Ancient Aztecs

Location and Environment

-The Valley of Mexico in the year 1248 that Aztecs first entered the Valley of Mexico.
-In the year 1325, the Aztecs came upon an island in the broad but shallow lake Texcoco. On the island they claimed to see a miracle: An eagle sat on a cactus while devouring a snake.
-The Aztecs build a city Tenochtitlan they expanded the island by sinking timbers out in the water and filling in the paos with boulders and mud.
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Clothes and fashion

-Their faces were painted with dry, coloured powder.
-They dyed their hair with indigo
-They dyed their bodies black.
-Male attire was the loincloth, a strip of fabric which went around the waist, between legs, and was knotted so that the one end hung down in front and the other behind.
-Woman’s garment was a skirt which reached almost to the ankles and was held at the waist by an embroidered belt.

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Religious Organization, worship and spirituality

-The Aztecs were very religious they believed that they lived in the 55 eras or “sun”.
-They kept worshipping and feeding their Gods with human blood by sacrificing people or prisoners on top of the pyramids in front of the temple.

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-Lower class boys went to school and learned the art of war and fighting.
-Upper class boys attended a calmecac, a school for noble children that was connected to the temples and learned to live prudently, to govern, and to understand the history.
-Lower class girls were mostly taught from home this was the basic training for marriage.
-Upper class girls can attend a calmecac separated from boys or they can help the temples and trained to become a priestesses.

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Music, Dance and Stories

-Children between the ages of 12-15 learned to dance and sing and play instruments.
-Religious ceremonies used music and dance.

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Art and Architecture

-Stone-workers would make a rock statue and work with green jade, black obsidian, and transparent crystal to create objects of art.
-Scribes and also Priests would record events with pictograms.They used vegetables, insects, shells, and minerals to make this symbol.
-Potters shaped the clay with their hand by carving. They don't have a potter’s wheel. They painted the pots for the rich and the rulers.
-Feather workers used feathers of tropical birds to designs for headresses and clothing. these items were for the nobility and royalty.

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Language and Communication

-The Aztec language called Nahuatl.
-This language also includes the languages spoken by the western tribes of North America.
-The Aztecs used picture that symbolizes an idea.

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Values and Customs

-Human Sacrifice-The Aztecs practiced human sacrifices because it is the way of repaying their Gods for the huge favor that their Gods did.
-The volunteer or victim would be painted as a part of the ritual. They bring the person on the top of the pyramid or step.
-There would be four priest holding the arms and the legs and they put him over the stone.
-The head priest or the fire priest would stab him right below the breastbone and the grab the heart and holded up to the sky so that the sun would be able to see it.
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By: Ernest Grapa and Maddie Bote

Music and Dance
Music and dance were performed to please the Gods, this was never done for fame or entertainment.The dances were performed at daily ceremonies, the dances had to be very precise, or else people would take it as an offence to the Gods.This was concidered to be an offence to the Gods. If the Aztecs didnt excist we woudnt have music as we know it. The most common instruments were rattles, whistles, trumpets, flutes, copper bells, and shells. Children from the age of 12 to 15 were supposed to go for dance lessons they had no choice. Dances were like plays, they told somthing. Almost everybody had to take part in the dances.
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Aztecs Key People

The Aztec rulers were very fair and lead their armies to great victories. The first Aztec ruler was Acamapichtli “which means a handful of arrows”, he lead early construction of the city, he also won a lot of conquest in his time as ruler. He ruled from 1376 and unfortunetly lost his ruling in 1396. He was also the first king of Tenochtitlan(present day mexico).

Acamapichtli"s Symbol
'Handful of Arrows'

Huitzilihuitl and Chimalpopoca

Next in rule was were both his sons Huitzilihuitl and Chimalpopoca,these leaders ruled at different times with Huitzilihuitl starting ruling at 1397, he followed his farthers path and guided construction and won conquests in land, he didn't really win extra land, Huitzilihuitl lost his ruling in 1417, His brother Chimalpopoca soon took over and did the jobs of his farther and brother, and that was to help guild construction of the land, this ruler started his Reign in 1417 and ended in 1427, both these rulers were just building up for the epic journeys that where about to come an which didnt start till the 5th ruler Moctezuma, Huitzilihuitl's Son.


Huitzilihuitl"s symbol
'Hummingbird Feather
'Smoking Shield'

The Great war of Tepanec

- Tepanec war happens right after Chimalpopoca rain in 1430.
- Aztec highs started with the reign of the 5th king Moctezuma
-his reign was from 1410-1469
-he started a very strong army that won almost every war they went into
-expanded the Aztec kindom
-same with Tenochtitlán, he was the first King
-not ruler, KING!!!

