Social Classes in the Roman Empire: Commoners, Clients, Freedmen and Slaves –

We continue with our analysis of the social classes in the Roman empire. In our previous article we studied the most favored groups in the society: Patricians, Noble Commoners Y Commoners KnightsLet us now see the other side of the roman societyThe one of the social groups plus underprivileged.

Slaves working in agriculture – Roman Mosaic

commoners Customers:

Were commoners who had no resources of their own and put themselves at the service of a Patrick (to go to war, vote for him in the elections, etc.). In exchange, their employer gave them food and/or money. With the passing of time, the customers they were getting poorer and poorer, until they became a mass of unemployed people easy to manipulate for political purposes.

Roman Plebeians


The freedmen they were slaves that had been released by their owners. Although they were free men, they were still in some respects linked to their patron – they had to bear his surname, for example. They were not citizens and for what they had civil and Political Rights cropped.

They dedicated themselves to trades -which were jobs despised by the rich- of craft, trade and industry. Thanks to this, some of them accumulated important fortunes.


In the Antiquitythe slaves they were considered objects –not people- without any rights. They were bought and sold and their owners had the right to punish or kill them. The slaves they were prisoners of waror children of others slaves.

They were the ones who did most of the housework. productionspecially in farming. For this reason, it is considered Roman empire a slave society.

To a lesser extent there was slaves who had other activities: some participated in high positions of government or they were foremen on large agricultural plantations. Others had the worst of luck and were employed as oarsmen for the fleet roman or converted into gladiators of Roman circus.


ES 1, Social Sciences, in: portal abc

Social science notebooks, 1st year of Basic Secondary Education. In: Encounter Channel

PRIETO ESPUÑES. Social classes in Rome. Department of Latin, IES Marqués de Santillana. In: scribd


Slaves working in agriculture – Roman Mosaic, in Google

Illustration depicting Roman Plebeians, in Google

Roman slaves turned Gladiatorsin Google