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AZTEC CIVILIZATION

The center of the Aztec civilization was the Valley of Mexico. The Mexicans were especially interested in education. During the first years of life, fathers educated boys, while mothers took care of girls

The center of the Aztec civilization was the Valley of Mexico, a huge, oval basin about 7,500 feet above sea level. The Aztec empire included many cities and towns, especially in the Valley of Mexico. The largest city in the empire was the capital, Tenochtitlan.

The early settles built long rafts, then covered them with mud and planted seeds to create roots and develop more solid land for building homes in this marshy land. Canals were also cut out through the marsh, so that a typical Aztec home had its back to a canal, with a canoe tied at the door.

 The Aztec empire included many cities and towns
The Aztec empire included many cities and towns

How Far Had Education Developed?

The Mexicans were especially interested in education. During the first years of life, fathers educated boys, while mothers took care of girls. Once family education was over, the children of the nobles and priests went to the calmecac, and  all others went to the tepochcalli. The Aztecs believed that education was extremely valuable and insisted that boys, girls and young people attend school. The tepochcalli was for the children of common families and there was one in each neighborhood. Here, children learned history, myths, religion and Aztec ceremonial songs. Boys received intensive military training and also learned about agriculture and the trades. Girls were educated to form in the arts and trades that would ensure the welfare of their future homes.

 They were especially interested in education
They were especially interested in education

Describe Briefly The Aztec Calender

Aztec Calendar is perhaps the most famous symbol of Mexico. It is a twelve feet, massive stone slab, carved in the middle of the 15th century. Many renditions of it still exist and have existed throughout the years and throughout Mexico.

Historically, the Aztec name for the huge basaltic monolith is Cuauhxicalli, the Eagle Bowl, but it is universally known as the Aztec Calendar or Sun Stone. It was during the reign of the 6th Aztec monarch in 1479 that this stone was carved and dedicated to the principal Aztec deity, the sun. The stone has both mythological and astronomical significance, It weighs almost 25 tons, has a diameter of just under twelve feet, and a thickness of three feet.

The Aztec calendar kept two different aspects of time; tonalpohualli and xiuhpohualli. Each of these systems had a different purpose. The tonalpohualli was the counting of days. The xiuhpohuali was the counting of the years. This calendar was kept on a 365 day solar count. It was divided into 18 periods, with  each  period containing 20 days, called veintenas. This left five days that were not represented. These were called “ nemontemi”. These are the five transition days tween the old and the new year, and were considered days of nothing.

The Aztec calendar
The Aztec calendar

What Was The Principal Food of Aztecs?

The principal food of the Aztec was a thin cornmeal pancake called a tlaxcalli. (In Spanish, it is called a tortilla). They used the tlaxcallis to scoop up foods while they ate or they wrapped the foods in the tlaxcalli to form tacos. They hunted for most of the meat in their diet and the chief game animals were deer, rabbits, ducks and geese. The only animals they raised for meat were turkeys and dogs

The Aztecs have been credited with the discovery of chocolate. The Aztecs made chocolate from the fruit of the cacao tree and used it as a flavoring and as an ingredient in various beverages and confectionery.

Tlaxcalli -The principal food of the Aztec
Tlaxcalli -The principal food of the Aztec

Briefly Describe The Aztec Society

The Aztec society was divided into three classes-slaves, commoners, and nobility

Slaves: The children of poor parents could be sold, usually for only a certain time period. Slaves could buy back their freedom. The Slaves that escaped and reached the royal palace without being caught were given their freedom instantly.

Commoners: the most numerous social group was known as the macehualtin; these people were engaged in agriculture and common trades. Although they worked on the land in family units and were allowed to keep their  produce, the land itself was collectively owned by the inhabitants of the neighborhood or calpulli. Commoners were given lifetime ownership of an area of land. The lowest group of commoners were not allowed to own property. They were tenant farmers, they just got the right to use the land and never became its owners.

The Aztec society was divided into three classes
The Aztec society was divided into three classes

The nobilities were the people who were nobles by birth, priests, and those who earned their rank. The warriors, priests, and the nobility were considered to be among the most respected in the Aztec social hierarchy.

The long distance traders also enjoyed considerable privileges and often served the government as ambassadors and spies. The most outstanding artisans, physicians and truly wise teacher were also highly respected.

