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CLAS 329 A: Greek and Roman Slavery

Greeks slave in the mines
Meeting Time: 
TTh 8:30am - 10:20am
Location: 
SMI 105
SLN: 
12273
Instructor:
kamen
Deborah Kamen

Syllabus Description:

Classics 329A: Greek and Roman Slavery

Spring 2019, TTh 8.30-10.20am, SMI 105

Prof. Deborah Kamen, dkamen@uw.edu

Office hours: Mondays 1-2pm, Thursdays 11am-12pm, and by appointment (Denny 262F)

 

Description

In studying the ancient world, we generally focus on the achievements of the Greeks and Romans in literature, philosophy, art, and architecture. But we cannot, and should not, overlook the darker aspects of the ancient world, including the pervasiveness of slavery. This course examines slaves and slavery in antiquity and asks the following questions: How and why did slavery arise? How many slaves were there, and where did they come from? What was the status of slaves under the law? What roles did they play in the economy? How were they treated? In what circumstances were they freed? In what ways did they resist their masters? How did the ancients justify the subjugation of other human beings?

 

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate the ability:

  • To explain the mechanisms of oppression and marginalization of certain groups of people in antiquity.
  • To describe the (social, economic, sexual, etc.) status and roles of slaves in Greek and Roman society.
  • To identify the (sometimes conflicting) ideologies of slavery in Greek and Roman literature and society.
  • To recognize the range of evidence available for studying Greek and Roman slavery, including what our sources can (and cannot) tell us.

 

Required course texts

  • Fisher, N. R. E. (2001) Slavery in Classical Greece. [Fisher]
  • Joshel, S. (2010) Slavery in the Roman World. Cambridge. [Joshel]
  • Wiedemann, T. (1981) Greek & Roman Slavery: A Sourcebook. London and New York. [GARS] [ebook accessible through the UW Library]

 

Grading

  • Participation: 15%
  • Exam 1 (May 2): 30%
  • Exam 2 (June 6): 35%
  • Final paper (June 12): 20%

 

Participation includes discussing texts in groups in class and asking questions. Exams 1 and 2 will consist of the identification of terms (IDs) and mini-essay questions. Exam 1 will cover lecture material and assigned readings from the first half of the course; exam 2 will cover lecture material and assigned readings from the second half of the courseThe final paper will be an analysis of the Life of Aesop, a text written during the Roman Empire about a Greek slave named Aesop (see further below).

 

Final paper

In this paper, you will analyze what the Life of Aesop can tell us about Greco-Roman slavery, both the reality of slavery but also the ideologies and anxieties surrounding the institution. The paper should be 3-4 pages double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font, one-inch margins. There is no need to do additional research, but you can and should draw on what you learned in this class in order to inform your analysis. If you quote or refer to the Life of Aesop, do so by giving the paragaph number of the passage you cite; if you quote or refer to scholarship we’ve read this quarter, you must also cite your sources. Either parenthetical citations or footnotes are fine. Further guidelines can be found here.

 

Answers to FAQs

  • For each lecture, I will post on the course website a study guide with ID terms and study questions.
    • NOTE: These study guides will be very helpful when you’re studying for exams, since I will draw my ID’s and mini-essay topics directly from the ID terms and study questions, respectively.
  • If you miss class, you are responsible for getting handouts and/or notes from a fellow student. I will not send you my lecture notes.
  • Please silence your phones before coming to class. It is extremely disruptive if your phone rings or buzzes.
  • You should do the assigned secondary-source readings before the class period for which they are assigned. My lectures will build on assigned readings, so it helps to have done the reading in advance.
  • You are expected to arrive on time for the exams; if you arrive late you will not be granted extra time.
  • Make-up exams will not be given, and late papers will not be accepted, except in the case of serious illness, family emergency, religious observance, or university-approved absences (like athletic events).
  • Any student requiring special accommodations should provide me with a letter from the Disability Resources for Students Office as soon as possible.

