Plautus and Roman Slavery by Roberta Stewart

By Roberta Stewart

This e-book reports an important part within the background of Roman slavery, starting with the transition to chattel slavery within the 3rd century bce and finishing with antiquity’s first large-scale slave uprising within the 130s bce. Slavery is a relationship of strength, and to review slavery – and never easily masters or slaves – we have to see the interactions of people who communicate to one another, an extraordinary form of proof from the traditional world.

Plautus’ comedies will be our surest resource for reconstructing the lives of slaves in historical Rome. by means of analyzing literature along the old list, we will conjure a thickly contextualized photo of slavery within the overdue 3rd and early moment centuries bce, the earliest interval for which we have now such evidence.

The booklet discusses how slaves have been captured and bought; their remedy by means of the grasp and the neighborhood; the expansion of the notion of the slave as “other than human,” and as chattel; and the matter of freedom for either slaves and society.

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Plautus and Roman Slavery

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Extra resources for Plautus and Roman Slavery

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Stärk (1991, 146–149, 159–160) ascribing the kernel of the scenes to a Greek original. 38 Human Property his girlfriend, he orchestrates a fraudulent sale, where the corporal vulnerability of the female slave who is new to slavery persuades a seasoned businessman – a pimp – to purchase a slave without warranty and against his better judgment. Staging slave sale as a play within the play allowed the Roman audience to witness slave sale as a staged merchandising event and to hear the private thoughts of a recently enslaved freeborn female.

Yet the remedies relating to slave sale, like the noxal actions, accounted for the undesired behavior of slaves by assigning liability for that behavior to the master. 5 What is important here is how hard the law worked to avoid acknowledging the slave’s capacity for autonomous action. The edict and the praetorian remedies afford a tantalizing glimpse into the world of Roman slave sale and the process of enslavement in the late third and early second centuries bce. , where was the market at Rome, what did the market building look like, and what did the market process look like.

The female slave in Mercator remains a slave, defined as body and carnal desire, and perpetually excluded from social or familial definitions. 38 Konstan 1993, esp. 154. Human Property 35 Indeed Plautus emphasizes the objectification of the beautiful slave woman and romance with her as a product of the master’s imagination of himself as free. The son Charinus already at the beginning of the play introduces his father as a moral exemplar, raised with hard work in the country (61–72) and a successful merchant by his hard work (73–77).

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