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Class Structure and Patronage.docx

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Kevin Wilkinson

Class Structure and Patronage Patricians and Plebs  Does not map out a distinction of rich and poor o Some plebs as wealthy as patricians Senators and Equites (Equestrians, Knights)  Equites means horsemen and is derived from the census  The top centuries contained men who were wealthy enough to supply the army, their own weapons and armor and horses.  Minimum 400K in currency  18 equestrian centuries would vote in the Centuriate assembly  Equites eventually referred to anyone at the top of the military  Late republic: c. 1st c. BCE, there was a distinction between equites and senators o Senators held high office o Equites were wealthy people but who did not hold high, political offices o Distinction became hereditary  Equites derived income from their agricultural estates. o Served as officers in the roman army o Engaged intrade and commerce, on a large scale internationally o Sometimes Purchased government contracts, especially for tax collections  Senators were forbidden of engaging in international commerce in 218 BCE o Also forbidden in purchasing government contracts  Equestrians came to dominate the business sphere of yo man society  A man of the equestrian kick class could rise as a senator if he had the inclination and right connects  Could be elected into Quaestorship and then move his way up.  Senatorial class did not like a new man rising to the top  Augustus instituted a further distinction between the two o To qualify for the senate, one had to own property at least worth 1 million o To qualify for the equestrian order, one had to own 400K Rural and Urban Poor  In the countryside, small landowners would make a living selling their produce  Small farmers were extremely vulnerable to failure o Could be called away to enlist in the army at any time o If there was a single bad harvest, it could bring financial ruin o Plots could be bought out by patricians o During warfare, foreign invading armies could pillage their property  Small farmers often gave up there land and either worked for someone else with a larger farm or move to the city to find work  In the city, there was a wide variety of professions o Construction, service, maintenance, etc. o Most professions allowed for mere sustainable living  To house the masses in Rome while building profit, wealthy men would build apartment complexes  No public infrastructure o Led to high crime, unemployment, etc.  wealthy had their own private tutors, doctors, body guards, etc.  Huge gap between the rich and everybody else Patronage (Patron and Clients)  Patronage is a reciprocal but unequal relationship between two individuals o One of higher status (patron) and one of lower status (client) o Relationship consisted of an exchange of favors between the two  This relationship was informal but deeply rooted o A serious breach of protocol for either party to neglect their duties  Patron provided physical and financial protection as well as would take up legal affairs in court  The client owned honor and services to his patron o Included giving gifts, visiting patron at home or following them in the streets o Would also support patron if running for office  Patronage could be beneficial to both parties when it worked  When it didn't, it displayed how a client could be exploited  As Rome became larger and more complex, the patronage network became more complex o A chain of patronage emerged o
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