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Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control (Anglais) Broché – 11 février 1988


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K. R. Bradley is at University of Victoria, British Columbia.


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The Roman agricultural writer Columella provides in his work, the Res Rusticae, important information on the subject of how to manage and to treat slave labourers on the farm. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
an excellent book 17 mai 2000
Par TammyJo Eckhart - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is an excellent introduction to the social condition of slavery in the Roman world. The only thing lacking is more of a historical sense of how things changed and why. Bradley does a good job of balancing the "master" view with the "slave" view, presenting several sides to each issue without much moralizing of his own -- a rare thing often in the history of slavery. A good book for both undergraduate and graduate and a good basic text to begin research from.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fascinating speculation about how slaves were controlled 20 décembre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Bradley asks how the Romans controlled their slaves. He discovers that "It is indisputable that physical coercion from the owner played a large part in servile life...and that subjection to brutality was a basic component of slavery" (p 122).

There were all kinds of slaves, from the workers in the mines, who apparently endured unbelievable cruelty, to the pampered nannies of the rich. It is difficult to truly understand Roman slaves since there is no slave literature (p 18). However, we have the records which have been left, and the advice about slaves left by wealthy landowners.

Slaves appear to have been considered utterly base by their owners. The owners had a long litany of complaints about their slaves. They stole; they lied; they were lazy, were common complaints.

Although Roman law forbade slaves to marry, slaves of course did form families, although they could be sold at any time. There appear to have been many more male slaves than female ones (p 73). Some were later freed, perhaps by wills, or perhaps by saving up enough money to buy their own freedom.

"Domitian first forbade the castration of slaves" ( 128), although eunuchs were ubiquitous for centuries.

A fascinating book.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Master's Carrot and Stick 3 mars 2011
Par Martha Marks - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I found Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control to be a tremendous resource for accurately building the relationships between the slave and free characters in my novel, Rubies of the Viper. Anybody who is interested in this subject will find this book useful.

Could slaves interact easily and openly with their owners? Were they educated? Smart? Moral? Loyal? The answer is: In many cases, yes.

Certainly, there were many slaves who were uneducated, disloyal, conniving, and self-serving. Many never met their owners, much less built a personal relationship with them. Many adults and children were abused--sexually, physically, and psychologically--on a regular basis. Many spent their entire lives in conditions that we today simply cannot imagine or believe.

But many Roman slaves managed their masters' estates competently and honestly. Many were true companions to their masters, often from childhood. Many served the same master loyally from birth to death.

But they were still property... and that fact was never far from their minds.

Every aspect of a Roman slave's life was 100% under the control of another person. The master determined what they ate and wore. What work they did, when, and how. What kinds of sexual relationships they could have.

A master's understanding of what he wanted from his slaves--total obedience and loyalty, in most cases--and his methods of getting what he wanted were perfected long before the first century A.D. They consisted primarily of what we would call the carrot and the stick.

The carrots: a tolerable life, decent food and living conditions, a semblance of family life, a chance to have their own savings and property (peculium), and a hope of manumisson

The sticks: corporal punishment, threats of being sold or sent to labor on a plantation, and even the possibility of death at the master's sole discretion
Fascinating speculation about how slaves were controlled 20 décembre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Bradley asks how the Romans controlled their slaves. He discovers that "It is indisputable that physical coercion from the owner played a large part in servile life...and that subjection to brutality was a basic component of slavery" (p 122).

There were all kinds of slaves, from the workers in the mines, who apparently endured unbelievable cruelty, to the pampered nannies of the rich. It is difficult to truly understand Roman slaves since there is no slave literature (p 18). However, we have the records which have been left, and the advice about slaves left by wealthy landowners.

Slaves appear to have been considered utterly base by their owners. The owners had a long litany of complaints about their slaves. They stole; they lied; they were lazy, were common complaints.

Although Roman law forbade slaves to marry, slaves of course did form families, although they could be sold at any time. There appear to have been many more male slaves than female ones (p 73). Some were later freed, perhaps by wills, or perhaps by saving up enough money to buy their own freedom.

"Domitian first forbade the castration of slaves" ( 128), although eunuchs were ubiquitous for centuries.

A fascinating book.
Excellent overview 6 octobre 2012
Par owlgirl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is an excellent overview of the ways in which masters controlled their slaves in the Roman Empire. It doesn't go into incredible specifics (but considering the resources available, this is not surprising). Think of it more as a really long essay instead of as a book. It's a fast and easy read and can be done in a few hours. That being said, I agree with the other reviewer who says it lacks specifics on how master/slave relationships changed over time. I don't, however, think that really detracts from the value of the book.
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