The importance of Roman Patronage in Society, Politics and Military.
Traditionally, Roman Society was extremely ridged. But by the first century, the need for capable men to run Rome’s vast empire was slowly moving away from the old social barriers. Roman Patronage began to cultivate through the client – patron relationship, the importance of political power through possessions and the tactfulness of greed and corruption through the military society.
Patronage, which is the client-patron relationship system was what created the most cultural and social infrastructure of the Roman Empire. Patronage was not only enclosed to the serving the military or political stand points of Rome’s livelihood. Patronage helped establish the legal system, social ranking and display of status.
There were two classes, the upper class and the lower class which were the main classes of the ranked system during ancient Rome. The upper class was constructed of the wealthy people who owned land, who became engulfed in politics as being important figures like senators, tribunes, and consuls, etc. The upper class members are part of a wealthy group called the Patricians.
During Romulus who played an important role on being one of the main founders of Rome, Patricians still had their influence. Romulus put 100 men on his counsel as senators in the 750’s. For Rome’s upper class, appearance around the public was extremely important. People traveling through the city who were patricians wanted to be recognized for their social class and rank. To make sure they were noticed, they wore very distinctive clothing ad jewelry to solidify status. Equestrians wore colored cloth stripes on their togas to define rank. Senator’s ad patricians also wore wider specifically colored cloth stripes. Rank meant everything to the upper class, so they would remind their clients by using mannerisms and display flashy clothing.
For the lower class citizens, they were mostly always the clients of the upper class. The lower class called pleb or plebeians was the lower class which has been so during the beginning of Rome, like the patricians. The commonwealth people were free, they consisted of freed-people who were former slaves who have been freed by their masters. Also Latins who were in the lower class who lived outside of Rome that belonged to Roman colonies. Some plebs did have connections in the political aspect, who were decently wealthy but generally they were ranked in a lower class.
In Rome, patronage were primarily based on loyalty. Clients generally had supporters who families were on high ranking, the term patronus derived to patron. As a reward for being loyal, patrons would give gifts, mostly food and water. If clients ran into a trouble with politics and needed representation or assistance, they would call for the help of their patron for provision. Patricians would give financial offerings to the clients for their loyalty and support. Patrons and clients worked together properly because they also had the respect.
In ancient Rome, the standards were very traditional with each interaction whether it would be political or social were done on a person to person basis. The salutation was derived by a morning greeting where clients would gather in or outside patron’s home to ask for all different types of favors and assistance. The renowned client-patron relationship also transferred to medieval societies in the 10th century AD. Patronage in society played a major part in the lives of Rome.
Roman patronage had been expanding beyond the military, the client and patron relationship were as old as Rome itself. In the beginning of creating laws of the Roman Republic, the military did play into the idea of patronage even when looking at the political realm. Politicians had to be in the military first and principles they established were often relayed to their senatorial careers.
Political power often had a direct correlation with how much land one may possessed. When obtaining new land, the senate would hold massive amounts of land. The senate would use the practice of taking loans that were not entirely ethical, was prevalent in newly acquired lands and burdened their often agrarian societies. Due to the politicians were practicing usury there was little political pressure. Powerful families such as the Claudii and Pompeii were not interested in decimating lands, but using lands to further their gain for political power back home.
Marriage and inheritance laws were active, the ones whom had positioned themselves favorably early would benefit in later elections. Consuls would often decide on the frontier by the support one could win from early settling.