The feudal system of the Parthians had a Scythian as well as an Achaemenid background, and roughly resembled feudalism as developed in Europe during the “Dark Ages.” Society was headed by seven powerful clans. This upper stratum supported a petty aristocracy of varied socio-economic status who, together with their retainers, enjoyed status well above the peasants and serfs who were native Persians. Loyalty was strongest between the great clan leaders and their small vassals. The king, as a member of one of the clans, could usually command complete loyalty from his own clan and its vassals, less from other Parthians.
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