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They became full-time warriors and commanders in the army. Great physical strength, battlefield bravery and captured enemy soldiers were necessary to obtain this rank.
Commoners who reached the vaunted Eagle or Jaguar rank were awarded the rank of noble along with certain privileges: they were given land, could drink alcohol pulque , wear expensive jewelry denied to commoners, were asked to dine at the palace and could keep concubines.
They also wore their hair tied with a red cord with green and blue feathers. Eagle and jaguar knights traveled with the pochteca, protecting them, and guarded their city.
While these two ranks were equal, the Eagle knights worshipped Huitzilopochtli, the war god and the Jaguars worshipped Tezcatlipocha. The two highest military societies were the Otomies and the Shorn Ones.
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Shorn Ones were another unit of Aztec warriors who had their heads shaved and carried a long braid at the back of their head. They were reputed for never stepping back in the battlefield.
Reaching the rank of the Shorn Ones usually required capturing six or more warriors. The Shorn Ones usually refused to receive any titles of seniority and remained combatants so that they could continue to wage war on the battlefield.
Tlamanih was another type of Aztec warrior. Cuextacatl was a title for such Aztec warriors who successfully captured at least two captives.
They were identified by their conical hats. Papalotl was a title accorded to such Aztec warriors who captured three captives during battle.
Otomies were another type of Aztec warriors who were notable for their fierce fighting abilities. One half of this bald patch was painted with blue, while the other half was painted with red or yellow.
Now according to a few sources, the cuachicqueh had to take a remorseless oath of not moving backward in retreat during battles, on pain of death from their fellow soldiers.
Other officers beneath him were known to flaunt their ritzy attires in the form of unusually long wood poles pamitl with the feathers and banners fastened to their backs, much like the famed Winged Hussars of Poland.
As author John Pohl mentions in his book Aztec Warrior AD , Aztecs had the capacity to raise armies that possibly numbered in six figures by sheer virtue of their ability to amass both food and resources.
Such impressive logistical feats were achieved with the help of innovative land reclamation techniques, chinampa shallow lake bed agricultural advancements, and storage-based infrastructural facilities that acted as strategic supply depots for the marching armies.
In many ways, the large number of troops fielded by the Aztecs provided them with a tactical advantage in campaigns that went beyond obvious numerical superiority.
To that end, the Mexica army was often divided into units of 8, men known as the xiquipilli. Pertaining to these battlefield tactics, the Aztec war machine focused on the entrapment of their enemies, as opposed to choosing preferential areas for conducting their military actions.
Some of these signals were based on a relay-system composed of runners spaced at equal distances from the lines.
Other alerting mechanisms were based on smokes and even mirrors made of polished iron pyrites that aided in communication over long distances between the xiquipilli units.
And once the battle commenced, commanders had to keep an eye on the order of ornamental standards that synchronized with the blaring of conch shells and beats of drums.
These craft-producing establishments were known to manufacture exotic goods like intricate featherworks and luxury items like exquisite jewelry that sort-of flowed as currency between the princely classes of the various city-states.
To that end, the greater capacity and ability to craft such ritzy commodities mirrored the higher statuses extended to many of these royal houses — thus resulting in a competitive field encompassing a complex nexus of alliances, gift-sharing, trading, rivalries, and even military raids.
The Nahua-speaking Aztecs, on the other hand, sought to supplant this volatile economic system with the aid of their martial acumen.
In essence, by conquering and taking over or at least subduing many of the royal strongholds, the Aztec nobles forced their own commercial road-map on the aforementioned craft-producing workshops.
Consequently, as opposed to competing with the neighboring city-states, these establishments now produced opulent commodities for their Aztec overlords.
These goods, in turn, were circulated among the Aztec princes and warriors — as incentives in forms of gifts and currencies to raise their penchant for even more military campaigns and conquests.
So simply put, the conquests of the Aztecs fueled a noble-dominated practical cyclic economy of sorts, wherein more territories brought forth the enhanced capacity to produce more luxury items.
Previously in the article, we mentioned how the Aztec warrior trainees took part in exercises that promoted agility and strength. One of these recreational exercises managed to reach political heights, in the form of the Ullamaliztli.
The game probably had its origins in the far older Olmec civilization the first major civilization centered in Mexico and was played in a distinctive I-shaped court known as tlachtli or tlachco with a 9-pound rubber ball.
Almost taking a ritualistic route, such courts were usually among the first structures to be established by the Aztecs in the conquered city-states, after they had erected a temple dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.
As for the gameplay, the Aztec-History website makes it clear —. The teams would face each other on the court. The object, in the end, was to get the ball through the stone hoop.