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The mācēhualtin (IPA: /maːseːˈwaltin/, singular mācēhualli /maːseːˈwalli/) were the commoner social class in the Mexica Empire.

During the reign of Moctezuma II (1502–1520), they were banned from serving in the royal palaces, as this monarch widened the divide between pipiltin (nobles) and macehualtin.

As Aztec society was in part centered on warfare — every Aztec male received basic military training from an early age — the only possibility of upwards social mobility for mācēhualtin was through military achievement — especially the taking of captives (māltin [ˈmaːltin], singular mālli).

After the Spanish conquest, the Nahuatl word mācēhualli was adopted in colonial Spanish as macehual, and was used all over New Spain as a synonym for "commoner," "subject," and "native."


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. 
Matthew Restall (1997). The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550-1850. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804736589.