Essay On Importance of slaves to Elite Romans

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Importance of slaves to elite Romans

The roman society has always been considered as one of extreme existence. The society was highly stratified. There existed the very wealthy elites alongside the poor people and the slaves. It was openly accepted in Rome that people were not equal. Legal status was used to define social factors such as marriage partners and even where people sat in social gatherings and events. Slavery was deeply entrenched in the roman culture. The slaves were not only used in the hoses and home sets but were also used in farms, military as machineries, construction, workshops just to mention but a few.
Slaves provided cheap labour to in farmlands. The roman elites owned parcels of land and slaves were massively used to provide the necessary manpower. At first these jobs were done by the middle and lower class Romans but were later replaced by Romans. The slaves were used to till the fields, do the planting as well as gather the harvest to stores as crops matured. They were also used to attend to animals in the farms. This farm labour made farming more profitable to the farm owner as labour was provided cheaply and work was done effectively.

House chores in roman elite households were mainly provided by slaves. Domestic duties such as cooking, washing of utensils were provided by the slaves. The children of the elites were also given the needed assistance by the slaves. Tending to lawns was also the work of the slaves. The slave owners, elite Romans just gave directions and watched the slaves perform their duties. Slaves that had special skills such as accountancy, teaching and knowledge of medicine were used to tap and share this knowledge.

Accountants provided the required skills to provided management control in trade. Teachers were used to help young scholars and their knowledge also adopted if it was considered good. Medicine versed slaves provided the health services. The elite Romans derived a lot of benefits from their slaves. The slaves provided them with a vast array of services ranging from house chores to field duties. These duties provided cheaply, did a lot to enrich the roman elites.

How roman elite viewed their slaves.

Slaves were viewed as part of the property owned by their masters. Slaves were bought in markets and were resalable just as any other commodity. The masters had absolute power and dominance over their slaves. The roman elites used slaves as a source of social status. The number of slaves owned meant power and influence. Slaves provided socials status to the roman elite. The mighty and powerful in the roman society had a big number of slaves. The emperor for example had a much as 20000 slaves at his disposal. Slaves were bought by the roman elite to demonstrate their power and ability.
Slaves formed part of the master’s assets. Slaves were acquired through purchasing in open markets or when a master’s slave gave birth to child, the kid automatically became a slave. A master could decide at any time to dispose of his slaves to acquire money or other forms of material wealth. Some slaves possessed special skills and this meant a high value attached to them. When such a slave was owned it meant high wealth status and when disposed a lot of cash was acquired (Cartwright, 25).


Slaves in the roman society were of multiple benefits. The slaves provided services in many areas to their master. The elite Romans acquired status by the number of slaves they owned. Slavery thus formed and important part of roman society fabric

Cartwright, Mark. "Ancient History." Slavery in The Roman World (2013): 23-30.