Jaguar warrior

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An Aztec Jaguar warrior Jaguar warrior.jpg
An Aztec Jaguar warrior

Jaguar warriors or jaguar knights, ocēlōtlNahuatl pronunciation:  [oˈseːloːt͡ɬ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) (singular) [1] or ocēlōmeh [oseːˈloːmeʔ] (plural) [1] were members of the Aztec military elite. [2] They were a type of Aztec warrior called a cuāuhocēlōtl [kʷaːwoˈseːloːt͡ɬ] . [3] The word cuāuhocēlōtl derives from the eagle warrior cuāuhtli [ˈkʷaːwt͡ɬi] and the Jaguar Warrior ocēlōtl. [3] They were an elite military unit similar to the eagle warriors.

The plural, in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical category of number. Plural of nouns typically denote a quantity other than the default quantity represented by a noun, which is generally one. Most commonly, therefore, plurals are used to denote two or more of something, although they may also denote more than fractional, zero or negative amounts. An example of a plural is the English word cats, which corresponds to the singular cat.

Aztec warfare

Aztec warfare concerns the aspects associated with the militaristic conventions, forces, weaponry and strategic expansions conducted by the Late Postclassic Aztec civilizations of Mesoamerica, including particularly the military history of the Aztec Triple Alliance involving the city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, Tlacopan and other allied polities of the central Mexican region.

Eagle warrior

Eagle warriors or eagle knights were a special class of infantry soldier in the Aztec army, one of the two leading military special forces orders in Aztec society. They were a type of Aztec warrior called a cuāuhocēlōtl[kʷaːwoˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. The word cuāuhocēlōtl derives from the eagle warrior cuāuhtli and the jaguar warrior ocēlōtl[oˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. These military orders were made up of the bravest soldiers of noble birth and those who had taken the greatest number of prisoners in battle. Of all of the Aztec warriors, they were the most feared. Eagle warriors, along with the jaguar warriors, were the only such classes which did not restrict access solely to the nobility, as commoners or, in Nahuatl, "mācēhualli" Nahuatl pronunciation: [maːseːwalːi] were occasionally admitted for special merit.


The jaguar motif was used due to the belief the jaguar represented Tezcatlipoca. Aztecs also wore this dress at war because they believed the animal's strengths would be given to them during battles.[ citation needed ] Jaguar warriors were used at the battlefront in military campaigns. They were also used to capture prisoners for sacrifice to the Aztec gods. [2] Many statues and images (in pre-Columbian and post-Columbian codices) of these warriors have survived. [4] They fought with a wooden club studded with obsidian volcanic glass blades, called a macuahuitl. They also used spears and atlatls.

North American jaguar subspecies of big cat native to the Americas

The North American jaguar is a jaguar population in North America, from the southwestern United States to Central America. This population has declined over decades.

Tezcatlipoca deity

Tezcatlipoca was a central deity in Aztec religion, and his main festival was the Toxcatl ceremony celebrated in the month of May. One of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, he is associated with a wide range of concepts, including the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty, war and strife. His name in the Nahuatl language is often translated as "Smoking Mirror" and alludes to his connection to obsidian, the material from which mirrors were made in Mesoamerica which were used for shamanic rituals and prophecy. Another talisman related to Tezcatlipoca was a disc worn as a chest pectoral. This talisman was carved out of abalone shell and depicted on the chest of both Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca in codex illustrations.

To become a jaguar warrior, a member of the Aztec army had to capture a total of four enemies from battles. [5] This was said to honor their gods in a way far greater than killing enemy soldiers in the battlefield. For a warrior to kill an enemy was considered clumsy.


The formal education of the Aztecs was to train and teach young boys how to function in their society as warriors. The Aztecs had no standing army, so every boy not of noble birth was trained to become a warrior. All boys who were between the ages of ten and twenty years old would attend one of the two schools. These two schools were the Telpochcalli (the neighborhood school for commoners) and the Calmecac, the exclusive school for nobles. [6] At the Telpochcalli students would learn the art of warfare, and would become warriors. At the Calmecac students would be trained to become military leaders, priests, government officials, etc. Trades such as farming and artisan skills were not taught at these schools.

