Greek civilisation and slavery

Paul Cartledge

in Classics in Progress

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263235
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734328 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

Greek civilisation and slavery

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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

Chapter.  7267 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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