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Classics in ProgressEssays on Ancient Greece and Rome$
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T. P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263235

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263235.001.0001

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Greek civilisation and slavery

Greek civilisation and slavery

(p.247) 10 Greek civilisation and slavery
Classics in Progress

Paul Cartledge

British Academy

This chapter examines whether Greek civilization was based on slavery. The silence of classicists on the subject is not surprising. The discussion here is limited to Anglo-American scholarship, in an attempt to achieve a manageable focus, though a great deal of the last half-century's work on ancient Greek slavery has been written in French and German. Slavery may cover very different types of unfreedom, such as the chattel slave system of Athens and the helotage that was the predominant form of servitude practised by Sparta. Whether slaves, especially chattel slaves, are to be seen principally as living property or as socially dead outsiders evokes further levels of definition, which are also contested.

Keywords:   ancient world, Greek slavery, unfreedom, servile systems, chattel slaves, Athens

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