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Rome in Late AntiquityEveryday Life and Urban Change, AD 312-609$
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Bertrand Lancon

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612390

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612390.001.0001

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Tradesmen and plebs

Tradesmen and plebs

(p.76) Chapter 6 Tradesmen and plebs
Rome in Late Antiquity

Menno Fenger

Paul Henman

Edinburgh University Press

In Rome, trades were structured in professional bodies, the corpora, whose management was regulated by imperial legislation. These corpora had patrons, chosen from among the great Roman notables. Several were in the service of the city of Rome, and hence enjoyed special privileges. Furthermore, in those corporations deemed to be most useful to the public good, it was obligatory for offices to be hereditary. The members of these corporations were unable to dispose freely of their possessions, as these were used as security against the fulfillment of their duties. The existence in Rome of a large population of plebs who were dependent on the state and receiving assistance goes back to the second century bc. They eked out a living not only from a variety of jobs, but also from free, or cost price, distributions of food.

Keywords:   Rome, trades, corpora, patrons, notables, plebs

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