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(1) The hereditary aristocracy of ancient Rome (seePATRICIANS).

(2) The wealthy upper stratum of medieval Western European cities who gained special rights and privileges in the urban community. The economic power of the patriciate was based on large-scale trade, usury, urban property, and so forth. In most cases, the patriciate seized power after a city acquired the right to self-government. Members of the patriciate assumed the right to elect the city council and to fill the office of city magistrate. Using this political power in their own interests, they introduced tax systems that were favorable to them, obtained profitable tax-farming contracts, and plundered city finances.

The oligarchical rule of the patriciate aroused dissatisfaction among the urban masses and led to uprisings in which the guilds usually played a leading role. The uprisings generally ended in a compromise between the patriciate and the leadership of the guilds. In many cities, especially the large commercial centers, the patriciate preserved all of its power. The patriciate occupied an ambivalent position in feudal society. On the one hand, the patriciate had developed on the basis of the urban commodity economy. As the elements of capitalism emerged, several strata of the patriciate sometimes became linked with early capitalist relations. On the other hand, the patriciate showed a predilection for rapprochement with the class of feudal lords. Members of the urban patriciate acquired land outside the city and enjoyed seignorial rights, as did the feudal lords. They strove to set themselves apart from the toiling masses as a hereditary, privileged estate, and they imitated the way of life of the feudal lords.


References in periodicals archive ?
Marriages of multiple relatives of two families were becoming increasingly common in the patriciate of the time especially among the less wealthy whose small real estate holdings would thus be consolidated rather than fragmented.
In the 1620s, the patriciate brought legal actions against certain intruders, in particular the city's Dutch merchants, who traded on a large scale in the liberties.
64) Jutta Gisela Sperling argues that enforced monachizations aided the declining patriciate as a 'system of exchange', providing both investments and loans for a family's political advantage.
Her book opens with a discussion of the changing understanding of the notion of nobility, and the ways in which the aspirations of the Venetian patriciate towards nobility developed during the course of the renaissance.
The mid-sixteenth-century policy of "serrata" and of oligarchic closure effected by the Neapolitan patriciate exacerbated tensions within the noble class, which remained strong throughout the early modern period.
In telling the stories of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, and Flannery O'Connor, Elie evokes a world or, rather, four worlds largely vanished--the tenements and Bowery of Day's New York, the old strictness of Merton's Trappist monastery, the passing of the Southern patriciate in Percy's lifetime, and the South of freaks and grotesques transcribed in O'Connor's fiction.
Both sprang from the Basel patriciate and benefited from the conditions of intellectual life there.
As defeatism spread from meetings and rallies into the social clubs of the wealthy and renowned, the Unionist patriciate expressed dismay.
If a full-blown aristocracy could not be brought off, then something resembling a patriciate was thought acceptable.
His was one of the great voices of political liberty, and he found it upheld by ancient common-law traditions and the patriciate (when it was virtuous) of the hereditarian England to which he had come and lent his genius.
His body of musical works largely comprises five-voice Italianate lieder, which were closely tied to the Gesellschaften of the Nuremberg patriciate and to the Nuremberg publisher Catharina Gerlach.
With the growth of merchant and artisan guilds in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, however, increasing numbers of Burger protested the concentration of power into the hands of what had become a self-perpetuating patriciate.