Talk:Slavery in ancient Greece

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Featured article Slavery in ancient Greece is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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September 3, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
October 8, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on May 21, 2006.
Current status: Featured article


Translated from the French wikipedia article fr:Esclavage en Grèce antique 17 May 2006

FA nominee[edit]

Ok, I nominated this article for FA status since I feel this article is up for the job. I need people who are willing to execute the wishes of the people who review this article at the featured article nomination page. Regards, Daimanta 14:17, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Maybe not appropriate but: w00t!

Ok, thanks to Jastrow for improving this article all the way up to FA level. Regards, Daimanta 17:53, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

In terms of the info and the general tone, this article is good. But if it's to go live as a FA, there are quite a few grammatical errors that might be corrected. The most common mistakes seem to have to do with things like subject/verb agreement and tense. E.g.,

...however, some isolated debate began to appear, notably in Socratic dialogues, as early as the 4th century BC and eventually produces a condemnation of slavery by Stoicism.

"isolated debate" would not ordinarily take a singular "some," but even if that is set aside, there should be a plural for "debates" etc. I.e., "however, there was some debate, most notably in Socratic dialogues...." [I'll not quibble with the Socratic reference, but it's probably a bit misleading, since there are plenty of dialogues, such as the Meno, where slavery is taken for granted].

"and eventually produces..."

The tense here seems to conflict with the past tense in "began," so we either need to change began to "begins" or change produces to "produced" ("led to" might be a solution?)

Just a few examples. C d h (talk) 15:47, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

Hello, I am the GA reviewer of this article. I would like to inform you that the article has passed the quick fail criteria. Therefore it will now be subject to an indeep review. Please note that this will take some time. I also hope that there is somebody who will incorporate any wishes should they be there. Regards, Daimanta 14:03, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

  1. Ok, I have a point of critique. There is a reference to "chattel slavery" in this article. The problem is, it links to "slavery". I request that a short explanation be given about chattel slavery. Daimanta 17:31, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Correction, the sentece about "chattel slavery" is very hard to read. I suggest that someone changes it.Daimanta 17:36, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I'm the author of the original French article. The part you're quoting is "mine". Can you please explain a bit more what's unclear in the said sentence? I'm not a native speaker, so my perception of clarity and such things is not always accurate. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 17:42, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not a native speaker either. the problem with the sentence is that it is interrupted. It says that it's only referring to chattel slavery, then it talks about another type of slavery(which is hard to guess because you have to click the links to understand), and finally it continues to talk about chattel slavery. The reference to "chattel slavery" should be followed an explanation of chattel slavery and after that there should be a reference to the other type of slavery present. Daimanta 17:58, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's not another type of slavery but the other type of slavery. I suggest this : "Conforming to modern history practice, this article will discuss only chattel slavery (as opposed to dependent groups, such as the Penestai of Thessaly, the Spartan Helots or the Clarotes of Crete). The chattel slave is an individual deprived of liberty and forced to submit to a proprietor who may buy, sell, or lease them as any chattel good." Jastrow (Λέγετε) 18:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Excellent, I absolutely agree with that. Daimanta 18:27, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

"it is difficult to differentiate a slave from an artisan with certainty." Please add a link to "artisan". Daimanta 18:37, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I find "Economic role" poorly sourced. Perhaps there could be more sources for that section? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Daimanta (talkcontribs) 12:21, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Ok, my problem with this article is that it's poorly sourced. If you compare it to the French(FA) article, there are so many sources lacking. I am pretty hesitant to grant GA to this article if it stays so purly sourced. Daimanta 13:30, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

The problem is, my references are based on French books: French translation of English books, e.g. Finley's books, or the French original of a book which was later translated in English, e.g. Garlan's book. Does it matter? If not, I will add them. Jastrow (Λέγετε) Jastrow (Λέγετε) 20:05, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
It's better to have a foreign language source than no source at all. If the source is reliable, it is acceptable. Daimanta 22:45, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
I think I'm done. Please note that most ancient sources are quoted inline. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 19:30, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I have a question. "There were four primary sources of slaves: war, piracy (at sea), banditry (on land), and international trade."

This sentence indicates that banditry is a source of slaves. However, contrary to the other sources, there is no further explanation about this. Can somebody enlighten me? Daimanta 23:42, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Section 4.2.2 adresses both banditry and piracy. The title should reflect this indeed. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 08:04, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
"In fact, the status of an emancipated slave was similar to that of a Metic."

Can you give a very short explanation of Metic? The article should stand on itself as much as reasonably possible. Daimanta 09:59, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I added that Metics were "the residing foreigners, who were free but did not enjoy citizen rights". Jastrow (Λέγετε) 10:17, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Ok, the article is now at a cooldown stage. If nobody responds within 10 hours, the article will be passed. Daimanta 11:43, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Very well, the article has passed. I consider this article a very fine article and it is in my opinion FA worthy. If anyone wants to try and get this to FA level just leave a msg at my talkspace. I would like to thank Jastrow for helping aiding me in my request and I would like to thank the autors of this article for making a fine piece of work. Regards, Daimanta 19:24, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

when i grow up i want to be just like them!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:35, 2 September 2008 (UTC)


Shying away from "However, some greeks questioned the existence of slavery and considered it an unjust institution."; there is no evidence that this is so through the period in question - certainly, by the 4th cent (Plato, Alcidamas) there was some debate, hence the rewording I put in the lead para. But given that there is a. no evidence to my knowledge of opposition in the ancient period; b. even the early Christians had no probs with it; and c. even in fantasy worlds the Greeks had no qualms about slaves, I would find it difficult, contradictory, confusing, and somewhat apologetic (hence the POV comment) to leave the line as suggested by RafaelG. Bridesmill 16:47, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Why do you not consider the 4th century as "ancient", there was significant debate, and even most of the greeks suported slavery, some greeks considered and unjust intitution, Aristotle, while considering slavery natural, notes that "Some maintain," Aristotle reports, "that it is contrary to nature (para phusin) to be a master [over slaves]. For [they argue] it is [only] by law (nomoi) that one man is a slave and another free; by nature (physei) there is no difference. Hence it is not just; for it rests on force [biaion]" (1.3.1253b20-23)
And why do you mention the early Christians, they do not have anything to do with this, also christianity never suported freedom, it was always a source of opression.--RafaelG 14:56, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

First, I'm not Chrtistion, lest you think I'm biased in that regard. Your statement above is plain ludicrous. The reason Christians are mentioned here is to point out that early Christians thought nothing bad of the practice; later views changed. (recall that prohibition of slavery was primarily a christian invention, like them or not). And the fourth century CE is not ancient, while 4th BCE is barely ancient Bridesmill 17:57, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I mean the fourth century BCE. Do you think that Plato and Aristotle lived in the 4th century now!?

