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THE AZTECS

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Sarah Shin

on 16 January 2013

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Transcript of THE AZTECS

THE AZTECS Aztec Rulers The Aztec empire consisted of 11 Tenochtitlan rulers. 1. Acamapichtli 2. Huitzilihuitl 3. Chimalpopoca 4. Itzcoatl 5. Motecuhzoma I 6. Axayacatl 7. Tizoc 8. Ahuitzotl 9. Motecuhzoma II 10. Cuitlahuac 11. Cuauhtemoc explained that true legalism could not exist, because it was impossible to create a code that accommodated for all circumstances.
The Aztec legal system was very vaguely based on a form of highly structured moral laws that was enforced. The guilty must be punished whether or not the action had previously been defined as a crime
There was no legislative body to pass laws, but the emperor had full authority to enforce new laws.
Laws were very rarely written down, it was mostly passed on from generation to generation. Legal System Montezuma, Judicial System The Aztec judicial system consisted of 3 court hearings.
Barrio Courts: Hearings of minor civil and criminal offenses. They were located in small towns and each district of a major city. Veteran soldiers and the police were involved to provide a righteous and unbiased answers to the barrio judge. Teccali Courts: The hearings were done in city of Tenochtitlan. It's major role was to resolve cases sent by the Barrio court. There were approximately 3 to 4 judges. Tlacxitlan Courts: The highest order of the court system was used to accommodate the nobles and warriors, but was later transformed into supreme court under the emperor's command. Trade Trading between colonies were limited, but short-distance trading added income and luxury goods. Produce and grains came from agricultural fields. Fish and other water animals came from the valley lakes, distant rivers, and the eastern sea Farms and forests provided the meats of domesticated animals and game Merchants and Craft Specialists Raw materials for fabrics, table and tableware came from cotton fields, woodlands and distinct mines. Pochteca – long distance merchants

They were one of the highly respected traders.
They set out with finished luxury goods and local products (fine clothing, jewelry, obsidian, rabbit fur) to trade for raw materials Religion Legend states that Ometecuhtli (Lord of Duality) and Omecihuatl (Lady of Duality) the "original" couple gave birth to four strong sons, the four Tezcatipocas The Red Tezcatlipoca/Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One)

The Black Tezcatlipoca/Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror)

The White Tezcatlipoca/Quetzacoatl (Feathered Serpant)

The Blue Tezcatlipoca/Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird of the South) Each son had the ability to oversee all that happened on earth and the heavens The formation of the earth was attempted four times, in which they have all failed. The fifth formation (our present earth was created with success, but would soon end with disaster) 1. Tezcatlipoca created the first age (the age of the jaguars) + + = 2. Quetzacoatl created the second age (age of the wind) + + = 3. Tlaloc, the rain god created the third age (age of rain) + + = 4. Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of ground water, created and destroyed fourth age (age of water) + + = Human Sacrifice The Aztecs believed that their world is a fragile and "unclear" organism. The world not only required constant attention to keep it upright, it also had to be fueled. The Aztecs could not neglect the natural or supernatural forces, they had to nurture and feed them. The Aztecs believed the gods created the world with their supernatural blood, the Aztecs understood that human blood was the only way to sustain it. Before the Sacrifice Prior to the sacrifice, the Aztec priests chose physically and mentally strong men; usually war captives, incorrigible slaves, or individuals chosen from the Aztec populace because of their special qualities.
Regardless of their lives on earth, it was believed that when these people died on the sacrificial stone they became divine beings who would accompany the sun For city-wide and important ceremonies, the donors were asked to "impersonate" a god before the ritual. For example, in honour of the god, Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One); the victims' heart would be torn out of the body, then cutting the skin from the nape of the neck in one piece.

