Introduction that required a lot of skill,

Introduction

Slavery
in ancient Rome played a meaningful role in the economy and the society. Apart
from the manual labor slaves were expected to do, they carried out a host of
domestic services. What’s more, they were also gained employment to perform
tasks that required a lot of skill, and this made slaves operate at the same
level with professionals such as architects, accountants, and even doctors. Slaves
that were not talented with a lot of skill or those sentenced to slavery as a
means of punishment operated as farmhands, miners, and millers. The conditions
within which they lived happened to be very brutal, and their lifespans were
short (either cut short with angry masters or natural causes).

In
the Roman Empire slavery as an institution came into existence from an early
stage. There were some ways an individual could become subject to slavery in
Rome. Some became enslaved simply because they could not return the money that
had been lent to them by merchants or friends. The government also tended to
take people into slavery if they were unable to pay all their taxes the moment
they were due. There were a lot of instances where poor individuals sold their
children as slaves to well-off neighbors (Alfoldy, 2014).

Considering
the rapid growth of the ancient Roman Empire, the number of slaves grew at a
very high rate. Roman army generals in their foreign crusades and conquests
sent back multitudes of captured soldiers to be sold in their home country as
slaves. For example, in the conquest against the Gauls (59 to 51 BC), it is
written in history books that Julius Caesar and his army captured over one
million individuals to be slaves. This paper will give invaluable insights
regarding the treatment of slaves in ancient Rome.

 

Slave
Valuation, Slave Prices, and Education

The
demand for slaves within the Roman Empire grew with every passing day. As more
and more soldiers were required in the military to broaden and maintain the
Roman Empire, there were a smaller number of men available to work the fields.

Traders of slaves would trail the Roman army into newfound lands on their
conquest campaigns. After a war, they would purchase the defeated soldiers together
with their families, and then after arranging for them to be sent back to Rome
and myriad other well-acclaimed settlements within the empire.

Prisoners
(who were slaves to be) were taken to markets that traded in slaves and then
after paraded naked, with placards upon their necks giving an account of all
their strengths and weaknesses. If the information noted down on the placards
was much later discovered as incorrect, the buyer could file a case in a court
accusing the seller of fraud. The prices of slaves would be directly
proportional to the number that was available; this is to mean that the fewer
the slaves, the more expensive they would be. Another way to look at it is that
after a successful military campaign the prices of slaves would fall while
after an extended period without war, the costs would skyrocket (Carcopino,
2013).

A
slave that was very skilled in labor would go for an approximate 2,500 denarii,
whereas a wealthy Roman would be willing to part with as much as 6,000 denarii for
beautiful and youthful lass. In the ancient Roman Empire, a lot of value was
placed upon Greek Slaves merely because they were usually very educated. As
such, Greek slaves were at the predisposition of wealthy slave masters who used
them as doctors, teachers, and librarians. They also played the role of
musicians and private artists.

 

Treatment
and Citizenship

There
are chronicles of ancient times that highlight of abuse cases where Romans did
not treat their slaves in the right manner, but there is limited information to
show how widespread such harsh treatments was like. For example, Cato the Elder
was noted down for expelling his sick or old slaves from his household. Seneca,
on the other hand, was of the opinion that a slave who was treated
appropriately would do a better job as opposed to a slave that was handled
poorly. As most slaves within the confines of ancient Rome could very well
blend into the population if they ran away, it was commonplace for the owners
to dishearten slaves from running away by branding them with a forehead tattoo
reading “tax paid” or “stop me! I am a runaway!” if the
slaves were under the ownership of the Roman state (Thomason, 2017).

For
this particular reason, slaves ideally wore headbands to veil their disfiguring
marks at the temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. In Ephesus,
archaeologists have discovered thousands of tablets with inscriptions made by
slaves asking Asclepius to make the tattoos on their foreheads to go away. Even
though at largely freed slaves would gain citizenship, with the entitlement to
vote in case they were male, those deemed as dediticii went through
long-lasting expulsion from nationality. Primarily the dediticii were mainly
enslaved individuals whose masters had felt obligated to castigate them for
serious misbehavior by putting them upon chains, torturing them to admit to
doing a crime, branding them, taking them to prison or sending them against
their will to a ludus or gladiatorial school, or sentencing them to a duel with
a wild beast or a gladiator (their consequent status was understandably a worry
only to those who were able to survive).

