Perhaps because they were so enthusiastic about ritualistically slicing hearts out of their fellow humans, the Aztecs are rarely examined with much seriousness. This University of Texas collection seeks to correct that oversight, by chronicling the tenets of the legal system that sustained Aztec society until the conquistadors showed up. There is great stuff throughout, such as the bit about the Aztecs’ curious attitude toward alcohol consumption. (“Public drunkenness was punishable by death for younger individuals; however, elders could consume as much alcohol as they wished.”) My favorite part, though, deals with marital law, and includes the revelation that the Aztec definition of “traditional marriage” was rather loosey-goosey:
Marriage was conditional in that the parties could decide to separate or stay together after they had their first son. Marriages could also be unconditional and last for an indefinite period of time.
It’s fun to imagine the middle-aged dating scene in Tenochtitlan, replete with marriage vets who left the kids at home. Babysitting rates must have been through the roof.