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Slavery in Classical Greece - Essay Example

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Slavery in Classical Greece Name: Course: Date: Slavery in Classical Greece Slavery in ancient Greece was a common practice, like in many other civilizations of the time. Scholarly Greek writers considered slavery as humanly natural and necessary. Labor sourced from slavery provided an opportunity for the citizen of Athens and Sparta to concentrate on other aspects of life that they dimmed important…
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Slavery in Classical Greece
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Download file to see previous pages Homer was one of the authors that put slavery into question. In his works he identifies economy as the main justification for slavery in ancient times. Homer describes slavery as “an inevitable consequence of war”. The ancient Greeks in Homer’s time saw slavery as only natural and that it was only possible to enforce because slave masters were superior to their slaves. In exploring the reality of slavery in ancient Greece, this essay explores the quality of slavery conditions in terms of working conditions, general treatment, slave rights, and social and legal securities. Helots were the foundation of the Spartan economy, essentially in mass food production. The helot population in Sparta outnumbered that of the citizens by far. The bid to control the large slave population is considered to have turned the Spartan society to a community well vast in military skills. The general treatment of the helot is seen a harsh in many accounts. It was mandatory for the helots to give a fixed amount of their farm produce to the state, although it is not apparent whether they were allowed to sell surplus produce and keep the returns for their own benefit. Helots were required to remain within the lands they were bonded to. In times of war they were required to act caterers and personal servants to warriors or serve as infantry assistants. Contrary to Athens, in Sparta, helots were considered as state enemies by law. They were required to wear humiliating clothing that would distinguish them from the rest of the Spartan population. Helots were publically punished and subjected to annual beatings to remind them of their servile place in society. The Spartan slaves were guided by strict codes of conduct and rules whose slightest defiance was met with dire consequences. The chief magistrate (ephors) declared ‘war’ on helots annually. This involved a hunting down, punishing and even killing of any helots who was thought to be ‘suspicious’. This was done by a private dispatch of proficient young men in the community, armed with swords. They killed helots they meet in the highways at night and sometimes they could set upon them in the light of day while they are working in the fields and brutally murder them. This directed violence was a strategy to keep the large helot population under control by instilling fear in them. The fact that there was no penalty for the murder of helot meant that Spartan slave s could never be assured of personal safety. Athens being a generally developed area, majority of its privately owned slaves worked as household slaves. They were tasked with household duties that were mainly domestic roles. However, some of the Athenian slave master involved salves in more complex domestic duties such as tutoring and caring for children. The kind of responsibilities required of an Athenian slave depended their ownership and level of education. Unlike their privately owned counterparts, state -owned slaves have the opportunity of being absorbed to serve in relatively high social position within the community, such as bankers, secretaries and law enforcement. Often, slaves were used as security men for their masters and also as law enforcers for the state. Wealthy Athenian slave masters used skilled slaves as craftsmen in the workshops. In analyzing the relationship between Athenians and their slave it is important to pay particular ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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