What Ancient Civilization Had Social Classes?

Social class division has been an integral part of human societies since ancient times. In fact, many ancient civilizations had an elaborate social hierarchy that determined a person’s status and role in society. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ancient civilizations that had social classes.

1. Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is known for its magnificent pyramids, but it was also a civilization that had a well-defined social hierarchy. At the top of the pyramid were the pharaohs or kings who were considered to be divine beings.

Below them were nobles, priests, and government officials who held high positions in society. The middle class consisted of merchants and artisans while peasants and slaves formed the lower class.

2. Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks were known for their philosophy, art, and literature but they also had a complex social structure. At the top of the hierarchy were citizens who owned land and held political power. Below them were non-citizens such as women, children, and slaves who did not have any rights or privileges.

3. Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was one of the most powerful empires in history and it too had a strict social hierarchy. At the top were patricians or wealthy landowners who held political power. Plebeians or commoners formed the middle class while slaves made up the lower class.

4. Ancient India

Ancient India was home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations and it too had a caste system that determined a person’s status in society. The caste system was divided into four main categories – Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (laborers). Below them were untouchables or Dalits who were considered to be outside of the caste system and were often treated as outcasts.

5. Ancient China

Ancient China had a feudal system that was based on social classes. At the top were the emperor and his family who held absolute power.

Below them were government officials, scholars, and wealthy landowners. The middle class consisted of merchants and artisans while peasants formed the lower class.


In conclusion, many ancient civilizations had a social hierarchy that divided people into different classes based on their status and occupation. While some societies were more egalitarian than others, social class division was a common feature of ancient civilizations. Understanding the social structure of these ancient societies provides us with valuable insights into their way of life and culture.