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CLA233H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Vulgus, Tribune, Laurentum

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Carrie Fulton
Study Guide

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CLA233 All Readings
CLA233 Midterm Readings
CLA233 Week 2: Class & Status Readings
Shelton nos. 2, 5, 7, 11, 13, 200, 206, 209, 215, 216, 225, 226, 227, 232, 233, 236, 237, 240
I: The Structure of Roman Society
Class Structure
- Factors determining class structure:
o Wealth
o Freedom
Free persons
Patricians male members of wealthier families
o Formed Rome’s earliest aristocracy
Plebeians everyone else not of senatorial class
o Could not serve hold many political positions
Nobiles expanded aristocracy controlling Rome’s wealth and
government made of both patricians and plebeians
o Roman citizenship
- Social divisions were sustained by laws
- Main source of wealth came from land ownership and sale of products from agricultural
- Wealthy Romans believed themselves to be superior to the poor in every way
- Despite Rome being a ‘republic’ it was ruled by an aristocracy formed of senatorial
o Republic res publica (l) the public matter
o Julius Caesar’s dictatorship threatened the position of the senators who killed him to
preserve aristocracy. Similarly, the main opposition for Augustus’s rule came from the
threat he posed to aristocracy
- Cicero and others believe that aristocracy was the best form of government if they were
the aristocrats
Shelton 2: Cicero, About the Republic 1.34.52-53
- Cicero in 1st BCE writes about the advantages of aristocracy over monarchy or
o Arete (g) virtue
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Aristoi (g) the most excellent men, the best
Kratos power, rule
Aristocracy rule of the best
o Demos (g) common people
Democracy rule by the people
o Monos (g) one man
o Arche (g) reign, rule
Monarchy rule by one man
- Governing the state by excellence and virtue is the best-case scenario
o Virtus (l) excellence and virtue
- Kings do not follow the rules they themselves impose on the public and are not a model
of what they preach
- The rashness and ignorance of the masses make them unsuitable leaders
- Aristocracy/oligarchy is the middle ground between democracy and monarchy
o Oligoi (g) a few men
Oligarchy rule by a few
- People should be thankful that they are free of having to think for themselves
- Not all men were created equal so the better men get to be in positions of power
Discrimination in Assigning Penalties
- Upper class jurists reinforced distinctions between classes in Roman society through
penalties dealt out to citizens vs non-citizens
- Corporal punishment infliction of pain or mutilation of the body
o Corpus (l) body
o The lower the status, the more painful the punishment
Aristocrats were fined or exiled instead
- The ability to inflict or avoid corporal punishment was a gauge of social status
- 3rd century A.D. citizenship was extended to all free people so they were split into two
o honestiores more honorable/distinguished
senatorial & equestrian orders
local officials
army officers
o humiliores more humble/insignificant
all other free citizens
- punishments for humiliores were much more severe
- upperclassmen who enforced these laws justified this by arguing that the rich did more
for the state and therefore deserved a different scale of punishment/rewards
Shelton 5: FIRA 2, p. 405 (Paulus, Opinions 5.19-19a)
- Discusses discrepancy between punishments suffered by honestiores vs humiliores
- Honestiores
o Exile/deportatio
Banishment to a specified remote area and loss of Roman citizenship
o Expulsion
Banishment but no loss of citizenship
- Humiliores
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o Condemned
Sent to work at government mine where workers die of exhaustion
o Ultimate torture/summon supplicium
Painful death by crucifixion or burning
o Execution
In Republican period, citizens could not be executed for capital offences
although they might be condemned to the mines
By 2nd A.D. execution was allowed
- The pater was the undisputed head of the family
o Protects welfare of family
- Pietas
- Membership in the state was similar to membership in an extended family
o E.g. senators were called patres
Aristocrats were paternal towards the poor by devoting their time, energy,
and money to welfare of those inferior to them
Emperor was the pater patriae
o An individual could ask someone better educated and more powerful than himself
for advice or protection and became their cliens and the protectors the patronus
May extend through several generations of a family
Patrician and Plebeian
- Patrons were members of the patrician families
- Establishment of patronage system attributed to Romulus
Shelton 7: FIRA 1, p. 4 (Dionysus of Halicarnassus 2.9-10)
Patrons and Patrons
- Salutatio morning salute was a ritual that acknowledged publicly and regularly the
patron’s superiority and control
- Patrons may be clients to other higher patrons and must greet them rather than wait for
morning salutes from their own clients
Shelton 11: Martial, Epigrams 5.22
Another Rude Patron
- Keeping clients waiting was a move calculated to humiliate and remind them of their
inferior status
- Distinctions in rank were emphasized by food quality served
Shelton 13: Pliny the Younger, Letters 2.6.1 and 2
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