Children were also sacrificed in honour of the rain god, Tlaloc. Human Sacrifice Process The elaborate ritual was performed quickly with the smoke of incense and the sound of music and song The sacrificial victims were stretched on their backs over the bluntly pointed sacrificial stone
Four priests held the victims' limbs in place
The high priest then opened the heart, ripping it out with his hands
The heart was lifted towards the sun and the fumes were offered to the sun
The bodies of most of the victims were then rolled down the temple stairs, although victims impersonating the gods were carefully carried down Humans were the most valued gift the Aztecs could offer to the gods. Their hearts were “eagle cactus-fruits” and their blood was the “precious water” that sustained life Approximately 20,000 hearts were sacrificed throughout the land each year Most of the victims were warriors from hostile or newly won colonies; their deaths would reduce the population of the distant provinces and prevented a potential rebellion Architecture Single-Temple Pyramids Single-Temple Pyramids were the most common and almost all Aztec cities used the pyramid as their main temple Every Aztec city-state had one or more patron deity whose image was carved in stone or wood was housed inside a central sector of the temple, nourished and cared by professional priests. The sacrifice ceremony took place on the platform on top of the pyramid Double-Temple Pyramid Rooted from the single-temple pyramids Evidence of origin remains unknown, however, archeologists estimate that the double-temple pyramid was first developed in Tenayuca. Two temples were similar in size but differed in details of layout and architectural ornamentation Circular Temples Nearly all circular temples were dedicated Ehecatl, the wind god. There were two types of circular temples:
Low temples - had no steps. Entrance resembled a serpents mouth
High temples - dedicated to the god Ehecatl, and the wind Outside the temple displayed small plazas and courtyards, in some cases the courtyards were used as burial grounds Ballcourts Ballcourts existed in powerful and civilized cities and towns The "I" shaped court housed many elements of sport and rituals.
Access to the ball court was very open
Most ball courts were located on the central plaza of the city, along with a pyramid and a palace Special ballgames and other ceremonies in the ball court had political importance for rulers or relations between rulers in relation with diplomatic and political events. Tzompantlis Wooden frame that held the skulls of sacrificial human victims in ceremony “from pole to pole, through the holes, stretched thin rods with numerous human heads pierced though the temple” Many major Aztec temples were associated with skull racks along the interior walls of the sanctuary Palaces Palaces served as a dwelling place for a noble family, which often included a single male, his multiple wives and concubines The palace contained altars, shrines and temples of worship Diplomatic events took place in the palace, allowing courtyards to be gathering places for nobles and commoners. Origin Aztecs were bound to be parents
Parents were expected to take special responsibility for their discipline and instruction
Children inherited the profession and status of their parents Birth & Childhood After labour, midwife would shout war cries in honor of the mother for having fought a good battle, and becoming a good warrior for “capturing” a baby
umbilical cord was cut
Male babies
Umbilical cord was kept, but eventually taken by an adult warrior in which it was late buried on a battlefield
Female babies
Buried by the hearth Birth Midwife would speak in a low voice about the purifying water deity, Chalchiuhtlicue
After bath ritual, extended family members would give a speech to the midwife
Higher status, more elegant rituals
Later had a celebration, equivalent to a baby shower First Bath Baby was placed on a basin of water upon a reed mat
Items that would describe their future role in society were placed around the basin
Child was bathed, massaged, and presented four times to the sky, and cleansing water
Older children would run around the street, yelling out the name of the newly baptized baby Baptism Education
Commoners and lower-ranking nobility associated with the Capuli attended
Tiachcauh: master of the Tepochcalli
Would receive gifts from parents to ensure the child’s school entrance at an appropriate age
Boys at the age of 15, were taught military tactics from their father
Students would eat at home but sleep at school
Weapon training:
How to use a bow and arrow
How to throw darts with a spear thrower
How to handle a shield and sword THE TEPOCHCALLI Children of higher-ranking nobility attended these schools
Taught children who were potential religious, political, or military leaders
They learned: religious, political, and military training
Lower-class commoners were able to attend for them to become priests
weapon training started at the age of 15
very thorough
took place at the houses of the military orders that the students pledged to join THE CALMECAC Marriage Men got married during their early-20’s, whereas women got married during their mid-teens
Arranged by relatives
Usually men of higher class had secondary wives, in which they were treated as equals Marriage Once the couple have arrived to the ceremony, the bride and groom were place a seat upon a mat
A fire was lit in the hearth, and incense was burned
Gifts were given given by the mother of the groom
Matchmakers tied the groom’s cape to the shift of the bride
Bride and groom were given 4 mouthfuls of tamales in special sauce
When the ceremony was done, they were led to bedchamber The Wedding Ceremony Intellectual Accomplishments Mathematics
Writing
Science (medical) Intellectual Accomplishments Mathematics Their way of counting relied on units of 20
Came about because of ten digits on hands, and ten digits on feet
Numbers over 20, had a technique, called, “Cempoalli ommatalacti”.
As numerical values go up, they meant either “hair” or “growth of herbs” Mathematics Writing
Aztec writing is one of five writing systems in Mesoamerica
5 writings
Aztec
Maya
Mixtec
Zapotec
Epi-Olmec systems Writing
Writing system was made up of pictures & glyphs
Pictures referred to:
Events
Places
People
Things
Easily understood Pictures Hieroglyphs Made up of 3 elements
Pictographs
Most commonly used Hieroglyph in the Aztec language
Show objects and people as they convey a certain meaning
Used the refer to place names

Ideographs
More difficult to understand, for they require a certain familiarity with the culture
 
