Social Systems

All civilizations have a complex organization known as a social structure (system). The social structure is made up of the different jobs and social levels found in a given civilization. Higher levels enjoy a greater status than those in the lower levels.

Several classes have made up the various structures found in different Mesopotamian city-states. Even with the differences between them, there were some common levels to all the structures. At the top level were the priests, kings, landowners, and government officials. They would own the largest homes and live near the center of the city. The middle level consisted of the merchants and artisans, farmers and fishers. Artisans were skilled craftsman who made swords and arrows for the army as well as tools like plows for farmers. Many would craft jewelry and other luxury items for the upper class. Merchants bought and sold goods or offered services. In times of war, many people living in the middle levels were forced to serve in the army. The bottom level were slaves; they lived in the smallest homes and owned very little property.

Social Structures