The Aztecs - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Aztecs

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  1. The Aztecs

  2. Origins • Migrants from the north “Aztlan” • One of seven Chichimecan tribes • Mexica vs. Aztec • Looking for eagle with serpent • “People without faces” • Took on culture of previous cultures (Toltecs)

  3. Language • Nahuatl • Many Spanish words derive from Nahuatl • Tomate/tomatl • Milpa/ milpa • Atole/atolli • Camote/comotli • Tecolote/tecolotl • Over a million speakers today in Central Mexico (rural) • Place names abound (Xochimilco, Acapulco, Chapultepec, etc.)

  4. Tenochtitlan • 1325 • Lake Texcoco • Vision of/from Huitzilopochtli (patron god) in form of an eagle, with serpent on cactus (Mexican Flag) • Swampy, marshy setting

  5. Templo Mayor

  6. Triple Alliance • Mexica of Tenochtitlan were most powerful group. Allied with two other city-states to control most of current-day Mexico

  7. Huitzilopochtli • Aztec God of War • Often represented like a hummingbird • Warrior spirits said to come back as hummingbirds

  8. Quetzalcoatl • God of learning and patron of priests • Plumed serpent • Was tricked by jealous gods, drunken, fornicated with his sister, and fled to the east in horror, promising to return • Aztecs initially thought Hernan Cortes was Queztalcoatl returning

  9. Human Sacrifice • Debt: Return for gods sacrificing selves for creation of sun, moon, earth. • Human blood needed to keep the light, the sun, life • Enemy captives • Victims placed on special stones atop temple pyramids • Hearts cut out by special priests, offered up to gods • Form of intimidation vs. enemies • One part of larger religious practices, including domestic altars, non-human sacrifices, music and dance • exaggerated by Spaniards for own purposes

  10. Aztec Time • Five Suns: Each ends in a cataclysmic event • We are in fifth sun • Must keep it going to survive • Two calendars: • 365 day xiuhpohualli (year count) • 120 day tonalpohualli (day count) sacred calendar (13 x 20)

  11. Aztec government • King (tlotoani) • Ruled the city-state; selected by council of nobles • Lords with titles (tecuhtli) • Lesser nobles (pilli)

  12. Social Classes • Nobility vs. commoners • Commoners (90%) • Calpolli • tlacotin (servants)

  13. Arts and Sciences • Pictographic written language • Poetry • Stone sculptures • Obsidian tools • Astronomical observations • Health and medicine