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Slavery in Ancient Rome - Research Paper Example

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The institution of slavery in Rome was started by Romulus, the legendary founder of the Rome city when he allowed the heads of Roman families to sell their children into slavery. The institution of slavery continued to grow as the Roman state expanded and this went on until it became one of the core institutions in the state, with the latter having a large dependency on it…
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Slavery in Ancient Rome
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Download file to see previous pages There were unskilled slaves many of who had been condemned to slavery as punishment, or had been captured in war, and these were given very hard tasks to perform such as working on farms, in the mines or at mills and their living conditions tended to be very brutal and this made their life expectancy very low. It can therefore be said that slavery in ancient Rome was a part of its everyday life and that this institution is one of the core pillars, which kept this state running. A large number of the slaves in the Roman state were acquired through the warfare made by its army that always brought back captives in their hundreds and thousands from each war that they went to fight. Many of these wars were wars of expansion in which the defeated enemies were captured as well as civil wars and these captives were often sold to slave traders who in turn took them to the market and sold them to the highest bidder. In addition to those slaves captured in war, a large number of them came through the slave traffic of Thrace and perhaps the most famous Thracian importee was Spartacus, who years later would come to lead a great revolt against his new masters (Koester 766). Piracy was among the biggest contributors to the slave market because an increase in the activities of pirates also led to an increase in slavery in the Roman state because they ensured a large supply of slaves from the places they raided. Most slaves worked in unskilled jobs from prostitution and cleaning to mining, shepherding and manning oars. However, there are some who worked in relative comfort as secretaries and physicians (Bradley 477). In addition to the tasks, which they were given as their duties, slaves had very few rights and in fact, they were not allowed to refuse their masters anything, even if it was unwanted sexual advances. In the Roman state, the largest number of slaves was used for agricultural labor because the growing size of both the population and the empire needed plenty of food to sustain them. Therefore, it is true to say there tended to be more slaves in the rural areas than in the urban areas and these worked on the farms. Slaves used to be assigned to mines as punishment for perceived transgressions against their masters, and this was the same as sentencing them to death because the chances of surviving long in the mines were very slim. Farm slaves faired fairly well considering that they had plenty of food to eat where they worked as well as their work being seasonal unlike other slaves who had to work very hard throughout for their masters, while household slaves of the rich families of Rome enjoyed the highest standards of living among the slaves of this state. Moreover, it was very rare for them to be whims subject of their masters compared to other slaves because many of them had specialized duties, which they tended to carry out without being asked by their masters. Many of these household slaves had lodgings, which were far much better than those of some of the free Roman population were and in fact, they often did much better than the latter economically. These household slaves could be found doing very specialized jobs such as working as barbers, hairdressers, and even as teachers and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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