This question asked whether we know the list of patricians from who was consuls. I don't think that is it because I always read that there were originally 100 individuals who were the head of patrician households. How do we know who the Roman patricians were? Do we know all of the first 100 patricians?

  • You are defining "Censor" in a modern context...where reading and writing are done "of free will" or now electronically "at will." This was not true in these times as there was no paper or "binder" until well after Rome fell. There was law and "Roman Numerals" but as far as actual written primary source material of that Age the closest we can get is in fact the Bible. In other words "Roman History" is transcribed not "written as is" meaning "from the view of the participant." one exception is Julius Caesar Conquest of Gaul possibly. – user14394 Jul 14 '16 at 1:37
  • 2
    @user14394 No, the censors were mainly for holding censuses. – Benjamin Jul 14 '16 at 1:42
  • Not all consuls were patrician! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_consul – TheHonRose Jul 17 '16 at 2:24

No, we do not.

The origin itself is disputed. The 100 senator story is a quote from Livy, but there are alternative theories, both religious and/or hereditary in nature. There are no contemporary sources to confirm and in my opinion there have been multiple sources for what later became the dominant political class.

Fact is that the patrician class originated very early and became strictly hereditary for a long period of time. There are some 55 gens known to be patrician and this list is known to be incomplete.
Prominant examples are Julia, Fabia and Claudia.

Consular status is only one place to look for evidence of patrician status. King Servius Tullius' census is an earlier source. Priesthood was originally a patrician monopoly which declined as plebeian influence grew. Still for a long time only patricians could hold important posts like the office of interrex or interim head of state.

Eventually at the time of the late republic being a patrician became a political liability rather than an advantage. During the empire the emperor was required to be a patrician and was the only person that could instate new patricians. These appointments should be well documented but I cannot find at this time a good source.

A Companion to Livy edited by Bernard Mineo
The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization edited by Simon Hornblower, Antony Spawforth, Esther Eidinow
Patricians and Plebeians: The Origin of the Roman State by Richard E. Mitchell

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.