properly speaking, is one of the patres or fathers of
Rome. These patres were the senators, and their descendants were the
patricians. As they held for many years all the honours of the state,
the word came to signify the magnates or nobility of a nation.
N.B. In Rome the patrician class was twice augmented: first by
Tatius, after the Sabine war, who added a whole “century;” and again by
Tarquinius Priscus, who added another. The Sabine century went by the
name of patricians of the senior races (majorum gentium), and
the Tarquinian patricians were termed of the junior creation (minorum gentium).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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