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In respect to the comparative number of the slaves and the free citizens of Rome, we have not sufficient data on which to found a correct judgment. We may agree with Niebuhr in doubting the accuracy of the older censuses, which were taken at Rome. The Romans, in the early periods of their history, rarely or never acted as menial servants in the city. Niebuhr thinks that mechanical occupations were not lawful for plebeians. Yet in the country they willingly performed agricultural labor. Lipsius admits the probability of there being as many slaves as freemen, or rather more, within Rome in its most populous times. After the influx of wealth, which followed the foreign conquests, the number of slaves must have been greatly enlarged. Polybius, Hist. ch. II., estimates the forces which the Romans and their allies could bring into the field, between the first and second Punic wars, at 770,000 men. This enumeration, however, implying a total free class of 3,080,000, and an equal amount of slave population, is much larger than seems consistent with the state of Italy at that time. The number of citizens returned to Augustus at the 72d lustrum, A. U. C. 745, as appears from the monument of Ancyra, was 4,163,000. At the 73d lustrum, the number was over 4,000,000. In the 74th lustrum, in the reign of Claudius, A. D. 48, the citizens amounted to 6,944,000, of whom, probably, but a small proportion consisted of persons out of Italy. If we allow two slaves to each Roman, an average below that of some Grecian cities, we should not in that case take into the account those slaves who were the property of the various orders of freemen, or those who belonged to other slaves. Rich citizens were very extensive owners of slaves, kept both for luxury and profit, as domestics or artisans in town, and as laborers on
the vast estates in the provinces.* Some rich individuals are said to have possessed 10,000, and even 20,000, of their fellow-creatures. Seneca says, De Tran. Animi. ch. VIII., that Demetrius, the freedman of Pompey, was richer than his master. "Numerus illi quotidie servorum, velut imperatori exercitus, referebatur." The slaves of Crassus formed a large part of his fortune. His architects and masons alone exceeded 500. Scaurus possessed above 4,000 domestic, and as many rural slaves. In the reign of Augustus, a freedman, who had sustained great losses during the civil wars, left 4,116 slaves, besides other property. On one occasion, the family of Pedanius Secundus, prefect of Rome under Nero, was found to consist of 400 slaves: Tac. Ann. XIV. 43, "Quem numerus servorum tuebitur, cum... quadringenti," etc. When the wife of Apuleius gave up the lesser part of her estate to her son, 400 slaves formed one of the items surrendered. Slaves always composed a great part of the movable property of individuals, and formed a chief article of ladies' dowries. A law passed by Augustus against the excessive manumission of slaves by testament, forbidding any one to bequeathe liberty to more than one fifth of all his slaves, contains the following words: "Plures autem quam centum ex majori numero servorum manumitti non licet." We may hence infer that 500 was not an extraordinary number of slaves to be held by one owner. It was fashionable to go abroad attended by a large number of slaves. Horace, Sat. Lib. I. iii. 11, says, " Habebat sæpe ducentos, sæpe decem servos. Augustus prohibited exiles
Pignorius has enumerated 48 classes of rustic slaves, 40 of rustic or urban, 60 of urban, 66 of personal attendants, 15 of upper servants, 13 of nursery slaves, 130 of slaves of luxury, and 5 of military slaves, in all three hundred and twenty-five classes.
+ Hugo, Jus Civile Antejustinianeum, Vol. I. p. 157.
from carrying with them more than 20 slaves.* Besides the domestic and agricultural slaves, were the gladiators, who were chiefly slaves, and who were extremely numerous at different periods. We may have some idea of the frequency and ferociousness with which these were exhibited, from a restriction imposed by Augustus, who forbade magistrates to give shows of gladiators above twice in one year, or of more than 60 pairs at one time. Julius Cæsar exhibited at once 320 pairs. Trajan exhibited them for 123 days, in the course of which 10,000 gladiators fought. The State and corporate bodies possessed very many slaves. For example, 600 were employed in guarding against fires in Rome.† Chrysostom says, that under Theodosius the Great, and Arcadius, some persons had 2,000 or 3,000 slaves. Synesius complains, that every family of tolerable means kept Scythian slaves of luxury; and Ammianus Marcellinus informs us, that luxurious ladies and great men used to have 400 or 500 servile attendants. From the time of Augustus to Justinian, we may allow three slaves to one freeman; we shall thus have a free population in Italy of 6,944,000, and of slaves 20,832,000,- total 27,776,000. "After weighing every circumstance which could influence the balance," says Gibbon," it seems probable, that there existed in the time of Claudius about twice as many provincials as there were citizens, of either sex, and of every age; and that the slaves were at least equal in number to the free inhabitants of the Roman world. The total amount of this imperfect calculation would rise to about 120,000,000 of persons."
