Slavery was a fundamental part of the ancient Roman world. In this course, we will survey various ways in which the institution of slavery played a critical role in shaping Roman society. Through an exploration of social, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of Roman slavery, we will pose questions of what it means to be a slave society, how the ubiquity of forced labor impacted the lives of ancient Romans, and the extent to which we can recover the experiences and subjectivities of enslaved people. Throughout the course, we will confront the interpretive problems posed by biased and/or scarce evidence and by assumptions we may carry as the inheritors of modern slaveries. A recurring theme we will explore is the extent to which evidence of slavery and the material traces of enslaved people's lives are visible in the archaeological record. At the end of the term, we will contextualize Roman slavery by comparing it with modern examples and by considering the legacy of ancient slavery in modern visual culture and representations of enslaved people.
Prerequisites: Any 100- or 200-level course in art history or archaeology; or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: FA AH; BU IS; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; EN H