Christianity is a religion, it does not have anything to do with slavery. The abolition of slavery had nothing to do with cristianity.--RafaelG 20:40, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Also, why do say that nobody condened the institution of slavery (in that part with you just reverted) and them point out some guys that did that same thing! (in the beginning of the article)--RafaelG 20:45, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Your statement " christianity never suported freedom, it was always a source of opression" is one of the reasons. There is/was an assumption that Christians came to change these things, esp. as result of the apologetics (as pointed out later in the article. Reality is that the Early Christians saw slavery as totally normal - something the average person nowadays (esp. Christians) do not realize. Truth is, as pointed out in the article, nobody started condemming slavery until Plato & company in the 4th century (right at the very edge of 'Ancient' Greece). Andf even then, for several hundred years it was still normal accepted behaviour. qv. diet - there are refs to vegetarianism & condemmin meat-eaters in Pythagoras inter alia, nevertheless the practice of eating meat has remained central to Greece to this very day. Firstly, we must be careful not to attribute the existence of comments against slavery when there aren't any, and when they do start appearing we must be careful not to consider it a significant movement. Recall that in America of slave days there was comment against slavery too - it just never became anything until a critical mass of opposition had been reached (and economic alternatives were shown to exist). That never happened in Greek Antiquity. Also, I did not write this beast; it was product of a number of Fr: wiki authors, most of whom are quite credible in this department.Bridesmill 21:16, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

The one line about Christianity has sparked an interesting conversation, where I'm at. The earliest Christians, of course, had enough of their own problems without trying to liberate every slave in the Roman Empire, but there's a certain degree of historical Tunnel vision to think that a religion founded in the 1st century would automatically aquire 21st century values.
Definitely keep the line! You may want to add a link to the wiki Christianity and slavery.

Mingusboodle (talk) 01:36, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Sources of supply & status of women[edit]

Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution - translation of Frederick G. Kenyon - [[1]] states:

"The present state of the costitution is as follows. The franchise is open to all who are of citizen birth by both parents. They are enrolled among the demesmen at the age of eighteen. … the demesmen give their votes on oath … whether the candidate is free born and of such parentage as the laws require, … If the court decides that he has no right to be enrolled, he is sold by the state as a slave…"

This implies that all children of of a slave or metic father or mother became slaves at 18. This seems to me to be a significant source of slaves for Athens. It appears to apply only to males. What was the law with regard to females? Too Old 21:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Not sure if that is what it implies; the question here seems to be, from someone who is free-born, what would cause the court to decide he had no right to be enrolled? I'm thinking this is looking at a special case, because the metics for example had no franchise, yet could not be just sold into slavery by the state (unless tey tried to get on the citizens list? Hmmm. In any case, all indication is that for a large part slave populations were segregated by gender, (domestic females, heavy labour males) and that slaves were very much discouraged form breeding, so any ofspring would appear to have been a minor source of slaves.Bridesmill 21:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I didn't want to quote the whole passage, it's rather long, but I think if you look at the reference you will agree with my interpretation, with the possible exception of the metics. Too Old 02:54, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Read it a long time ago, just read it again; 'open to all who are of citizen birth by both parents'; which would rule out those born to slaves; plus the strong direction to keep slaves from breeding.Bridesmill 03:29, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Odd that there should be such a formal procedure unless there were many instances of breeding between slaves and non-slaves. Too Old 17:35, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm thinking htis procedure may not have been aimed at all at 'inter breeding', but rather at cases such as that mentioned in Prostitution in Ancient Greece, where a young man who prostituted himself could become ineligible for full citizenship.Bridesmill 21:17, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

The passage speaks of inelligibility by reason of birth or of bring underage, not by reason of prostitution. However, it occurs to me that the selling into slavery might have been because of a false claim of eligibility for citizenship, a sort of fraud against the state, and the young man might not have been enslaved if he, or his relatives, did not claim such eligibility. In any case, this whole passage applied only in Athens, and other cities may have had other practices. Too Old 07:42, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Mycenean form[edit]

The Mycenean form of doulos would be conventionally transcribed into modern alphabets as do-e-ro (three Linear B syllabary signs), but it would have been actually pronounced more like doelos. The way the form is cited in the article now, it gives the misleading impression that the Mycenean pronunciation would have been doero, which is not the case, as far as I can tell... AnonMoos 22:58, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Similarly "teojo" is Homeric theoio, almost certainly pronounced with aspirated "th" in Mycenean times -- and also with a y-sound (not an English "j" sound as in "judge", as people might assume). I suggest that all Linear B transcriptions should be hyphenated at syllables: te-o-jo (or te-o-yo) do-e-ro etc. AnonMoos 23:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't speak Mycenean If you do, I'm impressed; feel free to fix the article; I don't think there should be too much space explaining linguisitcs in an already long article, but to address you concerns I have added a footnote & link ot the linear B article.Bridesmill 17:04, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't "speak" it, but I've read the books Linear B and Related Scripts by Chadwick and Writing Systems by Geoffrey Sampson, and I know some of the comparative linguistics involved. Anyway, I notice that somebody has made the confusion even worse by "pluralizing" doero to doeroi[sic], even though the "i" part of an "oi" diphthong would not normally be written in Linear B... AnonMoos 07:07, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
I found these transcriptions in Garlan's book. As hyphenated forms also appear in the footnotes, I suppose he uses the non-hyphenated form in the text to avoid troubling the reader. If this is actually more confusing, we should revert to the mainstream transcription. The extra 'i' is my mistake, sorry. I will correct the French article. Jastrow 15:59, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Photo positioning[edit]

