Creatures of the Triumvirs: A Study of the Patron-Client Relationship in the Late Roman Republic
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Dr. Erich S. Gruen’s article “P. Clodius: Instrument or Independent Agent?” addressed for the first time the problems inherent to viewing the clients of the Late Roman Republic as merely the puppets of their patrons. This study proposed to examine several major clients—Gabinius, Clodius, and Milo—to determine to what degree they operated under the guidance of their patrons and to what extent they exercised political independence. To do this, the careers of the clients and the primary sources were examined in detail to analyze the influence of the patrons in their respective political actions. In the process of the study, questions were raised about the changes the relationship underwent in the Late Roman Republic and the political role that the patron-client relationship still played. This study found that the clients operated with more freedom than was previously believed and had to contend with a political atmosphere in which alliances were made and sacrificed with equal rapidity.