The Aztecs

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

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

human sacrifices aztecs

Human Sacrifices: How Many were Killed In Aztec Culture?

Human sacrifices Aztecs were a part of their religious ceremony that they believed properly appeased their gods to spare them from suffering. 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…

Aztec sacrifice, Magliabechiano Codex

Aztec Culture and Human Sacrifice

The first thing to understand about the Mesoamerican cultures and the Aztecs’ use of human sacrifice is that they were not horrified by it. Instead, it was a natural part of life to them, necessary to keep the world balanced and going forward. Blood and sacrifice helped the sun to…

aztec rituals

Aztec Rituals and Religious Ceremonies: What Were They?

Aztec rituals and religious symbolism imbued the civilization's life with religious meaning throughout the year. Every month had at least one major religious ceremony honoring a god or gods. Most of these ceremonies were related to the agricultural season, the sowing of corn or the harvest of fruits. In almost…

The tlacochcalcatl, a General on the Council of Four who led the Aztec Army to war. Second in line to the Emperor. Pictured in the Codex Mendoza

Governance of the Aztec Empire

The Aztec Empire had a hierarchical government with power and responsibility running from the top down. The empire’s rule was indirect over its provinces. That is, as long as the province or territory paid the tribute it owed the empire in full and on time, the empire left the local…

Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, is raising up the skies of the South, page 50, Borgia Codex

Aztec Empire: The Importance of Religion

To understand the Aztecs, it is necessary to understand, as best we can, their religious beliefs and how those beliefs manifested in their culture. To that end, we will look at their religion in general, the gods, sacred calendar and temples here. Other articles will cover religious ceremonies and rituals…

aztec trade

Aztec Trade: Regional Markets and Long Distance Trading

The Aztec economy was based on three things: agricultural goods, tribute, and trade. Aztec trade was crucially important to the empire; there could be no empire without it as many goods used by the Aztecs were not produced locally. Prized white cotton could not grow at the altitude of the…

Modern Chinampas

Aztec Agriculture: Floating Farms Fed the People

Aztec Agriculture: Agriculture, along with trade and tribute, formed the basis of the Aztec Empire. As such, growing enough food to feed the urban populations of the Aztec cities was of major importance. Many inhabitants of all of the Aztec cities were involved in planting, cultivating and harvesting the empire’s…

aztec education

Aztec Education: Learning at Home and School

Aztec education was quite sophisticated compared to contemporary empires in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. The Aztec Empire is one of the few older civilizations that featured mandatory education at home and in schools. Every child was educated, no matter his or her social status, whether noble, commoner or slave.…

A "temāzcalli" or Aztec steam bath from the Codex Magliabecchi

Aztec Housing from Grand to Primitive

Aztec homes ranged from one-room huts to large, spacious palaces. As in their clothing and diet, the size and style of Aztec homes depended on the family’s social status. Wealthy nobles lived in many roomed elaborate houses, usually built around an inner courtyard. Poorer Aztecs and commoners usually lived in…

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