Ancient Aztec Facts

Ancient Aztec Facts
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  • Aztec” refers exclusively to the people of Tenochtitlan. This city was located on an island in Lake Texcoco . The first ruler was Acamapichtli (1376-1396). He guided early construction of the city. The last and 11th ruler, Cuauhtemoc (1520-1525), who was governing when the Spanish destroyed Tenochtitlan and the Aztec empire ended.
  • Several types of money were in regular use; small purchases were made with cacao beans and larger purchases were made with cotton cloth called quachtli.
  • Parents taught children responsibility, citizenship, and life-skills – harsh punishments were handed out if child disobeyed – children of noble class attended calmecac (school) and the workers’ children attended telpochcalli and were taught occupational skills, warfare, history, good citizenship, religion but girls were trained for marriage.
  • Maize (yellow corn) was main food source along with avocados, tomatoes, tamales, tortillas, vegetables, meat, corn, chili peppers, squash, and chocolate.
  • Children played tlachtli – a ball game for teams much like a combination of basketball and soccer and patolli – a gambling game played with dried beans and pebbles.
  • Harsh laws maintained order where the emperor would act as judge and the citizens would act as the jury.
  • N’ahuatl is a system of hundreds of pictures that created an alphabet and scribes and priests were the only ones who could write.
  • War was a big part of the culture and all boys were trained to fight.
  • Aztecs used two different calendars, one measured time, while the other was used to fix religious festivals.
  • Religion was very important part of Aztec life and music was a huge part of religious ceremonies (and story-telling) – the instruments theyused were shells, rattles, whistles, horns, bells and drums.

List of Aztec Gods

(having many gods and goddesses is called polytheastic)

Chalchiuhtlicue – goddess of the lakes and streams

Chantico – goddess of the hearth

Chicomecoatl – goddess of maize

Coatlicue – goddess for the pain of life

Huehuetectim – god of fire

Huitzilopochtli – god of war, sun and the nation

Mictlantecuhtl – god of the dead

Quetzalcoatl – god of knowledge, creation, priesthood, and wind

Tezcatlipoca – god of magic, war and death

Tezcatlipoca – god of speech and language

Tlaloc – god of rain

Tloque Nahuaque – god of everywhere, the one supreme force, both male and female

Xipe Totec – god of spring and new life, god of suffering

Xochipilli – prince of flowers, god of dawn, dance and love