The Patronage in Roman Law

By: Anavitarte, E. J.*

The patronage, or clientship, unites two free people from different socio-economic positions through a civil bond, under the commitment that one of them ─the patron─, will give the other ─the client─, the legal and social protection typical of a Roman citizen.

The patron had to be a citizen, enjoy a good social position, and be able to bear the economic burden of having a client, and the latter had to be at least a free man, but of inferior social position.

In ancient Rome, the clientele was an integral part of the social structure, especially during the republic ─for electoral purposes─, and the relationship ended up being sanctioned as part of the extended family of the employer, who, in addition to protecting them, welcomed them, integrating them to his gens.

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