Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli, was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years in his Vita of Botticelli as a "golden age". Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; as well as the small number of mythological subjects which are his best known works today, he painted a wide range of religious subjects and some portraits. He and his workshop were known for their Madonna and Childs, many in the round tondo shape. Botticelli's best-known works are The Birth of Primavera, both in the Uffizi in Florence, he lived all his life in the same neighbourhood of Florence, with the only significant time he spent elsewhere being the months he spent painting in Pisa in 1474 and the Sistine Chapel in Rome from 1481 to 1482. Only one of his paintings is dated, though others can be dated from other records with varying degrees of certainty, the development of his style traced with confidence.
He was an independent master for all the 1470s, growing in mastery and reputation, the 1480s were his most successful decade, when all his large mythological paintings were done, many of his best Madonnas. By the 1490s his style became more personal and to some extent mannered, he could be seen as moving in a direction opposite to that of Leonardo da Vinci and a new generation of painters creating the High Renaissance style as Botticelli returned in some ways to the Gothic style, he has been described as "an outsider in the mainstream of Italian painting", who had a limited interest in many of the developments most associated with Quattrocento painting, such as the realistic depiction of human anatomy and landscape, the use of direct borrowings from classical art. His training enabled him to represent all these aspects of painting, without adopting or contributing to their development. Botticelli was born in the city of Florence in a house in the street still called Via Borgo Ognissanti, he was to live within a minute or two's walk of this all his life, to be buried in the Ognissanti parish church.
His father was Mariano di Vanni d'Amedeo Filipepi, a tanner, Sandro was the youngest of his four children to survive into adulthood, all boys. The date of his birth is not known, but his father's tax returns give his age as two in 1447 and thirteen in 1458; the Ognissanti neighbourhood was "a modest one, inhabited by weavers and other workmen," but there were some rich families, notably the rich Rucellai and wool-merchants, headed by Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai, whose Palazzo Rucellai by Leon Battista Alberti, a landmark in Italian Renaissance architecture, was being built between about 1446 and 1451, Botticelli's earliest years. By 1458, Botticelli's family had moved to the same street as this, were renting their house from another Rucellai, there were other dealings involving the two families; the same year, when Botticelli was 13, his father complained to the Florence Registry that his son was "unhealthy" and "reading". Botticelli's father was a tanner until 1460, before joining his son Antonio in a new business as a beater of gold leaf, which would have brought them into contact with artists.
When he was about 14 years old, Botticelli apprenticed as a goldsmith in Antonio's workshop. In 1464, Botticelli's father bought a house in nearby Via Nuova, which Sandro returned to live in by 1470, where he remained for the rest of his life, he both lived and had his workshop in the house, by now a rather unusual practice, despite his brother Giovanni and his family being in residence. On the same street were the Vespucci family, including Amerigo Vespucci, born in 1454; the Vespucci were close Medici allies, would become regular patrons of Botticelli. The name Botticelli, meaning "little barrel", came from his brother Giovanni's nickname of "Botticello", "apparently from an unfortunate resemblance". By 1470 a document referred to the painter as "Sandro Mariano Botticelli", it became his customary surname. From around 1461 or 1462 Botticelli was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi, one of the top Florentine painters of the day, one patronized by the Medicis, he was rather conservative in many respects, but gave Botticelli a solid training in the Florentine style and technique of the day, in panel painting and drawing.
Elements in style and compositions that are reminiscent of Lippi continued to appear throughout his career. For this period Lippi was based in Prato, just outside Florence, painting what is now Prato Cathedral, it is there that Botticelli was trained, he had left Lippi by April 1467, when the master went to work in Spoleto. It is thought that Botticelli worked for the naturalist painters the Pollaiuolo brothers and Verrochio, in part based on their shared use of foreshortening and perspective; as early as 1467, but by 1470, Botticelli had his own workshop, which by 1472 included the son of his master, Filippino Lippi. In June of that year he was commissioned by the judges of commercial cases to paint two panels from a set of the Seven Virtues for their court. Botticelli both matched his style and composition to the other panels by Piero del Pollaiuolo, tried to outshine him "with fanciful enrichments so as to show up Piero's poverty of ornamental invention."There is un
Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome, the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned 575–535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's first Etruscan king, assassinated in 579 BC. Servius is said to have been the first Roman king to accede without election by the Senate, having gained the throne by popular support. Several traditions describe Servius' father as divine. Livy depicts Servius' mother as a captured Latin princess enslaved by the Romans; the Emperor Claudius discounted such origins and described him as an Etruscan mercenary, named Mastarna, who fought for Caelius Vibenna. Servius was a popular king, one of Rome's most significant benefactors, he had military successes against Veii and the Etruscans, expanded the city to include the Quirinal and Esquiline hills. He is traditionally credited with the institution of the Compitalia festivals, the building of temples to Fortuna and Diana and, less plausibly, the invention of Rome's first true coinage.
