Ancient Aztecs

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A calpulli (kal-POOH-li), also spelled calpolli and sometimes known as tlaxilacalli, refers to the social and spatial neighborhoods which were the main organizing principle in cities throughout the central AmericanAztec empire (1430-1521 AD).

The Political and Social Neighborhoods in Ancient Aztec Mexico

The Calpulli was the basic unit of social organization in the Aztec empire, organized around clan groups and similar work patterns.

The macuahuitl (alternately spelled maquahuitl and in the Taino language known as the macana) is arguably the best-known piece of weaponry used by the Aztecs. When the Europeans arrived on the North American continent in the 16th century, they sent back reports on a wide variety of weapons and military gear used by the indigenous people.

The Fearsome Close-Quarter Combat Weapon of the Aztecs

The macuahuitl was an offensive weapon used by the Aztecs in combat. Europeans called it the Aztec sword, but it was neither curved nor made of metal.

The macuahuitl (alternately spelled maquahuitl and in the Taino language known as the macana) is arguably the best-known piece of weaponry used by the Aztecs.

The Fearsome Close-Quarter Combat Weapon of the Aztecs

The macuahuitl was an offensive weapon used by the Aztecs in combat. Europeans called it the Aztec sword, but it was neither curved nor made of metal.

The Aztec creation myth which describes how the world originated is called the Legend of the Fifth Sun. Several different versions of this myth exist because the stories were originally passed down by oral tradition, and also because the Aztecs adopted and modified gods and myths from other tribes that they met and conquered.

The Creation Myth of the Aztecs

In the 16th century, the Aztecs believed their world had been created and destroyed in violence four times before and had reason to expect it again.

Tlaloc (Tlá-lock) was the Aztec rain god and one of the most ancient and widespread deities of all Mesoamerica. Tlaloc was thought to live on the top of the mountains, especially the ones always covered by clouds; and from there he sent the revivifying rains.

Tlaloc the Aztec God of Rain and Fertility

The Aztec rain god Tlaloc was one of the most important in the Aztec pantheon, and distantly related to rain gods of other Mesoamerican cultures.

Why Did Cempoala Choose to Fight for the Spanish Conquistadors?

The Totonac city of Cempoala (or Zempoala) in Veracruz, Mexico, was a regional capital when it was visited by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.

The Aztecs had a complex and diversified pantheon (which means ensemble of gods). Scholars studying the Aztec religion have identified no fewer than 200 gods and goddesses!  Here's out 10 ten

The 10 Most Important Aztec Gods and Goddesses

The top ten of the 200 Aztec gods and goddesses recognized by scholars include the most famous and important figures of the Aztec religion.

The Language of the Aztec/Mexica is Spoken Today by 1.5 Million People

Nahuatl is a native American language spoken by the Aztec/Mexica and other people of ancient Mesoamerica, still in use today by 1.5 million people.

Centeotl (sometimes spelled Cinteotl or Tzinteotl and sometimes called Xochipilli) was the major Aztec god of American corn, known as maize.

Centeotl - Aztec God of Maize with Many Natures and Aspects

The maize god for the Aztec had many aspects, one of which was Centeotl, who journeyed to the underworld and brought back good things.

Tlaloc (Tlá-lock) was the Aztec rain god and one of the most ancient and widespread deities of all Mesoamerica. Tlaloc was thought to live on the top of the mountains, especially the ones always covered by clouds; and from there he sent down revivifying rains to the people below.

Tlaloc the Aztec God of Rain and Fertility

The Aztec rain god Tlaloc was one of the most important in the Aztec pantheon, and distantly related to rain gods of other Mesoamerican cultures.

Chalchiuhtlicue (Chal-CHEE-ooh-tlee-quay), whose name means "She of the Jade Skirt", was the Aztec goddess of water as it collects on the earth, such as rivers and oceans, and so was considered by the Aztecs the patroness of navigation. She was one of the most important deities, as protector of childbirth and newborns

Chalchiuhtlicue: Aztec Water Goddess and Sister of the Rain God Tlaloc

Chalchiuhtlicue was the Aztec goddess of running water as well as the patron of navigation and childbirth

Historical Evidence for Aztlan, the Mythical Aztec Homeland

Aztlan is the mythical homeland from which the Aztec/Mexica migrated to the Valley of Mexico in the 13th century.

Tenochtitlán, located in the heart of what is now Mexico City, was the largest city and capital of the Aztec empire. Today, Mexico City is still one of the largest cities in the world, and it is in a very odd place for a capital, modern or ancient.

Tenochtitlan: How Did a City in a Swamp Became the Capital of the Aztecs?

The Aztec capital city called Tenochtitlan was located a marsh in the middle of a lake surrounded by mountains—a place now called Mexico City.

The Triple Alliance (1428-1521) was a military and political pact among three city-states who shared lands in the Basin of Mexico (what is essentially Mexico City today): Tenochtitlan, settled by the Mexica/Aztec; Texcoco, home of the Acolhua; and Tlacopan, home of the Tepaneca.

The Aztec Triple Alliance

The Triple Alliance was a military and political pact formed by three city-states of the Valley of Mexico, establishing what became the Aztec Empire.

Aztec sacrifices were famously a part of the Aztec culture, famous in part because of deliberate propaganda out of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico, who at the time were involved in executing heretics and opponents in bloody ritual displays as part of the Spanish Inquisition.

Were the Aztecs as Bloodthirsty as They Are Said to Be?

The Aztecs, or more properly the Mexica, practiced several different types of ritual sacrifice to secure the benevolence of the gods.

The Aztec Empire's Society, Art, Economy, Politics, and Religion

Whether you are a student, a tourist, or simply moved by curiosity, here you will find what you need to know about Aztec civilization.