Sumer Social Hierarchy

Sumerians were the people who belonged to the Mesopotamia civilizations and times. Sumer was a region in which the Sumerians resided and as history would tell us, the city rose up around the shrine of the God.  As a whole, the Sumerians were a rich and wealthy lot who had abundance of food, wealth, resources and led a comfortable life.

Within the Sumerians, there was a certain social hierarchy structure which developed as a result of distinction in wealth among the people. For example, those who owned the maximum amounts of money were placed on the top of the pyramid whereas those who were not as affluent took up the lower levels.  There are four major social classes among the Sumers and they were given as follows:

  • sumer social hierarchyThe priest
  • The upper class
  • The middle or Freeman class
  • The slaves

Let’s read more about the social hierarchy of the Sumerians:

The Priests

Priests during the Sumer era were the most powerful people and also the most important.  The priests were responsible for keeping the Gods happy and told people how to conduct themselves.  They were also the local doctors who cured people of the many diseases and ailments.  They shaved their heads so that they could be identified by all.

The Upper Class

The upper class, as the name suggests was the highest ranking class among the Sumerians after the Priests and was the class of people who were rich, wealthy and powerful. The upper class owned the maximum money and were respected by all. They were affluent and powerful and included nobles, low level priests and government officials.  Even the warriors during those days were highly respected and hence formed a part of the Upper Class.

The Middle Class or the Freeman Class

The next class was the class of the freeman. The people who belonged to this class were involved in high paying jobs but were not as affluent, rich or powerful as the upper class. This class mainly consisted or traders, merchants and the artisans who earned as per their skill in business, trading or manufacturing. The middle class had to work hard to make their lives comfortable but still had plenty to eat and spend.

The Slaves

The class which came at the bottom of the pyramid was the class of the slaves. The slaves were owned by the upper class people and were given this status as punishment for the crimes committed by them.