Aztec warfare concerns the aspects associated with the militaristic conventions, forces, weaponry and strategic expansions conducted by the Late Postclassic Aztec civilizations of Mesoamerica, including particularly the military history of the Aztec Triple Alliance involving the city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, Tlacopan and other allied polities of the central Mexican region.
The Aztec armed forces were typically composed of a large number of commoners (yāōquīzqueh [jaː.oːˈkiːskeʔ], "those who have gone to war") who possessed only basic military training, and a smaller but still considerable number of professional warriors belonging to the nobility (pīpiltin [piːˈpiɬtin]) and who were organized into warrior societies and ranked according to their achievements. The Aztec state was centered on political expansion and dominance of and exaction of tribute from other city states, and warfare was the basic dynamic force in Aztec politics. Aztec society was also centered on warfare: every Aztec male received basic military training from an early age and the only possibility of upwards social mobility for commoners (mācehualtin [maːseˈwaɬtin]) was through military achievement — especially the taking of captives (māltin [ˈmaːɬtin], singular malli). The sacrifice of war captives was an important part of many of the Aztec religious festivals. Warfare was thus the main driving force of both the Aztec economy and religion.
- 1 Warfare in Aztec society
- 2 Fortifications
- 3 Organization
- 4 Intelligence
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Campaigns and battles
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Warfare in Aztec society
There were two main objectives in Aztec warfare. The first objective was political: the subjugation of enemy city states in order to exact tribute and expand Aztec political hegemony. The second objective was religious and socioeconomic: the taking of captives to be sacrificed in religious ceremonies. Captives lived in a house called a malcalli [maɬˈkalːi]. These dual objectives also influenced the kind of warfare practiced by the Aztecs. Most warfare was primarily political and was driven by the expectations of the Aztec nobility for the Tlahtoāni [t͡ɬaʔtoˈaːni] to provide economic growth through expansion and the expectation of the commoners to have a chance of moving up in society through successful warfare. The first action of a ruler elect was always to stage a military campaign which served the dual purpose of showing his ability as a warrior and thus make it clear to subject polities that his rule would be as tough on any rebellious conduct as that of his predecessor, and to provide abundant captives for his coronation ceremony. A failed coronation campaign was seen as an extremely bad omen for the rule of a Tlatoani and could lead to rebellions of city states subjected by earlier rulers and to the Aztec nobility distrusting his ability to rule — this was the case for Tizoc who was poisoned by the Aztec nobles after several failed military campaigns.
The Aztecs didn't normally maintain tight territorial control within their empire but nonetheless there are examples of fortifications built by the Aztecs. Prominent examples are the strongholds at Oztuma (Oztōmān [osˈtoːmaːn]) where the Aztecs built a garrison to keep the rebellious Chontales in line, in Quauhquechollan (modern day Huauquechula) near Atlixco where the Aztecs built a garrison in order to always have forces close to their traditional enemies the Tlaxcalteca, Chololteca and Huexotzinca, and in Malinalco near Toluca. The latter is where Ahuitzotl built garrisons and fortifications to keep watch over the Matlatzinca, Mazahua and Otomies and to always have troops close to the enemy Tarascan state - the borders with which were also guarded and at least partly fortified on both sides.
A second kind of warfare practiced by the Aztecs was referred to as Flower war (xōchiyāōyōtl [ʃoːt͡ʃijaːˈoːjoːt͡ɬ]). This kind of warfare was fought by smaller armies after previous arrangement between the parties involved. It was not aimed directly at conquering the enemy city state, but served a number of other purposes. One often cited purpose is the taking of sacrificial captives and this was certainly an important part of most Aztec warfare. Friar Diego Durán and the chronicles based on the Crónica X states that the Xochiyayoyotl was instigated by Tlacaelel during the great Mesoamerican famine of 1450-1454 under the reign of Moctezuma I. These sources state that Tlacaelel arranged with the leaders of Tlaxcala, Cholula, and Huexotzinca, and Tliliuhquitepec to engage in ritual battles that would provide all parties with enough sacrificial victims to appease the gods. Ross Hassig (1988) however poses four main political purposes of xochiyaoyotl: 1.) this kind of warfare gave the Aztecs a chance to demonstrate their military might. Since the Aztec army was larger than their adversaries that were normally smaller city states and since the number of combatants on each side were fixed, the Aztec army were sending a much smaller percentage of their total forces than their opponents. Losing a Flower War would then be less damaging for the Aztec army than for its opponents. 2.) This also meant that an objective was attrition — the large Aztec army could afford to engage in small scale warfare much more frequently than their opponents who would then gradually tire until they were ripe for actual conquest. 3.) It also allowed a ruler to maintain hostilities, at low intensity, while occupied by other matters. 4.) Mainly Xochiyaoyotl served as propaganda both towards other city states and to the Aztec people allowing the Aztec rulers to continuously demonstrate their might with a constant influx of war captives to Tenochtitlan.
