The Aztec Indians

The Aztec Indians

Tonatiuh has yet to rise from the East
and shine upon us all, but already I hear stirs and murmurs coming from
the street and even from the apprentice quarters of my own home.

It has been an exhausting month for me and I would like nothing better
than to sleep all day. However, here in Texcoco, the market only
meets once a week and I must sell my goods as soon as possible.(Smith,119).

My wife, heavy with child, slowly begins to wake beside me, so I rise to
the new day.

My name is Tochtli, born to that day some

33 years ago. I am of the Mexica tribe, born and raised in the
sacred capitol city of Tenochtitlan. I am of the pochteca and am
proud to serve my gods and lords faithfully in war and sacrifice, as my
father did before me. I have been very successful and have been able
to provide my wife and two (soon to be three) children a comfortable life.

It is wise to say that the god Yacatecuhtli, looks generously upon me and

I owe all to him (Smith, 213).

Before I am even dressed I can smell my
wife and daughter preparing tortillas from the patio. Being from
the highest order of pochteca, my home is larger than most in my calpolli.

It is built in a half-moon fashion around a central patio. The structure
is made up of four rooms, or quarters: The sleeping quarters of my wife
and I, the room my children share, a room for my apprentice and any tlamama

I may have under my service at the time, and a small shrine room where
my family and I can worship.

In the patio, the tlamama, my apprentice
and my son eat a breakfast of tortillas before we head to the market.

I had just returned the night before from a most successful, but long trade
expedition. I had set out a little over a month ago, along with two
other pochteca from my guild, two of our apprentices, and four tlamama
who are professional porters. I was worried to leave on such a long
expedition when my wife was so close to bearing our third child, but after
consulting with the calendar and the priests of my patron god, Yacatecuhtli,
it was determined that the day we left on was surely the luckiest (Smith,256).

Besides that, my son, Ocelotl, is now nine and almost old enough to guard
the household.

We left loaded with cloth, jewels and
spinning tools and set out for Acolman, where we traded the bulk of our
goods for slaves. In these other cities, markets meet weekly or only
periodically, so it was important to time our route well. From Acolman
we set out for Pachuca where we planned to trade the remainder of our goods
for some of the obsidian tools that the region is renowned for (Smith,

87). That was the most dangerous part of our journey because of its
length, the size of our payload and how close our path came toward enemy
territory outside of the triple alliance. Pochteca are generally
allowed free travel throughout the world, enemy or friendly without harm
(Smith, 122). In my time I have traveled throughout the far reaches
of this land, but I am still wary of enemy territory, and always travel
well armed and ready for battle. After a rest in Pachuca, where we
bartered for the obsidian, we began our long journey home.

We finally reached Texcoco early yesterday
morning, but camped outside the city until nightfall. Upon returning
from any expedition, pochteca always enter the city under the cloak of
darkness. We then quickly unload our goods from the canoes, so that
it is all hidden in our homes by daybreak (Smith, 121). This has
been a practice as old as the guild itself. It is very useful since
it is wise to keep the success of ones expedition a secret. Pochteca,
no matter how successful, are not nobles and not allowed to display such
wealth openly (Smith,121). To do so might offend our lords, and hence
our gods. I agreed to keep the obsidian and two of the tlamama at
my home for the night, while my partner kept the slaves at his home.

My wife, Calli, calls for me to eat before

I must leave for the market. She hands me warm tortillas and smiles
at me lovingly. I admire the roundness of her belly, and only then
do I realize how much I have missed her. Teteoinnan, the mother of
gods, has truly blessed me with