Despite the opposition of Rome's patricians, he expanded the Roman franchise and improved the lot and fortune of Rome's lowest classes of citizens and non-citizens. According to Livy, he reigned for 44 years, until murdered by his daughter Tullia and son-in-law Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In consequence of this "tragic crime" and his hubristic arrogance as king, Tarquinius was removed; this cleared the way for the abolition of Rome's monarchy and the founding of the Roman Republic, whose groundwork had been laid by Servius' reforms. Before its establishment as a Republic, Rome was ruled by kings. In Roman tradition, Rome's founder Romulus was the first. Servius Tullius was the sixth, his successor Tarquinius Superbus was the last; the nature of Roman kingship is unclear. Some were native Romans, others were foreign. Romans had a complex ideological relationship with this distant past. In Republican mores and institutions kingship was abhorrent. On the one hand, Romulus was held to have brought Rome into being more-or-less at a stroke, so complete and purely Roman in its essentials that any acceptable change or reform thereafter must be clothed as restoration.
On the other, Romans of the Republic and Empire saw each king as contributing in some distinctive and novel way to the city's fabric and territories, or its social, religious, legal or political institutions. Servius Tullius has been described as Rome's "second founder", "the most complex and enigmatic" of all its kings, a kind of "proto-Republican magistrate"; the oldest surviving source for the overall political developments of the Roman kingdom and Republic is Cicero's De republica, written in 44 BC. The main literary sources for Servius' life and achievements are the Roman historian Livy, whose Ab urbe condita was accepted by the Romans as the standard, most authoritative account. Livy's sources included at least some official state records, he excluded what seemed implausible or contradictory traditions, arranged his material within an overarching chronology. Dionysius and Plutarch offer various alternatives not found in Livy, Livy's own pupil, the etruscologist and emperor Claudius, offered yet another, based on Etruscan tradition.
Most Roman sources name Servius' mother as Ocrisia, a young noblewoman taken at the Roman siege of Corniculum and brought to Rome, either pregnant by her husband, killed at the siege: or as a virgin. She was given to Tanaquil, wife of king Tarquinius, though slave, was treated with the respect due her former status. In one variant, she became wife to a noble client of Tarquinius. In others, she served the domestic rites of the royal hearth as a Vestal Virgin, on one such occasion, having damped the hearth flames with a sacrificial offering, she was penetrated by a disembodied phallus that rose from the hearth. According to Tanaquil, this was a divine manifestation, either of the household Lar or Vulcan himself, thus Servius was divinely fathered and destined for greatness, despite his mother's servile status. Servius' birth to a slave of the royal household made him part of Tarquin's extended familia. Ancient sources infer him as protégé, rather than adopted son, as he married Tarquinius' and Tanaquil's daughter, named by some sources as Gegania.
All sources agree that before his accession, either in his early childhood or members of the royal household witnessed a nimbus of fire about his head while he slept, a sign of divine favour, a great portent. He proved a responsible son-in-law; when given governmental and military responsibilities, he excelled in both. In Livy's account, Tarquinius Priscus had been elected king on the death of the previous king, Ancus Marcius, whose two sons were too young to inherit or offer themselves for election; when Servius' popularity and his marriage to Tarquinius' daughter made him a successor to the throne, these sons attempted to seize the throne for themselves. They hired two assassins, who attacked and wounded Tarquinius. Tanaquil o
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, known in English as Titian, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno in the Republic of Venice). During his lifetime he was called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth. Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, mythological and religious subjects, his painting methods in the application and use of colour, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the late Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art. His career was successful from the start, he became sought after by patrons from Venice and its possessions joined by the north Italian princes, the Habsburgs and papacy. Along with Giorgione, he is considered a founder of the Venetian School of Italian Renaissance painting. During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically, but he retained a lifelong interest in colour.
Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone were without precedent in the history of Western painting. The exact date of Titian's birth is uncertain; when he was an old man he claimed in a letter to Philip II, King of Spain, to have been born in 1474, but this seems most unlikely. Other writers contemporary to his old age give figures that would equate to birthdates between 1473 and after 1482. Most modern scholars believe a date between 1488 and 1490 is more though his age at death being 99 had been accepted into the 20th century, he was the son of whom little is known. Gregorio was superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore and managed local mines for their owners. Gregorio was a distinguished councilor and soldier. Many relatives, including Titian's grandfather, were notaries, the family were well-established in the area, ruled by Venice. At the age of about ten to twelve he and his brother Francesco were sent to an uncle in Venice to find an apprenticeship with a painter.
