Welcome to The Aztec Vault


Gran Tenochtitlan en 1519 by Luis Covarribius, currently on display in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico.

The Aztec Vault is a website dedicated to the study of the Aztec Empire. Most content on this website will address warfare, society, and history in the Aztec world although I will occasionally discuss other topics.

I will do my best to provide citations for images and specific pieces of information, but as of right now, the content on this website will remain somewhat informal.

The fantastic artwork in the image gallery to the right is from a series of royalty free illustrations by Dorling Kindersley and purchased from Thinkstock. Additional images are taken from various Codices including the Codex Mendoza, Lienzo de Tlaxcala, the Florentine Codex, and the Codex Borbonicus.

Aztec Household

Cross-section of lakeside Aztec home. Domestic tasks such as cleaning, food preparation, and weaving were generally done by women, while men were expected to earn a living for their families through work and, in some cases, war. The commoner (macehualtin) houses of Lake Texcoco like the one depicted in this image were relatively simple with few to no windows, a thatched roof, adobe walls, and a relatively small plot of artificial or natural land. The residents of these households often tended nearby artificial plots of agricultural land called chinampas, but in many cases the men of the household were engaged in other tasks part-time like fishing and hunting.

Historical documents and large-scale archaeological projects in the region tend to reveal a great deal about the operations of elite citizens, but oftentimes this overshadows the lives of the common people, who made up the vast majority of the society. The work of Michael E. Smith and other Aztec archaeologists in sites like Cuexcomate, Yaotepec, and Capilco has revealed more about the daily lives of the common folk, including the abundance of pottery, obsidian tools and objects, bronze axes, tweezers, and needles that were apparently imported from Michoacan (West-Central Mexico), and many other fascinating aspects of the time period.

See here:


Video depicting a battle between 2600 Aztec soldiers and 1300 Spanish conquistadors. This is from the video game Medieval 2: Total War Americas, which allows players to create their own battles fought between a number of different militaries, including the Aztecs, Mayans, Chichimecs, Tarascans, Spanish, English, Apache, etc.

The Spanish conquistadors utilized dragoon horsemen, cannons, arquebusiers, heavy infantry, pikemen, and heavy and light cavalry in this battle. The Spanish hold a significant technological advantage over the Aztec army, allowing them to operate more dynamically on the battlefield and utilize more complex battle tactics. Their cannons and guns are extremely effective in battle and the conquistador pikemen can hold a strong front line if they are utilized correctly. Despite this, this Aztec army has a fair chance in battle, as it is significantly larger than the Spanish force and is manned by well trained, zealous, veteran soldiers. The Aztec army is composed of elite warriors with broadswords and battle shields, a large contingent of archers, a company of atlatlists, and several units of spearmen who are stationed on the flanks to ward off Spanish cavalry.


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