The Struggle of the Orders

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In the ancient Roman society, there existed two types of social orders. There was the Patricians who were allowed to stand for election in a political office. They were, eventually, “better” than the Plebeians who had no political right. The Plebeians were also liable to ensalvement for debt, and whenever they won land in war it was either given or sold cheaply to the rich. As we see today, the Plebeians were more numerous than the Patricians. However, Plebeians were not allowed to intermarry with a Patrician.

The struggle of the orders was a recurring pattern of the Patrician class attempting to hold onto power, while the Plebeians worked to rise social and political equality. During time, the Plebians began to realize that the Patricians could not live without them, for they produced the grain, supplied the labor, and formed the soldiers for the Legions.

In 494 BC., the Plebeians seceded from Rome to leave the Patricians on their own, and win concessions. This settled a negotiation with the Patricians, and they agreed to let the Plebeians elect their own officials. Eventually, after many fights and 200 years of persistence the Plebians finally gained their liberty. They were now allowed to intermarry with the Patricians, the debt slavery was abolished, and they were now eligable for consulship.

The Plebeians never surrendered and gained equal rights, however the Patricians still had special shoes that distinguished them from the Plebeians.

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Categories: Western Civilization 1 | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Struggle of the Orders

  1. Your title has a typo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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