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Aztec
Aztec
culture (/ˈæztɛk/), was a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico
Mexico
in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521, during the time in which a triple alliance of the Mexica, Texcoca and Tepaneca tribes established the Aztec
Aztec
empire. The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Aztec
Aztec
culture is the culture of the people referred to as Aztecs, but since most ethnic groups of central Mexico
Mexico
in the postclassic period shared basic cultural traits, many of the traits that characterize Aztec
Aztec
culture cannot be said to be exclusive to the Aztecs. For the same reason, the notion of " Aztec
Aztec
civilization" is best understood as a particular horizon of a general Mesoamerican civilization.[1] The culture of central Mexico
Mexico
includes maize cultivation, the social division between pipiltin nobility and macehualtin commoners, a pantheon (featuring Tezcatlipoca, Tlaloc
Tlaloc
and Quetzalcoatl), and the calendric system of a xiuhpohualli of 365 days intercalated with a tonalpohualli of 260 days. Particular to the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan was the Mexica
Mexica
patron God Huitzilopochtli, twin pyramids, and the ceramic ware known as Aztec
Aztec
I to III.[1] From the 13th century, the Valley of Mexico
Mexico
was the heart of Aztec civilization: there the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Triple Alliance, was built upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco. The Triple Alliance formed the Aztec
Aztec
Empire, a tributary empire that expanded its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
in the late postclassic period. It originated in 1427 as an alliance between the city-states Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan; these allied to defeat the Tepanec
Tepanec
state of Azcapotzalco, which had previously dominated the Basin of Mexico. Soon Texcoco and Tlacopan
Tlacopan
became junior partners in the alliance, of which the Mexica
Mexica
of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
were the de facto leaders. The empire extended its power by a combination of trade and military conquest. It was never a true territorial empire controlling a territory by large military garrisons in conquered provinces, but rather controlled its client states primarily by installing friendly rulers in conquered cities, by constructing marriage alliances between the ruling dynasties, and by extending an imperial ideology to its client states.[2] Client states paid tribute to the Aztec
Aztec
emperor, the Huey Tlatoani, in an economic strategy limiting communication and trade between outlying polities, making them dependent on the imperial center for the acquisition of luxury goods.[3] The political clout of the empire reached far south into Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
conquering cities as far south as Chiapas
Chiapas
and Guatemala and spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. The empire reached its maximal extent in 1519, just prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés, who managed to topple the Aztec empire
Aztec empire
by allying with some of the traditional enemies of the Aztecs, the Nahuatl-speaking Tlaxcalteca. Subsequently, the Spanish founded the new settlement of Mexico
Mexico
City on the site of the ruined Aztec
Aztec
capital, from where they proceeded with the process of colonizing Central America. Aztec
Aztec
culture and history is primarily known through archaeological evidence found in excavations such as that of the renowned Templo Mayor in Mexico
Mexico
City; from indigenous bark paper codices; from eyewitness accounts by Spanish conquistadors such as Cortés and Bernal Díaz del Castillo; and especially from 16th- and 17th-century descriptions of Aztec
Aztec
culture and history written by Spanish clergymen and literate Aztecs in the Spanish or Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language, such as the famous Florentine Codex
Florentine Codex
compiled by the Franciscan
Franciscan
monk Bernardino de Sahagún with the help of indigenous Aztec
Aztec
informants. At its height, Aztec
Aztec
culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions, as well as achieving remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments.

Contents

1 Definitions 2 History

2.1 Central Mexico
Mexico
in the classic and post-classic 2.2 Migrational period and foundation of Tenochtitlan 2.3 Early rulers 2.4 Imperial Expansion

2.4.1 Motecuzoma I Ilhuicamina 2.4.2 Axayacatl
Axayacatl
and Tizoc 2.4.3 Ahuitzotl 2.4.4 Motecuzoma II Xocoyotzin

2.5 Spanish conquest 2.6 Colonial period population decline

3 Political and social organization

3.1 Nobles and commoners 3.2 Family and gender 3.3 Altepetl
Altepetl
and calpolli 3.4 Empire

4 Economy

4.1 Agriculture and subsistence 4.2 Crafts and trades 4.3 Trade and distribution 4.4 Tribute

5 Urbanism

5.1 Tenochtitlan 5.2 The Great Temple 5.3 Other cities

6 Religion

6.1 Deities 6.2 Mythology and Cosmovision 6.3 Calendar 6.4 Human sacrifice

7 Art and cultural production

7.1 Writing and iconography 7.2 Music, song and poetry 7.3 Ceramics 7.4 Painted art 7.5 Sculpture

8 Legacy 9 Historiography

9.1 Aztec
Aztec
codices 9.2 The conquistadors 9.3 Priests and scholars 9.4 Native authors

10 See also 11 Notes 12 Footnotes 13 References 14 External links

Definitions The Nahuatl
Nahuatl
words aztecatl [asˈtekat͡ɬ] (singular)[4] and aztecah [asˈtekaʔ] (plural)[4] mean "people from Aztlan",[5] a mythological place for the Nahuatl-speaking culture of the time, and later adopted as the word to define the Mexica
Mexica
people. Often the term "Aztec" refers exclusively to the Mexica
Mexica
people of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
(now the location of Mexico
Mexico
City), situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, who referred to themselves as Mēxihcah Tenochcah [meːˈʃiʔkaʔ teˈnot͡ʃkaʔ] or Cōlhuah Mexihcah [ˈkoːlwaʔ meːˈʃiʔkaʔ]. Sometimes the term also includes the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan's two principal allied city-states, the Acolhuas of Texcoco and the Tepanecs of Tlacopan, who together with the Mexica
Mexica
formed the Aztec
Aztec
Triple Alliance that controlled what is often known as the " Aztec
Aztec
Empire". In other contexts, Aztec
Aztec
may refer to all the various city states and their peoples, who shared large parts of their ethnic history and cultural traits with the Mexica, Acolhua
Acolhua
and Tepanecs, and who often also used the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language as a lingua franca. In this meaning, it is possible to talk about an Aztec
Aztec
civilization including all the particular cultural patterns common for most of the peoples inhabiting central Mexico
Mexico
in the late postclassic period.[6] When used to describe ethnic groups, the term "Aztec" refers to several Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico
Mexico
in the postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology, especially the Mexica, the ethnic group that had a leading role in establishing the hegemonic empire based at Tenochtitlan. The term extends to further ethnic groups associated with the Aztec
Aztec
empire, such as the Acolhua, the Tepanec
Tepanec
and others that were incorporated into the empire. In older usage the term was commonly used about modern Nahuatl-speaking ethnic groups, as Nahuatl
Nahuatl
was previously referred to as the " Aztec
Aztec
language". In recent usage, these ethnic groups are referred to as the Nahua peoples.[7][8] Linguistically, the term "Aztecan" is still used about the branch of the Uto-Aztecan languages
Uto-Aztecan languages
(also sometimes called the yuto-nahuan languages) that includes the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language and its closest relatives Pochutec and Pipil.[9] To the Aztecs themselves the word "aztec" was not an endonym for any particular ethnic group. Rather, it was an umbrella term used to refer to several ethnic groups, not all of them Nahuatl-speaking, that claimed heritage from the mythic place of origin, Aztlan. In the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language "aztecatl" means "person from Aztlan". Alexander von Humboldt originated the modern usage of "Aztec" in 1810, as a collective term applied to all the people linked by trade, custom, religion, and language to the Mexica
Mexica
state and the Triple Alliance. In 1843, with the publication of the work of William H. Prescott, the term was adopted by most of the world, including 19th-century Mexican scholars who saw it as a way to distinguish present-day Mexicans from pre-conquest Mexicans. This usage has been the subject of debate in more recent years, but the term "Aztec" is still more common.[10] History Main article: History of the Aztecs Central Mexico
Mexico
in the classic and post-classic

The Valley of Mexico
Mexico
with the locations of the main city states in 1519.

It is a matter of debate whether the enormous city of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
was inhabited by speakers of Nahuatl, or whether Nahuas had not yet arrived in central Mexico
Mexico
in the classic period. It is generally agreed that the Nahua peoples
Nahua peoples
were not indigenous to the highlands of central Mexico, but that they gradually migrated into the region from somewhere in northwestern Mexico. At the fall of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
in the 6th century CE, a number of city states rose to power in central Mexico, some of them, including Cholula and Xochicalco, probably inhabited by Nahuatl
Nahuatl
speakers. One study has suggested that Nahuas originally inhabited the Bajío area around Guanajuato which reached a population peak in the 6th century, after which the population quickly diminished during a subsequent dry period. This depopulation of the Bajío coincided with an incursion of new populations into the Valley of Mexico, which suggests that this marks the influx of Nahuatl speakers into the region.[11] These populated central Mexico, dislocating speakers of Oto-Manguean languages
Oto-Manguean languages
as they spread their political influence south. As the former nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples mixed with the complex civilizations of Mesoamerica, adopting religious and cultural practices, the foundation for later Aztec culture was laid. After 900 CE, during the Postclassic period, a number of sites almost certainly inhabited by Nahuatl
Nahuatl
speakers became powerful. Among them the site of Tula, Hidalgo, and also city states such as Tenayuca, and Colhuacan in the valley of Mexico
Mexico
and Cuauhnahuac
Cuauhnahuac
in Morelos.[12] Migrational period and foundation of Tenochtitlan In the ethnohistorical sources from the colonial colonial period, Aztecs themselves describe their arrival in the Valley of Mexico. The ethnonym Aztec
Aztec
( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
‘‘Aztecah’’) means “people from Aztlan”, Aztlan
Aztlan
being a mythical place of origin toward the north. Hence the term applied to all those peoples who claimed to carry the heritage from this mythical place. The migration stories of the Mexica tribe tell how they traveled with other tribes, including the Tlaxcalteca, Tepaneca and Acolhua, but that eventually their tribal deity Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
told them to split from the other Aztec
Aztec
tribes and take on the name “Mexica”.[13] At the time of their arrival, there were many Aztec
Aztec
city-states in the region. The most powerful were Colhuacan to the south and Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
to the west. The Tepanecs of Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
soon expelled the Mexicas from Chapultepec. In 1299, Colhuacan ruler Cocoxtli gave them permission to settle in the empty barrens of Tizapan, where they were eventually assimilated into Culhuacan culture.[14] The noble lineage of Colhuacan traced its roots back to the legendary city state of Tula, and by marrying into Colhua families, the Mexica
Mexica
now also adopted this heritage. After living in Colhuacan, the Mexica
Mexica
were again expelled and moved on. According to Aztec
Aztec
legend, in 1323 the Mexicas were shown a vision of an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, eating a snake. The vision indicated the location where they were to build their home. The Mexica
Mexica
founded the town of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
on a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco. The year of foundation is usually given as 1325. In 1376 the Mexica
Mexica
royal dynasty was founded when Acamapichtli, son of a Mexica
Mexica
father and a Colhua mother, was elected as the first ‘’Huey Tlatoani’’ of Tenochtitlan.[15] Early rulers

