Treatment of Slaves in Ancient Rome and Han China

Topics: Han Dynasty, Ancient Rome, Confucianism Pages: 1 (319 words) Published: May 23, 2013
RomeAncient Rome and Han China are different in the ways how their slaves were treated. Overall, they were ultimately more similar because of the importance of trade and family. Slaves in Ancient Rome were treated very harshly. They were put in gladiator fights to the death against fellow slaves and occasionally lions for the entertainment of the community, although it was against the law for a citizen to kill another citizen’s slave. Also, 10% of the populations of Rome were slaves, which means if one died, they could be easily replaced. In contrast, only 1% of Han China’s populations were slaves. They were much more valued and thus their owners treated them better. There were two kinds- Privately Owned and State Owned. These slaves could pay for freedom, or be freed by their master or the emperor. It was against the law to kill these slaves at all. Trade in Rome was thought to be beneath the occupation of landholding, although they continue to practice trade throughout Roman history. The Senate was not allowed to participate in commerce because they were too prestigious to be affiliating with it. Similar to Han China, agriculture was a much better occupation than trade. Merchants, however wealthy, were looked down on because they looked like they could surpass social boundaries because of their riches. In Ancient Rome, loyalty to family and state was highly important. The nobles of Rome were constantly reminded to be aware of their fathers and grandfathers successes. We know this because the term pietas; meaning “dutifulness”; depicts these values. Also, we know of these the importance of family because typically at a Roman funeral, they would exhibit masks’ of their ancestors and their deeds. This regard to ancestors resembles that of Confucianism, which was highly practiced in Han China. The core of Confucianism was known as “filial piety”, meaning the respect and obedience that children owed their parents.
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