Doing this I will locate differences in interpretations within the books. The first book will look at is entitled “Rome The Law-Giver’ by a man named J. Declare. This book comes off as a political, social/cultural perspective. The text depicts slaves of Ancient Rome as well treated. It shows them living almost on equal ground. That the slaves were there for intimacy and were well maintained in a sense. However, in the book it did give the causes of slavery which were: “Capture of a foreigner either in time of war or of peace, for a foreigner was always fair game; a birth mother who was a leaver on the day of delivery. 1 From this perspective you get that they are becoming more like property now. They labeled these forms of slavery a misfortune and not a disgrace. Personally I would have viewed slavery as a disgrace. Slaves were incapable of acquiring property on their own account, but then the book goes to say that slaves something took on their masters personality and were able to act upon them. This shows how society in a way trusted their slaves to a great extent. Their society had a deal of respect for humanity, masters who treated their slaves badly were forced to sell them.
Slavery was ended by enfranchisement. Which, basically I took these as the master giving the slave his name and allowing him/her to be a free citizen. The next of the texts I chose is entitled ‘I Daily Life In Ancient Rome” by J. Cropping. This book focuses on the social cultural aspect as well. It says that everyone learned to speak and think in Latin, including the salves. The law grew more and more in favor of humanity and lightened the chains which slaves wore. The law also started to favor the slaves freedom. It tells us that the law always favored treating their slaves kindly.
This shows that society didn’t really look down upon slaves as many shows and or movie depict. This text does however talk about the beginning of Roman history and how slaves then were forced to fight one another for money or freedom from the winning of fights. The text states that this kind of ideology was only for a short period of time and then they started to recognize that slaves had souls of their own. This caused a law to come into play which stated that a master couldn’t deliver his slave to the beasts of the amphitheatre without a judge’s authorization.
This showed how far Rome has come in the culture sense and owe they started to value life. Rome even started a department in a sense to investigate mistreatment of slaves by their masters. Some slaves in certain houses were given a liberal education as some doctors, professionals, etc and treated as free men. 2 Although this text was similar to the last I believe it touched on some more detailed areas. It gave more insight to a savage time and more insight to how equally the slaves started to become. It shows that the Roman society wasn’t such brutes and did have hearts.
Seeing slaves depicted in this vision of social/culture standpoint makes one feel a lot better knowing they weren’t all gladiators killing each other day in and day out. The author of the next text entitled “Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology. ” A man named M. I. Finley wrote this book. He depicts slaves as sheer property and that a slave can pay for mistakes with his/her body. Finley comes at it with more of an economic and political stand point. He states that slaves can pay for mistakes with their bodies. He also discusses dehumidifying factors which were used then.
Finley also goes into detail on the punishment of slaves and how it went about since the slaves were considered property and hey didn’t like t damage others property. Finley talks about how the biggest difference between a free man and a slave is that slaves are answerable with their bodies for all offences. The only “free” man in Roman society which could be punished is one that was suspected of espionage or treason. Since they held human life so highly this shows how little slaves actually meant to their society.
Finley interpretation is much different than the first text which stated that they were almost treated as equals. All of a slave’s actions were his/her masters responsibility. This didn’t mean that the master was punished just that the master had to punish the slave. Since the Roman society didn’t allow destruction of others property and the killing of a slave would be the destruction of another man’s property, they allowed the master to decide the punishment. This was true on all but one occasion, when a slave named Asparagus led a revolt. The Roman society crucified 6,000 slaves on the road from Cap to Rome. This showed that Rome would throw away their values in a sense to stop those against it. It wasn’t that they had killed a human but that they had destroyed another Romans property which made them hesitant. When a slave committed a crime as serious as killing his/her master the whole slave population within the house would be killed to teach other slaves a lesson that they are only property and will die with their master if their masters death was at the hands of a slave. Finale’s interpretation shows how little the Roman Empire cared about slaves.
That them being property was more important than them being actual human beings. It also shows the political factor behind the killing of the revolting slaves in order to stop more from joining the revolt and sibyl taking down Rome, since the slaying of the 6,000 stopped the revolt and brought fear into all the others. K. R. Bradley wrote a book called “Slaves and Master in the Roman Empire’ which he discusses the fundamentals of slaves in a sense. He talks about the difference of slaves who are slaves of those high in the political world and those who are at the bottom of the bottom.
He also talks about them from an economic standpoint and which jobs they hold. Bradley talks about how the worst place a slave can be is the mines. That within the mines slaves are worked to death and they have a meaningless existence to themselves. Now to the Roman society they are extremely beneficial in the sense that what they mine is used to generate money or used for trade. Slaves who belong to wealthy people have a better life and get by better than the free who are poor. So from that perspective slavery wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Those slaves who are slaves for the Emperor enjoy political influence and pretty high self esteem since they are so close to the Emperor at all times. 4 Slaves provide labor in many different industries. Some slaves do farming/ agriculture work while others do industry and commerce, domestic and riveter service, medicine and education, and some slaves even took part in the military-5 Obviously slaves who worked in agriculture endured much harsher environments than someone who did medicine or taught education. Slaves were seen as property just as livestock and land.
No slave was exempt from economic exploitation. Slaves have been used for economic means throughout mostly all of these texts. Slaves in general have no meaning besides being property and if a slave was killed or lost they would only be missed from a destruction of property standpoint. Slaves who lived with the wealthy didn’t mind slavery as much as slave who worked in the mine did. Miners who were worked to death had meaningless lives. Slaves who ended up in the mines were usually being punished for something they had done and then were sold to the mine to endure suffering and hard labor.
Slaves were forms of money making and entertainment. This next book written by Keith Bradley is interesting and informational. It goes into great detail discussing how Rome was a slave society. The book is called “slavery and Society At Rome. ‘ He talks about basically how Rome was built and the laws of which slave-owners had to adhere to. He talks about a away passed in 2 BC that limited the amount of slaves that could be set free when the master died. 6 This law was set in place so that the master would only set those free who basically wouldn’t do harm to the Roman society if they were free.
This also made the slaves prove themselves worthy also increasing the Roman economy in some way. He calls Rome a slave society for a few different reasons. First he says since they had such a large number of slaves all over provided economic power in a sense. Since the slaves were all tools to bring in income. Slaves were many of the wealthy Romans income. Slaves dominated large scale production in the county and in urban areas due to the fact that they were cheap and easily obtainable.
Many free people did not work jobs such as these because the slaves had already held the position. Also the slaves were easier to punish if slacking off. Many wealthy Roman used slaves because they were much easier to exploit than a free person. Rome essentially was built by slaves. Rome would bring thousands of war slaves and use them to produce agricultural and industrial goods to sell, boosting Romeos economy and production. Keith Bradley basically says that thou the slaves Rome would not have been what it was.
He also says that Rome could have saved much more resources if the slaves were just treated correctly. That treating them correctly or passing the law sooner would have possibly prevented the three slave rebellions. Slaves were 90% of Romeos income when they weren’t at war. Slaves played a major role in the greatness of Rome. All of these sources state that slaves were the biggest economical contributor. By skimming throughout all of these works I get the idea that Rome would not have been possible without the use of slaves and the uniqueness of using them like the revolts.