Why have a photo of a black slave up at the top? It might give some people the idea that 19th-century "races" played an important role in Greek slavery, which was most definitely not the case. Wouldn't black slaves have been rather exotic in Greece prior to the Hellenistic period? AnonMoos 07:30, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

This was a slave of hellenistic egypt, I think that this photo does not correspond to the subject of the article, with is about classical greek slavery.--RafaelG 14:59, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
This article is *not* only about classical slavery. The Gortyn Code belongs to the Archaic period, as well as slavery for debt. Enslavement of cities and capture by piracy is mainly an Hellenistic subject, as well as emancipation.
Concerning black slaves, they were indeed more common in the Hellenistic period, when they are a popular iconographic theme for terracotta figurines or bronze statuettes (see also Image:Nubian playing CdM 1009.jpg). But there are also representations of Black slaves in the classical era, especially on plastic vases such as Image:Plastic oinoche Louvre Cp3700.jpg. I placed this picture at the top of the French article because the person represented, having his hands bound, is clearly a slave, whereas the other pictures need context. This being said, I have no objection with your changing the picture. Jastrow 15:51, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
The bound hands might be considered highly symbolic, but in real life most slaves would not have had bound hands most of the time (I would guess that in this case it might show that he's newly-captured)... AnonMoos 00:39, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Concur. Moved the pics around a bit - the funerary stele, with the short person in submissive pose, is reasonably straightforward, and this way by the time the reader gets to the black slave, context of race etc. should be clear. Hope that works. Would have to disagree re. 19tch century style understanding of race - cf. discussion of 'natural' slavery, esp. pre Plato.Bridesmill 23:20, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

The current caption for the top (funerary stele) photo leaves me confused as to its relevance to this article. Is the young girl a slave? Was the dead woman a slave? From the previous user's comment I am guessing it was the young girl, but she just looks like she is grieving; can someone informed include some context? Sorry if I'm just being obtuse... Hester13 (talk) 03:35, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I would also like some explanation for this foto or have it removed. Pukkie (talk) 08:39, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
The young girl is most probably a slave. There is no way to be sure, but this is a classical interpretation for funerary steles which show a seated woman (the departed) and a standing young girl (the slave). There are many references for the Mnesarete stele, for instance Felix M. Wassermann, “Serenity and Repose: Life and Death on Attic Tombstones” The Classical Journal, Vol. 64, No. 5, p.198. If you wish a more immediately convincing picture I can propose the Hegeso stele: the young girl is clearly a slave, since she holds a jewel casket for her (departed) mistress. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 16:37, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


The word doelos / doulos was to some degree displaced by dmōs during the "epic" or archaic era (Homer and Hesiod), but doulos came back strong during the Classical period and subsequently -- and in some contexts there is a distinction between the two (doulos being a born slave, dmōs one captured in war), though this distinction was not always strictly observed. This information should probably be in the article, but I'm not really sure where or how to put it in... AnonMoos 00:58, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Erm, it says that in the article, although the sentence order kind of hid it - hopefully it is in plain sight now.Bridesmill 02:04, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


This is kind of trivial, but ō should probably be used as the transcription of Omega, not ô (so as to avoid confision with the Greek circumflex diacritic). AnonMoos 01:00, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Possibly; my concern is that if Jastrow took this from Garlan's text, any changes would need citations. Bridesmill 02:04, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Using the circumflex as a mark for length (ê for η / ô for ω) is a 19th-century French tradition which doesn't need to be followed here. We still use it on fr: because it the circumflex combines nicely with other diacritic symbols (ή -> ế, which is also used for Vietnamese). Jastrow 18:19, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Disputed (slavery in Athenian Democracy)[edit]

text removed from the article.[edit]

