Slavery and Society at Rome (Key Themes in Ancient History)

Slavery and Society at Rome (Key Themes in Ancient History)

Language: English

Pages: 218

ISBN: 0521378877

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book is about the life of the slave in classical Roman society and the importance of the institution of slavery in Roman civilization generally. Its main purpose is to communicate, particularly to an undergraduate audience, the harshness of the institution, and to convey what the experience of being a slave at Rome was like from a slave's point of view. The book's importance lies in the fact that it deals with a subject of great interest and is the only comprehensive treatment of Roman slavery currently available.

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" Slave labour Slave labour Table 5 The hierarchy of slave jobs in elite households, Rio de Janeiro J8o8-185o I Mucamas: (a) ladies-in-waiting, personal maids (b) housekeepers and domestic slave managers of unmarried owners; wetnurses; sometimes owners' mistresses/common-law wives. 2 Slave children of masters: (a) playmates and babysitters for owners' legitimate children (b) later trained as mucamas (girls) and valets/pages (boys) 3 Domestic slaves: (a) coachmen, liveried footmen,

third-century AD relief from Neumagen where four female attendants are shown assisting their mistress in her toilet, none of them betraying any sign of material discomfort. Elsewhere, however, the look is altogether different. Shepherds in works of art typically wear just a short, sleeveless or half-sleeved tunic made oflinen or sheepskin, especially the exomis exposing the right shoulder, with hide or sheepskin boots and sometimes leggings, while fishermen have only loincloths and bath

has committed, but not when he is able no longer to bear his bodily pain.'7 It appears, therefore, that slaves always understood that they had the option of ending their enslavement by ending their own lives, and perhaps over time a considerable number- how many it is impossible to say- did so. They will have been slaves to whom the ultimate human sacrifice was preferable to the burdens of servitude. Accounts of assault by Roman slaves against their owners are rarely found, but two detailed

further to the possibility of discovery if they chanced to steal from the farms and villages they passed through. If they put their trust in harbourers, there was always the danger of betrayal once rewards for information were announced. As the fugitives coped with the exigencies of weather, terrain and sheer survival, therefore, every moment must have been filled with tension and uncertainty, in utter contrast to the ease with which Horace made his journey. And if in the end the port was safely

(I989) Romans and Blacks. London and New York TOYNBEE, J. M. c. (I97I) Death and Burial in the Roman World. London TREGGIARI, s. M. (I969) Roman Freedmen during the Late Republic. Oxford (I 973) 'Domestic staff at Rome during the Julio-Claudian period', Histoire Sociale/Social History 6: 24I-55 (I975) 'Jobs in the household ofLivia', PBSR 43:48-77 VAN HOOFF, A. J· L. (I990) From Autothanasia to Suicide: Self-Killing in Classical Antiquity. London and New York VERSNEL, H. s. ( I97o) Triumphus: An

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