Roman Slavery.docx

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Kelly Olson

R OMAN SLAVERY Reading: P&P page numbers 154-155 and passage numbers 5.1-5.14, 5.16-5.20, 5.23-5.29 Angela pp. 179-194. Roman Slavery • 35% of the population in Roman Italy was slaves • More than 1/3 • True ‘slave society’ • Slave-owning reached far down the social scale • All but the poorest would have owned slaves • Men and women could own slaves • Familia of an aristocrat could be very large: 100 • Prices of slaves varied according to age, talent, looks • Being literate drives the prices of a slave up • If a slave had children her price goes up • Encourage sexual relations among slave staff so that they bring slave children which costs • Nothing to the owners • Young good looking slaves always cost more because you could have sex with your slaves • The master has sexual rights to the slave Status of Slaves • Low socially, economically, morally • Can’t own property, cant contract business obligations • Slaves thought to be thieves and liars, and cunning • Untrustworthy • Slaves were property • Exploited physically, economically, socially, sexually • Not allowed to marry • They don’t have status, they are not citizens • Formed partnerships • Could not legally be married under Roman law • Status of slave children was servile, no ma • Disruption of family life part of slavery • Absence of psychological and emotional security in a slave’s life • Classical slavery was never radically grounded • Although the Romans did attribute “natural” characteristics of slavery to “barbarian” races such as Syrians Sources of Slaves • War • Brigandage/piracy • Breeding • Slave trade • Infant exposure Life of a Slave • Depended very much on where she or he lived and was put to work • Slaves in the mines: shor
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