Empty Days

Friday, October 15, 2004



Sancta libertas.

The other slaves are not employed after our manner with distinct domestic duties assigned to them, but each one has the management of a house and home of his own. The master requires from the slave a certain quantity of grain, of cattle, and of clothing, as he would from a tenant, and this is the limit of subjection. All other household functions are discharged by the wife and children. To strike a slave or to punish him with bonds or with hard labor is a rare occurrence. They often kill them, not in enforcing strict discipline, but on the impulse of anger, as they would an enemy, only it is done with impunity. The freedmen do not rank much above slaves, and are seldom of any weight in the family, never in the community with the exception of those tribes which are ruled by kings. There indeed they rise above the freeborn and the noble; elsewhere the inferior condition of freedmen is a proof of public liberty.

Tacitus, Germania





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