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Technical Specs. Plot Summary. Plot Keywords. Parents Guide. For nobles the options were much more open, you would progress in warrior orders dependant on your.
A large portion of rankings for Aztec warriors were based on how they performed on the battlefield, the ability for them to rise through the ranks was partially dependant on this.
Nobility also played a factor too, with more opportunity afforded to the upper social layers of the Aztec society, who received superior training and greater possibility of higher ranks.
The Aztec military structure as we previously mentioned mixed traditional military style rankings, and also warrior orders and classes that were grouped alongside the traditional ranks.
Now we did mention that the Aztec military during the first half of the 15th-century theoretically adhered to a merit-based system.
However, as referenced in the Aztec Warrior AD by John Pohl , on the practical side of affairs, the warfare and military campaigns were conducted by the noble houses, who formed their own religiopolitical institutions.
Many of these schools were run by veteran warriors who were barely older than the pupils themselves, thus alluding to the demand and progression of military duties in the Aztec society.
In any case, one of the first tasks assigned to the teenager trainees focused on teamwork, and as such entailed investing their time in repairing and cleaning public works like canals and aqueducts.
This notion of societal interdependence was imparted from a very early age in most Aztec boys — which in many ways rather reinforced their sense of fraternity during actual military campaigns.
Contrary to popular ideas, discipline was one of the mainstays of the Aztec military — so much so that drunkenness during training could even result in the death penalty on rare occasions.
The youths were however introduced to real combat scenarios only during the major religious festivals that were mostly held in the central district of the city.
One of these series of ceremonies held between February and April was dedicated to the Aztec storm god Tlaloc and the war god Xipe , and the festivities inexorably brought forth their versions of vicious ritual combats.
Some of these scenarios sort of bridged the gap between bloody gladiatorial contests and melee fighting exhibitions, with high-ranking prisoners-of-war being forced to defend themselves from heavily armed Aztec opponents — which often resulted in fatalities.
At the same time, the veteran masters from both the Calmecac and Telpochcalli schools were asked to train their pupils in the art of handling various weapons, starting from slings, bows to spears and clubs.
These students were then encouraged to take part in mock battles against each other as teams, with reward systems of food and gifts. These staged combat scenarios were perceived as rites of initiation for the young warriors, and as such the victors were often inducted into advanced training programs that focused on the handling of heavier melee weapons reserved for the elite fighters of the Aztec military.
The scope of ritual combat in the Aztec military was not just limited to the ceremonial confines of city-temple precincts, but rather extended to actual battlefields.
Interestingly enough, many of these Flower Wars participated by the young Calmecac and Telpochcalli warriors were conducted against the Tlaxcalans, who themselves constituted a powerful people with a Nahua cultural affinity shared with the Aztecs.
On occasions, the Aztecs reached a status-quo agreement with the mighty Tlaxcalans which outlined that the Xochiyaoyotl would be conducted in a bid to capture sacrificial prisoners, as opposed to conquering lands and taking away resources.
On the other hand, the status and rank of an Aztec warrior often depended on the number of capable enemies he had captured in battle.
In essence, the Flowers Wars, while maintaining their seemingly vicious religious veneer, pushed the Aztec military into a nigh perpetual state of warfare.
The Aztecs used a system in which men stationed approximately 4. For example, the runners might be sent by the king to inform allies to mobilize if a province began to rebel.
Messengers also alerted certain tributary cities of the incoming army and their food needs, carried messages between two opposing armies, and delivered news back to Tenochtitlan about the outcome of the war.
While messengers were also used in other regions of Mesoamerica, it was the Aztecs who apparently developed this system to a point of having impressive communicative scope.
Prior to mobilization, formal spies called quimichtin lit. Mice were sent into the territory of the enemy to gather information that would be advantageous to the Aztecs.
Specifically, they were requested to take careful note of the terrain that would be crossed, fortification used, details about the army, and their preparations.
These spies also sought out those who were dissidents in the area and paid them for information. The quimichtin traveled only by night and even spoke the language and wore the style of clothing specific to the region of the enemy.
