When Cortez first encountered the Aztecs, he found an advanced society, grounded in religious belief and governed by a complex set of rules and rituals–an Indian people whose daily lives revolved around family, religion and war.
Aztec civilization had a rigid political and social structure. As a typical male member of the common class in Aztec society, I was most likely a farmer, laborer, merchant or craftsman. As a woman, I took care of the household chores such as preparing meals, weaving cloth and raising children. As a citizen, I was expected to follow strict rules of conduct, provide proper instruction for my children and, if I was male, serve in the military.
The Aztecs were one of the first societies to mandate education. Even commoners were required to get some formal schooling. Males received instruction in religion, history, occupational skills, good citizenship and warfare. Females learned behavior and duties related to being a good wife and homemaker.
Religion played a vital role in the daily lives of the Aztecs. They worshipped, obeyed, made offerings and even made animal and human sacrifices to more than 1000 gods to ensure bountiful crops, the safety of family members and victory in warfare.
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