The Aztec army was organized into two groups. The commoners were organized into "wards" (calpōlli) [kaɬˈpoːlːi] that were under the leadership of tiachcahuan [tiat͡ʃˈkawaːn] ("leaders") and calpoleque [kalpoːleʔkeʔ] ("calpulli owners"). The nobles were organized into professional warrior societies. Apart from the Tlatoani the war leaders of the Aztecs were the High General, the Tlacochcalcatl [t͡ɬakot͡ʃˈkaɬkat͡ɬ] ("The man from the house of darts") and the General the Tlācateccatl [t͡ɬaːkaˈtek.kat͡ɬ] "Cutter of men"). The Tlacochcalcatl and Tlacateccatl also had to name successors prior to any battle so that if they died they could be immediately replaced. Priests also took part in warfare, carrying the effigies of deities into battle alongside the armies.The army also had little boys about the age of twelve along with them serving as porters and messengers, this was mainly for training measures. The image below shows the Tlacateccatl and the Tlacochcalcatl and two other officers (probably priests) known as Huitznahuatl and Ticocyahuacatl, all dressed in their tlahuiztli suits:
The sons of commoners were trained in the Tēlpochcalli [teːɬpot͡ʃˈkalːi] "house of youth". Once a boy reached the age of ten, a section of hair on the back of his head was grown long to indicate that he had not yet taken captives in war. At age fifteen, the father of the boy handed the responsibility of training to the telpochcalli, who would then train the boy to become a warrior. The telpochcalli were accountable for the training of approximately 419 to 559 youths between the ages of fifteen and twenty years old. While the boys were in training, they were given basic duties, such as cleaning the house and making fires. The youth were tested to determine how fit they would be for battle by accompanying their leaders on campaigns as shield-bearers. War captains and veteran warriors had the role of training the boys how to handle their weapons. This generally included showing them how to hold a shield, how to hold a sword, how to shoot arrows from a bow and how to throw darts with an atlatl. Boys in training were only considered real men when they captured their first warrior.
Sons of the nobles were trained at the calmecac [kalˈmekak] ("lineage house") and received sophisticated training in warfare from the most experienced warriors in the army, as well as in general courtly subjects such as astronomy, calendrics, rhetorics, poetry and religion. The calmecac were attached to temples as dedication to patron gods. For example, the calmecac in the main ceremonial complex of Tenochtitlan was dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl. Although there is uncertainty about the exact ages that boys entered into the calmecac, according to evidence that recorded the king's sons entering at the age of five and sons of other nobles entering between the ages of six and thirteen, it seems that youth began their training here at a younger age than those in the telpochcalli did.
When formal training in handling weapons began at age fifteen, youth would begin to accompany the seasoned warriors on campaigns so that they could become accustomed to military life and lose fear of battle. At age twenty, those who wanted to become warriors officially went to war. The parents of the youth sought out veteran warriors, bringing them foods and gifts with the objective of securing a warrior to be the sponsor of their child. Ideally, the sponsor would watch over the youth and teach him how to take captives. However, the degree to which the warrior looked after and helped the noble’s child depended greatly on the amount of payment received from the parents. Thus, sons of high nobility tended to succeed more often in war than those of lower nobility.
Stratification and ranks
Broadly, Aztec army ranks were similar to the modern Western rankings of “General” and Major”, as were the groupings of warriors into categories such as “enlisted men” or “officers”. However, while parallels can be drawn between the organization of Aztec and Western military systems, as each developed from similar functional necessities, the differences between the two are far greater than the similarities. The members of the Aztec army had loyalties to many different people and institutions, and ranking was not based solely on the position one held in a centralized military hierarchy. Thus, the classification of ranks and statuses cannot be defined in the same manner as that of the modern Western military. The commoners composed the bulk of the army, the lowest were porters (tlamemeh [t͡ɬaˈmemeʔ]) who carried weapons and supplies, next came the youths(identified by the top knot hairstyle they wore) of the telpochcalli led by their sergeants (the tēlpochyahqueh [teːɬpot͡ʃˈjaʔkeʔ] "youth leaders"). Next were the commoners yaoquizqueh. And finally there were commoners who had taken captives, the so-called tlamanih. [t͡ɬaˈmaniʔ] "captors".
