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(4,377 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Kessler, Rainer | Harrill, J. Albert | Luker, Ralph E. | Ludwig, Frieder
[German Version] I. General The word slavery denotes a social structure (including its normative legal and ethical standards) in which certain individuals are considered and treated as objects. A slave owner has the right to decide what the slaves do, as well as where and how they live; the owner also has an absolute right of disposition over their bodies and lives and the right to sell them like any other property. The far-reaching implications of this definition distinguish slavery from other forms of unfreedom such as debt servitude, serfdom, and bondage. Slavery was widespread in a…

Manumissio in ecclesia

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Harrill, J. Albert
Among Constantine’s broad legal and institutional reforms, manumissio in ecclesia (“manumission in the church”) named a new public act to release a person legally from slavery and into full Roman citizenship. The enfranchisement took the form of solemn rites performed by the owner in a church before the witnesses of its congregation and presided over by clergy (priests, the bishop), empowered like civil magistrates to become the legal guarantors.Antecedents Manumissio in ecclesia had several classical models. Religious temples, oracles, and shrines had long enjoyed…
Date: 2020-12-17