The University of Wisconsin Press

Classics / Archaeology / Art / History


The Slave in Greece and Rome
Jean Andreau and Raymond Descat
Translated by Marion Leopold

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Laura McClure, and Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, Series Editors

“[This] excellent monograph . . . covers chattel slavery from Mycenean times to the end of the Roman empire.
. . . Its focus is on the economic use and the everyday existence of slaves, particularly in classical Athens and republican and imperial Rome.”

—Niall McKeown, The Classical Review

Jean Andreau and Raymond Descat break new ground in this comparative history of slavery in Greece and Rome. Focusing on slaves’ economic role in society, their crucial contributions to Greek and Roman culture, and their daily and family lives, the authors examine the different ways in which slavery evolved in the two cultures. Accessible to both scholars and students, this book provides a detailed overview of the ancient evidence and the modern debates surrounding the vast and largely invisible populations of enslaved peoples in the classical world.

Jean Andreau is professor of history at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Raymond Descat is professor of history at the University of Bordeaux.


“Andreau and Descat have taken on a difficult task in their effort not only to discuss over one thousand years of slavery but also to synthesize and contextualize what is often very problematic source material, produced by two societies which were not terribly interested in any sort of systematic discussion of slavery. The end result is an eminently readable study, which also serves as an exemplary model of comparative history.”
New England Classical Journal

“A concise and elegant summary of what is known about classical slavery. The authors provide a rich and well-written argument, moving among various kinds of evidence, literary and material, and treating historiographical difficulties and scholarly controversies without getting lost in them. One of its great virtues is the constant interplay between Greek and Roman practices, providing a model of comparative study.”
—Page duBois, author of Slavery: Antiquity and Its Legacy and Slaves and Other Objects

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The cover of The Slave is illustrated with statue of a slave.

December 2011
LC: 2011018956 HT
232 pp.    6 x 9

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Paper $26.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-28374-2
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• 2006 French edition, Esclave en Grèce et à Rome, published by Hachette Littératures




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