Ancient Mayan Social Hierarchy

The Mayan civilization was one of the most famous and mysterious Mesoamerican civilization. The Mayan civilization was known well for the only fully developed written language along with its exquisite architecture, mathematical, artistic and astronomical systems. The ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure may be briefly stated as follows. The top of the ladder was constituted by priests and kings along with royal families who lived in the palaces. Then were the wealthy nobles placed on the second level. Commoners and officers were at the next level in the hierarchy. The bottom of ladder incorporated the servants and workers. In the end were slave who lived a miserable life. The ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure is described below in brief with a little description.

Ancient Mayan Social Hierarchy

Ancient Mayan Social Hierarchy

  • Upper Class – The people who were considered superior to other people were categorized in the upper class and it included king, priests and nobles that are described as below:
    • Kings – The highest power and authority holder in the ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure was the king. These people were considered son of the god and everyone was required to obey the king without any doubt in the mind. The order of the king’s was divine order and no one was allowed to deceive that order.
    • Priests – The next rank in the ladder of ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure is of priests. Religion played a significant and crucial role in the society of Mayans. Majorly all walks of life were regulated by the religion. That is why it was accepted that the priests were considered to be the most important out of all the people. Only they possessed the right to intervene in the decisions of the king.
    • Nobles – The nobles acquired this position on hereditary basis and assisted the Kings with major decision-making process. The noble class was small in number but very powerful.
  • Middle Class – The middle class as the name implies lies lower to upper class and is described as below:
    • Officers and Commoners – This group made the middle class within the ancient Mayan society. This class was made of professionals, officials, bureaucrats, merchants and artisans.
  • Lower Class – The lowest class of the ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure incorporates workers, slaves and servants. These are described below –
    • Workers and Servants – This was the lowest category in the ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure since slaves were not even considered a part of the social system. These people worked for the upper class for performing their day-to-day work which was considered unimportant by the society.
    • Slaves – The people who possessed zero rights, power and authority and were forced to lead a miserable life were slaves. These were bought servants who were treated like animals. They were to work only under the orders of their owners. These poor people were not even allowed to defend themselves in case they got beaten up by their owner.

One Comment »

  1. Whitley Tineo June 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    thank you so much! The information was concise and well explained.

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