WHAP-CH-6-GRECO-ROMAN-SLAVERY

Report
Why was slavery so much more prominent in
Greco-Roman civilization than in India or China?
WHAP
Unit 2 - THE CLASSICAL ERA
Eurasian Social Hierarchies
500 b.c.e. – 500 c.e.
Why was slavery so much more prominent in
Greco-Roman civilization than in India or China?
Hadrian’s Wall was built by
legionaries, and much of the labor
on Greek temples was undertaken
by free skilled artisans, but Rome
had large numbers of state-owned
slave laborers to build aqueducts,
palaces, ports, etc.
Why was slavery so much more prominent in
Greco-Roman civilization than in India or China?
Compare the lot of slave gangs
working on latifundia or in mines to
that of household slaves.
Could slaves revolt? (See Spartacus!)
What if a slave killed his master?
(All the slaves of that master would be put to death!)
Why was slavery so much more prominent in Greco-Roman civilization than in India or China?
Modern conveniences have made
domestic servants unnecessary.
Discuss the role of domestic
slaves.
Were slaves ever
actually necessary???
Growing Inequality & Unrest in Rome
For all its success – Rome was unstable.
Power switches from the many to the few.
Landed aristocracy governed Rome
Wealthy, powerful families in the Senate & political
offices
Slavery in the Classical Era: A Historical Investigation
Why did slavery emerge in 1st
Civs?
1. domestication of animals
provided a model for human
slavery
2. war, patriarchy, and private
property ideas encouraged slavery
3. women captured in war were
probably the first slaves
4. patriarchal “ownership” of
women may have encouraged
slavery
Slavery in the Classical Era: A Historical Investigation
Slavery and Civilization
“Social death”: lack of rights or
independent personal identity
Long-established tradition by the
time of Hammurabi (around 1750
b.c.e.)
Almost all civilizations had some
form of slavery
★ varied considerably over place and
time
★ classical Greece and Rome: slave
emancipation was common
★ Aztec Empire: children of slaves were
considered to be free
★ type labor of slaves varied widely
Slavery in the Classical Era: The Case of the CHINA & INDIA
Less common in China (1 % of
pop.)
★ convicts and their families
were earliest slaves
★ poor peasants sometimes
sold their children into slavery
India: criminals, debtors, war
captives were slaves
★ largely domestic
★ religion and law gave some
protections
★ society wasn’t economically
dependent on slavery
The Making of a Slave Society: The Case of Rome
Mediterranean/Western civilization: slavery
played immense role
★ Greco-Roman world was a slave society
★ 1/3 of pop. of classical Athens was
enslaved
★ Aristotle: some people are “slaves by
nature”
Beginning of Common Era, Italy’s population
was 33 to 40 percent slaves
★ wealthy Romans owned hundreds or
thousands of slaves
★ people of modest means often owned 2 or
3 slaves
1. Massive enslavement of war prisoners
2. piracy
3. long-distance trade for Black Sea, East African,
and northwest European slaves
4. natural reproduction
5. abandoned/exposed children
Not associated with a particular ethnic group
The Making of a Slave Society: The Case of Rome
Slavery was deeply entrenched in Roman
society
Slaves did all sorts of work except military
service
Performed both highly prestigious and
degraded tasks
Slaves had no legal rights
★ could not marry legally
★ if a slave murdered his master, all of the victim’s slaves
were killed
★ manumission was common; Roman freedmen became
citizens
Resistance and Rebellion
★ cases of mass suicide of war prisoners to avoid slavery
★ “Weapons of the weak”: theft, sabotage, poor work, curses
Flight, Occasional murder of owners, &
Rebellion
★ most famous was led by Spartacus in 73 b.c.e.
★ Nothing on similar scale occurred in the West until Haiti in
the 1790s
★ Roman slave rebellions did not attempt to end slavery;

similar documents