The Plebian class (originating with the Roman Republic circa 500 B.C.) was the lowest citizen class in the Roman Republic, set apart from the aristocracy (Patricians), the middle class (Equestrians, literally the class that can afford a horse), and slaves.

The Plebs life in the early days of the Republic were defined by debt problems. Because their farms were small, Plebians were rarely financially solvent and often risked slavery unless they could repay their debts.

As the Republic grew, some plebs made well for themselves and moved upward into the Equestrian and, in rare cases, the Patrician class.

Ple*be"ian (?), a. [L. plebeius, from plebs, plebis, the common people: cf. F. pl'eb'eien.]

1.

Of or pertaining to the Roman plebs, or common people.

2.

Of or pertaining to the common people; vulgar; common; as, plebeian sports; a plebeian throng.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ple*be"ian, n.

1.

One of the plebs, or common people of ancient Rome, in distinction from patrician.

2.

One of the common people, or lower rank of men.

 

© Webster 1913.

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