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Slaves Were Essential to the Aztec Social Hierarchy and Religious Practices

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Slaves were essential to the Aztec social hierarchy and religious practices, and therefore they occupied a central place in the Aztec society and culture. In the Aztec empire slaves were essential to the Aztec social hierarchy, and religious rituals; therefore they occupied a central place in the Aztec society and culture. This essay will discuss the origins of the slaves, the roles that slaves in the Aztec empire played, how and where they were sold, how they were treated and freed.

In the Aztec empire slaves were sold in certain place called tianguiz which means market-place. Slaves were bought by merchants or by chieftains in two main markets Azcapotzalco and Itzocan. Slaves who were sold in the markets were the ones who had broken a law or war Captives. Moreover, war captives were slaves who were exclusively sacrificed to the gods "thus they were called delicious food of the gods", while other slaves "where not strangers or foreigners or prisoners of war, as some have declared, but were natives of the same town" (Duran 1576-1579).

In Azcapotzalco, "in the honor of god men and women were slain in all the feast days, some of these were slaves bought in the market-place for the special purpose of representing gods" (Duran 1576-1579). These slaves were purified and washed by their owners, either for a year, forty days, or nine or seven days after serving for the name of god they impersonate, they were sacrificed by their owners in religious ceremonies. Slaves who were sold in the market-place were not only men however; they were women, girls and boys so there would be a variety from which to choose. Furthermore, slaves in the markets were kept dancing and singing in order to get sold especially if they performed well. Slaves who were good dancers and singers should also be healthy and unblemished; these slaves were allowed to inter houses, temples, and to climb the flat roofs of their masters. They also enjoyed the pleasures and joys of the world such as drink, food, and feasts. On the other side, the slaves who were not good dancers and singers were bought and kept as domestic servant. Commonly, slaves who were sold were examined from head to foot; if they were healthy they would be bought otherwise they would not.

On the other hand, slaves in the Aztec Empire had the opportunity to escape from their masters and get their freedom in a rare condition by law. Slaves who were taken to markets for sale were weighted with collars and rods to obstacle them from fleeing, and so others can recognize them easily. However, it was decreed that if a slave escaped from his master in a market and stepped on human excrement before being caught by his master, he becomes free. Thus a soiled slave must go to the purifiers of slaves to get washed from head to feet after saying that he escaped from his master and had stepped on human excrement. After being washed, the purifiers give him

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