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Cover of Everyday Life in the Aztec World co-written by Michael E. Smith
October 2020
Cambridge University Press

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Everyday Life in the Aztec World

Frances F. Berdan
Michael E. Smith

In "Everyday Life in the Aztec World," Frances Berdan and Michael E. Smith offer a view into the lives of real people, doing very human things, in the unique cultural world of Aztec central Mexico.

The first section focuses on people from an array of social classes — the emperor, a priest, a feather worker, a merchant, a farmer and a slave — who interacted in the economic, social and religious realms of the Aztec world.

In the second section, the authors examine four important life events where the lives of these and others intersected: the birth and naming of a child, market day, a day at court and a battle. Through the microscopic views of individual types of lives, and interweaving of those lives into the broader Aztec world, Berdan and Smith re-create everyday life in the final years of the Aztec Empire.


Michael E. Smith is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, where he also directs the ASU Teotihuacan Research Laboratory.

Praise for this book

"A vast amount of sociocultural information is cleverly interwoven in this carefully crafted narrative."

C. C. Kolb