Barry Strauss on Slave Wars

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For this assignment we will explore Roman slavery. Please read Barry Strauss on Slave Wars, and the selection of primary sources on slavery. These are attached and under the Lessons tab. There are a variety of short sources here for you to think about. Now the idea is for you to try to put these together into an imaginary story.

Drawing on the readings write an imaginary biography of a Roman slave in about 200 words or more. Cite at least three sources in your text (just put the number of the primary source in parentheses at the end of the sentence it inspired). You can also cite (Strauss, p. x), if you use Strauss (which I recommend).

You could write the story of an imagined gladiator, or rebel like Spartacus who was in fact a gladiator (see the BBC site on gladiators), but don’t rewrite the life of Spartacus. You could chose a female perspective as well. Read the sources carefully for your thoughts on how life for a slave might have changed during their life. What kinds of conditions did they live under (of course there was variety but follow what the sources suggest)? What challenges did they face? What decisions or choices might slaves make? What forms of resistance could they offer (including but not only rebellion).

Give it a try! Write the imaginary biography of a Roman slave.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And don’t forget the graffiti if you want to draw a picture of your slave!

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