Rulers (Tlahtoqueh) of Tenochtitlan

Rulers subject to Azcapotzalco

Acamapichtli
Acamapichtli
(1375-1395)

Huitzilihhuitl
Huitzilihhuitl
(1396-1417)

Chimalpopoca
Chimalpopoca
(1417-1427)

Independent Rulers

Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
(1427-1440)

Motecuzoma I Ilhuicamina (1440-1469)

Axayacatl
Axayacatl
(1469-1481)

Tizoc
Tizoc
(1481-1486)

Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
(1486-1502)

Motecuzoma II Xocoyotzin (1502-1520)

Cuitlahuac
Cuitlahuac
(1520)

Cuauhtemoc
Cuauhtemoc
(1520-1521)

Colonial Indigenous Governors

Juan Velázquez Tlacotzin (1525)

Andrés de Tapia Motelchiuh (1525-1530)

Pablo Xochiquentzin (1532-1536)

Diego de Alvarado Huanitzin
Diego de Alvarado Huanitzin
(1539-1541)

Diego de San Francisco Tehuetzquititzin
Diego de San Francisco Tehuetzquititzin
(1541-1554)

Esteban de Guzmán (1554-1557)

Cristóbal de Guzmán Cecetzin (1557-1562)

Luis de Santa María Nanacacipactzin (1563-1565)

v t e

In the first 50 years after the founding of the Mexica
Mexica
dynasty, the Mexica
Mexica
were a tributary of Azcapotzalco, which had become a major regional power under the ruler Tezozomoc. The Mexica
Mexica
supplied the Tepaneca with warriors for their successful conquest campaigns in the region and received part of the tribute from the conquered city states. In this way, the prestige and economy of Tenochtitlan gradually grew.[16] In 1396, at Acamapichtli’s death, his son Huitzilihhuitl
Huitzilihhuitl
(Nahuatl: "Hummingbird feather") became ruler; married to Tezozomoc’s daughter, the relation with Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
remained close. Chimalpopoca (Nahuatl: "She smokes like a shield"), son of Huitzilihhuitl, became ruler of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
in 1417. In 1418, Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
initiated a war against the Acolhua
Acolhua
of Texcoco and killed their ruler Ixtlilxochitl. Even though Ixtlilxochitl was married to Chimalpopoca’s daughter, the Mexica
Mexica
ruler continued to support Tezozomoc. Tezozomoc died in 1426, and his sons began a struggle for rulership of Azcapotzalco. During this struggle for power, Chimalpopoca
Chimalpopoca
died, probably killed by Tezozomoc’s son Maxtla who saw him as a competitor.[17] Itzcoatl, brother of Huitzilihhuitl
Huitzilihhuitl
and uncle of Chimalpopoca, was elected the next Mexica
Mexica
tlatoani. The Mexica
Mexica
were now in open war with Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
and Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
petitioned for an alliance with Nezahualcoyotl, son of the slain Texcocan ruler Ixtlilxochitl against Maxtla. Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
also allied with Maxtla’s brother Totoquihuaztli ruler of the Tepanec
Tepanec
city of Tlacopan. The Triple Alliance of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan
Tlacopan
besieged Azcapotzalco, and in 1428 they destroyed the city and sacrificed Maxtla. Through this victory Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
became the dominant city state in the Valley of Mexico, and the alliance between the three cities provided the basis on which the Aztec Empire
Aztec Empire
was built.[18] Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
proceeded by securing a power basis for Tenochtitlan, by conquering the city-states on the southern lake – including Colhuacan, Xochimilco, Cuitlahuac
Cuitlahuac
and Mizquic. These states had an economy based on highly productive chinampa agriculture, cultivating floating gardens in the shallow lake Xochimilco. Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
then undertook further conquests in the valley of Morelos, subjecting the city state of Cuauhnahuac
Cuauhnahuac
(today Cuernavaca).[19] Imperial Expansion Motecuzoma I Ilhuicamina In 1440, Motecuzoma I Ilhuicamina (Nahuatl: "he frowns like a lord, he shoots the sky"[20] was elected tlatoani; he was son of Huitzilihhuitl, brother of Chimalpopoca
Chimalpopoca
and had served as the war leader of his uncle Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
in the war against the Tepanecs. The accession of a new ruler in the dominant city state was often an occasion for subjected cities to rebel by refusing to pay tribute. This meant that new rulers began their rule with a coronation campaign, often against rebellious tributaries, but also sometimes demonstrating their military might by making new conquests. Motecuzoma tested the attitudes of the cities around the valley by requesting laborers for the enlargement of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. Only the city of Chalco refused to provide laborers, and hostilities between Chalco and Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
would persist until the 1450s. Motecuzoma then reconquered the cities in the valley of Morelos and Guerrero, and then later undertook new conquests in the Huaxtec region of northern Veracruz, and the Mixtec
Mixtec
region of Coixtlahuaca and large parts of Oaxaca, and later again in central and southern Veracruz with conquests at Cosamalopan, Ahuilizapan and Cuetlaxtlan. During this period the city states of Tlaxcallan, Cholula and Huexotzinco emerged as major competitors to the imperial expansion, and they supplied warriors to several of the cities conquered. Motecuzoma therefore initiated a state of low-intensity warfare against these three cities, staging minor skirmishes called “Flower Wars” (Nahuatl ‘’xochiyaoyotl’’) against them, perhaps as a strategy of exhaustion.[21] Motecuzoma also consolidated the political structure of the Triple Alliance, and the internal political organization of Tenochtitlan. His brother Tlacaelel served as his main advisor (Nahuatl ‘’Cihuacoatl’’) and he is considered the architect of major political reforms in this period, consolidating the power of the noble class ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
‘’pipiltin’’) and instituting a set of legal codes, and the practice of reinstating conquered rulers in their cities bound by fealty to the Mexica
Mexica
tlatoani. Axayacatl
Axayacatl
and Tizoc In 1469, the next ruler became Axayacatl
Axayacatl
(Nahuatl: "Water mask"), son of Itzcoatl’s son Tezozomoc and Motecuzoma I’s daughter Atotoztli.[22] He undertook a successful coronation campaign far south of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
against the Zapotecs in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Axayacatl
Axayacatl
also conquered the independent Mexica
Mexica
city of Tlatelolco, located on the northern part of the island where Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
was also located. The Tlatelolca ruler Moquihuix was married to Axayacatl’s sister, and his alleged mistreatment of her was used as an excuse to incorporate Tlatelolco and its important market directly under the control of the tlatoani of Tenochtitlan.[23] Axayacatl
Axayacatl
then conquered areas in Central Guerrero, the Puebla Valley, on the gulf coast and against the Otomi and Matlatzinca in the Toluca valley. The Toluca valley was a buffer zone against the powerful Tarascan state
Tarascan state
in Michoacan, against which Axayacatl
Axayacatl
turned next. In the major campaign against the Tarascans (Nahua ‘’Michhuahqueh’’) in 1478–79 the Aztec
Aztec
forces were repelled by a well organized defense. Axayacatl
Axayacatl
was soundly defeated in a battle at Tlaximaloyan (today Tajimaroa), losing most of his 32,000 men and only barely escaping back to Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
with the remnants of his army.[24] In 1481 at Axayacatls death, his older brother Tizoc
Tizoc
was elected ruler. Tizoc’s coronation campaign against the Otomi of Metztitlan failed as he lost the major battle and only managed to secure 40 prisoners to be sacrificed for his coronation ceremony. Having shown weakness, many of the tributary towns rebelled and consequently most of Tizoc’s short reign was spent attempting to quell rebellions and maintain control of areas conquered by his predecessors. Tizoc
Tizoc
died suddenly in 1485, and it has been suggested that he was poisoned by his brother and war leader Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
who became the next tlatoani. Tizoc
Tizoc
is mostly known as the namesake of the Stone of Tizoc
Tizoc
a monumental sculpture ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
‘’temalacatl’’), decorated with representation of Tizoc’s conquests.[25] Ahuitzotl The next ruler was Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
(Nahuatl: "Water monster"), brother of Axayacatl
Axayacatl
and Tizoc
Tizoc
and war leader under Tizoc. His successful coronation campaign suppressed rebellions in the Toluca valley and conquered Jilotepec and several communities in the northern Valley of Mexico. A second campaign to the gulf coast was also highly successful. He began an enlargement of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan, inaugurating the new temple in 1487. For the inauguration ceremony the Mexica
Mexica
invited the rulers of all their subject cities, who participated as spectators in the ceremony in which an unprecedented number of war captives were sacrificed – some sources giving a figure of 84,000 prisoners sacrificed over four days. Probably the actual figure of sacrifices was much smaller, but still numbering several thousands. Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
also constructed monumental architecture in sites such as Calixtlahuaca, Malinalco and Tepoztlan. After a rebellion in the towns of Alahuiztlan and Oztoticpac in Northern Guerrero he ordered the entire population executed, and repopulated with people from the valley of Mexico. He also constructed a fortified garrison at Oztuma defending the border against the Tarascan state.[26] Motecuzoma II Xocoyotzin At the death of Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
the reign passed to his war leader Motecuzoma Xocoyotzin ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
"He frowns like a lord, the youngest child"), a son of Axayacatl. His successful coronation campaign attacked the fortified city of Nopallan in Oaxaca and subjected the adjacent region to the empire. An effective warrior, Motecuzoma II maintained the pace of conquest set by his predecessor and subjected large areas in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and even far south along the Pacific and Gulf coasts, conquering the province of Xoconochco in Chiapas. he also intensified the flower wars waged against Tlaxcallan and Huexotzinco, and secured an alliance with Cholula. He also consolidated the class structure of Aztec
Aztec
society, by making it harder for commoners ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
macehualtin) to accede to the privileged class of the pipiltin through merit in combat, and instituted a strict sumptuary code limiting the types of luxury goods that could be consumed by commoners.[27] In 1517, Motecuzoma received the first news of ships with strange warriors having landed on the Gulf Coast near Cempoallan and he dispatched messengers to greet them and find out what was happening, and he ordered his subjects in the area to keep him informed of any new arrivals. In 1519, he was informed of the arrival of the Spanish fleet of Hernán Cortés, who soon marched towards Tlaxcallan where he formed an alliance with the traditional enemies of the Aztecs. On November 8, 1519, Motecuzoma II received Cortés and his troops and Tlaxcalan allies on the causeway south of Tenochtitlan, and he invited the Spaniards to stay as his guests in Tenochtitlan. When Aztec
Aztec
troops destroyed a Spanish camp on the gulf coast, Cortés ordered Motecuzoma to execute the commanders responsible for the attack, and Motecuzoma complied. At this point the power balance had shifted towards the Spaniards who now held Motecuzoma as a prisoner in his own palace. As this shift in power became clear to Motecuzoma's subjects the Spaniards became increasingly unwelcome guests in the capital city, and in June 1520, hostilities broke out, culminating in the massacre in the Great Temple, and a major uprising of the Mexica
Mexica
against the Spanish. During the fighting Motecuzoma was killed, either by the Spaniards who killed him as they fled the city or by the Mexica themselves who considered him a traitor.[28] Spanish conquest Main article: Spanish conquest of the Aztec
Aztec
Empire

Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid
leads Spanish soldiers with Tlaxcalan allies in the conquest of Jalisco, 1522

The Spaniards fled the town on July 1, an episode later characterized as La Noche Triste
La Noche Triste
(the Sad Night), which was a major victory for the Aztecs. The Spaniards nevertheless reached Tlaxcallan where they regrouped and received reinforcements, and began to prepare a campaign of conquest in collaboration with the Tlaxcalteca. In Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
a new tlatoani was chosen, Motecuzoma's brother Cuitlahuac, but as an epidemic of smallpox swept through the city he died having ruled less than a year. At his death Cuauhtemoc, son of Ahuitzotl
Ahuitzotl
was elected tlahtoani. The Spaniards and thousands of Tlaxcalteca allies returned in the spring of 1521 to lay siege to Tenochtitlan, beginning by conquering the altepetl on the lake bank, cutting off communications and provisions to the island. They then besieged the island of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
from the land side, also attacking from the lakeside with ships built for the purpose. The battle ended on August 13 with the destruction of the city, and the imprisonment of Cuauhtemoc, who was later executed along with the rulers of Tlacopan
Tlacopan
and Texcoco.[29][30] After the fall of Tenochtitlan, Aztec
Aztec
warriors were enlisted as auxiliary troops alongside the Spanish Tlaxcalteca allies, and Aztec forces participated in all of the subsequent campaigns of conquest in northern and southern Mesoamerica. This meant that aspects of Aztec culture and the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language continued to expand during the early colonial period as Aztec
Aztec
auxiliary forces made permanent settlements in many of the areas that were put under the Spanish crown.[31] During the colonial period the Aztec
Aztec
ruling dynasty continued to govern the "indian republic" of Tenochtitlan, but the subsequent rulers were mostly puppets installed by the Spanish, such as Andrés de Tapia Motelchiuh, installed by the Spanish. Other Aztec
Aztec
city states likewise came to be governed as "Indian republics" with a local indigenous gobernador in charge of the political organization of the Indians, and of providing the Spanish landowners with tribute and corvee labor. Some indigenous governors became quite rich and influential and were able to maintain positions of power comparable to that of Spanish encomenderos.[32] Colonial period population decline Main article: Population history of American indigenous peoples After the arrival of the Europeans in Mexico
Mexico
and the conquest, indigenous populations declined significantly. This was largely the result of the epidemics of viruses brought to the continent against which the natives had no immunity. In 1520–1521, an outbreak of smallpox swept through the population of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
and was decisive in the fall of the city, further significant epidemics struch in 1545 and 1576.[33] There has been no general consensus about the population size of Mexico
Mexico
at the time of European arrival. Early estimates gave very small population figures for the Valley of Mexico, in 1942 Kubler estimated a figure 200,000.[34] In 1963 Borah and Cook used pre-Conquest tribute lists to calculate the number of tributaries in central Mexico, estimating over 18-30 million. Their very high figure has been highly criticized for relying un unwarranted assumptions. Archeologist William Sanders based an estimate on archeological evidence of dwellings, arriving at an estimate of 1-1.2 million inhabitants in the Valley of Mexico.[35] Whitmore used a computer simulation model based on colonial censuses to arrive at an estimate of 1.5 million for the Basin in 1519, and an estimate of 16 million for all of Mexico.[36] Depending on the estimations of the population in 1519 the scale of the decline in the 16th century, range from around 50% to around 90% - with Sanders' and Whitmore's estimates being around 90%.[37][38] Political and social organization Nobles and commoners Main articles: Class in Aztec
Aztec
society, Aztec
Aztec
society, and Aztec slavery

Folio from the Codex Mendoza
Codex Mendoza
showing a commoner advancing through the ranks by taking captives in war. Each attire can be achieved by taking a certain number of captives.

The highest class were the pīpiltin or nobility.[nb 1] The pilli status was hereditary and ascribed certain privileges to its holder, such as the right to wear particularly fine garments and consume luxury goods, as well as to own land and direct corvée labor by commoners. The most powerful nobles were called lords (Nahuatl teuctin) and they owned and controlled noble estates or houses, and could serve in the highest government positions or as military leaders. Nobles made up about 5% of the population.[39] The second class were the mācehualtin, originally peasants, but later extended to the lower working classes in general. Eduardo Noguera[40] estimates that in later stages only 20% of the population was dedicated to agriculture and food production. The other 80% of society were warriors, artisans and traders. Eventually, most of the mācehuallis were dedicated to arts and crafts. Their works were an important source of income for the city.[41] Macehualtin could become enslaved, ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
tlacotin) for example if they had to sell themselves into the service of a noble due to debt or poverty, but enslavement was not an inherited status among the Aztecs. Some macehualtin were landless and worked directly for a lord (Nahuatl mayehqueh), whereas the majority of commoners were organized into calpollis which gave them access to land and property.[42] Commoners were able to obtain privileges similar to those of the nobles by demonstrating prowess in warfare. When a warrior took a captive he accrued the right to use certain emblems, weapons or garments, and as he took more captives his rank and prestige increased.[43] Family and gender Main article: Women in Aztec
Aztec
civilization

Folio from the Codex Mendoza
Codex Mendoza
showing the rearing and education of Aztec
Aztec
boys and girls, shpowing how they were instructed in different types of labor and how they were punished for misbehavior

