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    Slavery in Ancient Rome

    Nothing is more renowned than the slavery in ancient Rome

    Throughout history, there have been so many accounts on the practice of slavery from different parts of culture and people of the world, but nothing is more renowned than the slavery in ancient Rome, with the Romans owning so many slaves, from slaves bought and sold in slave markets, to soldiers of war captured and made as slaves, to children born to slave parents. Slavery was so rampant in Rome that it was accepted as a part of life of the ancient Romans. Slavery in ancient Rome has been given little credit to the important contributions made by slave labor to Roman civilization. It is important to take note however, that slavery was both favorable and disastrous to ancient Rome.

    When the Romans dominated the Mediterranean, they took millions of slaves to Italy, where they labored on the large plantations or in the houses and workplaces of rich people. The economy of the Italian, particularly Romans, depended on copious slave labor, with slaves making up forty percent of the population. Those slaves who were skilled, talented, or had beauty, swayed the highest prices, and many served as scribes, jewelers, singers, bartenders, and even doctors. A salve trained in medicine was worth the value of five agricultural slaves.

    Slavery in ancient Rome had an inconsistent law

    Slavery in ancient Rome had an inconsistent law. They were considered property, and had no rights, subject to their possessors’ caprices. However, they had legal eminence in courtroom proceedings as witnesses, and they could sooner or later gain freedom and citizenship. Masters frequently freed devoted slaves in gratitude for their truthful service, but slaves could also save money to buy their freedom. Situations for slave in Rome steadily improved, although slaves were treated unkindly in the countryside. A number of cruel masters believed in the old adage “Every slave is an enemy”, so that even though humane legislation banned the mutilation or murder of slaves, extreme cruelty continued.

    Slavery in ancient Rome did not abruptly end, but it was gradually changed when the new economic forces brought in other forms of cheap labor. All through the late Roman Empire, Roman farmers and traders were hesitant to pay hefty amounts of money for slaves because the idea of investing in a declining economy was not appealing to them. The standing of “slaves” continued for centuries, but slavery in ancient Rome were little by little substituted by wage laborers in the towns and by land-bound peasants, later called serfs, in the countryside. These types of laborers gave cheap labor without the original cost that slave owners had to pay for their slaves. It was not because of religious principle or human reform that slavery in ancient Rome vanished, but because they found another, possibly even harsher, method of labor.