The Role of Marriage in Ancient Rome and Slavery in Ancient Rome

Essay by JessalynnCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2004

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Question 1: I will begin with a quote from The World of Rome**, "Rome was where the people brokers lived" (172). Slavery was centered in the heart of Rome because slaves were such a precious commodity and much of the surrounding countries trading went on there. The depictions of slaves and their lives from the play "Adelphoe" and passages from both WR and RW are all very different from each other. Some are more believable then others. First off, who were the slaves in Rome and the surrounding Italy? The account in RW suggests that some were Syrian, "a house-hold slave who was a Syrian by race, from Apamea" (22, RW). However, we also know that slaves were also apart of the 'booty' that was taken by Roman consuls and generals after a victory from whoever was defeated. Potentially, slaves could be from all backgrounds, or areas surrounding Rome that had been previously defeated.

Slaves were also detained voluntarily, "many people actually opted for slavery to better their circumstances and create new opportunities for themselves" (170, WR). By voluntarily enslaving oneself, they could escape from the route of oppression and poverty. The anecdotes told may be accurate about the specific instances they detail, but there is not much general information. From WR, there are stories of specific people, Epicterus (169), who eventually freed himself, Doctor Galen (170), who watched his friend beat two young slave boys, or Musicus (170), who was successful only because he was literate. This in turn makes the texts not very comprehensive, and causes an inaccurate portrayal of the general slave life. "Adelphoe" shows less of an accurate portrayal then the other readings. This is because the main slaves in the story, Geta and Syrus are not treated as though they are slaves,