The Aztec
Aztec
family pattern was bilateral, counting relatives on the fathers and mothers side of the family equally, and inheritance was also passed both to sons and daughters. This meant that women could own property just as men, and that women therefore had a good deal of economic freedom from their spouses. Nevertheless, Aztec society
Aztec society
was highly gendered with separate gender roles for men and women. Men were expected to work outside of the house, as farmers, traders, craftsmen and warriors, whereas women were expected to take the responsibility of the domestic sphere. Women could however also work outside of the home as small-scale merchants, doctors, priests and midwives. Warfare was highly valued and a source of high prestige, but women's work was metaphorically conceived of as equivalent to warfare, and as equally important in maintaining the equilibrium of the world and pleasing the gods. This situation has led some scholars to describe Aztec
Aztec
gender ideology as an ideology not of a gender hierarchy, but of gender complementarity, with gender roles being separate but equal.[44] Among the nobles, marriage alliances were often used as a political strategy with lesser nobles marrying daughters from more prestigious lineages whose status was then inherited by their children. Nobles were also often polygamous, with lords having many wives. Polygamy was not very common among the commoners and some sources describe it as being prohibited.[45] Altepetl
Altepetl
and calpolli The main unit of Aztec
Aztec
political organization was the city state, in Nahuatl
Nahuatl
called the altepetl, meaning "water-mountain". Each altepetl was led by a ruler, a tlatoani, with authority over a group of nobles and a population of commoners. The altepetl included a capital which served as a religious center, the hub of distribution and organization of a local population which often lived spread out in minor settlements surrounding the capital. Altepetl
Altepetl
were also the main source of ethnic identity for the inhabitants, even though Altepetl were frequently composed of groups speaking different languages. Each altepetl would see itself as standing in a political contrast to other altepetl states, and war was waged between altepetl states. In this way Nahuatl
Nahuatl
speaking Aztecs of one Altepetl
Altepetl
would be solidary with speakers of other languages belonging to the same altepetl, but enemies of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
speakers belonging to other competing altepetl states. In the valley of Mexico
Mexico
altepetl was composed of subdivisions called calpolli, which served as the main organizational unit for commoners. In Tlaxcala and the Puebla valley, the altepetl was organized into teccalli units headed by a lord ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
tecuhtli), who would hold sway over a territory and distribute rights to land among the commoners. A calpolli was at once a territorial unit where commoners organized labor and land use, since land was not in private property, and also often a kinship unit as a network of families that were related through intermarriage. Calpolli leaders might be or become members of the nobility, in which case they could represent their calpollis interests in the altepetl government.[46][47] In the valley of Morelos, Michael E. Smith estimates that a typical altepetl had from 10,000 to 15,000 inhabitants, and covered an area between 70 and 100 square kilometers. In the Morelos valley altepetl sizes were somewhat smaller. Smith argues that the altepetl was primarily a political unit, made up of the population with allegiance to a lord, rather than as a territorial unit. He makes this distinction because in some areas minor settlements with different altepetl allegiances were interspersed.[48] Empire

The maximal extent of the Aztec
Aztec
Empire.

See also: Aztec
Aztec
Empire: Government The Aztec Empire
Aztec Empire
was ruled by indirect means. Like most European empires, it was ethnically very diverse, but unlike most European empires, it was more of a system of tribute than a single system of government. In the theoretical framework of imperial systems posited by Alexander J. Motyl,[49] the Aztec empire
Aztec empire
was an informal or hegemonic empire because it did not exert supreme authority over the conquered lands; it merely expected tributes to be paid. It was also a discontinuous empire because not all dominated territories were connected; for example, the southern peripheral zones of Xoconochco were not in direct contact with the center. The hegemonic nature of the Aztec empire
Aztec empire
can be seen in the fact that generally local rulers were restored to their positions once their city-state was conquered, and the Aztecs did not interfere in local affairs as long as the tribute payments were made.[50] Although the form of government is often referred to as an empire, in fact most areas within the empire were organized as city-states, known as altepetl in Nahuatl. These were small polities ruled by a king (tlatoani) from a legitimate dynasty. The Early Aztec
Aztec
period was a time of growth and competition among altepetl. Even after the empire was formed in 1428 and began its program of expansion through conquest, the altepetl remained the dominant form of organization at the local level. The efficient role of the altepetl as a regional political unit was largely responsible for the success of the empire's hegemonic form of control.[51] Economy Agriculture and subsistence

Contemporary chinampa agriculture in Xochimilco

As all Mesoamerican peoples Aztec society
Aztec society
was organized around maize agriculture. The humid environment in the Valley of Mexico
Mexico
with its many lakes and swamps permitted intensive agriculture. The main crops in addition to maize were beans, squashes, chilies and amaranth. Particularly important for agricultural production in the valley was the construction of chinampas on the lake, artificial islands that allowed the conversion of the shallow waters into highly fertile gardens that could be cultivated year round. Chinampas are areas of raised land, created from alternating layers of mud from the bottom of the lake, and plant matter/other vegetation. These “raised beds” were separated by narrow canals, which allowed farmers to move between them by canoe. The chinampas were extremely fertile pieces of land, and yielded, on average, seven crops annually. On the basis of current chinampa yields, it has been estimated that 1 hectare of chinampa would feed 20 individuals and 9,000 hectares of chinampas could feed 180,000.[52] The Aztecs further intensified agricultural production by constructing systems of artificial irrigation. While most of the farming occurred outside the densely populated areas, within the cities there was another method of (small scale) farming. Each family had their own garden plot where they grew maize, fruits, herbs, medicines and other important plants. When the city of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
became a major urban center, water was supplied to the city through aqueducts from springs on the banks of the lake, and they organized a system that collected human waste for use as fertilizer. Through intensive agriculture the Aztecs were able to sustain a large urbanized population. The lake was also a rich source of proteins in the form of aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians, shrimp, insects and insect eggs, and water fowl. The presence of such varied sources of protein meant that there was little use for domestic animals for meat (only turkeys and dogs were kept), and scholars have calculated that there was no shortage of protein among the inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico.[53] Crafts and trades

typical Aztec
Aztec
black on orange ceramic ware

The excess supply of food products allowed a significant portion of the Aztec
Aztec
population to dedicate themselves to trades other than food production. Apart from taking care of domestic food production women weaved textiles from agave fibers and cotton. Men also engaged in craft specializations such as the production of ceramics and of obsidian and flint tools, and of luxury goods such as beadwork, featherwork and the elaboration of tools and musical instruments. Sometimes entire calpollis specialized in a single craft, and in some archeological sites large neighborhoods have been found where apparently only a single craft speciality was practiced.[54][55] The Aztecs did not produce much metal work, but did have knowledge of basic smelting technology for gold, and they combined gold with precious stones such as jade and turquoise. Copper products were generally imported from the Tarascans of Michoacan.[56] Trade and distribution

Diorama model of the Aztec
Aztec
market at Tlatelolco

Products were distributed through a network of markets; some markets specialized in a single commodity (for example the dog market of Acolman) and other general markets with presence of many different goods. Markets were highly organized with a system of supervisors taking care that only authorized merchants were permitted to sell their goods, and punishing those who cheated their customers or sold substandard or counterfeit goods. A typical town would have a weekly market (every 5 days), while larger cities held markets every day. Cortés reported that the central market of Tlatelolco, Tenochtitlan's sister city, was visited by 60,000 people daily. Some sellers in the markets were petty vendors; farmers might sell some of their produce, potters sold their vessels, and so on. Other vendors were professional merchants who traveled from market to market seeking profits. The pochteca were specialized long distance merchants organized into exclusive guilds. They made long expeditions to all parts of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
bringing back exotic luxury goods, and they served as the judges and supervisors of the Tlatelolco market. Although the economy of Aztec
Aztec
Mexico
Mexico
was commercialized (in its use of money, markets, and merchants) land and labor were not commodities for sale.[57] In the commercial sector of the economy several types of money were in regular use. Small purchases were made with cacao beans, which had to be imported from lowland areas. In Aztec
Aztec
marketplaces, a small rabbit was worth 30 beans, a turkey egg cost 3 beans, and a tamal cost a single bean. For larger purchases, standardized lengths of cotton cloth called quachtli were used. There were different grades of quachtli, ranging in value from 65 to 300 cacao beans. One source stated that 20 quachtli could support a commoner for one year in Tenochtitlan. A small gold statue approximately 0.62 kg (1.37 lb) cost 250 beans.[58] Tribute

A folio from the Codex Mendoza
Codex Mendoza
showing the tribute paid to Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
in exotic trade goods by the altepetl of Xoconochco on the pacific coast

Another form of distribution of goods was through the payment of tribute. When an altepetl was conquered the victor imposed a yearly tribute, usually paid in the form of whichever local product was most valuable or treasured. Several pages from the Codex Mendoza
Codex Mendoza
list tributary towns along with the goods they supplied, which included not only luxuries such as feathers, adorned suits, and greenstone beads, but more practical goods such as cloth, firewood, and food. Tribute was usually paid twice or four times a year at differing times.[59] Archaeological excavations in the Aztec-ruled provinces show that incorporation into the empire had both costs and benefits for provincial peoples. On the positive side, the empire promoted commerce and trade, and exotic goods from obsidian to bronze managed to reach the houses of both commoners and nobles. Trade partners also included the enemy Purépecha
Purépecha
(also known as Tarascans), a source of bronze tools and jewelry. On the negative side, imperial tribute imposed a burden on commoner households, who had to increase their work to pay their share of tribute. Nobles, on the other hand, often made out well under imperial rule because of the indirect nature of imperial organization. The empire had to rely on local kings and nobles and offered them privileges for their help in maintaining order and keeping the tribute flowing.[60] Urbanism Aztec society
Aztec society
combined a relatively simple agrarian rural tradition with the development of truly urbanized society with a complex system of institutions, specializations and hierarchies. The urban tradition in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
was developed during the classic period with major urban centers such as Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
with a population well above 100,000, and at the rise of the Aztec
Aztec
the urban tradition was ingrained in Mesoamerican society, with urban centers serving major religious, political and economic functions for the entire population.[61] Tenochtitlan

Map of the Island city of Tenochtitlan

The capital city of the Aztec empire
Aztec empire
was Tenochtitlan, now the site of modern-day Mexico
Mexico
City. Built on a series of islets in Lake Texcoco, the city plan was based on a symmetrical layout that was divided into four city sections called campan (directions). Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
was built according to a fixed plan and centered on the ritual precinct, where the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
rose 50 m (164.04 ft) above the city. Houses were made of wood and loam, roofs were made of reed,[62] although pyramids, temples and palaces were generally made of stone. The city was interlaced with canals, which were useful for transportation. Anthropologist Eduardo Noguera estimates the population at 200,000 based in the house count and merging the population of Tlatelolco (once an independent city, but later became a suburb of Tenochtitlan). If one includes the surrounding islets and shores surrounding Lake Texcoco, estimates range from 300,000 to 700,000 inhabitants.[52] Michael E. Smith gives a somewhat smaller figure of 212,500 inhabitants of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
based on an area of 1,350 hectares and a population density of 157. The second largest city in the valley of Mexico
Mexico
in the Aztec
Aztec
period was texcoco with some 25,000 inhabitants dispersed over 450 hectares.[63] The center of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
was the sacred precinct, a walled-off square area which housed the Great Temple, temples for other deities, the ballcourt, the calmecac (a school for nobles), a skull rack ‘’tzompantli’’, displaying the skulls of sacrificial victims, houses of the warrior orders, a penitential palace of the tlatoani and a merchants palace. Around the sacred precinct were the royal palaces of the rulers.[64] The Great Temple

Scale model of the Great Temple at the Museo Templo Mayor
Templo Mayor
in Mexico city.

