Mine workers under Romans were divided into three classes: free citizens, slaves and criminals. Their magnitude far exceeded anything that came before. In addition to cooking, cleaning, and carrying loads within their master’s household or country estate, slaves served another important function — that of elevating the social status of their masters. In ancient Rome, the general rule was that slaves could be freely tortured. There were two main types of slaves: public and private. A number of Roman artefacts have been found in the mine including a horde of silver coins and a … Spartacus is that the name of a Roman slave of Thracian origin, ... in mines, and at mills. So long as the slaves were kept in a healthy state so that they could carry out their labours effectively, that is all they should receive. Please enter this free site and enjoy! There was a MASSIVE difference between a "house slave," or even a "city slave" and a slave who worked the fields, the mines, or the ships. Within the city, slaves might be owned by affluent families and employed as nurses, cooks, gardeners, tutors, hairdressers, barbers, pedagogues, litter-bearers, porters, seamstresses, etc. Let's be clear: execution in Roman times was carried out in the public amphitheatre; The main method of execution was for the condemned to be eaten alive by wild animals. How much did a slave cost? 188]. Slavery, first and foremost, was practiced by many peoples. The working conditions were horrendous and there was a real lack of freedom. Other slaves worked skilled jobs such as teaching or business accounting. In my opinion this kind of slavery was sometimes harsher than 'Confederate' slavery. Many Roman slaves, however, worked on farms, in mines and in other types of industry where life expectancy was typically short. Certainly the Greeks did not invent slavery. Figure 2 [after Shepherd, p. 21] The iron tools of the miner did not change into the colonial period. It was originally a salt mine that provided the area now known as the Balkans with salt for many centuries starting at 5400 BC. Jobs held by Roman slaves fell into five categories: domestic, public, urban crafts and services, agricultural, and mining. Obviously, life working in a mine as a Roman slave wouldn't be desired, by contrast to that of some house slaves. There were several ways you could become a slave in Rome. Britons owned slave-worked mines and plantations and invested in countries which were dependent on slave labour until the 1880s when slavery was finally abolished in the Americas. The city slaves lived a relatively cushy life for slaves. Therefore, the phrase servus poenae was used for people who were sentenced to become slaves and work in the mines (Damnati in metallum, condemed (in) to the mines). Most slaves fell into their unfortunate position after being captured in battle or condemned for a criminal offence. Roman labor laws were passed that mandated working conditions for the slaves in the mines. SLAVES IN A ROMAN SALT MINE shown in a Victorian engraving. Going under ground was very risky. Slaves were sold at a slave market. The Webmaster. Pliny claimed the mines in Betica (modern-day Andalucia) had 20,000 slaves, of which around half would have worked in Rio Tinto. Working in chains as cheap labour in the quarries, mines, fields and rowing the heavy cargo galleys in ancient times is their only value. The price of a slave depended on what they could do for their masters. Rome itself was the center of thousands of mass produced items, such as wagons, wagon wheels, military uniforms and weapons, pottery for eating and drinking and massive units for storage and production of wine and olive oils. Life in the mines was notoriously brutal and was essentially a death sentence. The former were seen as soft and pampered by the rest, the hard-working, hard-bitten, short-lived slaves. Beheading instead of crucifixion, exile instead of slavery in the mines or quarries until you were worked to death: being a citizen had tremendous advantages. The worst thing that could happen to you was plantation chattel slavery or mine slavery. The Roman writer Columella said that slaves should have their quarters underground and there would be no need to supply lighting an minimal heating. You might assume that this was a job for slaves, but there is evidence from elsewhere in Europe that freemen did the job too. This was the world of deep mining in Greek and Roman times and such was the life of peril and suffering the unfortunate slaves, criminals and workmen who risked (or were forced to risk) life and limb for the glory, pleasure and extravagance of power and ruler. There are a few differences that I can think of. Slaves were the primary labor force of the city and provided a wide range of services. On the bottom row are examples of a pick and a hammer. In fact, the role of slavery in Britain's wealth did not diminish. After the painting by J.H. Slaves involved in exhausting activities such as agriculture and mining did not enjoy promising prospects. Later in the Roman empire, when new slaves were less easy to obtain, slaves became more valuable. Pliny [Natural History 33.70] reports the arduous conditions of this activity: “Mountains are hollowed out by the digging of long tunnels by the light of torches. The government would also take people into slavery if they could not pay their taxes. Mining was not a job anyone volunteered for — so the mines were manned by slaves, criminals and prisoners of war. Slavery was crucial component of Roman society. It was worse because finding gold meant deep-cast mining. www.christianhistoryproject.org/to-the-constantine-era/diocletian/roman-slavery In Britannia the largest sources were at Mendip, South West England and especially at Charterhouse. No wine or cooked meals for them. Public slaves (called