was dominated by the men. The man was considered the head of the home. Women had a great deal of power as well. Women often were able to run business out of their homes, and had a lot of influence in the family and the raising of children. The older widows were much respected, and people listened to their advice. War was even used as a symbol of childbirth. The baby was a "captive" in the womb, struggling to be victorious.

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