Published on December 14, 2007
Ancient Aztec Civilization: Ancient Aztec Civilization By: Sonya Shapiro Art: Art Types of Aztec Art: Types of Aztec Art Poetry Songs Beautiful jade jewelry Types of Artists: Types of Artists Stoneworkers Scribes Potters Feather workers Stoneworkers: Stoneworkers Make objects from green jade, black obsidian, and transparent crystals Used simple tools made out of wood, rock, or bones. They were trained from an early age. Skills were passed down from stoneworker to stoneworker. Scribes: Scribes Scribes would draw pictograms that would record events The Aztec type of writing was pictographic. Pictographic Art: Pictographic Art Offerings to the Sun God Potters: Potters Didn’t use a potter's wheel. Shaped the clay with their hands. Often they would design the inside of a pot and paint it. They only used 2 colors. Pots were only designed for the rich or royalty. Feather Workers: Feather Workers Used feathers from tropical birds to made headdresses. Made clothing out of feathers for royalty or nobility. Aztec Headdress: Aztec Headdress Things Artists Would Use: Things Artists Would Use Vegetables Insects Shells Minerals Oils Most Well Known Aztec Sculpture: Most Well Known Aztec Sculpture The Calendar Stone Discovered in from of the Temple of the Sun In the center the sun god Tonatiuh Originally multi colored Now in a museum Aztec Calendar Stone: Aztec Calendar Stone Religion: Religion Gods: Gods They believed the world was controlled by divine forces that were in constant conflict and opposition with each other. Gods: Gods Dominated by three gods: Huitzilopochtli, Tezcatlipoca, and Quetzalcoatl. Then there were 4 creating gods remote from the human world. Below these was an infinity of gods. The most important were Tlaloc, the Rain God, Chalchihuitlicue, the god of growth, and Xipe, the "Flayed One," a god associated with spring. The Three Head Gods: The Three Head Gods Sacrifice: Sacrifice Human sacrifice was the most pleasing to the gods. Gods gave things to humans on of they were nourished with their blood. Human Sacrifice: Human Sacrifice They drew blood by piercing their tongues, ears, extremities, and genitals. Other Sacrifices: Other Sacrifices Prayer Food Offerings Sports Dramas Polytheistic: Polytheistic The Aztecs believed in more than one god. 800 total in the earth, heaven, and underworld. Each god represented something different and ruled over a different aspect of nature. Gods: Gods They believed the sun needed human blood to move in the sky each day. Agricultural problems were signs that the gods were angry. The World: The World They believed the world had been destroyed four times. Each four eras were called the Sun. The Legend of the Creation of the Fifth World: The Legend of the Creation of the Fifth World Two gods came to earth in the form of snakes looking for the earth goddess. When they found her they tore her into 2 pieces: one stayed on earth and one went to heaven. The piece on earth was so sad all the gods created things to console her with: animals, plants, mountains, lakes, and people. The earth goddess demanded that the people give her something in exchange; sacrifice. Most Important Religious Event: Most Important Religious Event Every 52 years all the Aztecs would burn their houses and all their possessions. At this time they thought the gods were deciding if they would all live of if it was time to make a new world. If they decided to let them live then they would repeat it all again in 52 years. Time: Time Their world was dominated by the calculation of time. Two calendars: each day was controlled by two gods. A complex series of astronomical calculations determined how to act in each day to please a certain god. Ritual Year and Solar Year: Ritual Year and Solar Year Ritual Year: 260 days Solar Year: 365 days There were 52 year cycles. Every 52 years the calendars would resynchronize. Ritual Calendar and Solar Calendar: Ritual Calendar and Solar Calendar Ritual Calendar Solar Calendar Laws and Courts: Laws and Courts Power of the Gods: Power of the Gods Gods had power over people through emperors, nobles, and priests. Laws: Laws Marriage Estates Class Systems Economics Cities sometimes shared a common empire so some laws were the same. Punishment: Punishment Harsh and efficiently dealt with through a system of courts. Senior warriors were judges. If a noble person was being tried he would be one of the judges also. The death penalty was a common punishment for any crime. Courts: Courts If it was a serious crime the person would be tried in the Tenochtitlan. Other crimes were dealt with in local courts. Military: Military Army: Army No professional army but their were professional military officers. How warriors were made: How warriors were made When a boy was born his umbilical cord was cut off, dried, and buried in a battle field. This signified that they would become a warrior. Every boy became a warrior. Training: Training A boy was trained about fighting and weapons in school. Trained warriors took boys into war and taught them how to capture a prisoner. A boy became a man once he captured a prisoner. Warfare: Warfare A vital part of the Aztecs lives. Declaration of war was greeted with joy. Fighting in battle was considered a duty and an honor. The Aztecs were one of the fiercest tribes in the Valley of Mexico. Weapons: Weapons Costumes: Costumes Soldiers dressed in costumes to scare their enemies. Jaguar warriors wore ocelot skins. Eagle warriors wore helmets shaped like the beaks of birds of prey. Ordinary troops wore costumes decorated with patterns and had war emblems made from feathers and leather. Protection for Warriors: Protection for Warriors Leather of wooden shields decorated with bright feathers. Below the shield were leather straps to protect the legs. Their clubs had an edge of obsidian glass. Clubs were held to their wrist by a leather thong. An Aztec Shield: An Aztec Shield Prisoners: Prisoners The plan was to hit the opponents leg so that they could be taken captive. Not many fatalities in the wars. Prisoners were war trophies because they could be used in sacrificed. A soldier became part of the family and was treated like a son until it was his time to be sacrificed. Battle: Battle A site was chosen for battle and the armies met. The battle started when insults and war cries were shouted. Battle shells and conch shell trumpets played. After the war was over the winners plundered the town and took the townspeople prisoner. Architecture: Architecture Decoration: Decoration Brightly painted on the outsides but the insides were plain. The rooms had no windows so the evil gods couldn’t come in during the night. Noble's houses were made out of red stone. The insides were decorated with fabrics, animal skins,and feather works. Most important architecture: Most important architecture Pyramids and temples. Pyramids were not built like the Egyptians. They had a rectangular base and the the pyramid was built. Economics: Economics System: System A barter system. Purchases were made with cacao beans. Cacao Beans: Cacao Beans If it was a minor purchase then only 30 or so cacao beans would be used. If it was a larger purchase around 350 beans would be needed. Food: Food Highly dependent on Maize (corn). Tomatoes, avocadoes, atol (a type of porridge), tortillas, and tamales were made out of Maize. Maize: Maize Drinks: Drinks An alcoholic drink called Octli. Made from the sap of a Maguey plant. Only for royalty, nobles, and warriors. An noble person who got drunk off of it was sentenced to death. Farmers: Farmers The land was not good so they used the “slash and burn” technique. Basic farming tools were digging sticks, chisels, and stone axes. Things that were sold would be vegetables, fruit, spices, flowers, and edible dogs and birds. Writing: Writing Pictographic: Pictographic Recorded on paper of animal skins. An aid to oral traditions. Purposes: calculation, calendrical counts, diaries, chronicles, and history. The language is Nahuatl. Pictographic Writing: Pictographic Writing Technology: Technology Medicine: Medicine Fever: take regular steam baths. Earaches: put liquid rubber in ear. Broken legs: tie splints to them. Cut legs: sprinkle obsidian glass on the wound once a day. Colds: put a drop of collected dew from the fields in each nostril each day. Transportation: Transportation Roads were designed for foot travel. Maintained through tribute of warriors called Paynani. The roads were constantly under surveillance so even women could travel alone. Government: Government Warrior state led by an empire: Warrior state led by an empire 1. Nobles 2. Commoners 3. Serfs 4. Slaves Government offices were inherited. Emperor: Emperor A semi-divine being. They let him do anything he wanted. People: People They were given a small plot to farm food and a house. They paid their taxes by giving the government food. Tradesmen who brought back rare and luxurious things were rewarded with food, clothes, and even land.