Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-19T10:59:56.023Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

12 - Slavery in the Roman Republic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2011

Keith Bradley
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame
Keith Bradley
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Paul Cartledge
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

INTRODUCTION

The Republican period of Rome's history occupied half a millennium, from the late sixth century to the late first century bc. It was characterised by a form of government that distributed public rights and responsibilities among a group of interdependent entities – magistrates, senate, citizens – in a cohesive system intended to prevent the monopolisation of political power by a single individual. At the beginning of the period Rome was a small city-state, comparable to and no more distinctive than many other communities in peninsular, especially central, Italy. By the end of the period it was by far the largest city in the ancient Mediterranean world – larger than any other European city until the modern era – with a population conventionally estimated at close to one million. It controlled a vast empire embracing much of continental Europe, parts of North Africa, and regions in the Near East, and indirectly its influence extended further still. The preservation of political freedom within the civic community was a hallmark of Republican government, but it did not deter or prevent Romans from subjecting others to their will.

There are no contemporary sources to show with any certainty how the Republican form of government was instituted. Later Romans believed that it came into existence as a reaction against tyrannical rule exercised in the sixth century by a sequence of overlords of foreign, especially Etruscan, origin (which modern scholarship denies). At no point, however, was the constitution given written form.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×