millennia of the same

"The basic principle was that the client depended on his patron for protection and assistance, financial and otherwise, in return for a variety of services rendered, including votes in elections. Later Roman writing is full of rather high-flown rhetoric from the patron class on the virtues of the relationship, and miserable complaints from the side of the client about the humiliations they have to go through, all for a second-rate meal. In the Twelve Tables, the rule simply states: 'If a patron has done harm to his client, he is to be cursed'-- whatever that meant."