The minor painter Sebastian Zuccato, whose sons became well-known mosaicists, who may have been a family friend, arranged for the brothers to enter the studio of the elderly Gentile Bellini, from which they transferred to that of his brother Giovanni Bellini. At that time the Bellinis Giovanni, were the leading artists in the city. There Titian found a group of young men about his own age, among them Giovanni Palma da Serinalta, Lorenzo Lotto, Sebastiano Luciani, Giorgio da Castelfranco, nicknamed Giorgione. Francesco Vecellio, Titian's older brother became a painter of some note in Venice. A fresco of Hercules on the Morosini Palace is said to have been one of Titian's earliest works. Others were the Bellini-esque so-called Gypsy Madonna in Vienna, the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth, now in the Accademia, Venice. A Man with a Quilted Sleeve is an early portrait, painted around 1509 and described by Giorgio Vasari in 1568. Scholars long believed it depicted Ludovico Ariosto. Rembrandt borrowed the composition for his self-portraits.
Titian joined Giorgione as an assistant, but many contemporary critics found his work more impressive—for example in exterior frescoes that they did for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Their relationship evidently contained a significant element of rivalry. Distinguishing between their work at this period remains a subject of scholarly controversy. A substantial number of attributions have moved from Giorgione to Titian in the 20th century, with little traffic the other way. One of the earliest known Titian works, Christ Carrying the Cross in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, depicting the Ecce Homo scene, was long regarded as by Giorgione; the two young masters were recognized as the leaders of their new school of arte moderna, characterized by paintings made more flexible, freed from symmetry and the remnants of hieratic conventions still found in the works of Giovanni Bellini. In 1507–1508 Giorgione was commissioned by the state to create frescoes on the re-erected Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Titian and Morto da Feltre worked along with him, some fragments of paintings remain by Giorgione.
Some of their work is known, through the engravings of Fontana. After Giorgione's early death in 1510, Titian continued to paint Giorgionesque subjects for some time, though his style developed its own features, including bold and expressive brushwork. Titian's talent in fresco is shown in those he painted in 1511 at Padua in the Carmelite church and in the Scuola del Santo, some of which have been preserved, among them the Meeting at the Golden Gate, three scenes from the life of St. Anthony of Padua, The Miracle of the Jealous Husband, which depicts the Murder of a Young Woman by Her Husband, A Child Testifying to Its Mother's Innocence, The Saint Healing the Young Man with a Broken Limb. In 1512 Titian returned to Venice from Padua, he became superintendent of the government works charged with completing the paintings left unfinished by Giovanni Bellini in the hall of the great council in the ducal palace. He set up a
Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the mythical Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions; the myths concerning Romulus involve several distinct episodes and figures: the miraculous birth and youth of Romulus and Remus, his twin brother. Romulus and Remus, his twin brother, were the sons of Rhea Silvia, herself the daughter of Numitor, the former king of Alba Longa. Through them, the twins are descended from the Trojan hero Aeneas and Latinus, the mythical founder of the kingdom of Latium. Before the twins' birth, Numitor had been usurped by Amulius. After seizing the throne, Amulius murdered Numitor's son, condemned Rhea to perpetual virginity by consecrating her a Vestal.
Rhea, became pregnant, ostensibly by the god Mars. Amulius had her imprisoned, upon the twins' birth, ordered that they be thrown into the rain-swollen Tiber. Instead of carrying out the king's orders, his servants left the twins along the riverbank at the foot of Palatine Hill. In the traditional telling of the legend, a she-wolf happened upon the twins, who were at the foot of a fig tree, she suckled and tended them by a cave until they were found by the herdsman Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia. The brothers grew to manhood among hill-folk. After becoming involved in a conflict between the followers of Amulius and those of their grandfather Numitor, they learned the truth of their origin, they restored Numitor to the throne. The princes set out to establish a city of their own, they returned to the hills overlooking the site where they had been exposed as infants. They could not agree on; when an omen to resolve the controversy failed to provide a clear indication, the conflict escalated and Remus was killed by his brother or by his brother's follower.
