The story

Aztecs


The Aztec people were a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization that developed mainly between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in the territory corresponding to present-day Mexico. It was a warrior people. They founded in the fourteenth century the important city of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City), in a region of marshes, near Lake Texcoco. Aztec society was hierarchical and rigidly divided. It was commanded by an emperor, chief of the army. They developed agricultural techniques a lot and built drainage works. The craftsmanship of this people was very rich, especially the making of fabrics, gold and silver objects and articles with paintings. They became known as a warrior people.

Society was hierarchical and rigorously divided. It was led by an emperor, chief of the army. The nobility was also made up of priests and military leaders. Peasants, artisans and urban workers made up a large part of the population. This lower tier of society was coerced into compulsory work for the emperor when he was summoned to work in public works such as irrigation canals, roads, temples, pyramids, among others.

During the rule of Emperor Montezuma II (early 16th century), the Aztec Empire was formed by almost 500 cities and these paid high taxes to the emperor. The Aztec empire began to be razed in 1519 from the Spanish invasions. The Spaniards dominated the Aztecs and appropriated most of the golden objects of this civilization. Not satisfied, they still enslaved the Aztecs, forcing them to work in the region's gold and silver mines.


Art and Architecture: Pyramid of Aztec Civilization

The Aztecs developed agricultural techniques a lot, building drainage works and the chinampas (cultivation islands), where they planted and harvested corn, pepper, tomato, cocoa etc. Cocoa seeds, for example, were used as coins by this people.

The craftsmanship was the richest era, especially the making of fabrics, gold and silver objects and articles with paintings. The religion was polytheistic, as they worshiped various gods of nature (god Sun, Moon, Thunder, Rain) and a goddess represented by a Feathered Serpent. The writing was represented by drawings and symbols. The Mayan calendar was used with modifications by the Aztecs. They developed several mathematical and astronomical concepts.

In architecture, they built huge pyramids used for religious worship and human sacrifice. These were held on specific dates in honor of the gods. They believed that with sacrifices they could make the gods calmer and happier.

The religion

They were polytheists (they believed in various gods) and believed that if human blood were not offered to the Sun, the gear of the world would cease to function.

Sacrifices made:

  • Dedicated to Huitzilopochtli or Tezcatlipoca: the sacrificed was placed on a stone by four priests, and a fifth priest drew, with a knife, the heart of the living warrior to feed his god;
  • Dedicated to Tlaloc: Children were sacrificed annually on the mountaintop. It was believed that the more the children cried, the more rain the god would provide.

In its pantheon were hundreds of gods. The main ones were linked to the solar cycle and agricultural activity. Astronomical Observations Studying the calendars was part of the knowledge of the priests. The most revered god was Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent. The priests were a powerful social group, charged with guiding the education of the nobles, making predictions, and directing the ritual ceremonies. Aztec religiosity included the practice of sacrifices. According to what was published by the conquerors, the shedding of blood and the offering of the heart of animals and humans were indispensable rites to satisfy the gods, but if we consider the relationship of religion with medicine we will find countless rites. There are references to a faceless, invisible, impalpable god devoid of mythical history for whom the king of Texoco Nezaucoyoatl had a temple made without idols, only a tower. This king defined him as "the one, thanks to whom we live."

The medicine

The contributions of medical anthropology situate religious mythical knowledge as forms of medical rationality and constitute a logical and theoretically structured system, which has as a necessary and sufficient condition to be considered as such, the presence of the following elements:
1. A morphology (anatomical conception);
2. A vital dynamic ("physiology");
3. a diagnostic system;
4. A system of therapeutic interventions;
5. A medical doctrine (cosmology).

At least partially meets these requirements. It is presented as theoretically structured, with specific formation (the learning of the various functions of the priestly class), the relative knowledge of anatomy (compared with ethnomedical systems of American desert Indians or tropical forests), perhaps due to the practice of human sacrifices. , but not necessarily dependent on this condition. There is evidence that they welded fractures and put splints on broken bones.

The vital dynamics of the tonal relationship (tonalli) - nagual (naualli) or explanations of the effect of medicinal plants are little known however the system of therapeutic interventions through medicinal plants, diets, rites are evident. The traditional medical doctrine in turn is not well known either.

In the diagnostic system we found four basic causes: Introduction of foreign body by witchcraft; Assaults suffered to the double (nagual); Aggression or loss of tone; and harmful influences of spirits (airs).

In relation to this set of pathologies, the gods simultaneously represented a category of analysis of cause and possibility of intervention through their intercession. Tlaloc was associated with air and cold and skin diseases (ulcers, leprosy) and hydrops; Ciuapipiltin to convulsions and paralysis; Tlazolteotl to the diseases of love that even caused death (tlazolmiquiztli ); Ixtlilton healed the children; Lume, helped the parturients; Xipe Totec was responsible for the ophthalmies.