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Freedman

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For the category list, see Freed Slaves.

A Freedman or Freedwoman, or in Latin, Libertus (freedman) and Liberta (freedwoman), was a slave who had bought or been rewarded with their freedom.The technical term for freeing a slave is manumission, which comes from two Latin words: manus (‘hand') and emittere (‘to let go'). Even though he was now free, a freedman had a duty of obligation to his former master and that meant becoming his client and remaining tied to him in that mutually-advantageous relationship. Freedmen usually took their former master's name. Before the Principate era of Roman history, freedmen could never become equestrians or reach senatorial rank; they suffered the social stigma of having been slaves, and were looked down on as coarse and vulgar. Though enterprising and wealthy ex-slaves were paradoxically seen as an enhancement to the social status of the Patronus (former dominus), as they would usually become his Cliens (social clients) after their manumission.


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Grave stone of a Freedman and his wife.

Notable Freed SlavesEdit

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