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Uprising of slaves in ancient Rome


In ancient Rome, the work of slaves was the foundation of the existence of other social groups. Slaves were mostly derived as prisoners of war, but from the III/II century BCE the slave became a commodity, a thing (nullius) that could be bought on the market. With time, however, they assimilated by adopting the language and customs of their master, often belonging to his family.

The desire to deal quickly with the rebels prompted the victorious commanders to attack the Spartacus’ army. At that time, a great battle took place, in which the insurgents defeated the Roman consuls.

Selling slaves in Rome, Jean-Léon Gérôme

Slaves in Rome could count on an award for good service: release, or become a freedman. Freedmen, however, was obliged to help the former owner. Moreover, they did not have full civil rights, i.e. libertas sine suffragio. Skilled slaves brought a lot of benefits to their owners, moreover, a lot of money was invested in their education, which made it difficult for master to always pay for the ill-treatment of such slaves.

At the end of the second century BCE in Roman society the situation began to inflame. Agricultural slaves, especially shepherds, were the worst category category. They did not receive any supplies from the owner; their flocks gave meat and cloathing. Such a situation existed not only in Italy but also in other provinces where the slave trade was clearly developed (Hellenic East or Sicily). Living in primitive conditions, they began to organize themselves into small armed groups, which in time resulted in uprisings.

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