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The Aztecs undiscovered world of The Aztecs Who were the Aztecs ? How did they live ? Religion & beliefs conquest & warriors This book was made by the pupils in years 5 and 6 of Willows Primary School, Stoke on Trent It was made on 4 July 2012 with help from Rob Bowden. Lifeworlds Learning Who are the Aztecs ? The three cities were to rule the valley of Mexico until the Spanish army came and invaded them in the 1500‘s. They were a warrior tribe and they continued to conquer more land. At one point , they had taken over nearly the whole of Mexico! Some say they that they went north and others say they possibly discovered the south west of the United States! They lived in huts made from adobe (a kind of rock ) there funiture was very simple as they had mats made out of reeds to sit or sleep on and sometimes use as a table. The huts were usually one room. The Aztecs lived from 6th century AD until 1525 AD when they died out through diseases and battle. The Aztecs moved around a lot - it took them until 1325 to settle down in the city of Tenochtitlan in Mexico. The Aztecs had kings and they were all from the same family for 150 years. When Aztec boys were growing up they would be taught to fight by their fathers. Would you have liked to live when the Aztecs were alive ? A map showing how the Aztec empire grew over the years and took over much of Mexico. Finally, a small-pox epidemic infected the city of Tenoteuzam and half the city was killed. Cortes came into the city and destroyed it. By August 13th 1521, the Aztec empire was ruined and Spanish rule soon spread though out the newly gained land. The Aztecs ruins are able to be seen today in Bloomfield, Mexico. The ruins are old and unstable - they were temples when the Aztecs lived in Mexico. There are many sights of the temples all are broken, damaged and secured (they are not able to touched). If the ruins weren’t buried, if the Aztecs were alive today, if they made medicine for the world, then we could cure more diseases that kill hundreds in a day. 6th century beginning of the Aztecs. 1110-1248 Aztecs try finding somewhere to stay 1325 They settle at Tenochtitlan 1395-1417 Second king rules 1525 Aztecs die out through disease and war The Aztecs started as a small travelling group of merchants who came from a place called Aztlan, their home city, in the 14th century. They discovered a lake and decided to build a city in Az-facts the middle of It. The Lake was called Texcoco. They Texcoco and Tlacopan are formed an alliance with two cities including today part of Mexico Texcoco and another City - the Mexican called Tlacopan. capital. Third, Cortes and his men knew they had come into Mexico against Spanish wishes and unless they conquered Mexico they would be severely punished when they returned, so they were desperate. Aztec ruins Key dates in Aztec history Where did they live? Second, the Aztecs had nothing like formal military strategy; wars were largely fought as large scale individual combats. The Spanish also had firearms that were superior to the Aztec weapons. Why are they not around today? Why are the aztecs interesting? The Aztecs are interesting to study in many different ways. Aztec jewellery was made with a rich variety of materials, such as gold, silver and copper. Mosaics were sometimes created by placing bits of precious stone into a background of clay or wood. The stones they used were jade, amethyst, opal, moonstone, and turquoise. what the Aztecs wore The Aztecs wore loose fitting clothes that didn`t fully cover their body. Aztecs clothes were made out of cotton or a fabric made from the maguey cactus. They loved beautiful colours. An Aztec temple in Mexico is one of the few signs we have left of the Aztec Empire. The Spaniards kidnapped Montezuma (the Aztec Leader) and eventually killed him in 1524. When the city of Tenoteuzam (the city) fell, the remainder of Mexico fell very rapidly. The Spaniards defeated the Aztecs for several reasons. First, there were too many of the surrounding peoples with hostility towards Tenoteuzam. By using 150,000 of these native peoples and 9,000 of his own troops, Cortez (the Spanish leader) completely dismantled the Aztec empire and in the process gained control of those who were fighting for their own freedom. Az-facts The Aztecs gave us many foods including sweetcorn, chocolate, tacos, tomatoes and potatoes. How did they live? Aztecs lived around 840 years ago in Mexico. Surprisingly, when the Spaniards came, there were 25,000,000 Aztecs! There are a lot of interesting, unusual and gruesome facts to be told. Read on to find out more about the culture and lifestyle of the Aztecs. The ordinary Aztec children went to a school called a telpocheli. They learned about history and religion but also music and dance. When they were older, boys learned to fight. Noble children went to a school called a calmecac. They learned to read and write and made paper from fig trees. Upper class children also studied religion, mathematics and astrology. The Machehualtin (literally “workers”: tradespeople, peasants and builders) children attended school also. There they were taught basic occupational skills, the elements of warfare, and good citizenship. The children learned the fundamentals of their history and religion. One of the most famous Aztec games was called Ullamaliztli. This was also called the Aztec ball game. This game was very hard because it was played with a large rubber ball. The game was also important for politics and religion. It was one of their first games. Patolli was a board game played by both common and rich Aztecs alike. This game was actually played in South America before the Aztecs came along. The name comes from the words ‘red beans’. It was actually one of the most common games. food and drink A child looks on as the speaker is taken by his servants. Childhood and punishments Childhood in Aztec