Classical Studies 3400E Chapter Notes -Lex Aquilia, Manumission, Freedman
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1. When they are used as sexual objects, how are slaves characterized in
our sources? (Photis is willing; Cypassis is not. But mostly the slaves’
feelings are not consulted)
2. Why might a master/mistress choose to sleep with a slave (other than
physical desire?) for children: see Martial Epigs.
3. Was censure directed at this practice harsher for women or men?
Women: note Cod. Iust.
4. Why were gladiators considered attractive?
The state of slavery is characterized by the availability of the body for corporeal
assault (citizens were supposed to be inviolate). The inability to defend one's body
against pestering, beating, penetration is slave-like and powerless.
Masters and Slaves
It is assumed by our sources that a master (not necessarily the mistress) would
make sexual use of his slaves, male and female (and with boys of course the master was
supposed to play the insertive role— but not everybody always followed this rule).
Reason for buying a slave could always be primarily sexual (and many prostitutes were
slaves). Martial is an invaluable source for slave-free sexual relations because he assumes
the fact that slaves of both sexes and all ages were objects of casual sexual pleasure.
Aspects of slave sexuality and the law:
•For a man to have sex with male or female slaves did not count as a sexual crime
or even invite social censure.
•Slave women could not commit adultery; only male slaves could. Why?
•Children born to slave women of their master became their master's slaves.
•If someone else raped your slave, you the owner could have an action for property
damage under the Lex Aquilia. These are not rape charges per se (rape only
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