In a variant of the legend, the augurs favoured Romulus, who proceeded to plough a square furrow around the Palatine Hill to demarcate the walls of the future city. When Remus derisively leapt over the "walls" to show how inadequate they were against invaders, he was struck down by Romulus in anger. In another variant, Remus died during a melée, along with Faustulus; the founding of the city by Romulus was commemorated annually on April 21, with the festival of the Parilia. His first act was to fortify the Palatine, in the course, he laid out the city's boundaries with a furrow that he ploughed, performed another sacrifice, with his followers set to work building the city itself. Romulus sought the assent of the people to become their king. With Numitor's help, he received their approval. Romulus accepted the crown after he sacrificed and prayed to Jupiter, after receiving favourable omens. Romulus divided the populace into three tribes, known as the Ramnes and Luceres, for taxation and military purposes.
Each tribe was presided over by an official known as a tribune, was further divided into ten curia, or wards, each presided over by an official known as a curio. Romulus allotted a portion of land to each ward, for the benefit of the people. Nothing is known of the manner in which the tribes and curiae were taxed, but for the military levy, each curia was responsible for providing one hundred foot soldiers, a unit known as a century, ten cavalry; each Romulean tribe thus provided about one thousand infantry, one century of cavalry. Choosing one hundred men from the leading families, Romulus established the Roman senate; these men he called the city fathers. The other class, known as the "plebs" or "plebeians", consisted of the servants, fugitives who sought asylum at Rome, those captured in war, others who were granted Roman citizenship over time. To encourage the growth of the city, Romulus outlawed infanticide, established an asylum for fugitives on the Capitoline Hill, where freemen and slaves alike could claim protection and seek Roman citizenship.
The new city was filled with colonists, most of whom were unmarried men. With no intermarriage between Rome and neighboring communities, the new city would fail. Romulus sent envoys to neighboring towns, appealing to them to allow intermarriage with Roman citizens, but his overtures were rebuffed. Romulus formulated a plan to acquire women from other settlements, he announced a momentous festival and games, invited the people of the neighboring cities to attend. Many did, in particular the Sabines. At a prearranged signal, the Romans began to snatch and carry off the marriageable women among their guests; the aggrieved cities prepared for war with Rome, might have defeated Romulus had they been united. But impatient with the preparations of the Sabines, the Latin towns of Caenina and Antemnae took action without their allies. Caenina was the first to attack.
Social class in ancient Rome
Social class in ancient Rome was hierarchical, but there were multiple and overlapping social hierarchies, an individual's relative position in one might be higher or lower than in another. The status of freeborn Romans during the Republic was established by: ancestry. For example, men who lived in towns outside Rome lack the right to vote. There were classes of non-citizens with different legal rights, such as peregrini. Under Roman law, slaves had no rights as such. However, some laws regulated slavery and offered slaves protections not extended to other forms of property such as animals. Slaves, manumitted were freedmen, for the most part enjoyed the same legal rights and protections as free-born citizens. Roman society was patriarchal in the purest sense; the patron-client relationship, with the word patronus deriving from pater, was another way in which Roman society was organized into hierarchical groups, though clientela functioned as a system of overlapping social networks. A patron could be the client of a superior or more powerful patron.
In the Roman Kingdom and the early Roman Republic the most important division in Roman society was between the patricians and the plebeians. The patricians were a small elite whose ancestry was traced to the first Senate established by Romulus, who monopolised political power; the plebeians comprised the majority of Roman citizens. Adult males who were not Roman citizens, whether free or slave, fall outside this division. Women and children were not citizens, but took the social status of their father or husband, which granted them various rights and protections not available to the women and children of men of lower rank; the distinction between patricians and plebeians in Ancient Rome was based purely on birth. Although modern writers portray patricians as rich and powerful families who managed to secure power over the less-fortunate plebeian families and patricians among the senatorial class were wealthy; as civil rights for plebeians increased during the middle and late Roman Republic, many plebeian families had attained wealth and power while some traditionally patrician families had fallen into poverty and obscurity.
The first Roman Emperor, was of plebeian origin, as were many of his successors. By the Late Empire, few members of the Senate were from the original patrician families, most of which had died out. Rome continued to have a hierarchical class system, but it was now dominated by economic differences, rather than the hereditary distinction between Patricians and Plebeians. All public offices were open only to patricians, the classes could not intermarry. Plebeians and Patricians were always at odds due to the fact that Plebeians wanted to increase their power. A series of social struggles saw the plebs secede from the city on three occasions, the last in 297 BC, until their demands were met, they won the right to stand for office, the abolition of the intermarriage law, the creation of office of tribune of the plebs. This office, founded in 494 BC as a result of a plebeian secession, was the main legal bulwark against the powers of the patrician class, only plebeians were eligible; the tribunes had the power to protect any plebeian from a patrician magistrate.
