When we hear the word “slavery,” our minds often jump to images of the transatlantic slave trade and the brutal exploitation of Africans in the Americas. However, slavery has existed in many societies throughout history, including ancient Greece.
In fact, slavery was an integral part of Greek society for centuries. But what were slaves in ancient Greece called?
The term used to refer to slaves in ancient Greece was “doulos.” This word can be translated as “bondservant” or “slave,” and it was used to describe individuals who were owned by someone else and had no control over their own lives or bodies.
Slavery was a common practice in ancient Greece, and it was not limited to any particular social class or occupation. Slaves could be found in households, on farms, and even in mines. They performed a variety of tasks ranging from manual labor to skilled trades such as metalworking or pottery.
In Athens, one of the most famous city-states of ancient Greece, it is estimated that as much as one-third of the population were slaves at some point in time. However, not all slaves were treated equally.
Some were able to earn their freedom through various means such as military service or buying their own freedom. Others lived out their entire lives in servitude.
Slaves were often viewed as property rather than human beings with rights and feelings. They could be bought and sold like any other commodity, and they had no legal recourse if they were mistreated by their owners.
Despite this harsh reality, some slaves were able to find ways to resist their bondage. Some ran away from their owners, while others engaged in acts of sabotage or rebellion. These efforts were risky and often met with severe punishment, but they demonstrate that even in the darkest circumstances people will always strive for freedom.
In conclusion, slavery was a significant part of ancient Greek society and culture. Slaves were called “doulos,” which translates to “bondservant” or “slave,” and they performed a wide range of tasks in various settings.
Although they were viewed as property and had few rights, some were able to resist their bondage and seek freedom. Understanding the history of slavery in ancient Greece is important for recognizing the ways in which this practice has shaped our world today.