Like nearly all of the ancient civilizations, the rich
lived in luxury and the poor worked. In the Aztec civilization, class
structure was very important.
The Rich: Homes of
the nobles and wealthy were made of sun-dried brick. If you were very
wealthy, you home could be made of stone. All homes were whitewashed to
make them look clean and shiny. Each noble home had a separate room for
steam bathing. Water was poured over heated stones. Bathing was an
important part of daily life and of religion. Bathing was believed to
clean both the body and soul.
The Poor: Homes of
the farmers and other commoners were huts with thatched roofs. Furniture
was limited. They might have mats on the floor and woven trunks to hold
belongings. They had blankets and pottery for cooking. Everyone had a
garden of their own, including farmers.
People in the upper class wore clothing decorated with feathers and
embroidery to show their status. They also carried fans made of feathers
Common People: It
was against the law for commoners to wear feathers. It was against the law
for commoners to carry fans. If commoners broke these laws, they were
At about age 20, men married women who were ages 14-15. A man could have
more than one wife as long as he could support her. Weddings were
arranged, usually with the help of a matchmaker.
were usually old women. The bride’s family gave a party for three or
four days before the wedding. The day of the wedding, the bride rode
piggyback on the matchmaker to her new home. There, while they were
wearing them, in the front the hearth (the fireplace), the bride and
grooms coats were tied together. From that point on, they were married.
New Babies: The
birth of a baby was a really big deal. The Aztecs welcomed all life. The
birth of a boy or a girl was celebrated. This was true for nobles and
The Aztecs were very concerned that all their citizens behave correctly.
This code of behavior was written down. And it was the law. Children were
taught correct behavior in the Aztec schools.
The Aztec nobles had slaves. Slaves were not captured people. They were
For all their love of war, the Aztecs had a softer side. They loved to
write and to read poetry. Much of their poetry was about a heroic act of
love, war, or religion.
The Aztecs loved games. They loved to give people a sporting chance.
Some of the games they played included a ball
game similar to one played by the ancient Maya. In fact, the
game probably was borrow from the Mayas (who most probably borrowed it
from the Olmecs, the people before them.)
went to school. To build
the city they wanted, they knew that they would need many engineers,
builders, and traders. To solve this problem, the Aztecs created schools
for their children. Attendance at school was mandatory.
All Aztec children had to attend school,
even girls and slaves. The Aztecs were the only people in the world at
this time in history to have free schools that every child had to attend