Ranking above these came the nobles of the "warrior societies". These were ranked according to the number of captives they had taken in previous battles; the number of captives determined which of the different suits of honor (called tlahuiztli [t͡ɬaˈwist͡ɬi]) they were allowed to wear, and allowed them certain rights like being able to wear sandals, jewelry, alter their hairstyles, wear warpaint, carry flowers onto the battlefield, pierce, and tattoo themselves. These tlahuiztli became gradually more spectacular as the ranks progressed, allowing the most excellent warriors who had taken many captives to stand out on the battlefield. The higher ranked warriors were also called "Pipiltin".
Commoners excelling in warfare could be promoted to the noble class and could enter some of the warrior societies (at least the Eagles and Jaguars). Sons of nobles trained at the Calmecac however were expected to enter into one of the societies as they progressed through the ranks. Warriors could shift from one society and into another when they became sufficiently proficient; exactly how this happened is uncertain. Each society had different styles of dress and equipment as well as styles of body paint and adornments.
Two captive warriors, recognizable by their red and black tlahuiztli.
Three captive warriors, this rank wore "butterflie" like banners on their back.
Eagle and Jaguar warriors
Aztec warriors were called a cuāuhocēlōtl [kʷaːwoˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. The word cuāuhocēlōtl derives from the Eagle warrior cuāuhtli [kʷaːwt͡ɬi] and the Jaguar Warrior ocēlōtl [oˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. Those Aztec warriors who demonstrated the most bravery and who fought well became either jaguar or eagle warriors after capturing four captives during battle. Of all of the Aztec warriors, they were the most feared. Both the jaguar and eagle Aztec warriors wore distinguishing helmets and uniforms. The jaguars were identifiable by the jaguar skins they wore over their entire body, with only their faces showing from within the jaguar head. The eagle Aztec warriors, on the other hand, wore feathered helmets including an open beak.
The Otomies (Otōntin) [oˈtoːntin]) were another warrior society who took their name after the Otomi people who were renowned for their fierce fighting. In the historical sources it is often difficult to discern whether the word otomitl "Otomi" refers to members of the Aztec warrior society, or members of the ethnic group who also often joined the Aztec armies as mercenaries or allies.
The Shorn Ones
The "Shorn Ones" (Cuachicqueh [kʷaˈt͡ʃikkeʔ]) was the most prestigious warrior society — their heads were shaved apart from a long braid over the left ear. Their bald heads and faces were painted one half blue and another half red or yellow. They served as imperial shock troops, and took on special tasks as well as battlefield assistance roles when needed. Over 6 captives and dozens of other heroic deeds were required for this rank. They apparently turned down captaincies in order to remain constant battlefield combatants. Recognizable by their yellow tlahuitzli. They had sworn not to take a step backwards during a battle on pain of death at the hands of their comrades.
Because the Aztec empire was maintained through warfare or the threat of war with other cities, the gathering of information about those cities was crucial in the process of preparing for a single battle or an extended campaign. Also of great importance was the communication of messages between the military leaders and the warriors on the field so that political initiatives and collaborative ties could be established and maintained. As such, intelligence and communication were vital components in Aztec warfare. The four establishments principally used for these tasks were merchants, formal ambassadors, messengers, and spies.
Merchants, called pochteca, were perhaps the most valued source of intelligence to the Aztec empire. As they traveled throughout the empire and beyond to trade with groups outside of the Aztec’s control, the king would often request that the pochtecah return from their route with both general and specific information. General information, such as the perceived political climate of the areas traded in could allow the king to gauge what actions might be necessary to prevent invasions and keep hostility from culminating in large-scale rebellion. As the Aztec’s empire expanded, the merchant’s role gained increasing importance. Because it became harder to obtain information about distant sites in a timely way, especially for those outside of the empire, the feedback and warning received from merchants was invaluable. Often, they were they key to the Aztec army’s successful response to external hostility. If a merchant was killed while trading, this was a cause for war. The Aztecs rapid and violent retaliation following this event is testament to the immense importance that the merchants had to the Aztec empire.
