chapter  2
16 Pages

Slavery in Antiquity

Scholars suggest that none of its previous incarnations can compare with the insidiousness of the transatlantic trade and slavery as practiced in the Western Hemisphere over the past five centuries. The earliest known legal documents from Mesopotamia contain references to the sale of slaves. Scholars suggest that none of its previous incarnations can compare with the insidiousness of the transatlantic trade and slavery as practiced in the Western Hemisphere over the past five centuries. In practice, Greeks cared little about the condition of their human chattels. "The attitude of the Athenians toward slavery was unreflective," writes John Fine. The Romans, too, were hardly troubled by the institution of slavery which became especially widespread after the Second Punic War. The situation was equally deplorable in the mines where slaves starved and suffered under the lash of overseers. The greatest Christian sages of the Middle Ages and early modem times merely attributed the existence of the institution to the fall of man.