The social structure in ancient Egypt was a very hierarchical one. It was very much in the shape of a pyramid with a very small elite at the top and a mass of people in the lower classes at the bottom. At the top, of course, was the pharaoh. He was the ruler, considered to be divine. There were other members of the ruling class just under him. Below the rulers were the merchants and the artisans. These were people who were relatively skilled and therefore more prosperous and important. Finally, there was a massive lower class. Most of these people were serfs who worked the land for the nobles and for the religious establishments.