Roman Citizenship

"Remember, Roman, to guide the nations with authority. Let these be your arts: impose the laws of peace, And spare the humbled and lay low the proud." -Vergil

Citizenship was extremely important in Rome's attempt to preserve her unity. When Rome conquered a city they would offer it alliance and would write up various terms of the treaty.

4 Classes of Citizenship

When Rome conquered a city the defeated people would fall into one of four classes. Citizens, Municipia, Latin Allies, and Italian Allies. Other areas maintained their domestic independence but Rome dictated their foreign policies.

Citizens had full rights and full privileges.

Municipia received Roman citizenship without the right to vote. They were allowed a local self-government and the rights of trade. They also served in the army and paid taxes.

Latin Allies had no citizenship but were allowed the rights of trade, they also equipped Rome with foreign legions and were self-governed.

Italian Allies were Roman protectorates. They sent troop levies to Rome, and they shared in the spoils of war.

Advantages and Disadvantages For the Italian Tribes

There were many advantages for the Italians being under the protection of Rome even though they had lost their independence:

a) The Pax Romana (Roman peace),

b) Protection from many foreigners and multiple tribal wars ceasing,

c) Partial freedom and the possibility of full citizenship,

d) A better economy

e) The use of Rome's architecture: (bridges, aqueducts, roads, etc.)

f) Sharing in the glory of Rome

The disadvantages were:

a) Roman taxes

b) Required military service

c) Only partial freedom

d) The eventual loss of any former identity, culture or language

Gradually the Latin language and the Roman way of life permeated the entire Italian Peninsula and Rome was becoming quickly unified as they had hoped. (see Rome's Methods of Domination)