Kinship and Family Law in Mexico-Tenochtitlan

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Issue of Scientific Journal No. 2014-01
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  • Source Type: Journal
  • Document Type: Study
  • Document Language: Spanish
  • Published on: 31. 3. 2014
  • File Format: PDF
  • File Size: 880 kB

Peter Vyšný

In: Societas et iurisprudentia • 2014 • Volume 2 • Issue 1 • Pages 50-82 • ISSN 1339-5467

Abstract: The article deals with the kinship system and the family law of the Aztecs/Nahuas, the inhabitants of the prehispanic central Mexican urban state Tenochtitlan. Aztecs viewed the kinship as a rope that ties people to each other, whereas the family did not (at least primarily) understand as personal ties, but as household. Both structure and terminology of the Aztec kinship were rich and complex. The Aztec family law was a traditional customary law that the legislation of the Aztec state had affected only to a limited extent. To marry and to have children was considered a bounded duty of all Aztecs except for priests. Polygyny wasn’t prohibited, but the majority of Aztecs preferred a monogamous marriage. Monogamous marriage could be either temporary or for indefinite periods. The marriage for indefinite periods was entered into by special ceremonies performed by the groom, bride and their parents, without the presence of any official or priest. In principle, Aztec wives were neither personally, nor in the economic sense essentially subjected to their husbands. Divorce was allowed but strongly deprecated by the society. Parental authority included a number of rights. It disappeared with the marriage of the child.

Key Words: Aztecs; Tenochtitlan; Kinship; Family; Family Law; Mexico.


Bibliographic Citation

VYŠNÝ, P. El sistema de parentesco y el derecho familiar en México-Tenochtitlán. Societas et iurisprudentia [online]. 2014, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 50-82 [cit. 2020-01-01]. ISSN 1339-5467. Available at: