We have already seen that the early Roman people was made up of three tribes, that is, the three old communities which were settled on the Roman hills. We have also seen that these tribes were made up of curiae; and these curiae of gentes; and lastly, that these gentes were composed of the old families. It is therefore evident that no person could be a member of the state unless he was a member of some old Roman family. It was only the descendants of the old families who could vote in the assembly or could be chosen to the senate. And it was they only who were called upon to serve in the army. These old families and their descendants were called patricians; and the state was in reality a patrician state. As all other persons were excluded from political rights and privileges, the patricians formed an aristocratic class, exclusive and devoted to their own interests.

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