Αμφιλόχιος Παπαθωμάς, Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Ροζαλία Χατζηλάμπρου, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Αθηνά Μπάζου, Λέκτορας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
This thesis aims to study the position and life of slaves in Roman Egypt during the first three postchristian centuries. A basic source of research is the Greek papyri of this period, which deliver with clarity various aspects of the social and economic life of slaves. The majority of the slaves of Greco-Roman Egypt were natives, offspring of slaves or foundling infants, and they rarely originated from other countries. However, slaves and manumitted slaves appeared with low frequency in Greco-Roman Egypt, which was generally due to the moderate economic situation of most of its inhabitants, which was a hindrance to their possession. We cannot claim that the Egyptian economy was founded on slaves. Most were either occupied in the household or trained to participate in the production process, while they were generally absent from agricultural production. The owners saw a lucrative investment on them and made a point of providing them with the appropriate apprenticeship, which would be used for the benefit of themselves. From the papyri sources we receive evidence about the slaves, and their treatment in two ways, both as objects and as subjects, is revealed. As objects they were recorded in many documents of inventory, purchase and sale, epikrisis, etc., and thus documented their slave status, while as subjects they appear to work, to establish relationships, to pay taxes. In most aspects, slaves were treated as res, while their human status was limited – on a legal basis – to the fulfilment of their financial obligations. Finally, their living conditions were largely determined by their relationship with their owners, which could lead them from escape and delinquent behaviour even to liberation.
slaves, Roman Egypt, social life, economic life, Greek non-literary papyri