The Aztecs

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


Aztec Culture and Human Sacrifice

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...
Aztec Religious Ceremonies and Rituals

Aztec Religious Ceremonies and Rituals

Aztec life was richly imbued with religious symbolism and rituals. 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...
Governance of the Aztec Empire

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...
Aztec Empire: The Importance of Religion

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...
Aztec Economy: Regional Markets and Long Distance Trade

Aztec Economy: Regional Markets and Long Distance Trade

The Aztec economy was based on three things: agricultural goods, tribute and trade. 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...
Aztec Agriculture: Floating Farms Fed the People

Aztec Agriculture: Floating Farms Fed the People

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...

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Aztec Empire: Education at Home and School

Aztec Empire: Education at Home and School

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. Two different schools taught the young—one for the noble...
Aztec Housing from Grand to Primitive

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....
Aztec Empire: Simple Clothing, Elaborate Decorations

Aztec Empire: Simple Clothing, Elaborate Decorations

All Aztecs dressed rather simply on a daily basis, according to their station in life. Men of both the noble and common class wore a loincloth and a cape called a tilma. Variations in fabric, trim and how the tilma was worn revealed the status of the wearer. Women of...
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