Patrician (Lat. patricius, from pater - father) — a person who belonged to a native Roman family, which formed the ruling class and held public lands in its hands.
In Ancient Rome, patricians were originally considered all indigenous people who were part of the tribal community, formed the Roman people (Populus Romanus Quiritium) and opposed the Plebeians. Later, after the separation of noble patriarchal families from the clans, only the ancestral land aristocracy, whose ancestors originally formed the royal senate, began to belong to the patricians. Belonging to the ancestral aristocracy could be obtained by birthright, as well as by adoption or awarding. The privileges of a patrician could be lost because of a restriction in their rights.
From the end of the 6th century BC, the Patricians became the dominant class-a separate estate of the Roman Republic. The economic basis of their power was the exclusive right to use public land (ager publicus).
After the inclusion of the Plebeians in the Roman people and equalization of their rights with the Patricians in the 3rd century BC. e. the top of the patriciate and the plebs, merged, formed the nobility.
In the era of the early Empire, a new patriciate emerged, forming a privileged part of the senatorial class, which included natives of Italy and the provinces nominated by the emperor. By this time, the old Patrician families had died out, and the neophytes, the "aristocracy by letter", who had been elevated to the Patrician dignity as a reward for their service by the emperor, were added to the class. It should be noted that for the first time Caesar began to resort to this practice.