Describe Briefly The Gods and Goddesses of The Aztec

Religion was extremely important in Aztec file. They worshipped hundreds of gods and goddesses, each of whom ruled over one or more human activities or aspects of nature. The people had many agricultural gods because their culture was based heavily on farming; it also included natural elements and ancestor heroes.

They believed that the balance of the natural world, the processes that make life possible – like the rain or solar energy and that the destiny of people depended on the will of these gods. While some deities were benevolent, others had terrifying characteristics.

The Aztecs thought that the power of the gods should be acknowledged and thanks given to them, so as to avoid the catastrophes that their rage or indifference could cause. For this reason, monumental ceremonial centers were built and there were so many religious tires.

The existence of the gods and their goodwill were maintained by offering the most valuable human possession, life. This them, led to the origin of human sacrifice and the ritual of bearing intense physical pain, which believers intentionally caused themselves

Huitzilopchtli  God
Huitzilopchtli God

What Was Aztecs’ Main Occupation?

The Aztecs made terraces, which were steps descending down a wall to control the flow of water. This kept their crops from flooding. Like the Olmec civilization, the Aztecs also used a slash and burn method of farming.

Chinampas, artificial islands made by weaving giant reed mats and covering them with mudded plants, were used to extend cropping into the swamp. Although they seemed to float, the chinampas were anchored to the ground by plant roots. All this helped the Aztecs grow abundance of corn, chili peppers, squash, tomatoes, beans, and other kinds of food.

Briefly Describe The Pyramids of Mexico

The pyramids of Teotihuacan rise as high as twenty – storey buildings, above the central Mexican highlands, with a grandeur and mystery that stirs the imagination and inspires the soul. All of the buildings are aligned with the stars and the solar system from precise survey point located in the nearby mountain range, using an advanced understanding of mathematics, geometry and astronomy. It thrived as the primary center of learning and culture in American for over one thousand years, before it was abandoned about fifteen – hundred years ago. After the fall of Teotihuacan, two major paths of sacred knowledge formed. One Toltec path went to Tula near present day Hidalgo. The magic of Tula can be compared to who our culture might term as “ black magic”.

The Pyramids of Mexico
The Pyramids of Mexico

What Was The Importance of  Cholula?

Cholula was the Holy Place of the Three major satellite cities of Teotihuacan. It was destroyed by Cortes and his men on their way to take over Tenochtitlan. The pyramid is in the present day city of Cholula and, in volume, (before destruction) was larger than the Egyptian pyramid of Cheops. After conquest, a church was built on the top of the ruins.

Three successively larger pyramids were built on top of each other here, and served important ceremorilal purposes for the Aztecs. The last and largest pyramid was laced with stucco, which, if not maintained, turns back to mud.

Then the Pyramid was abandoned, the stucco turned back to mud, and plants and eventually trees grew on it.

Historians think that the Spaniardswere not aware that they were building their church on top of an Aztec pyramid – perhaps they just built it there because it was the highest hill in the area! However, it is very common, both in Mexico and in other cultures with conflicting belief system, to see buildings associated with one culture constructed on top of or from the rubbles of buildings associated with the other culture.

In Izamal, for example, a large cathedral and courtyard are built on top of a lopped – off pyramid. In India too, one can see mosques constructed from stones whose carvings show that they were originally part of Hindu temples

Cholula was the Holy Place of the Three major satellite cities of Teotihuacan
Cholula was the Holy Place of the Three major satellite cities of Teotihuacan

Describe Briefly The Pyramids of Teotihuacan

In Nahuatl, Teotihuacan means The City of the Gods, or “ where Men Become Gods”. The Plazas, avenues, and great pyramids of the city of Teotihuacan were laid out as a symbolic sacred landscape of artificial foothills and mountains.

The complex of approximately 600 pyramids of various sizes is dominated by the great Pyramid of the Sun which, it was discovered in 1971, was built over a natural cave with four chambers. Mesoamerican belief saw caves as gateways to the spiritual world (called Xiballa by the Maya). The cave contained remains of offerings and may have been a centre for shamanistic rituals from a much earlier period. There can be no doubt that the Pyramid of the Sun was deliberately built over the sacred Cave.

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