Aztec Culture Test Questions

Flashcard maker : Lily Taylor
Describe the geography of the Aztec territory including the surrounding lands. Try to be as thorough as possible.
Mexico City, where Tenochtitlan was, is very flat but is surrounded by mountains.
The Valley of Mexico is about 7000 feet above sea level and tall mountains surrounded every side except the Northern part

What was the climate like?
The average temperature was 53 fahrenheit. Tenochtitlan was at high altitude which made it colder than some might think. This made it hard to farm because there was frost at points. It rained a lot from May to October.

Does this seem like a good place for farming? Why or why not? Explain.
No, because of the cool temperature, that lead to frost, some areas are only good for limited amounts of crops.

Based on your knowledge and understanding of Aztec culture, how did the physical geography shape their values?
They probably valued skilled engineering. The heavy rainfall would flood their city and they used dams to control the water level. They also needed a way to keep track of time to know when the best time to farm was, and when it would rain.

What were the major classes of Aztec society? What differentiated them?
The major classes were the families, capulli, and the executives. The capulli were groups of families that shared land. The families made up much of the work force, and the majority of the armies, that kept the city running. The executives were priests and other more important people of the society.

How could a member of the lowest class rise in social status?
Young men who served as warriors could rise in rank by capturing someone alive.

What were the calpulli and what was their role in the government of the cities under Aztec domain?
They were groups of families who owned land, they would form a council with a leader from each calpulli. This was a city council, and it held a large amount of power in the Aztec government.

How did the Aztec Emperor come to power? What was the extent of his power?
They used force to scare villages into submission. the Aztecs did not control their empire strictly, they forced villages to pay them tribute and they otherwise operated independently.

What role(s) did women hold in Aztec society? How were they seen?
They had more power earlier in the empire than towards the end, the men were polygamists, however adultery was a crime, and women could run businesses from their homes.

Describe the Aztec system of writing. What was it used for? What factors gave rise to a system of writing among the Aztecs?
In the Aztec alphabet each symbol represents a sound. The original language was written in glyphs. There were three ways of writing which were ideograms, phonogram, and pictograms. Pictograms are pictures that mean exactly what it is. Phonograms are pictures that mean sounds. Ideograms are pictures that have a meaning behind it. The empire expanded and so did the language.

What were main weapons used in battle?
The Aztecs would use weapons like the Tepoztopilli; a lance with an obsidian shard on top. For ranged weaponry, the Aztecs used a Tlahuitolli or in other words, a bow.

Who were the jaguars and eagles?
The Eagles were the highest Aztec leaders. The leaders wore eagle costumes as and honor to the sun god Huitzilopochtli.The jaguars and eagles are worn by the military.

Why did Aztec soldiers take prisoners?
Aztec soldiers would take prisoners to give away to their gods by sacrifice, or to assign them jobs.

Describe Aztec religion. Consider the question in terms of gods, rituals, and values.
The Aztec religion is based off of and revolves around dates and had a varied set of over 1000 gods that all controlled different parts of nature. The two most important gods were the sun god and the god of water.

Who was huitzilopochtli? How did the Aztecs worship him? Why was he so important to the Aztecs?
Huitzilopochtli was the warrior of the sun. He needed blood so people got sacrificed for him. He could fight the darkness. If he was not fed blood, the people feared the sun would not come back up in the morning

What role did human sacrifice play in Aztec religion and warfare?
Human sacrifice played a major role in religion because the Aztecs believed that the gods needed blood to survive and be strong enough to fight off evil. So they sacrificed masses of people at a time to feed their gods. As for warfare, the Aztecs used warfare to get victims for their mass sacrifices.

How did the food consumed by elites (kings, nobles, priests) differ from the food consumed by ordinary people?
Human sacrifice was very important for the Aztecs. People god sacrificed a lot. When war captives were sacrificed, people would cut out their hearts, and use the limbs for meat. They had to eat people due to lack of protein. The limbs were then eaten by the elites, meaning kings, nobles, and priests. Elites did not drink pulgers, a drink that commoners drank. Commoners had corn every meal, and had two to three meals a day.

Why did people eat each other?
After being sacrificed, they would tear the hearts out and eat the limbs of the people because they did not have enough protein in their diet.

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