Social -- There were two main Aztec social classes, the nobles and the commoners. They worked for a portion of land. Subject people were forced to pay tribute and provided work service. Slaves were strictly protected by the law. Craftsmen and merchants had a higher social status than farmers. They were a privileged class and had more freedom than most Aztecs did. Military class became a central role as suppliers of war to sacrificial victims.
Political -- Military was highly ritualized for the Aztecs. They had orders of warriors; The Jaguar and the Eagle including many other groups each with their own uniforms. They had distinct military ranks. Each city state was ruled by a speaker chosen from the nobility. The Great Speaker (ruler of Tenochtitlan) was the emperor. He had great wealth and power over people, some considered him a living god. His election was a choice between siblings of the royal family. To elect a new emperor the prime minster would hold a ceremony of great power and choose a close relative of the current ruler. They had a governing council. The empire was constructed of many city states, each one was ruled by a leader.
Aztec military ranks and weaponry
Interactions -- The Aztecs adapted to the environment by building canoes out of trees for fishing and trading. Also the Aztecs created medicines from plants as natural forms to cure fevers, epilepsy, swelling, colds, coughs and itches. They made floating gardens for more places to grow food. They built dikes to hold back water in swamps since they built their city on a swamp. The Aztecs used many engineers and traders to base their capital of Tenochtitlan near water. They interacted with conquistadors when the spanish came in to colonize in Central/South America with Hernando Cortes in Veracruz. They waged war because they needed to capture people in order to sacrifice and feed their gods. They were on the move for a while because nobody wanted them as their neighbor.
Culture -- Warriors were glorified for religious reasons and they were sacrificed for the gods. Religious healers were called for when people got sick/were dying as religion was a complex system of a fear and respect of the gods. People had to be sacrificed for the good gods to win over the bad ones and believed that their capital (Tenochtitlan) was where the earth and heaven met/came together. Women weaved fibers together to make cotton clothing as teen girls. The afterlife was based off how someone died and could be reincarnated as birds/butterflies or even as humans. Their vast trading network allowed them to use many colored dyes in clothes. The higher class people wore more clothing and jewelry like gold pendants. Between ages 12 and 15, kids were taught musical instruments/songs. Elders passed down cultural songs from each generation and poems and language used brilliant wordplay. Drums would accompany music to go in battle/in music and dances and art recorded importance in religion and in temples. Music and dance were to please the gods and were in ceremonies. They always set up a ball game court when they set up a new house. Authentic food was rich and spicy; used chili peppers in their sauces. Pottery included many checkered patterns like red, black and white. Holy musical instruments were strict and if you made a mistake when playing one, the gods were said to get angry at you. Commoners lived in adobe homes made from mud bricks, whereas nobles were able to have homes made from lime or stone with more decor.
a depiction of Aztec cultural sacrifice
Economics -- Aztecs used Fishing and hunting to get their own food. Chinampas (the agricultural system of farming), was used as well. Markets such as Tenochtitlan’s Tlateloco were used as places for trade. More than 50,000 people visited Markets and traded in one day. Their Government controlled the taxes, they controlled who would get food/famine, and market trade. Labor punishments were used by the emperor if someone broke the laws. Merchants were called, Pochtecas. Merchants traded/ produced items such as, gold ornaments, women’s colorful cloth, and salt. Merchant’s luxury items that they received were, tropical bird feathers, jugar skins, cotton, rubber, and cocoa beans. They lived in a separate part of the city. They were not high class but they received respect and were higher than middle class. Their trade routes within the caribbean trade items. The jobs that were common in the Aztec empire were, priests, government, warrior, law makers, crafters, artists, merchants, and goldsmiths. The common currency was trade and bartering.
Aztecs farming for markets and trading