At the age of 15, sons of commoners would be sent to a Telpochcalli within their neighborhood. Here, boys would be trained in the art of warfare and accustomed to military life. The instructors at these schools were veteran warriors who had experience in warfare and leadership. The schools focused on bravery and included a great deal of physical effort and intense pain to increase the strength and stamina of the students. Manual labor included transporting goods such as branches for firewood. The longer the student had attended the school, the more branches he would be expected to carry. This test of carrying firewood would be used to determine if the boy would do well in warfare.

Other manual labor tasks carried out from the Tepochcalli would be community projects. These projects would mainly consist of cleaning areas, building walls, digging canals, and farming. From these projects students would work hard to complete tasks, and gain physical experience needed to engage in warfare. The students of this school would also be used to transport shields, food, military supplies, weapons, armor, and wood to warriors on the battlefield. The reason for forcing the students to be near the battlefield was to make them fearless of warfare. Students were under heavy surveillance at all times. If a student was caught leaving training their punishment would be severe. Often, they would be beaten and their hair removed. By removing their hair they would remove any sign of them being a warrior. Drinking pulque was prohibited; if caught, the student could be beaten to death. Relationships outside of the school were also prohibited; if a student was caught sleeping with a woman, they would be beaten to death.

<i>Pulque</i> Alcoholic beverage

Pulque['pulke] , or octli, is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. It is traditional to central Mexico, where it has been produced for millennia. It has the color of milk, somewhat viscous consistency and a sour yeast-like taste.

Life as a jaguar warrior

Following the warrior's path was one of the few ways to change one's social status in Aztec culture. Eagle and Jaguar warriors were full-time warriors who worked for the city-state to protect merchants and the city itself. They were expected to be leaders and commanders both on and off the battlefield, and acted as sort of a police force for the city. Men who reached this rank were considered as nobles and elites of society, and were granted many of the same privileges as a noble. They were allowed to drink pulque , have concubines, and dine at the royal palace. Jaguar warriors also participated in gladiatorial sacrifices.

Gladiatorial sacrifice

The gladiatorial sacrifice was a giant spectacle the entire city would attend. The captives would be paraded in the streets followed by eagle and jaguar warriors to the sacrifice stone. The eagle and jaguar warriors would dance around the captives and display their shields and weapons to the crowds. Once they brought the captives to the sacrifice stone, they would be tied down to it to be ceremonially killed. The captives would be forced to drink pulque to intoxicate them. They would be painted and given a sword and a shield along with four cudgels to throw. The warriors would then attack the victim who was tied down to the sacrifice stone with an obsidian laced club. The club would be used for ceremonial use and would be decorated with feathers. He would be attacked by several warriors one at a time and then, if still alive, would be attacked by all four together. The warriors which fought during the gladiatorial sacrifice would be eagle and jaguar warriors. If the captive fought off all of them, he would then have to defend himself against a left handed warrior. If captives were not killed this way, then they would be killed the following day by the offering priests. The gladiatorial sacrifice was done as a ceremony, for the return of warriors with their captives. The gladiatorial sacrifices were held during the month of the Feast of the Flaying of Men.

See also

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  1. 1 2 Nahuatl Dictionary. (1997). Wired Humanities Project. University of Oregon. Retrieved September 5, 2012, from link
  2. 1 2 Jaguar Warriors. Ixmiquilpan. Mexico murals Archived 2009-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  3. 1 2 Sánchez-Murillo, R. (2012). La palabra universal. Ricardo Sánchez-Murillo. Retrieved September 5, 2012, from link Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine .
  4. Pre-Columbian Stock Photography, Pre-Hispanic Stock Photos, Mesoamerican Travel Photos Archived 2007-04-17 at the Wayback Machine
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