The Aztec pipiltin (noble class) “wore cotton clothes, sandals, feather work, and jade ornaments, lived in two-storey stone houses, ate the flesh of human sacrifices, drank chocolate and fermented beverages (in moderation) in public, kept concubines, entered the royal palace at will, could eat in the palace dining hall, and performed special dances at public rituals. They did not pay taxes.”Bruce Trigger was a Canadian archaeologist, anthropologist and ethnohistorian. I got this quote from the book I’m reading at the moment, The Great Leveler:
Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
by Walter Scheidel. It’s a hard read, very dense, but worth persevering with. Scheidel offers evidence about various societies as far back as Ancient Sumeria (modern Iraq). A key point is that the wealthy have always used their control of governmental structures to enrich themselves and limit the rights and opportunities of everyone else.
The quote I’ve shared and Scheidel’s descriptions sound so much like the twenty-first century it’s uncanny. But then, as the Old Testament says, “there is nothing new under the sun.”