Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/236

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recognition of the right of the slave to his peculium; and the same is implied in Cicero's statement that a diligent slave could in six years purchase his freedom. Augustus set himself against the undue multiplication of manumissions, probably considering the rapid succession of new citizens a source of social instability, and recommended a similar policy to his successor. The lex Aelia Sentia (about a.d. 3) forbade manumission, except in strictly limited cases, by masters under 20 years of age or of slaves under 30; and the lex Furia Caninia (about a.d. 7) fixed the proportion of a man's slaves which he could liberate by testament, and forbade more than a hundred being so enfranchised, whatever might be the the number of the familia. Under the empire the freedmen rose steadily in influ- ence; they became admissible to the rank of equites and to the senate; they obtained provincial governments, and were appointed to offices in the imperial household which virtually placed them at the head of administrative departments (see Pallas and Narcissus). Freedmen of humbler rank, on the other hand, filled the minor offices in the administrative service, in the city cohorts, and in the army; and we shall find that they entered largely into the trades and professions when free labour began to revive. They appeared also in literature, e.g. Tiro, the amanuensis of Cicero; Hyginus, the librarian of Augustus; Livius Andronicus, Caecilius, Statius, Terence, Publilius Syrus, Phaedrus and Epictetus.

In the 2nd century of the Christian era we find a marked change with respect to the institution of slavery, both in the region of thought and in that of law. Already the principles of reason and humanity had been applied to the subject by Seneca. But it was in the 2nd century, as we have said, that " the victory of moral ideas " in this, as in other departments of life, became " decisive. . . . Dio Chrysostom, the adviser of Trajan, is the first Greek writer who has pronounced the principle of slavery to be contrary to the law of nature " (Mark Pattison). And a parallel change is found in the practical policy of the state. The military vocation of Rome was now felt to have reached its normal limits; and the emperors, under- standing that, in the future, industrial activity must prevail, prepared the abolition of slavery as far as was then possible, by honouring the freedmen, by protecting the slave against his master, and by facilitating manumissions. The general tendency both of the imperial constitutions and of the maxims of the legists is in favour of liberty. The practices of exposure and sale of children, and of giving them in pledge for debt, are forbidden. Diocletian forbade a free man to sell himself. Kidnappers (plagiarii) were punished with death. The insolvent debtor was withdrawn from the yoke of his creditor. While the slave trade was permitted, the mutilation of boys and young men, too often practised, was punished with exile and even with death. In redhibitory actions (for the annulment of sales), if a slave were returned to the seller, so must also be his parents, brothers and personae contubernio conjunctae. In the inter- pretation of testaments it was to be assumed that members of the same family were not to be separated by the division of the succession. The law also favoured in special cases the security of the peculium, though in general principle it still remained the property of the master. The state granted to public slaves the right of bequeathing half their possessions; and private persons sometimes permitted similar dispositions even to a greater extent, though only within the familia. Hadrian took from masters the power of life and death and abolished the subterranean prisons. Antoninus Pius punished him who killed his own slave as if he had killed another's. Already in the time of Nero the magistrates had been ordered to receive the slave's complaint of ill-treatment; and the lex Petronia, belonging to the same or an earlier period, forbade masters to hand over their slaves to combats with wild beasts. Antoninus directed that slaves treated with excessive cruelty, who had taken refuge at an altar or imperial image, should be sold ; and this provision was extended to cases in which the master had employed a slave in a way degrading to him or beneath his character. M. Aurelius gave to masters an action against their slaves for any cause of complaint, thus bringing their relation more directly under the surveillance of law and public opinion. A slave's oath could still not be taken in a court of law; he was interrogated by the "question"; but the emperors and jurists limited in various ways the application of torture, adding, however, as we have mentioned, to the cases in which it could previously be appealed to that of the crime of majestas. For certain alleged offences of the master the slave could bring an action, being represented for the purpose by an adserlor. Emancipation was facilitated. The power of imposing conditions on testamentary manumissions was restricted, and these conditions interpreted in the sense most favourable to freedom. The emperor could confer liberty by presenting a gold ring to a slave with the consent of the master, and the legal process called restitutio natalium made him a full citizen. It was decided that liberty could not be forfeited even by a prescrip- tion of sixty years' duration.

