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Calmecac

The Calmecac ("the house of the lineage",[kalmekak]) was a school for the sons of
Aztec nobility (ppiltin [pipitin]) in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican
history, where they would receive rigorous religious and military training. The two
main primary sources for information on the calmecac and telpochcalli are in
Bernardino de Sahagn's Florentine Codex of the General History of the Things of
New Spain (Books III, VI, and VIII) and part 3 of the Codex Mendoza.[1] Although
the calmecac has been characterized as for elites only, Sahagun's account says that at
times commoners, macehualtin were assigned to the calmecac as well and trained for
the priesthood.[2][3] The Tlpochcalli ([tepotkali] "house of youth") was where
mostly commoners and some noble youths received military training, but would
have been precluded from the higher ranks of power.[4] Codex Mendoza's account of
Nahuatl glyph of a calmecac (codex
the calmecac emphasizes the possibilities of upward mobility for young commoner Mendoza, recto of the folio 61).
men, (macehualtin), educated in the telpochcalli. The placement of a noble youth in
the telpochcalli might have been by lesser wives' or concubines' sons or younger
sons, perhaps of commoner status, so that the boys did not have to compete with noble youths in the calmecac.[5] Codex Mendoza's
account largely ignores class distinctions betweenthe two institutions.[6]

The calmecac of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was located in the ceremonial center of the city and it was dedicated to
Quetzalcoatl.[7]

The calmecac was the students' home for the duration of their training, and they would enter the school as young as five to seven
years of age. The students received instruction in songs, rituals, reading and writing, the calendar (tnalphualli [tonapowali])
and all the basic training which was also taught in the telpochcalli.

[8]
Students commenced formal military training around age fifteen.

Promising sons of nobles would be trained especially by the military orders of the
Jaguar warriors (clmeh [oselome]) or Eagle
warriors (cuuhtin [katin]) in their quarters, thecuuhcalli ([kakali]).[9]

Notes
1. Edward Calneck, "The Calmecac and T elpochcalli in Pre-Conquest Tenochtitlan," in The Work of Bernardino de
Sahagn: Pioneer Ethnographer of Sixteenth-Century Aztec Mexico , J. Jorge Klor de Alva et al., eds. Albany: SUNY
Albany Institute for Mesoamerican Studies 1988, p. 170.
2. Edward Calneck, "The Calmecac and T
elpochcalli" p. 169.
3. Hassig (1988), p.34.
4. Calnek, "Calmecac and Telpochcalli", p. 169.
5. Calnek, "Calmecac and Telpochcalli", p. 176.
6. Calnek, "Calmecac and Telpochcalli", p. 177.
7. Hassig (1988), p.34.
8. Hassig (1988), p.35.
9. Hassig (1988), p.36.

References
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel (2007). Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. Oxford and New York:
Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533083-0. OCLC 81150666.
Andrews, J. Richard (2003). Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (revised ed.). Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3452-6. OCLC 50090230.
Calnek, Edward. "The Calmecac and Telpochcalli in Pre-Conquest Tenochtitlan" in The Work of
Bernardino de Sahagn: Pioneer Ethnographer of Sixteenth-Century Aztec Mexico, J.
Jorge Klor de Alva et al., eds. Albany: SUNY Albany Institute for Mesoamerican Studies
1988.
Hassig, Ross (1988). Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Civilization of the
American Indian series, no. 188. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-
2121-1. OCLC 17106411.
Len-Portilla, Miguel (1980). Native Mesoamerican Spirituality: Ancient myths, discourses, stories,
doctrines, hymns, poems from the Aztec, Yucatec, Quich-Maya and other sacred
traditions. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 0-8091-0293-5. OCLC 6450751.
Sahagn, Bernardino de (1997) [ca.155861]. Primeros Memoriales. Civilization of the American
Indians series vol. 200, part 2. Thelma D. Sullivan (English trans. and paleography of
Nahuatl text), with H.B. Nicholson, Arthur J.O. Anderson, Charles E. Dibble, Eloise
Quiones Keber, and Wayne Ruwet (completion, revisions, and ed.). Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2909-9. OCLC 35848992.
Van Tuerenhout, Dirk R. (2005). The Aztecs: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO's understanding
ancient civilizations series. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-57607-921-X.
OCLC 57641467.

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