Living with Roman slavery: evidential approaches to understanding the slave experience ADED11972E

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 5
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course gives students a short introduction to the life of a slave in ancient Rome. Due to the lack of evidence from slaves themselves, it will emphasise the importance of using a variety of evidentiary sources (literature, legislation and material culture) when studying Roman slavery and will use those to develop an understanding of the life of a slave, from the point of enslavement to the point of manumission.


Block 3, weeks 1-5

2 hours per week for 5 weeks

Wednesdays, 19.00-21.00

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





2 gobbet-style source analyses of a textual and an archaeological primary source, accompanied by a short discussion of how they contribute to our views of slavery in ancient Rome (c.1000 words in total). 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to ancient source materials, both archaeological and textual 

■ Expose the biases in primary sources and see past them to engage with the evidence they contain

■ Provide a balanced insight into Roman slavery from what is often fragmentary or one-sided evidence

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain how slavery functioned in Roman society

■ Identify and evaluate the wide-ranging and often fragmentary evidence of Roman slavery

■ Demonstrate a critical approach to ancient source materials.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.