Question Set 10: Chapter 17-19
1. (p. 459-61) What was an Aztec calpulli (plural calpultin)? What role did the calpulli play in the larger Aztec state?
-Calpulli or calputin are small family units that owned land together; means “Great House”. The calputin played a smaller role in the larger Aztecan state because they did not own the same land and food producing powers but were used for trade and collection. The Templo Mayor (p. 462) was the main pyramid in the ceremonial precinct of Tenochtitlan. At its top were temples honoring the Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc. In the videotape Realms, the importance of these deities as representatives of war and water/fertility is highlighted. In addition, this combination symbolized a fusion of ancient Toltec and Central Mexican religion (Tlaloc) with the new patterns of worship the Mexica introduced to Central Mexico (focused on Huitzilopochtli).
2. Regarding the ceremonial precinct around the Templo Mayor (p. 462-3), a. According to Spanish witnesses in 1519 A.D., how many heads were borne by the skull rack (tzompantli) in this ceremonial precinct?
-There were 136,000 heads found.
b. How many victims may have been sacrificed in the dedication of the Stage VI rebuilding of the Templo Mayor during the reign of Ahuitzotl? -Estimated around 80,400 victims and revised to 20,000.
c. Why were the skeletons of small children found in association with Stage IV? -The skeletons of children were found in association with Stage IV because of the heavy drought they believed that a child may represent a supplication to their rain god. d. Why did the pyramid begin to sink into the ground?
-The weight of the layers of the pyramid weighed down the structure causing it to sink into the spongey, moist soil. 3. Schooling became an important part of the transformation of Mexica society begun with the tribute wealth obtained after the defeat of the Tepaneca (p. 466-7). a. What were the telpochcalli? How common were these schools? Why did Motecuzoma I have them established?
-The Telpochalli were “young men’s house,” which are schools where young men would learn to become warriors and did services for the community. b. What were the calmecac? Who was trained in them?
-Calmecacs were schools for the rich and noble boys. They learned to read and write as well as priesthood and studies. c. How did pochteca merchants and certain other professions receive their training? -They would often learn through their childhood from their families because there were schools for them whether it be their social ranking or neighborhoods. d. Evans notes that the status of children changed at age 8 from one of indulgence to “a more rigorous program” involving “tough love”. Since Olmec times, maguey spines had been used in auto-sacrifice in religious rituals. But how were they used in childhood training according to the caption to Fig. 17.12? -The maguey spikes were used for punishment for young boys who would misbehave and be disobedient to their elders/teachers. [PROFESSOR’S NOTE: Every so often – usually when I have seen many bad exam scores – I contemplate introducing traditional Aztec approaches to education into this course...] Aztec society contained far too many social strata to be described simply as “elite” and “commoner”. Among the nobility, close relatives of the huetlatoani – in other words, members of the royal family – held higher rank than more distant kin, who were hereditary nobles-by-birth (pipiltin).
4. How does Evans characterize the role played by noblewomen in Aztec society (p. 472-3)? -Women had great influence in politics, athough men usually held office. They also could hold onto land and leave and unhappy marriage. In politics women could speak out and have an influence on decision making as well as influence who could be elected (placed into power). a. Did women ever become huetlatoani?
-A woman had served as a Tenocha huetlatoani.
b. Did the...
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