Roman patron and client relationship

Societal Patronage | Roman Patronage in Society, Politics, and Military

roman patron and client relationship

"Patron-client relationship" redirects here. For a political practice, see Clientelism. Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the. Clientship, Latin Clientela, in ancient Rome, the relationship between a man of wealth and influence (patron) and a free client; the client acknowledged his. patron-client relationship The roots of the patron-client relationship have been traced by some to the dependence of plebians on patricians in the Roman Empire.

For the Roman upper aristocratic ruling class public appearance was extremely important.

Clientship | ancient Rome |

When traveling through the city and the forum the Roman elite desired to be recognized or recognized for their status and rank. To accomplish this they wore distinctive clothing and jewelry to help signify their status. Equestrians wore specifically colored cloth stripes on their togas or tunics to signify their statuses.

roman patron and client relationship

The senators and patricians also wore wider specifically colored cloth stripes to signify their rank. The upper class patrons wanted to show they had power and made certain to remind their clients of this by their mannerisms and dress.

roman patron and client relationship

The lower class Roman citizens were most always the clients of the upper class patrons. The plebs or plebeians was the lower class that existed since the beginning of Rome just like the patricians. The common people were freeborn and plebeians respectively, but the lower class also consisted of freed-people liberti.

Freed-people were former slaves who had been freed by their masters. The freed-people were now clients of their former masters. In the lower class also were Latins Latini who were from Roman colonies outside of Rome. There were some plebs who were wealthy, had political connections and better overall social standing but for the most part, plebs were part of the lower class.

roman patron and client relationship

Roman societal patronage was highly based around the Roman ideals of fides or loyalty. The economic means of establishing patron—client relationships nearly always have their basis in systems of landholding, such as share-cropping. Client families may be lent money, seed or goods by the patron, in order to see them through bad seasons, often in return for the unpaid labour of client family members.

This can be regarded as benevolent, but also creates debts that may never be paid off.

The Patron-Client Relationship in the Ancient World | Truth Or Tradition?

This is one of the underlying factors in systems of debt bondage sometimes called bonded labour that are widespread in Indiaalthough forbidden by both national and international law. The ties of patron-clientage were basic to the system of land tenure and agricultural production in feudal Europe, where they still persist in Northern Mediterranean countries.

Clienteliamo is the basis of the varied contractual relationships throughout Southern Italy, for example. Its essence is not the fixed and contractual but rather the informal and flexible. It is a face-to-face relationship, and many writers stress its importance in giving clients a degree of political power, through their support of the patron in his external political activities. The conquerors and colonists of Latin America imported many of the values and legal institutions of feudal Europe, including patron-client relationships.

Take, for example, John That is a good example of reading our culture and ideas back into the biblical text.

roman patron and client relationship

The huge difference between the rich and powerful and the poor and needy in the ancient world set the stage for another cultural aspect of the patron-client relationship, which is that patrons were honor bound to help their clients. The first-century Christians would not have had the same problem.

roman patron and client relationship

They understood that God was honor-bound to support them, and especially so since He was love, and they were doing what He asked them to do. On the other hand, like any ancient patron, those who are proud and arrogant will not get the blessings from God they could have otherwise received.

Once we understand the patron-client relationship, it seems to be everywhere in the pages of the Bible.


It is why the centurion a Gentile did not consider himself worthy to have Jesus come to him, but sent Jews to him with the message Luke 7: Parrhesia was used of the Greeks in the marketplace who were called upon to speak about political issues with complete openness.

Rather, he would see God as the Ultimate Patron, before whom we should come with respect but without fear, being totally open and honest with Him, neither flattering Him nor hiding our true feelings, but laying before Him our genuine needs and concerns, in order that we can obtain the mercy and grace we need to meet our needs.

We Christians can have faith in a loving God who wants to help and support us, and who will do so if we ask Him. We can trust that He always has our best interests at heart. The truth is that it is sometimes unconditional, and sometimes conditional.

Scripture makes this clear, as we see in James 4: