Brill’s New Pauly

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Social structure
(4,590 words)

[German version]

I. Ancient Near East

Social structure in the ancient Orient was determined by who controlled the fundamental means of production in an agrarian society, the arable land. The usual form of government in such societies was a patrimonial monarchy. Palaces and temples were the institutional centres dominating the economic and social structures and developments, especially in Egypt and Mesopotamia; all parts of society were directly or indir…

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Renger, Johannes (Berlin), Müller-Wollermann, Renate, Gehrke, Hans-Joachim (Freiburg), Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) and Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen), “Social structure”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 10 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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