Menu

An Outline History of the World

0 Comment

It is possible that this pagi consisted of specific clans which later migrated and got divided into large families which were headed by the father, the paterfamilias. Each of these, in turn, had acquired possession of slaves of both genders, called famuli, in the beginning from the native land and later from other regions.
The slaves, like women and children, were excluded from the participatory realm of governance in the polis. Individual rights were restricted to the adult male community, in a similar manner to the Greek system, on which the early Roman civilization has borrowed a lot. However, as Boris Piotrovsky points out, there is a different version to the legend of the founders of Rome, Romulus, and Remus, as “they were the sons of a slave woman and the hearth deity”. 1 Hence the history of ancient Rome, the rise of its Empire, glorious battles and its eventual fall is replete with references to slaves, predominantly from the perspective of the dominant community but interspersed with events that were the first instances of slave revolts which led to legendary epochs.
Tacitus’ Annals presents a case of the city prefect Padanius Secundus’s murder by his slaves. The general sentiment regarding the case was to execute all the slaves who were employed in his house. There was a riot in which some members of the Senate were concerned about the cruelty involved in such a decision, taking into account the fact that the slaves included many women and children who were ostensibly innocent. However, the strong arguments made by Gaius Cassius in support of the decision to execute all the slaves won over this concern by some senators to “eliminate excessive cruelty”2. According to him, “if we must die, we will not be unavenged nor will the guilty survive”.&nbsp.