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amīcitia


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Friendship in Roman political terminology. The relationship might be between Rome and either another state or an individual (see client kings), or between individuals. Although amicitia involved no treaty or formal legal obligations, the term was often associated with alliance (societās) and might describe strong ties and indeed dependency. In Roman political and social life the friends of an eminent man acted as his advisers in public and personal matters and might form a group of devoted political adherents (though the word suggests equality of status, such men might well be subordinates). Ideally amicitia involved genuine trust and affection; in practice it might be only an alliance to pursue common interests. Such friendships often conflicted. Nevertheless, their making and breaking were formal. Under the Principate the friends of the emperor formed, with his kinsmen and freedmen, his court (see amicus augusti). Loss of this friendship was close to condemnation as a criminal. See also cliens.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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