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Ancient Aztec Civilization

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Title: Ancient Aztec Civilization


1
Ancient Aztec Civilization
  • Warfare and Expansion
  • Tenochtitlan
  • Daily Life Yautepec

2
Warfare
  • Aztec Empire
  • held in loose control physically, but control
    held by intimidation and overwhelming power.
  • made an overwhelming force, as it did for the
    British in India, where no immense standing
    armies or garrisons needed.

3
Armies
  • Armies (main army numbered nearly 500,000)
  • all males were militarily trained, in schools.
  • further training was under a more experienced
    warrior.
  • social prestige and advancement for both commoner
    and noble available in military.
  • more likely, that a noble would gain more
    prestige due to better access to training.
  • military societies graded according to caste.
  • rank determined by kinship, social status,
    military achievement, and personality.
  • fluid and volatile organizations.

4
Jaguar and Eagle Knights
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztec-warfare
.htm
5
Florentine Codex
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztec-warfare
.htm
6
Mendoza Codex
Warriors holding prisoners.
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztec-warfare
.htm
7
Expansion
  • Declarations of war kept inside society to gain
    surprise.
  • intelligence was also a factor, spies, merchants
    and diplomats acted to aid in war.
  • relay stations 2 and a half miles apart relayed
    information.
  • supply lines and armories provided food and
    weapons.

8
Expansion
  • During the 15th century the military strength of
    the Aztecs increased. They grew from a small
    tribe of mercenaries into a powerful and highly
    disciplined military force. They also formed
    alliances with their powerful neighbors Texcoco
    and Tacuba, known as the Triple Alliance. It was
    a time for building and the city Tenochtitlán
    grew and prospered.
  • By the end of Aztec rule, in 1520, 38 conquered
    tributary provinces had been made, who had to
    make payments. However, some of the tribes at the
    borders stayed strongly independent.

9
Aztec Empire ca. 1519
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs/aztecs
20.gif
10
(No Transcript)
11
Tenochtitlan
  • In the beginning stages of Tenochtitlán,
    development, Aztec life was very difficult in
    their undesirable location.
  • Tenochtitlán was located on a marshy island with
    limited resources, they built a few thatch and
    mud huts, and some small temples.
  • The Aztecs would have to work constantly to
    maintain a city on swampy land.
  • There was also continuing tensions between the
    Aztecs and the neighboring peoples on the
    mainland who despised them.
  • Despite these obstacles, the Aztecs worked hard
    to improve the quality of their lives.

12
Tenochtitlan
  • As the Aztec empire expanded, specialized
    craftsmen and common laborers were brought to
    Tenochtitlán to expand the city.
  • Since it was built on swamp land, large wooden
    stakes were driven into the soft ground to
    provide secure foundations for the new buildings.
  • They were able to use the stone Tezontli to
    construct the buildings on the unstable ground.
  • Despite these precautions, the larger temples and
    palaces would often sink below ground level.
  • As a result, the older building were continuously
    repaired or rebuilt with the newer structures
    built over the older core.

13
Tenochtitlan Aztec Capital
  • Artificially created island with Tlatelolco
    (Market)
  • Built up by chinampa construction and use of
    small islets and landfills.
  • The main city was only the largest of at least
    ninteeen island communities in Lake Texcoco.
  • Measured at least 5.4 sq miles
  • High-density urban development limited to the
    main island.
  • System of measurement
  • Complex, but consistent and practical.
  • omitl (bone)1.8 feet.
  • maitl (hand)5.4 feet
  • Layout
  • avenues laid out on 400 maitl (2160 foot) and
    cross streets spaced at 400 omitls (720 feet).
  • earliest temple dates to 1428, with construction
    and refurbishment continuing all the time.

14
Tenochtitlan Reconstruction
15
Tlatelolco
  • Heart of island consisted of two ceremonial
    precincts and the market of Tlatelolco.
  • series of adjacent plazas arranged around major
    buildings.
  • including temples, administrative structures,
    palaces.
  • Lists for the center include
  • 25 pyramid temples
  • 9 priests quarters
  • 7 skull racks
  • 2 ball courts
  • arsenals, shops, etc.

16
Market
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztec-life.ht
m
17
Skull Racks
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
18
Ballcourt
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
19
Sacred Central Square
  • Sacred Central Square
  • planned from arrival of Mixecas and based on
    astronomical principles.
  • Solar Alignment
  • The sun's rays shining between the shrines of
    Tlaloc and Hutzilopochtli atop the Templo Mayor
    into the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, occured at
    sunrise on March 21, the equinox.
  • It is said that the Templo Mayor was
    reconstructed, at Moctezuma's behest, as the
    alignment was slightly twisted.
  • It can be seen from the temple ruins that it is
    skewed so that it is pointed nearly 7 degrees
    south of true east to match the sun's path

20
Tenochtitlan Ruins Central Square
http//www.wsu.edu/dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM
21
Great Temple (Temple Mayor)
  • Great Temple (Temple Mayor)
  • aligned with the rising of the sun at the
    equinox.
  • twin pyramid with two staircases.
  • two temples or shrines at top, one to
    Huitzilopochtli and one to Tlaloc.
  • skewed seven degrees east of true north I order
    to accommodate such observations.
  • also aligned with Mt. Tlaloc and another sacred
    mountain.
  • placed where a priest saw an eagle eating a snake
    on top of a cactus.
  • The Templo Mayor was founded c. AD 1325, and then
    rebuilt and successively enlarged by later
    rulers, with a total of seven major construction
    stages. Each phase included two giant twin
    staircases that led to twin temples at the top of
    the Great Pyramid.

