1

We have a worksheet for history, where we need to guess an ancient Roman person's class depending on their point of view in a piece of text they wrote. I have searched the internet for help in one of the pieces of text, about a son of a freed slave, but I found nothing. My question is- Is the biological or adopted son of an ancient Roman Freedman a Freedman or a Freeborn? Thanks!

  • 2
    It's probably worth expanding your question for several scenarios. What about a biological son who is born before the slave was freed vs. after. – Neil Cresswell Dec 9 '16 at 4:08
1

According to Roman Law, the child of a male slave or of a free man and a slave woman was a slave like his/her mother - the status of slave passed from mother to child. Thus the child of a freedman would be either born free or born a slave depending on the status of his/her mother.

Freedmen had the status of Roman citizens - though second class citizens still partially dependent on their former masters. A male child born to a freedman and a free mother - even if she may once have been a slave - was a free born Roman citizen, though usually of low status.

As I remember, Emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax Augustus, was born to a freedman Helvius Successus and rose in society to be a military officer, a senator, a governor, a consul, and finally emperor.

Emperor Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus is also said to have been the son of a freedman according to some sources.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.