In Athens, with several minor exceptions, the testimony of a slave was not acceptable except under torture. A slave's testimony would be taken under torture - fear of the fact that a trusty slave may protect his masters secrets or fear of his master might otherwise make him lie, which reveals the kind of relation slaves had with their masters.
The slave himself was not protected: if mistreated the master could initiate litigation for damages and interest (δίκη βλάβης / dikê blabês). Conversely, a master who excessively mistreated a slave could be prosecuted by any citizen (γραφὴ ὕβρεως / graphê hybreôs); this was a kind of reproof for all forms of excess (ὕβρις / hubris). It was the same for the murder of a slave. It was the reputation of the murder that was in question as such the suspect was judged by the Palladion (the court reserved for unintentional homicide cases). The maximum punishment was exile, as for involuntary manslaughter.
Athenian slaves had some chance of escape, as they could become suppliants in temples and change their masters in case of maltreatment. In Athens, in case a maltreated slave become suppliant in a temple, his master was forced by law to sell him to another master. This law protected slaves, though a slave's master had the right to beat him at will. And a misdemeanour that would result in a fine for the free would result in a flogging for the slave; the ratio seems to have been one lash for one drachma (citation needed).
The system in Athens encouraged slaves to save for their freedom, and there are records of slaves operating businesses by themselves, with only a fixed tax payment to their masters. There was also a law in Athens, forbidding the striking of slaves— if a person struck someone who seemed to be a slave at Athens, the person might be hitting a fellow citizen, because many citizens dressed no better. Other Greeks were startled by the fact that Athenians tolerated back-chat from slaves (Old Oligarch, Constitution of the Athenians). We are told, from nearly seven centuries afterward, that Athenian slaves fought together with Athenian freemen in the Battle of Marathon, and there is a separate battle-monument for the slaves and allies, [2], or possibly they fought in another battle a little before. Also Plutarch mentions that, during the Battle of Salamis, Athenians were doing their best to save their "women, children and slaves."
Athens had many classes of slave in Athens:
  • House slaves, living in their master's home and working at home, on the land or in a shop.
  • Freelance slaves, who didn't live with their master but worked in their master's shop or fields and paid him taxes from money they got from their own properties (as long as property was allowed to be owned by slaves).
  • Public slaves, who worked as police-officers, ushers, secretaries, street-sweepers, etc.
  • War-captives (andrapoda) who were primarily used in unskilled labor at which they could be chained: for example, rowers in commercial ships or miners. (Excavations may suggest that free persons also worked in the mines of Laurion.) The miners' work was very hard and their living conditions very bad.
The comedies of Menander show how the Athenians preferred to view a house slave: as an enterprising and unscrupulous rascal, who must use his wits to profit from his master, rescue him from his troubles, or gain him the girl of his dreams. We have most of these plays in translations by Plautus and Terence, suggesting that the Romans liked the same genre. And the same sort of genre has not yet decome extinct, as the popularity of Jeeves and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum attest.
On the other hand, much of the wealth of Athens came from its silver-mines at Laurion, and slaves, working in extremely poor conditions, produced the greatest part of the silver (although recent excavations seem to suggest the presence of free workers at Laureion). During the war between Athens and Sparta, twenty thousand Athenian slaves, including both mine-workers and artisans, escaped to the Spartans when their army camped at Decelea in 413 BC.
Other than flight, resistance on the part of Athenian slaves didnt occurred. GEM de Ste. Croix gives two reasons. First they came from various regions and spoke various languages (similar to the contemporary multicultural states or cities). Second that a slave holder could rely on the support of fellow slaverholders if his slaves offered resistance. Another possible reason is that each slave belonged to a different master so their treatment varied according to their master will. Slaves had no common goals in order to revolt and some slaves were treated well but their master. So the majority of slaves, except for the fact that they could not decide about the laws of their city state, they had no other reason to revolt.
We can find documented cases of well treated slaves in Athenian Democracy:
  • When Athenians decided to change the legislation and the statute book, the task was assigned to a public sector slave named Nicomachos, because he was the most qualified person for that work.
  • Formionas the slave worked as bank director in his master's Bank (named Passionas). Formionas managed to gain enough money and succeded to buy his freedom. After the death of his master, he married Passionas's wife.
  • We have more cases of slaves who married the wives of their masters like Kittos, Eumathis, Socrates and Satiros.
  • The sponsors of the famous speaker Demosthenes (who were bankers or ship-owners and gave him money in order to make a speech) were not athenian citizens by birth. All of them managed to buy their freedom (their right to decide about the laws of Athens) using the money they gained in their work.
Athenians fought against Lamians, at 322 B.C and they lost the battle. Among the 30.000 athenian freemen soldiers who participated in that battle, the 20.000 became slaves in their own country because their fortune fell below 2000 drachmas. As we can see, the right of the Athenians to decide about the laws of their country was finnaly associated to money. The same happens nowdays. The one who works and brings food and goods to the others or the one who succesfully protects them, regardless his descendance is finnaly the one who decides the rules of the game. History repeats itself.

I think this is NPOV 22:36, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

text inserted to the article[edit]

In Athens slaves had no judicial rights. A misdemeanour that would result in a fine for the free would result in a flogging for the slave; the ratio seems to have been one lash for one drachma. With several minor exceptions, the testimony of a slave was not acceptable except under torture. The slave himself was not protected: if mistreated the master could initiate litigation for damages and interest (δίκη βλάβης / dikê blabês). Conversely, a master who excessively mistreated a slave could be prosecuted by any citizen (γραφὴ ὕβρεως / graphê hybreôs); this was not about humanity for the slave but reproof for all forms of excess (ὕβρις / hubris). It was the same for the murder of a slave. It was the reputation of the murder that was in question as such the suspect was judged by the Palladion (the court reserved for unintentional homicide cases), rather than the Areopagus, and the maximum punishment was exile, as for involuntary manslaughter.

I think this is POV 22:36, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, most of what was removed eitehr exists elsewhere in the article (e.g. types of slaves) or it is pure conjecture (fear of the fact that a trusty slave may protect his masters secrets or fear of his master might otherwise make him lie, which reveals the kind of relation slaves had with their masters. ) The business on the well treated slaves, let me check it out, I will see if it can fit back in. As it stands, I see no dispute, only the potential to add a few things.And please sign in next time, KymeSnake.Bridesmill 02:02, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

its ok then. Check out the validity of the information I added , and if valid, add it in the article. I would like also to read ancient sources refering to inhumane treated slaves, during Athenian Democracy times, so if you can find any ... KymeSnake2 21:31, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Review of well-treated 'slaves' suggested here in talk[edit]

NICOMACHUS "rose to citizenship from a servile origin" and was later prosecuted for tampering with the laws he had been set to transcribe by Solon (Smith 1870)- in other words, we don't know whether he was actuially a slave or another non-citizen, and in any case given that he was prosecuted for being a crook does not speak well of him or indicate that he was 'well-treated' Formionas - not mentioned in Smith, and Google provides us with 0 hits Kittos, Eumathis, Socrates and Satiros - same same, no mention of any in Smith, and 'marrying the wives of their masters???' I think I have used up my 'assume good faith' with this item.Bridesmill 21:56, 22 June 2006 (UTC) Demosthene's sponsors - were non-Athenians, which is quite different from chattel slaves, which this article is about.

