Relationships between slaves and masters

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Relationships between slaves and masters

Postby Quintus Marius Primus on Thu May 27, 2004 4:06 pm

Avete Romani

Does anyone know if there is any evidence of master and slave "falling in love" and marrying (after the slave had been granted freedon), or did the stratified nature of Roman society prevent the masters from even considering such a match?

Valete, et gratias multas

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Last edited by Quintus Marius Primus on Fri May 28, 2004 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Thu May 27, 2004 5:49 pm

Salve Quinte,

In the Digest, it is said that a master under 20 years old cannot mannumit (= grant freedom to) any of his slaves, except for a few specific cases, one of which is if he wants to marry her. So, we know that marriages between masters and slaves were allowed and that they did occur (inscriptions attesting such marriages undoubtedly exist), but unfortunately we have no sources that can tell us how often they occured.

Vale optime,

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu May 27, 2004 5:58 pm

Salve Attice,

Did Roman slaves who were released acquire Roman citizenship? If not, how could a master who held Roman citizenship marry them?

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Fri May 28, 2004 8:37 am

Salve Draco,

If they were formally manumitted (i.e. before a Roman magistrate, by being recorded in the census or by testament) they acquired the full Roman citizenship, if they were informally manumitted (e.g. when the master simply said "liber esto") they became, since the time of Augustus at least, Latini Iuniani, analogous with the status of citizenship the inhabitants of Latium held before being granted full Roman citizenship, an intermediary state of integration as it were, also applied later in the provinces. The "Iuniani" part comes from the Lex Iunia de manumissionibus that created this status.

It is still uncertain whether Latini Iuniani possessed the ius conubii, which would enable a full legal marriage (cf. KTEMA 6, p. 183). If they did not, one may suspect a master freeing a slave to marry her to do so formally, so that their children would enjoy full Roman citizenship.

Vale,

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allia potestas

Postby ariadne sergia fausta on Sat May 29, 2004 1:09 pm

a nice example of love between a master and his slave is the epitaph for allia potestas. This woman was manumitted and married her master, and when she died her husband placed a stele with the following text

A

Dis Manib(us)
Alliae A(uli) l(ibertae) Potestatis

B

1 Hic Perusina sita est, qua non pretiosior ulla.
2 Femina de multis uix una aut altera uisa
3 sedula. Seriola parua tam magna teneris.
4 «Crudelis fati rector duraque Persiphone,
5 quid bona diripitis exuperantque mala?»
6 Quaeritur a cunctis, iam respondere fatigor,
7 dant lachrimas, animi signa benigna sui.
8 Fortis, sancta, tenax, insons, fidissima custos,
9 munda domi, sat munda foras, notissima uolgo,
10 sola erat ut posset factis occurrere cunctis;
11 exiguo sermone, inreprehensa manebat.
12 Prima toro delapsa fuit, eadem ultima lecto
13 se tulit ad quietem positis ex ordine rebus.
14 lana cui e manibus nuncquam sine caussa recessit,
15 opsequioque prior nulla moresque salubres.
16 Haec sibi non placuit, numquam sibi libera uisa.
17 Candida, luminibus pulchris, aurata capillis,
18 et nitor in facie permansit eburneus illae
19 qualem mortalem nullam habuisse ferunt,
20 pectore et in niueo breuis illi forma papillae.
21 Quid crura? Atalantes status illi comicus ipse.
22 Anxia non mansit, sed corpore pulchra benigno.
23 Leuia membra tulit, pilus illi quaesitus ubique;
24 quod manibus duris fuerit culpabere forsan:
25 nil illi placuit nisi quod per se sibi fecerat ipsa.
26 Nosse fuit nullum studium, sibi se satis esse putabat,
27 mansit et infamis, quia nil admiserat umquam.
28 Haec duo dum uixit iuvenes ita rexit amantes,
29 exemplo ut fierent similes Pyladisque et Orestae:
30 una domus capiebat eos unusque et spiritus illis.
31 Post hanc nunc idem diuersi sibi quisq(ue) senescunt;
32 femina quod struxit talis, nunc puncta lacessunt.
33 Aspicite ad Troiam, quid femina fecerit olim!
34 Sit precor hoc iustum exemplis in paruo grandibus uti.
35 Hos tibi dat uersus lacrimans sine fine patronus
36 muneris amissae, cui nuncquam es pectore adempta,
37 quae putat amissis munera grata dari,
38 nulla cui post te femina uisa proba est.
39 Qui sine te uiuit, cernit sua funera uiuos.
40 Auro tuum nomen fert ille refertque lacerto,
41 qua retinere potest auro collata Potestas.
42 Quantumcumq(ue) tamen praeconia nostra ualebunt,
43 uersiculis uiues quandiucumque meis.
44 Effigiem pro te teneo solacia nostri,
45 quam colimus sancte sertaque multa datur,
46 cumque at te ueniam, mecum comitata sequetur.
47 Sed tamen infelix cui tam sollemnia mandem?
48 Si tamen extiterit, cui tantum credere possim,
49 hoc unum felix amissa te mihi forsan ero.
50 Ei mihi! Vicisti: sors mea facta tua est.

C

51 Laedere qui hoc poterit, ausus quoque laedere diuos:
52 haec titulo insignis, credite, numen habet.

There is a whole site dedicated to this text (thank you Atticus for letting me know!) http://lettere2.unive.it/saltelli/index.htm


valete

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sat May 29, 2004 2:49 pm

Salvete

Some have made an argument based on her name that the wife of Vespasian was once a slave as well. It does not seem to have worked the other way around though. I recall a commentary on Roman law that held that if a woman married her slave she would lose her social status and her property. The same was apparently true of a noble woman when she married below her station and the loss of her property ensured the loss of her status.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sat May 29, 2004 4:08 pm

M Moravi Horati Piscine wrote:Salvete

Some have made an argument based on her name that the wife of Vespasian was once a slave as well. It does not seem to have worked the other way around though. I recall a commentary on Roman law that held that if a woman married her slave she would lose her social status and her property. The same was apparently true of a noble woman when she married below her station and the loss of her property ensured the loss of her status.


Salve Piscine,

If a freeborn woman had a relationship with a slave without the consent of his master, the senatusconsultum Claudianum (52 CE) provided a penalty even more rigorous :

Si mulier ingenua civisque Romana vel Latina alieno se servo coniunxerit, si quidem invito et denuntiante domino in eodem contubernio perseveraverit, efficitur ancilla. (Sententiae Pauli, 2.21a.1)

(Scott translation : If a freeborn woman, who is also a Roman citizen or a Latin, forms a union with the slave belonging to another, and continues to cohabit with him against the consent and protest of the owner of the slave she becomes a female slave.)

Vale !

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