Friendship among the Romans

Koenraad Verboven

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780195188004
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Friendship among the Romans

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Roman History



This article discusses the nature and origins of friendship among Romans. Friendship was formed due to the usefulness that might arise from the connection, affinity, or the longing for comradeship. It looks at the modern views and ethics of Roman friendship, and studies what the Romans thought they were doing when they formed and cemented relationships that involved friendship. It also studies friendship and patronage, where an element of deference existed between the “lesser” or younger friend and the “greater” or older friend. The article ends with a section on the features of gift exchanges and friendship in social practice.

Keywords: friendship; ethics; modern views; patronage; deference; gift exchange; social practice

Article.  8127 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History

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