Patronage in ancient Rome

patronclientclientspatronagepatronspatronusclientespatron-client relationshipclientelacliens
Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus ("patron") and their cliens ("client").wikipedia
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Social class in ancient Rome

Roman societysocial hierarchyancient Roman society
Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus ("patron") and their cliens ("client").
The patron-client relationship (clientela), with the word patronus deriving from pater (“father”), was another way in which Roman society was organized into hierarchical groups, though clientela also functioned as a system of overlapping social networks.

Freedman

freedmenfreed slavesfreedwoman
A freedman became the client of his former master. The freedman (libertus) had social obligations to their patron, which might involve campaigning on their behalf if the patron ran for election, doing requested jobs or errands, or continuing a sexual relationship that began in servitude.
A slave who had acquired libertas was known as a libertus ("freed person", feminine liberta) in relation to his former master, who was called his or her patron (patronus).

Roman Republic

RomanRepublicRomans
One of the major spheres of activity within patron-client relations was the law courts, but clientela was not itself a legal contract, though it was supported by law from earliest Roman times.
The power, privilege and influence of leading families derived from their wealth, in particular from their landholdings, their position as patrons, and their numerous clients.

Mos maiorum

moralityRoman traditiontradition
The pressures to uphold one's obligations were primarily moral, founded on ancestral custom, and on qualities of good faith on the part of the patron and loyalty on the part of the client.
The distinctive social relationship of ancient Rome was that between patron (patronus) and client (cliens).

Marriage in ancient Rome

marriageadulterydivorce
Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood.
Valerius says that Lucius Annius was disapproved of because he divorced his wife without consulting his friends; that is, he undertook the action for his own purposes and without considering its effects on his social network (amicitia and clientela).

Pater familias

paterfamiliaspatria potestashead of family
While the Roman familia ("family", but more broadly the "household") was the building block of society, interlocking networks of patronage created highly complex social bonds.
He held legal privilege over the property of the familia, and varying levels of authority over his dependents: these included his wife and children, certain other relatives through blood or adoption, clients, freedmen and slaves.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

DionysiusDionysus of HalicarnassusRoman Antiquities
The regulation of the patronage relationship was believed by the Greek historians Dionysius and Plutarch to be one of the early concerns of Romulus; hence it was dated to the very founding of Rome.
To maintain order, every pleb had the right to choose a Patrician in a system of patronage (clientela).

Gens

gentesclangentilic
The client was regarded as a minor member of their patron's gens ("clan"), entitled to assist in its religious services, and bound to contribute to the cost of them.
A libertus, or "freedman", usually assumed the nomen (and sometimes also the praenomen) of the person who had manumitted him, and a naturalized citizen usually took the name of the patron who granted his citizenship.

Sexuality in ancient Rome

stuprumincestuminfames
The freedman (libertus) had social obligations to their patron, which might involve campaigning on their behalf if the patron ran for election, doing requested jobs or errands, or continuing a sexual relationship that began in servitude.
When a male assumed the toga virilis, "toga of manhood," Liber became his patron; according to the love poets, he left behind the innocent modesty (pudor) of childhood and acquired the sexual freedom (libertas) to begin his course of love.

Manumission

manumittedmanumitfreed
When a slave was manumitted, the former owner became their patron.
The former owner became the patron (patronus) and the freed slave became a client (cliens) and retained certain obligations to the former master, who owed certain obligations in return.

Slavery in ancient Rome

slavesslaveslavery
When a slave was manumitted, the former owner became their patron.
A slave who had acquired libertas was thus a libertus ("freed person", feminine liberta) in relation to his former master, who then became his patron (patronus).

Medieval household

familiahouseholdhousehold knight
A young man serving in a military capacity, separate from the entourage that constituted a noble's familia or "household", might be termed a vavasor in documents.
The aristocratic household of ancient Rome was similar to that of medieval Europe, in that it consisted – in addition to the paterfamilias, his wife and children – of a number of clients (clientes), or dependents of the lord who would attend upon him, counsel him and receive rewards.

Elections in the Roman Republic

electedRoman electionscomitia
Traditional clientela began to lose its importance as a social institution during the 2nd century BC; Fergus Millar doubts that it was the dominant force in Roman elections that it has often been seen as.
Sometime during the mid-second century, Polybius noted the prohibition of bribery, but this proved to be useless as it continued to be prominent in elections and was very difficult to differentiate between bribery and the patronage system.

Roman Empire

RomanRomansEmpire
This form of patronage in turn contributed to the new role created by Augustus as sole ruler after the collapse of the Republic, when he cultivated an image as the patron of the Empire as a whole.
Personal relationships—patronage, friendship (amicitia), family, marriage—continued to influence the workings of politics and government, as they had in the Republic.

Glossary of ancient Roman religion

aedesfanumdivus
The client was regarded as a minor member of their patron's gens ("clan"), entitled to assist in its religious services, and bound to contribute to the cost of them.
A person could be declared sacer who harmed a plebeian tribune, failed to bear legal witness, failed to meet his obligations to clients, or illicitly moved the boundary markers of fields.

Euergetism

evergetismAristocratic munificenceeuergete
This practice was also part of the patron-client relation system of Roman society.

Roman magistrate

magistratesmagistraciesmagistrate
Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood.

College of Pontiffs

pontiffspontificespontifex
Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood.

List of Roman generals

Roman generalgeneralRoman generals
A patronage relationship might also exist between a general and his soldiers, a founder and colonists, and a conqueror and a dependent foreign community.

Early Roman army

his soldiersRoman army
A patronage relationship might also exist between a general and his soldiers, a founder and colonists, and a conqueror and a dependent foreign community.

Colonia (Roman)

coloniaRoman colonycolony
A patronage relationship might also exist between a general and his soldiers, a founder and colonists, and a conqueror and a dependent foreign community.

Client state

client kingclient kingdomclient
A patronage relationship might also exist between a general and his soldiers, a founder and colonists, and a conqueror and a dependent foreign community.

Roman law

RomanRoman civil lawlaw
One of the major spheres of activity within patron-client relations was the law courts, but clientela was not itself a legal contract, though it was supported by law from earliest Roman times.

Good faith

bona fidebona fidesgoodwill
The pressures to uphold one's obligations were primarily moral, founded on ancestral custom, and on qualities of good faith on the part of the patron and loyalty on the part of the client.