Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control

Author(s): Ross Hassig

Year: 1988


J. Whittaker: Compiled from various sources. Atlatl predates Aztecs, although some myth claims they invented it, or credits god Opochtli. Surviving examples often ornate, perhaps for ceremonial occasions, ca. 2 feet long with hook and groove. Grips with loops, holes, or pegs. [Poor photo shows elaborate atlatl with apparently simple grip; codex drawing shows peg grips on atlatls used against Spanish] Darts made of oak and fletched, a variety of points used. Shown in art carried in hand, not quiver. Spanish sources say could penetrate armour. Suggests range over 55 meters, 60% more thrust than unaided spear [but all this is from old experiments of Browne, Howard, Peets]. Bows and slings also used in warfare.

Macuahuitl (obsidian edged wooden sword) also described, none survive, but 19th C illustration of one in Madrid armory does, and lots of contemporary illustrations.

Atlatl probably used as armies closed for hand to hand combat, after bow and sling barrage.

Cite this Record

Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Ross Hassig. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. 1988 ( tDAR id: 423364)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Atlatl bow & arrow Spear war Weapon

Geographic Keywords

Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -117.122; min lat: 14.551 ; max long: -86.739; max lat: 32.718 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager

Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 10175


Rights & Attribution: The information in this record was originally compiled by Dr. Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC Director.