Saturday, November 3, 2007

For people named Freedman, see Friedmann.
A freedman is a former slave who has been manumitted or emancipated. Freedmen are a feature of all slave-holding societies.

Ancient Rome
Freedmen formed about 5% of the population in Rome during the Imperial Age of Rome. Needing a Roman name for the first time, freedmen customarily took the nomen of their former owner, who now became their patronus.
A precedent was set under the Claudian Civil Service where freedmen were used as civil servants in the Roman bureaucracy. In addition, Claudius passed legislation concerning slaves, including a law that stated that sick slaves abandoned by their owners became freedmen if they recovered. The emperor was extensively criticized for using freedmen in the Imperial Courts.
Slaves were able to earn their freedom in more than one way. Some were freed in the wills (and therefore at the death) of their owners, some owners manumitted slaves themselves, and other slaves bought themselves from their owner. A freedman was able to buy his own freedom through his peculium, or personal possessions. Freedmen were also able to own their own land.

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