Merchants were very well respected in Aztec society. When merchants traveled south, they transported their merchandise either by canoe or by slaves, who would carry a majority of the goods on their backs. If the caravan was likely to pass through dangerous territory, Aztec warriors accompanied the travelers to provide much-needed protection from animals and rival cultures. In return, merchants often provided a military service to the empire by spying on the empire's many enemies while trading in the enemy's cities. They were able to earn their protection while further helping their empire.
Once the Aztecs had decided to conquer a particular city, they sent an ambassador from Tenochtitlan to offer the city protection. They would showcase the advantages cities would gain by trading with the empire. The Aztecs, in return, asked for gold or precious stones for the Emperor. They were given 20 days to decide their request. If they refused, more ambassadors were sent to the citites. However, these ambassadors were used as up front threats. Instead of trade, these men would point out the destruction the empire could and would cause if the city were to decline their offer. They were given another 20 days. If they refused the Aztec army was sent immediately. There were no more warnings. The cities were destroyed and their people were taken as prisoners.
The Aztecs used a system in which men stationed approximately 4.2 kilometers or 2.6 miles apart along main roads relayed messages from the empire, to armies in the field or to distant cities and vice versa. For example, the runners might be sent by the king to inform allies to mobilize if a province began to rebel. Messengers also alerted certain tributary cities of the incoming army and their food needs, carried messages between two opposing armies, and delivered news back to Tenochtitlan about the outcome of the war. While messengers were also used in other regions of Mesoamerica, it was the Aztecs who apparently developed this system to a point of having impressive communicative scope.
Prior to mobilization, formal spies called quimichtin were sent into the territory of the enemy to gather information that would be advantageous to the Aztecs. Specifically, they were requested to take careful note of the terrain that would be crossed, fortification used, details about the army, and their preparations. These spies also sought out those who were dissidents in the area and paid them for information. The quimichtin traveled only by night and even spoke the language and wore the style of clothing specific to the region of the enemy. Due to the extremely dangerous nature of this job (they risked a torturous death and the enslavement of their family if discovered), these spies were amply compensated for their work.
The Aztecs also used a group of trader spies, known as the naualoztomeca. The naualoztomeca were forced to disguise themselves as they traveled. They sought after rare goods and treasures. The naualoztomeca were also used for gathering information at the markets and reporting the information to the higher levels of pochteca.
|Types of Aztec Weapon||1st Component||2nd Component|
|barbed dart||tlatzontectli||[t͡ɬat͡sonˈtekt͡ɬi]||object prefix||tla-||[t͡ɬa]||judgement or sentence||tzontectli||[t͡sonˈtekt͡ɬi]|
|poisoned arrow||tencualac mītl||[tenˈkʷalak miːt͡ɬ]||a lie or drool||tencualactli||[tenˈkʷaˈlakt͡ɬi]||arrow||mītl||[miːt͡ɬ]|
Ahtlatl: This weapon was meant to represent the Aztec God Opochtli. The Aztec dart thrower(known by the Spanish as estólica) was a weapon used to hurl small darts called "tlacochtli" with greater force and from greater range than they could be thrown by hand. This weapon was considered by the Aztecs to be suited only for royalty and the most elite warriors in the army, and was usually depicted as being the weapon of the Gods. Murals at Teotihuacan show warriors using this effective weapon and it is characteristic of the Mesoamerican cultures of central Mexico. Warriors at the front lines of the army would carry the ahtlatl and about three to five tlacochtli, and would launch them after the waves of arrows and sling projectiles as they advanced into battle before engaging into melee combat. The ahtlatl could also throw spears as its name implies "spear thrower".
Mīcomitl: The Aztec arrow quiver, usually made out of animal hide, it could hold about twenty arrows.
Tēmātlatl: A sling made from maguey fiber. The Aztecs used oval shaped rocks or hand molded clay balls filled with obsidian flakes or pebbles as projectiles for this weapon. Bernal Diaz del Castillo noted that the hail of stones flung by Aztec slingers was so furious that even well armored Spanish soldiers were injured.
