By Karen Latchana Kenney
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Farmers worked the land and tended to the crops. A higher-level farmer, called a horticulturalist by the Spanish, understood the importance of rotating crops each year and knew how to transplant and seed different plants. Tradesmen worked with precious stones, using obsidian knives to cut and create intricate mosaics and masks. Other stone workers sculpted slabs of rock into large figures. Carpenters crafted the wooden furniture for the nobles’ patios and homes. They also made canoes, flat-bottomed boats, and drums.
The Spanish sweetened the cacao and added vanilla and cinnamon, serving the drink hot. The Spanish later introduced the chocolate drink to Italy, France, and other European countries. indd 35 10/28/14 1:33 PM Aztec merchants worked their way up and down the canals of Tenochtitlán, selling and trading goods. Goods from across the empire were sold in the greatest marketplaces of Tenochtitlán and its suburb Tlatelolco. indd 36 10/28/14 1:33 PM trading was fair. All kinds of luxury goods could be purchased at the market, including jade, turquoise, copper tools, tobacco pipes, vanilla, and chocolate, just to name a few.
The middle shows the Aztec official with a shield and arrows behind him. He is speaking with the people he will later defeat in battle. indd 42 10/28/14 1:33 PM Tlacatécatl, Tlacochcálcatl, Huiznáhuatl, and Ticocyhuácatl. The information is presented through Aztec pictographs with annotations in Spanish. indd 43 10/28/14 1:33 PM THE LOWER CLASSES Ollama A ball game, called ollama, was played in large ball courts in Aztec cities. The game was filled with Aztec symbolism. The courts were shaped like a capital I and faced either north-south or east-west.
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