There were two main
classes of people in ancient Rome -
the Patricians and the Plebeians.
The patricians were the upper class,
the nobility and wealthy land owners.
plebeians were the lower class. Nicknamed "plebs", the
plebeians included everyone in ancient Rome (except for the nobility,
the patricians) from well-to-do tradesmen all the way down to the very
that were the same in both classes
The family was structured in
the same way in both classes. The head of the family was the oldest
male. That could be the father, the grandfather, or perhaps even an
uncle. Everybody in one family lived under one roof. Women
had no authority except in the home. Old age was honored.
Life in the home of wealthy tradesmen and
patricians centered around the atrium, the central courtyard.
If they could afford it, both classes had slaves
to do the work.
The citizens of Rome were adult freemen from
both classes - plebs and patricians. Women, children, and slaves were
not citizens. People from all classes considered themselves
Both classes worshiped the same gods
and attended religious festivals.
Both classes spoke the same language, Latin.
Both classes enjoyed the activities in the
Forum, including the many free activities such as jugglers.
that were different
A wealthy plebeian family and a wealthy
patrician family did not meet socially. Under the kings, it was
illegal for a pleb and a patrician to marry. In 445 BCE, about 60
years after the Roman Republic was formed, a new law was written that
said it was no longer illegal for plebs and patricians to marry.