 

Schedule of topics and readings

In this course, we’ll be reading both primary sources (=original ancient sources) and secondary sources (=analysis and discussion that draws on primary sources). For each class meeting, I will assign you a secondary source (or two) to read before class. This will generally be one of the course textbooks; if not, it will be a reading posted on the course website. All primary sources are posted on the course website. You do NOT need to read the primary sources before class; instead, either bring a device (phone, tablet, laptop) on which you can read them in class, or print them out. We will discuss them together in class.

 

Week 1:

Tues April 2: Introduction

 

Thurs April 4: Defining slavery [study guide]

 

Week 2:

Tues April 9: Development of chattel slavery [study guide]

 

Thurs April 11: Alternatives to chattel slavery [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Fisher ch. 3
  • Primary sources:

    • Texts collected in Appendix 4 of Cartledge, P. (1979) “The Helots: Some Ancient Sources in Translation,” in Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300-362 BC. London 1979: 347-56.

 

Week 3:

Tues April 16: Chattel slave supply and slave numbers (Greece) [study guide]

 

Thurs April 18: Chattel slave supply and slave numbers (Rome) [study guide]

  • Secondary sources:

    • Joshel ch. 3
    • Optional: Joshel 48-75
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 6: #103-25

 

Week 4:

Tues April 23: Economic role of slaves (Greece) [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Fisher 37-57
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 5: #85-87, 89-91, 97
    • GARS ch. 7: #128, 134, 139-40

 

Thurs April 25: NO CLASS (Prof. Kamen out of town)

 

Week 5:

Tues April 30: Economic role of slaves (Rome) [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Joshel ch. 5
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 7: #126-27, 129-33, 135-38, 141-57

 

Thurs May 2: EXAM 1

 

Week 6:

Tues May 7: Slaves and the law [study guide]

 

Thurs May 9: Treatment of slaves (Greece) [study guide]

  • Secondary source: Fisher 65-66, 70-77
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 8: #80 (only pp. 83-84)
    • GARS ch 9: #184, 193, 200, 205-6

 

Week 7:

Tues May 14: Treatment of slaves (Rome) [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Joshel 112-152
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 9: #185-92, 194-99, 201-4, 207-8

 

Thurs May 16: Manumission (Greece) [study guide]

 

Week 8:

Tues May 21: Manumission (Rome) [study guide]

 

Thurs May 23: Slave resistance and revolt (Greece) [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Fisher ch. 6
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 5: #80 (only pp. 84-86, 90)
    • GARS ch. 10: #211, 222, 223

 

Week 9:

Tues May 28: Slave resistance and revolt (Rome) [study guide]

  • Secondary source:

    • Joshel 57-65, 152-160
  • Primary sources:

    • GARS ch. 10: #209-10, 212-21, 224-26
    • GARS ch. 11: #227-34

 

Thurs May 30: Justifications and criticisms of slavery (Greece) [study guide]

 

Week 10:

Tues June 4: Justifications and criticisms of slavery (Rome) [study guide]

 

Thurs June 6: EXAM 2

 

Wed June 12: PAPER DUE via Canvas (by 11.59pm)

 

UW Grade Scale

Percentage Earned 

Grade-Point Equivalent

100-97

4.0

96-95

3.9

94

3.8

93-92

3.7

91

3.6

90-89

3.5

88-87

3.4

86

3.3

85

3.2

84

3.1

83

3.0

82

2.9

81

2.8

80

2.7

79

2.6

78

2.5

77

2.4

76

2.3

75

2.2

74

2.1

73

2.0

72

1.9

71

1.8

70

1.7

69

1.6

68

1.5

67

1.4

66

1.3

65

1.2

64

1.1

63

1.0

62

0.9

61

0.8

60

0.7

59 and x < 59

0.0

 

Catalog Description: 
Examines slavery in ancient Greece and Rome, investigating chattel slavery and serfdom, the slave supply and slave numbers, the economic role of slavery, the legal status and treatment of slaves, the resistance of slaves, the freeing of slaves, and ideologies of and attitudes toward slavery. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:12pm
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