Social class in the republic is hierarchical, but there are multiple and overlapping social hierarchies, and an individual's relative position in one might be higher or lower than in another. The status of freeborn individuals is established by:
census rank, based on wealth and political privilege, with the senatorial and noble ranks elevated above the ordinary citizen;
attainment of honors ; and
citizenship, of which there are grades with varying rights and privileges
There are also classes of non-citizens with different legal rights. Under the republic law, slaves are considered property and have no rights as such. However, some laws regulate slavery and offer slaves protections not extended to other forms of property such as animals. Slaves who had been manumitted are freedmen, and for the most part enjoy the same legal rights and protections as free-born citizens.