The centerpiece of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
was the Templo Mayor, the Great Temple, a large stepped pyramid with a double stair case leading up to two twin shrines – one dedicated to Tlaloc, the other to Huitzilopochtli. This was where most of the human sacrifices were carried out during the ritual festivals and the bodies of sacrificial victims were thrown down the stairs. The temple was enlarged in several stages, and most of the Aztec
Aztec
rulers made a point of adding a further stage, each with a new dedication and inauguration. The temple has been excavated in the center of Mexico
Mexico
City and the rich dedicatory offerings are displayed in the Museum of the Templo Mayor.[65] Archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, in his essay "Symbolism of the Templo Mayor," posits that the orientation of the temple is indicative of the totality of the vision the Mexica
Mexica
had of the universe (cosmovision). He states that the "principal center, or navel, where the horizontal and vertical planes intersect, that is, the point from which the heavenly or upper plane and the plane of the Underworld begin and the four directions of the universe originate, is the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan." Matos Moctezuma supports his supposition by claiming that the temple acts as an embodiment of a living myth where "all sacred power is concentrated and where all the levels intersect."[66][67] Other cities Other major Aztec
Aztec
cities were some of the previous city state centers around the lake including Tenayuca, Azcapotzalco, Texcoco, Colhuacan, Tlacopan, Chapultepec, Coyoacan, Xochimilco, and Chalco. In the Puebla valley Cholula was the largest city with the largest pyramid temple in Mesoamerica, while the confederacy of Tlaxcala consisted of four smaller cities. In Morelos, Cuahnahuac was a major city of the Nahuatl speaking Tlahuica tribe, and Tollocan in the Toluca valley was the capital of the Matlatzinca tribe which included Nahuatl
Nahuatl
speakers as well as speakers of Otomi and the language today called Matlatzinca. Most Aztec
Aztec
cities had a similar layout with a central plaza with a major pyramid with two staircases and a double temple oriented towards the west.[61] Religion Main article: Aztec
Aztec
religion Aztec religion
Aztec religion
was organized around the practice of calendar rituals dedicated to a pantheon of different deities. Similar to other Mesoamerican religious systems it has generally been understood as a polytheist agriculturalist religion with elements of animism. Central in the religious practice was the offering of sacrifices to the deities, as a way of thanking or paying for the continuation of the cycle of life.[68] Deities Main article: List of Aztec
Aztec
gods and supernatural beings

The deity Tezcatlipoca
Tezcatlipoca
depicted in the Codex Borgia, one of the few extant pre-Hispanic codices

The main deities worshipped by the Aztecs were Tlaloc, a rain and storm deity, Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
a solar and martial deity and the tutelary deity of the Mexica
Mexica
tribe, Quetzalcoatl, a wind, sky and star deity and cultural hero, Tezcatlipoca, a deity of the night, magic, prophecy and fate. The Great Temple in Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
had two shrines on its top, one dedicated to Tlaloc, the other to Huitzilopochtli. Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
and Tezcatlipoca
Tezcatlipoca
each had separate temples within the religious precinct close to the Great Temple, and the high priests of the Great Temple were named “’’Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqueh’’”. Other major deities were Tlaltecutli
Tlaltecutli
or Coatlicue
Coatlicue
a female earth deity, the deity couple Tonacatecuhtli
Tonacatecuhtli
and Tonacacihuatl were associated with life and sustenance, Mictlantecutli and Mictlancihuatl, a male/female couple of deities of the underworld and death, Chalchiutlicue, a female deity of lakes and springs, Xipe Totec, a deity of fertility and the natural cycle, Huehueteotl
Huehueteotl
or Xiuhtecuhtli
Xiuhtecuhtli
a fire god, Tlazolteotl
Tlazolteotl
a femal deity tied to childbirth and sexuality, and a Xochipilli
Xochipilli
and Xochiquetzal
Xochiquetzal
gods of song, dance and games. In some regions, particularly Tlaxcala, Mixcoatl
Mixcoatl
or Camaxtli
Camaxtli
was the main tribal deity. A few sources mention a deity Ometeotl who may have been a god of the duality between life and death, male and female and who may have incorporated Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl. Apart from the major deities there were dozens of minor deities each associated with an element or concept, and as the Aztec empire
Aztec empire
grew so did their pantheon because they adopted and incorporated the local deities of conquered people into their own. Additionally the major gods had many alternative manifestations or aspects, creating small families of gods with related aspects.[69] Mythology and Cosmovision Main article: Aztec
Aztec
mythology

Aztec
Aztec
cosmological drawing with the god Xiuhtecuhtli, the lord of fire and of the Calendar in the center and the other important gods occupying the four cosmic directions around him each in front of a sacred tree. From the Codex Fejérváry-Mayer.

Aztec mythology
Aztec mythology
is known from a number of sources written down in the colonial period. One set of myths, called Legend of the Suns, describe the creation of four successive suns, or periods, each ruled by a different deity and inhabited by a different group of beings. Each period ends in a cataclysmic destruction that sets the stage for the next period to begin. In this process, the deities Tezcatlipoca
Tezcatlipoca
and Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
appear as adversaries, each destroying the creations of the other. The current Sun, the fifth, was created when a minor deity sacrificed himself on a bonfire and turned into the sun, but the sun only begins to move once the other deities sacrifice themselves and offers it their life force.[70] In another myth of how the earth was created Tezcatlipoca
Tezcatlipoca
and Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
appear as allies, defeating a giant crocodile Cipactli and requiring her to become the earth, allowing humans to carve into her flesh and plant their seeds, on the condition that in return they will offer blood to her. And in the story of the creation of humanity Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
travels with his twin Xolotl to the underworld and brings back bones which are then ground like corn on a metate by the goddess Cihuacoatl, the resulting dough is given human form and comes to life when Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
imbues it with his own blood.[71] Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
is the deity tied to the Mexica
Mexica
tribe and he figures in the story of the origin and migrations of the tribe. On their journey, Huitzilopochtli, in the form of a deity bundle carried by the Mexica
Mexica
priest, continuously spurs the tribe on by pushing them into conflict with their neighbors whenever they are settled in a place. In another myth Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
defeats and dismembers his sister the lunar deity Coyolxauhqui and her four hundred brothers at the hill of Coatepetl. The southern side of the Great Temple, also called Coatepetl, was a representation of this myth and at the food of the stairs lay a large stone monolith carved with a representation of the dismembered goddess.[72] Calendar Main article: Aztec
Aztec
calendar

The so-called " Aztec calendar
Aztec calendar
stone" or "Sun Stone", a large stone monolith unearthed in Mexico
Mexico
City depicting the five eras of Aztec mythical history, with the calendric images adoring the edges.

Aztec
Aztec
religious life was organized around the calendars. As most Mesoamerican people, the Aztecs used two calendars simultaneously: a ritual calendar of 260 days called the tonalpohualli and a solar calendar of 365 days called the xiuhpohualli. Each day had a name and number in both calendars, and the combination of two dates were unique within a period of 52 years. The tonalpohualli was mostly used for divinatory purposes and it consisted of 20 day signs and number coefficients of 1–13 that cycled in a fixed order. The xiuhpohualli was made up of 18 “months” of 20 days, and with a remainder of 5 “void” days at the end of a cycle before the new xiuhpohualli cycle began. Each 20-day month was named after the specific ritual festival that began the month, many of which contained a relation to the agricultural cycle. Whether, and how, the Aztec calendar
Aztec calendar
corrected for leap year is a matter of discussion among specialists. The monthly rituals involved the entire population as rituals were performed in each household, in the calpolli temples and in the main sacred precinct. Many festivals involved different forms of dancing, as well as the reenactment of mythical narratives by deity impersonators and the offering of sacrifice, in the form of food, animals and human victims.[73] Every 52 years the two calendars reached their shared starting point and a new calendar cycle began. This calendar event was celebrated with a ritual known as Xiuhmolpilli or the New Fire Ceremony. In this ceremony old pottery was broken in all homes and all fires in the Aztec
Aztec
realm were put out. Then a new fire was drilled over the breast of a sacrificial victim and runners brought the new fire to the different ‘’calpolli’’ communities where fire was redistributed to each home. The night without fire was associated with the fear that star demons, ‘’tzitzimime’’, might descend and devour the earth ending the fifth period of the sun.[74] Human sacrifice Main article: Human sacrifice in Aztec
Aztec
culture

