Biblical Archaeology Review 41:3, May/June 2015


Tenochtitlan, Mexico

Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2015

Made of fired clay, this 5'7" Aztec Eagle Warrior sculpture dates between 1440 and 1469 A.D. and weighs more than 600 pounds. It is now housed in the Museo del Templo Mayor in Mexico City. Aztec infantry soldiers, known as Cuāuhtli or Cuāuhtmeh (“Eagle Warriors”), were one of the top two fighting units—the other being the Jaguar warriors—in the Aztec military. These warriors created the most fear, as they had to distinguish themselves by taking the greatest number of captives, who would serve as sacrifices to the gods. While usually required to be of noble birth, a Nahuatl (commoner) could gain entrance for special ferocity. The reward for this special class of warriors was the ability to drink pulque (fermented sap of agave plants), have concubines and dine at the palace. They were full-time soldiers who would act as a type of police force when not actively engaged in battle.

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