Free Men and Slaves

Topics: Slavery, Roman Empire, Slavery in the United States Pages: 9 (3588 words) Published: April 25, 2013
We live in a Constitutional Republic, in which written laws guarantee us the right to bear arms for protection and the prevention of tyranny. Throughout history, people that are considered to be free have owned weapons and slaves alike. The concept of freedom implies that a person has the will to do as one pleases within confines of written laws. Slavery is just the opposite; a person does not possess free will and is completely subservient to a master or a higher authority. Many different empires throughout antiquity have had slaves and free men like, in close quarters of one another. What is the difference between a slave and a free person? For most, the answer is obvious; the defining difference is that free men can own weapons and slaves cannot. From Greek society, to Aztec society, and to American society the reasons for having and using slaves may differ, but they all have one major similarity, slaves were not allowed to own weapons, and free men are permitted to. However, in the United States, there are certain cases that have shown that slave have possessed weapons illegally, but did not revolt or gain freedom because of fear and other reasons. Many prominent people in government and academia have voiced the importance of an armed free society. On the reverse side, some officials in governments have outlawed the possession of weapons and society has suffered adverse effect to tyranny and amnesty. Spartan Greek Slaves

Western civilization regards Greece as the beginnings of democracy. Within the lectures of Dr. Price, we studied two main Greek powers, the Athens and Sparta. We have knowledge that the Spartans had slaves called Helots, who were native to the area, were captured in battle and forced to be slaves. We understand that the Spartan society was very slave intensive and that every Spartan citizen had up to eight slaves, this means that there was much more slaves than Spartan citizens. The underlying reason that the Spartans were able to control the slaves was because of fear. Spartans were very vicious towards the slave population. Any slave could be executed by a Spartan warrior, in training or otherwise, would be able to kill a slave with no negative consequences. The Helots had no rights as citizens, which means they were denied the right to own arms1. For the Helots, equality did not exist. This is not to say that slaves would not possess weapons at some point in time. We must understand that they were slaves and did most of the work that was deemed unworthy for the Spartan citizens to do. Some families may have trusted their slaves with knives and other tools of the like to prepare food and to grow the crops for their masters, if their masters wanted them to do agrarian work that the Perioikoi did not do, or to help the Perioikoi. The main reason why there was not a centralized revolt of the Helots is the fear factor. The Helots were so fearful for their lives being forfeited they stayed submissive. The Spartans maintained a constant war on the Helots; well-armed Spartan youth would course all over the polis and murder Helots. An ancient Greek writer named Plutarch gave an accounting of Helots being forced to become drunk so the younglings would have an upper hand2. The original name of the Helots was the Messenians. The Helots tried to keep their identity throughout slave hood. Helots held an extreme hatred for their Spartan masters. Xenophon, a Greek writer, later wrote that helots would gladly devour their masters raw. There is recording of Messenian revolts that did not last long3. This is a prime example of free men owning weapons being one of the defining differences between Spartans and slaves. Athenian Greek Slaves

Most citizens of Athens owned at least one slave, while some households had up to 504. Slaves outnumbered male Athenian citizens by about 60,000. By most accounts the slaves of Athens were treated much more favorably than other slaves in other poleis and Empires. It was the...
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