Ancient Aztecs by Karen Latchana Kenney

By Karen Latchana Kenney

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The sun, moon, stars, comets, and winds occupied lower heavens. The earth sat in between the heavens and underworlds. Below the earth were nine underworlds. Souls had to pass through the layers to reach their final resting place. AZTEC PRIESTS Since religion was so important to the Aztecs’ culture, Aztec priests held positions of power with great responsibility. A massive statue of Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, is on display at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

The naming ritual, conducted by the midwife, ended the newborn ceremonies. A feast was held at the end of the ceremony, and the child’s parents gave gifts to the visiting family. indd 46 10/28/14 1:33 PM the fumes of roasting chilies or tying them up and leaving them outside in the mud or cold. EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS Education was a very important part of Aztec life, and both boys and girls attended school. Aztec children were promised to schools as infants but did not begin school until later. 1 There were two kinds of schools, Aztec boys and girls learned a number of different household chores, including weaving cloth, grinding maize, and loading and steering a canoe.

Indd 50 10/28/14 1:33 PM CHAPTER 5 TRADES, GOODS, AND ARCHITECTURE A fter school, Aztecs moved on to their professions and began contributing to Aztec society. Nobility served in leadership positions, such as in the military and as high priests. Commoners took positions in service trades or became farmers or tradesmen. At the marketplace, Aztec men and women sold everything from vegetables they had grown to the cloth they had woven. indd 51 10/28/14 1:33 PM FARMERS, TRADESMEN, AND ARTISANS Farming was central to Aztec society.

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