Slavery in Roman Republic

2798 WordsMar 23, 201312 Pages
During the Roman Republic, Ancient Rome was at its very beginnings and a civilization was just being created. Like any other civilization there were different levels of status between classes and several positions of power in which people could obtain. Subsequently, just as there were people of power and wealth, there were also people of little to no power and poverty. The Ancient Romans utilized the institution of slavery to help promote their civilization and became a major factor in the economy of the Roman Republic. In a way slaves helped shape Rome into what it is today. Without slavery in Ancient Rome, history could have been written differently when considering Rome as a powerful city and civilization. Slavery had become a…show more content…
At times the militia required able men to report for war. If a man had more than a certain number of slaves, sometimes it was twenty; they would be excused from serving in the war. Therefore, many men were motivated to buy slaves. This type of market helped the economy of Ancient Rome expand even further. There were a number of Roman laws regarding slavery, and these too, changed over time. In the Republican period, slaves had no rights and were always subject to the whims of their owners. They did have some legal standing, however. They were allowed to act as witnesses in trials, and could gain freedom either through their owner's gratitude after loyal service or by buying it through the meager earnings they might collect over a lifetime of service. For example, owners in the Republic had the right to kill or mutilate slaves at a whim, but later imperial laws took this right away, though in practice this law could be largely ignored. This represents how valued slaves were to the Roman people. Despite harsh stereotypes of the institution of slavery there were not overwhelming reports of harsh conditions for slaves during the time of the Republic. Eventually, the Roman slaves were treated as members of the family unit in the earlier days of slavery. Their punishments were mild, and they were given holidays from their regular duties on certain occasions and festivals.

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