Revolts forced the Senate to grant the tribunes additional powers, such as the right to veto legislation. A tribune’s person was sacrosanct, he was obliged to keep an open house at all times while in office; some patricians, notably Clodius Pulcher in the late 60s BC, petitioned to be assigned plebeian status, in order to accumulate the political influence among the people that the office of tribune afforded. The conflict between the classes came to a climax in 287 BC when patricians and plebeians were declared equal under the law. Following these changes the distinction between patrician and plebeian status became less important, by the Late Republic the only patrician prerogatives were certain priesthoods. Over time, some patrician families declined, some plebeian families rose in status, the composition of the ruling class changed. A plebeian, the first of his line to become consul was known as a novus homo, he and his descendants became “noble”. Notable examples of novi homines are the seven-time consul Marius, Cicero, whose rise was unusual in that it was driven by his oratorical and intellectual abilities rather than, as with Marius, military success.
During the Empire, patricius became a title of nobility bestowed by emperors. The census divided citizens into six complex classes based on property; the richest were the senatorial class, who during the Late Republic had to be worth at least 400,000 se
The plebs were, in ancient Rome, the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census. The precise origins of the group and the term are unclear, though it may be that they began as a limited political movement in opposition to the elite which became more applied. In Latin the word plebs is a singular collective noun, its genitive is plebis; the origin of the separation into orders is unclear, it is disputed when the Romans were divided under the early kings into patricians and plebeians, or whether the clientes of the patricians formed a third group. Certain gentes were patrician, as identified by the nomen, but a gens might have both patrician and plebeian branches that shared a nomen but were distinguished by a cognomen, as was the case with the gens Claudia; the 19th-century historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr held that plebeians began to appear at Rome during the reign of Ancus Marcius and were foreigners settling in Rome as naturalized citizens. In any case, at the outset of the Roman Republic, the patricians had a near monopoly on political and social institutions.
Plebeians were excluded from magistracies and religious colleges, they were not permitted to know the laws by which they were governed. Plebeians served in the army, but became military leaders. Dissatisfaction with the status quo mounted to the point that the plebeians engaged in a sort of general strike, a secessio plebis, during which they would withdraw from Rome, leaving the patricians to themselves. From 494 to 287 BC, five such actions during the so-called "Conflict of the Orders" resulted in the establishment of plebeian offices, the publication of the laws, the establishment of the right of plebeian–patrician intermarriage, the opening of the highest offices of government and some state priesthoods to the plebeians and passage of legislation that made resolutions passed by the assembly of plebeians, the concilium plebis, binding on all citizens. During the Second Samnite War, plebeians who had risen to power through these social reforms began to acquire the aura of nobilitas, "nobility", marking the creation of a ruling elite of nobiles that allied the interests of patricians and noble plebeians.
From the mid-4th century to the early 3rd century BC, several plebeian–patrician "tickets" for the consulship repeated joint terms, suggesting a deliberate political strategy of cooperation. Although nobilitas was not a formal social rank during the Republican era, in general, a plebeian who had attained the consulship was regarded as having brought nobility to his family; such a man was a novus homo, a self-made noble, his sons and descendants were nobiles. Marius and Cicero are notable examples of novi homines in the late Republic, when many of Rome's richest and most powerful men—such as Lucullus and Pompeius—were plebeian nobles; some or many noble plebeians, including Cicero and Lucullus, aligned their political interests with the faction of Optimates, conservatives who sought to preserve senatorial prerogatives. By contrast, the Populares, which sought to champion the plebs in the sense of "common people", were sometimes led by patricians such as Julius Caesar and Clodius Pulcher. In the U.
S. military, plebes are freshmen at the U. S. Military Academy, U. S. Naval Academy, Valley Forge Military Academy and College, the Marine Military Academy, the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, Georgia Military College, California Maritime Academy; the term is used for new cadets at the Philippine Military Academy. Early public schools in the United Kingdom would enrol pupils as "plebeians" as opposed to sons of gentry and aristocrats. In British, Australian, New Zealand and South African English the back-formation pleb, along with the more derived adjectival form plebby, is used as a derogatory term for someone considered unsophisticated or uncultured. Bread and circuses – Figure of speech referring to a superficial means of appeasement Capite censi – The lowest class of citizens of ancient Rome Plebeian Council – The principal assembly of the ancient Roman Republic Proletariat – The class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power Roman Republic – Period of ancient Roman civilization Plebgate, a 2012 British political scandal involving the use of the word as a slur Jackson J. Spielvogel.
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