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Citizenship in ancient Rome (Latin : civitas) was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance.
Roman citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. Citizen soldiers could be beaten by the centurions and senior officers for reasons related to discipline. Non-citizens joined the Auxilia and gained citizenship through service.
The legal classes varied over time, however the following classes of legal status existed at various times within the Roman state:
The cives Romani were full Roman citizens, who enjoyed full legal protection under Roman law. Cives Romani were sub-divided into two classes:
The Latini were a class of citizens who held the Latin Right (ius Latii), or the rights of ius commercii and ius migrationis, but not the ius conubii. The term Latini originally referred to the Latins, citizens of the Latin League who came under Roman control at the close of the Latin War, but eventually became a legal description rather than a national or ethnic one. Freedmen slaves, those of the cives Romani convicted of crimes, or citizens settling Latin colonies could be given this status under the law.
Socii or foederati were citizens of states which had treaty obligations with Rome, under which typically certain legal rights of the state's citizens under Roman law were exchanged for agreed levels of military service, i.e. the Roman magistrates had the right to levy soldiers for the Roman legions from those states. However, foederati states that had at one time been conquered by Rome were exempt from payment of tribute to Rome due to their treaty status.
Growing dissatisfaction with the rights afforded to the socii, and with the growing manpower demands of the legions (due to the protracted Jugurthine War and the Cimbrian War) led eventually to the Social War of 91–88 BC in which the Italian allies revolted against Rome.
The Lex Julia (in full the Lex Iulia de Civitate Latinis Danda), passed in 90 BC, granted the rights of the cives Romani to all Latini and socii states that had not participated in the Social War, or who were willing to cease hostilities immediately. This was extended to all the Italian socii states when the war ended (except for Gallia Cisalpina), effectively eliminating socii and Latini as legal and citizenship definitions.
Provinciales were those people who fell under Roman influence, or control, but who lacked even the rights of the Foederati, essentially having only the rights of the ius gentium.
A peregrinus (plural peregrini) was originally any person who was not a full Roman citizen, that is someone who was not a member of the cives Romani. With the expansion of Roman law to include more gradations of legal status, this term became less used, but the term peregrini included those of the Latini, socii, and provinciales, as well as those subjects of foreign states.
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Roman citizenship was also used as a tool of foreign policy and control. Colonies and political allies would be granted a "minor" form of Roman citizenship, there being several graduated levels of citizenship and legal rights (the Latin Right was one of them). The promise of improved status within the Roman "sphere of influence", and the rivalry with one's neighbours for status, kept the focus of many of Rome's neighbours and allies centered on the status quo of Roman culture, rather than trying to subvert or overthrow Rome's influence.
The granting of citizenship to allies and the conquered was a vital step in the process of Romanization. This step was one of the most effective political tools and (at that point in history) original political ideas (perhaps one of the most important reasons for the success of Rome).
Previously Alexander the Great had tried to "mingle" his Greeks with the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, etc. in order to assimilate the people of the conquered Persian Empire, but after his death this policy was largely ignored by his successors. The idea was not to assimilate, but to turn a defeated and potentially rebellious enemy (or their sons) into Roman citizens. Instead of having to wait for the unavoidable revolt of a conquered people (a tribe or a city-state) like Sparta and the conquered Helots, Rome tried to make those under its rule feel that they had a stake in the system.
The Edict of Caracalla (officially the Constitutio Antoniniana in Latin: "Constitution [or Edict] of Antoninus") was an edict issued in AD 212 by the Roman Emperor Caracalla, which declared that all free men in the Roman Empire were to be given full Roman citizenship and all free women in the Empire were given the same rights as Roman women. Before 212, for the most part only inhabitants of Italia held full Roman citizenship. Colonies of Romans established in other provinces, Romans (or their descendants) living in provinces, the inhabitants of various cities throughout the Empire, and a few local nobles (such as kings of client countries) also held full citizenship. Provincials, on the other hand, were usually non-citizens, although some held the Latin Right.
The Book of Acts indicates that Paul the Apostle was a Roman citizen by birth - though not clearly specifying which class of citizenship - a fact which had considerable bearing on Paul's career and on the way he shaped the new religion of Christianity.
However, by the century previous to Caracalla, Roman citizenship had already lost much of its exclusiveness and become more available.
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables, to the Corpus Juris Civilis ordered by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most widely used legal system today, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously. The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law.
Foederati were foreign states, client kingdoms, or barbarian tribes to which ancient Rome provided benefits in exchange for military assistance. The term was also used, especially under the Roman Empire, for groups of "barbarian" mercenaries of various sizes, who were typically allowed to settle within the Roman Empire.
The pater familias, also written as paterfamilias, was the head of a Roman family. The pater familias was the oldest living male in a household, and exercised autocratic authority over his extended family. The term is Latin for "father of the family" or the "owner of the family estate". The form is archaic in Latin, preserving the old genitive ending in -ās, whereas in classical Latin the normal genitive ending was -ae. The pater familias always had to be a Roman citizen.
