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Chapter 8 notes


Notes on Aztecs, Chapter 8

Notes on Aztecs, Chapter 8

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  • 1. Aztecs – Chapter 8For the Good of the People
  • 2. The Story• Moctezuma was known as “The Great Speaker” to the Aztec people• He was to interpret signs from the sky about what may happen in the future• He made all of his decisions as the emperor based on the movements in the heavens• Moctezuma noticed some bad omens – The water turned blood red, and there was something flaming shooting across the night sky
  • 3. The Aztec Social Hierarchy
  • 4. • A person’s position in society was determined by what class you were born into• Unlike in the Renaissance feudalism hierarchy, people here could work their way into a higher level of the social hierarchy
  • 5. Role of the Emperor• The emperor was at the top of the Aztec hierarchy• His title was Huey Tlatoani which means “Great Speaker”• The emperor was treated as a god, even though the people knew he was human• The Aztecs obeyed everything he said and showered him with gifts and priveleges
  • 6. Commander of the Army• The emperor had to be a skilled warrior to lead the Aztec army• He had to know how to be strategic and how to be an effective leader
  • 7. Head of State• The emperor would always asks the priest and nobles for their opinions before making a decision• Even though he asked for their opinions, the decision was his to make
  • 8. Family Clans• The Aztec society was organized into units called calpolli• Members of the calpolli lived in the same neighborhood and worshipped at the same temple• The type of work they did could play a roll in forming their calpolli – i.e. a group of goldsmiths may form their own calpolli• The calpolli owned the land where the people lived and farmed• Each calpolli elected their own council and captain• The council was in charge of assigning houses and collecting taxes• They also had to make sure that the calpolli was clean
  • 9. Merchants• The merchants were the richest calpolli• They went on trading expeditions all over the Aztec empire• They brought back goods, and also acted as spies for the Aztecs• Because they knew the layout and geography, they were valuable assets to the empire• The taxes they paid after selling their goods helped to enrich the Aztec state
  • 10. Farmers• Farmers grew crops, hunted and fished• They would sell most of what they caught in the market to help the family income grow• They gave up a share of their crops to pay their taxes• They didn’t just grow crops for themselves, they grew them for the state to help everyone survive• They were also expected to donate some labour hours to work on state projects
  • 11. Artisans• They were responsible for making the finer things in the Aztec empire – I.e. fashionable clothes, art…• They were skilled craft workers• Mask makers, goldsmiths, and feather workers were among the most respected artisans• Feathers were worked into various things – Fans, headdresses, tunics, and decorated shields• Only the nobles were allowed to wear anything with feathers on it
  • 12. Signs of Status• There were three ways to indicate you status in society for the Aztecs – 1. Clothing – 2. Jewlery – 3. Location and size of house
  • 13. Moving up in Society• The best way to move up in the Aztec society was through success in battle• The Aztecs did not want to kill their enemies, rather, they wanted to capture them to sacrifice them to the gods.• If a warrior took four prisoners, he would be eligible to move up in society – i.e. If the warrior was a commoner, he would be able to become nobility
  • 14. Aztec Education• Aztecs educated their children at home until they started school• They started school when they were between the ages of 10 – 15• Children were pampered until the age of three, then they were expected to be hard working and obedient• They wanted the children to become citizens with a stone heart and a stone face• The Aztecs valued education• Schooling was free, and all children attended• The nobles went to a school called calmecac and the commoners went to telpochcalli
  • 15. Aztec Citizenship• The society was focused on producing citizens who would contribute to the community• The children were taught how to be good citizens in school• Go to page 187 and copy the “Virtues of the Ideal Aztec Citizen” chart
  • 16. Laws and Lawmaking• They had a system of written laws• Their legal system was a powerful tool used to maintain order in the society• It reminded people of their responsibilities as citizens• The law judged nobles harder if they broke a law because they are supposed to be good examples for everyone in society
  • 17. Slave Laws• Slaves performed necessary work• They also had laws that protected• If a noble beat a slave to death, he could be executed for his crime• If a slave sold in the market place was able to escape and run to the palace (about 1.5km) they would immediately win their freedom• The Aztecs worldview on slavery was different than what was held in Europe, they didn’t think it was shameful to be a slave• They also didn’t think that being a slave was a permanent position• Slaves were even allowed to own land and have their own slaves• If a slave had a child, that child would be born FREE