The Patron-Client System provided the basis for Roman social organization

What is a patron?

*unique feature of Roman society

*citizens formed relationships that acted as an important link in the political and social systems

 *Patrons would provide ëclientsí with advice, money, business opportunities, or representation in court

*In turn, clients would help their patron by providing certain services: working on political campaigns, appearing in public as part of a group of faithful retainers, or using their specialized skills or training to enhance their patronís status.

What is a client?

*Clients could be freedmen, businessmen, artists and writers.

*Common practice in Republican Rome for a patron-politician to either ally himself with prominent writers or patronize them publicly

 For the writer, this alliance provided financial support and a market for his work; for the politician it would promote his own personal celebrity.

How does Catullus use the Patron-Client System in 63?

*The relationship between the mistress and the poet represents the obligation of the inferior poet-client to the superior mistress-patron

*Poet is a slave to love

*Being a patron gives you status in the eyes of the community

Juvenal on the decline of  the patron-client system:

 . Clients were guests in those days,
But now Roman citizens are reduced to scrambling
For a little basket of crumbs on their patron's doorstep.
 . (Juvenal, Satire I, 93-101)