Aztec

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Aztec

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Aztec (New Mexico)

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Beispiele für die Übersetzung Aztekin- ansehen Adjektiv. But anyone who killed this bird, which was honored as a deity, was sentenced to death by the Aztecs. Beispiele aus dem Internet nicht von der PONS Redaktion geprüft Numbers are older than writings Whereas some scripts Money Movers existed for a short time — the Indus script disappeared along with its culture, the scripts of the Mayas and Aztecs were destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors — others, such as the Egyptian and Chinese scripts, persisted and developed. There is no modern counterpart to the religion that so dominated Aztec culture.

Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited. Retrieved April 17, Alexander Eds. The American Indian Heritage Foundation.

Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Paul Tice ed. Indians in the Americas. Book Tree. Aztec Medicine, Health and Nutrition.

New Brunswick : Rutgers University Press. Aztec History and Culture. The Rosen Publishing Group. Chocolate: Food of the Gods.

Greenwood Publishing Group. The History Channel. Retrieved May 18, The Aztec and Mayan Worlds. Tribal Directory. The Aztecs: New Perspectives.

Explore Mesolore. The Aztec Calendar Handbook. Aztec Calendar Handbook. ISBN August 27, In Vernon L. Wilcox eds.

The Mesoamerican Ballgame. University of Arizona Press. New York: Cambridge University Press. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. It is generally agreed that the Nahua peoples were not indigenous to the highlands of central Mexico, but that they gradually migrated into the region from somewhere in northwestern Mexico.

At the fall of Teotihuacan in the 6th century CE, a number of city states rose to power in central Mexico, some of them, including Cholula and Xochicalco, probably inhabited by Nahuatl speakers.

As the former nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples mixed with the complex civilizations of Mesoamerica, adopting religious and cultural practices, the foundation for later Aztec culture was laid.

After CE, during the postclassic period, a number of sites almost certainly inhabited by Nahuatl speakers became powerful.

Among them the site of Tula, Hidalgo , and also city states such as Tenayuca , and Colhuacan in the valley of Mexico and Cuauhnahuac in Morelos.

In the ethnohistorical sources from the colonial period, the Mexica themselves describe their arrival in the Valley of Mexico.

The ethnonym Aztec Nahuatl Aztecah means "people from Aztlan ", Aztlan being a mythical place of origin toward the north. Hence the term applied to all those peoples who claimed to carry the heritage from this mythical place.

The migration stories of the Mexica tribe tell how they traveled with other tribes, including the Tlaxcalteca , Tepaneca and Acolhua , but that eventually their tribal deity Huitzilopochtli told them to split from the other Aztec tribes and take on the name "Mexica".

The most powerful were Colhuacan to the south and Azcapotzalco to the west. The Tepanecs of Azcapotzalco soon expelled the Mexica from Chapultepec. In , Colhuacan ruler Cocoxtli gave them permission to settle in the empty barrens of Tizapan, where they were eventually assimilated into Culhuacan culture.

After living in Colhuacan, the Mexica were again expelled and were forced to move. According to Aztec legend, in , the Mexica were shown a vision of an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus , eating a snake.

The vision indicated the location where they were to build their settlement. The year of foundation is usually given as In the Mexica royal dynasty was founded when Acamapichtli , son of a Mexica father and a Colhua mother, was elected as the first Huey Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan.

In the first 50 years after the founding of the Mexica dynasty, the Mexica were a tributary of Azcapotzalco, which had become a major regional power under the ruler Tezozomoc.

The Mexica supplied the Tepaneca with warriors for their successful conquest campaigns in the region and received part of the tribute from the conquered city states.

In this way, the political standing and economy of Tenochtitlan gradually grew. In , at Acamapichtli's death, his son Huitzilihhuitl lit.

Chimalpopoca lit. In , Azcapotzalco initiated a war against the Acolhua of Texcoco and killed their ruler Ixtlilxochitl. Even though Ixtlilxochitl was married to Chimalpopoca's daughter, the Mexica ruler continued to support Tezozomoc.

Tezozomoc died in , and his sons began a struggle for rulership of Azcapotzalco. During this struggle for power, Chimalpopoca died, probably killed by Tezozomoc's son Maxtla who saw him as a competitor.

