- from Ancient Persia
Persian society was strictly divided by class. At the top was an all-powerful king. Even nobles who approached him had to lie face down and not look him in the eye.
Below the king were a few thousand rich nobles. On the social scale below them 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. There was a small lower middle class. It was made up of skilled workers such as bakers, butchers, and carpenters. At the bottom were millions of poor people. Farmhands, herders, servants, and laborers worked hard. But they made barely enough to live.
Most Persians lived in the country. The king owned all the land. He granted large estates to nobles. They had to give the king men and weapons for his army.