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Old May 21st, 2011, 04:38 PM   #1

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Aztec Warrior societies.


Being a highly militarized state, warrior societies played an important part in the social structure, as a way of achieving status and improving ones place in the social order. All male children, beginning at age 15, were given organized military training. Commoners received their training at the Telpochcalli school. Youths who did well there were taken on campaigns by veterans as shield bearers and other tasks. At the age of 20, successful young warriors were taken into the ranks of the infantry as warriors and were sponsored by older veterans.
Young Nobles received more advanced training at the Calmecac school. They began their training from the ages 6-13. They were also trained in intellectual pursuits and Priests also trained there. The sons of Kings entered at the age of 5.
Like commoners, training ended at age 20. They had the advantages of better equipment and weapons as well as continued cultivation from Elite veterans.
For a commoner to advance in rank and status, he was required to perform acts of valor and capture prisoners for sacrifice. Enough of these and he could be allowed into one of the warrior societies. A commoner who captured enough foes and exhibited the valor to be admitted were called, Cuaupipiltin. 'roots remembered'. Now nobles, they were ranked below Nobles by birth. This was a relatively uncommon occurrence however, as the training and weaponry of the Nobility were far better and ensured better results in battle.

Admission for commoners to the order of the Eagle or Jaguar, the two largest of the orders, required the taking of 4 or 5 captives, depending on the status of the captive. Nobles could be admitted as soon as training in the Calmecac was finished.
Warriors of the eagle society wore a feathered helmet with an open eagle beak. The Jaguars wore a full suit made of jaguar skins, and their faces protruded from the open Jaguar mouth. Members of these orders were exempt from taxation and paying tribute. They attended War Councils, were allowed concubines and participated in cannibalistic feasting.
The Otontin were an Elite order that required the taking of 5 or 6 captives to gain admission. This was a fierce group that was battle hardened and was often used as shock troops.
The highest order of all were the Cuahchicqueh, 'the shorn ones'. They presented shaved heads with only a short braid wrapped in red ribbon that hung above the left ear. They painted half of their head blue and the other red or yellow. They were the elite of the warrior castes and pledged to never retreat in battle until victory or death. It was from this society that the highest ranking commanders were chosen. To gain admittance to the order one had to take many captives and perform more than twenty acts of valor. These were the Elite of Aztec society.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 04:40 PM   #2

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Excellent post, unclefred. The Mexican warrior's tradition is a fascinating topic, and you present a great outline here.

Wasn't there also a regiment of Mayan mercenaries called the Holkan?
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Old May 21st, 2011, 04:57 PM   #3

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Thanks, Salah. I'm not sure about the Holkan, I know that had a cult devoted to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent known as Quetzalcoatl to the Toltec. I googled holkan and got this gamer page:http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Holkan_(Civ4)
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 12:43 AM   #4

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Very interesting post, thanks man
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:16 AM   #5

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With the Cuahchicqueh a soem sources state they are a non noble elite, for commoners who couldn't join the Eagle or Jaguar ranks. The Ontontin may have been a society or a reference to mercenaries hired from another tribe.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 04:59 AM   #6
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Anything about cannibalism in your sources?
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:40 AM   #7
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Quite informative, thanks. Tell me, what's the difference between the Jaguar and Eagle warriors?
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:50 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve53 View Post
Anything about cannibalism in your sources?
This is a nice link concerning the sacrificial rituals and touches on cannibalistic elements- http://indiglit.wordpress.com/2011/0...can-sacrifice/
My sources are Ross Hassig: Aztec Warfare, 1988
Manuel Moreno: Handbook to Life in the Aztec World
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:56 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
With the Cuahchicqueh a soem sources state they are a non noble elite, for commoners who couldn't join the Eagle or Jaguar ranks. The Ontontin may have been a society or a reference to mercenaries hired from another tribe.
Those ideas are certainly minority views, today. It is thought the Ontonin had origins with the other tribe but had been co-opted and perhaps named in honor of the foreign group.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 08:02 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qymaen View Post
Quite informative, thanks. Tell me, what's the difference between the Jaguar and Eagle warriors?
it's thought that there were no substantial differences other than attire. They are sometimes referred as eagle-jaguar warriors. Here's more from the web:
"Eagle and Jaguar Warriors


As anthropologist Ross Hassig has pointed out, seasoned warriors also belonged to the military orders customarily referred to as eagles (cuacuauhtin) and jaguars (ocelomeh). Theoretically there was no difference between these two groups, and they were therefore sometimes called the cuauhtlocelotl (eagle-jaguar warriors). These variant terms probably signified differences in the attire of the individual warriors rather than internal distinctions drawn by the orders themselves. Those admitted to either order had to be tequihuaqueh, but they could have been students from either the calmecac or the telpochcali.
Although these orders where composed largely of nobility, this was not the only qualification. Military ability was greatly commended, and a warrior could join the order if they had captured more than four enemies. Thus, commoners were admitted if they could achieve elevation to the cuauhpipiltin (noble eagle warrior) rank. However, hereditary nobles always had the advantage because of the superior training they received as youths, the social rank of their fathers, and their connection to superior veteran warriors.
The emperor granted a variety of rights to the warriors who advanced to the eagle and jaguar orders because of ability and achievement. These privileges included the right to wear otherwise proscribed jewelry and daily military attire, to dress in cotton and wear sandals in the royal palace, to eat human flesh and drink octli (pulque) in public, to keep concubines, and to dine in the Royal Palaces. Yet there remained a distinction between the distinguished commoners who became cuacuauhtin and ocelomeh and the meritocratic hereditary nobles, who received greater privileges. For example, the nobleman's full-body war suit (tlahuiztli) was made of animal skins, unlike the feathered one worn by the commoners. Regardless of this distinction, the commoners who became cuauhpipiltin were still assured that their male offspring were eligible for noble treatment, which included warrior training in the calmecac. "









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