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  • Cited by 62
  • Volume 1: The Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Edited by Keith Bradley, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2011
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Volume 1 in the new Cambridge World History of Slavery surveys the history of slavery in the ancient Mediterranean world. Although chapters are devoted to the ancient Near East and the Jews, its principal concern is with the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. These are often considered as the first examples in world history of genuine slave societies because of the widespread prevalence of chattel slavery, which is argued to have been a cultural manifestation of the ubiquitous violence in societies typified by incessant warfare. There was never any sustained opposition to slavery, and the new religion of Christianity probably reinforced rather than challenged its existence. In twenty-two chapters, leading scholars explore the centrality of slavery in ancient Mediterranean life using a wide range of textual and material evidence. Non-specialist readers in particular will find the volume an accessible account of the early history of this crucial phenomenon.


‘No slave voices survive. But what can be excavated from the evidence is considered here in a scholarly, detailed, clearly argued and thoroughly worthwhile collection of essays.’

Source: Literary Review

'This first instalment in the four-volume Cambridge World History of Slavery is an impressive synthesis of current Anglophone scholarship on slavery in the Greek and Roman worlds. It is a very welcome addition to the bibliography. With its wide chronological and thematic scope, its detailed coverage of key scholarship and primary sources and the authority of the contributors, it is sure to become the first port of call for students and for scholars approaching a period or topic for the first time. This substantial volume is certainly the new authority on Greco-Roman slavery. It is an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.'

Miles Lavan Source: The Journal of Roman Studies

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