Slavery In Ancient Roman Slavery

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In Ancient Rome, slavery was an integral part of the Roman society and economy. Slaves were either conquered or purchased, and their various skills and labors greatly contributed to Rome’s success. Romans arguably invested so much energy into slave labor that they failed to nurture innovation.
Slaves made up roughly 10- 15% of the Roman population. Slavery was never a matter of racial or cultural inferiority; it was just a difference in social status. Because of this social system, the wealthy, elite citizens owned about half of the slave population.
Since slaves were often acquired through military conquest, there were wholesale dealers that followed the Roman Army (Roman Empire). Provincial tax collectors would also bring slaves from various
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Slaves that worked here were criminals who had to relinquish their property and their freedom. These people were stuck in the mines for the rest of their lives, never to be sold, and never to be granted back their freedom. They were condemned to slavery and it was understood that they would live and die in these mines. This poor excuse for a life often resulted in unimaginable suffering, and a very limited lifespan. Gladiators were also slaves that were trained to fight to the death for entertainment in the Roman amphitheaters. These slaves were usually physically sound, but their conditions were harsh as well. In fact, Romans often feared gladiator revolts since these men were not only strong and talented, but given access to highly dangerous weapons. The most successful fighters would sometimes be granted…show more content…
Kindness was rarely shown to slaves, but deliberate cruelty was also frowned upon (Roman Empire). For example, a slave could choose their partner and live with them on their master’s property, but their marriage held no legal status and their children would be born into slavery (Roman Empire). Slaves were subject to considerable mistreatment, but their punishments were downright ruthless (Roman Empire). A typical punishment consisted of whippings, the breaking of bones and joints, and brandings (Roman Empire). A thief, liar, or runaway would often be branded across their forehead (Roman Empire). Crucifixion was the capital punishment during ancient times (Roman Empire). Overtime, slaves gained limited legal protection. During the Hadrian Era, it was believed that a master should not hold the power of life and death over a slave (Roman Empire). An owner that killed his slave without just cause was considered a murderer, as they should have been. Overtime, a slave could even complain of mistreatment and appear in court to appeal against his
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