times was very different compared to our time: the punishments were horrific. If they misbehaved they could have cactus spines shoved into their skin or, they were held over a fire containing chillies and were forced to inhale the smoke. However, the Aztecs believed education was important. Boys learned farming and fishing from their fathers and girls learned skills like cooking and weaving from their mothers. Both boys and girls attended school. Aztec food was a rich combination of many foods that we take for granted today. Not only is much of this rich, tasty diet, still common in Mexico today, it’s spread around the world. Maize, a type corn, was the best grain in the Aztec empire: it was their main food source. It has been used in homes for thousands of years, and it first came into common use in Mexico. Meat was a luxury for ordinary people in Aztec times. Aztecs obtained their meat from both domesticated and wild animals. Cautiously, dangerously and with lots of experience, the Aztecs hunted animals, such as geese, ducks, dear and rabbits! Az-facts The Aztecs found the cocoa bean and thought of the term, Hot Chocolate. The Aztecs had many pastimes. They had games, music and festivals for all to enjoy. Music and dance was one of the most important parts of Aztec life. The most common instruments were rattles, whistles, trumpets, flutes and copper belles. If you were aged 12 to 15, you were taught to dance, sing and play musical instruments. If plays were performed, they would be focused on something from the past, usually about their gods. aztec jobs The most common jobs were farming, fighting and cooking. Most men were involved in farming and being warriors in the military. Most women were involved in taking care of the home, weaving and going to the market. There were priests, scribes, accountants, teachers, architects, calendar keepers, mathematicians, astronomers, doctors, street sweepers, cooks and even police. There were some people who were long-distance traders and many who traded things in the city. If you showed talent in something, then often they would train you in that specialty in a school. Many times, sons followed their fathers in their careers and the nobility was able to go to advanced schools that taught higher education, like a college. A family of Aztecs prepare a traditional Aztec meal. Pastimes Rich people white washed their homes if they were stone, to make them look clean, shiny and tidy. The poor had no chimney, no windows and the floor was usually made from dirt or stone. The walls where usually made out of dry mud bricks. The differences are quite astonishing! Poor and rich The rich and poor Aztecs were quite different in many ways. The rich houses were made out of sun dried brick. If you were very rich and wealthy, your house would be made out of stone. The poor farmers and common people lived in huts with thatched roofs: furniture was limited for them. Rich people in a higher class, wore clothes decorated with beautiful feathers, with embroidery to show off their status. For common people they were not allowed to wear bright feathers and also not allowed to carry fans: if they did they would be killed/sacrificed. Poor Aztecs wore old fibre clothing, because they could not afford to buy expensive, new fibre clothing. Most people were farmers because they couldn’t afford to buy food from the market, so they grew food in farms like those in the picture below. Religion & Beliefs Five major Gods that they worship were: Ometecuhtli and his partner Omecihuatl, the Gods of nature and duality who are known to be the parents of a lot of other gods too! Quetzalcoatl God of creation which has the appearance of a feathered serpent and is seen in a lot of statues and carvings. Huitzilopochtli the warrior sun God. He was also one of the Gods of direction, he was south. Xipe Totec the God of seasons, renewal and growing things. He was also a god of direction, he was west. Tláloc the God of rain and water, children were sacrificed to him as their tears were meant to make it rain. The Aztecs had many beliefs. They worshipped approximately 1,000 gods! They believed that the sun fought the darkness every night, and rose to save mankind. As a method of sacrifice, they would offer their blood to the gods. They believed that they owed their blood debt. The Aztecs had an 18 month cycle, and for each of the 18 months, there was a ritual sacrifice. Also animals would be sacrificed as well as humans. Temples were also known as houses for the gods. Identifying Aztec temples has been extremely tricky to discover for centuries! A well known Aztec temple, was the Templo Mayor built out of stone and, covered stucco and polychrome paints. Not only was it a famous Aztec temple, it was also home to 2 different Aztec gods Tlaloc (the rain god), and Huitzilopochtli (the god of war)! Templo Mayor was a part of the sacred area of the city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. It was only one of perhaps 75-80 buildings which included other pyramids, ornamental walls, gathering places, shops and bathrooms. Templo Mayor Height: The gods: Completed: Materials: 60m/197ft Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc 1497 Built of stone and covered with stucco and polychrome paint Sacrifices Though human sacrifice is the most talked about, there were actually many types of sacrifices. Animals would be sacrificed, as well as humans. Also people would cut themselves to offer their blood to the gods. When a person was sacrificed, the victim would first be painted and then placed on a slab where their heart would be removed and held up to the sun. The body would be thrown down the stairs of the temple. The body would be disposed of in various ways, such as feeding animals at the zoo or putting on display (the heads). There were other ways that humans would be sacrificed - shot with arrows, drowned and burned. Killing in a fight (like the Roman gladiators) also took place. Aztec gods The Aztecs had 7 different types of Gods. These were the Cultural Gods, Nature Gods, Gods of creation, Gods of excess, Gods of maize and fertility, Gods of death and the underworld and Trade Gods. The Aztec Gods Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. Templo Mayor - one of the most famous Aztec temples. Aztec cosmology Aztec temples Aztecs temples were called Teocalli. The priests of the Aztec religion went to these temples to worship and pray, and make offerings to the gods to keep them strong and in balance . Aztec temples were built to worship the various Aztec gods. An Aztec temple was built in the form of a steep pyramid. There were two staircases within an Aztec pyramid. Each staircase led to two different shrines. