General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 1 Mar 2021/6 Grass
Text Size:

Ancient Mexican seashells pendant

Click to see the latest Artefact in the Spotlight!

link of the month button
Enjoy great CGI images of Tenochtitlan:
Link to page of interest to teachers
Click to find out how we can help you!

Professor Patrick Johansson

Which was the most common superstition in Aztec times? asked Sheringdale Primary School. Read what Professor Patrick Johansson had to say.

Search the Site (type in white box):

Aztecs for Schools TV picture

Series on Aztecs nominated for a Children’s TV BAFTA award

In February and March 2004 the BBC broadcast an impressive new series of programmes on the Aztecs, recently filmed on location in Mexico. They have been re-broadcast several times since and are still available for purchase as a Teaching Pack... (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

If the amazing longevity of the forerunner of this series (‘Landmarks’) is anything to go by (produced in 1992 it’s still being used in primary schools throughout the country ...), this refreshingly new series (which we’ve previewed) will enjoy a deservedly long shelf life.

Key Stage 2 - Primary History - The Aztecs

BBC Aztecs Primary History DVD Plus pack
BBC Aztecs Primary History DVD Plus pack

(1) In search of the Aztecs Presenter Jayne Constantinis visits present-day Mexico City to find evidence of the great Aztec Empire that flourished in that part of Central America less than 500 years ago. The remains of Aztec temples under the centre of Mexico City, and some of the amazing objects found there, are the starting point for an enquiry into Aztec beliefs, ritual, and everyday life. The programme covers:-

• Archaeological evidence of the Aztecs
• Where the Aztecs came from
• How people lived in Aztec times
• Aztec warriors
• Aztecs priests, gods and rituals.

(2) The end of the Aztec Empire Jayne Constantinis tells the story of the Spanish Conquistador, Hernán Cortés, who sailed from Europe to what is now Mexico, and, in 1521, overturned the great Aztec Empire. It also looks at what happened afterwards, explaining why present day Mexico is now a Spanish-speaking, Catholic country. The programme covers:-

• The arrival of the Spanish
• The Spanish enter the Aztec capital
• The Spanish retreat in disarray
• The Spanish return and defeat the Aztecs
• What happened to the Aztecs after the conquest.

Order the ‘repackaged’ DVD from BBCActive/Pearson Educational
Feedback button

Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: We’ve answered 5A’s excellent question in our ‘Ask Us’ section (‘The monkey’s earring’). 5H’s question is also a good one, but it’s a very difficult one to answer: the key to this is to remember that the ritual ballgame is over 3,500 years old and was played all over ancient Mesoamerica; this means that the rules changed constantly from region to region, people to people, and era to era. Some sources suggest winners were sacrificed, some point to losers being sacrificed, and some indicate that no-one was sacrificed. Where sacrifice was involved it was often a team captain rather than the entire team. Generally, human sacrifice WAS associated with the ballgame, because it was believed to be a great honour to be sacrificed to the gods (who had first played the ballgame, according to ancient myth).
Mexicolore replies: No. The gods deserved ‘the best’, and thus were only offered the hearts of (generally strong, young, vigorous) warriors, normally those captured in battles with neighbouring tribes. Warriors who died in human sacrifice or in battle went to join the Sun God in one of the highest ‘heavens’. Those who died natural deaths generally went ‘down’ to the final resting place in the underworld called Mictlan.
Mexicolore replies: Thanks for your questions! Put simply, priests were not sacrificed (as far as we know) but children were - however this was only once a year (still unacceptable in our eyes!) and only if a child had been born on one of the last 5 days in the solar/farming year. The Aztecs believed that there were 360 ‘normal’ days in each year, leaving 5 that simply didn’t ‘fit in’ (a bit like the ancient Egyptians’ beliefs). These last 5 ‘useless’ days, called ‘nemontemi’ in the Aztec language, were disastrous days to be born on, and any child born on one of these days would be sacrificed to Tlaloc (the rain god) by being drowned in Lake Texcoco. VERY sad...
Mexicolore replies: That we don’t know, sadly. There’s nothing on their website to suggest that it is, I’m afraid...
Mexicolore replies: The BBC Aztecs DVD Plus Pack is available still from the BBC Shop - follow the link shown and just type in ‘Aztecs’ into the Search facility...