Libertus, collegiatus, pistor en coniunx De meervoudige identiteit van Romeinse vrijgelatenen



In this contribution, I would like to show that status and status-distinctions were key concerns
of the Roman elite in their handling with freedmen, both in praising and in rebuking
them. After a short discourse analysis of Cicero’s letters of recommendation for freedmen,
I will argue that such an emphasis on the inferior status of freedmen is often mistakenly
generalized by too strong a focus on the one-sided literary evidence and that this preoccupation is
not shared by freedmen themselves. By integrating social theory as a conceptual
framework and inscriptions as alternative source material, I show that among
freedmen other identity dimensions (than status) prevailed and that elite stereotypes had
much less of an impact on the daily life of Roman freedmen than the literary, elite sources