Topic 2: Aztec Empire

Required Reading:

Kevin Reilly, The Human Journey, Chapter 6

Website: The Aztec Empire – http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-empire.html

Website: Ancient Aztec Government – http://www.aztec-history.com/ancient-aztec-government.html

Website: Aztec Culture – http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-culture.html

Website: Aztec Social Classes – http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/you-contribute/aztec-social-classes

Website: The Fall of the Aztec Empire – http://www.aztec-history.com/fall-of-the-aztec-empire.html

Primary Sources:

Website: The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo, excerpts – http://faculty.tnstate.edu/tcorse/h1220revised/memoirs_of_the_bdiaz.html

Website: Hernan Cortés: from Second Letter to Charles V, 1520 – http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1520cortes.asp

Website: Moctezuma’s Greeting to Hernan Cortes (from Cortés’ letter to the King of Spain) –http://web.archive.org/web/20000301012519/http://www.humanities.ccny.cuny.edu/history/reader/cortez.htm

Website: Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico – https://www.csus.edu/indiv/o/obriene/art111/readings/AztecAccountOfTheConquestOfMexico.htm 

Discussion Prompts:

After reading Chapter 6 and the material at the websites, and viewing the videos, please make a 250-word initial post that answers the following questions about the primary sources:

Many of the accounts of the Aztecs that we have were not written by them. They were written by the Spanish who conquered the Aztec empire (including Moctezuma’s greeting to Cortés). What do the Spanish (Cortés and Díaz) find noteworthy about the Aztecs and their empire? How might their background and social position have influenced what they saw and described? Did they see everything they described, or were things described to them by others? Did they think the culture that they were writing about was lesser than their own or equal to it? How does the Aztec explanation of the Spanish conquest of Mexico reinforce yet differ from the Spaniards’ versions? What do you think explains those differences?

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