I would like to know your opinion about the differences and similarities between the Roman Client-Patron relationship and the vassallage system of the medieval age. The following is an overview of how I see the two system at the top of my (limited) knowledge: In the roman system, a patron was granting money, good, and favours to his clients. The clients had obligation toward their patron to support him with votes, personal protection, and "general support". The relationship was open on both sides, with the client that could leave the relationship at any point. The client would lose the support of the patron but there wouldn't be direct physical consequences; There was no threat of violence from the patron, the state had the exclusive on violence (especially in Republican times). The clients and patron didn't necessary have to be living in close proximity, they could be anywhere without any geographical boundaries. Relationships where de-facto inherited and did bind the full family of the client to the patron. The medieval system, at the level of peasants, was much more geographically defined, with all people in a determinated area giving loyalty to a lord. The lord had a duty to protect those people against external violence (e.g. from other lords) and support them in times of necessity. This relationship was inherited and it did bind full families to the lord. However it wasn't an open relationship: the peasants had no right to rescind it and there was a very explicit threat of violence for doing so. The lord "was" the state in the community and the relationship was regulated by very specific "rights" between Lord and subjects. At higher levels (e.g. between lords of different ranks) the relationship was regulated by a slightly different set of customs and it was less geographically defined. The vassal still granted his complete loyalty to the lord and was bound to support him (expecially for military support, but not limitied to it). However it remained an association with an explicit thread of violence if the vassal would break it.