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Aztec Empire. Notes in SINK. The Aztec Empire, 1519. Capital City, Tenochtitlan. BEGINNING OF CULTURE. Called Mexica Lived by hunting small animals and collecting wild plants Nomadic : lived in small groups, moved frequently 1111-1325 AD - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Aztec EmpireNotes in SINK

  • The Aztec Empire, 1519 Capital City, Tenochtitlan

  • BEGINNING OF CULTURECalled MexicaLived by hunting small animals and collecting wild plantsNomadic: lived in small groups, moved frequently 1111-1325 ADStarted in Aztlan- northwest of the Valley of Mexico

  • AztecsDuring their journeys, adopted other cultures customs and ideasLearned to cultivate/farm corn, chiles and other cropsFollowed calendars from other civilizationsWherever they stopped they built a temple to Huitzilopochtli(Wee-tsee-lo-POCH-tlee)

  • . Their god Huitzilopochtli had commanded them to find an eagle devouring a snake, perched atop a cactus. After two hundred years of wandering, they found the promised sign on a small island in the swampy Lake Texcoco. It was there they founded their new capital, Tenochtitlan.

  • One Problem Formed other alliances through arranged marriages.By the 1400's (1427) - The Aztecs conquered neighboring peoples, becoming an empire.

    When they arrived in the Valley of Mexico, there was little available land. Others were there and had already formed alliances.The Mexica were not popular, so were chased out into of the five lakes in the valley, Lake Texcoco where they took refuge on an island.They were Strong and clever warriors, so they offered their military services to the other cities.


  • BASIC NEEDSHouses for commoners made of reeds and mud. One room, windowless, and divided into two partskitchen and sleeping area.Houses for wealthy were adobeDiet: corn cakes, beans, sweet potatoes, avocados, squash, peppers, fish, fowl, deer, turkey, and popcorn!Work: trade, hunting, farming, craftsmen

  • BASIC NEEDSAs the Aztec population grew, more food was needed. To solve this problem, Aztec engineers created floating gardens or chinampas. They built a series of rafts, which they anchored to the shallow parts of the lake bed. They piled on dirt and grew crops. They made walkways out of mud and reeds to connect the floating rafts.

  • BASIC NEEDSThey created a complex system of irrigation canals to water their cropsThe Aztecs grew chili peppers, squash, corn, tomatoes, and beans.

  • Tending to the chinampas

  • CITIESTenochtitlan was the capital. became the present day Mexico cityTlaltelolco- island to the NorthBecame rivals, so Aztecs of Tenochtitlan battled and won.


    The Aztecs began heir reign in 1427

  • SOCIAL ORGANIZATION/ECONOMYNOBILITYRULERS (tlatoani)Ruled empires, cities, major towns protectors, organize wars, religious celebrationsCHIEFS (tecutli)Judges, generals, tax collectors,advisorsNOBLES (pilli) (not as wealthy)Lower level military officials, teachers, priests, astrologers, scribes

    The Aztecs began heir reign in 1427

  • SOCIAL ORGANIZATION/ECONOMYINTERMEDIATEMERCHANTSTraded luxury goods and foods over long distances, often served as spiesARTISANS/ CRAFTSMENSculptures, mosaic, gold and feather work

    The Aztecs began heir reign in 1427

  • SOCIAL ORGANIZATION/ECONOMYCOMMONERSMERCHANTSTraded luxury goods and foods over long distances, often served as spiesARTISANS/ CRAFTSMENSculptures, mosaic, gold and feather work

    The Aztecs began heir reign in 1427

  • RELIGIONOver 60 gods and goddessesPriest would offer sacrifices to keep sun god happy and alive

    Central to Aztec lifeSun god especially importantThousands of prisoners sacrificed to Aztec gods.

  • AZTEC RELIGIONThe Aztecs believed that the sun god needed daily "nourishment" - that is, human blood and hearts - and that they, as the "people of the sun," were required to provide the sun god with his victims.

    Warriors who died in battle or on the sacrificial stone were called quauhteca ("the eagle's people").

    It was believed that after their death the warriors first formed part of the sun's brilliance; then, after four years, they went to live forever in the bodies of hummingbirds.

  • AZTEC RELIGIONAztec historians recorded that in 1487, at the great pyramid of Tenochitilan, executioners sacrificed four lines of prisoners, each two miles long. But before they were ritualistically killed, the victims were forced to climb up the pyramid's two hundred and thirty seven steps. At the top were two killing rooms, with priests wielding sacrificial knives.

