Compare and contrast the Aztec civilization and the Mayan civilization.

Topics: Aztec, Maya civilization, Mesoamerica Pages: 7 (2470 words) Published: May 3, 2004
The Aztecs civilization and the Mayan civilization where the most important civilizations from the new world that amazed many of the Europeans that came to conquer this wonderful rich land. The Europeans where amazed with the Aztec and Mayan culture, their ways of life, their geographical surroundings and their technology. The Europeans and historians today find that the Aztecs and the Mayans where similar in some ways of life like their culture, their technology, their religious events and at the same time they had their differences in their cultures.

The Aztec civilization dominated the valley of Mexico during the fifteen and the sixteen centuries. Their culture was seen as unethical to the Europeans that were in Aztec territory and were observing the Aztec's way of life. The Europeans where specially stunned by the Aztecs' religious ceremonies and religious sacrifices. Today we know how Aztecs lived and their ways of life because of the records that have been well preserved by their descendants and by the stories passed on from generations to generations. Their geographic surroundings are amazing to visitors that visit the ruins of Teotihuacan, the pyramids that were built to honor their gods like Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli and many others gods that ruled ancient Aztec civilization. This great civilization was not made in a few years, it took many indians to build up this empire. The Aztec empire was slowly build up by Tenochca Indians that came from the north of the Mexican valley about 1168.

According to historians the Aztecs came from the north of the valley of Mexico around the twelfth century AD. We know these indians and their civilizations as the Aztec civilization but their original Nahua name is the Mexicas. The Mexicas migrated into the south of the valley of Mexico around 1248 and were guided there by their god Huitzilopochtli. They settled deep in the valley of Mexico and were peaceful people but their practice of human sacrifices revolted other people living around the valley of Mexico and forced the Mexicas to end such controversial ways of sacrifice. The group separated because of this and settled on an island in the middle of a lake and were then called Tenochcas. They founded their small town and named it Tenochtitlan or "place of the Tenochcas." As time passed the Tenochcas obtained war skill and power, grew rapidly in size and acquired great military skills. Soon enough the Tenochcas revolted against those that once overthrew them from their lands and started dominating what was becoming to be the Aztec empire. The Tenochcas, or Aztecs, started to build temples to honor their Gods, pyramids, sacrificial monuments, roads that connected the cast city to small sections in the valley. Although the valley of Mexico was not a very nice place to live geographically speaking, they managed to build these great temples, roads, and even build aqueduct systems to bring water from the mainland. As the Aztec empire was growing, their cultural ways of life were growing with them.

The Aztecs had two different kind of social classes. They had the macehualles which were the common people and the pilli which were the top class or nobilities. These class types were not determined at birth, one could rise into the pilli class by their own skills or bravery in war. All male children went to school and at age 15 they went to telpuchcalli, which meant "home of the youth", where they learned history and religion of the Aztecs, the art of war and fighting, and religious and their civic duties as an Aztec. In the Aztec society women were subordinate of me. They were required to behave with high moral standards. Woman were segregated from government and religious offices. Aztecs' laws were simple and at the same time they were hard. Almost every crime committed by an Aztec resulted in either death or severe corporal punishment like mutilation. Although these were cruel punishments they were well accepted by the Aztecs...
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