By Christopher Leslie Brown, Philip D. Morgan
Arming slaves as infantrymen is a counterintuitive suggestion. but all through historical past, in lots of different societies, slaveholders have entrusted slaves with using lethal strength. This publication is the 1st to survey the perform commonly throughout area and time, encompassing the cultures of classical Greece, the early Islamic kingdoms of the close to East, West and East Africa, the British and French Caribbean, the U.S., and Latin America.
To facilitate cross-cultural comparisons, every one bankruptcy addresses 4 the most important concerns: the social and cultural proof concerning the arming of slaves, the event of slave squaddies, the ideological origins and outcomes of equipping enslaved peoples for conflict, and the impression of the perform at the prestige of slaves and slavery itself. What emerges from the e-book is a brand new ancient knowing: the arming of slaves is neither unusual nor paradoxical yet is in its place either predictable and explicable.
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Extra resources for Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age
The Scythian archers were armed slaves, but they were armed for internal rather than external purposes. Each hoplite, often an independent farmer, typically brought one of his 20 Peter Hunt slaves with him on a campaign. Such attendants played a key support role in warfare. In particular, they helped carry the hoplite’s armor, which weighed up to sixty pounds and was uncomfortable in the summer heat, and thus not put on until the last possible moment. The attendants might also help plunder or ravage the enemy’s countryside, throw stones at the enemy, and carry and care for the wounded.
Such practices, so contrary to Greek citizen militarism, tended to be neglected in the extant sources. The Macedonians’ defeat of Athens and its allies at the battle of Chaeronia in 338 bc brought the Classical period to an end. The old Greek city-states entered a period of domination by large kingdoms and their professional or mercenary armies. The Hellenistic kingdoms resulting from the conquests of Alexander the Great were not essentially slave societies. Their Greek-speaking 34 Peter Hunt elite still owned slaves, but the rural economy was dominated by a dependent peasantry.
Indeed, Athenian practices did not disrupt the system of slavery but were integrated into a pattern of incentives mainly intended for skilled urban slaves. The factors that made this system work were several. There was plenty of rowing—or Arming Slaves and Helots 29 better-paid work—to go around in imperial Athens. Citizens sometimes had to be drafted for the navy and supplemented with foreigners as well as slaves. Therefore, the free poor, whose clout in democratic Athens was considerable, were not typically deprived of jobs by slave rowers.
Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age by Christopher Leslie Brown, Philip D. Morgan