Inhuman Treatment of Slaves in Ancient Rome Essay

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Previous Roman actions have raised the question whether they recognized their slaves as things or people. Of course, there are economic advantages in support of slavery. However, when human lives are under constant danger and torture, the economic advantages must be forgotten. Although the slaves of Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the society, their actions were never approved. After careful consideration, it is evident that the Romans recognized slaves as things rather than people. This conception is mainly due to three factors. They include: slaves being put on the market, the physical cruelty towards the slaves, and the slaves being mistreated to the point of revolt. First, slaves were treated as things rather than people due to…show more content…
Adding onto the point where slaves were put on the market like things, slaves were also discriminated due to their previous nationality. Both of these actions illustrate inhuman behaviour by the Ancient Romans. In addition to buying and selling slaves, there is one more option which tops off these poor choices. In Ancient Rome, one was also able to rent a slave. This is renting a human being. Renting tools or horses was ordinary but renting another person just exemplifies how Romans treated slaves as things, rather than people. The physical cruelty portrayed to the Roman slaves also supports how they were treated as things, and not human beings. The beating and cruelty involved in slavery comes to no surprise when mentioning Ancient Rome. Slaves were of course punished for critical mistakes, but they were also punished to the highest degree for minor mistakes. For example, in a passage by Martial it says, “You say, Rufus, that your rabbit has not been cooked well, and you call for a whip. You prefer to cut up your cook, rather than your rabbit” . Here, a slave is whipped fiercely, simply because the rabbit was not cooked well enough. With this in mind, it is evident that slaves were mistreated even due to the slightest mistakes. Next, it is hard to believe that some slave owners performed methods of punishing their slaves in this matter. Pliny the Elder describes Vedius Pollio’s actions as, “He used to toss slaves sentenced to death into ponds of
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