Patron (Lat. patronus, from pater, "father") among the Romans originally signified a citizen who had dependents that under the name of clients were attached to him. Before the time of the Laws of the Twelve Tables, the most frequent use of the term patronus was in opposition to libertus, these two words being used to signify persons who stood to one another in the relation of master and manumitted slave. The Roman was not denuded of all right in his slave when he freed him: a tie remained somewhat like that of parent and child, and the law recognized important obligations on the part of the libertus towards his patron, the neglect of which involved severe punishment. In some cases the patron could claim a right to the whole or part of the property of his freedman. The original idea of a patron apart from the manumitter of slaves continued to exist. A Roman citizen, desirous of a protector, might attach himself to a patron, whose client he thenceforward became; and distinguished Romans were sometimes patrons of dependent states or cities, particularly where they had been the means of bringing them into subjection. Thus the Marcelli were patrons of the Sicilians, because Claudius Marcellus had conquered Syracuse and Sicily. The patron was the guardian of his client's interest, public and private; as his legal adviser, he vindicated his rights before the courts of law. The client was bound, on various occasions, to assist the patron with money, as by paying the costs of his suits, contributing to the marriage portions of his daughters, and defraying in part the expenses incurred in the discharge of public functions. Patron and client were under an obligation never to accuse one another; to violate this law amounted to the crime of treason, and any one was at liberty to slay the offender with impunity. One obvious effect of the institution of clientela was the introduction of an element of union between classes of citizens who were otherwise continually brought into opposition to each other. As the patron was in the habit of appearing in support of his clients in courts of justice, the word patronus acquired, in course of time, the signification of advocate, or legal adviser and defender. the client being the party defended; hence the modern relation between counsel and client.
Patron, in time, came to be a common designation of every protector or powerful promoter of the interests of another; thus also the saints, who were believed to watch over particular interests of persons, places, trades, etc., acquired in the Middle Ages the designation of patron saints. These patron saints of professions, trades, conditions, and callings were called, in Church language, Defensores. Several such are clearly connected by a sort of pun (as St. Clair, of lamplighters; St. Cloud, of the nailmakers; and St. Blanc, or Blanchard, of laundresses), or are derived from some incident in their life (as St. Peter, of fishmongers), or in their legends (as St. Dunstan, of goldsmiths; St. Sebastian, of archers; St. Blaise, of combmakers; St. Lawrence, of girdlers and cooks; SS. Hubert and Eustace, of huntsmen; St. Cecilia, of musicians; St. Catharine, of philosophers). Some preside over different trades, as St. Eloi, patron of hangmen, coachmen, tinmen, nail and shoeing smiths, and metalworkers; St. George, of soldiers, clothiers, and horsemen; St. Anne, of grooms, toymen, turners, and combmakers; St. Michael, of fencing-masters and pastrycooks; St. John at the Latin Gate, of printers, attorneys, and papermakers; IV Coronati, of masons and builders; SS. Cosmas and Damian, of physicians and surgeons; SS. Crispin and Crispinian, of cordwainers and embroiderers; St. Nicholas, of butchers, scholars, seamen, and thieves; St. Vincent, of vinedressers and vinegar- makers.
We append a list of patron saints, as popularly understood.
Artillery, and engineers and mechanics, and married women, St. Barbara. Bakers, SS. Wilfred and Itonorius. Basketmakers, St. Anthony. Blind men, St. Thomas a Becket. Bookbinders, the Ascension. Booksellers, St. John the Evangelist. Boys, St. Gregory. Brewers, SS. Homnorins and Clement. Brokers, St. Maurice. Builders, SS. Coronati, Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus, and Victorius. Butchers, SS. Anthony the Abbot and Francis. Carpenters, SS. Joseph and Andrew. Carters, St. Catharine. Chandlel's, the Purification (Candlemas). Charcoal-cutters, St. Anthony. Children, the Holy Innocents, St. Felicitas. Chinamen, St. Anthony of Padua. l Common women, SS. Bride and Afra. Confectioners, the Purification. Coopers, SS. Mary Magdalen and Hilary. Captives, SS. Leonard and Barbara. Curriers, SS. Simon and Jude. Divines, St. Thomas Aquimnas. Drapers, SS. Blaise and Leodegar. Drunkards, SS. Martin aind Urban. Falconers, St. Tibba. Ferrymen, St. Christopher. Fools, St. Mathuriln.
Fullers, St. Severus. Gardeners, SS. Urban of Langres and Fiacre. Girls, St. Catharine. Glaziers, St. James of Germany. Granarers and millers, St. Anthony. Grocers, the Purification, St. Anthony. Hairdressers, St. Louis. Hatters, SS. James and William. Horsedealers, St. Louis. Hotel-keepers, St. Theodotus. Jockeys, St. Euloge. Laborers, SS. Walstan and Isidore. Lawyers, St. Ives. Locksmiths, St. Peter-es-Liens. Lovers, St. Valentine. Master-shoemakers, St. Martin. Matmakers, the Nativity. Mercers, St. Florilan. Millers, SS. Martin and Arnold. Mowers and reapers, St. Walstaln. Nurses, St. Agatha. Painters, SS. Luke and Lazarus. Paviors, St. Roche. Peasants, St. Lucia. Physicians, St. Pantaleon. Pilgrims, St. Julian. Pinmakers, St. Sebastian. Plasterers, IV Corolnati. Ploughmen, St. Urban. Potters, St. Gore. Saddlers, St. Gualfard. Seamen and fishermen, SS. Nicholas, Dismas, Christopher, and Elmo. Shepherds, SS. Neomaye, Drugo, and Wendolin. Spinners, St. Catharine. , Spurriers, St. Giles. Students and scholars, SS. Jerome, Lawrence, Mathurin, Mary Magdalene, Catharine, Gregory the Great, Ursul. Tailors, SS. John Baptist, Goodman, and Anne. Tanners, SS. Simon, Jude, and Clement. Taverners, St. Lawrence. Theologians, SS. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Thieves, St. Dismas. Travellers, St. Julian. Virgins, St.Winifred. Washerwomen, SS. Hunna and Lidoise. Weavers, St. Stephen. Woolcombers, SS. Blaise and Mary Magdalene. The saint in whose name a church is founded is considered its patron saint. But the dedication of a church often commemorates the patron of the staple trade of the vicinity.
