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This week, we are going to learn about the Aztec system of writing and what we can learn from the documents that have survived over time.

We will also find out more about the Aztec warriors and their role in Aztec society.


Aztec Writing

The Aztecs wrote using symbols called glyphs or pictographs. They didn't have an alphabet, but used pictures to represent events, items, or sounds. Only the priests knew how to read and write. They would write on long sheets made of animal skins or plant fibers. An Aztec book is called a codex. Most of the codices were burned or destroyed, but a few survived and archeologists have been able to learn a lot about Aztec life from them.

Watch this short video clip to see a copy of the Borbonicus Aztec codex. What do you notice about their system of writing?

Codex Borbonicus - Leafing through the facsimile edition

The Codex Borbonicus is one of the most interesting documents dealing with pre-Spanish Mexico in the 16th century. The large-formatted illuminated manuscript...


Using your Spanish dictionaries or an online translator, can you work out what these Aztec pictographs mean? Notice that the Nahuatl word is given followed by the Spanish word.

Aztec Warriors

From the codices that have survived, we have learned much about the Aztec civilisation, including the importance of the Aztec warriors! Watch this short video clip to discover what archaeologists now know.


Can you create your own quiz about the Aztecs? You could use the Scratch program in the same way that Ruaidhri did last week! Please email your quiz to me and Onyx bubble can test their understanding!

Here is a reminder about creating a quiz using Scratch. You learnt how to do this in Year 4 so hopefully you will remember!