In the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....
, the dediticii
were one of the three classes of libertini
A freedman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves became freedmen either by manumission or emancipation ....
. The dediticii
existed as a class of persons who were neither slaves, nor cives
, nor Latini
, at least as late as the time of Ulpian
Gnaeus Domitius Annius Ulpianus , anglicized as Ulpian, was a Roman jurist of Tyrian ancestry.-Biography:The exact time and place of his birth are unknown, but the period of his literary activity was between AD 211 and 222...
. Their civil condition was formed by analogy to the condition of a conquered people, who did not individually lose their freedom, but as a community lost all political existence. In the case of the Volsci
The Volsci were an ancient Italic people, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. They then inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from...
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...
inclines to the opinion that the four thousand who were sold, were slaves, and not dediti
The Lex Aelia Sentia
Lex Aelia Sentia was a law established in ancient Rome in 4 AD. It was one of the laws that the Roman assemblies had to pass . This law , has made limitations on manumissions. Manumission, or the freeing of a slave, became increasingly important by the early empire...
provided that, if a slave was put in bonds by his master as a punishment, or branded, or put to the torture for an offence and convicted, or delivered up to fight with wild beasts, or sent into a ludus
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the...
), or put in confinement (custodia
), and then manumitted either by his then owner, or by another owner, he merely acquired the status of a peregrinus dediticius
, and had not even the privileges of a Latinus
. The peregrini dediticii
were those who, in former times, had taken up arms against the Roman people, and being conquered, had surrendered themselves. They were, in fact, a people who were absolutely subdued, and yielded unconditionally to the conquerors, and, of course, had no other relation to Rome than that of subjects. The form of deditio
occurs in Livy.
- Long, George. 1875. "Dediticii". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. William Smith, ed. (London: John Murray), p. 388.