Human sacrifice as shown in the Codex Magliabechiano

To the Aztecs, death was instrumental in the perpetuation of creation, and gods and humans alike had the responsibility of sacrificing themselves in order to allow life to continue. As described in the myth of creation above, humans were understood as responsible for the sun's continued revival, as well as for the paying the earth for its continued fertility. Blood sacrifice in various forms were conducted. Both humans and animals were sacrificed, depending on the god to be placated and the ceremony being conducted, and priests of some gods were sometimes required to provide their own blood through self-mutilation. It is known that some rituals included acts of cannibalism, with the captor and his family consuming part of the flesh of their sacrificed captives, but it is not known how widespread this practice was.[75][76] While human sacrifice was practiced throughout Mesoamerica, the Aztecs, if their own accounts are to be believed, brought this practice to an unprecedented level. For example, for the reconsecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days, reportedly by Ahuitzotl, the Great Speaker himself. This number, however, is not universally accepted. The scale of Aztec
Aztec
human sacrifice has provoked many scholars to consider what may have been the driving factor behind this aspect of Aztec
Aztec
religion. In the 1970s, Michael Harner and Marvin Harris argued that the motivation behind human sacrifice among the Aztecs was actually the cannibalization of the sacrificial victims. Harner claimed that very high population pressure and an emphasis on maize agriculture, without domesticated herbivores, led to a deficiency of essential amino acids amongst the Aztecs.[77] While there is universal agreement that the Aztecs practiced sacrifice, there is a lack of scholarly consensus as to whether cannibalism was widespread. Harris, author of Cannibals and Kings
Cannibals and Kings
(1977), has propagated the claim, originally proposed by Harner, that the flesh of the victims was a part of an aristocratic diet as a reward, since the Aztec
Aztec
diet was lacking in proteins. These claims have been refuted by Bernard Ortíz Montellano who, in his studies of Aztec
Aztec
health, diet, and medicine, demonstrates that while the Aztec
Aztec
diet was low in animal proteins, it was rich in vegetable proteins. Ortiz also points to the preponderance of human sacrifice during periods of food abundance following harvests compared to periods of food scarcity, the insignificant quantity of human protein available from sacrifices and the fact that aristocrats already had easy access to animal protein.[78][79] Today many scholars point to ideological explanations of the practice, noting how the public spectacle of sacrificing warriors from conquered states was a major display of political power, supporting the claim of the ruling classes to divine authority.[80] It also served as an important deterrent against rebellion by subjugated polities against the Aztec state, and such deterrents were crucial in order for the loosely organized empire to cohere.[81] Art and cultural production Writing and iconography Main article: Aztec
Aztec
writing

An example of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
writing of three place names.

The Aztecs did not have a fully developed writing system like the Maya did, but like the Maya and Zapotec they did use a writing system that combined logographic signs with phonetic syllable signs. Logograms would for example be the use of an image of a mountain to signify the word tepetl "mountain", whereas a phonetic syllable sign would be the use of an image of a tooth tlantli to signify the syllable tla in words unrelated to teeth. The combination of these principles allowed the Aztecs to represent the sounds of names of persons and places. Narratives tended to be represented through sequences of images, using different iconographic conventions such as footprints to show paths, temples on fire to show conquest events etc.[82] Epigrapher Alfonso Lacadena has demonstrated that the different syllable signs used by the Aztecs almost enabled the representation of all the most frequent syllables of the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language (with some notable exceptions),[83] but some scholars have argued that such a high degree of phoneticity was only achieved after the conquest when the Aztecs had been introduced to the principles of phonetic writing by the Spanish.[84] Other scholars, notably Gordon Whittaker, have argued that the syllabic and phonetic aspects of Aztec writing were considerably less systematic and more creative than Lacadena's proposal suggests, arguing that Aztec writing never coalesced into a strictly syllabic system such as the Maya writing, but rather used a wide range of different types of phonetic signs.[85] The image to right demonstrates the use of phonetic signs for writing place names in the colonial Aztec
Aztec
Codex Mendoza. The uppermost place is "Mapachtepec", meaning literally "On the Hill of the Raccoon ", but the glyph includes the phonetic signs "MA" (hand) and "PACH" (moss) over a mountain "TEPETL" spelling the word "mapach" ("raccoon") phonetically instead of logographically. The other two placenames Mazatlan ("Place of Many Deer") and Huitztlan ("Place of many thorns") use the phonetic element "TLAN" represented by a tooth (tlantli) combined with a deer head to spell "MAZA" (mazatl = deer) and a thorn (huitztli) to spell "HUITZ".[86] Music, song and poetry

Two Aztec
Aztec
slit-drums ( Nahuatl
Nahuatl
teponaztli)

Song and poetry were highly regarded; there were presentations and poetry contests at most of the Aztec
Aztec
festivals. There were also dramatic presentations that included players, musicians and acrobats. There were several different genres of cuicatl (song): Yaocuicatl was devoted to war and the god(s) of war, Teocuicatl to the gods and creation myths and to adoration of said figures, xochicuicatl to flowers (a symbol of poetry itself and indicative of the highly metaphorical nature of a poetry that often utilized duality to convey multiple layers of meaning). "Prose" was tlahtolli, also with its different categories and divisions.[87][88] A key aspect of Aztec
Aztec
poetics was the use of parallelism, using a structure of embedded couplets to express different perspectives on the same element.[89] Some such couplets were diphrasisms, conventional metaphors whereby an abstract concept was expressed metaphorically by using two more concrete concepts. For example, the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
expression for "poetry" was in xochitl in cuicatl a dual term meaning "the flower, the song", and the term for painted books and the knowledge associated with them was in tlilli in tlapalli – "the black ink, the red paint.[90] A remarkable amount of this poetry survives, having been collected during the era of the conquest. In some cases poetry is attributed to individual authors, such as Nezahualcoyotl, tlatoani of Texcoco, and Cuacuauhtzin, Lord of Tepechpan, but whether these attributions reflect actual authorship is a matter of opinion. Important collection of such poems are Romances de los señores de la Nueva España, collected (Tezcoco 1582), probably by Juan Bautista de Pomar,[nb 2] and the Cantares Mexicanos.[91] Ceramics

An Aztec
Aztec
bowl for everyday use. Black on orange ware, a simple Aztec IV style flower design.

An Aztec
Aztec
polychrome vessel typical of the Cholula region.

A life-size ceramic sculpture of an Aztec
Aztec
eagle warrior

The Aztecs produced ceramics of different types. Common are orange wares, which are orange or buff burnished ceramics with no slip. Red wares are ceramics with a reddish slip. And polychrome ware are ceramics with a white or orange slip, with painted designs in orange, red, brown, and/or black. Very common is "black on orange" ware which is orange ware decorated with painted designs in black.[92][93] Aztec
Aztec
black on orange ceramics are chronologically classified into four phases: Aztec
Aztec
I and II corresponding to ca, 1100-1350 (early Aztec
Aztec
period), Aztec
Aztec
II ca. (1350-1520), and the last phase Aztec
Aztec
IV was the early colonial period. Aztec
Aztec
I is characterized by floral designs and day- name glyphs; Aztec
Aztec
II is characterized by a stylized grass design above calligraphic designs such as s-curves or scrolls; Aztec
Aztec
III is characterized by very simple line designs; Aztec
Aztec
four continues some pre-columbian designs but adds European influenced floral designs. There were local variations on each of these styles, and archeologists continue to refine the ceramic sequence.[93] Typical vessels for everyday use were clay griddles for cooking (comalli), bowls and plates for eating (caxitl), pots for cooking (comitl) molcajetes or mortar-type vesses with slashed bases for grinding chile(molcaxitl), and different kinds of braziers, tripod dishes and biconical goblets. Vessels were fired in simple updraft kilns or even in open firing in pit kilns at low temperatures.[93] Painted art

Page from the pre-columbian Codex Borgia
Codex Borgia
a folding codex painted on deer skin prepared with gesso.

Aztec
Aztec
painted art was produced on animal skin (mostly deer), on cotton lienzos and on amate paper made from bark (e.g. from Trema micrantha or Ficus aurea), it was also produced on ceramics and carved in wood and stone. The surface of the material was often first treated with gesso to make the images stand out more clearly. In the Nahua treatise on art in The Florentine Codex, the venerated painters (the toltecaye) describe the colors, how they were obtained from nature, how they were produced, and how people painted with them. According to Magaloni Kerpel in The Colors of the New World, the treatise organizes colors according to a system of “complementary polarities.”[94] The colors are divided into the organic (those obtained from plants and insects) and mineral (those obtained from the earth). Furthermore, saturated and vibrant colors contrasted opaque and dark colors.[94] There was also a distinction between primary (red, blue, yellow, black, and white) and secondary colors (green, purple, brown, and ochre).[94] Each color had a specific significance based on their raw material and their natural state. Black ink was largely used to outline colored images. Rather than mixing colors, artists would often layer them in order to make them more intense. Lastly, most of the colorants and pigments used in the Florentine Codex were of Mesoamerican origin; however, the only European paint pigment found in the codex is minium (red lead).[94] Minium was so often used in European medieval illuminated manuscripts that those paintings "were called miniatures from miniare in Latin, which means 'to color with red.'" In the Florentine Codex, minium's use was specific: it was used on images that describe or indicate the colonial, Spanish present as a new era of Aztec
Aztec
history.[94] Minimum (the European pigment) represented the present as it was dominated by Spaniards who had one the colonial war, while nocheztli (the Mesoamerican red pigment) represented the primitive, indigenous past of New Spain.[94] Thus, the contrast between the saturated and diluted colors were utilized to indicate two temporalities in Mesoamerican history. Sculpture

Large basalt stone sculpture representing the deity xochipilli, at the Mexican Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

