Social Structure in Ancient Rome

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Social Structure in Ancient Rome
Europe: Unity and Diversity EURO1111 Louis MA KAI HO (12011959)

December 18, 2012

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Social Structure in Ancient Rome Introduction
After few months of study of the ancient Europe, from the ancient Greek polis to the Roman Empire to the development of Christianity to the Medieval Europe, the concept of “Europe” gradually has become more and more clear to me, so do the meaning of unity in its diversity and the diversity in its unity. Among the different times, the Ancient Rome appears more fascinating and interesting to me, especially in the area of its social structure. Therefore, in this term paper, the social structure of the Ancient Rome is selected as my topic, general information of the subject and analysis of its impact are outlined in the following.

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Main Body When I first saw this topic—Social Structure in Ancient Rome, the first thing that came to my mind is what really is “social structure”? And where should I start to get the relevant references and materials, given that the Ancient Roman is of 1300 years of history. I realized it is necessary to give the definition of “social structure” and find the focus of the time for my topic so that I can have a more comprehensive and in-depth study of my subject. Here comes the definition from Wikipedia,

“The notion of social structure as relationships between different entities or groups or as enduring and relatively stable patterns of relationship'' emphasises the idea that society is grouped into structurally related groups or sets of roles, with different functions, meanings or purposes. One example of social structure is the idea of "social stratification", which refers to the idea that society is separated into different strata (levels), guided (if only partially) by the underlying structures in the social system. This approach has been important in the academic literature with the rise of various forms of structuralism. It is important in the modern study of organizations, because an organization's structure may determine its flexibility, capacity to change, and many other factors. Therefore, structure is an important issue for management. Social structure may be seen to influence important social systems including the economic system, legal system, political system, cultural system, and others. Family, religion, law, economy and class are all social structures. The "social system" is the parent system of those various systems that are embedded in it.” (Adopted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure)

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I have searched the definition in other source. The following is from another website: “Social structure refers to patterns around which society is organized. Henslin (1999:96) defines social structure as "the framework of society that was already laid out before you were born." Social mobility is often achieved by routes provided by the social structure. In a bureaucracy, the patterns are well defined (in the army one moves up in rank). There are micro aspects of social structure such as statuses and roles. Larger social structures include groups and institutions (e.g., government, education, religion). Still larger are more obscure structures, (like those related to the economy). Often, ordinary people are not even aware of their existence. These obscure structures none-the-less have great impact on the character of society overall.” (from:http://dmc122011.delmar.edu/socsci/rlong/intro/roles.htm)

After summarizing the ideas about social structure, I take the approach to discuss the class system, the different institutions and groups, including the household unit, the government, the education and the economic, which make up the social structure of Ancient Rome.

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As about the Ancient Rome, it is generally divided into 3 periods— the monarchy time of Rome, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire in the sense of change of political structure. Therefore, I will start my essay by the...
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