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Harshly treated often to the point of death the slaves of the Roman Republic led a less than envious life The slaves were such a repressed and overwrought people that their only relief came from rebellion or death The character of slavery under the early Romans was especially brutal in Sicily Greek historian Diodorus Siculus details the treatment and impact of slavery on the moral character of both slaves and masters As the Roman Republic expanded so did the number of slaves The slaves were most likely prisoners of war from the countries conquered by Rome Other sources for slavery included criminals debtors and those captured by pirates to be sold at the slave market Slavery was usually an inherited hardship similar to American slavery Yet unlike Americas history with slavery Roman slavery was not the result of racial injustice A variety of nationalities representing the conquered by Rome made up the slave class Different attributes of slaves were actually sought at the slave market black Africans and blond Germans were particular favorites Other factors determining the value of a slave included their demeanor age and sex The slaves of the Roman Republic performed a variety of duties The slaves catered to the needs of the elite tended the fields of those of modest fortunes and toiled in the mines of Iberia For the productiveness of a slave many Roman masters found a kind hand to be better than a harsh one But there were also those who thought that the slaves must be harshly treated to perform to the masters expectations In Sicily the slave owners subjected the slaves to inhumane treatment on a broad scale Slaves in Sicily were branded with the mark of their owner upon being purchased at market and were shackled in iron Sicilian slaves received only
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