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Published by: Michael Butler on Oct 12, 2011
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Name ________________________________ Date _______________

The Aztecs The Aztecs were a nomadic tribe that lived in Mexico from the 12th century until around the 16th century. The Aztecs’ innovative lifestyle has had an effect on today’s culture in Mexico, along the Mexican and U.S. border, and even into the Southwestern states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Aztecs originally lived in Northern Mexico. However, in the 13th century they moved south towards what is now modern day Mexico City. At the time Mexico City was known as Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs remained in this area until they were conquered by Spain in the 16th century. The Aztecs made many advances in medicine, agricultural development, and art. They have developed many systems that are still in use today, though they have been adapted to modern society. The Aztecs were polytheistic. This means they believed in more then one God. Religion played a big role in the life of the Aztecs. Their religious beliefs are different from the beliefs of North Americans today. The Aztecs believed the Earth was flat. We know today this is not true. The Earth is round. You can travel around the world, because of this. However, the Aztecs believed that eventually you could find the end of the world if you traveled far enough. The Aztecs also believed the sun and the darkness fought a battle every night. If the sun won the battle it would rise again in the morning until the next battle would occur that evening. It was very important for the Aztecs to worship their Gods through everything they did. The Aztecs built many large temples which were constructed to be beautiful places of worship to their Gods. They also used artwork to show the stories of their Gods. The Aztecs worshiped as many as one thousand different Gods and Goddesses. The most important God was the Sun God, Nanauatzin. The Aztecs have plenty of stories to explain why things in life occur. One of the most important stories is how the moon and the sun were created.

The Story of the Sun The Gods in the heavens wanted to create light. They asked for volunteers to become the light in the sky. No one would volunteer. The lighting of the world was very important so finally two Gods volunteered to become the light source. They were Nanauatzin, a poor God, and Tecuciztecatl, a very wealthy God.

looking over the land. When a boy turned 15 he went to a more advanced school. This school was attached to the temples where the Aztecs worshiped their Gods. religion. sent their children to the local school. Rather then become a second sun. a God is always watching over the Earth. the art of warfare. This was a form of sport to the boys due to their competitive natures. which was more focused on religious practices. after several unsuccessful tries the Gods requested that Nanauatzin try instead. . and history. The wind God blew both the sun and the moon from the heavens and into the sky so the Earth would be filled with light during the day and darkness at night. how to be good leaders. The noble (more wealthy) families sent their children to a special school. which was a military school. Boys could either go to a cuicacalli. Tecuciztecatl followed him. Other subjects boys learned were poetry. The Moon God rests when the Sun God is out. When Nananautzin was in the flame. and history. writing. Aztec Children Despite living hundreds of years before us. or a calmecac. When the fifth day came. Boys and girls went to separate schools. Tecuciztecatl became the moon. Nanauatzin was able to enter the flames and soon he burned brightly. The nobility and the brightest students from the local schools were most likely going to attend a calmecac. They were taught religion. how to live prosperously. Tecuciztecatl was the first to attempt to catch fire. Aztec children had somewhat similar lives to children today. history. The war school taught discipline and more extensive teachings of warfare. Subjects these children learned are different then the subjects of the nobility. They had many duties within the temples and they studied their religion more then almost anything else. However. These children learned citizenship. At the calmecac the boys learned many aspects of business within the Aztec world. there was a huge fire waiting for the Gods to throw themselves upon the flame. However. astronomy. Children of the nobility learned many things at school. This story is a mythological story the Aztecs believed in. Yet. There were many fights between the various cuicacalli.The Gods would sacrifice themselves to become the light. it took five days to prepare themselves for such a dangerous task. The boys of the cuicacalli had to work at home on their land extensively as part of their studies. such as the peasants and working class. This is how he became the sun. the laws of the land. Though they never meet they both rise high into the sky. If a child was very smart he might be allowed to go to school with the boys of the nobility. and even a specific trade. The common families.

However. Sometimes they would make them inhale the smoke of a fire that burned with the fumes of chili peppers! This would burn the inside of their nose for quite some time. . This city was named the capital of Mexico. By the time a girl was a teenager she could already cook and do many other domestic things. Their job was to teach their children responsibility. Aztec parents were not as kind as most parents are today. and many other important skills that are necessary to live healthy and prosperous lives. and life of the Aztecs will forever be ingrained in the culture and history of the people of Mexico City today.Girls learned more from home than from school. Often. right and wrong. The End of the Empire The Aztecs were conquered in 1521 by Spain. However. if a child was bad they would face harsh punishments. It was common for an Aztec girl to prepare for marriage from a young age. The city of Tenochtitlan had been destroyed and all that remained of the Aztec civilization were remnants of the culture that tell us about their lifestyle and history. the culture. the primary duty of a girl was to grow to womanhood and make an Aztec boy very happy as his wife. the city of Tenochtitlan was rebuilt. the Aztecs would physically punish their children. It was renamed Mexico City to reflect the change of ownership. At four years old Aztec girls already knew how to spin fabrics. history. Girls also worked within the temples as priestesses. In 1522. However.

A. Montezuma . What was a punishment of Aztec parents if their children misbehaved? They ____________ A. La Bomba 6. Tecuciztecatl C. Tenochititlan B. lost their toys D. Nananautzin D. The Aztecs believe the sun was formed when the God Nananautzin ________________. Dinotheism 2. Destroyed the Moon 3. Mexico City was called ___________ during the Aztecs rule. The belief of more than one God is called ________________. calmecac 5. cuicacalli D. A. The religious school for boys over 15 was the ____________. Rode on a shooting star B. Cancun C. The Aztecs believe ______________ is the Moon God.The Aztecs 1. were Grounded C. were spanked 4. Polytheism D. A. Little Mexico D. Threw himself into a fire C. Tenochititlan B. A. Temple B. Monotheism C. Invented the light bulb D. Private Academy C. A. inhaled chili pepper smoke B. Acrotheism B.

old D. The Aztecs were conquered in 1521 by ___________. 14 . 15 D. poor C. England D.7. The nobility were ________________. At __________ boys attended a more advanced school. A. Spain 8. Eastern B. A. Northern C. Southern D. 18 C. short 9. wealthy B. United States B. The Aztecs are originally from ____________ Mexico. France C. Western 10. A. 17 B. A.

C 6. A 3. D 8. D 5. A 10. C 4. B Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb 6 .The Aztecs Answer Sheet 1. C 9. B 2. A 7.

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