Slavery was a very large institution in Ancient Rome. It was
a normal part of Roman society. It was not unusual for even a home of moderate
means to have slaves. Slaves did all the work that the Romans did not want to
do. They were often captives that were taken after the Roman army conquered
other territories. When they were being sold, slaves would be displayed at the
marketplace with signs around their necks giving details about them. Slaves
had very few rights, and owners could treat them badly with very little fear
of any legal consequences.
Slavery was not necessarily a lifetime position. Slaves could
earn money to buy their freedom later in life. After gaining their freedom,
many would often become tradesmen. At times, some slaves were highly trained
as physicians. Despite earning their freedom and learning a trade, freed slaves
still could not get citizenship in Rome; however, their children could become
citizens. The freed slaves often bought their own slaves to work in their shops
and homes. This practice aided in perpetuating the institution of slavery in
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