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Aztecs are a people and culture of ancient Central America. What is often referred to as “Aztec” should properly be understood with the much more limited referent, Tenochca. Aztec is a term constructed in the 19th century to refer to the culture of an empire ruled by an alliance of three cities in the Basin of Mexico. The Tenochca lineage, a subgroup of the Mexica, held the lead position in the Aztec Triple Alliance. Much of what we recognize today as Aztec religion, therefore, should properly be considered the religion of one ethnicity—that of the Tenochca—inflated to constitute a state religion. This entry reviews some Aztec and Tenochca religions as well as some of their ideological descendants.

Origins

During the postclassic period (900–1500 CE), the dominant lineages ...

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