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Under Roman law , a slave had no personhood and was protected under law mainly as his or her master's property. In Ancient Rome , a slave who had been manumitted was a libertus feminine liberta and a citizen. The soft felt pileus hat was a symbol of the freed slave and manumission; slaves were not allowed to wear them:  Among the Romans the cap of felt was the emblem of liberty. Hence the phrase servos ad pileum vocare is a summons to liberty, by which slaves were frequently called upon to take up arms with a promise of liberty Liv. The master in the meantime held the slave, and after he had pronounced the words "hunc hominem liberum volo," he turned him round momento turbinis exit Marcus Dama, Persius, Sat. The magistratus then declared him to be free [ The former owner became the patron patronus and the freed slave became a client cliens and retained certain obligations to the former master, who owed certain obligations in return.