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What were the social classes in the Middle Ages?

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shahj | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:05 AM via web

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What were the social classes in the Middle Ages?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 18, 2008 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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While there was a small or limited middle-class, consisting of merchants and skilled trades people, broadly speaking there were two general social classes in the Middle Ages. The much smaller class, the class everyone wishes they were part of when I think about the Middle Ages, is the upper class or the nobility. This would be the local lords, the dukes, and of course, the kings and queens. The much larger class is the lower class or peasants. These peasants, who made up the overwhelming majority of the population, worked the land directly. That is to say they farmed from morning to night. 

Aside from these classes, the clergy might be considered semi-independently. For the most part, the higher ranks of the clergy equated to the nobility. A bishop would be like a duke.

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