Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/281

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257
SERFS, SLAVES, SOCIAL CLASSES

it would speedily become apparent to them that these men were much more their own than were the peasant cultivators and common men of their own race.[1] The slave could be commanded to do all sorts of things for his master that the quasi-free common man would not do so willingly because of his attachment to his own patch of cultivation. From a very early period the artificer was often a household slave, and the manufacture of trade goods, pottery, textiles, metal ware, and so forth, such as went on vigorously in the household city of the Minos of Cnossos, was probably a slave industry from the beginning. Sayce, in his Babylonians and Assyrians,[2] quotes Babylonian agreements for the teaching of trades to slaves, and dealing with the exploitation of slave products. Slaves produced slave children, enslavement in discharge of debts added to the slave population; it is probable that as the cities grew larger, a larger part of the new population consisted of these slave artificers and slave servants in the large households. They were by no means abject slaves; in later Babylon their lives and property were protected by elaborate laws. Nor were they all outlanders. Parents might sell their children into slavery, and brothers their orphan sisters. Free men who had no means of livelihood would even sell themselves into slavery. And slavery was the fate of the insolvent debtor. Craft apprenticeship, again, was a sort of fixed-term slavery. Out of the slave population, by a converse process, arose the freed-man and freed-woman, who worked for

  1. The student should compare with this J. J. Atkinson's account (in his Primal Law) of the significance of marriage by capture and his theory of the origin of marriage.
  2. See also his shorter Social Life of the Babylonians and Assyrians.