In ancient Rome, the plebs was the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census. From the 4th century BC or earlier, known as commoners or part of lower social status
Literary references to the 'plebs', however, usually mean the ordinary citizens of Rome as a whole, as distinguished from the elite—a sense retained by "plebeian" in English. In the very earliest days of Rome, plebeians were any tribe without advisers to the King. In time, the word – which is related to the Greek word for crowd, plethos – came to mean the common people.