Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire

Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire

Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire

Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire

Excerpt

This work is a revised and amplified edition of a thesis submitted to Oxford University in July 1925 for the degree of Bachelor of Letters. A great part of the material was gathered during a stay of seven months in Rome, where the British, French, and American Schools generously accorded me the use of their libraries. During the last three years I have enjoyed special privileges as a borrower from several University libraries in this country and as a consultant of the library of the Society of Antiquaries in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

In writing on 'Freedmen under the Early Roman Empire', I have followed a course of study which has not been overrun, but which, nevertheless, is fertile in its interest. The freedman was ubiquitous in the Rome of the first two centuries; as imperial official or as servant of his patron, as successful man of business or as humble shopkeeper, he was a constant figure in society. Therefore a study of the freedman necessarily reveals a great part of what is to be known about life in the Roman Empire, so that the subject is no petty or unimportant one. And yet, in a way, it is a fresh subject. Freedmen have been treated from single standpoints in legal, political, social, and economic histories; but a comprehensive discussion of their many-sided activity and influence has been looked for in vain. This is the gap I have aspired to fill.

At the same time it may be claimed that, though the theme involves the marshalling of much familiar matter, certain portions consist of what is new or at least not generally known. The causes of manumission and the governmental policy towards freedmen (to take two examples) . . .

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