Due to the extremely dangerous nature of this job they risked a torturous death and the enslavement of their family if discovered , these spies were amply compensated for their work.
The Aztecs also used a group of trade spies, known as the naualoztomeca. The naualoztomeca were forced to disguise themselves as they traveled.
They sought after rare goods and treasures. The naualoztomeca were also used for gathering information at the markets and reporting the information to the higher levels of pochteca.
Ahtlatl : perhaps lit. This weapon was considered by the Aztecs to be suited only for royalty and the most elite warriors in the army, and was usually depicted as being the weapon of the Gods.
Murals at Teotihuacan show warriors using this effective weapon and it is characteristic of the Mesoamerican cultures of central Mexico.
Warriors at the front lines of the army would carry the ahtlatl and about three to five tlacochtli, and would launch them after the waves of arrows and sling projectiles as they advanced into battle before engaging into melee combat.
The ahtlatl could also throw spears as its name implies "spear thrower". Tlacochtli : The "darts" launched from an Atlatl, not so much darts but more like big arrows about 5.
Tipped with obsidian, fish bones, or copper heads. Archers in the Aztec army were designated as Tequihua.
Typically fletched with turkey or duck feathers. The Aztecs used oval shaped rocks or hand molded clay balls filled with obsidian flakes or pebbles as projectiles for this weapon.
Bernal Diaz del Castillo noted that the hail of stones flung by Aztec slingers was so furious that even well armored Spanish soldiers were wounded.
Tlacalhuazcuahuitl : A blowgun consisting of a hollow reed using poisoned darts for ammunition. The darts used for this weapon were made out of sharpened wood fletched with cotton and usually doused in the neurotoxic secretions from the skin of tree frogs found in jungle areas of central Mexico.
This was used primarily for hunting rather than warfare. Essentially a wooden sword with sharp obsidian blades embedded into its sides similar in appearance and build to a modern cricket bat.
This was the standard armament of the elite cadres. Also known in Spanish by the Taino word " macana ". A blow from such a weapon was reputedly capable of decapitating a horse.
Cuahuitl : Lit. Wood A baton made out of hardwood more than likely oak , reminiscent of the agave plant's leaves in its shape.
Basically an axe, comparable to a tomahawk , the head of which was made out of either stone, copper or bronze and had a two side design, one side had a sharp bladed edge while the other one a blunt protrusion.
Huitzauhqui: This weapon was meant to represent the Aztec God Huitzilopochtli. A wooden club, somewhat resembling a baseball bat.
This weapon was used for melee attacks just as it was made, but other designs were studded with flint or obsidian cutting elements on its sides. Tecpatl : This weapon was meant to represent the Aztec God Xiuhtecuhtli.
Although this would have been an effective side arm, this weapon was more commonly used in Aztec sacrifice ceremonies which may point to it being wielded mostly by Aztec warrior priests.
One or two fingers thick, this material was resistant to obsidian swords and atlatl darts. Tlahuiztli : The distinctively decorated suits of prestigious warriors and members of warrior societies.
These suits served as a way to identify warriors according to their achievements in battle as well as rank, alliance, and social status like priesthood or nobility.
Otomies were another type of Aztec warriors who were notable for their fierce fighting abilities. It has been theorised that Otomies probably referred to such warriors who hailed from the regions allied to the Aztecs and were not directly a part of the Aztec society.
The Aztec Empire heavily relied on warfare to bring more domains under its control and to expand its power.
For this purpose, various ranks and titles for Aztec warriors existed. These were usually meant to recognise the bravery of the warrior and their tact on the battlefield.
Among the most eminent Aztec warrior units were the Eagle and Jaguar warriors. Eagle and jaguar knights traveled with the pochteca, protecting them, and guarded their city.
While these two ranks were equal, the Eagle knights worshipped Huitzilopochtli, the war god and the Jaguars worshipped Tezcatlipocha. The two highest military societies were the Otomies and the Shorn Ones.
Otomies took their name from fierce tribe of fighters. The Shorn Ones was the most prestigious rank.