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By Richard Owen

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There is a description rather than a definition of clientage in Dig. . The jurist Proculus states in passing that clients are inferior in terms of auctoritas, dignitas, and vires, that is, prestige, status, and resources. , Gellner and Waterbury . For that matter, patria potestas did not remain the same. In particular, if fathers ever had the power of life and death over children – and for arguments against, see Shaw  – then this had gone by the late republic. Note also that the rules surrounding emancipatio of the filius familias were gradually relaxed.

If a freedman was fortunate enough to found a family, then that family might move easily into a patronage relationship with the family that had permitted it to evolve in the first place. We should bear in mind that a freedman’s son was freeborn: he did have a father. The profile of the freedman’s son that I am talking about is of someone who has become the beneficiary of extremely warm and mutually beneficial relations between his father and his father’s former master.  In consequence, the two families came together in a patronage relationship.

The deditio is not the only device in the toolbox of mid-republican expansion that reflected relationships within Roman society. So, too, did the procedures linked with the declaration and ending of war.  The procedure itself, with its protolegal language summoning the gods to witness that the Romans were wronged and its assertion that the Romans had tried to avoid conflict by having the offending state make amends for what had happened, conveyed the notion that Rome would not act without divine sanction.

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