Mary Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
(London: Profile Books, 2008), p. 198:
The underlying philosophy of local officeholding in the Roman world was
quite different from our own. We expect local councillors to be compensated for
the expenses they incur in the course of representing their community. The
Romans expected men to pay for the privilege of being a member of the ordo or
one of the elected officials: status came at a price. To put it another way, when the
Pompeian voters were choosing between the different candidates for office, they
were choosing between competing benefactors.
Id., p. 212:
Pompeii was a culture of giving, at all levels. Public office
of any sort entailed public generosity.
Id., p. 292:
very few civic handouts in the Roman world that did not reassert social rank by
giving more to the rich than the poor — an unsettling reversal of our own assumption that more should go to the needy.