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice to honour the Aztec gods. Human sacrifice was performed inside the temples. The Aztecs believed that there was an upper world that was called the upper plane and that there was an underworld which they knew as Mictlan. Also, they believed that when worriers died and women past away in child birth, they were transformed into birds and butterflies and followed the sun on their journey to the sky. People who died from less great courses went to Mictlan whist, those who drowned, went to Tlalocan. Beliefs An image showing the sacrifice of humans on the temple steps. Conquests & warriors the cactus eating a snake they said that this was a sign from the gods and goddesses saying that this is where they should form their tribe. Battles The Aztecs were such a powerful civilization that they conquered many lands because they were so warlike. Soon after the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the A.D. 1100s, they controlled all the land in central Mexico between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, all within 100 years. Building an empire The city of Tenochtitlan was the military power, which led the conquest of new territory . Trading between themselves and with people from other towns was important part of Aztec life. They had no money, so they exchanged goods for others of equal value. This is called bartering. The Aztecs expanded their empire by conquering nearby tribes. They would use their warriors to challenge the other tribes in battle and the Aztec would send messengers to say they must surrender. If the tribes didn’t join them then the Aztecs would kill them and sacrifice the survivors. The Aztec Empire eventually stretched from The Pacific Ocean in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. This picture represents how the Aztecs formed as an Empire in Mexico. They believed that if they saw a lake, with a cactus in middle and an eagle sitting on The Aztecs were in many battles. One of these battles was when they fought the Spanish army. Most people say that the Spanish army had started it. It`s true! They killed the famous Montezuma II, who was a great Aztec ruler. The Spanish wanted gold and other things from the Aztec lands. When the Spanish army came city people were sent to spy on them and they signalled by doing bird calls. Aztecs went to war against the Spanish. Hernan Cortés was at first defeated by the Aztecs with an ambush that took the Spanish and especially Hernan Cortés by surprise. Up to 20,000 Aztecs were killed in the battle of Otumba. Lots of Spanish cut of the water supplies and fell into the water and swam away, hopefully thinking that they would live. The Aztecs eventually won by planning an ambush while the Spanish were foolishly stealing gold and had it cradled in their arms. Many of them were caught sneaking away into the woods in the dead of night. Warrior Ranks Aztec warriors, who were the bravest, toughest warriors, were very strong. They wore different uniforms that indicated their military rank. The bravest, strongest and also scariest warriors wore Eagle and Jaguar costumes. The Jaguar warriors (right) had fur made from the real thing! Eagle warriors wore an Eagle headdress made from the feathers of an Eagle. Obsidian blade used for sacrifices. There were many other warrior ranks like Stag and Buffalo. The key to getting higher in the warrior ranks was to defeat and capture warriors from other tribes. Some of the different uniforms of the Aztec warrior ranks. Death and sacrifices Death was important to the Aztecs because, they believed that the gods kept their civilization alive. They believed that the heart was the power of life, which is why they would cut it out during sacrifices. 40,000 Aztecs were killed at Tenochtitlan with a sacrifice dagger. To be sacrificed was special, because people believed it was a better way of life with the gods in the afterlife. The chosen prisoner had to Az-facts climb up a flight of almost vertical stairs to the stag People could be forced warrior so they could be to be sacrificed if they sacrificed. Sacrifices were were found to say performed on a block of anything bad about stone at the top of the the Aztec gods. pyramid. The people being sacrificed were held down by an assistant so that their heart could be cut out whilst they were still alive! After a sacrifice the stag warrior would play a unique handmade wooden flute to declare that they were dead. Aztec weapons Each ancient Aztec weapon was used for a different thing. The most well-known weapon was the Maquahuitl. The Maquahuitl could be used as a club, but other clubs were also used. Az-facts It is said that the major Aztec weapon could chop of the head of a horse with one blow! These are Aztec clubs that were used by the Aztecs in battle. Another common weapon was the spear. They were extremely sharp and some of them were over 7ft long. Aztec spears were very sharp and were known to piece Spanish armour. They are called Topoztopilli. Warriors used them to shave. Some Aztec weapons were made out of Obsidian and Flint. This included the knife used for sacrificing people.