Tlacalhuazcuahuitl: A blowgun consisting of a hollow reed using poisoned darts for ammunition. The darts used for this weapon were made out of sharpened wood fletched with cotton and ussualy doused in the neurotoxic secretions from the skin of tree frogs found in jungle areas of central Mexico. This was used primarily for hunting rather than warfare.
|Types of Aztec Weapon||1st Component||2nd Component|
|sword||macuahuitl||[maːˈkʷawit͡ɬ]||prefix "with the hand"||ma-||[ma]||wood stick||cuahuitl||[ˈkʷawit͡ɬ]|
|metal spear||tepoztōpīlli||[teˈpostoːˈpiːlːi]||workable metal||tepoztli||[teˈpost͡ɬi]||staff||tōpīlli||[toːˈpiːlːi]|
|ball-end wooden mace||cuauholōlli||[kʷawoˈloːlːi]||wood||cuahuitl||[ˈkʷawit͡ɬ]||ball||olōlli||[oˈloːlːi]|
|special mace (read below)||mācuāhuitzōctli||[maːˈkʷaːwit͡sˈoːkt͡ɬi]||to bite another's hand||mācuā||[maːˈkʷaː]||sharp pole
Macuahuitl:(Hungry wood) This weapon was supposed to represent the Aztec God Tezcalipoca. Essentially a wooden sword with sharp obsidian blades embedded into its sides (similar in appearance and build to a modern cricket bat). This was the standard armament of the elite cadres. Also known in Spanish by the Taino word "macana". A blow from such a weapon was reputedly capable of decapitating a horse.
Tepoztopilli: Wooden spear with a broad head edged with sharp obsidian blades.
ītztōpīlli: Basically an axe, comparable to a tomahawk, the head of which was made out of either stone or copper and had a two side design, one side had a sharp bladed edge while the other one a blunt protrusion.
Macuahuitzoctli: A club with a knob on each of its four sides and a pointed tip.
Huitzauhqui: This weapon was meant to represent the Aztec God Huitzilopochtli. A wooden club, somewhat resembling a baseball bat. This weapon was used for melee attacks just as it was made, but other designs were studded with flint or obsidian cutting elements on its sides.
Tecpatl: This weapon was meant to represent the Aztec God Xiuhtecuhtli. A dagger with a double sided blade made out of flint or obsidian with an elaborate stone or wooden handle, seven to nine inches overall in length. Although this would have been an effective side arm, this weapon was more commonly used in Aztec sacrifice ceremonies which may point to it being wielded mostly by Aztec warrior priests.
|Types of Aztec Armor ||1st Component||2nd Component|
literally "shield boat"
|maize cane shield||otlachīmalli||[ot͡ɬat͡ʃiːˈmalːi]||cane stalk||otlatl||[ˈot͡ɬat͡ɬ]||shield||chīmalli||[t͡ʃiːˈmalːi]|
|cotton or wool armor||ichcahuīpīlli||[it͡ʃkawiːˈpiːlːi]||cotton||ichcatl||[ˈit͡ʃkat͡ɬ]||blouse (huipil)||huīpīlli||[wiːˈpiːlːi]|
Chimalli: Shields made with different materials such as the wooden shield "cuauhchimalli" or maize cane "otlachimalli". There were also ornamental shields decorated with motifs made in featherwork, these were called māhuizzoh chimalli.
Ichcahuipilli: Quilted cotton armor which was soaked in salt water brine and then hung to dry in shade so that the salt would crystallize inside of it. One or two fingers thick, this material was resistant to obsidian swords and atlatl darts.
Ēhuatl: (literally "skin") The tunic that some noble warriors wore over their cotton armour or tlahuiztli.
Tlahuiztli: The distinctively decorated suits of prestigious warriors and members of warrior societies. These suits served as a way to identify warriors according to their achievements in battle as well as rank, alliance, and social status like priesthood or nobility. Usually made of a single piece of material with an opening in the back they covered most of the body and extremities, and offered added protection to the wearer. Made with elements of animal hide, leather, and cotton the tlahuiztli was a most effective by enchansing the ichcahuipilli.
Cuacalalatli: The Aztec war helmet, carved out of hardwood. Shaped to represent different animals like howler monkeys, predatory cats, birds, coyotes, or Aztec deities. These helmets covered most of a warriors head down to the jaw line, the design allowed the warrior to see through the animals mouth and they were unique to the wearer's tlahuiztli.
Pāmitl: The identifying emblems that officers and famous warriors wore on their backs, similar to the Japanese Uma-jirushi. These were frequently unique to their wearers.
Campaigns and battles
Once the decision of going to war was made the news were proclaimed in the plazas calling for mobilization of the army for several days or weeks in advance. When the troops were ready and any allied cities had been alerted and had given their consent to partake in the campaign the march began. Usually the first to march were the priests carrying the effigies, the next day the nobles marched led by the Tlacochcalcatl and Tlacateccatl. And on the third day the main bulk of the army set out with the Tenochca marching first followed by the warriors from the other cities in the alliance (Tepanecas and Texcocas) and lastly the allied forces from other cities, some of these subject cities would also join in gradually during the march as the army passed by their cities. Thanks to the efficient system of roads maintained throughout central Mexico the army marched an estimated average of 19-32 kilometers per day. The size of the Aztec army varied considerably from small contingents of a few thousand warriors to large armies with tens to hundreds of thousands of warriors. In the war against Coixtlahuacan the Aztec army numbered 200,000 warriors and 100,000 porters. Other sources mention Aztec armies of up to 700,000 men.
