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Aztec class structure

Posted by [email protected] on January 28, 2012 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (1)

The highest class in the Aztec class structure is pipiltin, or nobility. Although at the the beginning, the nobility was not ruled by heredity, the Aztecs adopted this later on. The advantage of being pillis is that they had much better access to education, food and resources, were allowed to wear comfortable cotton clothing and feathers. The noble class had much better houses, some even made out of stone. They could own many slaves, and lived a wealthy and comfortable life.

The second class was the macehualtin- the commoners. They were originally peasants, many of them becoming dedicated to arts, crafts or being warriors. They had a good education, but were not allowed to wear cotton clothing or feathers. Compared with the magnificant houses of the noble, the commeners's houses would be like huts. They still had garden and did trade, but were not as wealthy as the pillis.

And finally, there were the lowliest of all- the slaves. To become a slave, you could commit a crime, and you would be sold into slavery. Or you can do the easy way, and be caught by a merchant trying to catch a slave or be sold by someone else. Slaves, however lowly, had their own property and could be freed if their owner died and they have performed well. Or you can have a wife or children, and you would be freed 

Aztec arts

Posted by [email protected] on January 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Though the Aztecs indeed loved war, Aztecs also loved arts. Poetry, songs and drama were highly regarded and there were even contests for them at many Aztec festivals. They were a large part of Aztec life.

An amazing amount of Aztec poetry has survived, even though Cortez, who arrived in 1519 ( see the Empire's fall for more) conducted burnings of many cities, including the Aztec capital, Tenochitlan. According to Cortez and his crew, they took much of the Aztec poetry, and most of the poetry survived. Many scholars think that Aztec shows the real thinking and life of the Aztecs, other than the ''official'' life.

Aztec poetry was divided into many different genres. Yaocuicatl was dedicated to war. Teocuicatl was honoring the gods and the myths of creation, and xoichicuicatl for the flowers (literally- the meaning poems in Aztec life was The flower and the song).


Achievements and inventions

Posted by [email protected] on January 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (3)

One of the greatest inventions of the Aztecs is chocolate. Chocolate is very commonly known now, and was first invented by the Aztecs. They put peppers into the chocolate, unlike now, as we do not use peppers to make it spicy, but rather to make it sweet. Chocolate was a food and drink for the warriors and nobles, as it was thought to give stammina. It was also used for sacred rituals, as it was also thought to be the food of the gods. Cacao beans were not only used for making chocolate; it was their currency (see Aztec life for more).

Another invention that led the Aztec agricultre to sucsess is the Chinampas (translated-floating islands). They were gardens that floated on water, secured by mud and reeds that anchored it to the bottom of the lake to prevent it from floating away. They were made out of reed rafts, and dirt piled on top of it to grow crops. These were quite sucsessful, acting both as gardens and also used as walkways.

Aztecs also had their own calender. They had 2 different calendars, all in the sun stone. One was based on the movement of the sun, the Xiuhpohualli (solar year), and the more sacred calendar, the Tonapohualli (day count). One solar year consisted of 360 named days and 5 nameless days (the 5 nameless days were thought to bring bad luck). The solar years were seperated into 18 parts, each consisting of 20 days. The Tonapohualli, however had days named with a numeral from 1-13 and a symbol. Every 260 days, the cycle would reset.

Aztec Laws

Posted by [email protected] on January 25, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Aztec Laws

Aztec laws were quite extreme. You can see below, that even if you commited a minor crime, the consequences would be extreme.

         Crime                  |         Punishment                        

Minor theft                                | Sold into slavery

Major theft                                | Death

Selling substandard goods | Loss of property

Treason                                   | Death, loss of property, destruction of land, children sold into slavery

Kiddnapping                           | Sold into slavery

Moving a field boundray        | Death

Using stolen property           | Sold into slavery

Drunkeness                           | 1st offense: head shaved, house destroyed. 2nd offense: death

Cutting down a living tree    | Death

Commener wearing cotten clothing | Death

Adultery                                    | Death  


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