The Mexica were now in open war with Azcapotzalco and Itzcoatl petitioned for an alliance with Nezahualcoyotl , son of the slain Texcocan ruler Ixtlilxochitl against Maxtla.

Itzcoatl also allied with Maxtla's brother Totoquihuaztli ruler of the Tepanec city of Tlacopan. The Triple Alliance of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan besieged Azcapotzalco, and in they destroyed the city and sacrificed Maxtla.

Through this victory Tenochtitlan became the dominant city state in the Valley of Mexico, and the alliance between the three city-states provided the basis on which the Aztec Empire was built.

Itzcoatl proceeded by securing a power basis for Tenochtitlan, by conquering the city-states on the southern lake — including Culhuacan , Xochimilco , Cuitlahuac and Mizquic.

These states had an economy based on highly productive chinampa agriculture, cultivating human-made extensions of rich soil in the shallow lake Xochimilco.

Itzcoatl then undertook further conquests in the valley of Morelos , subjecting the city state of Cuauhnahuac today Cuernavaca.

In , Motecuzoma I Ilhuicamina [nb 4] lit. The accession of a new ruler in the dominant city state was often an occasion for subjected cities to rebel by refusing to pay tribute.

This meant that new rulers began their rule with a coronation campaign, often against rebellious tributaries, but also sometimes demonstrating their military might by making new conquests.

Motecuzoma tested the attitudes of the cities around the valley by requesting laborers for the enlargement of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.

Only the city of Chalco refused to provide laborers, and hostilities between Chalco and Tenochtitlan would persist until the s. Motecuzoma therefore initiated a state of low-intensity warfare against these three cities, staging minor skirmishes called " Flower Wars " Nahuatl xochiyaoyotl against them, perhaps as a strategy of exhaustion.

Motecuzoma also consolidated the political structure of the Triple Alliance, and the internal political organization of Tenochtitlan.

His brother Tlacaelel served as his main advisor Nahuatl languages: Cihuacoatl and he is considered the architect of major political reforms in this period, consolidating the power of the noble class Nahuatl languages: pipiltin and instituting a set of legal codes, and the practice of reinstating conquered rulers in their cities bound by fealty to the Mexica tlatoani.

In , the next ruler was Axayacatl lit. Axayacatl also conquered the independent Mexica city of Tlatelolco, located on the northern part of the island where Tenochtitlan was also located.

The Tlatelolco ruler Moquihuix was married to Axayacatl's sister, and his alleged mistreatment of her was used as an excuse to incorporate Tlatelolco and its important market directly under the control of the tlatoani of Tenochtitlan.

Axayacatl then conquered areas in Central Guerrero, the Puebla Valley, on the gulf coast and against the Otomi and Matlatzinca in the Toluca valley.

The Toluca valley was a buffer zone against the powerful Tarascan state in Michoacan , against which Axayacatl turned next. In the major campaign against the Tarascans Nahuatl languages: Michhuahqueh in —79 the Aztec forces were repelled by a well organized defense.

Axayacatl was soundly defeated in a battle at Tlaximaloyan today Tajimaroa , losing most of his 32, men and only barely escaping back to Tenochtitlan with the remnants of his army.

In at Axayacatls death, his older brother Tizoc was elected ruler. Tizoc's coronation campaign against the Otomi of Metztitlan failed as he lost the major battle and only managed to secure 40 prisoners to be sacrificed for his coronation ceremony.

Having shown weakness, many of the tributary towns rebelled and consequently most of Tizoc's short reign was spent attempting to quell rebellions and maintain control of areas conquered by his predecessors.

Tizoc died suddenly in , and it has been suggested that he was poisoned by his brother and war leader Ahuitzotl who became the next tlatoani.

Tizoc is mostly known as the namesake of the Stone of Tizoc a monumental sculpture Nahuatl temalacatl , decorated with representation of Tizoc's conquests.

The next ruler was Ahuitzotl lit. His successful coronation campaign suppressed rebellions in the Toluca valley and conquered Jilotepec and several communities in the northern Valley of Mexico.

