Bella Publico

Bella Publico

Entry #1

Slaves in Athens, Greece

Athenian slaves had no traditional rights at all. There was almost a class system for slaves. There were the lowest and poverty stricken, the state owned, and the domestic servants.

 The poverty stricken Athenian slaves were miners, tortured and worked to death by their owners. Even though the state of Athens owned the mines, they were leased and portioned off to private venders. This allowed for more severe treatment of the slaves because they had no rights and could not dispute their owners.


 Slaves owned by the state on the other hand could gain some rights. A percentage worked as construction workers. The majority of slaves owned by the state were the police force of Athens, such as the 300 Scythian archers.


 Over half of Athenian slaves were domestic servants. They too could retrieve some wealth and rights but only through their relationship with their owner. The relationships developed were usually close for obvious reasons. Female slaves were similar to modern day nannies; they would look after the children and help to care for them, they also took care of the household. Some female slaves were concubines, similar to a mistress. Male slaves worked in trade arts or as a steward; manage financial affairs and the property, and overlook the entire household.

 The citizens of Athens never worked for one another or under another. For in Athens it was considered disgraceful to work for another man. Slaves were vital to the functioning of Athens because there were so many slaves performing grunt work; yet in the culture it was dishonorable to work for another man.

 The greater part of the male slave force conducted all secretarial work in the state, such as banking and commerce.  


“Slaves in Greece: From the 7th Century BC.” History of Slavery. October 16th 2010.


Entry #2

Slaves in Sparta, Greece  


In Sparta and Athens, Greece, slave labor was the driving force of operation. Many historians agree that there were more slaves than free people. Though they were dependent on slaves, Sparta and Athens viewed them and how they should live very differently. This dates back to seventh century Greece.

 Sparta was founded during the Mycenaen War, when the Dorian Spartans crossed over the Taygetus mountains and took over Messenia. The Messenians did not take well to Spartan rule which led to the Messenian revolt in 640 BC. The Spartans were virtually taken over but they held strong and continued to rule over them. Spartans were scared of another revolt because they were outnumbered by Messenians, so they created a strict military and government oligarchy with aristocratic interest. The Dorian Spartans ruled with a strict hand and delegated the status of the citizens to serfs.

 Their system of slavery is called serfdom. The “slaves” were helots, members of the lowest class, of Sparta by subjugation. The conquered people of Messenia doubled Sparta’s slave force. They lived on their ancestors’ land and were obliged to work for their Spartan owners and were also owned by the state. Helots were considered citizens, but had few rights.


The Perioeci were above helots. They were the merchants, traders, and foreigners of the society. Being above helots meant they acquired more freedom; they were thought to be the Messenian nobles. Spartan boys ages 18-20 were given a fitness test to enter the army. If they did not pass, they would be demoted to Perioidos and were not even considered citizens. Above the Perioeci were the Spartiate. These slaves were required to serve in the army and could vote. Spartiate slaves were the only people who had full political rights of the state.


“Slaves in Greece: From the 7th Century BC.” History of Slavery. October 16th 2010.


“Sparta.” Ancient Greek Civilizations. October 16th 2010.  <;

“Spartan Schools.” Daily Life. Ocotber 17th 2010.


Entry #3 

Women Slavery in Athens

 The status of women in Athens was minimal compared to women in Sparta. Out of the womb, women were not meant to be educated or learn how to read and write. They were only slightly above slaves in society.

 There were three classes of women: lowest (slaves), citizen, and the Hetaerae. The lowest class performed domestic household chores, and helped to raise the children. Anthenian women citizens participated in daily life, though not able to vote because they were not taught to read or write. The Hetaerae were similar to the Geisha’s in China. They were the only class of women that were educated in music, reading, and writing. Also, the hetaerae were allowed in the Agora (market-place with council chambers and offices) and other private buildings that were off limit to the public. Though they received special treatment they were in the realm of prostitutes and their power in Athens was very small.

 Spartan Women Slaves


In Sparta men and women were considered equal under law. There were not many women slaves. This is because women produced children, boys that would fight and serve in the army and girls who would grow up to maintain a household and provide more children. The “slave women” were at the low end or poor side of Sparta. They produced clothing and wove fabric, possibly for rugs. Lycurgus, the legendary lawgiver set out roles for women in society to attain and perform. He thought that women were useless unless they were married and gave birth.

If women did not marry they were subject to becoming slaves because they were then considered unnecessary. In Sparta men were the tough, strong fighters that kept evil and enemies astray. Women supplied the State with more men to fight.

 Babies were inspected by the elders to assure able-bodied men and women to fight. If they did not meet the expectations they were abandoned to die. The mothers did not object to this system because they were devoted to Sparta.


“Motherhood and Children in Ancient Sparta.” Spartan Women. October 17, 2010.



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