But in the course of time there grew up by the side of the patricians a new class of persons. Though living at Rome, they were not members of the old families, and hence had no share in the government. These persons were called plebeians. There were no doubt many of these persons under the early kings; but they became more numerous under the later kings. They consisted largely of people of other cities who had been conquered and brought to Rome, and of people who had escaped from other cities and found refuge at Rome. They thus became subjects, but not citizens. They could not hold office, nor vote; nor could they marry into the patrician families; although they were allowed to hold property of their own. But as they became more numerous, and as some of them became wealthy, they desired to be made equal with the patricians.
November 15, 2016