Thursday, March 25, 2010

Could Rome have risen to power without slavery?

Could Rome have risen to power without slavery? What did the slaves do for the empire? Slaves were considered to be property of their owners. Slaves had no rights. They were forced to work, and held against their will. They could not marry, and were stripped of all rights and privileges that a typical Roman citizen had. Over time, slaves began to gain a quantity of rights such as being able to file grievances against their masters. ( if there were no slaves at all? Would that mean Ancient Rome as we know wouldn’t have been the most powerful empire in the world? Rome did have slavery and without it, the empire would have met its demise.

Slaves were mainly acquired through warfare. Bringing back defeated soldiers to become your slaves bought in a plethora of money income. Slave owners treated them the way they wanted to. If they wanted to be cruel, so be it. From the Roman play, Pseudolus, it describes what kind of treatment slaves were likely to get. Ballio, an ancient slave owner, would give harsh, direct orders such as “get out, come, out with you, you rascals; kept at a loss, and bought at a loss.” (Plautus) He would then whip them at whipping posts. Cato the elder has been noted to expel the useless slaves out of his house. (Treatment and Experience- If owners treated a slave well, the slave would perform a more superior job. So to keep the slaves performing at a better-quality work rate, the Roman slave owners had to be civil. Rome needed to keep their slaves around.

Messenio states “Well, this is the proof of a good servant: he must take care of his master's business, look after it, arrange it, think about it; when his master is away, take care of it diligently just as much as if his master were present, or be even more careful.” (Plautus) A good servant would be kept around in Ancient Rome. Slavery aided in the expansion of the Roman Empire. Rome wanted all the people they could get to make their empire larger than life. Without slaves, their population would have dwindled. The slaves were needed to work in the mines, farm fields, and households. If slaves were busy doing all the hard labor, that left opportunities for Roman citizens to think of ideas to rise to an even greater power.

Works Cited
"Slavery in Ancient Rome -." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 25 Mar. 2010. .
Plautus. "Ancient History Sourcebook: Slavery in the Roman Republic. Menaechmi Act V Scene 4." FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.
Plautus. "Ancient History Sourcebook: Slavery in the Roman Republic. Pseudolus, Act. I, Sc. 2." FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 25 Mar. 2010. nt/slavery-romrep1.html>.

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