A second campaign to the gulf coast was also highly successful. He began an enlargement of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan, inaugurating the new temple in For the inauguration ceremony the Mexica invited the rulers of all their subject cities, who participated as spectators in the ceremony in which an unprecedented number of war captives were sacrificed — some sources giving a figure of 80, prisoners sacrificed over four days.

Probably the actual figure of sacrifices was much smaller, but still numbering several thousand. Ahuitzotl also constructed monumental architecture in sites such as Calixtlahuaca, Malinalco and Tepoztlan.

After a rebellion in the towns of Alahuiztlan and Oztoticpac in Northern Guerrero he ordered the entire population executed, and repopulated with people from the valley of Mexico.

He also constructed a fortified garrison at Oztuma defending the border against the Tarascan state. Moctezuma II Xocoyotzin is known to world history as the Aztec ruler when the Spanish invaders and their indigenous allies began their conquest of the empire in a two-year-long campaign — His early rule did not hint at his future fame.

He succeeded to the rulership after the death of Ahuitzotl. Moctezuma Xocoyotzin lit. He began his rule in standard fashion, conducting a coronation campaign to demonstrate his skills as a leader.

He attacked the fortified city of Nopallan in Oaxaca and subjected the adjacent region to the empire. An effective warrior, Moctezuma maintained the pace of conquest set by his predecessor and subjected large areas in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and even far south along the Pacific and Gulf coasts, conquering the province of Xoconochco in Chiapas.

He also consolidated the class structure of Aztec society, by making it harder for commoners Nahuatl languages: macehualtin to accede to the privileged class of the pipiltin through merit in combat.

He also instituted a strict sumptuary code limiting the types of luxury goods that could be consumed by commoners. In , Moctezuma received the first news of ships with strange warriors having landed on the Gulf Coast near Cempoallan and he dispatched messengers to greet them and find out what was happening, and he ordered his subjects in the area to keep him informed of any new arrivals.

At this point, the power balance had shifted towards the Spaniards who now held Motecuzoma as a prisoner in his own palace.

As this shift in power became clear to Moctezuma's subjects, the Spaniards became increasingly unwelcome in the capital city, and in June , hostilities broke out, culminating in the massacre in the Great Temple , and a major uprising of the Mexica against the Spanish.

During the fighting, Moctezuma was killed, either by the Spaniards who killed him as they fled the city or by the Mexica themselves who considered him a traitor.

He ruled only 80 days, perhaps dying in a smallpox epidemic, although early sources do not give the cause.

The Aztecs were weakened by disease, and the Spanish enlisted tens of thousands of Indian allies, especially Tlaxcalans , for the assault on Tenochtitlan.

His death marked the end of a tumultuous era in Aztec political history. The most powerful nobles were called lords Nahuatl languages: teuctin and they owned and controlled noble estates or houses, and could serve in the highest government positions or as military leaders.

Their works were an important source of income for the city. Some macehualtin were landless and worked directly for a lord Nahuatl languages: mayehqueh , whereas the majority of commoners were organized into calpollis which gave them access to land and property.

Commoners were able to obtain privileges similar to those of the nobles by demonstrating prowess in warfare. When a warrior took a captive he accrued the right to use certain emblems, weapons or garments, and as he took more captives his rank and prestige increased.

The Aztec family pattern was bilateral, counting relatives on the father's and mother's side of the family equally, and inheritance was also passed both to sons and daughters.

This meant that women could own property just as men, and that women therefore had a good deal of economic freedom from their spouses.

Nevertheless, Aztec society was highly gendered with separate gender roles for men and women. Men were expected to work outside of the house, as farmers, traders, craftsmen and warriors, whereas women were expected to take the responsibility of the domestic sphere.

Women could however also work outside of the home as small-scale merchants, doctors, priests and midwives.

Warfare was highly valued and a source of high prestige, but women's work was metaphorically conceived of as equivalent to warfare, and as equally important in maintaining the equilibrium of the world and pleasing the gods.

This situation has led some scholars to describe Aztec gender ideology as an ideology not of a gender hierarchy, but of gender complementarity, with gender roles being separate but equal.

