Zhou Dynasty Social Hierarchy

Zhou dynasty was an ancient Chinese dynasty which was preceded by the Qin dynasty and followed by the Shang dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted for a period which was more than the period which any other dynasty in China lasted for. Like any other royal hierarchy in China, the Zhou dynasty too followed a strict order or ranking among the social classes or the people. This order is known as the Zhou dynasty social hierarchy.

According to this system, the king or the emperor came at the top of the rankings and was the most powerful man of the dynasty. He was followed by the others members of the royal blood.  Then came the nobles and other classes. If you are interested in reading more about the Zhou dynasty social hierarchy, you can read the following given information.

zhou dynasty social hierarchyThe King

On the top of the dynasty came the king or the emperor. Only sons or relatives of kings could become kings in the future so that the royalty could be maintained.  The king was also referred to as the emperor and was the person with the highest power, highest wealth and highest respect in the kingdom.  He had the maximum rights and responsibilities in the Chinese royal system and was considered as the divine son of God.  He was the final decision maker and no one could question his decisions.

The Prince

Next in line in the social hierarchy of the Zhou dynasty was the Prince.  He was the successor to the throne of the King of China and received all the special training that could help him in his future.  Only after the king died or decided to hand over the powers could the prince become the King and rule over the kingdom.

The Nobles

After the royalty of the kingdom came the level of the Nobles.  The nobles were expected to serve the king throughout their life and were thus given special powers or responsibilities.  Even among the nobles, there was a certain social hierarchical system followed and it is given as follows:

  • Gong-these were the first members of the Chinese nobility and came from the Shang royal family.
  • Hou-this Lord of Qi was entitled with Hou status in Zhou dynasty.
  • Bo-this royal rank was given with the Lord of Qin.
  • Zi-this rank was granted to the Lord of Chu.
  • Nan-this was the lowest rank among Nobles of Zhou Dynasty.