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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael J.Dewar

Lecture 4: Slaves and Freedmen January 17 , 2013  Slavery roman phenomenon - Multiple forms i) Some in debt so they volunteer to pay off debt - Different compared to Greeks i) Larger in scale (population) ii) In antiquity, all ancient provocations to setting free iii)Slaves became full roman citizens when set free  Took the name of his master and add personal name after  Could vote and serve in the military (a)No different than their ex masters (i) To the point where freedmen/slaves surpassed pop‟n, became the actual “true” Romans (ii)By Seneca/eNero‟s time, Romans spoke Greek not Latin (iii) Labour for creating were foreigners (east). (iv) Greek common language, establishment of the church spoken in greek iv)When Julius Caesar invaded Gaul  1 million slavews acquired v) Different roman eras  different foreigner backgrounds  At a certain point, they were bought/sold rather through war. Some acquired through robbery vi)Astounding that some even volunteered  Some parents sold their children if poor and too many children to take care off  Impossible to determine the stats of how the slaves were acquired  Slaves were the responsibility of the patria potestas (a)Romans  equal opportunity of slaves vii) Slaves were a legal status  Slaves could, if had enough money set free they are good slaves (a)No historical traces  Some educated (a)In country  uneducated slaves, workers/labourers (b)Larger city  somewhat educated  cleaners and cooks (c)Special cases  educated enough to be accountants, PA, go- betweener in counsuls (i) No stats as to who can and couldn‟t (ii) But those who were educated  could be set free viii) Slaves were valuable  especially in farms and estates R1: A Technical or Scientific View A technical classification of the tools needed to work a farm or estate would have three parts: the kind of tool that is articulate, the inarticulate, and the mute. The kind that is articulate comprises the slaves, the inarticulate comprises the cattle, and the mute comprises the carts. Varro, On Agriculture, 17. 1  Not all romans thought like this - But express the basic (dark) truth i) Humanize slavery  Equivalent to a cart  property who is indebted to you R2: A Pragmatic View He (i. e. your farm manager, probably a slave himself) should make a sale. He should sell the oil, if it can fetch a decent price; he should sell whatever wine and grain is left over; he should sell worn-out old oxen, cattle with blemishes, sheep with blemishes, old iron tools, the wool, the hides, an old cart, an old slave, a sick slave, and anything else that is superfluous. A pater familias should be a seller, not a buyer. Cato the Elder („the Censor‟), On Agriculture 2  Purpose of farm  feed the family rather the profit - Also feed the slaves - If slave can‟t work  burden to you - Cato th elder  looking out for the entire (tells those who are poor  if you can‟t afford the slaves, then don‟t) i) Rather sadistic R3: A Sadistic View Vedius Pollio, a Roman equestrian, a friend of the emperor Augustus, found that lamprey eels offered him an opportunity to display his cruelty. He used to toss slaves sentenced to death into ponds of lampreys, not because wild animals on land were not capable of killing a slave, but because with any other type of animal he was not able to enjoy the sight of a man being torn to pieces, completely, in one moment. Pliny the Elder, Natural History 9. 39. 77 (Tr. Jo-Ann Shelton, As The Romans Did. A Sourcebook in Roman Social History, New York and Oxford, 1998, p. 174).  Vedius Pollio  time  slave handed to the state if believed the slave  they would be executed if proven guilty - VP  would do it himself i) What extent could the gov‟t stop him  Practices patria protestas in the pater familia  Gov‟t couldn‟t do anything.  Also he was the friend of Emperor Augustus. Invited to a party  slave beaten during dinner  Augustus couldn‟t do anything. It was legal! Reiterates that society was ruled by custom but able to break the law at times  morality alters tradition if tradition stops working. Emperor Augustus  broke the law for human treatment R
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