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An introduction to the Aztec warriors

The Aztec warriors were drawn from the whole male population, and their aim was to dominate the neighbouring tribes, and to capture enemies for human sacrifice. They were heavily armed with spears, swords, knives, clubs and firestones for throwing. You could rise in the ranks of the warriors by capturing four enemies. Aztec warriors were tattooed. This article details out information about the Aztec warriors.

Aztec culture

The religious dimension The Aztec religion believed that the sun had to be fed daily with a human sacrifice, otherwise the world would end, and that it was the job of the Aztecs to supply the sacrifices, which they took from the neighbouring tribes. Victims would have their hearts cut out on the altar of the sun. The Aztecs used their warrior's force to develop an empire among the Mexican tribes. Aztec warfare All the Aztec males became warriors at seventeen. They all received military training, but those from noble families received extra training from the Aztec priests in religious teachings and the arts of ruling.The aim of the Aztec warrior was to capture enemies for sacrifice, so as far as possible their weapons would stun or incapacitate. Weapons Aztec warriors were armed with a range of weapons. There were short stabbing javelins and wooden spears, though javelins could be thrown. Knives were made from obsidian, a volcanic glass related to basalt. Being a glass, obsidian is very sharp. Clubs were popular, as they could stun. They also used firestones which could be thrown at the enemy. Shields fringed with eagles' feathers were part of the equipment.

The warrior life

While there was an Aztec nobility which dominated the army, a non-noble warrior could rise in the ranks by capturing four enemies. This could enable him to join certain elite ranks. Jaguar warriors would cover themselves completely with jaguar skins, their faces only shown through the mouth. Moreover, an Aztec eagle warrior would wear a headdress of eagles' feathers, with his face showing only through the beak. A warrior could be promoted to the nobility if he was skilled enough in a battle, though this was rare. It was more likely that a warrior could be selected to join one or two military "orders." These were the Otontin and the Cuachicqueh. These two groups had a rule that none of their members could retreat from a battle. Tattoos There were Aztec warrior tattoos. Tattoos, which were done in rituals, were intended to denote a warrior's rank and the particular tribe to which he belonged. This meant that he could be identified in a battle. All Aztec tattoos were done in honour of one deity or another.

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