Aztec warfare

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  • Publicado : 7 de marzo de 2010
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The importance of war in the Aztec society is related to many other aspects of the daily Aztec life. Warriors were important in the Aztec social ladder, both nobles and common people served in the army during wartime. Young Aztecs were educated in special schools: The Calmecac and the Tepochcalli, schools where the youngsters learned the art of war and the many crafts to make a living. Theseyoung Aztecs then would go into battle hoping that their participation and achievements on the battlefield would helped them to become outstanding warriors and climbing ranks until becoming important figures in the warrior and Aztec societies. War served as the way of many Aztec achievements and not only for the Aztecs but for their allies: The members of the Triple Alliance (Tenochtitlan, Texcoco andTlacopan). Conquered territories made possible the Aztec wealth acquired for the “tributes”; a tax imposed by the Aztecs to these conquered territories. Together, the members of the triple alliance founded a mighty empire that controlled most of Central Mexico and even reaching Central America, in the country of Guatemala. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifices for 200 years; this practice wasone of the most important rituals for the Aztec polytheist religion. Almost every major festival had human sacrifices where the beating hearts of the victims were offered to the gods. The victims for these ritual sacrifices were obtained in a very peculiar way: “The Flourish wars”. The Aztecs and other towns fought in battles to obtain victims. The warriors fighting in these battles were thepreferred victims since a warrior was seen as an important figure in the society. The aim of the Aztecs was not to kill but to wound an enemy in order to have a victim for sacrifice.

When reading about the conquest of Mexico probably the most given explanation for the Spanish victory is the superior technology of the weapons. This gives and idea of the Aztecs as “uncivilized” warriors whose poortechnology made them victims of the superior arsenal of the Spaniards .The conquest of Mexico brought a new type of warfare to the Aztecs, the weapons and methods of war the Spanish brought were new to the Native Americans and not only to the Aztecs. The opinions on whether the armament of the Europeans was determinant on the Conquest are diverse; but many agree that wood and stone used on Aztecweapons was no match to the steel and powder used on the European weapons. The culture clash between Europeans and Native Americans became one of the most extraordinary events in history, a new world order came and the culture exchange became later the identity of what now is Latin America. This essay will be divided in parts; each part will explain what for me important factors are in the Aztecwarfare and how they influenced in the defeat against the Spanish conquistadors.


Part 1 Education
Two important institutions were founded in Tenochtitlan, both different from each other; the Telpochcalli and the Calmecac. These institutions were in charge of the education of the young Aztecs. Before turning 15, the education was taught by the parents, when the men turned into that age theywere supposed to join the Telpochcalli or the Calmecac, depending on the social class. The telpochcalli was the school for those plebeians, the common people, different professions were taught as well as the art of war. During wartime every man was a soldier and after this, they could return to be what they were before. The other institution, the Calmecac was the school for the young members ofthe Aztec elite. In the Calmecac the young Aztecs were educated to be priests, warriors and leaders. The education in this institution was hard, the alumni were under a demanding training, here the young were taught the art of the war and the weapons such as the Macuahuitl were subject of classes for their correct and lethal use, all of this was taught by veteran warriors who were part of the...
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