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The Splendor of
Start Here!
This was only the beginning of a
great empire…
•The large population
of Tenochtitlan
created a demand for
raw materials and
goods that could not
be supplied from the
lands within the
Valley of Mexico
alone, so the empire
was extended.
One of the Largest Cities of it’s
Only Four European Cities- Paris, Venice,
Milan, and Naples had populations of
100,000 or more at the time of
Tenochtitlan. Tenochtitlan was home to
between 80,000-250,000 people.
Can you find
on this larger
Do you know
what major
city today
exists where
once was?
Tenochtitlan was about 5 square miles and
occupied what is present day Mexico City.
It was a metropolis buzzing with activity. Some
60,000 people gathered daily in the major market
called Tlateloco (tla-te-lol-ko). They bartered or
traded for goods like: turkeys, rabbits,
armadillos, cotton, gourds, cloth, corn and
Cacao beans were the most common item used
for currency or money. Sometimes thieves would
counterfeit cacao beans out of wax and dough.
When disputes came up, they were settled by a
judge, who gave on-the-spot verdicts!
The Market
•A model of the ancient market, or tianquiztli, of Tenochtitlán
appears at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico
City, Mexico. The model represents what was the most famous
market in the Aztec empire when the Spaniards arrived in 1519.
The Clean City…
Compared to other cities, Tenochtitlan was very
There was good drainage, and human waste and
garbage were taken away on large boats called
A crew of a thousand men swept and washed
down public streets every day.
Cleanliness was considered essential, and people
bathed often, many every day!
Aztec Daily Life
Click on the following to learn more about Aztec
life and culture!
Aztec Warriors
Religion and Gods
Aztec Architecture
Now that you have researched,
you are ready to play the game!
Aztec Warriors
The Aztecs were constantly fighting with their
neighbors, either to increase the size of their empire
or to take prisoners who would probably be
sacrificed to the gods at their temples. Young men
joined the army at the age of 17. The most feared
and famous of all Aztec soldiers were the eagle and
the jaguar warriors.
In this picture the Aztec warriors are fighting against
neighboring Tlaxcaltecs to gain power in the area.
An Aztec warrior usually carried spears
made of wood and stabbing javelins
and round shields with feather fringes.
Flint knives were also used and
wooden slings to fire stones at their
The ideal warrior was noble, brave and
had to serve and respect the gods.
Warriors were so important to the
Aztecs that new rulers had to start
their rule on the battle field, adding
cities and provinces to the empire, and
capturing prisoners for ritual sacrifice,
an essential part of the Aztec religion.
Aztec soldiers who fought well could
become eagle or jaguar warriors. The
jaguar and eagle warriors were
distinguished by their uniform and
helmets, the jaguar warriors wore
jaguar skins with their faces peering
out of the animals head and the eagle
warriors wore feathered helmets with a
gaping beak.
Back to Aztec Daily Life
to learn More!
Religion and Gods
The Aztecs were very religious. They believed that their
gods caused the sun to rise, rain to fall, crops to grow
and fire to burn.
The Aztecs believed that they lived in the fifth of five
eras or "suns". Eventually this era would come to an
end, but they thought that if they kept worshipping and
feeding their gods, the time of destruction would be
delayed. They fed their gods with human blood, which
meant sacrificing people -especially prisoners of war- on
top of pyramids in front of temples.
They had lots of elaborate
ceremonies to honor their
gods. The timing of these
was determined by the
sacred calendar highlighting
important farming events
such as planting, rainfall or
harvest. Priests performed
the rituals. They lived in the
temple and spent time
looking after sacred fires,
praying and offering incense.
They dyed their bodies
black, wore black clothes
and never cut their hair.
Some of the Important Aztec Gods:
Feathered Serpent
This is the wind god and the
god of knowledge.
Tlaloc is the rain god. He also
controls storms, thunder and
The god of sun and war. The
main god of the Aztec people.
Back to Aztec Daily Life
to learn More!
Aztec Architechture
The core of Tenochtitlan was a great
double pyramid dedicated to
Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.
The temple area was at the center
of the city and contained a
number of religious buildings. It
was sheltered from the rest of the
city by a high wall.
Next to this was the enormous
royal palace, built on two levels.
The ruler and his servants and
family used the upper level and
government officials worked in
rooms on the lower level. The
palace also had a jail, a court,
counting houses, workshops and
There were rules about
buildings and were they could be
built. Only nobles were allowed to
build their large stone houses
near to the palace.
Ordinary families lived in oneroomed mud brick houses. These
were part of a walled compound
of houses, where their relatives
lived. Most families had a
chinampa on which they grew
maize and beans.
The Tzompantli
Nearby was a giant rack, the
tzompantli, on which many
thousands of human skulls
were displayed.
The tzompantli was an altar
where the skulls of sacrificial
victims were placed,
generally war captives in
order to honor their gods. It
was the most visible
expression of politicalreligious control exercised by
the Aztecs.
Back to Aztec Daily Life
to learn More!
Play The Game!
1. The Aztecs believed that their gods:
Had nothing to do with everyday life
Caused fire to burn and the sun to rise
Did not need sacrifices
The tzompantli was a:
A rack of animal skulls
A rack of Aztec warrior skulls
A rack of captive skulls dedicated to the gods
3. How large was Tenochtitlan?
Five Square Miles
Twenty Square Miles
Forty Square Miles
4. What modern city sits where Tenochtitlan used to be?
Mexico City
Who did the Aztec usually sacrifice?
Prisoners of war
Priests from other tribes
The End!
Your Are finished!
Go over your worksheet with your partner!
PowerPoint created by Miss. Beall
Feb 2005