The Aztecs (1325-1519)
Standards: 7.7.4
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Aztec Achievements

Key Terms and People

causeway: a raised road across a body of water

shrine: a place of worship that is dedicated to a sacred object or person

fine art: works that are created mainly to be admired

orator: public speaker


Section Notes

Art and Architecture

  • the Aztecs were accomplished artists and architects. They made beautiful objects from gold feathers and other natural materials. They also designed and built an extraordinary capital city. The island city included avenues, canals, long causeways, aqueducts, and dikes. The central plaza was surrounded by a large wall. Dozens of pyramids, temples and other buildings were scattered around the plaza. The largest structure in the plaza was the Templo Mayor. Markets were spread out around the plaza. Every type of product was available in the market, from food and medicine to live animals and building materials. Basic craft goods were available in the market. Finer goods were sold directly to the noble class such as jewelry, mosaics, feather work, and stone sculptures.

Language and Literature

  • the Aztecs were skilled orators. Orators performed at both public and private gatherings. They told stories about the past and legends of the gods. Poetry was the most popular form of Aztec literature. Do most famous of Royal poets was Nezahualcoyotl. Poets focused on life and death and the beauty of nature. Aztec poets were important members of society.


Summary: the Aztecs were talented architects and artists. They valued words and language and excelled as public speakers and poets.

Study Guide Questions

How were Aztec accomplishments in art and architecture evident in Tenochtitlan?

How did the Aztecs expressed their love of language?

What was at the heart of Tenochtitlan?

Why was the center of Tenochtitlan a sacred place for the Aztecs?

What was the main literature of the Aztecs?

Why do you think death was a common theme of Aztec poetry?

Practice Test

Homework: Choose one
  1. Workbook Chapter 9, section 3 (Page 113)
  2. Answer three of the study guide questions using complete sentences.
  3. Draw a picture of something important from this section and summarize this section of the text (three sentences minimum).