To tell you the truth, I also google it, in order to find ancient sources refering to cases of well and inhumane treated slaves in Athenian Democracy, as long as I am not an expert in the subject. The differenc is that I did my search using greek, and as you did, I also assumed god faith in what I discovered. So lets search about it a little more. KymeSnake2 22:07, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Then give us a source. Not in mood for wild-goose chase - If Smith doesn't meantion them they're unlikely to be very notable or at all documented in teh classices. Besides - the point has been made re. Demosthenes & Nichomachus.Bridesmill 00:28, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

No are doing the same mistake most of the people are doing. You refer to contemporary sources (Smith? who is he? Was he alive the 5th century BC?). I am refering solely to ancient sources. Passion (and Formion) is mentioned by Isocrates. KymeSnake2 01:19, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Okay. I call BS. Greek Google - Eumathis - 0 hits. Kittos - about 1000 ghits, nearly all commercial. And I'm not sure if you have any sources - I asked, you give riddles. Surprised you haven't heard of Smith yet claim to know so much of the classics. Very funny on the Formion/Isocrates link - Iason, Faethon....Bridesmill 01:30, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I claim I am not an expert in the subject. But I dont like experts refering to contemporary sources, instead of refering to ancient sources. Very often, contemporary authors are doing huge mistakes when they translate ancient texts, and this is accidentaly or on purpose. Then other contemporary authors are refering to those mistakes, and so on. Do you agree on my principle, always refer to ancient sources instead of modern ones when talking about Slavery in Ancient Greece? KymeSnake2 21:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
This discussion is with the sockpuppet of a banned user. See Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/Iasson. Septentrionalis 16:14, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Slaves vs. citizens[edit]

Is anyone still interested in defending the view in the article that slavery is opposed to citizenship rather than freedom? If not, it requires significant editing (well, it does anyway; how often does this cite Pseudo-Xenophon 1.10?) Septentrionalis 16:14, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid this doesn't pigeonhole easily; more like a sliding scale, where non-citizens have less freedom, and at the extreme end of the scale the doulos is fairly close in status to the comon modern understanding of 'slave'. So slavery is opposed to both - Not Free. and more susceptible to having this status by virtue of Not Citizen. Not sure how you read the article, but "used in opposition to free man" is there right in the definition para. Also not sure how you get "It can be used metaphorically, as for cities held in servitude"; certainly the usage in Thucy. is quite literal & not metaphorical at all. Re. Con.Athenians 1:10, Just once (in Conditions of Slavery); how often should we cite it? Also not sure why we should say Kythera when the WP article prefers Kythira. Agree with your great Scott (though 'servile' has a broad range of connotations); perhaps Jastrow or someone has the cite for what the fr: article claims? if not perhaps the fr: article should be amended also, non?Bridesmill 17:05, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Concerning the sense of δουλεῖα, this bit of information came straight from Garlan's book (p.26), Garlan himself quoting an article of M.-M. Mactoux entitled "Slavery as a metaphor: douleia in the Attic orators".
As for the rest, I must admit I'm a bit fogged: I don't understand your remark about Pseudo-Xenophon nor the one about slavery vs. citizenship. Could you please elaborate? Jastrow 18:29, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Is 'you' me or Sept.?

SFriendly.gif Bridesmill 18:36, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Me, I think. Septentrionalis 19:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  • The meaning of "slave" has never changed, and doulos (or at least servus) is central to it. But I may be touchy; see the anon posts to Talk:Douloi for the sort of nonsense Iasson/KymeSnake is capable of.
  • Kythera or Cythera is the English, and a mention of the ancient island should not defer to Demotic pronunciation, any more than "Thucydides" (Dhoukididis?). Kythira is a bit of Greek nationalism, but not worth fighting.
  • I think LSJ takes doulos in Thucydides metaphorically, or why set it off from the literal meaning? The Athenians were going to "enslave" Amphipolis, rather than literally sell the Amphipolitans. (I suppose they might have done both; but probably not this early in the war.) If you disagree, take out the qualifier.
  • I will print and read the article; so also for Mactoux or Garlan. I certainly was left with an impression of repetition; but I did also read Slavery in antiquity at the same time. Septentrionalis 19:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

The Iasson nonsense prob also has me a bit sensitive SHysterical.gif Agree on your first point guardedly; the words changed, & the atitudes changed, and there were regional disparities on who was prone to enslavement under what conditions & how they were treated. But I'm quibbling. Re. Kythera; perhaps then the article should be renamed - its awkward to readers when they hit a wl & it takes them to a different spelling - automatic assumption is that the originating article (ours in this case) got it wrong. I'm very curious as to why LSJ takes it metaphorically (or if he really does - is this listing just indicative of 'mass' enslavement vice individual?); I read it as he is looking at the enslavement of an entire city, not necessarily to be sold, but to be held in bondage; more as a threat to pep up the troops here than anything else though. Why not wait until you read Garlan before we re-modify as I don't think it's a 'huge' deal (I don't have a copy handy), although the bit about doulos being used to refer to children etc. I think is fairly significant (in a sense, that is metaphorical usage).Bridesmill 19:29, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi there. Actually both Kythera and Kythira are correct, and transliterate the same Greek word, Κύθηρα. Only the η, which was an e in ancient Greek, has become an i in modern Greek (excuse me if you already know this); so maybe Kythira is a bit anachronistic for ancient history articles. BTW, Iasson is back :-(; his name now is User:ARrohetMeZemer.--Aldux 20:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, may Meddea[sic] deal with him!
L[iddell]-S[cott]-J[ones] is a singular object. but not a he. Septentrionalis 21:01, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Septentrionalis: Be warned that the article by Mactoux is written in French (I translated the title for commodity purpose). The right reference is « L'esclavage comme métaphore : douléia chez les orateurs attiques », in Lessico e forme discorsive pertinenti alla « dipendenza » nelle fonti letterarie antiche, proceedings of the 1981 Girea conference at Lecce, October 17-29, 1981. As well, my reference for Garlan pertains to the French edition. All I can say is that it stands at the end of the introduction.
Bridesmill: Bailly, the French equivalent of the LSJ, also distinguishes between actual slavery and sumbmission/depency (and quotes the same Thucydides ref for the latter). Jastrow 06:12, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

