Posted on 26th December 2020
Many people were sold into slavery. People captured in battle were imprisoned and returned to Rome and sold. Orphaned or abandoned children were sold into slavery. People were taken into slavery if they could not pay their taxes. It was even possible for a father to sell his child into slavery if he needed the money.
Markets were held in the city and the slaves were paraded, sometimes naked before the audience with a placard around their neck giving their details and the price. Prices of slaves varied greatly and some were highly sought after.
A slave with a trade, for example a cook, commanded a high price, as did a fit young slave as they could last for many years.
Slaves were used for many positions including:
Slaves led a hard life and worked long hours but some with a trade behind them were well looked after by their owner, as they could be hard and expensive to replace.
It was possible for slaves to be given their freedom by their owner but only when they were older and maybe not so useful. Slaves could buy their freedom but this was very expensive and so virtually impossible for them.
Any children born to slaves automatically became slaves themselves.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Rome
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