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Aztecs

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The Aztecs were a group of

indigenous people who established an extensive empire in Mexico and parts of Central America.

They were part of the Nahua ethnic group which was predominant within the

region. The Aztecs are characterized not only by their vast empire,

comparable to those in Europe but also by their technological advancements

and spiritual traditions and rituals (Leon-Portilla, xvii). Two theoretical

concepts that will be used to analyze this society are the cognized versus

operation models and the coproduction model. The Aztecs’ strong cosmic and

mythological beliefs not only had metaphysical effects but also produced

physical, ecological ones as well. This represents the difference between

the cognized and operational models. Coproduction can be seen through the

fundamental reasons behind the evolution of agriculture as a subsistence

activity within the community. The Aztecs built their empire in area known

as “Mesoamerica”, which is the territory shared between Mexico and Central

America (Aguilar-Moreno, 2). Several different environments exist within

this area, including dry deserts and more arid jungles. Four main

indigenous groups existed in Mesoamerica, with the Aztecs being the last

ones to do so. The others were the Olmec, the Teotihuacanos and the Toltec.

While they existed throughout different periods in time, they shared

similar beliefs. The name Aztec means “People of Aztlan”. Azlatan is

believed to be a symbolic, mythological island where all the four main

societies derived from (Aguilar-Moreno, 29). The Aztecs arrived and built

their empire within the Valley of Mexico, having known that other

indigenous groups had previously lived there. Their main forms of

sustenance came primarily...

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...basis and environmental truth. This

holds true when examining the coproduction between environment and culture

in regards to agriculture. Both play important roles in determining the

Aztec’s choice of geographical location as well as their different systems

implemented in response to changing social factors, especially population

density. However, their spiritual beliefs, though still

environmentally-minded, do not provide us with the same conclusion. Their

sacrificial rituals and practices demonstrate notable differences when

observed through cognized and operational models. So even though their

agricultural advancements may show accurate environmental beliefs, their

spiritual practices fail to accomplish this. Perhaps their cosmology and

mythology only served as a tool to garner appreciation for the natural

world and life much like religion does today.