Their status under the law was different from that of other slaves; they could not buy their freedom, be sold, or be set free. Slaves worked everywhere - in private households, in mines and factories, and on farms. Texts mentioning slaves include histories, personal letters, dramas, and satires, including Petronius' Banquet of Trimalchio, in which the eponymous freedman asserts "Slaves too are men. The freeing of the slave was a public ceremony, performed before some sort of public official, usually a judge. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/629/. " The testimony of a slave could not be accepted in a court of law unless the slave was tortured—a practice based on the belief that slaves in a position to be privy to their masters' affairs would be too virtuously loyal to reveal damaging evidence unless coerced. https://www.ancient.eu/article/629/. Roman Slavery Slavery began to be an important factor in Roman life in the period from 350 to 272 BCE when Rome began to expand into central and southern Italy. Life as a Slave in Ancient Rome Ancient Roman Slaves at a Glance The Roman Empire depended upon slave labor more than any other society in history.  In any case, the overall role of slavery in Roman economy is a discussed issue among scholars. Food was also a critical consideration. Further, it was believed that the freedom of some was only possible because others were enslaved. , Estimates for the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire vary. For example, in the 1st century CE, the prefect L. Pedanius Secundus had 400 slaves merely for his private residence. Gold mining. , Because they had an opportunity to prove their merit, they could acquire a reputation and influence, and were sometimes deemed eligible for manumission. ", At the Matralia, a women's festival held June 11 in connection with the goddess Mater Matuta, free women ceremonially beat a slave girl and drove her from the community.  Legal protection of slaves continued to grow as the empire expanded. Both the Stoics and some early Christians opposed the ill treatment of slaves, rather than slavery itself. At an earlier time, many gladiators had been soldiers taken captive in war. Those who lived were branded on the forehead with the letters FUG, for fugitivus.  By comparison, life expectancy at birth for the population as a whole was in the mid-twenties (36% percent of men and 27% of women could expect to reach the age of 62 if they succeeded in reaching the age of 10). The goddess was identified with Libertas, the personification of liberty, and was a tutelary goddess of freedmen (dea libertorum). Supplementing their numbers with slaves from the surrounding countryside (and even some free labourers) an army was assembled which numbered between 70,000 and 120,000. Roman slavery was not based on ideas of race. A servus publicus was a slave owned not by a private individual, but by the Roman people. Vernae (singular verna) were slaves born within a household (familia) or on a family farm or agricultural estate (villa). Walter Scheidel.  Marcus Crassus was supposed to have concluded his victory over Spartacus in the Third Servile War by crucifying 6,000 of the slave rebels along the Appian Way. Dartmouth associate professor Roberta Stewart has stated that Plautus’ plays represent slavery "as a complex institution that raised perplexing problems in human relationships involving masters and slaves.” Terence added a new element to how slaves were portrayed in his plays, due to his personal background as a former slave. Accountants and physicians were often slaves. Slaves worked in a wide range of occupations that can be roughly divided into five categories: household or domestic, imperial or public, urban crafts and services, agriculture, and mining. The lot of agricultural slaves (vincti) was probably one of the worst as they were usually housed in barrack buildings (ergastula) in poor, prison-like conditions and often kept in chains. In the agricultural sector such a mix of labour was particularly common as the work was seasonal so that at harvest time paid labour was brought in to supplement the slave staff because to maintain such an extended work force year-round was not economically viable. Some freedmen became very powerful.  The 1st century BC Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote that slaves sometimes banded together to plot revolts. 2005. The ancient Greeks used bronze, a mix of tin and copper, for their weapons and tools. Criminals such as unrepentant Christians … Multitudes of slaves who found their way to Italy were purchased by wealthy landowners in need of large numbers of slaves to labor on their estates. A major source of slaves had been Roman military expansion during the Republic.  In ancient warfare, the victor had the right under the ius gentium to enslave a defeated population; however, if a settlement had been reached through diplomatic negotiations or formal surrender, the people were by custom to be spared violence and enslavement. Most slaves would never be freed. 'On Captives under the Principate', V. Gabrielsen 'Piracy and the Slave-Trade' in A. Erskine (ed.). 12 Dec 2020. Advertisements were posted with precise descriptions of escaped slaves, and offered rewards. All slaves and their families were the property of their owners, who could sell or rent … Agriculture and trade dominated Roman economic fortunes, only supplemented by small scale industrial production. "Vespasian and the Slave Trade. . Sometimes slaves had a metal collar riveted around the neck. A freed slave was the libertus of his former master, who became his patron (patronus). Historical or not, the cautionary tale highlighted the incongruities of subjecting one free citizen to another's use, and the legal response was aimed at establishing the citizen's right to liberty (libertas), as distinguished from the slave or social outcast (infamis). In the tripartite division of law by the jurist Ulpian (2nd century AD), slavery was an aspect of the ius gentium, the customary international law held in common among all peoples (gentes). Cartwright, M. (2013, November 01).  The holiday is explained as commemorating the service rendered to Rome by a group of ancillae (female slaves or "handmaids") during the war with the Fidenates in the late 4th century BC. Farm slaves (familia rustica) probably lived in more healthful conditions. 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