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Slaves, Slavery and Freedmen

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1 Slaves, Slavery and Freedmen
Roman Society Slaves, Slavery and Freedmen

2 Slaves Who were the slaves?
Often individuals or families from Gaul, Italy, Greek, Germanic areas (almost everywhere). Someone who did not have any rights. Was not a citizen of Rome. Worked for Patrician or Plebeian families.

3 Slaves (cont...) In the years after 260BC, slaves would have been very similar to Romans in look and culture. Slaves from the eastern cities of Italy and Greece would have been at least as well educated and cultured as their Roman masters. As the Republic expanded outside the Italian peninsula; Carthage, Gaul, Iberian peninsular; slaves no longer had the same cultural and educated status as their masters. Slave numbers peaked towards the end of the Republic and early Empire.

4 Growth of Slavery The Twelve Tables of Law ( BC) stipulated that Romans were only to be sold into slavery “across the Tiber” (outside Rome). Nexus – early type of slavery whereby a Roman citizen became indebted and lost their freedom to his creditors. The Italian war of conquests provided Rome with approximately Samnite peoples after the defeat in 290BC. By 260BC and the beginning of the First Punic War, the warships and galleys were rowed predominantly by Freedmen. In 177BC, approximately 65,000 Sardinian slaves were sold (cheaply) In contrast, in 167BC, the systematic destruction of the kingdom of the cities of Epirus (Greece) reputedly brought 150,000 slaves as war captives to Rome, which possibly raised the cultural and intellectual tone of Rome. Slave markets at times were often overcrowded and ‘overstocked’ with slaves – this caused death, disease and lowering of the value of a slave. Slaves were among the main booty during Julius Caesar’s Gallic wars (58-51BC)

5 The Work of Slaves Slaves performed numerous tasks in the Roman world and did not form a single economic or social class. Their social status differed greatly, ranging from highly educated Greeks whose intellectual powers were appreciated by Roman nobles; often worked as librarians, secretaries, tutors or clerks. Slave girls and boys were often sexually exploited (both poorer and wealthier Romans had access to brothels). Slaves also worked manual labour in mines, farms, or other duties. During the Roman Republic slaves worked: In Mines On Farms (familia rustica) In domestic dwellings or households (familia urbana) As Gladiators (as many as half the gladiators of Rome were slaves).

6 Status of Slaves Often held positions of importance
Often held positions that held some form of power or responsibility Slaves could be ‘freed’ by their masters – manumission – formally freeing worthy slaves. This would often be included in the will of the master – Romans prided themselves on manumission. Manumissio - "sending out from the hand" Could also earn money from doing other work – they could purchase their freedom. Servus publicus - was a slave owned not by a private individual, but by the Roman people – they often worked in temples, public buildings in the forum, in assemblies or for magistrates.

7 Aspects of Slavery During the Republic owning a slave or two was a common thing. Slaves would do domestic duties or work on the farm or in the family business alongside free hired labourers. Slaves were well looked after; fed, had sleeping quarters and had access to basic education or trade experience (in domestic positions). Patrician families or nobles often had numerous slaves doing different tasks. They would also have hundreds of slaves working on estates or farms.

8 Slaves and Rebellion There were three notable slave rebellions in:
135–132 BC (the First Servile War) BC (the Second Servile War) 73-71 BC (the Third Servile War) Spartacus, led the great slave rebellion of BCE, was a rebel gladiator.

9 Freedmen Freedmen – were slaves who either: Bought their freedom
A freed slave was known as a libertus and any future children of a freedman would be born with full citizenship. Freedmen – were slaves who either: Bought their freedom Freed by the masters – often through a will or testament Freedmen’s sons could hope to rise to become magistrates, while freedmen themselves often became priests in a local cult in the provinces. For example, Claudius’s principal secretaries were Slaves, later Freemen, that became influential and powerful.

10 Freedmen (Cont...) Freedmen were a vital part to the success of Rome and were involved in many professions and facets of Roman life: Merchants Magistrates Priests or religious men Shop owners Ship wrights Ship oarsman Businessmen Freedmen were entitled to make their own way in life and pursue a career in most facets of Roman society. Population of freedmen was quite large in Rome.

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