Chapter

Slaves in Arms

BERNARD LEWIS

in Race and Slavery in the Middle East

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780195053265
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195053265.003.0009
Slaves in Arms

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The chapter focuses on the history of the professional slave soldier. The professional slave soldiers were slaves who fought in the army of the Prophet. Some Roman dignitaries had armed slave bodyguards while some owned gladiators. The slave in authority dates back to remote antiquity. Kings appointed slaves to positions of prestige and power during the Sumerian times. Different words were used to denote privileged slaves. The system of court slavery reached its final and fullest development in the Ottoman Empire where all the servants of the state were slaves of the sultan. The only exceptions were the members of religious establishments. The Ottoman kul was not a slave in terms of Islamic law but a slave in matters of marriage, property, and legal responsibility. He was subject to the power of the sultan.

Keywords: slave soldier; court slavery; Roman dignitaries; slave bodyguards; gladiators; Sumerian times; Ottoman

Chapter.  5053 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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