P.26 in which edition of Garlan, in which language? I don't see it either in the 1984 French collection of texts or the 1988 English version of L'esclavage, which is still discussing Mycenae on that page. I don't think I have access to the 1981 Girea conference; is Mactoux online somewhere, like JSTOR? Septentrionalis 01:42, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I think "Yvon Garlan, Les Esclaves en Grèce ancienne, La Découverte, coll. « Textes à l'appui », 1989 (1re édition 1982) (ISBN 2-7071-2475-3)" ; that's the cite on the FR: article, Jastrow provided the EN book data here after I did the trans.Bridesmill 01:52, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I have EBSCOHOST here; all I get on mactoux is Walter Donlan's, American Historical Review; Jun82, Review of the book 'Douleia: Esclavage et Pratiques Discursives dans L'Athenes Classique,' by Marie-Madeleine Mactoux. For Garlan: Les esclaves en grece ancienne (Book Review). By: Rahe, Paul A.. American Historical Review, Feb84. The Donlan article goes into interesting review of the very bits we were discussing (citizenship vs freedom).Bridesmill 01:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, it's not quite the end of the introduction. The reference should be, thank you, p.20-21 in the 1988 English translation. Garlan speaks specifically of
  • Plato's metaphorical usage which includes political subjection, dependency (as body parts to the whole) and parents.
  • uses of douleuein in particular (and it is this, I think, which he ascribes to oratorical use.)
I have no access to Mactoux's paper, at the moment. Garlan's translator refers it to Index 10(1981) 21-42 which I take to be a journal reference, but to one I do not know. Without it, this does seem rather slim support for the previous text; hardly more than the existence of metaphorical uses, which I would have left to the intelligence of the reader in an article of this size. Septentrionalis 02:03, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I can lay hands on Mactoux's book, but it will take me a while to read it. Rahe I've heard of before; I can only judge him by the oddities on the "classical meaning of republic" which still show up (rather too much) on the English WP.Septentrionalis 02:11, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Index is the bibliographical databank of the GIREA conferences, cf. webpage (in French). The proceedings have been published in Napoli. Btw, GIREA stands for "Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Esclavage dans l'Antiquité" (International Research Group about Ancient Slavery).
I hadn't expected this sentence to create so much controversy. If you deem it best to delete it, please do, but I must say I don't understand why the fuss. Jastrow 06:07, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
No I don't think it's controversial; I was chiefly wondering if it was more of Iasson's work. The rest of this discussion is largely the difficulty of having an article in en: depending largely on French sources. I don't mean to make heavy weather of it: I was trying to understand.
Actually, I have read a lot from Finley while writing the article (mainly Economy and Society in Ancient Greece) :-) Jastrow 15:58, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we have some artefacts of double translation slipped in....(en-fr-en) If I can get a hold of Finly & Garlan as PManderson suggests, I will do so, but it will prob be a few days; I'm trying t fix Jewellery & Roman art...Bridesmill 16:18, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

As I read Mactoux: Douleia p.27n (1980, French) , there are whole ranges of connotation for doulos; she has a three dimensional chart. The ones opposing it to polites are three passages, and she discusses the rhetorical point being made by the orator over the next couple pages:

The first two show citizen and slave as the ends of a spectrum; the third is a situation in which it would be unlikely that a metic could testify. Septentrionalis 13:48, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

General comments[edit]

This article largely writes out Garlan (as I see by glancing at his book); Slavery in antiquity largely writes out Ste. Croix. Garlan writes almost reverently of Finley; I think the major step to improve this article would be to read through Classical Slavery and Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology while sitting next to a computer with WP on it. I will put this among my agenda. But I haven't actually done any of them yet :{, so if Bridesmill does this first, so much the better. Septentrionalis 13:48, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

That was subtle - dammit Jim, I'm a translator, not a classicist

SHysterical.gif Will stick it on my list as well. Re your edits; thanks - though I slapped the word 'metaphorical' back in to ensure the average reader doesn't assume these are literal meanings. Bridesmill 14:37, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Probably necessary, unfortunately. Septentrionalis 15:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

There is still some amount of repetition between the sections on Status of Slavery and Conditions of Slavery. This will require careful editing to merge. Septentrionalis 14:02, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

GA Nominee[edit]

Someone please place this tag on the top of the discussion page. Deucalionite 19:53, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Done. Not sure why you couldn't do it... Argos'Dad 03:20, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Computer glitch. Deucalionite 20:14, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Bummer--no worries :) Argos'Dad 01:49, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


I've done the lead. Any problems? I intend to do the rest over the next day or two. I'm working from the French article. --Milkbreath 02:16, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Debt slavery: The last line does not appear in the French version, and what this version originally said was not exactly English. I gave it my best shot, but could someone verify the facts to determine just which newborns could have what done to them? --Milkbreath 16:47, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

First, thank you very much for your proofreading "my" article. The last line of the "Debt slavery" section deals about children exposure (from the Latin term "expositio"): unwanted newborn infants (mostly girls and illegitimate children) were put in a sort of pot (khutra) and abandoned in the street. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 18:54, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome. You must think I'm an idiot. I do. I knew what exposure was. I don't know where my head was. I'll fix that now. --Milkbreath 23:33, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Let him who is without sin cast you the first stone :-) I think it was best to precise the meaning of "exposition" here (my husband didn't understand the sentence either), so it's a good think you asked. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 15:16, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Stoics and early Christians[edit]

I just came here to say that the phrase "Stoics and early Christians" should be removed from the lead, but I see that has been done already. Let me just say, then, that it ought to stay that way. There is no point in singling such groups out without telling us what the Epicureans, Platonists, Eleatics, Aristotelians, Cynics, Hellenised Jews, or a host of others thought about it (slavery). Srnec (talk) 04:28, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

You beat me to it. I was going to point out that the early Christians actually freed slaves and spoke out against slavery (Polycarp, Ignatius, Cyprian, Isidore, Ambrose, and other Christian leaders). --Taiwan boi (talk) 09:45, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I was also a little surprised to read the broad-brush characterization of the early Christians. One of the shortest books in the Bible, Paul's Epistle to Philemon in the New Testament, exhorts a slave-owner Philemon to free his slave Onesimus and accept him as a brother. I'm personally unaware of an early Christian who argued for slavery, but admittedly I'm no expert, having read only a tiny fraction of the Apophthegmata Patrum. Willow (talk) 08:31, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually Paul extorted slaves to be loyal to their masters. Where are the sources that show early Christianity did in fact condemn slavery?Xenovatis (talk) 10:22, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
You've used the word 'extorted' incorrectly there. I think you meant 'exhorted'. Paul did advise slaves to be loyal to their masters, but he also told them to take advantage of any opportunity for freedom which they might have (1 Corinthians 7:21, 'But if indeed you are able to be free, make the most of the opportunity'). You'll find evidence for early Christian protests against slavery here. Interestingly, the earliest atheist protests against slavery don't seem to appear until about the 18th century at best. Atheists didn't bother about emancipation for most of recorded history. Emancipation movements were always started by Christians or Deists, never by atheists. --Taiwan boi (talk) 10:53, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
  1. I agree wrt to the Stoics since it is factually wrong. Stoicism did eventually condemn slavery.
The New Penguin History of the World, J.M.Roberts

[Stoicism] transcended the old disctinction between Greek and barbarian as it would any other between reasonable men. It spoke to a common humanity and actually produced a condemnation of slavery, an amazing step in world built by forced labor.

