At ex agricolis et viri fortissimi et milites strenuissimi gignuntur, maximeque pius quaestus stabilissimusque consequitur minimeque invidiosus, minimeque male cogitantes sunt qui in eo studio occupati sunt.
De Agri Cultura, Marcus Porcius Cato
“Farmers indeed in the early and middle Republic formed the vast majority of the Roman electorate. The earliest codification of Roman law, the Twelve Tables of the middle of the fifth century BC, already takes for granted the distinction between assiduus, the self-supporting freeholder, and the proletarius; Cato in the second century BC, and other writers after him, painted a no doubt idealized position of an early Rome composed of yeomen ever ready to defend their country, but the fact that service as a legionary was before 107 in principle a right and a duty of the assiduus alone makes it clear that early Rome was indeed a community of freeholders, for whom military service was as central an element of the citizenship as voting in the assembly. It is no accident that the variety of Roman assembly which elected the consuls was the people organized as an army.” (p. 29)
The Roman Republic, Michael Crawford
Harvard University Press.
(yo-), a noun. (pl. -men)
1. (historically) Person qualified by possessing free land of 40/- annual value to serve on juries, vote for knight of shire, etc.
2. ||Small landowner, farmer, person of middle class engaged in agriculture; || member of yeomanry force.
Hence yeo’manly, adjective
[Middle English yoman, yeman, probably = young man]
yeo’manry (yo-), a noun
Yeomen; || volunteer cavalry force raised from farmers etc.