Page DuBois

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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This article addresses the issue of slavery. Where society operates to give cultural shape to biological facts in the case of sexuality, it denies cultural identity or cultural significance to slaves, who become ‘mere’ bodies. Most of the written evidence from Greek antiquity comes from the perspective of slave-owners. People cannot know what ancient Greek slaves might have had to say about their experiences of enslavement. There are various ways to address this matter: one is by using the analogy of slaves from other historical circumstances who did write about such experiences, in the form, for example, of the slave narratives of ante- and post-bellum America. Other strategies for imagining or representing ancient slaves' experience involve extrapolating from silence, supplying the other side of a one-sided dialogue between master and slave.

Keywords: cultural identity; Aristotle; slavery; mere bodies; enslavement; slave narratives

Article.  4933 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History

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