The Clothing:
Slaves only wore a simple loincloth. The loincloth, which was also worn by common people, was made from a long strip of cloth tied in front. Aztec clothes were generally made of cotton though. The cotton was imported.

The Military Clothing:
The military had their own costumes, depending on what military group they belonged to. The war heroes were allowed to wear more jewels and more "stunning" clothing.

The Merchants Clothing:
Merchants were in a class all their own, and they had a certain amount of independence. That alot of the people didn't enjoy. They mostly were allowed to wear more elaborate type clothing.

True or False
1. Was obama one of the aztec rulers? False
2. Aztecs wore clothing. True
3. Women have been leaders of the thron. False
4. Every single person wore togas. False
5. The women were allowed to wear reviling clothing. False
6. Why did Aztecs Dance
a. Fame b. Please Gods c. For Fun D. all of the above
7. where are the aztecs Found in the Present Day
A. Egypt
B. Spain
C. Mexico City
D. Canada
8. Who conqured the the aztecs
A. Canadians
B. Brittish
C. Irish
D. Spanish
9. At what age are u supposed to start dance lessons
A. teen years
B. 15 years of Age
C. Anytime
D. Never
E. 12 to 15

10.Acamapichtli"s name Means
A. Handful Of Arrows
B. Humming Bird
C. Smoking Shield

Some Aztec Activities and reviews

Early Aztec History

The Culhuas forced Aztec’s to be slaves for them. But in some time the Aztec’s eventually escaped to freedom. Many were killed, but the ones which survived fled to the island of Texcoco. At the beginning of their stay in Texcoco, they lived a very miserable life, living in mud and reed huts. They were able to find food. Fish filled the lakes, and birds, snakes, and frogs filled the swamps. There was no wood or stone on the island, so they bartered with mainlanders for such materials. The first building that the Aztec’s had was a stone temple which was built in 1325 in honour of their God (Huitzilopochtli).
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The Aztecs eventually turned their swamp island into a place of plenty. The Aztecs also evenutally needed more room for living, and they built more houses on floating gardens (Chinampa’s). The Aztecs decided to name their city Tenochtitlan.
At about the same time, a small group of Aztecs broke away from the rest of the group and began building a twin city on another nearby island. These people called it Tlatelolco. The two cities were rivals for many years. Tlateloco had a bigger market place, and the people on the other island were jealous. Eventually, the Aztecs on the other island conquered the city of Tlatelolco. Early history of the Aztecs is filled with struggles, battles, alliances, agreements, broken alliances, competion with neighbouring tribes for land, water and power.
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Later History of the Aztec's
In 1500CE Spanish soldiers came to the valley of Mexico. The Spanish soldiers were amazed at what they saw when they arrived there. The Spanish then conquered the Aztecs and took what they had. The arrival of the Spanish brought guns, horses, big fighting dogs and disease. The Aztecs might have had a slim chance to survive against guns, horses and big fighting dogs but they had no defence against decease. They had never been exposed to childhood deceases. Many became ill when the Spanish arrived and many died. The Spanish also received help from neighboring tribes. These tribes thought was a way to get even with the Aztecs. These tribes were not expecting to get conquered themselves, which they were very easily.

They also did not know how harsh the Spanish would treat their people. By the mid-1500’s the Aztec empire had collapsed and the Spanish empire then took over. today Although the Aztec empire collapsed there is still over one million descendants of the Aztecs.
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  • Chinampas- Floating Gardens
  • Causeways and Bridges that linked the islands of their great capital city
  • Structures- Statues, Pyramids, Temples
  • Stelas – Memorial pillars commemorating their gods
  • Judges, written laws and rules of society
  • Woven fabrics
  • Basket Weaving
  • Aztec Ball Game
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate
  • Mandatory Schools
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Aztec Culture

