Aztecs and Tiwis: Comparing and Contrasting Different Cultures
The Aztecs of Central Mexico and the Tiwis of North Australia are two very different societies that are studied in the anthropological survey of cultures. Despite all their differences, these two cultures demonstrated a few similarities to each other, and many likenesses to other cultures in history. For this paper, I chose to read the two books, The Aztecs of Central Mexico: An Imperial Society by Frances F. Berdan, and The Tiwi of North Australia by C.W.M Hart, Arnold R. Pilling, and Jane C. Goodale, in an effort to compare and contrast these two very interesting cultures.
The Aztec society was considered a state, based on the many characteristics of its structure and infrastructure. In its peak, the Aztec empire was located in the valley of Mexico. They arrived in central Mexico in the thirteenth century after formally being a nomadic tribe. The Aztec civilization in the valley of Mexico covered about 2500 square miles and was surrounded by high mountains (Berdan 2). The largest city in the Aztec empire was the dual city of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco, which was believed to have a population of approximately 150,000 to 200,000 people in the year 1519 (Berdan 14). The population density was approximated to be anywhere between 400 to 1024 people per square mile. The settlement of the Aztecs was considered to be sedentary, meaning that (for most of their existence) they were not a nomadic society.
One of the most important parts of the Aztec society was their means of subsistence. There were two major modes of food production ”agriculture and hunting. Agriculture consisted of several products that were produced throughout the empire, such as maize, beans, chia, amaranth, chilies, and squashes. Maize (corn) was a dietary mainstay and its growth must have been successful throughout the land, primarily used to make tortillas. Deities (gods) dedicated to fertility be