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Patronage ''(clientela)'' was the distinctive relationship in
ancient Roman society In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
between the ''patronus'' ("patron") and their ''cliens'' ("client"). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patron was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was ''patrocinium''. Although typically the client was of inferior social class, a patron and client might even hold the same social rank, but the former would possess greater wealth, power, or prestige that enabled him to help or do favors for the client. From the emperor at the top to the commoner at the bottom, the bonds between these groups found formal expression in legal definition of patrons' responsibilities to clients. Patronage relationship were not exclusively between two people and also existed between a
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
and his soldiers, a founder and colonists, and a conqueror and a dependent foreign community.


Nature of ''clientela''

Benefits a client may be granted include
legal representation In civil proceedings and criminal prosecutions under the common law, a defendant A defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or ...
in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or
marriages in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them ...
, and supporting a client's candidacy for
political office The incumbent is the current holder of an official, office or position, usually in relation to an election. For example, in an election for president, the incumbent is the person holding or acting in the office of president before the election ...
or a priesthood. Arranging marriages for their daughters, clients were often able to secure new patrons and extend their influence in the political arena. In return for these services, the clients were expected to offer their services to their patron as needed. A client's service to the patron included accompanying the patron in Rome or when he went to war,
ransom Ransom is the practice of holding a prisoner or item to extort Extortion is the practice of obtaining benefit through coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a ''comm ...

ransom
ing him if he was captured, and supporting him during political campaigns. Requests were usually made by clientela at a daily morning reception at the home of the patron known as the ''salutatio''. The patron would receive his clients at dawn in the atrium and tablinum after which the clients would escort the patron to the forum. However many clients a patron was accompanied by was seen as a symbol of the patron's prestige. The client was regarded as a minor member of their patron's
gens In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
, entitled to assist in its sacra gentilicia, and bound to contribute to the cost of them. The client was subject to the jurisdiction and discipline of the gens, and was entitled to burial in its common . One of the major spheres of activity within patron–client relations was the
law courts A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''St ...
, but ''clientela'' was not itself a legal contract, though it was supported by law from earliest Roman times. The pressures to uphold one's obligations were primarily moral, founded on ancestral custom, and on qualities of ''
good faith Good faith ( la, bona fides), in human interactions, is a sincere intention to be fair, open, and honest, regardless of the outcome of the interaction. While some Latin phrases have lost their literal meaning over centuries, this is not the cas ...
'' on the part of the patron and ''
loyalty Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion Devotion or Devotions may refer to: In religion * Faith * Anglican devotions * Buddhist devotion * Catholic devotions * Bible study (Christian), called "devotion" by some Christian denominations * Marian ...

loyalty
'' on the part of the client. The patronage relationship was not a discrete one, but a network, since a ''patronus'' might himself be obligated to someone of higher status or greater power, and a ''cliens'' might have more than one patron, whose interests could come into conflict. While the ("family", but more broadly the "household") was the building block of society, interlocking networks of patronage created highly complex social bonds. Reciprocity ethics played a major role in the patron client system. Favors given from patron to client and client to patron do not cancel the other, instead the giving of favors and counter favors was symbolic of the personal relationship between patron and client. As a consequence the act of returning a favor was done more out of a sense of gratuity and less so because a favor needed to be returned. The regulation of the patronage relationship was believed by the Greek historians
Dionysius The name Dionysius (; el, Διονύσιος ''Dionysios'', "of Dionysus Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, r ...
and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
to be one of the early concerns of
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
; hence it was dated to the very
founding of Rome The tale of the founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in th ...
. In the earliest periods, patricians would have served as patrons; both ''patricius'', "patrician", and ''patronus'' are related to the Latin word ''pater'', "father", in this sense symbolically, indicating the
patriarchal Patriarchy is a social system In sociology, social system is the patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions. It is the formal Social structure, structure of role ...

patriarchal
nature of Roman society. Although other societies have similar systems, the ''patronus–cliens'' relationship was "peculiarly congenial" to Roman politics and the sense of ''familia'' in the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
. An important person demonstrated their prestige or '' dignitas'' by the number of clients they had.


