- from Ancient India
From reading the Vedas, we know that Aryan society was split into four classes, or varnas. Each class was made up of families who did the same kinds of jobs. They had the same place in society, too.
At the top were the Brahmans, who were priests, followed by the Kshatriyas, who were warriors. Next came the Vaishyas. They were farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. The Shudras were the lowest class. Many were slaves or servants. Below the Shudras were people who did work no one else would do. They were called untouchables. When Europeans came to India many centuries later, they used the word caste to describe India’s strict social system.