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Arbitrary RuleSlavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death$
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Mary Nyquist

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226015538

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226015675.001.0001

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Ancient Greek and Roman Slaveries

Ancient Greek and Roman Slaveries

(p.20) CHAPTER ONE Ancient Greek and Roman Slaveries
Arbitrary Rule

Mary Nyquist

University of Chicago Press

This chapter is concerned mainly with interrelations in Greek and Roman political thought between two modes of slavery: on the one hand, chattel slavery, a social institution that affected every aspect of life in ancient Greece and Rome; and on the other, political slavery, which appeared only as a rhetorical figure for an oppressive condition suffered by a political community or polis. Legal, chattel slavery tended to be conceptualized with reference to the individual household or its master, while political slavery invariably had reference to a political community and appeared in two distinct modes. Within the polis, political slavery represented a negative condition for the free, male citizens who expected to participate as equals in the political process, while externally, vis-a-vis other city-states, it represented a condition with which the entire community was threatened.

Keywords:   modes of slavery, chattel slavery, social institution, political slavery, rhetorical figure, polis

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