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Chapter 4, “The Merchant,” focuses on the long-distant professional merchants (pochteca) stationed in the Basin of Mexico cities. The chapter examines their goals and attitudes, details their lives on the road and in their home cities, traces their life cycles, and delves into their most pressing problems and the solutions they devised for them.
Chapter 8, “Market Day in Tlatelolco,” takes the reader to the grandest marketplace in the Aztec realm, the market at Tlatelolco. It surveys buyers and sellers and their wares, means of buying and selling, and the use of various types of money, including cacao beans and cotton cloaks.
Chapter 7, “A Child Is Born,” follows a pregnant woman through the birth and naming of her child with the knowledgeable help and intense involvement of a midwife. It continues with a view of childhood by looking at the education, expectations, and punishments of children.
Chapter 10, “A Battle Far Afield,” follows two warriors to a far corner of the Aztec domain as they prepare for, participate in, and return from a ferocious battle with an enemy city-state. The chapter looks at warfare as a way of life, the goals and provocations of the many Aztec wars, the aftermath of these conflicts, and their effects on the warriors and their families.
Chapter 3, “The Featherworker,” explores the lives of these luxury artisans and their families, living as either independent artisans or attached palace artisans in a Basin of Mexico metropolis. This chapter delves into the daily rounds in featherworking household workshops, the obligations and activities of these artisans beyond their households, their life cycles, their most troublesome problems, and their means of solving those problems.
Chapter 5, “The Farmer,” looks at life in a rural village, focusing on farmers and their families. The chapter examines a farming family’s daily round and the life cycles of males and females; it takes these families in and out of trouble, taking into account the different types of farming in the Aztec domain.
Chapter 6, “The Slave,” delves into the lives of the different types of slaves in Aztec society and their relationships with their owners. It looks at their daily rounds and life cycles, emphasizing essentials such as food preparation and cloth production. It furthermore takes stock of the ultimate good and ill fortunes of slaves in this society.
Chapter 2, “The Priest,” places the Aztec priesthood in the context of the Aztec religious hierarchy, temples and other priestly structures, and ceremonial activities. Focusing on priestly activities in the city-state of Texcoco, it looks at the priests’ daily activities and life cycles, and takes them in and out of trouble by discussing their major problems and attendant solutions.
Chapter 9, “Judgment Day,” treats of crimes and punishments in Aztec society as they pertained to people of different social stations and stages of life. It logically moves into processes of adjudication with courts and judges, examines two actual cases, and considers the role of palaces in the formal legal system.