CLIENT (Clients), supposed by some writers to be derived from the verb clueo • but the derivation is somewhat doubtful. From the origin of ancient Rome, there appears to have existed the relation of patronage (patronatus) and client/kip (clientela). Romulus, the founder of Rome, was, according to tradition, the founder of this system; but it was probably an old Italian institution and existed before the foundation of the city. The chess may perhaps be com pared with the vassal of the middle ages. Being a man generally without posses sions of his own, the client in such case received from some patrician a part of his domains as a precarious and revocable possession. The client was under the protection of the patrician of whom he held his lands, who in respect of such a relation was named patron (patronus), i. e. father of the family, as matrons was the mother, " in relation to.heir children and domestics, and to their dependents, their clients." (Niebuhr.) It was formerly the opinion that every plebeian was also a client to some patrician ; but Niebuhr, in speaking with reference to the proposition that " the patrons and clients made up the whole Roman people," affirms that the proposition is only true " if applied to the period before the commonalty (pietas; was formed, when all the Romans were comprised in the original tribes by means of the houses they belonged to." It is most consistent with all the testimony that we have, to view the Roman state as origin ally consisting of a number of free citi zens who shared the sovereign power, and of a class of dependents, or persons in a state of partial freedom (clientes), who were attached to the several heads of houses and had no share in the sovereign power. The commonalty, or Plebs, as the writers call that class who from an early period stood in political opposition to the citizens who had the sovereign power (Patres), was of later growth, and was distinct from the Clients. The Ple beians, whatever may have been their origin, were Roman citizens, from the time that they were recognised as an order by the legislation of Servius Tullus ; but they had not all the rights of the Patricians: they only attained them after a long struggle. The legislation of Ser vius appears also to have placed the Clients on something like flit same foot ing as the Plebs with respect to civic rights.
There existed mutual rights and obli gations between the patron and his client, of which Dionysius (Roman Antiq. 10) has given a summary. The patron was bound to take his client under his paternal protection; to help him in case of want and difficulty, and even to assist him with his property ; to plead for him and defend him in suits. The client on his part was bound in obe dience to his patron, as a child to his parent ; to promote his honour, assist him in all affairs ; to give his vote for him when he sought any office, for it appears that the Clients had votes in the Comitia Centuriata ; to ransom him when he or any of his sons-was made prisoner ; and to contribute to the marriage portion of the patron's daughters, if the patron was too poor to do it himself. The obliga
tion to contribute to a daughter's por tion and to ransom the patron or his sons bears some resemblance to the aids due under the feudal system. [Alms.] The patron succeeded to his property when the client died without heirs ; which was also the law of the twelve tables in the case of a freedman (De Donis Libertorum, Dig. 38, tit. 2) who died intestate and left no heir (suits heres). Patron and client were not per mitted to sue at law, or give evidence against one another ; of which an in tance is mentioned by Plutarch in his Life of Marius (c. 5), though the relation of patron and client was not at that time exactly what it once had been.
The relation between patron and client was hereditary ; and the client had the gentile name of his patron, by which he was united to his patron's family and to the Dens to which his patron belonged.
Originally patricians only could be patrons ; but when, in the later times of the republic, the plebeians had access to all the honours of the state, clients also were attached to them.
The terms patronus and libertus, or even patronus and cliens, as used in the later years of the republic, and under the em perors, cannot be considered as expressing the same relation as the terms patronus and cliens in the early ages of Rome, though this later relation was probably derived from the earlier one" When a foreigner who came to reside at Rome selected a patron, which, if not the uni versal, was the common practice, he did no more than what every foreigner who settled in a strange country often found it his interest to do. The relationship ex isting at Rome between patron and client facilitated the formation of similar rela tions between foreigners and Roman citi zens; the foreigner thus obtained a pro tector and perhaps a friend, and the Roman increased his influence by becom ing the patron of men of letters and of genius. (See Cicero Pro Archia, c. 3, and De Oratore, i. 39, on the ‘Jus Appli cationis,' the precise meaning of which, however, is doubtful. See also Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 316, &c., and the references in the notes ; and Becker, Handbuch des Rom. Alterthums, vol. ii.) As a Roman client was defended in law-suits by his patron, the word client is used in modern times for a party who is represented by a hired counsellor or solicitor. The term Patron is also now in use : the present meaning of the word requires no explanation.