Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Aztec Way of Life

Aztec Way of Life
Like the Mayas, the Aztecs had a calendar, a number system, and a way of writing. They also built many large cities, just as the Mayas had.

All the Aztec cities were ruled by one emperor, who was believed to talk to the gods. The emperor ruled over both military and religious matters. Assisted by a council of four high-ranking officials, the emperor made all Aztec laws and saw that they were followed. This leader stood at the top of Aztec society People were not allowed to turn their back on the emperor or look directly at his face.

Below the emperor in society were the nobles, who helped him rule, and the soldiers. Then came the farmers, artisans, and merchants. Aztec women in these classes were allowed to own property and manage businesses. Aztec girls attended school. Some grew up to become religious leaders or healers, while many others farmed.

At the bottom of Aztec society were the slaves. Some Aztecs became slaves because their parents were too poor to support them. Others were enslaved as adults because they had broken Aztec laws. Some captured enemies also became slaves.

Not all captives became slaves, however. Many were sacrificed, or killed as offerings, to the Aztec gods. In fact, one reason the Aztecs fought wars was to capture enemy warriors to sacrifice.

Like other ancient cultures, the Aztecs worshipped many gods. One of the most important gods was Quetzalcoatl (ket«zahl»koo»WAH»tahl), the god of knowledge and creation. The Aztecs believed the world would end if they did not make sacrifices to their gods. Thousands of people died each year as sacrifices. Because human sacrifice was so important to the Aztecs, the goal in battle was to capture enemies, not to kill them.

What was the connection between religion and war in Aztec life?

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