Roman society from republican times through to the empire worked on a system of “patronage”. Patron- client relationships existed through all levels of roman society. A patron was expected to assist his clients and their relatives by advancing their careers. In return the client had to support and further the cause of the patron, often giving them gifts. The system of patronage was particularly important for noble families of Rome, and as can be seen by Agrippina, the women of the imperial household could exert their influence as patrons.
Throughout the reign of Claudius, and in the early years of her sons reign, Agrippina placed some of her clients into key positions. In AD49 used her influence with Claudius to have Seneca recalled from exile and give position as Praetor. She helped Seneca as she wanted him to tutor her son. Another of Agrippina’s Protégés was Burrus, Tacitus argues that she wanted to “remove the commanders of the guard, Lucius Geta and Rufrus Crispinus, whom she regarded as to loyal the memory and the cause of ….. Messalina children.” So Agrippina asserted to Claudius that the guard was split by their rivalry and that unified control Agrippina would mean stricter discipline , whereupon the patron client command was transferred Burrus, who was a distinguished solider but fully aware whose initiative was behind the appointment.” Burrus was made sole Pretorian guard in 51AD. One of Seneca’s brothers Julnis Gallic became pro consul of Achear in 51/52AD, While another became an imperial procurator. Tacitus tells us that another “Amici” (friend) of Agrippina’s gain senatorial/ imperial post.
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