The rise of Christianity in the Roman world still further improved the condition of the slave. The sentiments it created were not only favourable to the humane treatment of the class in the Influence p resen t j but were the germs out of which its entire libera- tion was destined, at a later period, in part to arise. It is sometimes objected that the Christian church did not denounce slavery as a social crime and insist on its abolition. We have seen that slavery was a fundamental element of the old Roman

of Chris- tianity.

constitution. When the work of conquest had been achieved, it could not be expected that a radical alteration should be suddenly wrought either in the social system which was in harmony with it, or even in the general ideas which had grown up under its influence. The latter would, indeed, be gradually affected; and accordingly we have observed a change in the policy of the law, indicating a change in sentiment with respect to the slave class, which does not appear to have been at all due to Christian teaching. But the institution itself could not be at once seriously disturbed. The results must have been disastrous, most of all to the slave population itself. Before that end could be accomplished, an essentially new social situation must come into existence. But in the meantime much might be done towards further mitigating the evils of slavery, especially by impressing on master and slave their relative duties and controlling their behaviour towards one another by the exercise of an independent moral authority. This was the work open to the Christian priesthood, and it cannot be denied that it was well dis- charged. Whilst the fathers agree with the Stoics of the 2nd century in representing slavery as an indifferent circumstance in the eye of religion and morality, the contempt for the class which the Stoics too often exhibited is in them replaced by a genuine sympathy. They protested against the multiplication of slaves from motives of vanity in the houses of the great, against the gladiatorial combats (ulti- mately abolished by the noble self-devotion of a monk) and against the consignment of slaves to the theatrical profession, which was often a school of corruption. The church also encouraged the emanci- pation of individual slaves and the redemption of captives. And its influence is to be seen in the legislation of the Christian emperors, which softened some of the harshest features that still marked the institution. But a stronger influence of Christianity appears in Theodosius, and this influence is at the highest in the legislation of Justinian. Its systematic effort is, in his own words, " pro libertate, quam et fovere et tueri Romanis legibus et praecipue nostra numini peculiare est. ' ' Law still refused in general to recognize the marriages of slaves; but Justinian gave them a legal value after emancipation in establishing rights of succession. Unions between slaves and free women, or between a freeman and the female slave of another, continued to be forbidden, and were long punished in certain circum- stances with atrocious severity. As witness, the slave was still subject to the question; as criminal, he was punished with greater rigour than the freeman. If he accused his master of a crime, unless the charge was of treason, he was burnt. But he could maintain a legal claim to his own liberty, not now merely through an odsertor, but in person. A female slave was still held incapable of the offence of adultery; but Justinian visited with death alike the rape of a slave or freedwoman and that of a free maiden. Already the master who killed his slave had been punished as for homicide, except in the case of his unintended death under correction ; Constantine treated as homicide a number of specially-enumerated acts of cruelty. Even under Theodosius the combats of the amphitheatre were permitted, if not encouraged, by the state authorities; these sports were still expected from the candidates for public honours. Combats of men with beasts were longest continued ; they had not ceased even in the early years of the reign of Justinian. A new process of manu- mission was now established, to be performed in the churches through the intervention of the ministers of religion; and it was provided that clerics could at any time by mere expression of will liberate their slaves. Slaves who were admitted' to holy orders, or who entered a monastery, became freemen, under certain restrictions framed to prevent . fraud or injustice. Justinian abolished the personal conditions which the legislation of Augustus had required to be satisfied by the master who emancipated and the slave who was manumitted, and removed the limitation of number. The liberated slave, whatever the process by which he had obtained his freedom, became at once a full citizen, his former master, however, retaining the right of patronage, the abolition of which would probably have discouraged emancipation.

Transition to Serfdom. — The slavery of the working classes was not directly changed into the system of personal freedom. There was an intermediate stage which has not always been sufficiently discriminated from slavery. We mean the regime of serfdom. In studying the origin of this transitional state of things, four principal considerations have to be kept in view. (1) As Gibbon observes, the completion of the Roman system of conquest reduced the supply of slaves. It is true that, when the barbarian invasions began in the 3rd century, many captives were made, who, when not enrolled in the army, were employed in agriculture or domestic service; but the regular importation was increasingly diminished. This improved the condition of the slave by rendering his existence an object of greater value to his master. It was clearly to the interest of each family to preserve indefinitely its own hereditary slaves. Hence the abolition of the external slave trade tended, in fact, to put an end to internal sales, and the slaves became attached to the households or lands of their masters. (2) The diminished supply