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Slavery In Greece And Rome Essay Research

Slavery In Greece And Rome Essay, Research Paper Slavery in Greece, Rome, and Africa The issue of slavery has been debated since its early inception. In recent times, there has been considerable debate as to the definition of slavery. Western scholars have attempted to justify slavery of the New World by comparing it to the slavery that existed in Biblical times as well as Greco-Roman and African slavery.

Slavery In Greece And Rome Essay, Research Paper

Slavery in Greece, Rome, and Africa

The issue of slavery has been debated since its early inception. In recent times, there has been considerable debate as to the definition of slavery. Western scholars have attempted to justify slavery of the New World by comparing it to the slavery that existed in Biblical times as well as Greco-Roman and African slavery. Some argue that there can be no international definition of slavery. Others try to define by a few words that apply to every instance of slavery. The only true way to define slavery is according to each society in which it was based. Webster’s dictionary defines slavery submission to a dominating influence or the state of a person who is a chattel of another. Though Webster’s gives this very general definition, there are many other meanings that may come to a person’s mind depending on the region of the world that one is speaking of. In Rome, there were different forms of slavery and slavery was not based on any particular thing such as color. Where did these slaves come from? It has been said that “slaves are either born or made.” During the Republican period one of the principal sources of slaves had been prisoners of war. There was significant number of Jewish slaves acquired as a result of the crushing of the Jewish rebellion by Vespasian and Titus (AD 66-70) The steady expansion in Britain continued to supply British slaves onto the market. Great numbers of prisoners of war reached Rome from the Dacian wars of Trajan. Also, after the Jewish revolt led by Bar-Cochba in AD 132-35 an additional number of Jews were sold as slaves. As well as prisoners of war, there were other groups of people who were made slaves. There were those who were kidnapped and sold into slavery. There were also persons that were made slaves as a result of piracy. This practice was considerably restricted when Pompey crushed the pirates after the passing of the Lex Gabinia in 67 BC. Piracy was also restricted later when the piratical Illyrians were defeated at the conclusion at the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Another source of slaves was purchase from over the boundaries of the empire. Roman soldiers involved in frontier wars and rebellions had many opportunities to buy prisoners of war as slaves at disposal auctions. Although this is not mentioned in the contemporary literature, this information can be found in papyrus, which reveals that soldiers did indeed own slaves. There were other ways by which slaves were obtained. The sale of offspring by parents was one of the ways that slaves were obtained. This occurred particularly in hard times when parents attempted to ease their burden. There is evidence that this practice did take place during the first centuries of the empire. However, the practice is unlikely to have been widespread. There are even accounts of how the Frisians in Lower Germany, being subjected to an excessive tribute by the Romans, were forced eventually to sell their wives and children into slavery. This too however, would have been unusual. In general it is unlikely that even the most impoverished parents, once they had initially resolved to bring up a baby, would sell that baby into servitude – unless there was some very special provocation. A few other methods of enslavement should also be mentioned. The first was self-sale. Hermeros, for example, rather than remain a tribute-paying provincial and hoping subsequently to become a Roman citizen, seems to have sold himself into slavery. A second method was for debt. Here a debtor who was unable to pay could be “given up” (addictus) to his creditor. A third method was penal enslavement, slavery arising from conviction in law. Punishment for grave crimes could entail the removal of personal rights. The abandonment of infants was widespread over much of the Roman world, and, no doubt, occurred even more frequently whenever circumstances became especially difficult. The custom was not made illegal until AD 374. Abandoned children usually either died or were made slaves. The owners themselves sometimes found the infants, either by accident or design. At other times they received them from finders who knew of their need. But there are also signs in the papyri of the availability of infants on request. Individuals who were part of the slave trade either collected abandoned babies for later sale themselves or bought them from others who found them. Some of the methods that were used in Greco-Roman slavery were also employed in Africa. The earliest slaves were captives taken in warfare. Most slaves appear to have been the property of kings, priests, and temples, and only a relatively small proportion were in private possession. They were employed to till the fields and tend the flocks of their royal and priestly masters but otherwise seem