The most important jobs in the ancient Aztec empire were noble, priest and warrior, but there were a wide range of other jobs, including farmer, merchant and craftsman. Most young Aztec men became either warriors or farmers.Continue Reading
The Aztecs had a strictly hierarchical society. At the bottom of the hierarchy were servants and slaves, who primarily worked for the noble and priest classes. Above that, the common people held jobs as farmers, hunters and physical craftsmen, such as construction workers or boat builders. The other craftsmen and merchants formed a middle class. Most people in this middle class inherited their trades from a parent.
The upper class included the non-noble priests, government functionaries and warriors. Warriors made up a special class. Anyone with talent could be a warrior, and the most successful of this class could pass into the nobility. It was the only job an Aztec could take that would provide this kind of social mobility. Above this class was the noble class, restricted by birth to those of noble or royal blood. These people made up the highest level of the priesthood and the military as well as acting as a governing class.
Women were prohibited from most of these jobs. A woman was expected to be primarily a wife and mother. Weaving, a trade associated with women, was very important to the Aztecs, and most women also wove at home. In certain cases, a woman could be a merchant, midwife or priestess. Prostitution was a respectable career, although prostitutes could not marry. Women servants and slaves were common.Learn more about Ancient America