Smith, Michael Ernest, 1953-. The Aztecs

Table of Contents

Publication Information

1 The Aztecs Of Mesoamerica

A Perspective On The Aztecs

Mesomaerican Context

Mesoamerican Environments

The Aztec Environment

The Valley Of Mexico

Surrounding Valleys

The Social Landscape

Sources Of Information


Native Pictorial Manuscripts

Reports Of The Conquerors

Accounts Of The Chroniclers

Colonial-period Administrative Documents


Regional Survey

Intensive Site Surface Studies


Analysis And Interpretation

Aztec Studies Today

2 The Rise Of Aztec Civilization




Tula And The Toltecs

The Aztlan Migrations

The Growth Of Aztec City-states

New Towns, New Dynasties (1150–1350)

Mexica Outcasts (1250–1325)

Tenochtitlan's First Century (1325–1428)

The Empire Of The Triple Alliance, 1428–1519

3 People On The Landscape

How Many Aztecs?

Counting Back From Colonial Census Figures

Counting Sites

The Aztec Diet

Staple Foods

Animal Foods

Nutritional Status

Farming Systems

Agricultural Intensification

Farming The Hills

Farming The Valleys

Farming The Swamps

Farming In Town

Household Enterprise Or State Control?

Rural Settlement

Settlement Patterns

Excavations At Cuexcomate And Capilco

The Rural Landscape

4 Artisans And Their Wares

Utilitarian Crafts



Cotton Textiles

The Maguey Industries

Copper And Bronze Tools


Luxury Crafts



Lapidary Production

Otumba: An Aztec Craft Centerl

5 Merchants, Markets, And Money


The Tlatelolco Market

The Valley Of Mexico Market System



Material Evidence For Aztec Commerce

Obsidian Exchange

Ceramic Exchange

A Complex Economy

6 Family And Social Class

Growing Up Aztec

Birth And Childhood


Adult Life And Social Roles


Gender Roles

Death And Burial

Social Classes


Peasants And The Calpolli

Rural Life

Urban Commoners


Social Mobility

Nobles And Their Palaces

A Rural Pilli At Cuexcomate

Molotecatl, A Tecuhtli Lord In Molotlan

The Tlatoani Of Yautepec

Nezahualcoyotl, Imperial Ruler Of Texcoco

Relations Among Nobles

7 City-state And Empire



The Tlatoani (king)

Mapping City-states

Relations Among City-states

Peaceful Relations

Warfare And Domination

The Empire Of The Triple Alliance

What Kind Of Empire?

Imperial Control In The Valley Of Mexico

Tribute And Warfare In The Outer Provinces

The Economic Strategy

The Frontier Strategy

Mexica Propaganda And The Limits Of Empire

8 Cities And Urban Planning

City-state Capitals

Fictional Visit To Amecameca, An Aztec City

Urban Planning And Layout

Urban Archaeology At Yautepec

Rural And Urban

Urban Planning And Layout

Fictional Visit To The Imperial Capital

9 Creation, Sacrifice, And The Gods

Myths Of Creation

The Four Suns

Quetzalcoatl And The Bones Of The Ancestors

The Birth Of The Sun At Teotihuacan

The Heroic Birth Of Huitzilopochtli

Gods And Priests

Historical Background

The Teotl Concept

Deities Of Celestial Creativity And Divine Paternalism

Deities Of Rain, Moisture, And Agricultural Fertility

Deities Of War, Sacrifice, Blood, And Death

Other Deities


Human Blood Offerings


Heart Sacrifice

Explaining Aztec Sacrifice

The Templo Mayor

The Sacred Precinct Of Tenochtitlan

The Templo Mayor

Other Pyramids, Other Sacrifices

Public Ceremonies

The Monthly Ceremonies

The New Fire Ceremony

The Ballgame

Private Domestic Rituals

10 Science And Art



Books And Scribes

Mesoamerican Background To Aztec Writing

The Aztec Writing System

Types Of Hieroglyphs

Calendars And Astronomy

The 260-day Ritual Calendar (tonalpohualli)

The Annual Calendar

The Calendar Round And Year Count




The Mixteca-puebla Style

The Art And Politics Of Imperial Sculpture

Literature And Poetry

Sacred Hymns

Lyric Poetry

Music And Dance

11 Final Glory And Destruction

The Final Century: 1428–1519

Conquest By Spain

Cortés And Motecuhzoma


The Nahuas Under Spanish Rule

The Encomienda

The Church

Continuity And Change

12 The Aztec Legacy Today

Modern Nahua Indian Culture

The Aztec Past And The Mexican Present

A Wider Perspective

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The Aztecs

Published By: Original publisher Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers. 1996 (1997 printing). xviii, 361 p. ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Michael E. Smith

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2009. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Central Mexico Postclassic (NU93)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF History (175); Territorial hierarchy (631); Tillage (241); Occupational specialization (463); Mercantile business (441); Classes (565); Form and rules of government (642); Cities (633); Prayers and sacrifices (782); Writing (212); Ordering of time (805); Art (530);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This monograph is a study in what the author calls 'social archaeology', an analysis of the everyday lives of peasants and other commoners in archaeological time. The major portion of the book describes Aztec civilization during the 91 years between the formation of the Triple Alliance empire in 1428 and the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519. This period is generally referred to in the archaeological literature as the Late Aztec B period and represents the pinnacle of cultural development in ancient Mesoamerica. Major topics include a general introduction to the Aztecs, culture history, agriculture, artisans and their wares, the role of merchants in the economy, family and social class, city-states and the empire, religion, science and art, and post-contact changes in the society.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 25

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. nu93-025

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. [325]-347) and index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document no date

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Archaeologist, Ethnologist-4, 5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle; 2008

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1300-430 BP (650-1520 AD)

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Valley of Mexico

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Aztecs--History/Aztecs--Antiquities/Aztecs--Social life and customs/Mexico--Antiquities


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