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date: 24 November 2020

citizenship, Romanlocked

  • Michael Crawford

Extract

In both the Greek and the Roman world in the Archaic period, it seems that communities were open to the arrival of people from elsewhere, at all social levels, whether one thinks of Hesiod's father, *Demaratus (1) of Corinth in Tarquinii, the Tarquins (see tarquinius priscus; Tarquinius Superbus), or Attus Clusus and his followers in Rome. Detailed rules for citizenship were of course developed in both civilizations, as the city evolved, in the 7th to 5th or 6th to 5th cents. bce. In the case of Rome, though the details are obscure, Roman citizenship clearly developed in dialogue with the citizenships of other Latin communities. It involved the observance of the Roman civil law; and the struggles of the plebeians gradually brought protection for citizens from magisterial *imperium.At all events, Roman citizenship came to possess two features which distinguished it from polis citizenship and which later surprised Greek observers: the automatic incorporation of freed slaves of Romans into the Roman citizen body; and the ease with which whole communities of outsiders could be admitted as citizens. By the time Rome faced the invasion of *Hannibal in 218 bce, she had a long history of giving citizenship to Italian communities, either with the vote (optimo iure) or without the vote (sine suffragio).

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