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Historicising Ancient Slavery$
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Kostas Vlassopoulos

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474487214

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474487214.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Dialectical Relationships

Dialectical Relationships

(p.113) 6 Dialectical Relationships
Historicising Ancient Slavery

Kostas Vlassopoulos

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 6 examines three dialectical relationships: between masters and slaves; between free persons and slaves; and within slave communities. The master-slave dialectic formed a spectrum with two extremes: on the one hand, it could lead to the cruel tyranny of masters exercised over slaves without any control; on the other hand, rich and powerful masters could offer their slaves significantly better opportunities than those existing for most of the free population. The free-slave dialectic depended on the intervention of the political community in the theoretically unmediated relationship between masters and slaves in order to achieve two things: to formulate slave status and the distinction between free people and slaves and to shape the master-slave relationship according to the wider interests of the community as a whole. The third dialectic comprises the full range of relationships within the communities that enslaved persons constructed and participated in. These communities were based on kinship and family, ethnicity, religion, neighbourhood, profession, or belonging to the same master.

Keywords:   Masters, Slaves, political communities, slave communities, slave status, slave families

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