Patriciate, senatus populusque rornanus, &c.), concealed but clumsily a purely oligarchical government.
The traditions of early Rome indeed represent the patricians as receiving the Claudii by a collective act into their body; but the first authenticated instance of the admission of new members to the patriciate is that of the lex Cassia, which authorized Caesar as dictator to create fresh patricians.
A comparison of this procedure with the original conception of the patriciate as revealed by the derivation of the word, is significant of the history of the conception of nobility at Rome, and illustrative of the tenacity with which the Romans clung to the name and form of an institution which had long lost its significance.
As a matter of fact it is clear that the patriciate of Pippin was a new office, especially as the title is henceforward generally patricius Romanorum, not patricius alone.
The old municipal patriciate, which used to form the connecting link between the bourgeoisie and the nobility, had disappeared, and a feeling of common civic fellowship had taken its place.