The ius gentium or jus gentium is a concept of international law within the ancient Roman legal system and Western law traditions based on or influenced by it. The ius gentium is not a body of statute law or a legal code, but rather customary law thought to be held in common by all gentes in "reasoned compliance with standards of international conduct".
The Constitutio Antoniniana was an edict issued in 212 CE, by the Roman Emperor Caracalla declaring that all free men in the Roman Empire were to be given full Roman citizenship and that all free women in the Empire were to be given the same rights as Roman women.
Latin Rights were a set of legal rights that were originally granted to the Latins under Roman law. "Latinitas" was commonly used by Roman jurists to denote this status. With the Roman unification of Italy, many settlements and coloniae outside of Latium had Latin rights.
The aerarii were a class of Roman citizens not included in the thirty tribes of Servius Tullius, and subject to a poll-tax arbitrarily fixed by the censor. They were:
In Roman law, status describes a person's legal status. The individual could be a Roman citizen, unlike foreigners; or he could be free, unlike slaves; or he could have a certain position in a Roman family either as head of the family, or as a lower member.
In Roman Law, Lex Iunia Norbana of 19 AD classified all freedmen into two classes according to their mode of enfranchisement: enfranchised citizens, and enfranchised Latini.
Social class in ancient Rome was hierarchical, but there were multiple and overlapping social hierarchies, and 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:
The Lex Plautia Papiria de Civitate Sociis Danda was a Roman plebiscite enacted amidst the Social War in 89 BCE. It was proposed by the Tribunes of the Plebs, M. Plautius Silvanus and C. Papirius Carbo. The law granted Roman citizenship to Italian communities that had previously rebelled against Rome during this war.
Ius Italicum was an honor conferred on particular cities of the Roman Empire by the emperors. It did not describe any status of citizenship, but granted to communities outside Italy the legal fiction that it was on Italian soil. This meant that it was governed under Roman rather than local or Hellenistic law, had a greater degree of autonomy in their relations with provincial governors, all those born in the city automatically gained Roman citizenship, and the city's land was exempt from certain taxes. As citizens of Rome, people were able to buy and sell property, were exempt from land tax and the poll tax and were entitled to protection by Roman law.
The Romans used provincial and local governments to govern conquered territories without having to rule them directly.
Peregrinus was the term used during the early Roman empire, from 30 BC to AD 212, to denote a free provincial subject of the Empire who was not a Roman citizen. Peregrini constituted the vast majority of the Empire's inhabitants in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In AD 212, all free inhabitants of the Empire were granted citizenship by the constitutio Antoniniana, abolishing the status of peregrinus.
Ius or Jus in ancient Rome was a right to which a citizen (civis) was entitled by virtue of his citizenship (civitas). The iura were specified by laws, so ius sometimes meant law. As one went to the law courts to sue for one's rights, ius also meant justice and the place where justice was sought.
The Lex Licinia Mucia was a Roman law which set up a quaestio to investigate Latin and Italian allies registered as Romans on the citizen rolls. It was established by consuls Lucius Licinius Crassus and Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex in 95 BC. This law is regarded as a cause of the Social War.
The socii or foederati were one of the three legal denominations of Roman Italy (Italia) along with the Latini and the Cives. The Latini, who were special confederates and semi-citizens at the same time, should not be equated with the homonymous Italic people of which Rome was part. This tripartite organisation came to an end after the Social War of 91–88 BC, when all peninsular inhabitants were awarded Roman citizenship.
In the Roman Empire, the dediticii were one of the three classes of libertini. The dediticii existed as a class of persons who were neither slaves, nor Roman citizens (cives), nor Latini, at least as late as the time of Ulpian.
Social class in Italy began early on in Ancient Rome, and this article comprises more or less how it is today.
The Lex Pompeia de Transpadanis was a Roman law promulgated by the Roman Consul Pompeius Strabo in 89 BC. It was one of three laws introduced by the Romans during the Social War between Rome and her Socii (allies), where some of Rome's Italic allies rebelled and waged war against her because of her refusal to grant them Roman citizenship. This law dealt with the local communities in Transpadana, the region north of the River Po,. It granted Latin Rights to these peoples as a reward for siding with the Rome during the Social War. This gave the inhabitants of the region the legal benefits associated with these rights, which were previously restricted to the towns of Latium which had not been incorporated into the Roman Republic and to the citizens of Latin colonies. They included: A) Ius Commercii, "a privilege granted to Latin colonies to have contractual relations, to trade with Roman citizens on equal terms and to use the form of contracts available to Roman citizens". It also allowed contracts and trade on equal terms with citizens of another Latin towns. B) Ius Connubii, was the right to conclude a marriage recognised by law, ius connubii of both parties was necessary for the validity of the marriage. Later it was extended to citizens of foreign communities "either generally, or by special concession". In the case of Latin rights it made marriages between citizens of different Latin towns legal. C) Ius migrationis, the right to retain one’s level of citizenship if the individual relocated to another city. In other words, it facilitated migration by the acquisition of citizenship of another Latin town. In addition to this, the law granted Roman citizenship to the magistrates (officials) of the local towns.
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