Dediticii
were looked upon as a threat to the Roman citizens, irrespective of whether the
punishments of their owners had been justified, and if they came within a
hundred miles of the city of Rome, they were subject to re-enslavement.

Crucifixion
happened to be the capital punishment meted out unambiguously to bandits,
slaves, and traitors. For example, Marcus Crassus was expected to finish his
victory over Spartacus during the Third Servile War through the crucifixion of
6000 of the slave rebels all through the Appian Way. Some emperors started to
grant more rights to slaves as the empire flourished. Claudius was of the
opinion that if a slave was left by his masters, he gained his freedom. Nero
accorded slaves the opportunity to forward complain against their slave owners
within the confines of the court. And under Antoninus Pius, a master that ended
the life of a slave minus a just cause could be tried for murder (Sellin,
2016).

Roles
of Slaves

It
goes without mention that affluent families would also make use of the enslaved
as cooks, bodyguards, waiters, cleaners doormen, gardeners, dressmakers, maids,
and hairdressers. Being that Rich Romans were ideally owners of large parcels
of lands, a sizeable number of their slaves toiled on their farms. It was a
standard drill to have them work in groups of ten slaves. Tattooed on the
forehead with indelible ink or even burn marks, chained together and under the
guard of a foreman wielding a whip, there was very little chance of escape. It
was the desire of many slaves to run away. Slaves that never managed to run
away were charged with theft (they had taken part in stealing the property of
their master), and if they were captured would be made to experience inhumane
torture as a way of scaring the rest of the salves.Slaves were deemed and
likened to property under the constitution of the Roman Empire and were devoid
of legal personhood. Different from the citizens of Rome, they could be made to
undergo sexual exploitation (harlots were many a time slaves), corporal
punishment, summary execution, and torture. A slave could not witness in a
court room unless he or she were tortured; a .practice grounded upon the
conviction that slaves in a position to be privy to the affairs of their owners
would be very virtuously loyal to give away damaging evidence unless forced
(Coffee, 2016).

Over
time all the same, slaves garnered increased protection from the law, inclusive
of the right to file complaints against their owners. Attitudes transformed
partly due to the influence brought upon the empire by the educated elite who
branded themselves as the Stoics, whose egalitarian opinions of humanity also
factored in the lives of the slaves.

Slaves
and Property Ownership

In
ancient Rome, the slaves therein were entitled to property ownership which
irrespective of the fact that it legally belonged to their masters, they had
permission to utilize such as their own. Educated or highly skilled slaves had
the permission to earn a living from different business ventures and were
encouraged to save enough coin to purchase their freedom. Such slaves were many
a time granted freedom by the terms of their owners, or for the service that
they managed to render. An example so well acclaimed that has remained in the
history of a high-value slave was Tiro, the personal assistant of Cicero. Tiro
was accorded freedom before the death of his master and was wealthy enough to
settle and finally retire to his country state, where he met his death at the
age of 99. All the same, it is worth mentioning that a master could make
arrangements that slaves would be in possession of enough money to purchase
their freedoms whenever they were very old and could not handle work anymore.

The money from the former slave could be utilized to purchase a new youthful
slave whereas the old slave, not able to work, would be forced to depend on
charity to be alive.

Summary

Slavery
in ancient Rome was not very much different from other parts of the world.

Slaves were dispositioned to insufficient rights, and some were separated from
their family members for good. Whether a slave was respected and accorded
proper treatment by his master or not solely depended on the kindness of the
said master. Overall, it is worth mentioning that no respect or right
treatments can supersede the freedom initially lost by slaves. Besides if the
Roman empire were to be looked upon, slaves were treated poorly.