By Christopher Leslie Brown, Philip D. Morgan
Arming slaves as infantrymen is a counterintuitive proposal. but all through historical past, in lots of different societies, slaveholders have entrusted slaves with using lethal strength. This ebook is the 1st to survey the perform extensively throughout house and time, encompassing the cultures of classical Greece, the early Islamic kingdoms of the close to East, West and East Africa, the British and French Caribbean, the U.S., and Latin America.
To facilitate cross-cultural comparisons, every one bankruptcy addresses 4 an important matters: the social and cultural evidence concerning the arming of slaves, the adventure of slave infantrymen, the ideological origins and outcomes of equipping enslaved peoples for conflict, and the influence of the perform at the prestige of slaves and slavery itself. What emerges from the publication is a brand new historic realizing: the arming of slaves is neither unusual nor paradoxical yet is as an alternative either predictable and explicable.
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Extra info for Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age
Most interesting for our purposes are the two types of arguments employed by pro-Messenian propagandists. ≥Ω This was to separate the subjection of Messenia from usual chattel slavery: the Messenians were not like slaves at all but were Greeks with their own mythical history going back to Nestor in the Iliad. This approach ended up prevailing because it reconciled the liberation of Messenia with its eventual position as a regular Greek citystate, led by slaveholders, which had been freed by another city, Thebes, led by slaveholders.
The circumstances of their original enslavement are largely unknown. Slaves were seen as inferior, having been defeated in war or coming from ‘‘barbarian’’ peoples. ∞∏ None of these ways of viewing slaves could easily be reconciled with their playing an important role in warfare, an activity so central to the self-deﬁnition of the male citizen. The juxtaposition of this seemingly overwhelming ideology and the barely mentioned participation of slaves in warfare have resulted in two very different historical approaches.
The Athenian citizens who were captured, two thousand of them, were massacred. Presumably, many of the Arginusae slaves did not choose to assert their citizenship at this particular juncture, although the alternative was likely reenslavement. ∫π When the Sparta-backed oligarchy of the Thirty was ousted in 403, a proposal to grant citizenship to the non-Athenians who had helped restore the democracy was passed. The motion was blocked by a jury-court decision on the grounds that the proposal was unconstitutional owing to a procedural irregularity.