''Patronus'' and ''libertus''

When a
slave Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that gives ...
was
manumitted Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslav ...
, the former owner became their patron. The
freedman A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, a ...

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. In return, the patron was expected to ensure a certain degree of material security for their client. Allowing one's clients to become
destitute Extreme poverty, deep poverty, abject poverty, absolute poverty, destitution, or penury, is the most severe type of poverty, defined by the United Nations (UN) as "a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, includin ...
or entangled in unjust legal proceedings would reflect poorly on the patron and diminish their prestige.


Changing nature of patronage

The complex patronage relationships changed with the social pressures during the late Republic, when terms such as ''patronus'', ''cliens'' and ''patrocinium'' are used in a more restricted sense than ''
amicitia ''Amicitia'' is the Latin for friendship, either between individuals, between the state and an individual or between states. It was "a technical term of Roman political life" from the 2nd century BC, when, according to Seneca the Younger, Seneca, i ...

amicitia
'', "friendship" including political friendships and alliances, or ''
hospitium Hospitium ( gr, ξενία, ''Xenia (Greek), xenia'', προξενία) is the ancient Greco-Roman concept of Hospitality, hospitality as a divine right of the guest and a divine duty of the host. Similar or broadly equivalent customs were and are ...
'', reciprocal "guest–host" bonds between families. It can be difficult to distinguish ''patrocinium'' or ''clientela'', ''amicitia'', and ''hospitium,'' since their benefits and obligations overlap. Traditional ''clientela'' began to lose its importance as a social institution during the 2nd century BC;
Fergus Millar Sir Fergus Graham Burtholme Millar, (; 5 July 1935 – 15 July 2019) was a British academic historian. He was Camden Professor of Ancient HistoryThe Camden Professorship of Ancient History at the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psal ...
doubts that it was the dominant force in
Roman elections Elections in the Roman Republic were an essential part to its governance, with participation only being afforded to Roman citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdict ...
that it has often been seen as. Throughout the evolution from republic to empire we see the most diversity between patrons. Patrons from all positions of power sought to build their power through the control of clients and resources. More and more patronage extended over entire communities whether on the basis of political decree, benefaction by an individual who becomes the communities' patron, or by the community formally adopting a patron. Both sides had expectations of one another, the community expected protection from outside forces while the patron expected a loyal following for things such as political campaigning and manpower should the need arise. The extent of a person's client relationships was often taken into account when looking for an expression of their potential political power. Patronage in the late empire differed from patronage in the republic. Patrons protected individual clients from the tax collector and other public obligations. In return, clients gave them money or services. Some clients even surrendered ownership of their land to their patron. The emperors were unable to prevent this type of patronage effectively. The significance of ''clientela'' changed along with the social order during
late antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
. By the 10th century, ''clientela'' meant a contingent of armed retainers ready to enforce their
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

lord
's will. A young man serving in a military capacity, separate from the entourage that constituted a noble's ''
familia Familia may refer to: * ''Familia'', Latin designation of the Family (biology), family taxonomic rank * ''Familia (ancient Rome), Familia'', a classical Roman household with a ''Pater familias'' * Familia, historical designation for a Medieval hous ...
'' or "household", might be termed a '' vavasor'' in documents.


Civic patronage

Several influential Romans, such as
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...