Among the nobles, marriage alliances were often used as a political strategy with lesser nobles marrying daughters from more prestigious lineages whose status was then inherited by their children.

Nobles were also often polygamous, with lords having many wives. Polygamy was not very common among the commoners and some sources describe it as being prohibited.

The names for these gender identities are deeply connected to the religious customs of the Aztecs, and as such, did play a large role in Aztec society.

Nahuas was of the Aztec and Toltec culture. Nahuas identified as Xochiquetzal; Xochiquetzal is connected with sexual desires. Unkempt hair, and signified disarray is a sign that women are connected with sexual desires and prostitutes, this is because the Xochiquetzal looked like that on her throne.

Xochiquetzal is known as the goddess that seduces men, this deity was related to sexual desires and sexual activities. Nahus sexual and gender disorder is symbolized by head and feet turned.

Another gender identity is recognised by its Nahuatl word cuiloni. It is difficult to translate the word cuiloni as the documents from the Aztec Empire mainly are from the Spanish, who viewed homosexuality as sinful behavior, and thus wrote about these unfamiliar gender identities in a negative way, oftentimes employing discriminatory and vulgar language.

What is known for sure is that the cuiloni were biological males who acted in a submissive way both sexually and in other aspects of life.

For example, religiously speaking, they were associated with being sacrificed and eaten. It also transcended sexuality as passiveness, in general, was the main quality associated with the cuiloni.

The main unit of Aztec political organization was the city state, in Nahuatl called the altepetl , meaning "water-mountain". Each altepetl was led by a ruler, a tlatoani , with authority over a group of nobles and a population of commoners.

The altepetl included a capital which served as a religious center, the hub of distribution and organization of a local population which often lived spread out in minor settlements surrounding the capital.

Altepetl were also the main source of ethnic identity for the inhabitants, even though Altepetl were frequently composed of groups speaking different languages.

Each altepetl would see itself as standing in a political contrast to other altepetl polities, and war was waged between altepetl states.

In this way Nahuatl speaking Aztecs of one Altepetl would be solidary with speakers of other languages belonging to the same altepetl, but enemies of Nahuatl speakers belonging to other competing altepetl states.

In the basin of Mexico, altepetl was composed of subdivisions called calpolli , which served as the main organizational unit for commoners.

In Tlaxcala and the Puebla valley, the altepetl was organized into teccalli units headed by a lord Nahuatl languages: tecutli , who would hold sway over a territory and distribute rights to land among the commoners.

A calpolli was at once a territorial unit where commoners organized labor and land use, since land was not in private property, and also often a kinship unit as a network of families that were related through intermarriage.

Calpolli leaders might be or become members of the nobility, in which case they could represent their calpollis interests in the altepetl government.

In the valley of Morelos, archeologist Michael E. Smith estimates that a typical altepetl had from 10, to 15, inhabitants, and covered an area between 70 and square kilometers.

In the Morelos valley, altepetl sizes were somewhat smaller. Smith argues that the altepetl was primarily a political unit, made up of the population with allegiance to a lord, rather than as a territorial unit.

He makes this distinction because in some areas minor settlements with different altepetl allegiances were interspersed. The Aztec Empire was ruled by indirect means.

Like most European empires, it was ethnically very diverse, but unlike most European empires, it was more of a system of tribute than a single system of government.

Ethnohistorian Ross Hassig has argued that Aztec empire is best understood as an informal or hegemonic empire because it did not exert supreme authority over the conquered lands; it merely expected tributes to be paid and exerted force only to the degree it was necessary to ensure the payment of tribute.

The hegemonic nature of the Aztec empire can be seen in the fact that generally local rulers were restored to their positions once their city-state was conquered, and the Aztecs did not generally interfere in local affairs as long as the tribute payments were made and the local elites participated willingly.

Such compliance was secured by establishing and maintaining a network of elites, related through intermarriage and different forms of exchange.

Nevertheless, the expansion of the empire was accomplished through military control of frontier zones, in strategic provinces where a much more direct approach to conquest and control was taken.

Such strategic provinces were often exempt from tributary demands. The Aztecs even invested in those areas, by maintaining a permanent military presence, installing puppet-rulers, or even moving entire populations from the center to maintain a loyal base of support.

