What Is The Role Of Slavery In The Mid-Roman Dynasty

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Compare the extent to which Mid Republican Rome (264BC-133BC) and the Qin and Han Chinese Dynasties were ‘Slave Societies’?

A system in which the elite of that society relied primarily on slave labour to extract a surplus, and in which slave ownership had spread beyond a narrow elite, can be identified a s a legitimate slave society. That is; a kind of society that is decisively dependent on the institution of slavery, in that in the absence of slavery, the society would be markedly different. Mid-Republican Rome meets these criteria, the role of slavery in economic life, and the size of the slave population, while less significant when compared to later periods; was immense. Comparatively in early imperial China, although slavery existed, it was not essential to the functioning of society; instead the Chinese relied on system of forced labour, to meet their societies demand for cheap labour.

General Theories of Slavery


Slavery in the Mid to late Roman republic is well documented with a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Information regarding slavery comes from literary, and historical accounts, legal sources, inscriptions and other physical remains. The information conveyed through these sources regarding slavery, indicates that slavery was
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Chinese sources from this period also have their own deficiencies, namely the prevalence of moralizing texts, even more so than in roman literature and accounts, a general lack of documentary evidence on economic structures. Modern Chinese assessments of slavery in Qin and Han China have also somewhat been hampered the relative immaturity of regional archaeology. Despite this deficiency in sources from the Qin and Han period, there are still sources that provide clear evidence for and perspectives on Qin and Han

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