Miscellaneous Mores

Slavery

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Galley Slave

Along with most ancient civilizations, ancient Rome saw slavery as an integral component to developing and building its society. The institution of slavery proliferated all of Roman culture. It even reached a point in the Imperial period when slaves outnumbered citizens 5 to 3. Western civilizations did not begin to outlaw slavery, or view it as unnatural, until well into the eighteenth century. With this in mind, the student of history must step outside the contemporary mind set in order to better understand the life of the slave in Rome and the world around them. This study will help us to both have a clearer understanding of the acceptance of slavery in Rome and why, given this acceptance, we now view slavery as wrong. An analysis of slavery in Rome also helps us understand how we conceive of human nature and rights.

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