Greco-Roman Slavery

What did it mean to be a slave in the Greco-Roman world? How did one become enslaved and what treatment might we expect them to encounter by their enslavers and the wider world? What comparisons and differences between slavery in antiquity and American slavery can be made? With the advent of Christianity and it’s communities, does slavery and it’s practices remain normalized among its members? In this video, Dr. Christy Cobb explores the world of Greco-Roman slavery and helpfully fleshes out some key questions about slavery in antiquity and dispels lingering myths.



Note: The Zoninus collar (imaged on this blog and in the video) is just one well-preserved material example of a slave collar but is not directly connected to a Christian leader. The collar mentioned in the video is one similar but commissioned by Felix the Archdeacon and the text on it reads: “I am the slave of the archdeacon Felix. Hold me so that I do not flee.”

For more information on the archdeacon’s collar, see Jennifer Glancy, Slavery in Early Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 9, 13, and 88. For further discussion on the Zoninus collar, see Jennifer Trimble’s artice, “The Zoninus Collar and the Archaeology of Roman Slavery,” AJA 120.3 (July 2016): 447–472.

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