The place of the wealthy freedman in early imperial Rome is a liminal social state. This figure has attained the wealth accompanying social status yet has not broken social barrier separating them from the true elite of Roman society. I examine the banquet of Trimalchio from The Satyricon by Petronius, The Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus, and archeological evidence left by freedmen (The tomb of the Haterii, and the inscription to Epaphroditus. In the first two chapters I create an image of the wealthy freedman based from the literature, then examine the reason for them being represented as they were by the Aristocracy. Finally, I take all the evidence from the previous chapters and examine it together in the final section. I argue that the wealthy freedman in early imperial Roman society existed in a liminal state. They were not free from their servile origins, yet they were successful members of Roman society.


Shaya, Josephine


Classical Studies


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity


Nero, Trimalchio, freedman, Tacitus, Petronius, Epaphroditus

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Thomas R. Pike