Essay on Roman Slaves

Submitted By Bradley-West
Words: 592
Pages: 3

1. A slave was treated as an object. A wealthy Roman would buy a slave in a market place. Young males with a trade could fetch quite a sum of money simply because they had a trade and their age meant that they could last for quite a number of years and, as such, represented value for money. Someone who was a cook by trade could be very expensive.
Once bought, a slave was a slave for life. A slave could only get their freedom if they were given it by their owner or if they bought their freedom. To buy your freedom, you had to raise the same sum of money that your master had paid for you – a virtually impossible task.
2. 55 different jobs a household slave might have, including barber, butler, cook, hairdresser, handmaid, wet nurse or nursery attendant, teacher, secretary, seamstress, accountant, and physician. A large elite household might be supported by a staff of hundreds. The living conditions of slaves attached to adomus (the family Urbana), while inferior to those of the free persons they lived with, were sometimes superior to that of many free urban poor in Rome. Household slaves likely enjoyed the highest standard of living among Roman slaves, next to publicly owned slaves, who were not subject to the whims of a single master. Imperial slaves were those attached to the emperor's household.
In urban workplaces, the occupations of slaves included fullers, engravers, shoemakers, bakers, mule drivers, and prostitutes. Farm slaves probably lived in more healthful conditions. Roman agricultural writers expect that the workforce of a farm will be mostly slaves, managed by a vilicus, who was often a slave himself.
3. People from the provinces who were sold into slavery. Those convicted of crimes could also be sentenced to slavery, as well as people unable to pay their debts. Family members were sometimes sold into slavery to preserve the family, and there were instances of people selling themselves into slavery in order to survive.
In certain periods, a great number of slaves for the Roman market were acquired through warfare. The Roman military brought back captives as the booty of war, and ancient sources cite anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of such slaves captured in each war.
4. If living in a palace, slaves generally got semi-nice clothing, to…