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familia Caesaris. Imperial Slaves and Freedmen/women. Review: slave and freed hierarchy. freed – full citizen status (formally manumitted) Latini Iuniani – Iunian Latins (informally manumitted dediticii - could never become Roman citizens. Social Hierarchy among slaves.

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familia caesaris

familia Caesaris

Imperial Slaves and Freedmen/women

review slave and freed hierarchy
Review: slave and freed hierarchy
  • freed – full citizen status (formally manumitted)
  • Latini Iuniani – Iunian Latins (informally manumitted
  • dediticii - could never become Roman citizens
social hierarchy among slaves
Social Hierarchy among slaves
  • Different status groups among slaves
  • Slaves with free masters
  • Slave vicarii – with slave masters
  • Legal and social status of master
  • Imperial slaves to penal slaves in mines
familia caesaris1
Familia Caesaris
  • Most important group of slaves and ex-slaves in early Empire
  • Long period of time - Augustus – early 3rd century (epigraphic evidence ceases)
  • Each emperor inherited ownership of slaves and patronal rights over ex-slaves of predecessor
our sources
Our sources
  • Well evidenced by inscriptions
  • some careers of freedmen can be traced over several reigns following that of manumitting emperor
  • Longest career we have evidence of: the father of Claudius Etruscus, from reign of Tiberius to Domitian
slide6
A certain C. Iulius Aug. L. Samius was freed by Gaius and held a procuratorial post under Claudius and Nero
the evidence nomenclature
The evidence - nomenclature
  • Imperial slaves and freed easy to identify
  • Ordinary slaves had one single name
  • Imperial slaves added their status to their slave name:
  • Caes(aris) ser(vus) or Aug(usti) vern(a) or Aug(usti) or Caes(aris)
  • i.e. Onesimus Caes(aris) ser(vus)
imperial freedmen
Imperial freedmen
  • Received tria nomina of a Roman citizen: praenomen, nomen (gentilicum), cognomen
  • Then added status: Aug(usti) lib(ertus) or Aug(usti) l(ibertus).
  • Example: Ti. Claudius Aug. l. Onesimus
  • T. Flavius Aug. lib. Onesimus
  • M. Ulpius Aug. lib. Onesimus
  • Imperials freedmen/women very proud of status and continued to display it even after most private freed and citizens gave up to display status on funerary inscriptions – end of first century AD
hierarchy within familia caesaris
Hierarchy within familia Caesaris
  • Not a homogeneous group
  • Spread throughout the Empire
  • Great variety of opportunities for professional and social advancement
  • Vast status differences depending on branch of imperial service, professional grade, rate of advancement achieved in service
  • Division into familia urbana and familia rustica does not apply to familia Caesaris
divisions of familia caesaris
Divisions of Familia Caesaris
  • A) slaves and freed working in daily maintenance, provisioning, supervision of residence and properties for emperor’s personal upkeep
  • B) slaves and freed working in supervising the revenue-producing imperial properties or in financial administrative functions of civil service
a domestic group
A – domestic group
  • Included staff of Imperial Palace in Rome, palace of the Augusta, other villas in Rome and other Italian towns, Imperial gardens in Rome and elsewhere
range of duties
Range of duties
  • Custos – guard, aedituus – keeper,
  • Lectiarius – litter-bearer,
  • With more responsibilities or skill: topiarius – ornamental gardener
  • Tricliniarchus - in charge of dining room
  • Praegustato Imperial taster
  • Archimagiur - head chef
  • and countless more …
influential posts
Influential posts:
  • Cubicularius - in charge of bedroom
  • Ad admissione - both positions controlled access to emperor - had close contact with emperor
  • Unofficial and thus uncontrolled influence outside their domestic sphere
late empire
Late empire
  • Ex-slave eunuchs – under absolutist regime
  • Highest positions in palace service - in charge of Imperial bedchamber - were very powerful
  • The two chief posts: praepositus sacri cubiculi
  • Primicerius sacri cubiculi
b slaves and ex slaves in imperial administration
B Slaves and ex-slaves in Imperial Administration
  • Wide range of departments – all aspects of receipts and payments of funds under emperor’s control
