I asked this question on r/askhistorians but apparently the nature of the question was incompatible with their guidelines. What do you guys think? I'm really curious about these seemingly nebulous ideas.

In almost every culture, it seems that there have been different classes, with some being more powerful than others. Additionally, there have been many classes of nobility that have existed independently of the governing class. What are the different ways these groups have obtained their relative power over time?

As an example, ancient Egypt had a centralized command economy, and a noble class. Did these nobles still somehow own land? I think there are many other questions that flow from that one alone. How did people acquire wealth in different cultures and economic models over time?

Are there even other ways that some groups gained social power, independent of wealth? This might open up a deeper question. How do historians define power? How do they define nobility? Surely being a noble in feudalistic Europe means something different than being part of a noble line in ancient Persia right?

Source: reddit post


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