Roman Social Classes

Topics: Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, Roman Republic, Rome, Augustus, Julius Caesar / Pages: 8 (1834 words) / Published: May 2nd, 2006
Ancient Rome was one of the most influential historical societies on our world today. From architecture to the basic way that the government was set up, they created a new era of thinking that set the standard for countries in the future, including how social classes were organized. Rome was an empire that was built upon its social classes with clearly defined roles that allowed for limited social mobility. There was a large gap between the wealthy upper class and the lower classes as well as slaves. Three main factors decided one's class, including wealth, freedom, and Roman citizenship. A person's social class determined what education, pastimes, and occupations were available to them. These classes included the elite upper class, a small middle class, and a majority of the population of lower class status, and slavery.
The most powerful class in Rome consisted of the elite upper class of aristocrats, government officials, and their families. Most men inherited their prestigious position within the upper class. Government positions including senators, consuls, and nobles, were usually handed down from generation to generation and those men who were the first in their family to be elected consul were called "new men" . The members of this top class in the Roman Republic were called Patricians and included all political and top military positions in society.
The equestrian class was also included in the lower parts of the upper class division and were considered Patricians. The basis of power was economic and a man could be enrolled as an equestrian if he could prove that he had a stable minimum amount of wealth and land ownership. By extension, his family members were also considered equestrians. If an equestrian gained position in the senate, then he moved up to the senatorial class, along with his family, although this was uncommon.
Women of the upper class were born into and inherited their social position through their father. Women were arranged to



Bibliography: Bradley, Keith. Slaver and Society at Rome, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1994. Flower, Harriet I. The Roman Republic, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Kreis, Steven. "The History Guide." 28 Feb. 2006. 27 Apr. 2006 . 27 Apr. 2006 . Nelson, Eric. The Complete Idiot 's Guide to The Roman Empire, USA: Penguin Group Inc., 2002. Platt, Steven. "Time Travellers Guide to the Roman Empire." Oct. 2002. 24 Apr. 2006 . "Roman Social Order and Democracy." 9 July 2000. 24 Apr. 2006 . "Roman Society, Roman Life." 14 Apr. 2006 . Shelton, Jo-Ann. As the Romans Did, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998 "Social Class in Ancient Rome." Wikipedia "The Romans Society." 28 Dec. 04. 14 Apr. 2006 .

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