The Aztecs

Articles on the culture, history, and practices of the Aztecs


Aztec Designs and Symbols for Tattoos

Aztec Designs and Symbols for Tattoos

Most Mesoamerican cultures loved adornment. One of the ways they adorned their bodies was through tattooing. While scholars note that Otomi, Huaxtec and Mayans used permanent tattoos, they are not sure that Aztecs did, although there are references to Aztecs getting...
Aztec Symbols, the Language of Culture

Aztec Symbols, the Language of Culture

Aztec symbols were a component of material culture in which the ancient society expressed understanding of the corporeal and immaterial world. The members of that culture absorb the symbols and their meanings as they grow up. They see the symbols all around them, on...
Aztec Warriors: Weapons and Armor

Aztec Warriors: Weapons and Armor

As Aztec warriors showed their courage and craftiness in battle and skill at capturing enemy soldiers for sacrifice, they gained in military rank. The Aztec emperors honored the higher ranks with weapons and distinctive garb that reflected their status in the...
Aztec Warriors: Rank and Warrior Societies

Aztec Warriors: Rank and Warrior Societies

The Aztec warrior was highly honored in society if he was successful. Success depended on bravery in battle, tactical skill, heroic deeds and most of all, in capturing enemy warriors. Since every boy and man received military training, all were called for battle when...
Aztec Warriors: The Flower Wars

Aztec Warriors: The Flower Wars

As you have read, the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice. Most of the people sacrificed were not residents of the Aztec’s major cities, rather they were captured in wars, both wars of conquest and wars of the flowers. The Aztec term for wars for captives was...
Aztec Warriors Fighting for Conquest and Captives

Aztec Warriors Fighting for Conquest and Captives

The Aztec Empire maintained its supremacy by war or threat of war against its neighboring areas. Aztecs engaged in war for two primary reasons: for conquest to reap tribute or to take captives for religious sacrifices necessary to satisfy the gods. We’ll discuss the...
Aztec Empire: Art, Myth and Religion Entwined in Stone

Aztec Empire: Art, Myth and Religion Entwined in Stone

While many other Aztec art works were destroyed, either by the Spanish or by the degradations of time, Aztec stone carvings remain to give us a glimpse into the worldview of this supreme Mesoamerican culture. These masterpieces were discovered in Mexico City in the...

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Aztec Art: A Way of Life

Aztec Art: A Way of Life

The Aztecs created a rich variety of art works from massive stone sculptures to miniature, exquisitely carved gemstone insects. They made stylized hand crafted pottery, fine gold and silver jewelry and breathtaking feather work garments. The Aztecs were as intimately...
Aztec System of Writing: Pictograms

Aztec System of Writing: Pictograms

Codex painter was an honored and necessary profession in the Aztec world. They were highly trained in the calmecacs, the advanced schools of the noble class. Some calmecacs invited commoner children to train as scribes if they were highly talented, but most scribes...
Aztec Culture: How Many were Killed as Human Sacrifices?

Aztec Culture: How Many were Killed as Human Sacrifices?

The numbers of people sacrificed by the Aztecs is a mystery today and will probably remain a mystery, unless more archeological evidence is uncovered. Whether only a few thousand of victims were sacrificed each year, or 250,000 as some scholars say, few human remains...
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