For the Good of the People Social Studies 8- Chapter Eight
Chapter eight focuses on: • The Aztec social hierarchy • Aztec education • Contributing to society
Hierarchy- a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority. • Background Information • Think back the Renaissance unit • What was the hierarchy, or structure of people, during the Renaissance? • Who had power and why? • Who did not have power and why? • What are your predictions for the structure of power within the Aztecs? • Will it be the same as the Renaissance? Why? • Will it be different? Why?
Your Task • Draw the model of hierarchy from the Renaissance (pg 18) • Draw the model of hierarchy from the Aztecs (pg 172) • Using a triple column T chart, or a Venn diagram, compare and contrast the Renaissance model and the Aztec model • How are they similar? How are they different? What is the significance of the similarities and differences?
Who Has the Power? • In Aztec culture, the Aztec people were ruled by an emperor • Classes were determined by birth in the Renaissance; this is not the case in the Aztecs • The Aztec people were born into a specific social class, but they had the ability to move up in the ranks • Even a slave could become an emperor • For the purposes of our study of the Aztecs, the most common emperor we will be talking about is Montezuma
The Emperor • Given the title “Great Speaker” • The Aztecs understood that he was human, but he was treated like a god • He was obeyed without question and given every luxury and privilege • He had many responsibilities, including being the chief priest, commander-in-chief, and the head of state • Commander-in-Chief • Leader of the army • Needed to be a great warrior • Needed to know military strategy and be able to lead others • Head of State • Had a council of advisors • He had the final say in every decision made
Family Clans • Society was organized into calpolli, or members of the same neighborhood • They worshipped at the same temple and worked the same type of job • Each calpolli elected a captain and a council • The council assigned land and houses to its residents, collected taxes and had the responsibility of keeping the neighborhood clean • Electing their own leaders gave the calpolli political power
Merchants • These were the richest calpolli in Tenochtitlan • They explored the Aztec empire, and brought back goods that became prized possessions • Kept journals of geography which were valuable in war strategy • Farmers • Grew crops, and were skilled hunters and fishers • Paying taxes was an important responsibility for the Aztecs and farmers sold their produce to pay their taxes • They provided the most useful service to the state • Artisans • Skilled craftsmen, usually in the arts • In demand, because the Aztecs liked displaying their wealth • Feather workers were the most revered • Quetzal feathers were a sign of social status • These feathers were associated with the gods
Status • Showing signs of status • Facial jewelry showed wealth to other Aztecs • Moving through the ranks • To move up in the ranks of society, the Aztecs demonstrated their skills on the battlefield • The more prisoners of war you provided for sacrifice, the cooler you were! • A warrior who took four prisoners immediately became eligible to become a member of a higher rank in society
Your Task • Make a T chart: compare what was valued in Aztec society and what is valued today in society • Think about the things that people to do show wealth and status today, and compare that to how the Aztecs displayed wealth and status • From the list of what is valued in today’s society, rank each item in its importance • For example, if you listed having a good job as a sign of wealth and status, where does it fall in importance in your total list?
Education • Education happened at home, until the child was old enough to go to school • Until the age of three, kids were spoiled by their parents • After that, they were to be hard working and obedient, and were harshly punished if they were not • Perfect citizens had “a stone heart and a stone face” • Education was valued and free for every child • Calmecac was the school for nobles • Telpochcalli was the school for commoners
School for the Nobles: Calmecac • Located in the neighborhood of the nobles • Often attached to a temple • Studied codices • Religious training was very important
Codices • Used a system called glyphs • No letters were used • Only the nobles could read and write • Commoners learned through spoken word • The Aztec number system was based in multiples of 20 • Why do you think this was?
Education for All • Boys were trained to be warriors • Interned with a military family • Became a true warrior at the age of 15 and took an active role in battle • The Eagle and the Jaguar were the most prestigious military orders • Commoners learned their lessons through rote memorization • Commoners learned history, religion, and citizenship duties • Girls learned musical instruments while boys did hard physical labor • Women had little political power and the Emperor’s council was made up entirely of men • However, it was important for the girls to be educated • Women became army medics because of their knowledge of medicinal herbs and remedies • Some girls trained to be preistesses
Your Task • Aztecs wanted their citizens to “have a stone heart and a stone face” • Think of a saying that would represent Canadian citizens • Think of a saying that would represent Renaissance citizens
Aztec Citizenship • It was very important that Aztec citizens contributed positively to their community • Lessons in good citizenship were a large part of childhood education
Laws and Lawmaking • They had a system of written laws that protected the people • This system reminded the citizens to be honest and obedient • These were very important traits for the Aztecs • Nobles were expected to set the example for obeying rules • This led to the nobles to be judged more harshly than the commoners • There was an appeal system in place, if you did not like the ruling set out by the court • First, you could appeal to the high court • Second, you could appeal to the Emperor himself • Judges based their rulings on evidence • Lesser crimes were sentenced to slavery or they were fined • For severe crimes, including theft, the punishment was death
Slave Laws • Slaves were also protected by law, because they served a useful purpose to society • For example, if a noble beat a slave to death, the noble could face death himself • If a slave sold in the marketplace escaped and could run to the Emperor’s palace, about one and a half kilometer, without being caught, that slave would be free • The Aztecs did not believe that being a slave was shameful • It was a matter of bad luck • Being a slave was not a permanent position • A slave could keep their own property, including another slave • Children of slaves were born free Itzcoatl was born to a slave woman, and became one of the greatest Aztec Emperors.
Movies to Watch If time, watch the following video clips. The first is about the life of an Aztec and the second is about the Aztec religion. Life of an Aztec and Aztec Religion
Your Task • The Aztecs had strict ideas of what it meant to be an ideal citizen • What constitutes an ideal Canadian citizen? • Do these values change as we grow up? • If yes, how so? • The Aztecs believed that the good of the people was more important than the individual • How does their social structure represent this? • Use a graphic organizer of your choice to represent this.