Thursday, September 25, 2008

#12 Social Condition Of People

If we pass from the architecture of the period to its social condition, we remark that grades of society already existed, and were as pronounced as in later times. The kings were already deities, and treated with superstitious regard. The state-officials were a highly privileged class, generally more or less connected with the royal family. The land was partly owned by the king (Gen. xlvii. 6), who employed his own labourers and herdsmen upon it; partly, mainly perhaps, it was in the hands of great landed proprietors—nobles, who lived in country houses upon their estates, maintaining large households, and giving employment to scores of peasants, herdsmen, artizans, huntsmen, and fishermen. The "lower orders" were of very little account. They were at the beck and call of the landed aristocracy in the country districts, of the state-officials in the towns. Above all, the monarch had the right of impressing them into his service whenever he pleased, and employing them in the "great works" by which he strove to perpetuate his name.

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