Phonetic elements
Most complex
Words that were difficult to be portrayed as a pictograph or ideograph were often represented with signs that sounded alike Hieroglyphs
writing was an art that was only available to a few
high emphasis on spoken word
lyric poetry is the most best preserved poetry
Aztecs were accomplished poets
Celebrated love and friendship, but also lamented the evanescence of life Verbal arts High birthrate
Equally high child morality
Average life-span was 34-40 years old
advanced in taking care of public health
access to clean water
they were healthy people because of good nutrition, relative freedom of endemic diseases, and public sanitization advances Medicine Science
the supernatural
feared the gods as a source of disease if someone sinned
the magical
possible for a sorcerer to put a spell on an individual who felt ill
resorted to specialists to diagnose and cure the person
the natural Diagnosis
Amate: Paper
Papermakers would strip the bark of the wild fig tree and immerse it in water to coagulate the sap
Sap was scraped off the bark
Artisans arranged there wet fibers in various layers on a wooden drying board
Stone bark beaters were applied
Cut to size and was coated with white lime, which cause the paper to stiffen The Production of Paper Paper Art
Huehuetl
Vertical wooden drum, that was very popular
Made from tree trunks
Teponaztli
Horizontal drums
Also played ceramic rattles and rasps
Sometimes made out of human or animal bones
Chicahuaztli
Rasp instrument made out of a human femur, or thighbone
Scraped with a shell
Sea shells were used as trumpets MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS A way of deserving favour of the gods by serving them and calling upon them with one’s whole body
Important for the emperor to take part in
Uey Tecuilhuitl
Army captains and battle-tested warriors were allowed to participate
Would dance in pairs that was accompanied by a woman
Women would dance with their hair loose on their shoulders Dance Entertainment ULLAMALIZTLI
Aztec baseball
Aim of the game was to get the rubber ball through the stone hoop
Players were only able to touch the ball with their elbows, knees, hips, and head
Players were not able to hit the six markers along the sides of the court
Once the ball was shot through the hoop, the game was over Sports PATOLLI
Very common board game which was regularly played by commoners and the nobles
A game of chance and skill
Form of gambling
The amount of spaces that they were allowed to move, were indicated by the number rolled on the “Die” (came in the form of beans with dots on them resembling a number from 1 through 6)
Gameplay is equivalent to modern-day, “Sorry” Board Games Aztecs resided in south-central Mexico, a valley surrounded by tall mountains on all sides except the north
Water was easily accessible
Weather was surprisingly cool, averaging around 12 degrees Celsius
Rain season was from May to October Geography Aztec Timeline of Important Events The Valley of Mexico was conquered by the Spaniards, marking the end of Aztec history 1200 AD The Aztecs erected spacious areas of religious monuments, including pyramids and temples A group of Aztec wanderers arrive in the Basin of Mexico as instructed by Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec god. The settlement of Tenochtitlan is founded and develops into the Mexica capital city 1325 AD A triple alliance is formed between Tenochtitlan and the two neighbouring cities, Tetzocco and Tlacopan. 1521 AD Many commoners worked as full or part-time specialists, as potters, basket makers, carpenters or obsidian workers. Their workshops were in their own homes, selling the products or bartering for food stuffs. The Aztec Marketplace The Aztec economy produced so many different goods that an organized system to distribute foodstuff had to be developed. The Aztecs bought and sold goods using a standardized pricing system based on commodities or quachtli
Cacao beans
Cotton cloths
T-shaped pieces of copper One cloth was worth between 65 to 300 beans depending on the quality of the cloth The entire city of Tenochtitlan depended on the activities of its professional merchants The state supervised all trading activities within the empire. The traders worked with other merchants in tightly knit groups Their return trip back to the city was discreetly and swiftly done.

"The cargo was secretly unloaded at a friend's or relative's house before daybreak. Everything was done to avoid any impression of great wealth." (Fagan, p.206) Political System Each state had its own ruler (tlatoque). They administered justice and supervised land holdings Only a highly select group of nobles, priests and warriors were involved in the selection of a new ruler. He must be brave, competent and politically intelligent. Following a series of rituals after the appointment of a new ruler, he was expected to embark on a conquest to demonstrate his military skills and to collect sacrificial victims for his coronation Crime and Punishment Punishment was quick and severe. One could be:
Imprisoned
Pierced with spines
Exiled
Deprived of status Adultery, theft and homicide were punished by hanging or stoning Generally loose fitting
Wore sandals
Made out of cotton or ayate fiber
Women made the clothes
Their variety of trading networks allowed the Aztec to use various dyes in their clothing
Had ears pierced as a child, then would wear ear plugs which were shells, wood or green stone Clothing Clothing Covered very little of their body
Slaves would wear a simple loincloth
men
Long strip of cotton ties in the front
Higher class, would have embroidery or fringes at the ends
Followed by a cloak made from a triangular cloth (tilma)
Men grew their hair up to their shoulders

Women
They’d wear skirts (cueitl)
long strip of cloth wrapped around the body
Might choose to pleat their skirts
For hair, two long braids were twined towards the front
Sleeveless blouse of short sleeve shirt (huipil) Commoners Still wore the same thing, but more decorated
Symbols of their particular affiliation would be incorporated on their headdress or clothing
More fancy clothing became brightly colored, and gold was used Upper Class Allowed to wear more elaborate clothing
They were a class of their own Merchants They did not get wool from sheep to do their spinning
Cotton fibers were imported
Wore their clothes as bright as they can afford
Many natural plant dyes that were available to them
There was no such thing as tailoring back in the Aztec days
Still a lot of variation while designing
Fibers would be extracted from the maguey cactus leaves and spun into threads The Making of Aztec Clothing
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