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The Legal Understanding of SlaveryFrom the Historical to the Contemporary$
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Jean Allain

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660469.001.0001

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The Nature of Slavery

The Nature of Slavery

(p.9) 1 The Nature of Slavery
The Legal Understanding of Slavery

Antony Honoré

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a reading of Roman law to study the nature of slavery. Roman law was the first system that legalized slavery in detail and simultaneously admitted that it was open to objection. It shows that slavery led to the rise of manumission, or the freeing of slaves. Next, it looks at slavery as an institution that prevents the natural capacities of reasoning and choice, and discusses the influence of Stoic philosophy on Roman lawyers. It also explains how slavery and its criticisms were understood in Roman law. Finally, this chapter shows how people became slaves and takes a look at some elements of ownership.

Keywords:   Roman law, nature of slavery, manumission, Stoic philosophy, elements of ownership, slavery

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