The orthodox view of ancient Mediterranean slavery holds that Greece and Rome were the only ‘genuine slave societies’ of the ancient world, that is, societies in which slave labour contributed significantly to the economy and underpinned the wealth of elites. Other societies, labelled as ‘societies with slaves’, apparently made little use of slave labour, and have therefore been largely ignored in recent work. Greek Slave Systems in their Eastern Mediterranean Context, c.800–146 BC presents a radically different view. Slavery was indeed particularly highly developed in Greece and Rome; but it was also highly developed in Carthage and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, and played a not insignificant role in the affairs of elites in Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. This new study portrays the Eastern Mediterranean world as a patchwork of regional slave systems. In Greece, diversity was the rule: from the early archaic period onwards, differing historical trajectories in various regions shaped the institution of slavery in manifold ways, producing very different slave systems in regions such as Sparta, Crete, and Attica. In the wider Eastern Mediterranean world, we find a similar level of diversity. Slavery was exploited to different degrees across all of these regions, and was the outcome of a complex interplay between cultural, economic, political, geographic, and demographic variables.
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||384|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Aug 2018|