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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Graeco-Roman slavery can be properly understood only when compared with slave practices in other ancient societies. This chapter shows that in ancient Israel, Egypt, and Babylonia slavery had a major impact on almost all areas of daily life. Therefore Finley’s categorical distinction between slave societies and slave-holding societies must be dismissed. The main difference between Roman and Near Eastern slaving seems to have been political: Rome at the time of the empire was an imperialist society whose conquests led to mass slavery. When conditions were similar (e.g. during conquests), similar slave practices emerged in Near Eastern societies. Other aspects of slavery may have been affected by Roman practices or developed in analogy to Roman customs. At the same time, all developments must also be understood within the context of the respective Near Eastern societies themselves.

Keywords: Jews, Judaism, Israel, Egypt, Babylonia, Persian, Zoroastrian, Bible, Rabbis

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