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Landscapes and CitiesRural Settlement and Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Italy$
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John R. Patterson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198140887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198140887.001.0001

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Social Mobility and the Cities of Italy

Social Mobility and the Cities of Italy

(p.184) 3 Social Mobility and the Cities of Italy
Landscapes and Cities

John R. Patterson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the resources of the cities, and the cities’ relationship with benefactors, in the context of the phenomenon of social mobility in the cities of Italy, both below and above the local ordo decurionum (city council), as members of the local aristocracies advanced into the equestrian order and the senate, and were in turn replaced in civic life by men from lower social echelons, often the sons of freedmen. An examination of the career of the emperor Vespasian shows how social mobility worked in the case of one Italian family. The chapter examines the impact of mobility of this kind on the cities and their territories, and the strategies the cities devised to counteract the impact of the advancement of the traditional local elites, by appointing civic patrons, cultivating affluent families, and widening participation in civic affairs to involve the upwardly mobile, who often served as Augustales and took on roles in the collegia (popular associations).

Keywords:   Augustales, civic patrons, collegia, elites, equestrian order, freedmen, ordo decurionum, senate, social mobility, Vespasian

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