servi publici) were owned by the Roman government. Then what is your thinking on Slavery…. As we have seen for gladiators, slavery wasn’t exclusive to non-Romans. Explain how the city of Rome compared to other cities of their day. This included both unskilled labor in the farms, mines and construction, and skilled professional labor such as that of teachers, accountants and physicians. Besides the formal condition of slave, there were many similar legal arrangements that were very similar arrangements to slavery. Tombs and gravesites lend evidence to support the praise that some Romans felt towards their slaves. But as the case of Zoilos from Aphrodisias, Turkey, makes clear, slavery was not necessarily a permanent situation. But there was a far worse mining job in Roman Britain: looking for the most precious metal of all – gold. A literate and numerate slave likely found employment in management. Some became slaves because they could not pay back the money they had borrowed. The type of work generally depended on the previous education and experience of the slave. Some slaves worked hard labor in the Roman mines or on a farm. With the technical knowledge of Rome’s military engineers and the availability of slave and convict labor, the Roman operations at Riotinto grew colossally, peaking from A.D. 70 to 180. During that period, Delgado says, Riotinto was the largest silver and copper mining operation in the Roman Empire. The child miner likely had a short, miserable existence, probably the worst of any slave. The miners paid the parents and the carusi had to work in the mine for a fixed time, therefore they lived like slaves for the “rental” period. In fact, it was highly recommended that any free man accused of a crime would have his slaves tortured in his place, often to the death, so that a verdict could be reached. Roman slaves were shackled, flogged, branded and maimed, and sexual abuse was not uncommon. Rome, agricultural slaves dungeon, engraving, 1866. The benefit of citizenship is dramatically displayed in the fates of the apostles, Peter and Paul. 15 Truly Shocking Facts … Slavery was such a key foundation of their society that if an ancient Roman were to time-travel to the present day, he would be surprised to see a society function just fine without slaves. Today Slavery banned and illegal on be half of rule UK Human Rights Act 1998 and European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 as well as Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Right prohibit slavery. Related Facts. Tunnels and shafts had to be supported adequately with timbers, in order to prevent collapse. Roman mining tools excavated from Baetica, Spain are shown in Figure 2. Publius Helvius Pertinax, the son of a freed slave, even became emperor. Some were so highly regarded that they were considered parts of families. There was a Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi in Wales. So the Carusi were virtual slaves. In some aspects the Roman slavery was even worse than the Confederate slavery. In this, Roman slavery was fundamentally different from the practice in much of the world. Slavery had a long history in the ancient world and was practiced in Ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as Rome. Valda(d. 1941). A letter found from Roman London indicates that there was a slave market in the city. Roman slaves can be broadly distinguished into two separate groups: the urban slaves and the farm/mine slaves. Slaves in mines and farms lived much more difficult lives than slaves in households. They were fed on scraps of meat, bread and water. In 49 AD, six years after the invasion and conquest of Britain, the Romans had the lead mines of Mendip and those of North West England and Wales running at full shift. Roman slaves worked in the mines with iron picks and wooden shovels with iron tips. Following the adoption of Christianity by Emperor Constantine (AD 306 - 37) numbers decreased. Because slaves were plentiful, conditions were horrible for workers in the mines. Archaeologists have discovered almost 200 mines and shafts in the area dating to 480-250 BCE. Line drawing of Roman or Greek slaves being led to market. Even the early bishoprics and monastic houses kept slaves, despite the radical ideas of Christianity which emphasised equality. Mining, in particular, had a reputation of being a brutal activity. Slave Life Slaves could be privately or publically owned. Slavery existed in Roman society from an early stage of its development. Even the name, Solnitsata, means “salt works.” All across the Balkans, salt was a crucial commodity and trading was vigorous. The construction of the Via Appia or Appian Way, ancient Rome, 312 BC. A slave with a talent, skill or trade was more expensive especially if they could cook. Comments . This is a site about young women been unjustly sentenced to slavery for life. Two Roman slaves (and a camel) attend their young master. It is estimated that 20,000 slaves worked here to provide the … The life and death of a Roman slave depended ver much of their duties. Sexual behaviour between the prisoners is strictly forbidden in the convents, prisons and labour camps. Their living conditions and opportunities were highly variable, depending on the temperament of their owner and the nature of their assigned work. How could a wealthy Roman get a slave? The Roman Slave Trade. (Shelton, 1988). Free citizens were employed for skilled work. The Roman economy was built on a foundation of slavery, which was taken for granted as a normal feature of society. The largest Roman lead mines were located in or near the Rio Tinto (river) in southern Hispania. Vast amounts of slave-grown tobacco were imported from the southern states in the USA, and then from Cuba and Brazil. 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