The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Sitophylaces – Slaves

590

SITOPHYLACES——SLAVES.

(see jeacvs), how she had been carried off by Zeus; but this information was not given until Asopus has satisfied the condition laid down by Sisyphus, by creating the spring Peirene, which ever after supplied the cita­del and town of Corinth [Pausanias ii 5 § 1]. Zeus desires to kill Sisyphus as a punish­ment for revealing the facts, and sends Death to him; but Sisyphus fetters Death in strong chains, and no one dies, till at last Ares sets him free and hands Sisyphus over to him. But lie commands his wife not to inter him, and succeeds in persuading Pluto and Persephone to let him re turn for awhile to the upper world in order to punish her want of love. Having no desire to return to Hades, he forgets his promise, and even­tually Hermes has to come and fetch him. In the post-Homeric legends Odysseus, on account of his cunning, is made the son of Sisyphus and Anticleia [Sophocles, Ajax 190, Phil. 417; Eur., Iph. at Aid is, 524].

Sitophylaces. At Athens, a board, ori­ginally consisting of ten members, five in the city itself and five in the Peiraeus, which superintended the corn trade, and prevented prices becoming exorbitant. [In the time of Aristotle (Constitution of Athens, 51) there were twenty in the city, and fifteen in the Peirseus.] (See commerce.)

Slaves. (I) Among the Greeks, besides a class of serfs like the Penesta: of Thessaly and the Helots of Sparta, who had come to this condition through being conquered in war, we find, even in Homeric times, actual slaves, not differing to a very great extent from the free. They seem to have been possessed in large numbers only by princes and chieftains, who either obtained them as booty on expeditions, or bought them from such robbers of men as the Phoeni­cians. In historic times we find the insti­tution of slavery very much developed, so that there is scarcely a State in which even poorer citizens do not own a male or female slave to do the rough work unworthy of a free man. In Attica, wrhen the State was in its most flourishing condition, there were 360,000 slaves, about four times the num­ber of free men. The Greeks justified slavery by alleging that there were certain barbarians who had been intended by nature to serve. As a matter of fact, the slaves were for the most part barbarians. In ex­ceptional cases Greeks also were captured in war; and were thus reduced to permanent slavery; but as a rule they were exchanged or freed on paying a ransom. The countries of Asia Minor, Thrace, and the northern

regions comprehended under the name of Scythia sent the greatest numbers to the slave-markets, of which the most important were at Delos, Chios, and Byzantium. Athens also had a slave-market, especially used by citizens who wished to expose slaves for sale that they wanted to get rid of. Most of the slaves in Attica were such as had been born from female slaves. The wealthy sometimes possessed several hundreds of them, of whom naturally only a part would be kept in the house. Some of the remain­der worked on the farms in the country, while others served on the merchantmen as rowers or sailors ; [others in the mines at Laurium]; others again, either singly, or in numbers in a manufactory and under a superintendent, were engaged in some trade on their master's account. The owners also sometimes let out slaves to others. The domestic slaves were employed in every conceivable kind of occupation in the house, and were also entrusted with the education of the boys, whom they had to accompany everywhere, especially to the school and to the pfiltestra; such slaves were called pcedHgogi. Indeed, as a rule, even the commonest Greek, if he could possibly manage it, never went out unes­corted by a slave ; while, if he was rich, a number of slaves followed him.

Their treatment differed according to the character and the pecuniary position of the owner, and also depended on their own good qualities and usefulness. In general, the Athenians were noted for being more humane towards their slaves than the rest of the Greeks. There were laws also that referred to them, and protected them against excessive caprice and harshness. But they had no legal rights ; they could neither bring a charge, nor appear as witnesses. It was only when they were put on the rack that their evidence had any weight attached to it. But the master could not kill a slave unless the latter had been condemned in a law-court; otherwise, he had to pay a penalty to some divinity. If cruelly treated, a slave could seek protection, usually in the temple of Theseus, and claim to be sold to another master. In case of maltreatment by a stranger, the master could bring a legal action, and obtain heavy damages. Slaves had no particular dress prescribed for them by law ; but they were not allowed to let their hair grow long. They were not pro­hibited from entering temples and sanctua­ries or from taking part in public religious festivals ; but they were excluded from the

Pages
About | First | Index

589

590

591
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.