Ancient Roman Society

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The society of the ancient Romans has often been considered the bases for our modern society. When one thinks of the Roman society, pictures of grand villa's and of senators wearing Toga's come to mind. Also, Roman society is often associated with great feasts and extravagance among the rich. There is more to Rome, however, then these symbols and the Classical Roman society is one with a complicated history that covers the history of the ancient city and involves the family, the home, education and much more. The social structure of ancient Rome was based on heredity, property, wealth, citizenship and freedom. It was also based around men: women were defined by the social status of their fathers or husbands. Women were expected to look after the houses and very few had any real independence.

The three main social classes in Ancient Rome were the Patricians, Plebeians and the slaves. The Patricians were the wealthy Romans and for wealthy Romans, life was good. They lived in beautiful houses – often on the hills outside Rome, away from the noise and the smell. They enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle with luxurious furnishings, surrounded by servants and slaves to cater to their every desire. Many would hold exclusive dinner parties and serve their guests the exotic dishes of the day. Many Patricians were powerful leaders in government or the military. The Plebeians were more of the poor group of Romans and poorer Romans, however, could only dream of such a life. Sweating it out in the city, they lived in shabby, dirty houses that could collapse or burn at any moment. If times were hard, they might abandon newborn babies to the streets, hoping that someone else would take them in as a servant or slave. Poor in wealth but strong in numbers, they were the Roman mob, who relaxed in front of the popular entertainment of the time, the chariot races between opposing teams, or gladiators fighting for their life, fame and fortune. Although their lives may have been...
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