General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Sep 2017/11 Vulture
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Professor Elizabeth Graham

Question for July 2011

Did people get paid for cleaning the city? Asked by Runcton Holme CE Primary School. Chosen and answered by Professor Elizabeth Graham.

Aztec men and women engaged in (ritual) sweeping: Codex Mendoza (L) and Codex Telleriano-Remensis (R)
Aztec men and women engaged in (ritual) sweeping: Codex Mendoza (L) and Codex Telleriano-Remensis (R) (Click on image to enlarge)

We don’t know. There was no ‘money’ per se although there were things that functioned sometimes as money, such as cacao (chocolate beans) or copper bells. But street cleaners were not likely to be paid in these items. Commoners who had jobs that occupied them for only part of the time may have served as cleaners as a form of ‘tax’. Just as we have to pay taxes every year, some people would perform certain jobs as their ‘tax’.

‘Clean Aztecs, Dirty Spaniards’

Professor Elizabeth Graham has answered 7 questions altogether:

What if an Aztec warrior died or was killed in battle (rather than being taken/taking captive)?

Did the Aztecs force you to be who you are?

Did people get paid for cleaning the city?

Did the Aztecs ever meet the Incas?

Why did the gods destroy the four [previous] worlds if they made them in the first place?

When women went to the market with babies on their backs, did other women ever try to steal them?

What’s the most interesting fact you’ve come across about the Aztecs? (2)

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