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Lecture 5: Class Structure and Patronage

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Glenn Wilkinson

Class Structure and Patronage Patricians and Plebs  As Rome grew, it became more socially complex Senators and Equites  Horsemen, equestrians  Owned their own horses, weapons and armour  Wealthy non-senators  Hereditary  Managed their farms  Officers in the Roman army  Engaged in trade and commerce  Government contracts for collecting taxes  Senators were not allowed to do such things  Possible to be a senator  Senators disliked equites who rose to consulship Rural and Urban Poor  Small land owners made money selling produce o Extremely vulnerable to failure  Called to war  Farms pillaged  Often gave up their land and moved into the city o Became construction workers, doctors, teachers o Bare minimum payment, only enough to live o The wealth had their own private services o Aristocrats ran apartments for such people to live in  However, those apartments often collapsed or set on fire and were extremely dangerous  Large class gap Patronage  Reciprocal but unequal relationship between two individuals  Patron – physical and financial protection, legal representation  Client – giving gifts, visiting patr
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