- Only buildable by "American" cultures
Eagle warriors or eagle knights (Classical Nahuatl: cuāuhtli [ˈkʷaːwtɬi] (singular) or cuāuhmeh [ˈkʷaːwmeʔ] (plural)) were a special class of infantry soldier in the Aztec army, one of the two leading military 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" [maːseːwalːi] ( listen) were occasionally admitted for special merit. The eagles were soldiers of the Sun, for the eagle was the symbol of the Sun.
The life of Aztec warriors was one of constant battle, as the primary purpose for this continual warfare was to take prisoners to be sacrificed to their gods. As the Aztec Empire expanded, however, the expansion of the empire in size and power became increasingly important.