Hinduism has influenced the social structure of Indian society through the caste system. Reincarnation is a core belief of Hinduism, and Hindu doctrine states that death could enter a person into a higher caste based on virtuous behavior. A person had little social mobility in India, and the only way to move ahead was through the next life.Know More
Evidence indicates that the Hindu caste system is referenced in the Vedas, which are ancient scriptures that form the core of Hindu thought. The two highest castes are Brahmin, meaning priests, and Kshatriya, who are the warriors and nobility. The lower castes include the Vaisya, who are artisans and traders, and the Shudra, who make up the servant class.
Those who fell outside of the caste system, otherwise known as untouchables, carried out jobs such as removing animal remains or working with leather. There were thousands of castes and sub-castes throughout Indian society.
According to Hindu thought, someone from the Shudra class could become a Brahmin in the next life. Souls could also be reincarnated in the form of other animals, which is why many Hindus practice vegetarianism.
Marriage to a person from another caste was forbidden, and people married within their own caste. A Brahmin could give food to the poor, but a priest would be tainted if he accepted certain foods from someone below his social standing. Untouchables were considered so polluted that their presence would contaminate another caste member.Learn more about Hinduism
There was a distinct difference between the social classes in ancient Songhai, with the emperor being at the top surrounded by wealthy, political and intellectual individuals; common citizens in the class below them; and slaves at the lower end of the social structure. At its peak, the Songhai Empire was the largest in existence in Africa, consisting of thousands of tribes.Full Answer >
The social structure of the Roman Empire was complex, stringent and hierarchical. The nature of the social classes was based on economic and political factors. Despite the demanding requisites for entry into the upper classes, there was a relative degree of mobility in Roman society.Full Answer >
The social structure that existed in Ancient China was based on an agricultural feudal system that consisted of a ruling class of kings, nobles and provincial warlords and, representing the largest portion of society, the peasants who farmed the land and usually turned over a portion of their crops to the ruling class. Religion was a powerful tool in maintaining control over Ancient Chinese society, which functioned in the manner of a theocracy. The dynastic rulers were believed to be the earthly representatives of the gods, and their appointment to the throne was based on lineage and ancestry.Full Answer >
When inhabitants of the Indus Valley fled their home, they spread Hinduism across the land when they resettled in India. To this date, archaeologists are not sure why the inhabitants left the Indus Valley in such a hurry.Full Answer >