The graphic above shows the basic hierarchy in Assyrian society.
King (in the case of the picture Pharaoh)
Top of the society.
Government Officials, Nobles,and Priests
The priests were in charge of managing the religious business of the kingdom. The nobles helped the king rule and would take over when he died. The government workers took care of the day to day operations of the kingdom.
The soldiers defended the city. They were a strong force in the region. They took over many different countries and city states. They were so well known for their brutality that all other countries stopped resisting.
The scribes recorded every day history and important events. They kept track of military actions including what the soldiers looted and their acts of brutality.
The merchants were traders and every day business owners.
The artisans made clay tablets for the scribes, weapons for warriors, and tools for farmers, metalsmiths, and blacksmiths. Many carvings and pieces of art have survived into today. This gives us a glance back to see what life in ancient Assyria looked like.
Everyone relied on the farmers. If there wasn't enough food, people would die or starve. They produced the food for all of the different levels of soicety.
Slaves and Servants
Once a slave always a slave. (Unless your master freed you, of course!) You could become a slave in three ways: you could be born a slave, you could become a slave by disobeying the laws(yes they had laws back then!), OR you could be captured fighting for a city. If you were captured, you tended to do more of the hard work that the Assyrian slaves don't want to do.