Legal Status of a Municipal Freedman in the Roman Empire

Spichenko N. К.

The article deals with the legal status of municipal freedmen in the Imperial period. It is known from Ch. 72 of Lex Irnitana that emancipated servus publicus received double status: that of Latinus and that of municeps. The paradox of municipal freedman being a citizen of his community but not enjoying full rights is reconsidered in the light of a series of legal documents. The double nature of libertinus municipii was connected, firstly, with the procedure of manumission, when the magistrate could not use vindicta (for it was not a citizen but the mu-nicipium who set the slave free), and, secondly, with the nature of the patron, i.e. municipium, which could emancipate its slave only to receive the status of its other citizens. For the municipals a freed servus publicus became a municipal enjoying, as well as the rest of the citizens, the right of hereditas and bonorum possessio; but for the municipium he was a Latinus lunianus, his patron having the right to his legacy. Thus, hereditas and bonorum possessio were for a municipal freedman just formal rights which he, in contrast to free-born municipals, could not enjoy fully.