  1. It needs to be made clear in the article, preferably the lead, that slavery among the Greeks was not something remarkable since every other people effectively did the same and all other civilized societies were also dependant on slave labor.
:The New Penguin History of the World, J.M.Roberts

The world outside Greece too was organized on the assumption that slavery would go on. It was the prevailing social institution almost everywhere well into Christian times and it is not yet dead.

Xenovatis (talk) 10:22, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I beg to disagree on your first remark. Roberts is grossly simplifying things about Stoics. I can quote Garlan (French edition, p.129-130) and Garnsey on this (I only have handwritten notes from the book as of now, so I'm afraid I can't quote a specific page). To Stoics, legal, “concrete” slavery is irrelevant to the wise; only “moral” slavery (ie. having the set of mind of a slave) is evil (see Slavery_in_ancient_Greece#Historical_views). Concerning early Christians, Garnsey only finds one (I quote) “unequivocal statement” condemning slavery in a homily by Gregory of Nyssa. To those who have JSTOR access, this book critic (2nd §) aptly sums up what I read on the subject.
I suggest you read some original sources, or at least a secondary source which quotes original sources. Citing a source which most of us here can neither access nor verify, does not constitute evidence. --Taiwan boi (talk) 10:55, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Most of us can't read most of the references used in most of articles. Using only primary sources without the support of a secondary source is called WP:OR. If you wish to verify my claims, I can send you by mail the review by Dean A. Miller of Garnsey's book and the review by Donald G. Mathew of David Brion Davis' The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 19:13, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
If articles are being cited which the reader doesn't have reasonable access to, then they shouldn't be cited. I'm aware of Wikipedia's rule regarding OR, but I'm not asking you to quote primary sources in the article, I'm suggesting that you personally would benefit from reading original sources instead of a single secondary source, or at least (if you're going to read secondary sources), read secondary sources which quote the primary sources at length. If the article to which you refer actually does address the primary sources at length, I'm sure you'll be able to explain to us how Garnsey reached his conclusions regarding early Christian attitudes to slavery, and if the article to which you refer has any semblance of academic merit at all then you won't have to rely on this article alone, it will reflect the academic consensus and you will be able to find a half dozen other articles which arrive at the same conclusion. Hopefully, articles which are more accessible to the reader. Reliance on a single source inaccessible to the majority of readers, especially without reference to and comparison with other (more accessible), sources (including standard works in the field), should not be encouraged. --Taiwan boi (talk) 19:26, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
I've just realised you're not even citing the work itself, you're actually relying on two reviews of it. If you haven't read the work, and you don't know his arguments or the process by which he assesses the primary sources (specifically in this case the Christian evidence), and you're relying on what you can glean from two short reviews, then I suggest you think again. I've found Miller's review, and sure enough I've read it before. It doesn't even begin to explain how Garnsey reached his conclusion that only Gregory of Nyssa gave an 'unequivocal statement' condemning slavery. Given that Garnsey's entire work is only 285 pages long, and given that he spends a mere 30 pages of that on the Early Fathers, I'm far from convinced that his is the last word on the subject. --Taiwan boi (talk) 19:35, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
No. Please stop being so aggressive and read what I'm actually writing. I refer to both articles because I have JSTOR access and I can actually send you those PDF files. Quite obviously, I can't send you an entire book, all the most because I borrowed it (Garnsey's book) from the library. I wish to stress very firmly that I have read the goddam book. And I don't rely on a single source. I've quoted two so far: Garnsey and Garlan, also a review of Davis' book (which is different from Garnsey's book, so I'm definitely not quoting two reviews of the same book). I haven't read Davis' book, but I quote the review because it sums up nicely what I've read on the subject. I hope this is clearer now. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 19:42, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Now, I'm not a specialist of the subject and this article is about slavery in Ancient Greece, not about slavery in Late Antiquity. If you believe you have better sources, by all means quote them and amend the offensive parts of this article. I just wish you'd assumed a bit more good faith. I did not write this article from Reader's Digest magazines. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 19:50, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry you thought I was being aggressive. I'm simply questioning your methodology. If you read what I wrote, you'll find I'm referring specifically to the comments regarding the attitude of early Christians to slavery (not the Stoics). I have already provided an alternative source for this (please see the link I gave, a secondary source which quotes original sources). Given that the article is about slavery in ancient Greece, I see little reason to include inaccurate descriptions of the attitudes of early Christians to slavery. As I said, I've found Miller's review, and sure enough I've read it before. It doesn't even begin to explain how Garnsey reached his conclusion that only Gregory of Nyssa gave an 'unequivocal statement' condemning slavery. Given that Garnsey's entire work is only 285 pages long, and given that he spends a mere 30 pages of that on the Early Fathers, I'm far from convinced that his is the last word on the subject. You don't explain how Garnsey reached his view either, and until there's evidence that a throw away comment from Garnsey is a reasonable source for an offtopic reference to early Christian attitudes to slavery in an article on slavery in ancient Greece, I see no reason for it to be included. Please, make your case. --Taiwan boi (talk) 03:16, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't seem to be able to make myself clear. Late Antiquity is a part of Ancient Greek studies. The incriminated passage was not offtopic, but a passing remark based on my reading of the books of Garnsey and Garlan. While I own Garlan's book, I borrowed Garney's from the library more than two years ago, which explains why I can't explain Garnsey's position in greater detail: I just have some notes. I apparently overestimated the consensus about Garlan's and Garnsey's views; I stand corrected. I'm not asking for the incriminated passage to go back in the article. I was just explaining how it came to be there in the first place. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 14:21, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your second remark. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 12:08, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. I will revert my and others' changes to the original lead on Stoics and early Christians. Since you agree I will keep the second reference. Thanks for taking the time to correct this.Take care.Xenovatis (talk) 17:51, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

objective outcome[edit]

Under Demographics the Sources of Supply paragraph states : "...unless a more objective outcome was reached....". What is the meaning of 'objective' here? As I don't understand what is being tried to say I don't want to change the wording myself. Pukkie (talk) 08:48, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

comparison of fines[edit]

"the rape of a free woman by a slave was punishable by a fine of 200 staters, while the rape of a non-virgin slave by another slave brought a fine of only one obolus."

