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Slavery In Ancient Rome Essay

1914 words - 8 pages

The experiences of enslaved women differed from the experience of enslaved men in ancient Rome; slavery within ancient Rome can be traced back to the first century BCE and was based primarily on the chattel slave system. Slavery within the ancient roman society was highly normalised as it was considered a part of roman culture. Slavery within ancient Rome was so heavily normalised that it is considered to be described as a “slave society” Joshel (2010, p. 6) states that “For slaves living in the Roman world, there was no outside – no place without slavery and no movement that declared slavery wrong. Slavery was a normal part of life, and this was true not only for the Romans but for every neighbouring ancient culture”. Not only was slavery considered a normal part of Roman life, but it affected a great proportion of the Roman population. According to historian Walter Scheidel (2007, p. 6) “ There were somewhere between 5 to 8 million slaves in the Roman empire, some 250,000 to 400,000 new slaves were required every year to maintain the numbers”. A majority of these figures were men, children and - women; either being enslaved through birth, kidnapping or captured through war. Roman slaves were not seen as victims nor was slavery considered to be a crime at that time, as slavery was considered to be to a ‘natural law of the nations’ as stated by Joshel (2010, p.6) “For the Roman lawyer, slavery is not a crime, and the enslaved are not victims; rather, as Gaius and other Roman jurists nations. Natural law applies to all animals, not only human beings, but it concerns little more than the union of male and female, procreation of children, and their rearing”. With an estimated 5 to 8 million slaves within the Roman Empire, whether being a child, man or women. Each slave experienced different experiences within their life time, especially the experiences of enslaved women to enslaved men. Enslaved women experienced different conditions and treatment than those of men and faced different implications from the result of their enslavement.
The treatment of enslaved women has been heavily reflected within the works of Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Livy , through the works of Aristotle and Livy it’s heavily implied that enslaved women experienced rape, forced marriage and forced into enslavement despite being free born ;than those to men who were free born. Not only were female slaves subjected to rape, forced marriage or enslavement; but were predominantly subjected to torture, exploitation and cruelty. Just like male slaves, female slaves within ancient Rome were also permitted to be punished every time they did not help or protect their master as formulated by the Roman State Recommendation and as stated by Wiedemann (1981, p. 163) “Slaves must be punished for every occasion on which they have not brought their master help”. Female slaves and Roman females in general were classed and perceived differently, than to males. It was...

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