*See Plin. Nat. Hist. XXXIII. 47, 52; also XXXIV. 6, and XXXV. 58.
† "Publicos servos." Liv. IX. 29.
The present population of Italy is between 16,000,000 and
The different methods in which men became slaves were by war, commerce, the operation of law in certain cases, and by their birth.
1. Slaves acquired by war. In general, prisoners of war were sold immediately, or as soon as possible, after their capture. If a subsequent treaty provided for their release, it would appear that a special law was passed, ordering the buyers of such slaves to give them up, on receiving from the treasury repayment of the original purchase money. Livy, XLII. 8, says in relation to the Ligurians, 10,000 of whom had surrendered themselves as prisoners, "At ille [consul] arma omnibus ademit, oppidum diruit, ipsos bonaque eorum vendidit." As the Senate were at the time deliberating about the treatment of them, “res visa atrox"; and a decree was issued, annulling the previous sales, and compelling the respective purchasers to set the Ligurians free, but with restitution by the public of the prices which had been paid. Prisoners belonging to a revolted nation were, without exception in favor of voluntary surrender, sold into servitude; and, sometimes, as a more severe punishment, or for greater precaution, it was stipulated at their sale, that they should be carried to distant places, and should not be manumitted within twenty or thirty years.* After the fall of the Samnites at Aquilonia, 2,033,000 pieces of brass were realized by the sale of prisoners, who amounted to about 36,000.† Lucretius brought from the Volscian war 1,250
17,000,000. See the Essay of Hume on the Populousness of Ancient Nations; Gibbon, Hist. Dec. and Fall, Ch. II.; Blair's Inquiry into the State of Roman Slavery, Ch. I.
* "Ne in vicina regione servirent, neve intra tricesimum annum liberarentur."- Sueton. Octav. XXI.
"Id æs redactum ex captivis dicebatur." — Livy, X. 46.
captives; and, by the capture of one inconsiderable town, no less than 4,000 slaves were obtained. On the descent of the Romans upon Africa, in the first Punic war, 20,000 prisoners were taken. Gelon, prætor of Syracuse, having routed a Carthaginian army, took such a number of captives, that he gave 500 of them to each of the several citizens of Agrigentum. On the great victory of Marius and Catulus. over the Cimbri, 60,000 were captured. When Pindenissus was taken by Cicero, the inhabitants were sold for more than £100,000. Augustus, having overcome the Salassi, sold as slaves 36,000, of whom 8,000 were capable of bearing arms. ms. Cæsar, in his Gallic wars, according to the moderate estimate of Velleius Paterculus, took more than 400,000 prisoners. The rule, which forbade prisoners taken in civil wars to be dealt with as slaves, was sometimes disregarded. On the taking of Cremona by the forces of Vitellius, his general Antonius ordered that none of the captives should be detained; and the soldiers could find no purchasers for them. A slave, carried off from the Roman territories by the enemy, fell again under his master's authority, if he came back or was retaken. Roman citizens, who had been made prisoners, recovered their former rank, with all the rights and privileges belonging to it, upon their escape or recapture from the enemy's hands.
2. Slaves acquired by commerce. The slave-trade in Africa is as old as history reaches back. Among the ruling nations of the North coast, the Egyptians, Cyrenians, and Carthaginians, slavery was not only established, but
*The language of Tacitus, Hist. Lib. III, is, "Irritamque prædam militibus effecerat consensus Italiæ, emptionem talium mancipiorum adspernantis. Occidi cœpere: quod ubi enotuit, a propinquis adfinibusque occulte redemptebantur."