The Aztecs had schools

The state order of the Aztecs

There was a class society. At the bottom of the social ladder were the slaves and serfs who worked the private estates of the nobility. There were different categories of slaves: prisoners of war destined to be sacrificed, criminals, public debtors, people who renounced freedom out of poverty, children who were sold by their parents. The services to be requested were very precisely limited. Slaves were allowed to have their own families, property, and even their own slaves. Your children were free.

The bulk of the population belonged to the common people (macehualtini.e. workers). They lived and worked on common property. The Macehualtin had to pay taxes and were obliged to provide contingents for military service.

Above them stood the hereditary nobility (pipiltin). He provided the highest officials of the Aztec imperial administration and from his ranks the council was composed, which advised the ruler and chose his successor from the ruling dynasty. Four distinguished noblemen from this council chose the new ruler from the brothers or nephews of the old ruler. He must have distinguished himself in the war. Thus the empire was protected from underage kings and it was guaranteed that the ruler had leadership experience and the appropriate education. The top control was reserved for the royal house. There was that tlatoani (Speaker), who was mainly concerned with the foreign relations of the city and the empire. In 1519 Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Moctezuma or Montezuma) was the tlatoani. There was a second ruler with the title cihuacoatl (Female snake). He was responsible for the judiciary of the internal affairs of the Aztec capital. There was also the class of society pochteca. This was a hereditary merchants' guild who traded luxury goods in markets outside the country.

Anyone who made money in the war could rise to the rank of nobleman and get land and servants. The title and the estate were inherited. The nobles who did not own land became priests, scholars, or artisans when they were unsuitable for military service.

The Aztec state system was geared towards war. Huge armies were maintained under the leadership of officers who owed their rise to the number of their prisoners. The Aztec warriors were magnificently adorned, especially those belonging to the warrior orders of the jaguars and eagles. Conquered states were organized as tribute-paying provinces of the Triple Alliance under the direct rule of the Aztec garrisons. An extensive bureaucracy with relentless tax collectors ensured that the system ran smoothly.

The upbringing of the young Aztecs was controlled by the state and aimed at creating obedient citizens. Everyone had a basic level of education. There was no one who hadn't attended school. There were three types of schools that differed in terms of age, gender, and status. At the age of 12 all girls and boys started school, cuicalli, the "House of Singing". Here the children were introduced to the gods and ceremonies. Dance and singing were also taught. They stayed there until they were 15. School stopped for the girls unless they wanted to become a priestess. The sons of the nobles then went to the calmecacwhere they were prepared for their privileged role. In addition to military training, rhetoric, singing, religion and skills in administration and politics were taught. The rest went to the telpochcalli, the "house of young men", where military training was the main focus.

In this patriarchal society, women were subject to strict norms. As a child she had to obey her parents and as a woman she had to obey her husband. She worked in the house, rarely as a midwife or priestess if she came from a noble family.

[Home]