The Aztecs And The Incas Through Spanish Eyes Essay Sample
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What do Moctezuma’s laws tell us about the social and moral values of the Aztec?
According to the laws decreed by Moctezuma I, the Aztecs are brought out as those who favored their leaders in the sense that only the king, the 12 supreme lords and the minor lords are to wear the finest of mantles. Not forgetting that, only the King and his prime minister are allowed to wear sandals. In addition, the Aztecs are vividly pictured as those who value morality since the punishments regarding adultery and thievery are quite severe.
Based on these two excerpts, how would you describe Aztec society? What distinct social groups or classes can you identify? How are they distinguished from one another? What opportunities for social mobility were available? How might people into slavery?
The Aztec society was more or less a feudal society due to the hierarchical arrangement of the authority ranging from the king (Supreme leader), to the 12 lords, then the minor lords, soldiers, and the commoners. With regards to the excerpts, there are three distinct classes namely lower, middle and upper classes. The lower class is made of the commoners and soldiers, and they are mainly the poor individuals in the society. The middle class comprises of the minor lords and the soldiers of higher ranks whereas the upper class is mainly the supreme lords of the land, the king and the royal family. Social mobility was possible through soldiery where one would have glorious feats in battle, priesthood where one would be a priest and preside over important ceremonies or becoming a merchant and gain wealth. One can become a slave in several ways like through theft and being sold for the amount you stole, a native can gamble all his wealth away through dice or any game, in a family with many children the father might sell that son or daughter who disregards the instructions (disobedient and incorrigible) as permitted by the law, one might borrow materials and fail to return them on the agreed-upon date, and finally, a man and woman might sell each other or their child in times of famine.
What impressed Duràn about the markets operating within the Aztec Empire?
Duràn was impressed by the markets because of the fact that the markets were the greatest fairs of all where everyone attended, and even offered sacrifices, and most of all respected it by not selling items outside the market walls.
How was human sacrifice related to war, to market activity, to slavery, and to religious belief and practice?
Human sacrifice was indeed important to the wars because of the belief that it was a blessing to them and avoidance of misfortunes. The markets on the other hand, people feared misfortunes befalling them and so they offered sacrifices for the same and attended the fairs in the market as well as avoiding to sell items beyond the limits of the market walls. The slaves caught during the wars were the main sources of the human sacrifices and so, the latter was indeed the fuel for the capture of slaves. The sacrifices were the backbone of their religion which was focused on their god Huitzilopochtli.
Duràn’s accounts of Aztec life and history were written in more than fifty years after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. To what extent do you think this compromises his effort to describe the preconquest Aztec society?
This hinders Duràn’s efforts a great deal. Considering the Aztecs considered the Spanish to be enemies, they would not talk to Duràn easily. Moreover, memory is indeed an unreliable source of information and so the credibility of Duràn’s data is indeed questionable.
How would you describe Cieza’s posture toward the Inca Empire? What in particular did he seem to appreciate about it?
Cieza de Leone incline on the Inca was on their conquering activities and increasing their empire. In other words, the way the Inca entered in lands without war and the way they handled those lands that responded with war. However, what Cieza was impressed about was indeed the way the rulers knew how to conquer the lands.
Based on this account, what difficulties did the Inca rulers face in governing their large and diverse realm?
The Inca rulers enforced several rules with regards to the incorporations of the lands they had conquered into their system. However, they had difficulties in the sense that they could not control several fights between the neighboring chiefdoms. Moreover, with regards to the languages, some of the conquered lands did not speak the appointed language and retained their native language.
What policies or practices did the Inca authorities follow in seeking to integrate their empire? How do these compare with other empires that you have studied?
For one, the Inca enforced the conquered to confer to speaking and understand the language of Cuzco even though they were allowed to use their own native languages. Secondly, the natives were indulged into the worship of the sun as their god even though they were also allowed to worship their other gods. Finally, they were to pay tribute to the head of the provinces. They differ with the Aztecs greatly because the latter did not retain the native leaders but rather took them as slaves and offered them as human sacrifices.
Some modern observers have described the Inca Empire as “totalitarian” or “socialist.” Do such terms seem appropriate? How else might you describe the Inca state?
The Inca state are indeed “socialists” because of their indulgence with the empires they conquer. They incorporate them into their rule and give them their freedom to them and requested not to be enemies with their king. On the other hand, “totalitarian” can be used to describe them in the sense that they required the defeated countries to obey their rules and ordinances. I would describe the Inca nation as “just” in the sense that they were bent on ensuring that the laws were followed. For instance, when the ruler travelled around, he punished the wrong doers. In addition, they ensured that justice was meted for everyone and in so doing, appointed an individual whose duty was to ensure that justice was implemented.
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