Plebs were the general body of landowners; of Roman citizens in Ancient Rome. They were distinct from the privileged class of the patricians. A member of the "plebs" was known as a plebeian (Latin: "plebeius)". The term is used more commonly today to refer to one who is in the middle or lower class, or who appears to be; however, in Rome, plebeians could become quite wealthy and influential.

The origin of the class separation is clear. However the populace of the city of Rome during the reigns of Romulus, Numa Pompilius, and Tullus Hostilius were all called "patrician" as they were likely the only inhabitants of Rome. It is during the reign of Ancus Marcius that the plebeians came to Rome from diplomatic alliances as secondary citizens. In any case, around the time of the foundation of the Roman Republic, the plebeians were excluded from religious colleges and magistracies, and the law of the Twelve Tables disallowed intermarriage (which was finally allowed by the Lex Canuleia). At the same time, plebeians were enrolled in the "gentes" and tribes, served in the army, and could become military tribunes.

Even so, the "Conflict of the Orders" over the political status of the plebeians went on for the first two centuries of the Republic, ending with the formal equality of plebeians and patricians in 287 BC. The plebeians achieved this by developing their own organizations (the "concilium plebis"), leaders (the tribunes and plebeian aediles), and as the ultimate weapon used the "secessio", by which the plebeians would literally leave Rome, effectively boycotting the city.

Modern usage

In British, Irish, Australian and South African English "pleb" is a derogatory term for someone thought of as inferior, common or ignorant. In Dutch it is used literally; someone may be part of the Plebeians. See also: prole.

"Plebes", are freshmen at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Valley Forge Military Academy, The Marine Military Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

ee also

*Roman Republic
*Plebeian Council

External links

* [*/Plebs.html Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, article "Plebs"]
* [ Plebs]

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  • Plebs — und Plebējer (lat. Plebeji), Bezeichnung eines Teiles der Bevölkerung Roms, dessen Ursprung auf die Könige Tullus Hostilius und Ancus Marcius und die von diesen nach Rom übergeführten besiegten Latiner zurückgeführt wird. Die Plebs erhielt durch… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Plebs — Plebs: Die im 19. Jh. aufkommende abfällige Bezeichnung für das niedere, ungebildete Volk geht auf das lat. Substantiv plebs (plebis) »Volksmenge, Volk« zurück. Die pejorative Bedeutungsentwicklung ist die gleiche wie in ↑ Pöbel. Lat. plebs… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Plebs — (pl[e^]bz), n. [L. Cf. {Plebe}.] 1. The commonalty of ancient Rome who were citizens without the usual political rights; the plebeians; distinguished from the {patricians}. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. Hence, the common people; the populace;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plebs — plȅbs m DEFINICIJA 1. pov. sav narod, osim patricija (u antičkom Rimu); puk, pučanstvo 2. pejor. priprost narod; svjetina, masa, raja ETIMOLOGIJA lat. plebs …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • plebs — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. plebssie, blm {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} pogardliwie o przeciętnych ludziach : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Plebs tłoczy się w tramwajach. {{/stl 10}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • Plebs — (lat.), 1) der Inbegriff der Plebejer, s.d.; 2) Pöbel; miseracontribuensqueplebs, im Mittelalter das unfreie u. steuerbare Volk …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Plebs — Plebs, Plebejer, im alten Rom ursprünglich die Gesamtbürgerschaft außer dem patrizischen Adel (s. Patrizier). Die Plebejer standen zivilrechtlich der herrschenden Klasse der Patrizier gleich, wurden in ihren vornehmsten Mitgliedern früh als… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Plebs — Plebs, lat., im alten Rom die Gemeinde, im Gegensatz zu den Patriciern, entstanden aus den aus Latium in Rom angesiedelten Neubürgern, gegenüber den Altbürgern mit ihren Clienten. Die Plebejer hatten anfänglich kein Recht auf ein Staatsamt,… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • plebs — index populace Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • PLEBS — opid. agri Tarvisini …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

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