'The Bitter Chain of Slavery': Reflections on Slavery in Ancient Rome

'The Bitter Chain of Slavery': Reflections on Slavery in Ancient Rome
Frank M. Snowden, Jr. Lectures

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'The Bitter Chain of Slavery': Reflections on Slavery in Ancient Rome by Keith Bradley

Published:

2005

Pages:

26

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14,951

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'The Bitter Chain of Slavery': Reflections on Slavery in Ancient Rome
Frank M. Snowden, Jr. Lectures

By

5
(1 Review)

Book Excerpt

was not a soulless legal condition--a point of view common in legal studies of Roman slavery--but a human relationship in which slave and master were always inextricably bound together. The relationship was obviously asymmetrical, comparable according to the third-century Greek author Philostratus (Life of Apollonius of Tyana 7.42) to that between a tyrant and his subjects. But it was not completely one-sided. In theory the slave was powerless: No slave is really happy,' the Hellenized Jew Philo wrote, 'For what greater misery is there than to live with no power over anything, including oneself?' (Every Good Man is Free 41), and the slave was always subject to constraint, so that the medical authority Celsus could write (On Medicine 3.21.2) that a slave habituated to a life of compulsion endured the harsh treatment needed to cure an illness more eaily than the free. Yet because slaves were a human form of property, human agency could and did manifest itself in the relationship from

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