Some provinces were treated as tributary provinces, which provided the basis for economic stability for the empire, and strategic provinces, which were the basis for further expansion.

Although the form of government is often referred to as an empire, in fact most areas within the empire were organized as city-states, known as altepetl in Nahuatl.

These were small polities ruled by a hereditary leader tlatoani from a legitimate noble dynasty. The Early Aztec period was a time of growth and competition among altepetl.

Even after the confederation of the Triple Alliance was formed in and began its expansion through conquest, the altepetl remained the dominant form of organization at the local level.

The efficient role of the altepetl as a regional political unit was largely responsible for the success of the empire's hegemonic form of control.

As all Mesoamerican peoples, Aztec society was organized around maize agriculture. The humid environment in the Valley of Mexico with its many lakes and swamps permitted intensive agriculture.

The main crops in addition to maize were beans, squashes, chilies and amaranth. Particularly important for agricultural production in the valley was the construction of chinampas on the lake, artificial islands that allowed the conversion of the shallow waters into highly fertile gardens that could be cultivated year round.

Chinampas are human-made extensions of agricultural land, created from alternating layers of mud from the bottom of the lake, and plant matter and other vegetation.

These raised beds were separated by narrow canals, which allowed farmers to move between them by canoe. Chinampas were extremely fertile pieces of land, and yielded, on average, seven crops annually.

On the basis of current chinampa yields, it has been estimated that one hectare 2. The Aztecs further intensified agricultural production by constructing systems of artificial irrigation.

While most of the farming occurred outside the densely populated areas, within the cities there was another method of small-scale farming.

Each family had their own garden plot where they grew maize, fruits, herbs, medicines and other important plants. When the city of Tenochtitlan became a major urban center, water was supplied to the city through aqueducts from springs on the banks of the lake, and they organized a system that collected human waste for use as fertilizer.

Through intensive agriculture the Aztecs were able to sustain a large urbanized population. The lake was also a rich source of proteins in the form of aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians, shrimp, insects and insect eggs, and water fowl.

The presence of such varied sources of protein meant that there was little use for domestic animals for meat only turkeys and dogs were kept , and scholars have calculated that there was no shortage of protein among the inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico.

The excess supply of food products allowed a significant portion of the Aztec population to dedicate themselves to trades other than food production.

Apart from taking care of domestic food production, women weaved textiles from agave fibers and cotton. Men also engaged in craft specializations such as the production of ceramics and of obsidian and flint tools , and of luxury goods such as beadwork , featherwork and the elaboration of tools and musical instruments.

Sometimes entire calpollis specialized in a single craft, and in some archeological sites large neighborhoods have been found where apparently only a single craft speciality was practiced.

The Aztecs did not produce much metal work, but did have knowledge of basic smelting technology for gold , and they combined gold with precious stones such as jade and turquoise.

Copper products were generally imported from the Tarascans of Michoacan. Products were distributed through a network of markets; some markets specialized in a single commodity for example the dog market of Acolman and other general markets with presence of many different goods.

Markets were highly organized with a system of supervisors taking care that only authorized merchants were permitted to sell their goods, and punishing those who cheated their customers or sold substandard or counterfeit goods.

A typical town would have a weekly market every five days , while larger cities held markets every day. Some sellers in the markets were petty vendors; farmers might sell some of their produce, potters sold their vessels, and so on.

Other vendors were professional merchants who traveled from market to market seeking profits. The pochteca were specialized long distance merchants organized into exclusive guilds.

They made long expeditions to all parts of Mesoamerica bringing back exotic luxury goods, and they served as the judges and supervisors of the Tlatelolco market.

Although the economy of Aztec Mexico was commercialized in its use of money, markets, and merchants , land and labor were not generally commodities for sale, though some types of land could be sold between nobles.

In Aztec marketplaces, a small rabbit was worth 30 beans, a turkey egg cost 3 beans, and a tamal cost a single bean. For larger purchases, standardized lengths of cotton cloth, called quachtli, were used.

There were different grades of quachtli, ranging in value from 65 to cacao beans. About 20 quachtli could support a commoner for one year in Tenochtitlan.

