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Slavery and Society at Rome (Key Themes in Ancient History) Paperback – November 5, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0521378871 ISBN-10: 0521378877

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Product Details

  • Series: Key Themes in Ancient History
  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521378877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521378871
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...it should quickly become a standard reference work." History

"Belongs in every college and seminary library." Religious Studies Review

"While he documents such objective aspects of slavery as the sources of new slaves, the mechanics of sale and manumission, the material aspects of slave life such as food, clothing, and housing, and the types of rewards and punishments, he also performs the more difficult, original and compelling task of determining how these conditions were subjectively experienced by the slaves themselves. That he handles these complex issues so well in a highly readable book of only 202 pages is a testament to his skill as both a writer and a scholar." New England Classical Journal

"...he [Bradley] provides a wealth of historical evidence to support his claim. For philosophers, Bradley provides a rich ore that will help illuminate and recast much of the tradition. ...Bradley's work is exceptionally fruitful. He masterfully intertwines a rich narrative suitable for non-specialists with abundant citations that should sate more advanced readers. The work is both entertaining and informative, and for those reasons, highly recommended." Canadian Philosophical Reviews

"This is an excellent introduction to Roman slavery and the best textbook-style work on the subject currently available. Obtaining the rights for translations into other languages should be high on the agenda of attentive academic publishers worldwide." Phoenix

"An excellent introduction to Roman slavery, the book will also serve as a sobering corrective to any attempt to palliate slavery in any society." R.I. Curtis, Choice

Book Description

The harshness of the institution of slavery as well as its importance in Roman civilization is conveyed through this view of the experience of being a slave in Rome from a slave's point of view. It is the only comprehensive treatment of Roman slavery currently available.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on December 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a slim, short book on slavery in the Roman world. How did it work in society? Where did the slaves come from and what jobs did they do? How were they treated and what conditions did they live under? Did time and historical events change the view point of society towards slaves? Did Christians and Stoics treat slaves better than other Masters?
It is amazing how many questions are asked and answered within the covers of a book with only about 200 pages. Yet a must to start with if you are interested in slavery in the ancient world or during the time of Rome.
Some of the answers, like the fact that the Church made things even harder on slaves or that working along side a slave, for example in making a road, was not an issue with paid labor as there was no job really linked to slavery. If you happened to work along side slaves, in other words, it did not reflect badly on you! No subjects complained about doing slave's work because there was no such division.
And as the early Christians saw themselves as slaves to the Master, in other words followers of the Lord, they preached the idea that slaves should work hard and they would be rewarded in the afterlife. So Christian Masters could be just as cruel as Pagan Masters towards their slaves!
I would also suggest the following books, if you wished to complete your picture of the Roman world. First get and read From the Gracchi to Nero: History of Rome from 133 B.C.to A.D.68 (University Paperbacks) to get an overview of Roman history. Then I would also get, if you wish to fill in the details both
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Held on November 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
An excellent introduction to Slavery in what the author calls "the central period", namely 200 bc-ad 200, though he does go over a bit and examines Christianity and slavery (c. ad400). It's enough to note that Christianity did little to change the attitude of Romans to slavery; but actually cemented the anodyne belief that one was already spiritually free if one was "free in his/her heart". Go tell that one to a suffering slave!
This book is an excellent and entertaining read, with a controversial twist: he brings in at critical points information from new world slavery, especially Latin America. I find this most rewarding, though some classicists may take umbrage. You may avoid the last two chapters: they appear to be filler to round out the book. "Slavery and progress" since there wasn't much to speak of and the last one on the evils of slavery is repetitive.
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Slavery and Society at Rome (Key Themes in Ancient History)
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