to have played little role in economic production, which was mostly left to small farmers, tenants, and sharecroppers and to artisans and journeymen. As in Greco-Roman slavery, slaves were also acquired by the sale, abandonment, or kidnapping of small children. Free persons could sell themselves or, more frequently, their offspring into slavery. They could be enslaved for insolvency, as could be the persons offered by them as pledges. In the religion of Islam, it was made unlawful for a freeman to sell himself or his children into slavery, and it was no longer permitted for freemen to be enslaved for either debt or crime, as was usual in the Roman world. It became a fundamental principle of Islamic jurisprudence that the natural condition, and therefore the presumed status, of mankind was freedom, just as the basic rule concerning actions is “permittedness”: what is not expressly forbidden is permitted; whoever is not known to be a slave is free. This rule was not always strictly observed. In some regions of Africa, slaves were simply “victims of kidnapping.” In addition, slaves were also acquired through trading as with the Imbangala. In these instances, people such as the Imbangala did not have to resort to war to obtain slaves. According to Lewis, in the Islam religion, there were basically four ways in which a slave could be obtained: Capture: Capture was a most important source. Frontier warfare and naval raiding yielded some captives, but these were relatively few and were usually exchanged. In later centuries, warfare in Africa or India supplied some slaves by capture to Muslims. With the spread of Islam, and the acceptance of dhimml status by increasing numbers of non-Muslims, the possibilities for recruitment by capture were severely restricted. Tribute: Slaves sometimes formed part of the tribute required from vassal states beyond the Islamic frontiers. The king of Nubia signed a treaty that included an annual levy of slaves to be provided from Nubia. The treaty stipulated that hundreds of male and female slaves be delivered annually. This treaty endured for ages but was disrupted when wars broke out between the Muslim rulers of Egypt and the Christian kings of Nubia. Offspring: The attainment of slaves through offspring appears to have been small and insufficient to maintain numbers. Several factors contributed to this difference. Because of the belief of a man’s freedom, slaves were often liberated. Usually this occurred when a slave was freed because she bore her master’s child. There were also other reasons for the low natural increase of 1. Castration. A fair·the slave population in the Islamic world. They include: proportion of male slaves were imported as eunuchs and thus precluded from having offspring. Among these were many who otherwise, by the wealth and power 2. Another group of slaves·which they acquired, might have founded families. who rose to positions of great power, the military slaves, were normally liberated at some stage in their career, and their offspring were therefore free 3. In general, only the lower orders of slaves — menial,·and not slaves. domestic, and manual workers — remained in the condition of servitude and transmitted that condition to their descendants. There were not many such descendants — casual mating was not permitted and marriage was not encouraged. 4. There was a high death toll among all classes of slaves, including great· military commanders as well as humble menials. Slaves came mainly from remote places, and, lacking immunities, died in large numbers from endemic as well as epidemic diseases. Purchase: This became the most important means for the legal acquisition of new slaves. Slaves were purchased from outside, and were then imported into the Islamic nations.. In the Roman world, the slave population was occasionally recruited from outside, when a new territory was conquered. However, most slaves came from internal sources. This was not possible in the Islamic empire. Though enslavement was outlawed, slavery was still legal. This provided for great slave trade. Though there were similarities between Greco-Roman and African slavery, that were differences that must be distinguished. In most cases, slavery systems in Africa were more like indentured servitude. Slaves retained some rights and children born to slaves were generally born free. Slaves could be released from servitude and join a family clan, they were not bound for life, and when set free were not outsiders. In contrast, Greco-Roman slaves were chattel, or property, who were usually stripped of their rights. The cycle of slavery was perpetual; children of slaves would, by default, also be slaves. There were different classes of slaves, and all were not restricted to servitude for life. A slave could marry, but only by consent of the master. Theoretically, a male slave could marry a free woman, but this was discouraged and in practice prohibited. A master could not marry his own slave woman unless he first freed her. The rules governing marriage in Rome were similar. There were laws that stated that the sons of senators were not to marry freedwomen. However, it was legal for the women to be taken on as a concubine. In fact, it was more respectable for the senator’s son to have this woman as a concubine than for the woman to be taken as a wife. There were provisions made for the