Although slaves constituted a danger for their masters in certain regards, masters retained an ultimate authority over their household dependants. This authority was executed by physically punishing their slaves. The physical violence indicated that masters had unlimited control over their slaves' bodies. The control of slave owners' anger, on the one hand, and the problem of slaves' obedience, on the other, constituted serious issues which were discussed by philosophers and regulated by Roman imperial legislation. The proper and improper punishment of slaves also concerned rabbis, whose suggestions resembled Roman law in some respects but also differed from it in important particulars, especially as far as the master's power over his slave's life and death is concerned.
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