Patronage (Romans)

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Patronage ( Latin patronatus , also patrocinium ) is in ancient Roman law the designation for the position of a gentleman as patron ( patronus "patron, representative, protector, defender") towards his freed and wards, the clientele to whom he is in a mutual loyalty -Related and whose interests he represents in court, among other things. The nomenclator , a slave in the service of the patron, keeps track of the often numerous client relationships.

In return, the clients had to greet their patron in his house about every morning, run errands for him, serve him as bodyguards or as claqueurs at public appearances. If their patron sought public office, they were obliged to vote for him in the popular assemblies ( comitia ). With the introduction of the leges tabellariae (from 139 BC ), however, it became impossible to verify loyalty to the cartridges in elections. This may have accommodated numerous clients, as they were usually dependent on more than one patron and thus got into conflicting decisions in the elections.

Due to the strong influence of the Roman clientele on the practice of democracy , factual or programmatic considerations in the elections took a back seat to the orientation towards people. This led to numerous controversies among historians about the true character of the form of government and rule of the Roman Republic (509-27 BC).

Cities and provinces also had a patron, usually a Roman senator , who was responsible for the defense of their interests in Rome as a hereditary honorary office. For example, Cicero was the patron saint of the inhabitants of the province of Sicily , where he lived in 75 BC. Worked as quaestor and whose interests he effectively represented in the trial against Verres .

During the Roman Civil Wars, some of the most popular generals swung themselves into cartridges for their armies. This army clientele is counted among the causes of the fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the principle under Augustus .

Even some poets placed themselves under the protection of such a patron when they were young, such as the famous epigrammatist Martial , who needed a patron for his poetic work (→ patron ).