Sculptures were carved in stone and wood, but few wood carvings have survived. Aztec
Aztec
stone sculptures exist in many sizes from small figurines to large monuments, and are characterized by a high quality of work.[95] Legacy Most modern-day Mexicans (and people of Mexican descent in other countries) are mestizos, of mixed indigenous and European ancestry. During the 16th century the racial composition of Mexico
Mexico
began to change from one that featured distinct indigenous (Mexicas and members of the many other Mexican indigenous groups) and colonizer (mostly Spanish) populations, to the population composed primarily of mestizos that is found in modern-day Mexico.[citation needed] The Nahuatl
Nahuatl
language is today spoken by 1.5 million people, mostly in mountainous areas in the states of central Mexico. Local dialects of Spanish, Mexican Spanish generally, and the Spanish language worldwide have all been influenced, in varying degrees, by Nahuatl. Some Nahuatl words (most notably chocolate and tomato) have been borrowed through Spanish into other languages around the world.[citation needed] Mexico
Mexico
City was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, making it one of the oldest living cities of the Americas. Many of its districts and natural landmarks retain their original Nahuatl
Nahuatl
names. Many other cities and towns in Mexico
Mexico
and Central America have also retained their Nahuatl
Nahuatl
names (whether or not they were originally Mexica
Mexica
or even Nahuatl-speaking towns). A number of town names are hybrids of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
and Spanish.[citation needed] Mexican cuisine
Mexican cuisine
continues to be based on and flavored by agricultural products contributed by the Mexicas/Aztecs and Mesoamerica, most of which retain some form of their original Nahuatl
Nahuatl
names. The cuisine has also become a popular part of the cuisine of the United States and other countries around the world, typically altered to suit various national tastes.[citation needed] The modern Mexican flag bears the emblem of the Mexica
Mexica
migration story.[citation needed] Historiography Before the development of archaeology in Mexico
Mexico
in the 19th century, historians mainly interpreted the records of the Spanish conquerors and the accounts of early European travellers and antiquaries who investigated the enigmatic monuments the Indians left to posterity. It was not until the nineteenth century that the work of men such as John Lloyd Stephens, Eduard Seler and Alfred P. Maudslay, and of institutions such as the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, led to a better appreciation of the evidence available. Subsequently, there emerged indigenous Mexican archaeologists of international caliber. Archaeology
Archaeology
allowed the reconsideration and criticism of some of those interpretations and contradictions between the primary sources. Now, the scholarly study of Aztec
Aztec
civilization is most often based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies.[96] Aztec
Aztec
codices

A painting of Tlaloc, as shown on page 20R of Codex Rios

There are few extant Aztec codices
Aztec codices
created before the conquest and these are largely ritual texts. Post-conquest codices, like Codex Mendoza or Codex Ríos, were painted by Aztec
Aztec
tlacuilos (codex creators), but under the control of Spanish authorities. The possibility of Spanish influence poses potential problems for those studying the post-conquest codices. Itzcoatl
Itzcoatl
had the oldest hieroglyphics destroyed for political-religious reasons and Bishop Zumarraga of Mexico
Mexico
(1528–48) had all available texts burned for missionary reasons.[97] The conquistadors The accounts of the conquistadors are those of men confronted with a new civilization, which they tried to interpret according to their own culture. Cortés was the most educated, and his letters to Charles V are a valuable firsthand account. Unfortunately, one of his letters is lost and replaced by a posterior text and the others were censored prior to their publication. In any case, Cortés was not writing a dispassionate account, but letters justifying his actions and to some extent exaggerating his successes and downplaying his failures. Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Bernal Díaz del Castillo
accompanied Cortes, and he later wrote a book named: The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico
Mexico
(1632).[nb 3] In his book, Capitan Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Bernal Díaz del Castillo
provides his account of the Conquest of Mexico, in which he describes the events leading up to the conquest of Mexico, including accounts of the human sacrifices and cannibalism that he witnessed first hand. However, Bernal Díaz wrote several decades after the fact, never learned the native languages, and did not take notes. His account is colorful, but his work is considered by historians to be erratic and exaggerated.[citation needed] Although Francisco López de Gómara
Francisco López de Gómara
was Cortes' chaplain, friend, and confidant, he never visited the New World so his account is based on hearsay.[citation needed] Priests and scholars The accounts of the first priests and scholars, while reflecting their faith and their culture, are important sources. Fathers Diego Durán, Motolinia, and Mendieta wrote with their own religion in mind, Father Duran wrote trying to prove that the Aztec
Aztec
were one of the lost tribes of Israel. Bartolomé de las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas
wrote apologetically about the Indians, accusing the Spanish conquistadors of committing unspeakable atrocities in their subjugation of the Aztecs and other indigenous groups. Some authors tried to make a synthesis of the pre-Hispanic cultures, like "Oviedo y Herrera", Jose de Acosta, and Pedro Mártir de Anghiera.[clarification needed] The most significant source about the Aztec
Aztec
are doubtless the manuscripts of Bernardino de Sahagún, who worked with Christian Aztec youths from Texcoco, Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco
and Tlatelolco who studying at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco. With his assistants he interviewed Aztec
Aztec
elders who had knowledge of the prehispanic customs and recorded it in a bilingual 12 volume codex written in parallel Nahuatl
Nahuatl
and Såpanish columns. The work is now known as the Florentine Codex.[98] Native authors Other important sources are the work of native and mestizo authors, descendants of the upper classes. These authors include Don Fernando Alvarado Tezozómoc, Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, Juan Bautista de Pomar, and Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl. Ixtlixochitl, for example, wrote a history of Texcoco from a Christian point of view. His account of Netzahualcoyotl, an ancestor of Ixtlilxochitl's, has a strong resemblance to the story of King Solomon and portrays Netzahualcoyotl as a monotheist and a critic of human sacrifice.[citation needed] Diego Muñoz Camargo (1521 – c. 1612), a Tlaxcalan mestizo, wrote the History of Tlaxcala
History of Tlaxcala
six decades after the Spanish conquest. Some parts of his work have a strong Tlaxcala bias.[citation needed] See also

Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
portal Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
portal

History of Mexico List of Mexico- Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
rulers Maya civilization Mixtec
Mixtec
people

Notes

^ singular form pilli ^ This volume was later translated into Spanish by Ángel María Garibay K., teacher of León-Portilla, and it exists in English translation by John Bierhorst ^ Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España, Escrita por el Capitan Bernal Diaz del Castillo, uno de sus conquistadores – Published in the Spanish language by Fernandez, Editores S.A. Mexico
Mexico
City, (Published in the English language by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy in 1956 LCCN 56-5758)

Footnotes

^ a b Smith 1997, pp. 4–7 ^ Smith 1997, pp. 174–75 ^ Smith 1997, pp. 176–82 ^ a b Náhuatl: AR-Z. (n.d.). Vocabulario.com.mx. Retrieved August 30, 2012, form "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2012-08-30.  ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Archived from the original on 2014-07-07.  ^ Smith 1997, p. 4. ^ Lockhart 1992, p. 1. ^ Smith 1997, p. 2. ^ Campbell 1997, p. 134. ^ Miguel Leon Portilla (2000). "Aztecas, disquisiciones sobre un gentilicio". Estudios de la cultura nahuatl. p. 6.  ^ Beekman & Christensen 2003. ^ Smith 1997, p. 41-43. ^ Smith 1984. ^ Smith 1984, p. 173. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 60–62. ^ Townsend 2009, p. 63. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 64–74. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 74–75. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 78–81. ^ Gillespie 1989 argues that the name "Motecuzoma" was a later addition added to make for a parallel to the later ruler, and that his original name was only "Ilhuicamina". ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 91–98. ^ Some sources, including the Relación de Tula and the history of Motolinia, suggest that Atotoztli functioned as ruler of Tenochtitlan succeeding her father. Indeed no conquests are recorded for Motecuzoma in the last years of his reign, suggesting that he may have been incapable of ruling, or even dead (Diel 2005). ^ Townsend 2009, p. 99. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 99–100. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 100–01. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 101–10. ^ Townsend 2009, p. 110. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 220–36. ^ Restall 2004. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 232–37. ^ Matthew & Oudijk 2007. ^ Lockhart 1992. ^ McCaa, Robert 1995 Spanish and Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Views on Smallpox
Smallpox
and Demographic Catastrophe in Mexico. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 25:397–431. ^ Kubler, George. "Population Movements in Mexico, 1520-1600." Hispanic American Historical Review 22, no. 4 (Nov. 1942) pp. 606-643. ^ Sanders, William T. "The Population of the Central Mexican Symbiotic Region, the Basin of Mexico, and the Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Valley in the Sixteenth-century," in William Denevan (ed.), The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976 [rev. ed. 1992], p. 120 ^ Whitmore, Thomas M. Disease and Death in Early Colonial Mexico: Simulating Amerindian Depopulation. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992. ^ McCaa, Robert. 1997. The Peopling of Mexico
Mexico
from Origins to Revolution (preliminary draft) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2018-02-17.  ^ Morfín, Lourdes Márquez, and Rebecca Storey. "Population History in Precolumbian and Colonial Times." The Oxford Handbook of the Aztecs (2016): 189. ^ Smith 2008, p. 154. ^ Annals of Anthropology, UNAM, Vol. xi, 1974, p. 56 ^ Sanders, William T., Settlement Patterns in Central Mexico. Handbook of Middle American Indians, 1971, vol. 3, p. 3–44. ^ Smith 2008, pp. 153–54. ^ Smith 1997, pp. 152-153. ^ Burkhart 1997. ^ Hassig 2016. ^ Lockhart 1992, pp. 14–47. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 61–62. ^ Smith 2008, pp. 90–91. ^ Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 13, 19–21, 32–36. ISBN 0-231-12110-5.  ^ Berdan, et al. (1996), Aztec
Aztec
Imperial Strategies. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC[page needed] ^ Smith, Michael E. (2000), Aztec
Aztec
City-States. In A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures, edited by Mogens Herman Hansen, pp. 581–95. The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen. ^ a b Eduardo Noguera (1974). "Sitios de Ocupacion de la periferia de Tenochtitlan". Anales de Antropologia,UNAM (XI ed.).  ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 171–79. ^ Brumfiel 1998. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 181–96. ^ Townsend 2009, pp. 184, 193. ^ (Smith, The Aztecs, 2nd edition, chapter 5) ^ Hirth 2016. ^ The Codex Mendoza, edited by F. Berdan and P. Anawalt, University of California Press, 1992 ^ Smith, Life in the Provinces of the Aztec
Aztec
empire, Scientific American, September 1997 ^ a b Smith 2008. ^ "Azteken". Winkler Prins encyclopedia
Winkler Prins encyclopedia
(8th ed.). 1975.  ^ Smith 2008, p. 152. ^ Smith 1997, p. 196-200. ^ López Luján 2005. ^ Matos Moctezuma 1987. ^ Matos Moctezuma 1988. ^ Smith 1997, pp. 204, 211-212, 221-222. ^ Taube 1993, pp. 31–33. ^ Taube 1993, pp. 41–44. ^ Taube 1993, pp. 33–37. ^ Taube 1993, pp. 44–50. ^ Hassig 2001, pp. 7–19. ^ Elson & Smith 2001. ^ Isaac 2005. ^ Isaac 2002. ^ Harner 1977. ^ Ortíz de Montellano 1990. ^ Ortíz de Montellano 1983. ^ Carrasco 1999. ^ Keen 2001. ^ Prem 1992. ^ Lacadena 2008. ^ Zender 2008. ^ Whittaker 2009. ^ Berdan & Anawalt 1997, p. 116. ^ Tomlinson 1995. ^ Karttunen & Lockhart 1980. ^ Bright 1990. ^ Montes de Oca 2013, pp. 160. ^ León-Portilla 1992b, pp. 14-15. ^ Hodge et al. 1993. ^ a b c Minc 2017. ^ a b c d e f Magaloni Kerpel, Diana (2014). The Colors of the New World. Getty Research Institute: Getty Publications. p. 45. ISBN 9781606063293.  ^ Nicholson 1971. ^ Bernal, A History of Mexican Archaeology: The Vanished Civilizations of Middle America. ^ Holtker, George," Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol 1/5, "The Religions of Mexico
Mexico
and Peru", Catholic Truth Society. ^ León-Portilla 2002.

