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Quote of the day: A weak intellect was against him.
Notes
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 27: Misconduct of the freedmen (cont.)[AD 56]
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It was argued in reply that, though the guilt of a few ought to be the ruin of the men themselves, there should be no diminution of the rights of the entire class. "For it was," they contended, "a widely diffused body; from it, the city tribes, the various public functionaries, the establishments of the magistrates and priests were for the most part supplied, as well as the cohorts of the city-guard; very many too of the knights and several of the senators derived their origin from no other source. If freedmen were to be a separate class, the paucity of the free-born would be conspicuously apparent. Not without good reason had our ancestors, in distinguishing the position of the different orders, thrown freedom open to all. Again, two kinds of enfranchisement had been instituted, so as to leave room for retracting the boon, or for a fresh act of grace. Those whom the patron had not emancipated with the freedom-giving rod, were still held, as it were, by the bonds of slavery. Every master should carefully consider the merits of each case, and be slow to grant what once given could not be taken away." This view prevailed, and the emperor [Note 1] replied to the Senate that, whenever freedmen were accused by their patrons, they were to investigate each case separately and not to annul any right to their common injury. Soon afterwards, his aunt Domitia had her freedman Paris taken from her, avowedly by civil law much to the emperor's disgrace, by whose direction a decision that he was free-born was obtained.

Note 1: emperor = Nero

Disserebatur contra: paucorum culpam ipsis exitiosam esse debere, nihil universorum iuri derogandum; quippe late fusum id corpus. hinc plerumque tribus decurias, ministeria magistratibus et sacerdotibus, cohortes etiam in urbe conscriptas; et plurimis equitum, plerisque senatoribus non aliunde originem trahi: si separarentur libertini, manifestam fore penuriam ingenuorum. non frustra maiores, cum dignitatem ordinum dividerent, libertatem in communi posuisse. quin et manu mittendi duas species institutas, ut relinqueretur paenitentiae aut novo beneficio locus. quos vindicta patronus non liberaverit, velut vinclo servitutis attineri. dispiceret quisque merita tardeque concederet, quod datum non adimeretur. haec sententia valuit, scripsitque Caesar senatui, privatim expenderent causam libertorum, quotiens a patronis arguerentur; in commune nihil derog[ar]ent. nec multo post ereptus amitae libertus Paris quasi iure civili, non sine infamia principis, cuius iussu perpetratum ingenuitatis