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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 ?
The occasional pieces help us to understand Lechner's position within the urban elite of Nuremberg, where the patriciate rubbed shoulders with academics, jurists, poets, and composers.
As the Venetian patriciate developed new strategies for collective self-definition, so too did the doges.
The few learned Italian women, enthusiasts of humanist studies, were the daughters of nobles or of learned men, rather than members of the mercantile patriciate, to which, broadly speaking, Margherita, her sister Francesca, and her mother Dianora belonged.
47) This was all in keeping with the Barberini family's strategies for family advancement, which followed a traditional pattern evident among the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century patriciate in their articulation of family identity and cohesion.
The year that preceded the production of the Donne curiose was without a doubt the most gratifying of those spent by Goldoni in contact with the Venetian patriciate.
The eighteenth century witnessed a reaction to this: the aristocratic tastes, attitudes and lifestyle of this patriciate came under increasing criticism.
Memlinc protected himself by alienation; by signal works for the powerful merchant patriciate, some of them known opponents of their dynastic masters.
In exceptional pockets, such as southern France, rural Tuscany, and the Venetian patriciate, brothers formed joint households to share an inheritance.
The Florentine Patriciate in the Transition from Republic to Principato 1530-1609.
The urban patriciate and emerging social groups like wealthy merchants, financiers, and letrados (university-educated clerks and secretaries who served the royal and ecclesiastical bureaucracies) adopted similar means to stake their place in the social landscape of early-modern Castile.
After its ducal interlude, the manor-house was repossessed by the mercantile patriciate, to which it had been a monument, until it was purchased by the Merchant Tailors out of a fund to which former Masters of the Company largely contributed, as a day-school for 250 pupils.
Rather they were continued by the Florentine patriciate up to the very end of the Cinquecento.