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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 freeborn 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 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 freeborn was obtained.

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  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CAPUT
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DECU´RIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), INGENUUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PANTOMI´MUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SERVUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), UNIVERSITAS
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (6):
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