- from Ancient Persia
Persian society had strict divisions. At the top was an all-powerful king. Even nobles who approached the king had to lie face down and not look him in the eye.
Below the king were a few thousand wealthy nobles. Below them on the social scale were merchants. They traded purple dyes and textiles from Phoenicia, perfumes from Arabia (modern Saudi Arabia and lands north), and timber from Crete. They also brought grains and glass from Egypt, and spices and gold dust from India. A small lower middle class included skilled workers such as bakers, butchers, carpenters, and artisans. At the bottom were millions of poor people. Farmhands, herders, servants, and laborers worked hard. But they made barely enough to keep themselves alive.
Most Persians lived in the country. The king owned all the land, but he let nobles have big estates, and they gave him men and weapons for his army.