The institutions of family and clientage

March 30, 2019 History

The institutions of family and clientage (where the client (poor) used to work for a patron to get protection and support) and the patrician and plebeian classes were amazingly considerable in the early Roman Republic. The foundation of such classes and institutions made everyone aware of their place and responsibilities and this lead to the stability of the early Roman Republic. The plebeians initially had no rights in the Republic and they were exploited by the patricians but they soon realized the fact and fought for their rights. Their efforts were rewarded and they gained a number of rights including the participation in political affairs. This plebeian rebellion contributed to the stability of the Roman Republic because then the state became democratic. According to Polybius, the Roman Republic political system was comprised of three elements that included the Consuls, the Senate, and the People. Each of them exercised power in their respective domain and did not interfere in the other domains. This division of power kept these groups from gaining too much power and absolute control over the state.
However, the Roman Republic ultimately collapsed and became an Empire. The demise of the Roman Republic could have been prevented if appropriate measures were taken. First of all, the unequal class distribution was the main factor in the failure of the Roman Republic. So, in my opinion, equal rights were needed to be given to all the citizens and the class conflict was needed to be resolved. Secondly, the corruption in the government was needed to be eliminated. There should have been a proper scrutiny of the government officials and the tax collectors. Moreover, special measures were required to effectively govern the areas obtained through wars. For instance, the areas could have been provided to the poor people of the state so that they could use it properly.
If we talk about the famous Roman personalities of the pre-imperial history, Tiberius Gracchus, was the person that I admire for his efforts and great insight. He belonged to the Rome’s elite but he strived for the lower classes of Rome. The landless peasantry was increasing in Rome and the gentry was obtaining the public lands acquired in various wars. Tiberius tried to bring a legislation that would redistribute the lands from the wealthy to the poor citizens. But he received a violent reaction and was eventually murdered. He was the person who struggled for the poor class and tried to bring a reform in the society by giving the poor a share in the public land.


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