Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise, and Fall of the Aztec Nation

Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise, and Fall of the Aztec Nation

Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise, and Fall of the Aztec Nation

Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise, and Fall of the Aztec Nation

Excerpt

This book is a history of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico and the civilizations which they wrought. It was a hard book to write. It will be a hard book to read. There are two reasons for this unfortunate circumstance. First, the Indians did not have the same goals in life which we have, so that their pattern of life is different from our own and difficult to understand. Second, Indian history has to be reconstructed from what we can find, so that much of the material, like techniques of making household implements, does not fall within the scope of our usual historical reading. The first five chapters deal with such reconstruction, and the reader is warned in advance that the going will be very difficult. These pages may be skipped if he is not particularly interested in such a historical background.

The remaining chapters are based on contemporary observations made by the conquering Spaniards and by the Aztecs themselves. They deal with people who were seen alive, their culture functioning. We can form an impression of what the Aztecs were like, and this makes easier reading, since we can envisage people in term of what they did, not in terms of the objects which they made. Even so, this will not be a crystal-clear process, for their customs, habits and motives differed from ours. However, I hope that I shall be able to show that it was a perfectly good way of life and the result of considerable experience. Our Western civilization, on the social side, is nothing to boast of today, so we need not be scornful of the Aztecs.

I want here to express my thanks to some of the many people who helped me write this book: to the authorities of the American . . .

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