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In most cities, patricians don't exist as a legally separate social class distinct from citizens. Nevertheless, their existence is very real - they are the established ruling classes of a city. This might include running the actual government, but might just as well include running large businesses or being otherwise hugely influential in the social scene of the community. In general, you are considered to be a patrician if most other patricians accept you as such - though many ordinary citizens struggle for their whole lives to reach this exalted status without ever attaining it.

While most citizens can at best afford a single servant, patrician households usually hire a dozen or more. While ordinary citizens might own a single house or an apartment in one of the better neighborhoods, patricians will own a huge mansion in the best part of town. Patricians are so rich that they no longer count their own money - they have their own staff to do that for them. In other words, patricians have largely taken over the role of the now largely defunct nobility - though most patricians would vigorously deny that claim, given the unpopularity of nobles in the Flannish Cities. Nevertheless, the parallels are striking - ranging from displays of wealth to intermarriage for political and economic benefit. Since most patricians cannot be afford to be so bold and claim that the gods gave them their position like many nobles did in the Feudal Ages, they often resort to all sorts of obscure socio-economic theories that allegedly "prove" their fitness to rule over the lower classes.

While patricians would never deign so low and engage in physical labor for money, they do work hard after a fashion to maintain their positions. And one thing they work especially hard at is making sure that their descendants are able to maintain the wealth and prestige of the family. They are sent to all the best schools where it is made sure that they meet (and marry) all the right people, and are not only given an excellent education in a conventional sense, but also schooled in the arts of diplomacy and intrigue. A young scion of a patrician family knows that he is better than everybody around him except his elders and possibly his peers. At best, this might be reflected in a paternalistic benevolence towards those "unfortunates" below him, but at worst he will see it as his born right to use and abuse poorer people like he wants and expect to get away with it - and far too often, he is right…

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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.