When Spanish ships landed in Mexico in 1519, the Aztec Empire was at the height of its power from their capital Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs controlled much of what is now Mexico and Central America. The Aztec was ruling about 15 million people, Aztec palaces were as vast and sophisticated as any of those in Europe and their temples rival the Egyptian pyramids. The Aztec within just two years the mighty Aztec Empire crumbled, and Tenochtitlan lay in ruins after a brutal siege led by Spanish conquistador Cortez. No great ancient civilization ever fell so far so fast. This essay will analyze the symbolic representation of the city of Tenochtitlan and the city of Bagdad regarding its social, cultural, religious, political, and commercial organization.
According to anthropologist L. White, Social means relating to society or to the way society is organized (White 630). Cultural refer to the collective practices embraced by society in a wider scope (White 632). Religious reflects on the connection in religious beliefs and any other related phenomenon. Political refer to the matters related to the government as well as a country's public affairs ((White 633). Commercial covers the economic concern and engagement of the society in commercial activities.
In 762 a new seat of government was established with a new city of Baghdad from there the Abbasid ruled over an Empire that stretched from northern Africa to central Asia. The circular design of Baghdad was a direct inspiration of traditional Persian city design. The 1st three centuries of Abbasid rule is considered the Islamic world's Golden Age. Baghdad together with the port of Basra in Southern Iraq developed into the economic center of an International trading empire with contacts in the Far East in Europe. Culture and science flourished at the court of the Abbasid caliphs lasting achievements in geography, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and engineering were nurtured and a claim.
Based on the political and defensive mechanism, the city of Baghdad remained to be one of the highly organized cities during the early days (Askari et al., 235). The town was surrounded with four circular perimeter wall that insulated intrusion of any unwanted guests in the city. Never the less, the city constituted of four gates, four highways facilitated the interconnection of the four gates, which were rejoined at the center, where the mosque was built. On the other hands, the Aztec community had a similar interconnection of the road network in the city, implying the advancement in engineering.
The strategic positioning of Baghdad made it vulnerable for attacks form other empires crossing to the Europe. Through this, the canal insulated intruders from climbing to the city through the walls, a step that increased the safety measures of the city. In addition to the above, all visitors accessing the city were welcomed through the four gates, hence limiting surprising attacks to the city. On the contrary, the Aztec empire depicted similar traits that helped govern their empire as well as become one of the mighty empires in the region.
As Berdan, (p.6) points out Tenochtitlan was a monument that described a massive idea of engineering similar to the one portrayed by Baghdad city, due to the proper organization of the town, a step that increased the superiority of the Aztec empire. The Aztec calendar gave clear guidelines and mapping of the religious ceremonies, which included human sacrifice, as well as the connection of other custom practices of the Aztec community. Through this, ceremonies marked the beginning of unity among the Aztec community, which helped them to stay stable and cooperative, which helped the empire to focus on their economic growth. However, the Aztec religious practice was different as compared to the one portrayed by the Baghdad town. The Muslim community did not indulge in human sacrifice but instead concentrated on donations as a way of enhancing unity in the city.The Aztec empire focused on the economic growth of the empire as part of increasing superiority and control of the regional trade while the Baghdad community grew their empire on the basic foundation of business which was prioritized within the nation and beyond. The growth of Tenochtitlan's empire made trade in the region more organized and grew to benefit the Aztec community. Trade was one of their economic factors that helped the entire growth and facilitation of workforce as a way of expanding the empire. Shortly after the establishment of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco city in the region, the trade activities are carried out through the control of two unions. On the other hand, political dominance of the empire grew and policies aimed at were aimed at supporting the regional trade.
As Charles, (p.376) concludes that barter trade was the heart of economic growth with proper arrangements of different items that were used as a source of measuring the exchange of trade commodities. Cacao beans were used for smaller transactions, mid-range items were exchanged with cotton blankets. On the same token, quills filled with gold dust were used for large object business transaction. In conclusion, proper organization between Baghdad and the Aztec empire is one of the standard security measures portrayed by the cities accounted for the features that made the two cities unique. The cities experienced better political organization policy implementation on trade control, a step that gave them more advantage over their neighboring communities.
Askari, Zeynab, et al. "Fasciola hepatica eggs in paleofaeces of the Persian onager Equus hemionus onager, a donkey from Chehrabad archaeological site, dating back to the Sassanid Empire (224-651 AD), in ancient Iran." Infection, Genetics and Evolution 62 (2018): 233-243.
Berdan, Frances F. "Aztec Empire." The Encyclopedia of Empire (2016): 1-8.
Gibson, Charles. "15. Structure of the Aztec Empire." Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volumes 10 and 11: Archaeology of Northern Mesoamerica (2015): 376.
White, Leslie A. "Anthropology 1964: Retrospect and prospect." American Anthropologist 67.3 (1965): 629-637.
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