Slavery In Ancient Rome

Topics: Roman Empire, Slavery, Ancient Rome Pages: 9 (2008 words) Published: December 3, 2014


Slavery In Ancient Rome
James Gallagher
Hst 102
Wends Nights 6:30-9:15
Spring 2013

Historiography plays a huge role in history and text books everywhere. Historiography is the changing, varying views of historians over time. Many texts have been written about the same topic due to new facts presenting themselves and new historians interpretations on that subject. Slavery in Ancient Rome although not too diverse it's authors do have some differences. The facts that are put within our book are in a sense manipulated to the authors views. Within this historiography paper I will look at several books ranging from 1926-1994. Doing this I will locate differences in interpretations within the books.

The first book I will look at is entitled "Rome The Law-Giver" by a man named J. Declareuil. This book comes off as a political, social/cultural perspective. The text depicts slaves of Ancient Rome as well treated. It shows them living almost on equal ground. That the slaves were there for intimacy and were well maintained in a sense. However, in the book it did give the causes of slavery which were: "Capture of a foreigner either in time of war or of peace, for a foreigner was always fair game; a birth mother who was a slaver on the day of delivery.' 1 From this perspective you get that they are becoming more like property now. They labeled these forms of slavery a misfortune and not a disgrace. Personally I would have viewed slavery as a disgrace. Slaves were incapable of acquiring property on their own account, but then the book goes to say that slaves something took on their masters personality and were able to act upon them. This shows how society in a way trusted their slaves to a great extent. Their society had a deal of respect for humanity, masters who treated their slaves badly were forced to sell them. Slavery was ended by enfranchisement. Which, basically I took these as the master giving the slave his name and allowing him/her to be a free citizen.

The next of the texts I chose is entitled "Daily Life In Ancient Rome" by J. Carcopino. This book focuses on the social cultural aspect as well. It says that everyone learned to speak and think in Latin, including the salves. The law grew more and more in favor of humanity and lightened the chains which slaves wore. The law also started to favor the slaves freedom. It tells us that the law always favored treating their slaves kindly. This shows that society didn't really look down upon slaves as many shows and or movie depict. This text does however talk about the beginning of Roman history and how slaves then were forced to fight one another for money or freedom from the winning of fights. The text states that this kind of ideology was only for a short period of time and then they started to recognize that slaves had souls of their own. This caused a law to come into play which stated that a master couldn't deliver his slave to the beasts of the amphitheatre without a judge's authorization. This showed how far Rome has come in the culture sense and how they started to value life. Rome even started a department in a sense to investigate mistreatment of slaves by their masters. Some slaves in certain houses were given a liberal education as some doctors, professionals, etc and treated as free men.2 Although this text was similar to the last I believe it touched on some more detailed areas. It gave more insight to a savage time and more insight to how equally the slaves started to become. It shows that the Roman society wasn't such brutes and did have hearts. Seeing slaves depicted in this vision of social/culture standpoint makes one feel a lot better knowing they weren't all gladiators killing each other day in and day out.

The author of the next text entitled “Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology.” A man named M.I. Finley wrote this book. He depicts slaves as sheer property and that a slave can pay for mistakes with his/her body. Finley comes at it...

Bibliography: Bradley, K. R., Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A study in social control. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Bradley, Keith, Slavery and Society at Rome. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Bradley, Keith R. Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World: 140 B.C.-70 B.C. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989.
Carcopino, Jerome. Daily Life in Ancient Rome. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940.
Declareuil, J. Rome The Law-Giver. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926.
Finley, M I. Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology. New York: Penguin Books, 1980.
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