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Quote of the day: But a general survey inclines me to beli
Notes
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 26: Misconduct of the freedmen[AD 56]
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During the same time there was a discussion in the Senate on the misconduct of the freedmen class, and a strong demand was made that, as a check on the undeserving, patrons should have the right of revoking freedom. There were several who supported this. But the consuls [Note 1] did not venture to put the motion without the emperor's [Note 2] knowledge, though they recorded the Senate's general opinion, to see whether he would sanction the arrangement, considering that only a few were opposed to it, while some loudly complained that the irreverent spirit which freedom had fostered, had broken into such excess, that freedmen would ask their patrons' advice as to whether they should treat them with violence, or, as legally, their equals, and would actually threaten them with blows, at the same time recommending them not to punish. "What right," it was asked, "was conceded to an injured patron but that of temporarily banishing the freedman a hundred miles off to the shores of Campania. In everything else, legal proceedings were equal and the same for both. Some weapon ought to be given to the patrons which could not be despised. It would be no grievance for the enfranchised to have to keep their freedom by the same respectful behaviour which had procured it for them. But, as for notorious offenders, they deserved to be dragged back into slavery, that fear might be a restraint where kindness had had no effect."

Note 1: the consuls = Publius Scipio and Quintus Volusius Saturninus
Note 2: emperor = Nero