freedwoman. She could leave her patron and marry, but only with his consent. Islamic law provided a number of ways in which a slave could be set free. One was manumission, accomplished by a formal declaration on the part of the master and recorded in a certificate. This certificate was given to the liberated slave. The manumission of a slave included the offspring of that slave. If there was any uncertainty about an act of manumission, the slave has the benefit of the doubt. Another method is a written agreement by which the master grants liberty in return for a fixed sum. Once such an agreement had been reached, the master no longer held charge over the slave. The slave was still subject to certain legal disabilities, but was “virtually free.” Agreements such as these could be terminated by the slave but not by the master. Children born to the slave after the contract are born free. A master could also bind himself to liberate a slave at some specified future time. He may also bind his heirs to liberate a slave after his death. In addition to manumission based on the will of the master, there were various legal causes which may lead to liberation. The most common was a legal judgment by a qadi ordering a master to emancipate a slave whom he had mistreated. There was also the case of the umm walad, a slave woman who bears a son to her master. This woman could not be sold and upon her master’s death was freed. In Greco-Roman slavery, there is some evidence to suggest that female slaves were manumitted more often than males and marriageable females were manumitted most often of all. The principal reason for this is thought to be marriage. Some slaves in Greece were upwardly mobile. These slaves were not bound to servitude for life. All slaves were not outsiders of the community. In fact, some slaves actually had better standing and were privy to better things that some free men were not privy to. Middle-level, managerial slaves held visible positions. Because they had connections with powerful people based on their position, there were opportunities for social advancement that some of the free poor did not have. There are also examples of slaves in the Roman context that amounted great wealth, obtained freedom, and became the head of the treasury. There were different types of slaves in Rome. One type of slave slave, the aquarii, were slaves who carried water for bathing into the female apartments. They were also called aquarioli, These slaves were held in great contempt and did not fit into society such as slaves of Caesar. It is also said that this name applied also to slaves who had the care of the fountains and ponds in gardens. The aquarii were also public officers who attended to the aqueducts. There was another class of slaves known as anteambulones. These were slaves who were to go before their masters, in order to make way for them through the crowd. They usually called out to the crowd. If this were not sufficient to clear the way, they used their hands and elbows to make way. A story is even told of a slave that accosted a Roman knight in order to make way for the master. Because the slave touched the knight, the master was accosted by the knight. While some slaves lived life better than the free poor, others were confined to what was known as an ergastulum. This was a private prison attached to most Roman farms. The slaves were made to work in chains. The prison appears to have been usually under ground, and was lighted by narrow windows. The windows were too high from the ground to be touched by the hand. The slaves confined in an ergastulum were also employed to cultivate the fields in chains. Slaves who had displeased their masters were punished by imprisonment in the ergastulum. This same prison housed all slaves who could not be depended on. A trustworthy slave was placed in charge of the ergastulum, and was called ergastularius. These prisons arose in as a result of the conquest of Italy by the Romans, and the great number of barbarous slaves who were employed to cultivate the conquered lands. In the time of Hadrian and Antoninus, many laws were made to ameliorate the condition of slaves. Hadrian abolished the ergastuala because it was subject to great abuse when used by “tyrannical masters.” Though slavery was maintained, the Islamic dispensation enormously improved the position of the slave. These slaves were not considered merely chattels, but also human beings with a certain religious rights. This warranted social status and with certain quasi-legal rights. The early caliphs who ruled the Islamic community after the death of the Prophet also introduced some further reforms of a humanitarian tendency. The enslavement of free Muslims was soon discouraged and eventually prohibited. Many people seek to define slavery in an attempt to justify the slavery of the New World. While there were cases of harsh treatment of slaves, the condition of their enslavement was not based on the color of their skin. Most slaves in Greco-Roman and African cases were entitled to some rights and were treated as more than chattels or property. While it may not be possible to define slavery using one term that applies to all instances of slavery, slavery can be defined if each instance is looked upon separately. The correct term may not be slavery, but in all cases, one person is subject to the will of another.

