Terms / Concepts
- eagles and jaguars
- "Warrior Knights of the Eagle and Knights Jaguar"
- associated with . . .
- day and night
- sun and darkness
- "A lake somewhere in northern Mexico,
land of the white heron, land of the Aztecs"
- "floating gardens"
- including modern-day Xochimilco
- patole (gruel)
- atole (gruel)
- Aztecs farmed insects and their eggs
- these were
- Aztecs pressed algae into cakes
- "These were some of the most productive fields in the
- natural environments (slides)
- "pathways to the world of the spirits"
- Cf., film: To Find Our Life: The Peyote Hunt of
the Huichols of Mexico (VC 3324)
- frog skins
- pulque (allcohol)
- strong tobacco
- world was destroyed four times before
- we are now in the fifth
- heart sacrifice
Aztec heart sacrifice
- "cult of death"
- eagle on cactus was foretold in myth
- sometimes said to have
a snake in its beak
- probably a Harris's Hawk
- The Aztecs wandered for 200 years
- "they were tested to the limit
for 10 generations"
- including 50 - 60 years in the desert
- and then came south
and into contact with the Toltecs
- then they entered the high plateau called "The Valley
- in 1311, after two centuries, the Aztecs arrived at Lake
- Aztec thought of themselves as "the chosen people, invincible,
indestructible," leading to a "truly imperial vision"
- important animals
- 3 - 4 times a year shed their skin
- the quetzal was the most important bird of all
- the eagle and jaguar were the most sacred animals
- more than 50 species of water birds migrated to the Valley
of Mexico for the winter
- including pelicans, ducks. . . .
- including those who died in war
- the most important nocturnal pollinator
- puma (mountain lion)
- mapachtli, "they take everything in
- mapache, "the bandit," "the thief"
- important plants
- maguey (agave; "century plant")
- used for
- pulque (the alcoholic drink
of the Aztec and pre-Aztec)
- agua miel ("honey water")
- there were more than 50 species of pines in the forests
around the Valley of Mexico
- Atkinson, Sonja. The Aztec Way to Healthy Eating. NY: Paragon House, 1992.
- wet / dry season
- ritual war
- the skilled warrior was judged by his ability to take captives
unmarked and in perfect condition
- 1487 -- thousands of prisoners were sacrificed at
the inauguration of a new church on Lake Texcoco
- by 1502 "the bloody empire extended from the Pacific
to the Atlantic Ocean"
- the maintenance of their empire required no garrisons or
- The Spanish made war in a new way
- they did not take prisoners
- they were not interested
in prisoners for sacrifice, just elimination
- They joined forces with the enemies
of the Aztec
- feathers (from rainforest areas) were the most cherished
- feathers may have been the force for the expansion of
the Aztec empire
- Quetzal feathers were highly prized
- turquoise (from the now-American Southwest) was highly prized
- it decorated their representtions of the gods
- gold = the color of the sun
- did not tarnish or fade
- 2 tons of gold were collected each year as tribute
- tzompantli (Aztec skull rack)
- in 1519 the Indian population = 20,000,000
- by 1608 it had declined
to about 1,000,000
- disease brought in by the Spanish eventually killed many more
- The Aztec calendar predicted the return of a fair-skinned God
at year "One Reed" (1519)
- The Aztec had more than 1000 gods
- they represented birth, death and rebirth
- many were decorated with skulls and snakes
- earthquakes and volcanoes reminded the Aztecs that the gods
controlled this world
- every night the earth goddess devoured the sun
- only human
blood offering would bring it back
- religious syncretism
- Dia de los Muertos
- the skull is not a mecabre representation, but a fact
of life, representing death and the promise of resurrection
Sites / Locations
- was abandoned more than 500 years before the arrival of the
- Aztec mythology was built around this mysterious city
- Lake Texcoco
- "The Venice of the Americas"
- in the early 1500s = 300,000
- four times the size of London of Henry VIII
- "One of the most spectacular cities on earth."
- Mochtezuma II
- Hernán Cortez