Aztec Empire Essay Example
During the 15th and early 16th century, an empire called Aztec ruled much of what is today considered central and southern Mexico. This civilization had many customs and traditions. Though, the question remains, did the Aztec empire carry with it the most basic characteristics to be considered an ancient state?
The Aztecs followed a strict social hierarchy which saw its Emperor on top. Following him were the Nobles and Priests, then Merchants and Artisans, Soldiers, Farmers and Fishermen, then lastly, Slaves. This points to the respect that priests commanded. They oversaw religion and culture and were high-ranking members in the Aztec society.
The Aztecs had a very organized and structured army which was useful because they were nearly always at war. Every male in the Aztec empire, regardless of their job, received military training from a young age. They had different units in their army that ranked from basic units to elite warriors. The Aztecs also had a special forces unit, which were open only to the Nobles. Perhaps the most feared of all divisions, they went into battle first.
Although tricky, researchers have been able to identify Aztec temples, or Teocalli, which means god houses. These pyramids and temples were used for many different things, including worship, and praying, making offerings to the gods, and to gain special powers.
Art was a big part of the Aztec empire and it included stone sculptures, architect, pottery, and metal work. Many times, the Aztecs would portray the family of gods they worshipped. Another important aspect of art in the Aztec empire was their belief that it was necessary to give sacrifice. They would pour blood on the sculptures and dress them with gold and jewels.
To be a part of the Aztec empire, it was necessary to contribute. The biggest groups of professions were farmers, fishermen, and hunters. Other careers included soldiers, doctors, traders and merchants, builders, engineers, and priests. They had a civilization that was made possible by the different contributing professions and made stronger through the development of their young. The Aztecs were a feared empire. They were strong, well organized, and never backed down from a fight. This is made apparent by other tribes reluctancy to rob or hurt the Aztec traders. Some priests were active in government and played a big part in governing and making decisions. They were also the ones to conduct sacrifices to the gods. The doctors were trained in Aztec school and made many types of medicines for the sick and injured. To build the temples and pyramids, you need people to plan and execute, and this is where the Aztec engineers came in. The helped construct and build homes, palace for the emperor, and even the floating gardens.
In summary, given the list of basic characteristics used to determine whether a civilization can be considered an ancient state or not, I would argue that the Aztec empire fits the description. From an emperor to an army, their many art designs and building of temples and pyramids, it’s clear they operated efficiently and with the intention to be independent.