The society of ancient China was divided into several categories based on various factors that included occupation, social class, and gender. The hierarchical structure of the society was rigidly maintained and enforced by the ruling class. In this article, we will take a closer look at how the society of ancient China was divided.
Social Classes in Ancient China
The social classes in ancient China were broadly classified into four categories:
- The ruling class
- The aristocrats
- The commoners
- The slaves
The Ruling Class:
The ruling class in ancient China consisted of the emperor and his immediate family members. They were considered to be at the top of the social hierarchy and wielded immense power over the entire empire.
The aristocrats, also known as the nobles, were individuals who held high positions in government or served as advisors to the emperor. They enjoyed several privileges such as exemption from taxes and had access to luxurious lifestyles.
The commoners formed the vast majority of the population in ancient China. They were further divided into subcategories based on their occupation such as farmers, merchants, artisans, etc.
Slavery was prevalent in ancient China, and slaves were considered to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. They were often captured during wars or sold by impoverished families.
Gender Roles in Ancient China
Gender roles played a significant role in defining one’s place in society during ancient times. Men held more power and authority than women and were thus considered superior.
Men had access to education and enjoyed greater opportunities for employment compared to women. They had complete control over their households and were the sole decision-makers.
Women, on the other hand, were expected to be submissive to men and fulfill their duties as wives and mothers. They had limited access to education and were restricted from participating in public life.
In conclusion, the society of ancient China was divided into several categories based on various factors such as occupation, social class, and gender. The hierarchical structure of the society was rigidly maintained by the ruling class, which ensured that each person knew their place in society. While there were some opportunities for upward mobility, it was rare and required significant effort on one’s part.