World History

Society of Aztec Empire

The Aztec Family

The family was the fundamental unit of Aztec society. For the Aztecs, marriage was regarded as sacred and the family as a sacred institution. Men might have multiple wives, but often there was one major wife who was in charge of the home. Matchmakers were used to arrange marriages.

Calpulli

Families belonged to the calpulli, a bigger social unit. The calpulli were the landowners in Aztec culture, not families or individuals. Similar to a clan or tiny tribe, a calpulli. In a calpulli, many of the families were related to one another. Calpullis had a chief, a nearby school, and frequently practiced a particular trade.

City-state

The city-state, also known as the Altepetl, was located above the calpulli. The city-state was composed of a sizable city and its environs. Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was the biggest city-state. The monarch, who resided in Tenochtitlan, required tribute from other city-states in the Aztec Empire.

Social Groups

Various social classes existed in Aztec civilisation. The king and his family were at the very top of society. The Huey Tlatcani was the name of the mighty ruler.

Tecuhtli –
The heads of the other city-states were directly beneath the emperor, who oversaw Tenochtitlan as his capital. They had enormous palace homes inside their cities and were extremely rich. As long as they paid tribute to the emperor, they had total control over their cities.

Pipiltin
The Tecuhtli were followed by the pipiltin, or noble class. Certain types of clothing and jewelry, like gold and feathers, were only acceptable for the noble class to wear. High level posts in the military, government, and priesthood were all occupied by pipiltin. They established a city council that aided in governing the city-states. The pipiltin were always used to elect the king.

Pochteca
Pochtecas were a distinct group of Aztec traders. Because the Aztec Empire regarded them as being of utmost importance, they were accorded the same social status as nobility. The pochteca traveled great distances to bring back valuable luxury items for the elite.

In Macehualtin
The macehualtin were referred to as the common folk in Aztec society. This applied to the farmers, soldiers, and artisans. In later periods of the Aztecs’ history, warriors and artisans started to hold more social status than farmers.

Servants –
Slaves were at the lowest of Aztec civilization. Children of slaves were not considered slaves in Aztec civilization. Aztecs acquired slavery through selling themselves as slaves to settle debts or as a form of retribution for crimes. Some rights applied to the slaves. They were not to be mistreated by their owners, they had the option to purchase their freedom, and their masters were not allowed to sell them without their consent.

Informative Statistics About the Aztec Society

Calpulli was a Nahuatl word that meaning “big house”.
The pipiltin, or members of the Aztec nobility, maintained that they were the direct descendants of the fabled Toltecs.

Yacetecuhtli, the patron god of merchants, was revered by them as someone who would watch over them and protect them when they traveled.

The priesthood and the military were two common routes for people to advance in society.

Slaves who managed to get away from their owners and reach the royal palace would be freed.

Slaves were allowed to own things, including other slaves.

The Aztec administration frequently used the wandering merchants as spies.

The merchants were permitted to be wealthy, but they were not permitted to dress in noble attire. They had to put on commoner clothing.