Slavery In Roman Culture Essay

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Slavery was an integral part of ancient Roman culture. At different points in time during its history, slaves made up as much as 40% of the population. Slaves in ancient Rome were overwhelmingly prisoners captured in military conquest, or their descendants. Correspondingly, the slave population was made up of a variety of ethnicities and cultures from all around the Mediterranean. Some ethnicities (especially those known to Romans exclusively as enemies and slaves) became associated with slavery, and were thought of as fit for little else. The Asiatic Greeks, the Syrians, and the Jews were among these peoples. As in most slave-holding societies, the quality of life of the Roman slave varied widely depending on the type of work he did. Slaves that were expected to do manual labor often suffered terribly, and lived short, brutal, lives. Domestic slaves on the other hand often lived relatively comfortable lives, and their quality of life may have surpassed that of poorer Roman citizens. Slaves also worked as artisans, businessmen, teachers, and in various other more skill demanding positions, as their masters saw fit. It was also not uncommon for Roman masters to free their slaves, or allow …show more content…
Similar slaveholding practices were common across the ancient world, to a varying degree. The slave population in China, for example, was usually very small, and composed almost entirely of criminals and their families, or children from impoverished families who had been sold to wealthy locals or public officials. India was similar. Slaves in India were often prisoners of war, criminals, or debtors, and were protected by secular and religious law, at least ostensibly. But in neither case did Slaves play as important a part as they did in Roman society, or as in the West generally.
But the story of slavery in ancient Rome would not be complete without the inclusion of the tale of Spartacus, a Roman gladiator and leader of a slave

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