Power and control of patricians
They were called ‘fathers of the people’ and enjoyed a privileged position within ancient Roman society: the patricians. If you belonged to this esteemed social rank, you were lucky then. Rich patricians of a limited number of influential families had a decisive say in Roman society.
From the class of patricians the most distinguished men in public service originated, in positions as dignitaries and senators. They determined the policies and organized the development of cities and towns in the growing Roman state. No wonder they themselves owned vast territories. It was this class which took over power when the last king of Rome was chased out of office. Aristocrats by both wealth and birth, they bequeathed their fortune from generation to generation of their clan.
Political power play
If they weren’t engaged in intrigues and rivalries, patrician families could live with each other on friendly terms. Their common interest was to keep the distance to other classes of society, reserving for themselves privileges, refined high culture and a better education. Understandably they were not willing to share their influence with men from lower origins.
Often in history this kind of cleavage between the rich and powerful on one side and the underprivileged on the other side leads to tensions turning into social unrest and a rebellion. Ordinary people in Rome were excluded from advancement in rank. So in 493 BC class struggles broke out, ending with a victory of the so-called plebeians who won for themselves equality in politics. Thus the patricians lost their supremacy and henceforward had only their line of ancestry left to feel proud of.
- strong, durable paper material
- easy to accomplish
- one sheet patricians for crafting
- suitable for 6 years up
Downfall and end of the patricians
With the social revolution a completely new legal system came into being and the magistracies into power. The power vertical now was led by two consuls and the leading officials could ascend into the Roman senate, the traditional main political body of patricians and once exclusive to them! The power monopoly of the patricians broke apart, the civil and punitive laws got regulated together with the introduction of standard legal procedures. There was no more room for aristocratic jurisdiction at will and arbitrariness in the interpretation of rules, the patricians had lost most of their privileges! Once there were 50 to 60 leading families as patricians in Roman society, at the end of the republic, when emperor Augustus came to reign, a mere dozen of clans had survived.
A fascinating time travel into days gone by
The history of the upper class in ancient Rome is very interesting and contains some drama as to get the attention of your pupils or students. With our Roman patrician cardboard kit you leave a resting impression on the kids, engage their fantasy and make them ponder over things. It will be a unique sort of lessons they won’t get by anyone else and have an impact unparalleled elsewhere!
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