Another form of distribution of goods was through the payment of tribute. When an altepetl was conquered, the victor imposed a yearly tribute, usually paid in the form of whichever local product was most valuable or treasured.

Several pages from the Codex Mendoza list tributary towns along with the goods they supplied, which included not only luxuries such as feathers, adorned suits, and greenstone beads, but more practical goods such as cloth, firewood, and food.

Tribute was usually paid twice or four times a year at differing times. Archaeological excavations in the Aztec-ruled provinces show that incorporation into the empire had both costs and benefits for provincial peoples.

On the positive side, the empire promoted commerce and trade, and exotic goods from obsidian to bronze managed to reach the houses of both commoners and nobles.

On the negative side, imperial tribute imposed a burden on commoner households, who had to increase their work to pay their share of tribute.

Nobles, on the other hand, often made out well under imperial rule because of the indirect nature of imperial organization. The empire had to rely on local kings and nobles and offered them privileges for their help in maintaining order and keeping the tribute flowing.

Aztec society combined a relatively simple agrarian rural tradition with the development of a truly urbanized society with a complex system of institutions, specializations and hierarchies.

The urban tradition in Mesoamerica was developed during the classic period with major urban centers such as Teotihuacan with a population well above ,, and at the time of the rise of the Aztec, the urban tradition was ingrained in Mesoamerican society, with urban centers serving major religious, political and economic functions for the entire population.

The capital city of the Aztec empire was Tenochtitlan , now the site of modern-day Mexico City. Built on a series of islets in Lake Texcoco , the city plan was based on a symmetrical layout that was divided into four city sections called campan directions.

Houses were made of wood and loam , roofs were made of reed, although pyramids, temples and palaces were generally made of stone.

The city was interlaced with canals, which were useful for transportation. Anthropologist Eduardo Noguera estimated the population at , based on the house count and merging the population of Tlatelolco once an independent city, but later became a suburb of Tenochtitlan.

Michael E. Smith gives a somewhat smaller figure of , inhabitants of Tenochtitlan based on an area of 1, hectares 3, acres and a population density of inhabitants per hectare.

The second largest city in the valley of Mexico in the Aztec period was Texcoco with some 25, inhabitants dispersed over hectares 1, acres.

The center of Tenochtitlan was the sacred precinct, a walled-off square area which housed the Great Temple, temples for other deities, the ballcourt , the calmecac a school for nobles , a skull rack tzompantli , displaying the skulls of sacrificial victims, houses of the warrior orders and a merchants palace.

Around the sacred precinct were the royal palaces built by the tlatoanis. The centerpiece of Tenochtitlan was the Templo Mayor , the Great Temple, a large stepped pyramid with a double staircase leading up to two twin shrines — one dedicated to Tlaloc , the other to Huitzilopochtli.

This was where most of the human sacrifices were carried out during the ritual festivals and the bodies of sacrificial victims were thrown down the stairs.

The temple was enlarged in several stages, and most of the Aztec rulers made a point of adding a further stage, each with a new dedication and inauguration.

The temple has been excavated in the center of Mexico City and the rich dedicatory offerings are displayed in the Museum of the Templo Mayor.

Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located 30 miles 50 km northeast of modern-day Mexico City.

The history of chocolate can be traced to the ancient Mayans, and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of southern Mexico.

The word chocolate may conjure up images of sweet candy bars and luscious truffles, but the chocolate of today is little like the chocolate of the past.

The ancient Maya, a diverse group of indigenous people who lived in parts of present-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, had one of the most sophisticated and complex civilizations in the Western Hemisphere.

Between about and A. Recent excavations for a new subway line in Mexico City have turned up the year-old skeletons of roughly 50 Aztec children and 10 adults, as well as numerous artifacts dating back as far as B.

Aztec priests, using razor-sharp obsidian blades, sliced open the chests of sacrificial victims and offered their Tikal is a complex of Mayan ruins deep in the rainforests of northern Guatemala.

Historians believe that the more than 3, structures on the site are the remains of a Mayan city called Yax Mutal, which was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient empire.

