Mesoi politai e classi sociali a Roma tra Tarda Repubblica e Principato
In: Codex: 02, 2021
According to Paul Veyne, plebs media was the expression used to refer to the Roman
middle class under the Principate. However, such wording in Latin sources turns out to
be rare. The study of matching expressions in Greek sources relating to the Roman world
allows a better understanding of the moral standards sought by this social group and
also fosters a reconstruction of the Latin wording that more precisely labelled it.
In particular, the Roman concept seems to be modeled after the mesoi described by Aristoteles, a social category characterized by moderation in both economic and moral fields; such a connotation fits well with the expression homines mediocres, which carries this meaning in several sources from Cicero on.
Plebs media would be an alternative form to be found in poetic texts.
Keywords: Plebs media, homines mediocres, mesoi, middle class, moderation