The caste system is a social institution that was first devised in the early Indian states to separate one group of people from another.
  • At the top were the Brahmin (priests, scholars, teachers)
  • Next were the Kshatriyas (kings/rulers, warriors)
  • Then the Vaishyas (agriculturalists, merchants)
  • After them were the Shudras (artisans, other skilled workers)
  • At the bottom were the Dalits or the Untouchables (peasantry [sometimes not even considered a part of the caste system altogether])
external image caste%20system.jpg- though not completely rigid and accommodated foreigners, however difficult to move upwards, not so much down
- Jati (sub caste) further described the hierarchy as people saw other jobs as lower and individuals gained recognition for their jati
- by the Gupta era, child marriage was common, putting women under the authority of older men and encouraged them to remain devoted to family
- however, married women ruled the home.

Other hierarchies varied because of area and evolution through time.

Slaves occur in all these stratifications. They are conquered peoples, people captured at war, people that had sold themselves into slavery to absolve their debts, or (as in Persia) people that participated in revolts or resisted the initial take over. Racial slavery doesn't come until the age of exploration.

The oppression of women also occurs, though exists in differing degrees.

Mesopotamian States:
  • King
  • Priests
  • Commoners
  • Slaves
- women legally subordinate but still had rights under the code of Hammurabi
- progressively lost these after 2000 BCE
- kings won their spot by military prowess

African Kingdoms:

Egypt and Nubia:
  • Pharaoh (or Ruler)
  • Government Officials and Priests
  • Commoners
  • Slaves
- women were considered subordinate, but held rights to property, divorce, and the kids among other things
- allowed to rule, more often than not, alongside of male kings
- Nubia remained more liberal, women ruled more often without male kings
- both allotted royal women as regents and allowed priestesses to head religious cults

Chinese Empire:
  • Ruling Elites
  • Free Artisans and Merchants
  • Peasants
  • Slaves
- originally, even if they were still subordinate, the woman’s line of descent gave men their public authority, and so there was a motive to honor them
- after Shang dynasty, women lived solely in the shadow of men
- during the Han dynasty, filial piety and strict feminine virtues were considered the foundations of a stable society
- sharp distinctions in land distribution between the wealthy and peasant lead the social tensions and rebellions
-Yellow Turban Rising was one such occasion

Persian Empire:

  • Military Elites
  • Imperial Bureaucrats
  • Free Commoners
  • Slaves
- Persian elites were forced the observe relative tolerance of conquered peoples because of the size and number of different peoples there had strung together
- so the classes remain fluid; except for the slaves

Grecian States:
Spartan:
  • Elected Council
  • Citizen
  • Helot (peasant)
- theoretically all citizens were equal and given equal chance to be elected into the Council of Five Hundred, but status was won by military prowess
-women had more freedoms/rights than other Grecian states
Athenian:
  • Government Officials
  • Aristocrat
  • Citizens
  • Slaves
- after Solon slavery was abolished and government offices were open to all citizens
- citizens were only adult free males
- Greek women were always under the authority of some male: father, husband, and even their own sons
- the exception being Sparta, where women were still legally subordinate, but enjoyed many allowances (completion in athletic contests, walking alone and unveiled, fighting for the protection of the Polis)
- the husband decided on matters like where or not to abandon a new baby
- however aristocratic women often received formal education and few earned reputations for their literature

Roman Empire:
  • Two Counsels (or Dictator during times of war)
  • Patricians
  • Plebeians
  • Slaves
- after Julius Caesar, the Counsels where replaced with an emperor
- despite the power put into the eldest male of the family; such as determining work and executing family members as he saw fit, the wife ruled the house and played large roles in managing the family
- women often received inheritance despite it being illegal (through loop holes or inconsistent reinforcement)
- by the first century women dealt with the financial affairs at home
- slaves counted for enough of the population that revolts were rampant, however quickly put down
- urban slaves were often freed by the age of thirty
- if slaves possessed an education or a extraordinary talent they could live comfortable lives
- slaves could earn their freedom though becoming gladiators, though not many survived long enough to get there

Byzantine Empire:

  • Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Emperor
  • High Officials and Generals
  • Merchants
  • Free Peasants and Sharecroppers
  • Slaves
- girls were given the same education as the boys
- women were housed in separate apartments and did not participate in anything involving wine or outings

The major difference between many of these hierarchies and the caste system is religion. The caste system is solely based for the development of a person's spirit to reach nirvana. The higher in the system you are, the closer to spiritual release. Mesopotamian states and African kingdoms share a slight similarity with the Indian hierarchy in that the religious priests accumulated more status and that the rulers were considered divine or close to divinity. But it's the Byzantine Empire's stratification that looks the most alike to the caste system.
For instance the head of each group:
- Caste System = Brahmin (primarily teachers and scholars of Hinduism)
- Byzantine Empire = Patriarch of Constantinople (Christian religious figure)
Ergo, each social class held their respective religions in high esteem.​

Also, women were veiled and safe guarded to ensure virginity, modesty, and virtue.

The other hierarchies are separated purely by profession, wealth, and political influence.

By:
Jake Gomrick (jake.gomrick.chs)
Ray Organ (ray.organ.CHS)
Gabi Pietkiewicz (gabi.pietkiewicz.chs)

Evaluate By: Nate Hoffman, Sydney Brehm, and Jordan Vaughan
  • spelling was revised severely, as well as sentence structuring
  • reworded sentences
  • content was mostly accurate


Evaluated by:
Kyana Van Houten:
Good job! It has a lot of pretty good info and I like the way you structured it.
Olivia Lillegraven:
i liked the structure and bulleting
good information
maybe add more on the people in the sections
Josh Williams:
Really well done, the structure made it very easy to read and comprehend.