Aztec people made one of the greatest Empires of the world. They came closer to form a perfect clan, tribe and a nation to attain heights of grandeur. The Aztecs were nomads who loved to wander from one place to another in order to enjoy life among nature’s wilderness. They were in reality in search for a permanent settlement.
Mythology is always there to state something different and exceptional. Therefore, in case of Aztec society the myth states that the Aztec God of sun and war asked the people to continue their search for a perfect homeland until they come across an eagle perching on a Nopal cactus with a snake in its beak. In 1248, the Aztecs discovered the eagle in the middle of the lake at the northern portion of the valley of Mexico. After this, the city was attributed as Tenochtitlan, which has now become the center of attraction of the Mexican City.
The Aztec Society
The social structure of the Aztecs was divided into three significant classes – the slaves, commoners and the nobility. It was customary that the children of most poor families were sold as cattle and commodities for a temporary period. There was also the system of the slaves buying their freedom back. But how was this possible? How could the slaves regain their freedom? If the slaves were successful in escaping and reaching the royal palace without being noticed by the royal guards, they were gifted their autonomy instanteously.
The Aztec Commoners
Macehualtin is the term, which was used to identify the commoners of the Aztec society. Most of the commoners were agriculturists who were allowed to possess their produces. However, among the several strata of the Aztec commoners those who belonged to the lowest were not allowed to own properties. They were identified as tenant farmers who could make use of a certain piece of land but could never become its proprietor.
Who were these nobles? The nobles comprised priests and people of high rank. The nobles were eminent members of government, the army and the priesthood who were generally referred to as ‘pipiltin’. One among the nobles was chosen as the supreme leader usually known as the tlatoani. The person was immensely loved and respected by all.
The Aztec Warriors And Merchants
Aztecs were worshippers of warfare. Based upon this, the warriors occupied a prominent position in the hierarchy. The warriors were the most ardent devotees for which reason they were the first to come forward for the most significant Aztec sacrificial ceremonies. However, traders and merchants were no less significant and they often served as government ambassadors and spies. Extraordinary artisans, physicians and teachers were also held in high respect. On account of these details, it can be stated with conviction that power, position and pride formed the basics of the Aztec society.
The Language Of The Aztecs
Nahuatl, yes this is the language the Aztecs spoke. They made extensive use of pictographic words.
It is often an injustice to say that there are only seven wonders in the world. Wonders lie at the heart of each civilization and once they are unleashed, we just find it difficult to believe our own ears. The Aztecs too are full of wonders. In their calendar the Aztecs had 360 days, which were divided, into 18 parts each having 20 days. However, there were five empty squares referred to as empty days. On such bare and unfilled days, the Aztecs used to stop working and continuously fast during these five days. On the last day however, the priest arranged for a human sacrifice. Doesn’t it sound weird? How can the death of an innocent soul satisfy the heavenly kingdom? Yes, it did according to the Aztecs.
What The Aztecs Ate
Maize was the staple food of the Aztecs. They also ate Tortillas (a round, flat, toasted bread), atole (a sort of porridge seasoned with pimento) and tamales (steamed maize stuffed with savory vegetables or meat) along with a palatable dish of maize. Aztecs consumed insects like crickets (chapulines), maguey worms, ants and larvae, which were the hot favorites of the people Aztec.
Religion Of The Aztecs
Religion largely regulated the life of the Aztecs. They believed that for a healthy and hazardless existence it is important to satisfy the divine beings. This, they did by way of sacrificing innumerable humans in the name of religion. The Aztecs were nature worshippers. They revered the sun, moon, water and other natural and climactic elements.
ConclusionReligion and myth had a major role to play in the life of the Aztecs. The Aztec people were afraid to know more and what they already knew at times seemed quite obscure due to their extreme religious sentiments.
Joseph Paige © 2006