22
Templo Mayor
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
23
Human Figure from Templo Mayor
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
24
Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc
  • Temples placed to right and left of great temple-
    Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.
  • from there extended the four major avenues
    running east-west and north-south.
  • divide city into four quarters each marked by a
    major temple.
  • The twin temple to the south was dedicated to
    Huitzilopochtli, the patron deity of the Aztecs
    and the deity who had led them on their journey
    to Tenochtitlan.
  • In front of this temple was placed a sacrificial
    stone.
  • Enormous stone serpents run along the balustrades
    and in front of the platforms on both
    Huitzilopochtli's side of the pyramid and around
    the entire Templo Mayor.

25
Temple Remains
http//www.wsu.edu/dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM
26
Coyolxauhqui stone
The Coyolxauhqui stone found at the base of the
stairs on Huitzilopochtli's side of the Templo
Mayor suggests that the Templo Mayor gave
permanent physical form to myths like that of
Coatepec, or "Snake Mountain."
27
Tlaloc
  • The temple on the northern side of the twin
    temple was dedicated to Tlaloc, a deity
    associated with rain and agricultural fertility.
  • Mirroring the sacrificial stone on
    Huitzilopochtli's side of the pyramid was a chac
    mool on Tlaloc's side.
  • Tlaloc's temple held the seeds of cultivated
    plants.
  • Instead of the serpents that decorate the
    opposite side of the pyramid, frogs decorate
    Tlaloc's half, probably referencing his
    associations with water and fertility.

28
Temple Remains
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
29
Artifacts from Tenochtitlan
Grasshopper
Serpent
Rattlesnake
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
30
Yautepec
  • Yautepec was an Aztec urban center whose ruins
    today lie under the modern town of the same name
    in the Mexican state of Morelos.
  • Three recent archaeological projects make
    Yautepec one of the most intensively-studied
    Aztec cities outside of the imperial capital
    Tenochtitlan.

31
Yautepec
  • A team of Mexican government archaeologists began
    excavations at the mound in 1989, under the
    direction of Hortensia de Vega Nova, and
    fieldwork has continued through 1996.
  • The excavators discovered an enormous stone
    platform some 6,000 square meters in area (0.6
    hectares, or about 1.5 acres) that had been the
    royal palace of the king (tlatoani) of Yautepec.
  • The first Aztec royal palace to be excavated by
    archaeologists.

32
http//www.albany.edu/mesmith/yaucity.html
33
Excavations
  • The locations of the excavations and houses are
    shown on the map of Yautepec.
  • One elite residence (structure 6), five commoner
    dwellings (structures 1-4 and 7), and one
    intermediate structure (no. 5).
  • This is the first set of urban Aztec houses
    excavated anywhere in central Mexico.
  • The urban houses were quite similar in size and
    construction to the rural houses we had excavated
    previously at Cuexcomate and Capilco.
  • The population density of Yautepec was not much
    higher than the rural sites, and this implies
    that this city had considerable open space for
    gardens and fields within its borders.

34
http//www.albany.edu/mesmith/yaucity.html
35
Royal Palace
http//www.albany.edu/mesmith/yaupal1.gif
36
Aztec Nobility
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztecs1.htm
37
Daily Life Commoners
  • Their domestic artifacts were nearly identical to
    those excavated at Aztec rural sites with one
    major difference.
  • Evidence for part-time domestic craft production
    was much more abundant and widespread among
    Yautepec houses than at their rural counterparts.
  • Some Yautepec households were involved in
    producing blades and other tools of obsidian, and
    the manufacture of ceramic figurines was also a
    common domestic activity (as evidenced by molds).
  • Adult burials were also found at Yautepec.

38
Economy
  • As at all Aztec sites, the most common production
    activity at Yautepec was the spinning and weaving
    of cotton cloth.
  • All Aztec women engaged in textile production,
    and recovered numerous ceramic spindle whorls
    and spinning bowls at every excavation of a
    domestic context
  • Household ritual involving small clay figurines
    was another common activity at Yautepec
    households.
  • Hundreds of these figurines were excavated, most
    of which are images of Aztec women. Men are also
    represented, as are animals and plants, and
    deities

39
Stone outline of commoner house.
http//www.albany.edu/mesmith/yaupal1.gif
40
Reconstruction of daily life.
http//www.rose-hulman.edu/delacova/aztec-life.ht
m
41
Artifacts
Clay figurines
http//www.albany.edu/mesmith/yaupal1.gif
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