PATRONS IN DISEASES, ETC.
St. Agatha presided over fire and valleys; St. Barbara, over hills; St. Florian, over fire; St. Anne, over riches; St. Osyth, over house-keys: St. Sylvester, over woods; St.Vincent and St. Anne, over lost goods; St. Urban, over vineyards; St. Anthony, over pigs; St. Gall, St. Leodegar, or St. Ferrioll, over geese; St. Leonard, over ducks; St. German, over hen- roosts; St. Gertrude, over eggs; St. Huldeth, over mice; St. Hubert, over dogs; St. Magnus, over locusts; St. Pelagius, ove ooxen; St. Wendoline, over sheep.
St. Barbara took care that none died without the viaticum.
St. Judocus preserved from mildew; St. Magnus, from grasshoppers: St. Mark, from sudden death.
St. Leonard broke prison chains.
St. Otilia watched over the head; St. Blaise, over the neck; St. Erasmus, the chest; St. Catharine, the tongue; St. Lawrence, the back; St. Burghart, the lower members.
St. Romain drove away spirits.
St. Roche cured pestilence; St. Apollionia, toothache; St. Otilia, bleared eyes; St. Entropius, dropsy; St. Chiacre, emerods; St. Wolfgang, the gout; St. Valentine, the falling sickness; St. Erasmus, the colic; St. Blaise, the quinsy; St. John, shorn; St. Pernel, the ague; St. Vitus, madness; St. Lawrence, rheumatism; SS. Wilgford and Uncumber, bad husbands.
St. Susanna helped in infancy; St. Florian, in fire.
PATRONS OF COUNTRIES, CITIES, AND TOWNS:
Asturia, St. Ephlrem. Austria, SS. Colinan and Leopold. Bavaria, SS. George, Mary, and Wolfgang. Bohemia, SS. Norbert, Wenceslaus, John Nepomuc, Adalbert, Cosmas, Damian, Cyril, and Methodins. Brabant, SS. Peter, Philip, and Andrew. Brandenburg, St. John Baptist. Brunswick, St. Andrew. Burgundy, SS. Andrew and Mary. Denmark, SS. Anscharius and Canute. England, SS. George and Mary. Flanders, St. Peter. France, SS. Mary, Michael, and Denis. Germany, SS. Martin, Boniface, and George. Hanover, St. Mary. Holland, St. Mary. Holstein, St. Andrew. Hunnary, SS. Mary and Louis. Irelsand, St. Patrick. Italy, St. Anthony. Leon, SS. Isidore, Pelagius, Ramiro, and Claude. Luxemburg, SS. Peter, Philip, and Andrew. Mecklenburg, St. John the Evangelist. Naples, St. Jaunarius. Navarre, SS. Fermin and Xavier. Norway, SS. Anscharius and Olans.
Oldenburg, St. Mary. Parma, S. Hilary, John Baptist, Thomas, and Vitalis. Poland, SS. Stanislaus and Hederiga. Pomerania, SS. Mary and Otho. Portugal, SS. Sebastian, James, and George. Prussia, SS. Mary, Adalbert, and Andrew. Russia, SS. Nicholas, Andrew, Wladimir, and Mary. Sardinia, St. Mary. Savoy, St. Maurice. Scotland, St. Andrew. Sicily, SS. Mary, Vitus, Rosalie, and George. Spain, SS. James the Great, Michael, Thomas a Becket, and Edward. Snabia, St. George. Sweden, SS. Bridget, Eric, Anscharius, and John. Switzerland, SS. Martin, Gall, and Mary. Venice, SS. Mark, Justina, and Theodore. Wales, St. David. Many cities and towns bear the name of their patron saint, to whom the principal church is dedicated, as St. Remo, St. Sebastian, St. Malo, St. Omer, St. Quentin, St. Die, Peterborough, Bury St. Edmund's, St. David's, St. Asaph, St. Alban's, Boston (St. Botolph's town), Kircudbright (St. Cuthhert's Church), Malmesbury (Maidulph's town), St. Neot's, St. Ive's, St. Burean's, St. German's, St. Marychurch, St. Andrew's. Others have special saints: St. Fredeswide, of Oxford; St. Sebald, of Nuremberg; St. Giles, of Edinburgh; SS. Peter and Paul, of Rome; St. Mark, of Venice; St. Stephen, of Vienna; St. Genevieve, of Paris; St. Januarius, of Naples; St. Nicholas, of Aberdeen; St. Gudule, of Brussels; St. Norbert, of Antwerp; St. George, of Genoa; St. Ursula, of Cologne; St. Bavon, of Ghent; St. Ambrose, of Milan; St. Vincent, of Lisbon; St. Boniface, of Mentz; St. Domatian, of Bre; St. Romniaold, of Mechlin, etc.
The term patron has also been applied to those who endowed or supported churches and convents. SEE PATRONAGE, ECCLESIASTICAL.