Home » Culture of the Aztec Empire

Culture of the Aztec Empire

The Aztecs ate maize, beans, squash, and chocolate. Maize was the staple grain of the Aztec Empire, and it can also be known as corn.  Corn was ground into flour to make tortillas (a flat bread), tamales (seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough), and even some drinks. Chocolate , or more specifically cocoa beans, were used as currency as well as in drinks, in the Aztec Empire. Pictured below is the tamale.

The primary language for the Aztecs was N’ahuatl. Even though that N’ahuatl , was the main language, there were many dialects. Sometimes, the dialects were so strong that speakers couldn’t understand one another!

The Aztecs had a complex  large group of gods that they worshipped. They identified no less than 200 gods. They divided the 200 gods into 3 sections: the heaven, the rain and agriculture, and the war and sacrifice. Below is a picture of the Aztec sun stone, also called the Aztec calendar stone. Though it has the word calendar in it, that was not its use. It was used as an altar that was supposed to be connected to the sun-god, Tonatiuh

A game that was popular in the Aztec Empire was Ullamaliztli also called Tlachtli. The game was not just for recreation; it was also used for more serious things such as politics and religion. They also played a board game called Patolli. The name comes from small red beans that they used to play the game.

The currency of the Aztec Empire was the cacao bean which would be used to buy food, and all other necessities. Surprisingly, animals were not used to transport goods, humans were. The reason the Aztec Empire had such a stable economy, and good trade was because the markets were very organized and diverse. The Pochtecas were essential to the economy . They were merchants that travelled long distances to bring things to the marketplace.

This empire had a good road system which made it very easy to trade. The Aztecs built aqueducts that brought running water to their house.

Chinampas, or floating gardens were a major tool in agriculture to support the huge cities around the area. Regardless of the name, these gardens did not actually float. And they were used for much more than gardening. The chinampa was supported by a complex system of irrigation, to keep the plants watered well. There were workers to decide which plants would grow best, and other statistics like that. The chinampas grew enough food to feed 2/3 of Tenochtitlan, which would be about 130,000 people. After the Spanish Conquest, the fertile gardens were no longer used as much. But you can still take a trip to Xochimilco to admire the lush gardens.Chinampas


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