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6 - Resilience

Part One: Aztec Intellectual Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2024

Susan Kellogg
Affiliation:
University of Houston
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Summary

Aztecs were brilliant scientists, writers, and artists. Medicine is an example of their scientific activities. They developed ideas about the causes of illness, practical and supernatural. Priests and priestesses were involved in curing, but Aztecs had an array of healers. The most commonly used term by Aztecs for a doctor – someone with specific and practical knowledge about healing – was “ticitl,” female and male. That Aztecs wrote is not widely recognized. They used writing to name people, titles, places, and deities. Not merely pictography, their writing is complex and developed from the late prehispanic period into the colonial period. Their books recorded calendars, history, tribute payments, and succession to rulerships. They also created a rich oral literature, often expressed through songs. Many were ancient, others composed in the early colonial period. Those that became written in alphabetized Nahuatl dealt with deities, temples, flowers, lords, war, sexuality, even conquest and Christian worship. Also great artists, they were influenced by the art of earlier peoples and the Mixteca-Puebla style and worked in several media: architecture; monumental and small-scale stone sculptures; books; precious stones and gold work; textiles; dough sculptures; and paper. This art expressed an official ideology as well as resistance to it.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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  • Resilience
  • Susan Kellogg, University of Houston
  • Book: A Concise History of the Aztecs
  • Online publication: 08 February 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108614542.008
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  • Resilience
  • Susan Kellogg, University of Houston
  • Book: A Concise History of the Aztecs
  • Online publication: 08 February 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108614542.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Resilience
  • Susan Kellogg, University of Houston
  • Book: A Concise History of the Aztecs
  • Online publication: 08 February 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108614542.008
Available formats
×