Overall Story Throughline In this Puritanical time, there is a definite fixed attitude of the ruling theocracy:
History[ edit ] The status of Aztec women changed throughout the history of the civilization. As emphasis on warfare increased, notions of egalitarianism became less important.
Aztecs married at a later age, during their late teens and early twenties, whereas in Mayan culture it was not unusual for marriages to be arranged by parents for a son and daughter who were still children. Aztec marriages were initiated by the parents of the potential groom.
After consulting with the extended kinship group, the parents would approach a professional matchmaker ah atanzahMarriage through the crucible would approach the potential bride's family.
The parents of the young woman would advise the matchmaker whether or not they accepted the proposal. Brides were expected to be virgins before marriage, although young people of both sex were advised to be celibate.
The bride would wear fine robes. Her kinswomen would decorate her arms and legs with red feathers, and paint her face with a paste containing small shimmering crystals.
The ceremony would take place at the house of the groom's parents. A fire would be lit in the hearth, and incense would be burned as an offering to the gods. The groom's parents would give presents robes and mantles to the bride's parents. The ritual for finalizing the marriage involved the matchmaker tying the groom's cape to the bride's skirt, and then the groom's mother would give the bride and groom each four mouthfuls of tamales.
Four days of feasting followed the ceremony. For the purpose of political, military or economic alliances marriages among Aztec nobles were arranged. For example, when Cosijoeza married Ahuitzotl 's daughter to seal the alliance between the Aztecs and the Zapotecs in However, polygamy was only a practice among the nobles of Aztec civilization; the majority of the population were  monogamous.
Pregnancy and childbirth[ edit ] Pregnant women in Aztec society had to observe a number of taboos. One was that she could not view an eclipse, or her fetus may transform into a monster. Eclipses were also associated with miscarriages.
Frightening sights, lifting heavy objects, and excessively hot sweat baths were also associated with damaging the fetus. The midwife would lead prayers during the woman's labour to the goddess of childbirth, Tlazolteotl.
A sedative drink made of herbs and grasses would be prepared by the midwife and given to the woman in labour, and a warm stone would also be laid on the pregnant woman's belly to ease her pain.
When a son reached adulthood, he would carry his to a distant battlefield and bury it, whereas a daughter buried hers next to the family's hearth.
They used a handheld drop spindle, then wove cloth using a loom that they strapped to their backs and held in their laps. They were responsible for tending turkeys and dogs that were raised for meat.
Extra cloth, vegetables or other items were taken by women to the nearest market to be sold or bartered for a needed item. Dried maize was soaked in lime water, a process known as nixtamalizationand the nixtamalized grains ground. As part of Aztec etiquette, men ate before women. There were regional textile specialties, with associated graphic designs.
Most designs were geometric, with some regions specializing in textiles with animal and plant images. Cotton was generally used, and dyes came from blue clays, yellow ochres, and red came from insects living in nopal cacti.
Purple was derived from the sea snail Purpura patulasimilar to how the Phoenicians also derived purple dye used for royal robes from snails. This meant that women were denied access to one of the largest sources of wealth and prestige within Aztec society.
Women and Aztec religion and mythology[ edit ] Fertility was considered to be part of the realm of the Aztec earth goddesses, particularly the mother goddess Tonantzin. Rain and earth goddesses were considered responsible for droughts when they were not properly appeased.
Spanish rule[ edit ] Illustration of an Aztec woman blowing on maize corn before putting it into the cooking pot, so that it will not fear the fire. From the late 16th-century Florentine Codex The Spanish conquest of Aztec territories decreased much of the indigenous population, through warfare and by bringing new diseases, such as smallpox, for which the Aztecs had no immunities.
The population that did survive these threats was confronted by other profound attacks upon their culture in the form of Spanish institutions such as the Roman Catholic religion. As early asthe Spanish began coercively converting Aztecs to Catholicism.
They focused on the Aztec nobility initially, to create an example for the other Aztecs to follow. Nobles such as Quetzalmacatzin, King of Amaquemecan Chalcowere forced to choose one wife and abandon the others, to comply with the current Christian institution of marriage, which meant monogamy.
Aztec polygamous arrangements, with secondary wives and children, were not legally recognized by the Spanish, who considered such women and children illegitimate and disinherited from claims to ranks or property.Schnarch has completed a Herculean task of exploring in depth the role of intimacy and sexuality (and spirituality).
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