Life as a roman slave

Unfortunately most of our evidence for the Life as a roman slave life of slaves, especially that of women, comes to us through the eyes of the owners. When a master moved around, slaves would carry him in a litter.

Young children were sometimes killed by their parents rather than let them become slaves. A slave with a talent, skill or trade was more expensive especially if they could cook. Life was very hard for many slaves. A logical assumption is that slaves led poor lives simply because they were slaves.

Slaves had no rights, they could be treated as good or as badly as their masters wished. Unwanted children in Rome, especially girls, were abandoned at birth: The price of a slave depended on what they could do for their masters. A wealthy Roman might have between and slaves.

The Roman writer Seneca believed that masters should treat their slaves well as a well treated slave would work better for a good master rather than just doing enough begrudgingly for someone who treated their slaves badly.

If his master lived in a cold climate, the first job of the day would be to fire up the hypocaust. Any offspring of such unions were slaves and this became a recognized way of increasing the number. When the day properly began, a whole group of slaves started set tasks, such as walking children to school, cleaning a villa, washing clothes, tidying a garden etc.

As an incentive some slaves received a wage and could accumulate it to buy their freedom. Without slaves, the wealthy of Rome would not have been able to lead the lifestyles that they wanted to.

The law also stated that fathers could sell their older children if they were in need of money.

If guests had to return home and it was dark, a slave or slaves would walk ahead of them with a lighted torch. A letter found from Roman London indicates that there was a slave market in the city.

Freed people made up about five percent of the population of Rome, but since the status lasted only a single generation there were no dynasties of freed families.

Once bought, a slave was a slave for life. Monogamy was the stated ideal in Rome, but its achievement was another thing entirely. The master could free his child, but he could not acknowledge or adopt it: Female slaves usually worked as servants, perhaps as personal maids to the Mistress or as housekeepers, etc.

Life was harsh in the early days of the Republic but gradually improved as Romans realized how much more work they could get from a healthy, well treated slave. Wives protested and society expressed disapproval albeit in a very minor waybut the law was on the side of the errant husband.

However, abandoned children could also be brought up as slaves. A slave could only get their freedom if they were given it by their owner or if they bought their freedom.

In a letter to Atticus a friend, Roman orator Cicero wrote: When a rich man and his family bathed at home, slaves would help out by drying them once they had finished and dressing them.

How much did a slave cost? How could a wealthy Roman get a slave? To buy your freedom, you had to raise the same sum of money that your master had paid for you — a virtually impossible task.

Slaves were never granted their freedom without also having the means to support themselves. A rich man might own as many as slaves and an emperor usually had more than 20, at his disposal.WOMEN AND SLAVERY IN ANCIENT ROME.

Life was harsh in the early days of the Republic but gradually improved as Romans realized how much more work they could get from a healthy, well treated slave.

An Upper class Roman family had dozens, or even hundreds, of slaves; a middle-class family would have had one to three, and even a.

Roman Slaves

Most slaves were war captives, sold as property to the Roman citizenry. A slave of Rome had absolutely no rights and was utterly at the mercy of his/her master (a situation known as 'dominica potestas'), who could use them for sexual gratification and have them flogged or killed as they pleased.

Roman men who did not have slaves on his own were supposed to visit the many brothels. It was not a social taboo, just something normal. A Christian Roman explained Christian values by stating: Among us are the same rules applied for men as for women.

That meant that Christian men were supposed to be faithful to their wives. Slave labour was used in all areas of Roman life except public office. In addition, slaves were often mixed with free labour as employers used whatever human resources were available and necessary to get a job done.

A wealthy Roman would buy a slave in a market place. Young males with a trade could fetch quite a sum of money simply because they had a trade and their age meant that they could last for quite a number of years and, as such, represented value for money. Most civilizations throughout human history have played host to the unfortunate institution of slavery.

This lesson will introduce how slavery was.

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Life as a roman slave
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