The political career in ancient Rome followed a strictly defined pattern, the so-called Cursus honorum. The first stage was a 10-year military service in the Roman legions or alongside the general who was a relative or friend of the family.
Nepotism was not condemned because every significant family had to uphold their prestige by fighting heroically during the war or by funding public buildings. A member of such a family had to maintain a high level of her prestige, proving his value and skills during the war and generosity towards the state and citizens in peacetime. Therefore, nepotism ensured the survival of families.
Candidates for clerical positions in ancient Rome were chosen from persons with an impeccable reputation of themselves and their family. It was true that a member of such a family was raised in respect and sense of the value of glory and had to follow her absolutely. No one would dare to renounce these values, even for the price of life.
Candidates from the oldest families were privileged because they could use the merits of their ancestors in electoral propaganda.