Battles (sometimes called in Nahuatl by the metaphorical diphrasism ātl tlachinolli [aːt͡ɬ t͡ɬat͡ʃiˈnolːi] (literally "water fire") usually started at dawn but sometimes during the middle of the day — smoke signals were used to show that a battle was beginning and to coordinate attacks between different divisions of the army. The signal to attack was given by the drums and the conch shell trumpet quiquiztli [kikist͡ɬi] blown by the trumpeter. Usually the battle began with projectile fire — the bulk of the army was composed of commoners often armed with bows or slings. Then the warriors advanced into melee combat and during this phase, the atlatl was used — this missile weapon was more effective over shorter distances than slings and bows, and much more lethal. The first warriors to enter into melee were the most distinguished warriors of the Cuachicque and the Otontin societies; then came the Eagles and Jaguars; and lastly the commoners and unpracticed youths. Until entering into melee order rank was maintained and the Aztecs would try to surround or outflank the enemy, but once the melee began the ranks dissolved into a fray of individual hand-to-hand fighting. Youths participating in battle for the first time would usually not be allowed to fight before the Aztec victory was ensured, after which they would try to capture prisoners from the fleeing enemy. It is said that, particularly during flower wars, Aztec warriors would try to capture rather than kill their foes, sometimes striving to cut a hamstring or otherwise incapacitate their opponents. This has been used as an argument to explain the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spanish but this argument has been rejected by many historians — since sources clearly state that Aztecs did kill their Spanish opponents whenever they had the chance, and quickly adapted their combat strategies to their new opponents. Other Aztec tactical maneuvers included feigned retreats and ambushes where small portions of Aztec forces would attack and then fall back and lure the enemy into a trap where many more warriors were hidden in the terrain. If a defending enemy retreated into their city the battle was continued there — but normally the objective was to conquer a city not destroy it. Once the city was conquered the main temple would be set on fire signaling far and wide, to all concerned, the Aztec victory. If enemies still refused to surrender the rest of the city could be burned as well, but this was uncommon.
- Nahuatl dictionary. (1997). Wired humanities project. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from link
- Hassig, Ross. "Moteuczomah Illhuicamina." Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1988. 158. Print.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 31.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 32-33.
- Clendinnen, I. 1991, 78.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 34-35.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 35-36.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 27.
- Hassig, R. 1992, p. 57.
- Hassig, R. 1988, p.45-46.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 49.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 49-50.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 150.
- Hassig, R. 1988, p. 160.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 51.
- Hassig, R. 1988, 51-52.
- Hassig, R. 1988, p. 165
- Hassig, R. (1998). Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control Oklahoma Press: Norman. ISBN 0-8061-2121-1
- Hassig (1988), p.83.
- Hassig (1988), p. 88.
- Hassig, R. 1988, p.94.
- Hassig, 1988, p.67-68
- Clendinnen, Inga (1991) Aztecs: An Interpretation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
- Lockhart, James (ed. and trans.) (1993);We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Restall, Matthew. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford University Press (2003), ISBN 0-19-516077-0 ch. 7
- The description of Aztec combat is condensed from Hassig, 1988, chapter 7
- Cervera Obregón, Marco A. 2006. “The macuahuitl: A probable weaponry innovation of the Late Posclassic in Mesoamérica” en Arms and Armour, Journal of the Royal Armouires, n.3, Leeds.
- Cervera Obregón, Marco A. 2007a. “El macuahuitl, un arma del Posclásico Tardío en Mesoamérica”, Arqueología Mexicana, No 84.
- Cervera Obregón, Marco A. 2007b. El armamento entre los mexicas, GLADIUS, CSIC, Polifemo, Madrid, 2007 con prólogo de Ross Hassig.
- 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.
- Hassig, Ross (1992). War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07734-2. OCLC 25007991.
- Clendinnen, Inga (1991). Aztecs: An Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Restall, Matthew (2003). Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. Chapter 7. ISBN 0-19-516077-0.
Lockhart, James (ed. and trans.) (1993);We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press.