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Slavery and Slaves in Ancient Rome

Slaves were an important social class in ancient Rome. The lot in life of a slave was generally poor, but it could range from being a public slave in a mine -- death sentence -- to what amounts to a maid. Slaves could also earn their freedom. Few wrote about slavery as inherently evil.

Spartacus the gladiator was a leader who stood up to Rome, defiantly and with initial success, and who therefore won for himself a prominent place in the annals of Roman history of the end of the Republican period.

How Did Gladiator Fights End
The editor of a gladiatorial match decided who lived and who died in the arena, although he usually paid some attention to the cries of the crowds and the gestures for mercy of the gladiators.

Crucifixion - Death on a Wooden Cross
Crucifixion was a torturous method of death used by the Romans.

Slave Revolts - Spartacus and the Slave Wars
The revolt led by Spartacus was the last of three major slave revolts in the last two centuries of the Roman Republic.

Categories of Roman Slaves
List of the Roman slave categories, based on Plautus and Cato De agricultura, from Keith R. Bradley's "Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World, 140 B.C. - 70 B.C."

Slavery or Servitude
Which came first?

What Is the Difference Between Freedman/Freedwoman and Free Born?
Freedmen and Freedwomen had a different status from the free born in ancient Rome.

Manumission Tax in Ancient Rome
Manumission of slaves was taxed in ancient Rome.

Ancient/Classical History Quiz: Roman Slaves
Have you seen a movie with a scene from antiquity showing a slave market? Have you read about Spartacus and the slave revolts of ancient Rome? Slavery was a fact of life for the Romans, but it wasn't the same as the slave system in the pre-Civil War era U.S. Here's a quiz to see how well you know the ancient Roman system.

Freedman or Libertus
Libertus is the Latin for a freed Roman slave or freedman.

Gladiators were a major source of entertainment for Romans during the Roman Empire.

Weapons in the Arsenal of a Gladiator
Gladiators, who were slaves, were differentiated by the role they played and the weapons they used.

Vestiplica - Roman Slave
Vestiplica was a type of Roman slave.

Definition, by John Murray, of the despised slaves who carried water for bathing, from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

From Bill Thayer's online William Smith's A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, an explanation of the ergastulum as a private prison attached to most Roman farms (also known as carcer rusticus) where punished slaves worked in chains. Hadrian abolished the abusive ergastula.

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