This is defined to be a state of exemption from the control or power of another. The doctrine that Freemasons should enjoy unrestrained liberty, and be free in all their thoughts and actions, is carried so far in Freemasonry, that the Grand Lodge of England will not permit the initiation of a candidate who is only temporarily deprived of his liberty, or even in a place of confinement (see Free). It is evident that the word freedom is used in Freemasonry in a symbolical or metaphysical sense differing from its ordinary signification. While, in the application of the words free-born and free man, we use them in their usual legal acceptation, we combine freedom with fervency and zeal as embodying a symbolic idea. Gadicke, under the word Freiheit, in his Freimaurer-Lexicon, thus defines the word:
A word that is often heard among us, but which is restricted to the same limitation as the freedom of social life. We have in our assemblies no freedom to act each one as he pleases. But we are, or should be, free from the dominion of passion, pride, prejudice, and all the other follies of human nature. We are free from the false delusion that we need not be obedient to the laws. Thus he makes it equivalent to integrity; a sense that Brother Mackey believed it to bear in the following article.
Fisk has some observations on the freeing of slaves among the Romans that are of value here. The liberating of slaves took place in several ways. The most usual mode seems to have been by will, freedom by bequest, manumissio per testamentum, on the death of the owner. There were two other modes; census, the listing, and per vindictam, by the freedom of the rod; the former was when the slave with the master's consent, was enrolled in the taxation list as a freedman; the latter was a formal and public enfranchisement before the praetor (a Roman magistrate). In the last case, the master appeared with his slave, before the tribunal, and commenced the ceremony by striking him with a rod, vindicta; thus treating him as still his slave. Then a protector or defender, assertor libertatis, steps forward and requests the liberation of the slave, by saying hunc hominem liberum esse aio, jure Quirtium; upon which the master, who has hitherto kept hold of the slave, lets him ao, e manu emil-'ebat, and gives up his right over him, with the words hunc hominem liberum esse volo. A declaration by the praetor, that the slave should be free, fonned the conclusion.
To confirm this manumission, the freed slave sometimes went to Terracina and received in the Temple of Feronia a cap or hat, pileus, as a badge of liberty.
The slave to be freed must not be under twenty years of age, nor the person setting him free under thirty (Classical Antiquities, N. W. Fisk, page 290).
Feronia was honored as the patroness of enfranchised slaves who ordinarily received their liberty in her Temple on Mount Soracte. Her name was derived by some from a town near the Temple, others credit it to the idea of her bringing relief, hero, to slaves, or to her productiveness of trees and fruits (Fisk, page 120; see also his allusions to sacrifices, page 237; jus Quiritium, page 286; and Raising, page 287).
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