    Sacrifices were necessary to satisfy their hungry sun-god who demanded blood as payment for creating the world. The limbs of a victim would be given as a reward to the victims captor to be eaten. If his gory fee were not paid, the sun would go out.

  • Aztec ReligionAn Aztec tzompantli, as illustrated in 1596. A tzompantli is a type of wooden rack used for the public display of human skulls, typically those of war captives or other sacrificial victims.

  • Aztec ReligionAztec tzompantli

  • AZTEC RELIGIONThe main attributes of the Aztec sun god, Huitzilopochtli, were a helmet in the form of a hummingbird head; a turquoise or fire serpent called xiuhcoatl, his magic weapon, in one hand; in the other, a shield with five feather ornaments; and a ritual paper flag complements his attributes.

  • QUETZALCOATL- "The God of Wind" The Creator God-The Feathered Serpent-The Founder of Agriculture- Precious Feather Snake- The Road Sweeper.Often portrayed with a black beard to represent age or as an old man. Covering his mouth there is often a red mask in the form of a bird's beak. His mask identifies him as the god of wind and he was worshiped under the name of Ehecatl, or wind. One of the greatest gods, god of wind, light, and Venus

  • QUETZALCOATL- "The God of Wind" According to Aztec tradition, this being left his homeland and vowed to return in triumph. This became part of a legend about a prince whose return from exile would be preceded by a sign of an arrow through a sapling.When the Aztec saw the Spanish with a cross on their breastplates, they mistook the Spanish for Quetzalcoatls representatives because the cross looked like the sign they awaited.

  • Tezcatlipoca vs. Quetzalcoatl

  • TEZCATLIPOCA- "The Mirror That Smokes" "One Death"The creator God - The God of the Hunt - Patron of Princes - God of Providence. The Lord of the Here and Now - The Enemy on Both Sides. The true invisible god who walked over the heavens and surface of the earth and hell. Where ever this god went wars, anxiety, and trouble were sure to follow. Tezcatlipoca was thought to incite wars against one another and was called Necocyautl, which means "sower of discord on both sides".

  • Tezcatlipoca

  • LANGUAGEBORROWED FROM OTHER VALLEY TRIBESNAHUATLFirst to write down the language Pictures represented wordsSpaniards destroyed most of their books


  • FAMILY PATTERNSEach person was a member of an extended family. (grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, siblings)Each family was a member of a clan or Calpolli.Each Calpolli elected its own officers.Twenty clans combined to form a tribe.Tribes met together to take care of common needs.Each tribe had a leader to be in this council.The council chooses a chief.

  • FAMILY PATTERNSCalpolli governed all parts of a persons life.Birth- priest consulted about birth date.EducationArranged marriages- within clan ony

  • EducationTo build the city they wanted, they knew that they would need many engineers, builders, and traders. This required an educated population. To solve this problem, the Aztecs set up a system of public schools. Attendance was mandatory for all Aztec children, even girls and slaves. The Aztecs were the only people up to that time in history to have free schools that every child had to attend.

  • EducationThere were three different schools: one for girls, and two for boys. Girls learned about religion and were trained to be good wives and mothers. They learned how to cook, sew, and how to care for their children. They also learned how to make beautiful woven textiles.

  • EDUCATION FOR BOYSSons of the upper class went to the nobles school. Sons of wealthy traders and merchants also went to this school. They studied law, writing (hieroglyphics), medicine, engineering and building, interpretation of dreams and omens, and self-expression. They also learned about their history and religious beliefs. It was a tough school. The boys were humiliated and tormented to toughen them up.

  • SECOND BOYS SCHOOLSons of Commoners and SlavesThe other boys school was for sons of commoners. Its main goal was to train warriors and farmers. Boys had to sleep under skimpy blankets. They were given hard bread to eat. The commoners school also taught history, religion, manners, correct behavior, and important rituals, along with singing and dancing.

  • MATH/SCIENCECounting system used dots to represent numbers 1-19A flag represented 20A feather represented 400A bag represented 800

  • AZTEC CALENDARThe 2 Aztec calendars consist of a 365 day calendar cycle called xiuhpohualli (year count) and a 260 day ritual cycle called tonalpohualli (day count). These two cycles together formed a 52 year "century", sometimes called the Calendar Round".


  • Sun Stone, or the Stone of AxayacatlMistaken for the calendar, but is actually an altar.

  • ARTArchitectureTemples, pyramid,SculptureStone, metal, wood, jade, turquoise, emerald, volcanic glassPott