Theresa Urbainczyk looks at the social struggles of ancient Rome.
Class struggle in Rome seems quite simple. The Romans, after all, not only gave us the triumphal arch and the sewer, but also gave us the expression 'plebs', since Roman citizens were categorised either as patricians or plebeians. In the early days these fought each other for control of the city. But by the late Republican period, the time in which the recent TV series is set, the picture became more complicated and less easy to explain in these terms, since some plebeians were very wealthy and very powerful, and the label no longer had much meaning.