Caesar
and
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
, established client–patron relationships in conquered regions. This can be seen in Caesar’s relations with the
Aedui The Aedui or Haedui (Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto- ...
of
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
wherein he was able to restore their influence over the other Gallic tribes who were once their clients. Hereafter he was asked on several occasions to serve the duties of a patron by the Aedui and was thus regarded by many in Rome as the patron of the Aedui. Augustus established colonies in all parts of the empire during his conquests which extended his influence to its furthest reaches. He also made many acts of kindness to the whole of Rome at large, including food and monetary handouts, as well as settling soldiers in new
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...

colonies
that he sponsored which indebted a great many people to him. Through these examples, Augustus also altered the form of patronage to one that suited his ambitions for power, encouraging acts that would benefit Roman society over selfish interests. Though rare, it was possible for women to be patronesses. Patronage and its many forms allowed for a minimal form of administration bound by personal relations between parties and thus in the late Republic patronage served as a model for ruling. Conquerors or
governors A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (p ...
abroad established personal ties as patron to whole communities, ties which then might be perpetuated as a family obligation. One such instance was the Marcelli's patronage of the
Sicilians Sicilians or the Sicilian people are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a stron ...
, as Claudius Marcellus had conquered
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa , or scn, Seragusa, label=none ; lat, Syrācūsae ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκο ...
and Sicily. Extending
rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is desc ...
or
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
to
municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
or
provincial Provincial may refer to: Government & Administration * Provincial capitals, an administrative sub-national capital of a country * Provincial city (disambiguation) * Provincial minister (disambiguation) * Provincial Secretary, a position in Canadi ...
families was one way to add to the number of one's clients for political purposes, as
Pompeius Strabo Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (c. 135 – 87 BC) was a Roman general and politician, who served as consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
did among the Transpadanes.A.T. Fear, ''Rome and Baetica" Urbanization in Southern Spain c. 50 BC–AD 150'' (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 142. This form of patronage in turn contributed to the new role created by
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
as sole ruler after the collapse of the Republic, when he cultivated an image as the patron of the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

Empire
as a whole. Various professional and other corporations, such as ''
collegia A (plural ), or college, was any association in ancient Rome that Corporation, acted as a Legal person, legal entity. Following the passage of the ''Lex Julia'' during the reign of Julius Caesar as Roman consul, Consul and Roman dictator, Dic ...
'' and '''', awarded statutory titles such as ''patronus'' or ''pater patratus'' to benefactors.


See also

*
Euergetism Euergetism (or evergetism, from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its po ...
* *''
Jus patronatus The right of patronage (in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "t ...
''


References


Further reading

* Badian, Ernst. 1958. ''Foreign Clientelae (264–70 B.C.).'' Oxford: Clarendon. * Bowditch, Phebe Lowell. 2001. ''Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage.'' Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of Carolina Press. * Busch, Anja, John Nicols, and Franceso Zanella. 2015. "Patronage." ''Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum'' 26:1109–1138. * Damon, Cynthia. 1997. ''The Mask of the Parasite: A Pathology of Roman Patronage.'' Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press. * de Blois, Lucas. 2011. "Army and General in the Late Roman Republic." In ''A Companion to the Roman Army.'' Edited by Paul Erdkamp, 164–179. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. * Eilers, Claude. 2002. Roman Patrons of Greek Cities. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. * Gold, Barbara K. 1987. ''Literary Patronage in Greece and Rome.'' Chapel Hill and London: Univ. of North Carolina Press. * Konstan, David. 2005. "Friendship and Patronage." In ''A Companion to Latin Literature.'' Edited by Stephen Harrison, 345–359. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. * Lomas, Kathryn, and Tim Cornell, eds. 2003. ''“Bread and Circuses:" Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy.'' London: Routledge. * Nauta, Ruurd R. 2002. ''Poetry for Patrons: Literary Communication in the Age of Domitian.'' Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill * Nicols, John. 2014. ''Civic Patronage in the Roman Empire.'' Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill * Saller, Richard P. 1982. ''Personal Patronage Under the Early Empire.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. * Verboven, Koenraad. 2002. ''The Economy of Friends: Economic Aspects of Amicitia and Patronage in the late Roman Republic.'' Brussels: Latomus * Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew, ed. 1989. ''Patronage in Ancient Society.'' London: Routledge.


External links

* The Roman Client (Smith's Dictionary, 1875) a
LacusCurtius
* {{Authority control Ancient Roman society
Roman law {{CatAutoTOC, numerals=no Law in ancient history Ancient Rome, Law Indo-European law, Roman Law by former country ...