New discoveries are still being unearthed in the area, providing even more insight into the culture and In July , archaeologists announced that the earthquake has also led to the discovery of an ancient, hidden temple.

The temple sits inside a double pyramid at Over time, asymmetries of power elevated one of those city states, Tenochtitlan, above the other two.

The "Triple Alliance" came to establish hegemony over much of central Mesoamerica, including areas of great linguistic and cultural diversity.

Administration of the empire was performed through largely traditional, indirect means. However, over time something of a nascent bureaucracy may have been beginning to form insofar as the state organization became increasingly centralized.

Before the reign of Nezahualcoyotl — , the Aztec empire operated as a confederation along traditional Mesoamerican lines. Independent altepetl were led by tlatoani lit.

A typical Mesoamerican confederation placed a Huey Tlatoani lit. Following Nezahualcoyotl, the Aztec empire followed a somewhat divergent path, with some tlatoani of recently conquered or otherwise subordinated altepetl becoming replaced with calpixque stewards charged with collecting tribute on behalf of the Huetlatoani rather than simply replacing an old tlatoque with new ones from the same set of local nobility.

Yet the Huey tlatoani was not the sole executive. It was the responsibility of the Huey tlatoani to deal with the external issues of empire; the management of tribute, war, diplomacy, and expansion were all under the purview of the Huey tlatoani.

It was the role of the Cihuacoatl to govern a given city itself. The Cihuacoatl was always a close relative of the Huey tlatoani; Tlacaelel , for example, was the brother of Moctezuma I.

Both the title "Cihuacoatl", which means "female snake" it is the name of a Nahua deity , and the role of the position, somewhat analogous to a European Viceroy or Prime Minister , reflect the dualistic nature of Nahua cosmology.

Neither the position of Cihuacoatl nor the position of Huetlatoani were priestly, yet both did have important ritual tasks. Those of the former were associated with the "female" wet season, those of the latter with the "male" dry season.

While the position of Cihuacoatl is best attested in Tenochtitlan, it is known that the position also existed the nearby altepetl of Atzcapotzalco , Culhuacan , and Tenochtitlan's ally Texcoco.

Despite the apparent lesser status of the position, a Cihuacoatl could prove both influential and powerful, as in the case of Tlacaelel. Early in the history of the empire, Tenochtitlan developed a four-member military and advisory Council which assisted the Huey tlatoani in his decision-making: the tlacochcalcatl ; the tlaccatecatl ; the ezhuahuacatl ; [58] and the tlillancalqui.

This design not only provided advise for the ruler, it also served to contain ambition on the part of the nobility, as henceforth Huey Tlatoani could only be selected from the Council.

Moreover, the actions of any one member of the Council could easily be blocked by the other three, providing a simple system of checks on the ambition higher officials.

These four Council members were also generals, members of various military societies. The ranks of the members were not equal, with the tlacochcalcatl and tlaccatecatl having a higher status than the others.

These two Councillors were members of the two most prestigious military societies, the cuauhchique "shorn ones" and the otontin " Otomies ".

Traditionally, provinces and altepetl were governed by hereditary tlatoani. As the empire grew, the system evolved further and some tlatoani were replaced by other officials.

The other officials had similar authority to tlatoani. As has already been mentioned, directly appointed stewards singular calpixqui , plural calpixque were sometimes imposed on altepetl instead of the selection of provincial nobility to the same position of tlatoani.

At the height of empire, the organization of the state into tributary and strategic provinces saw an elaboration of this system.

The 38 tributary provinces fell under the supervision of high stewards, or huecalpixque , whose authority extended over the lower-ranking calpixque.

These calpixque and huecalpixque were essentially managers of the provincial tribute system which was overseen and coordinated in the paramount capital of Tenochtitlan not by the huetlatoani , but rather by a separate position altogether: the petlacalcatl.

On the occasion that a recently conquered altepetl was seen as particularly restive, a military governor, or cuauhtlatoani , was placed at the head of provincial supervision.

One was stationed in the province itself, perhaps for supervising the collection of tribute, and the other in Tenochtitlan, perhaps for supervising storage of tribute.