-There were two main social classes in the Aztec culture
-These two consisted of the nobility or pilli, then the common people or macehualli
-There were also slaves, they were often well treated
-If your parents were a slave, you do not automatically become a slave, you are free
-A slave can gain freedom in a few different ways, one of these ways was by purchasing it
-Everyone in the Aztec society had to get proper school, regardless of gender and class
-The Aztec is known to be a fairly well educated society, but boys often recieved more education than girls
-Girls were often taught how to run a home properly, cook, and also how to care for a family
-They also did other things such as crafts, and were taught how to run a home economically
-Women had a lot of power in the society, but it was just more unnoticed
-Boys were taught leadership, and fighting skills, and also were taught how to fish
-Even though education started of equally for children, it eventually split into the two different categories
-Calmecac, which was mostly for children of nobles, would often be educated as priests, teachers, doctors, and leaders of society
-Telpochcalli children were taught and learned more about Aztec culture and religion, trades, and skills which were particular to gender
-it seems that there was some freedom to decide which type of education they wanted
- Perhaps some children were chosen to a specific field based on skill in a field
-In mid-teens, the adult life would begin
-Girls would either marry, or stay in the temple and work
-Boys would often either join the military, or begin their trade
-Marriages were arranged, and were based strongly on religious belief
-Some polgamy was practiced, but there was often still a primary wife
-The noble class had some wealth, and they were allowed to enjoy arts
-The higher the level of nobility that somebody would have, that would often be the higer they were in military or government
-Farmers and merchants lots of freedom and often wore stylish clothes
-There were also people that had the job of being an athlete for their occupation, these people had their own version of a game played in Mesoamerica which was called Ulama
-The Aztecs were mostly fairly poor, other than the nobles
-The houses were built out of mud bricks, they often had two homes
-One was for worship, cooking, and eating, and the other was for a steam bath
-The nobles had the same idea, but their houses were often more decorated, and a bit bigger
-Life was basically the same as today
-The Aztec ball game gave a lot of entertainment, and the athletes were thought of as celebrities
-A religious healer would be called when a person got older, and diseased
-A person would be either buried or creamated

Aztec Weapons

-Each weapon that the Aztec’s used was unique and designed for a specific need
-One of the best known tools that the Aztecs used is called maquahuitl
-This weapon is kind of like a sword, which was often used in a short range situation
-They were often made from oak, and were often 3-4 inches wide, and 3-4 feet long
-The cuauhololli was used as a club, and had a ball at the end
-This weapon was often used to smash, or crash things
-The also used some spears that were extremely sharp and could range to be over seven feet long
-Some people say that they could pierce right through the Spanish armour, and the warriors could use them to shave
-Atlatls were used by the Aztecs as a spear throwing device
-It was used to propel light spears or darts farther than any human would be capable of doing
-They also used the common bow and arrows
-The bows were often five feet long, and the arrows were often pointed with flint, obsidian, or bone
-They also used slings to fling stones towards their enemies
-They carefully picked their stones and it is believed that they could travel 650 feet

Aztec Alphabet

-The Spanish created an Aztec alphabet which was based on Latin

-It is basically the same as the Roman alphabet, which many western languages currently use

-The language is still alive in Mexico

-An estimated 1.5 million people still speak the language of Nahuatl today

-There are many different dialects

-The four basic vowels were as follows: i, e, a, o

-Consonants usually included: p, t, l, r, n, k, m, ch, x, c, s, z, c, cu (qu), y, hu, p

Done by Cortney and Rebecca, Government, Religion, Sacrifice


The ancient Aztec government got its units of society that was found long before the Aztec Empire. The government first started with the family unit, as a basic structure of society. From the Family unit it went to the Calpulli. The leadership in the Calpulli would be responsible for the basic needs of the group. Each of the families didn’t individually own land, the land was owned by a group of families of the Calpulli. This government made sure they would set up a telpochalli, a school for common citizens also to make sure taxes were collected from the group. In the cities, calpullis became less-family related and more interested in region. As in the case today, city life brought many different individuals of different cultures and race’ together.


Religion was focused on how the gods, humans, and nature were interconnected. Ancient Aztec Religion was a complex between the gods, dates, directions and colours. Most of the religion had to do with the fear of nature, and the fear of the end of the world . By the time Mexica’s Empire was popular the political and religion’s systems were very close interaction. We can best understand the actions of ruling classes and common people if we look back to the Mexica understanding of the creation or rather creations of the world. This is because religion was a mixture from various peoples, there are variations.


The Aztecs believed they owed their gods a “blood-dept” to prevent disaster. So animals as well as humans were both sacrificed. There were also ritual “blood lettings” where people would cut themselves and offer their blood to the gods.
Human: Many peoples in Mesoamerica practiced human sacrifice, although the Aztecs took this ritual to new heights. Some estimate a number of 20 000 human sacrifices per year. At the end of every 18 month cycle human sacrifices would take place. Often, bodies would be painted and placed on a slab. Their hearts would be cut out and held up to the sun, and then they would be thrown down temple stairs.
There were many other ways humans would be sacrificed: shot with arrows, drowned, killed in battle (like the Roman gladiators), burned, or otherwise mutilated.
Disposal of the bodies- feeding animals in the zoo, put on display (the heads), cannibalism (although this was not the most common)
There was great religious significance to the Aztec sacrifice. What its purposes were beyond that are debated. Surely power and wealth was in mind as the leaders continued with this ritual. But in the end, the loss of human life would weaken an otherwise powerful nation.