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The Amazing
• Write something you already know
about the Aztec Empire!
• Write something you would like to
find out about the Aztec Empire.
• The Aztecs were
rich and powerful
people from the
valley of Mexico.
They were farmers,
warriors, traders,
engineers, artists and
Settling Down
• They arrived in Mexico about 700
years ago, looking for a new home.
• After a long journey, they arrived at
Lake Texoco in a large Mexican
• A god had sent them a sign telling
them where to live.
• An eagle with a snake in its mouth
perched on a cactus.
• It was very hard to build on the
lake because the Aztecs only had a
small piece of land in the
surrounding marshes.
• The Aztecs made the swampy,
shallow lake into chinampas. They
made islands by piling up mud and
reeds in the water. They used them
as their city foundations.
• Built canals, gardens,
aqueducts, temples and a
very grand palace.
• They named their new home
• Largest and most beautiful
city in the world.
What to Wear?
• What do you think they wore?
(Discuss in Pairs)
• Only rich nobles were allowed to
wear bright, patterned clothes.
• The best warriors were allowed to
wear clothes with lots of feathers
and decoration.
• Ordinary Aztecs wore plain clothes
that were made out of rough
What do you notice??
• Men and women painted
their bodies.
• They dyed their hair
black with mud or a
deep blue colour.
• For women, the
fashionable colour to
paint themselves was
yellow made from
crushed insects!
Aztecs and Food
• What do you think they ate?
• Maize, beans, tomatoes, chilli
peppers and other vegetables.
• People also ate dogs, monkeys,
frogs, tadpoles, lizards, ants,
caterpillars and insects.
• Many kinds of animals and birds
were sold live at Aztec markets.
• They used cocoa beans, feathers
and tools as money.
• The Aztecs even had
a god of chocolate!
• They used cocoa
beans to make a rich
chocolate drink.
• They added chillies
to make it spicy.
• Religion was very
important part of Aztec
• The Aztec religion was
based on worship of
gods who represented
the Earth, Rain and Sun.
• They held lots of festivals
to worship them.
• Can you guess the names of these
Gods and what they did?
• The god of sun and war was
Hummingbird on the Left.
• Hummingbird on the Left’s
mother was an earth goddess
called Snake Skirt.
• The Aztecs believed that the god
of water brought rain, thunder and
• Smoking Mirror was god of the
night sky. He decided if people
would be lucky.
Human Sacrifice
• The Aztecs believed that
their gods had to be fed
with human hearts and
• People thought this was a
good way to die as it
helped the gods.
• More than 10,000 people
were once sacrificed in
just four days.
What year did they build their city?
What was the name of the city?
How did they build their city on water?
What did warriors wear?
How did normal people dress and look?
What did they eat?
Name a God they believed in.
Name an odd custom they had at the time.
Ball Sports
• Their favourite sports included a rough ball
game that often ended in injuries or even
• This ball game was played by teams of players
using a hard rubber ball on a stone court.
• Players scored points by knocking the ball
through goal rings high up on the walls of the
• They were not allowed to kick or handle the
ball. They had to use their elbows, hips or
• The winners could claim clothes or jewellery
worn by spectators. The losing team was
sometimes killed as a sacrifice to the gods!
• Let’s give it a go!
Art and
• This is the mask of a
very powerful god called
Feathered Snake.
• It was made from
turquoise stone.
Aztec Children
• Strict rules and punishments to make them good,
obedient citizens.
• If children were rude or naughty, they were tied up
and left outside in the cold all night.
• Many children died as infants from diseases or
accidents at home.
• Working from the age of four.
• Girls: cook and clean.
• Boys: worked in fields or hunted and
fished with their fathers.
• 10: the boys were sent to school to do
military training and to learn a craft.
• 15: some boys went to a special school
where they learned about the history
and religion of the tribe.
• These boys became religious leaders.
• If they didn’t pay
attention in school, the
teacher punished them by
pinching their arms or
ears or pricking them
with cactus spines.
• If the girls were naughty,
they were given extra
• The worst punishment
for naughty children was
being held over a fire of
roasting chilli peppers,
so the smoke stung their
throats and eyes.
• If a family was very
poor, children were
sometimes sold to
passing slave traders.
• Music was a huge part of religious
ceremonies, festivals and storytelling.
• The instruments they used were
shells, rattles, whistles, horns, bells
and drums.
• Let’s make our own Aztec music: Write
the music using graphic notation and
incorporate all of these instruments.