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Jewish Slavery in Antiquity$
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Catherine Hezser

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280865

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280865.001.0001

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Between Slavery and Freedom

Between Slavery and Freedom

(p.105) 5 Between Slavery and Freedom
Jewish Slavery in Antiquity

Catherine Hezser (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Distinctions between slaves and free persons were far from clear-cut as far as status, work, and lifestyle were concerned. In their dependence on the householder, women and minors often resembled slaves; many slaves worked alongside free persons or were even better educated, clothed, and nourished than the free. In antiquity, everyone had to reckon with the possibility that he or she could become enslaved, but slaves could also hope to obtain freedom. In ancient society, some people seem to have stood on the border between slavery and freedom, being part of both worlds but not properly belonging to either of them. This was the case with half-slaves, who worked for themselves as well as for their masters, and with freed slaves, whose former enslavement had left a lasting mark and who had to fulfil certain obligations towards their former master, at least as far as Roman society is concerned.

Keywords:   Roman society, free persons, Rome, freedom, half-slaves, ancient society

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