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Nahuatl glyph of a calmecac (codex Mendoza, recto of the folio 61).

The Calmecac ("the house of the lineage", /kalˈmekak/) was a school for the children of Aztec nobility (pīpiltin /piːˈpiɬtin/) in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history, where they would receive rigorous religious and military training. The calmecac is to be contrasted with the Tēlpochcalli (/teːɬpot͡ʃˈkalːi/ "house of youth") where mostly commoners received military training. Only a few commoners (mācēhualtin /maːseːˈwaɬtin/) entered the Calmecac, and those who did only trained for priesthood.[1]

The calmecac of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was located in the ceremonial center of the city and it was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl.[2]

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 (tōnalpōhualli /toːnaɬpoːˈwalːi/) and all the basic training which was also taught in the telpochcalli.

Students commenced formal military training around age fifteen.[3]

Promising sons of nobles would be trained especially by the military orders of the Jaguar warriors (ōcēlōmeh /oːseːˈloːmeʔ/) or Eagle warriors (cuāuhtin /ˈkʷaːʍtin/) in their quarters, the cuāuhcalli (/kʷaːʍˈkalːi/).[4]


  1. ^ Hassig (1988), p.34.
  2. ^ Hassig (1988), p.34.
  3. ^ Hassig (1988), p.35.
  4. ^ Hassig (1988), p.36.


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Andrews, J. Richard (2003). Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (revised edition ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3452-6. OCLC 50090230. 
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. 
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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.