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Aristotle, Politics, Translated by T.A. Sinclair. England: Penguin Classics,1962. Boese, W.E., A Study of the Slave Trade and the Sources of Slaves in the Roman Republic and the Early Roman Empire. University of Washington,1973. Bradley, K.R. “On the Roman Slave Supply and Slavebreeding” in Classical Slavery, Edited by M. I. Finlay. London,1987. Crawford, M., “Republican Denarii in Romania: the Suppression of Piracy and the Slave-Trade”. JRS 67 (1977), 117-24. Hopkins, K., Conquerors and Slaves: Sociological Studies in Roman History, Volume 1. Cambridge,1978. Kpytoff, Igor and Miers, Suzanne, “African Slavery as an Institution of Marginality” in Slavery and Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976. Lewis, Bernard, Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford University Press 1994. Madden,John Slavery in the Roman Empire Numbers and Origins. Galway: University College. Martin, Dale, Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Murray, John, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: 1875. Sikainga, Ahmad “Slavery and Muslim Jurisprudence in Morrocco” in Slavery and Abolition, Special Issue: Slavery and Colonial Rule in Africa, ed. Suzanne Miers and Martin Klein. THE AMAZING ANCIENT WORLD OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: http://www.omnibusol.com. Westermann, W.L., The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia,1955. Wiedemann, T.E.J., Slavery, Greece and Rome. Oxford,1987Bibliography Aristotle, Politics, Translated by T.A. Sinclair. England: Penguin Classics,1962. Boese, W.E., A Study of the Slave Trade and the Sources of Slaves in the Roman Republic and the Early Roman Empire. University of Washington,1973. Bradley, K.R. “On the Roman Slave Supply and Slavebreeding” in Classical Slavery, Edited by M. I. Finlay. London,1987. Crawford, M., “Republican Denarii in Romania: the Suppression of Piracy and the Slave-Trade”. JRS 67 (1977), 117-24. Hopkins, K., Conquerors and Slaves: Sociological Studies in Roman History, Volume 1. Cambridge,1978. Kpytoff, Igor and Miers, Suzanne, “African Slavery as an Institution of Marginality” in Slavery and Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976. Lewis, Bernard, Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford University Press 1994. Madden,John Slavery in the Roman Empire Numbers and Origins. Galway: University College. Martin, Dale, Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Murray, John, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: 1875. Sikainga, Ahmad “Slavery and Muslim Jurisprudence in Morrocco” in Slavery and Abolition, Special Issue: Slavery and Colonial Rule in Africa, ed. Suzanne Miers and Martin Klein. THE AMAZING ANCIENT WORLD OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: http://www.omnibusol.com. Westermann, W.L., The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia,1955. Wiedemann, T.E.J., Slavery, Greece and Rome. Oxford,1987Bibliography Aristotle, Politics, Translated by T.A. Sinclair. England: Penguin Classics,1962. Boese, W.E., A Study of the Slave Trade and the Sources of Slaves in the Roman Republic and the Early Roman Empire. University of Washington,1973. Bradley, K.R. “On the Roman Slave Supply and Slavebreeding” in Classical Slavery, Edited by M. I. Finlay. London,1987. Crawford, M., “Republican Denarii in Romania: the Suppression of Piracy and the Slave-Trade”. JRS 67 (1977), 117-24. Hopkins, K., Conquerors and Slaves: Sociological Studies in Roman History, Volume 1. Cambridge,1978. Kpytoff, Igor and Miers, Suzanne, “African Slavery as an Institution of Marginality” in Slavery and Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976. Lewis, Bernard, Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford University Press 1994. Madden,John Slavery in the Roman Empire Numbers and Origins. Galway: University College. Martin, Dale, Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Murray, John, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: 1875. Sikainga, Ahmad “Slavery and Muslim Jurisprudence in Morrocco” in Slavery and Abolition, Special Issue: Slavery and Colonial Rule in Africa, ed. Suzanne Miers and Martin Klein. THE AMAZING ANCIENT WORLD OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: http://www.omnibusol.com. Westermann, W.L., The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia,1955. Wiedemann, T.E.J., Slavery, Greece and Rome. Oxford,1987

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