How can anyone understand what this means, when there is no comparison of staters to obolus. Even looking up the link to staters doesn't help; that compares to drachma but never mentions obolus.

This should be clarified. Use the same monetary units in the comparison. T-bonham (talk) 11:40, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. A stater is worth two drachms; an obol is the sixth of a drachm. I'll add the precision. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 12:10, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Slavery template[edit]

This article really should have the {{slavery}} template. However, it looks terrible here, when incorporated with the exiting image layout. Some thoughts on how it could be incorporated:

  • Widen the template and add an image to it (perhaps Image:Slavezanzibar.jpg), then place it (at the same width as the intro section's image) in the first body section, in place of its existing image.
  • Left-align the first two body section images and place the template on the right.
  • Place it further down in the body
  • Make a new slavery footer template to place at the bottom of the article

Those are in roughly descending order of what I think would make sense for this article, and help navigate people to what they're looking for. -Harmil (talk) 18:31, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I think a footer is the only aesthetic solution. This article isn't linked from the slavery template so perhaps we shouldn't include the template at all. -- Sverdrup (talk) 22:45, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Use of slaves in warfare[edit]

Fine article, but I noticed it makes one major omission: it does not treat the subject of the use of slaves in Greek warfare, specifically as galley slaves (or attendants to hoplite marines), but also - in exceptional circumstances, as social 'revolutions' in the polis - of freed slaves as land soldiers.

I propose a new section 'slaves in warfare' and include well-researched material from galley slaves which, accidentally, I happened to write. ;-)

For slaves in Greek land warfare, the classical starting point still is: Rachel L. Sargent: The Use of Slaves by the Athenians in Warfare by land, Classical Philology, Vol. 22, No. 2. (Apr., 1927), pp. 201-212

Since I do not want to meddle with the five star article, I would like to ask what you think about my suggestion? Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 00:09, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

The subject is alluded to at Slavery_in_ancient_Greece#Economic_role: “In time of war he was batman to the hoplite; it has been argued that their actual role was far greater” (with a reference to Hunt's Slaves, Warfare, and Ideology in the Greek Historians). More generally speaking, slave labour is not very well developed; I feared the article would be too long. I already had complaints about length concerning the French version, which is shorter than the English one. Perhaps a spinoff article would be in order? Jastrow (Λέγετε) 08:30, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
A spin-off article and here a very short subsection with two introducing links (For...see) to galley slave and slaves in ancient land warfare or something. Why not. Just leaves the question who writes the article on the land warfare. ;-) Gun Powder Ma (talk) 15:04, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Photos in Article[edit]

The photos in the article over represent African slaves.

There are three pictures, and yet nothing in the article justifies that level of representation. The article runs the risk of being seen to be promoting the assumption that black slavery is somehow more "natural".

I don't see how the number of pictures representing African slaves could promote that sort of thought, but I changed one of the picture anyway. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 13:52, 15 September 2008 (UTC)


Serfdom relates to feudalism, so should the article really be referring to helots as serfs? Although now outdated, Moses Finley disagrees with the link. Nev1 (talk) 22:44, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

This is a vexed question and many scholars have their own position about it. Finley emphasizes the broad spectrum of statuses between freedom and slavery; De Ste. Croix calls helots "state serfs"; Cartledge writes that "it is because the Helots were thus 'tied to the soil' and bound to pay a rent that the terminology of serfdom may be employed to describe their legal status as that of 'state serfs'. (…) This does not necessarily imply any close similarity between Helotage and mediaeval feudalism" (Sparta and Lakonia). R. J. A. Talbert states that "their status is not conveyed satisfactorily by any modern term: 'state-serf' possibly comes nearest" ("The Role of the Helots in the Class Struggle at Sparta").
I have tweaked the reference to serfdom under the "Status of slaves" section because it was indeed unnecessary. The intro is more nuanced ("more like medieval serfs").
Fact is that modern terminology is somewhat inadequate to describe those statuses. Lauffer even suggested that historians use "douloi" instead of "slaves" for unfree people in Ancient Greece, because the word "slave" now has racially oriented connotations. Finley warned that the word douloi had its own connotations. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 17:47, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining that, it certainly didn't seem black and white when I read Finley's explanation and I think that how the article deals with serfdom (ie: using it for comparision rather than a straight analogy) is fine. Nev1 (talk) 19:15, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Helots - every young Spartan was required to kill a helot as admission to citizenship. I don't know if the victim could be young,old,female, or a healthy adult man. If the helot killed the young soldier,I suspect no one was very pleased. 2601:181:8301:4510:C9E8:44F1:D700:ABE7 (talk) 21:13, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

comfussion of terms.[edit]

In greek, SKLABOS means SLAVE and DOULOS means servant. What I want to say is that Greeks had servants and not slaves in their homes. Nowadays happens the same thing. Many rich and a lot of not so rich people have servants in their homes.Nestanaios 16:17, 7 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nestanaios (talkcontribs)

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Source for Plato owning 5 slaves at the time of his death?[edit]

The citation is just a citation of the Republic, and just looking around casually I haven't found anything that indicates that/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

how someone became a slave in Ancient Athens[edit]

they made a pizza out of dough, sauce,cheese, your choice of toppings and pizza spice.And

you must name it Bob