Roman Slavery

1148 WordsApr 11, 20085 Pages
Slavery is an institution of the common law of peoples by which a person is put into the ownership of somebody else, contrary to the natural order. Slavery was commonly practiced throughout all ancient history, but no other people in history owned so many slaves and depended on them so much as the Romans. Slavery was accepted as a part of life in ancient Rome by the slaves themselves and by the society. However, slavery was both beneficial and disastrous to ancient Rome. In Roman times, slaves were primarily prisoners of war. Indeed, war was "good business" because of the profits from slavery. Entire cities were captured and sold as slaves. Others became slaves when they couldn 't pay their debts; sometimes the…show more content…
Torture, degradation, and even killing a slave when he was old and sick, in the eyes of the law was justified. Slaves were property who could not legally hold property, make contracts, or marry. The death of a master did not in fact free the slave. If a slave escaped, he had to live a life of an outlaw, with organized bands of slave hunters on his tracks. A fugitive slave was a crime, for he had stolen himself. If he was caught, he was branded on the forehead with the letter F, for fugitives, and sometimes had a metal collar around his neck. One of these collars, preserved in Rome, says in Latin, “I have run away. Catch me. If you take me back to my master Zoninus, you’ll be rewarded” ( Mirza 42). Many factors such as military, social, economic, political and Roman dependency on slavery combined, resulted in the fall of the Roman civilization. It was estimated that an average wealthy Roman owned 400 slaves Kendrick Pg. 3 in his town house alone, some wealthy people owned from 10,000-20,000
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