  • Public services: aqueducts, libraries, post, roads, public works and buildings,
  • Imperial mines and quarries, the mint
range of positions
Range of positions
  • Wide range
  • Sub-clerical:pedisequi (foot attendant), costodius (guard), nomenclator, tabellarii,
  • Intermediate clerical grades: adiutor, vicarius, dispensator, a commentarius, tabularius
  • Senior clerical ranks: tabularii a rationibus, proximi
  • Senior administrative positions: procurator, a rationibus, ab epitulis, a libellis
wide range of status
Wide range of status
  • Variation in same rank in different departments: example: central finance bureaux of a rationibus to department responsible for minor tax
  • Other factors, location: head office in Rome had higher rank attached than branch office in province
other imperial slaves
Other Imperial Slaves
  • Working in private commercial and industrial enterprises either on own account: vestifex or vestifica (tailor, dressmaker)
  • Caelator (engraver), argentarius (silver-smith)
  • Working in emperor’s building projects including supplies of building materials
  • Lapidarii (stonemasons) marmorarii (marble cutters) structures (carpenters) architecti ( master-builders) -
recruitment into service
Recruitment into service
  • Predominantly from within the familia: children of Imperial slaves and freedmen (verna – houseborn slave
  • First century AD many also from outside the familia
marriage and status
Marriage and Status
  • High proportion of ‘marriage’ between Imperial slaves and freeborn women
  • S.C. Claudianum 52 AD (framed by Claudius’ freedman Pallas)
  • Exception to rule regarding children born outside legal marriage: children of free women and imperial slaves took status of father - thus would be imperial slaves.
manumission of imperial slaves
Manumission of Imperial Slaves
  • Relatively high chance of manumission for slaves in upper grades of Imperial service
  • No informal manumission for Imperial slaves
  • Emperor’s interest to get best work out of slave and then have manumission purchased by slave from peculium
  • Special department - Fiscus libertatis et peculiorum
manumission of imperial slaves1
Manumission of Imperial Slaves
  • Higher chance of manumission, but less chance before age 30
  • Average age of manumission between 30 – 40
  • Slaves seemed to have tried to be manumitted as soon as possible
  • Unskilled later 20% over 40, 15% over 50
  • In contrast – large proportion of female slaves owned by Imperial freedmen manumitted before 30 (for marriage purpose)
general manumission reviewed
General manumission reviewed:
  • Lex Aelia Sentia AD 4: age requirements – 30 for slave, 20 for owner
  • Slaves manumitted under 30 became Iunian Latins
  • Significant number of exceptions (iusta causa – just cause): blood relationship ) sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, foster relations, paedagogus ; future services (if slave was over 18); intended marriage
ways for latins to get full citizenship
Ways for Latins to get full citizenship
  • Augustus: Latins could receive full citizenship on first birthday of first child for themselves and child: anniculi probation
  • Subsequent emperors added more options: (Ulpian iii) services to state in emergencies: military service (rare), providing shipping for transport of corn, supply of bread, construction of buildings (i.e. after great fire)
  • Vespasian in AD 75 and Hadrian made changes to lex Aelia Sentia
  • Justinian abolished class of Latins and dediticii, and no age limit for manumission (Cod. Iust vii.15.2)
imperial civil service
Imperial Civil Service
  • Majority of positions filled by imperial freedmen and slaves
  • Upper-level posts used to be filled by senators and equestrians in Republican period
conclusions imperial slaves and freedmen women
Conclusions – Imperial Slaves and Freedmen/women
  • Very privileged group among slaves
  • Often imperial slaves and freed had higher social and economic status than humble free-born Roman citizens
  • Exceptional status can be seen in practice of marriage between Imperial slaves and free-born women
  • Law responded to this practice by changing natural law of slavery (slave-children as taking status of mother) to children of such union to take slave status of father.