The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity

The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity

The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity

The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity

Excerpt

The beginning of my interest in the problems of ancient slavery lies many years in the past. The impulse behind this attempt to write a comprehensive study of the experience of the Greek and Roman peoples with the institution of slave labor and its results in antiquity is more recent. It originated in a recommendation made by Professor Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff to Professor Wilhelm Kroll of Breslau University that I should prepare a synthesis of the history of Greco-Roman enslavement for the Pauly-Wissowa- Kroll Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. The resulting article upon Sklaverei appeared in 1935 in Supplementary Volume six of that invaluable German series. Toward the accomplishment of the primary task I was helped by a grant of money made by the Council of Research in the Social Sciences of Columbia University. This is the first opportunity I have had to make a public acknowledgment of the important assistance which the funds supplied out of the resources of Columbia University by the Council meant to me. The grant enabled me to secure the services of a small group of capable and enthusiastic graduate students, all equipped with the necessary knowledge of the ancient languages, to assist me in the collection of the materials upon Greek and Roman slavery which are so widely scattered in the ancient literature and the supplementary evidence of the inscriptions and the papyri.

The generous idea of bringing up to date the Pauly- Wissowa-Kroll article entitled Sklaverei and presenting it in an English version occurred to some of my colleagues in the Department of History toward the close of my active teaching career at Columbia. The department supplied me with sufficient funds, out of the endowment left to it by the will of the eminent Professor William H. Dunning, to secure help in the revision and the typing of this new version of the original article upon slavery written in German. To the American Philosophical Society my indebtedness is great for its generosity in providing for the publication of this volume.

The first four chapters of this new synthesis (chapters I-IV) cover the history of enslavement practice in the period of the free Greek polities. This will not be found to deviate greatly from the presentation available in the Sklaverei treatment, except in one respect. Additional knowledge upon Jewish slavery in a colony in upper Egypt during the second half of the fifth century B. C. has been made available . . .

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