Tribute was drawn from commoners, the macehualtin , and distributed to the nobility, be they 'kings' tlatoque , lesser rulers teteuctin , or provincial nobility pipiltin.

Tribute collection was supervised by the above officials and relied upon the coercive power of the Aztec military, but also upon the cooperation of the pipiltin the local nobility who were themselves exempt from and recipient to tribute and the hereditary class of merchants known as pochteca.

These pochteca had various gradations of ranks which granted them certain trading rights and so were not necessarily pipiltin themselves, yet they played an important role in both the growth and administration of the Aztec tributary system nonetheless.

The power, political and economic, of the pochteca was strongly tied to the political and military power of the Aztec nobility and state.

In addition to serving as diplomats teucnenenque , or "travelers of the lord" and spies in the prelude to conquest, higher-ranking pochteca also served as judges in market plazas and were to certain degree autonomous corporate groups , having administrative duties within their own estate.

Originally, the Aztec empire was a loose alliance between three cities: Tenochtitlan , Texcoco , and the most junior partner, Tlacopan.

As such, they were known as the 'Triple Alliance. However, over time, it was Tenochtitlan which assumed paramount authority in the alliance, and although each partner city shared spoils of war and rights to regular tribute from the provinces and were governed by their own Huetlatoani, it was Tenochtitlan which became the largest, most powerful, and most influential of the three cities.

It was the de facto and acknowledged center of empire. Though they were not described by the Aztec this way, there were essentially two types of provinces: Tributary and Strategic.

Strategic provinces were essentially subordinate client states which provided tribute or aid to the Aztec state under "mutual consent".

Tributary provinces, on the other hand, provided regular tribute to the empire; obligations on the part of Tributary provinces were mandatory rather than consensual.

Rulers, be they local teteuctin or tlatoani, or central Huetlatoani, were seen as representatives of the gods and therefore ruled by divine right.

Tlatocayotl , or the principle of rulership, established that this divine right was inherited by descent. Political order was therefore also a cosmic order, and to kill a tlatoani was to transgress that order.

For that reason, whenever a tlatoani was killed or otherwise removed from their station, a relative and member of the same bloodline was typically placed in their stead.

The establishment of the office of Huetlatoani understood through the creation of another level of rulership, hueitlatocayotl , standing in superior contrast to the lesser tlatocayotl principle.

Expansion of the empire was guided by a militaristic interpretation of Nahua religion, specifically a devout veneration of the sun god, Huitzilopochtli.

Militaristic state rituals were performed throughout the year according to a ceremonial calendar of events, rites, and mock battles.

It was under Tlacaelel that Huitzilopochtli assumed his elevated role in the state pantheon and who argued that it was through blood sacrifice that the Sun would be maintained and thereby stave off the end of the world.

It was under this new, militaristic interpretation of Huitzilopochtli that Aztec soldiers were encouraged to fight wars and capture enemy soldiers for sacrifice.

Though blood sacrifice was common in Mesoamerica, the scale of human sacrifice under the Aztecs was likely unprecedented in the region. The most developed code of law was developed in the city-state of Texcoco under its ruler Nezahualcoyotl.

It was a formal written code, not merely a collection of customary practices. The law code in Texcoco under Nezahualcoyotl was legalistic, that is cases were tried by particular types of evidence and the social status of the litigants was disregarded, and consisted of 80 written laws.

These laws called for severe, publicly administered punishments, creating a legal framework of social control.

Much less is known about the legal system in Tenochtitlan, which might be less legalistic or sophisticated as those of Texcoco for this period.

These laws served to establish and govern relations between the state, classes, and individuals. Punishment was to be meted out solely by state authorities.

Nahua mores were enshrined in these laws, criminalizing public acts of homosexuality, drunkenness, and nudity, not to mention more universal proscriptions against theft, murder, and property damage.

As stated before, pochteca could serve as judges, often exercising judicial oversight of their own members. Likewise, military courts dealt with both cases within the military and without during wartime.

There was an appeal process, with appellate courts standing between local, typically market-place courts, on the provincial level and a supreme court and two special higher appellate courts at Tenochtitlan.

One of those two special courts dealt with cases arising within Tenochtitlan, the other with cases originating from outside the capital.

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