Being a Roman Citizen

Being a Roman Citizen

Being a Roman Citizen

Being a Roman Citizen

Synopsis

The status of citizen was increasingly the right of the majority in the Roman empire and brought important privileges and exemption from certain forms of punishment. However, not all Roman citizens were equal; for example bastards, freed persons, women, the physically and mentally handicapped, under-25s, ex-criminals and soldiers were subject to restrictions and curtailments on their capacity to act. Being a Roman Citizen examines these forms of limitation and discrimination and thereby throws into sharper focus Roman conceptions of citizenship and society.

Excerpt

Another approach is to concentrate on Roman citizenship as a political phenomenon, usually with particular regard to the citizen in relation to the state and its authorities. This can follow two paths. So, for example, the emphasis of Sherwin-White (1973) is on the historical process of extension of the Roman citizenship, and his study is primarily concerned with the admission of communities or individuals from outside to share in Roman political life.

The actual workings of political institutions themselves, and the participation required of the individual citizen, can also be the object of study. Nicolet (1980) considers the adult male citizen only, and in three main areas of his participation in the public life of the state at Rome in the Republic: military, financial and fiscal, and comitial (i.e. electoral and legislative). He discusses the differences between individual citizens specifically in relation to these functions, and only briefly and generally.

This approach, obviously, is not one which can be continued in quite the same terms into the imperial period, after the decay

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