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America Native and Europe in the New World The Norton Anthology of World Literature (1500-1650) Volume C Definitions to KNOW Nahuatl a member of any of various peoples of ancient origin ranging from southeastern Mexico to parts of Central America and including the Aztecs. Tenochtitln the capital of the Aztec empire: founded in 1325; destroyed by the Spaniards in 1521; now the site of Mexico City. Ethnographer A person who studies the branch of anthropology which deals with the scientific description of individual cultures. Midwife a person trained to assist women in childbirth Aztec Literature Florentine Codex Intended to preserve preconquest ethnography. Cantares Mexicanos Records the texts of a postconquest movement in which new themes and ideas were grafted to old forms. Both offer a wealth of insight into the life and thought of Tenochtitln, a town founded (1325) in a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco. Before and after the arrival of Corts Spanish explorer and conquistador who conquered Aztec Mexico for Spain. The Aztec Empire, on the eve of the Spanish Conquest. Tenochtitln, looking East. The mural painting at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. Painted in 1930 by Dr. Atl. Life of Aztec Empire promoted commerce and trade Several types of money were in regular use cacao beans a small rabbit was worth 30 beans a turkey egg cost 3 beans a tamale cost a single bean quachtli standardized lengths of cotton cloth were used for larger purchases Decline due to small pox and other diseases Mythology and Religion Aztecs made reference to at least two manifestations of the supernatural: European scholars routinely mistranslated them as "god" or "demon" see an eagle devouring a snake perched on a fruit-bearing nopal cactus Coat of arms of Mexico Aztec Mythology Worshipped hundreds of Gods and Goddesses Mictlan (dead land: the grim) - ordinary dead: Dantesque underworld whose inner precincts were reached after a perilous journey (4 years) past mountains, deserts, and guardian beasts. Tlalocan (the pleasant) evergreen abode of Tlaloc, the rain god: those who died by drowning Warriors paradise in the sky: reserved for warriors slain in battle, people who died when hit by lightning, and women who died in childbed. Brillant birds Flowers Sacrifice Music Human The Great Speaker Ahuitzotl reported that the Aztecs sacrificed 84,400 prisoners over the course of four days Ritual cannibalism was also a feature of Aztec culture but it is believed that the practice was not widespread. Aztec Society Class structure The highest class were the pilli or nobility Originally not hereditary Traveling merchants called pochteca Small but important class Facilitated commerce Communicated vital information across the empire and beyond its borders Often employed as spies. The second class were the mcehualli, originally peasants Slaves or tlacotin also constituted an important class become slaves because of debts, as a criminal punishment or as war captives Children did not become slaves Aztec Society continued . . . Eduardo Noguera in Annals of Anthropology estimates that in later stages: 20% of the population was dedicated to agriculture and food production. 80% of society were warriors, artisans and traders. Eventually, according to William T. Sanders, in his book Settlement Patterns in Central Mexico. Handbook of Middle American Indians most of the mcehuallis were dedicated to arts and crafts. Their works were an important source of income for the city. Schooling: At 15, all boys and girls went to school. The Mexica, one of the Aztec groups, were one of the first people in the world to have mandatory educa...