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Aztec Writing

Aztec Writings Origins and History

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Writing and Technology
Aztec and Nahuatl Writing

These drawings were used to disseminate information and knowledge which was passed in the oral and pictographic form from previous generations to the next ones. A good part of their education did not require Aztec writing. For instance, the basic military training was a practical aspect of education and did not need any help from Aztec writing.

The Pictographic system was central to Aztec writing and this was the main way of transferring knowledge and information in Aztec society. There was a separate profession of codex painting in Aztec society and the painters received proper training at schools for the nobility called calmecas.

These schools also took some common children who displayed exceptional talent for pictography. Pictographs were used for recording important events, tracing genealogies of the ruling class, recording court processing, and for other details. Aztec writing sometimes also made of phonetic rebuses in order to bring out the meaning of a concept. This was done when it was difficult to depict a concept graphically. In these cases, a logogram was used for its phonetic value instead of its meaning in order to represent another root, suffix, or syllable which sounded identical to the logogram.

In the absence of a proper writing script, this was a reliable way of conveying the meaning of difficult concepts. Aztec pictographs, which constituted the unique Aztec writing system different from the writing system containing alphabets, were recorded in various codices which acted as a primary source of Aztec culture.

A lot of these codices were actually written in the colonial era but made abundant use of Aztec pictographs existing during the pre-Columbian era. To keep record of personal names, places, and historical events, Aztec writing made use of pictorial logograms. It consisted of a cycle of days which were represented by a combination of numbers from 1 to 13 in addition to one of the twenty day signs.

When symbols looked very similar, they could easily be told apart by their colours. Of course, with modern technology and the availability of colour in computer screens and TV sets, colour is becoming more important in all languages around the world.

Even on this page colour is used to split up various parts of the text to make it easier to read. When telling a story, there wouldn't usually be a long line of glyphs, but rather a page with a few, positioned in such a way as to tell a story. It was kind of like looking at a scene in a story, a photograph of one moment. The glyphs would be used to remind you of various aspects of the story, and you would have to fill in the blanks. Below is the symbol for "flint". If it just means flint, that's an pictogram.

But it was also a calendar symbol, representing a specific day. Next is a combined symbol, tree and teeth. It means, literally, place with lots of avacados. The teeth are read as tlan , and ahuacatl is the avacado tree. The glyph actually means Ahuacatlan , a place name. Flint Teeth Tree Ahuacatlan. The Aztecs counted by 20s as we usually count by 10s.

They would use dots, as you can see on the Aztec calendar. Aztecs also used continuous year-count annals to record anything that would occur during that year. All the years are painted in a sequence and most of the years are generally in a single straight line that reads continually from left to right. Events, such as solar eclipses, floods, droughts, or famines, are painted around the years, often linked to the years by a line or just painted adjacent to them.

Specific individuals were not mentioned often, but unnamed humans were often painted in order to represent actions or events. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Aztec Type Pictographic and glyphs. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. The word made stone: Everyday Life of The Aztecs. Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central America. Preclassic Mesoamerica" online facsimile.

Victoria Reifler Bricker general editor. University of Texas Press. Daily Life of the Aztecs: On the Eve of the Spanish Conquest. Types of writing systems. History of writing Grapheme.

Jurchen Khitan large script Sui Tangut. Japanese Korean Two-Cell Chinese.


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Aztec or Nahuatl writing is a pictographic and ideographic pre-Columbian writing system with significant number of logograms and syllabic signs which was used in central Mexico by the Nahua people.

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The Aztecs didn’t have a writing system as we know it, instead they used pictograms, little pictures that convey meaning to the reader. Pictography combines pictograms and ideograms—graphic symbols or pictures that represent an idea, much like cuneiform or hieroglyphic or Japanese or Chinese characters.

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Kids learn about the Writing and Technology of the Aztec Empire including their calendar, agriculture, and medicine. Maya Inca Aztec Writing Systems Mayan hieroglyphics are like no other type of writing system found in the ancient Americas. Mayan words were developed by using various combinations of glyphs. Both the Mayans and the Aztecs used logographs which stood for entire words or concepts. This system worked much the same way as texting does.

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Aztec Writing Pictographic System The Pictographic system was central to Aztec writing and this was the main way of transferring knowledge and information in Aztec society. There was a separate profession of codex painting in Aztec society and the painters received proper training at schools for the nobility called calmecas. The best documented and deciphered Mesoamerican writing system, and the most widely known, they did not use the long count calendar characteristic of other southeast Mesoamerican writing systems. Other post-classic cultures such as the Aztec did not have fully developed writing systems.