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Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest
(1st pbk ed.). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517611-1. OCLC 56695639.  Schroeder, Susan (1991). Chimalpahin and the Kingdoms of Chalco. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-1182-9. OCLC 21976206.  Smith, Michael E. (1984). "The Aztlan
Aztlan
Migrations of Nahuatl Chronicles: Myth or History?" ( PDF
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City-State Capitals. University Press of Florida.  Smith, Michael E. (May 2005). "City Size in Late Post-Classic Mesoamerica" (PDF). Journal of Urban History. Beverley Hills, CA: SAGE Publications. 31 (4): 403–34. doi:10.1177/0096144204274396. ISSN 0096-1442. OCLC 1798556.  Smith, Michael E.; Montiel, Lisa (2001). "The Archaeological Study of Empires and Imperialism in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 20 (3): 245–84. doi:10.1006/jaar.2000.0372.  "Smith, Michael E, "Life in the Provinces of the Aztec
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Empire", Scientific American" (PDF).  (538 KiB) Taube, Karl A. (1993). Aztec
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Primary sources, available in English

Berdan, Frances F. and Patricia Reiff Anawalt (1997) The Essential Codex Mendoza. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-20454-9. Cortés, Hernan (1987) Letters from Mexico. New Ed. edition. Translated by Anthony Pagden. Yale University Press, New Haven. ISBN 0-300-03724-4. Díaz del Castillo, Bernal (1963) [1632]. The Conquest of New Spain. Penguin Classics. J. M. Cohen
J. M. Cohen
(trans.) (6th printing (1973) ed.). Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044123-9. OCLC 162351797.  Durán, Diego (1971) [1574–79]. Fernando Horcasitas; Doris Heyden, eds. Book of the Gods and Rites and The Ancient Calendar. Civilization of the American Indian series. Translated by Fernando Horcasitas; Doris Heyden. Foreword by Miguel León-Portilla
Miguel León-Portilla
(translation of Libro de los dioses y ritos and El calendario antiguo, 1st English ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-0889-4. OCLC 149976.  Durán, Diego (1994) [c.1581]. The History of the Indies of New Spain. Civilization of the American Indian series, no. 210. Doris Heyden (trans., annot., and introd.) (Translation of Historia de las Indias de Nueva-España y Islas de Tierra Firme, 1st English ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2649-3. OCLC 29565779.  Ruiz de Alarcón, Hernando (1984) [1629]. Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions and Customs That Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain, 1629. Civilization of the American Indian series. translated & edited by J. Richard Andrews and Ross Hassig (original reproduction and translation of: Tratado de las supersticiones y costumbres gentílicas que oy viven entre los indios naturales desta Nueva España, first English ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1832-6. OCLC 10046127.  (in Nahuatl) (in English) Sahagún, Bernardino de (1950–82) [c. 1540–85]. Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain, 13 vols. in 12. vols. I–XII. Charles E. Dibble and Arthur J.O. Anderson (eds., trans., notes and illus.) (translation of Historia General de las Cosas de la Nueva España ed.). Santa Fe, NM and Salt Lake City: School of American Research and the University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-082-X. OCLC 276351.  Sahagún, Bernardino de (1997) [c.1558–61]. Primeros Memoriales. Civilization of the American Indians series. 200, part 2. Thelma D. Sullivan (English trans. and paleography of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
text), with H.B. Nicholson, Arthur J.O. Anderson, Charles E. Dibble, Eloise Quiñones Keber, and Wayne Ruwet (completion, revisions, and ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2909-9. OCLC 35848992.  Durán, Fray Diego (1994) The History of the Indies of New Spain. Translated by Doris Heyden. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. ISBN 0-8061-2649-3. Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin, Domingo de San Antón Muñón (1997) [c. 1621]. Arthur J.O. Anderson; Susan Schroeder, eds. Codex Chimalpahin, vol. 1: society and politics in Mexico
Mexico
Tenochtitlan, Tlatelolco, Texcoco, Culhuacan, and other Nahua altepetl in central Mexico; the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
and Spanish annals and accounts collected and recorded by don Domingo de San Antón Muñón Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin. Civilization of the American Indian series. Translated by Arthur J.O. Anderson; Susan Schroeder. Susan Schroeder (general ed.), Wayne Ruwet (manuscript ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2921-1. OCLC 36017075.  Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin, Domingo de San Antón Muñón (1997) [c. 1621]. Arthur J.O. Anderson; Susan Schroeder, eds. Codex Chimalpahin, vol. 2: society and politics in Mexico
Mexico
Tenochtitlan, Tlatelolco, Texcoco, Culhuacan, and other Nahua altepetl in central Mexico; the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
and Spanish annals and accounts collected and recorded by don Domingo de San Antón Muñón Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin (continued). Civilization of the American Indian series. Translated by Arthur J.O. Anderson; Susan Schroeder. Susan Schroeder (general ed.), Wayne Ruwet (manuscript ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2950-1. OCLC 36017075.  Zorita, Alonso de (1963) Life and Labor in Ancient Mexico: The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain. Translated by Benjamin Keen. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick. ISBN 0-8061-2679-5 (1994 paperback).

External links

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Aztecs.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aztec.

Aztecs at Mexicolore: constantly updated educational site specifically on the Aztecs, for serious students of all ages. Aztec
Aztec
Architecture Aztecs / Nahuatl
Nahuatl
/ Tenochtitlan: Ancient Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
resources at University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Duluth Aztec
Aztec
history, culture and religion B. Diaz del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico
Mexico
(tr. by A. P. Maudsley, 1928, repr. 1965) Demographic Disaster in Mexico
Mexico
1519-1595 at the Department of History at the University of Minnesota Michael E. Smith's student bibliography on the Aztecs. "Article: "Life in the Provinces of the Aztec
Aztec
Empire"" (PDF).  (538 KiB) Tlahuica Culture Home Page (an Aztec
Aztec
group from Morelos, Mexico) "The Aztecs-looking behind the myths" on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time featuring Alan Knight, Adrian Locke and Elizabeth Graham Pre-columbian Aztec
Aztec
Collection: photographs of Aztec
Aztec
tools and weapons

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Americas

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of the Americas Indigenous peoples of the Americas

North America

North American pre-Columbian cultures Caddoan Mississippian Chichimeca Hopewell tradition Coles Creek Fremont Marksville Mississippian Mogollon Plaquemine Plum Bayou Poverty Point Troyville Weeden Island

Mesoamerica

Mesoamerican pre-Columbian chronology Capacha Chalcatzingo Cholula Coclé Epi-Olmec Huastec Izapa Mezcala Mixtec Olmec Pipil Quelepa Shaft tomb tradition Teuchitlan Purépecha Teotihuacan Tlatilco Tlaxcaltec Toltec Totonac Veracruz Xochipala Zapotec

South America

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Conquest Spanish conquest (Hernán Cortés) Spanish conquest Spanish conquest of Yucatán (Francisco de Montejo) Spanish conquest of Guatemala (Pedro de Alvarado) Spanish conquest (Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada) (Hernán Pérez de Quesada) (List of conquistadors) Spanish conquest (Francisco Pizarro)

See also

Portal:Indigenous peoples of North America Portal:Mesoamerica Columbian Exchange Mesoamerican writing systems Native American cuisine Native American pottery Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre‑Columbian art Painting in the Americas before European colonization

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