Same Slave Different Land

  1. Citation for article:

Sara Forsdyke. (2015). SLAVES, STORIES, AND CULTS Conflict Resolution between Masters and Slaves in Ancient Greece. Common Knowledge, 21(1), 19-43.

2. This article is apart of a scholarly journal, Duke University Press. It’s intended audience is college students or professors interested in the history Slavery in ancient Greece and its resolution.

3. This article “Spoke to me” because of its title and that I had trouble finding whether the author ever mentions Sicily. I read it twice! Thankfully, adobe reader has a useful tool called “find” (control + “F”).The author explains in greater depths how ancient people thought of slavery as “natural and inevitable”  (Forsdyke,2015). She writes: “One of the most colorful and explicit of the didactic stories on this theme is told about a Sicilian slave owner named Damophilos whose abuse of his many slaves was viewed as a
contributing cause of the First Sicilian Slave War of 135 to 132 BCE.” (Forsdyke,2015). As the story goes, a slave owner, Damophilos, and his wife, Megallis competed in horrific ways to torture their slaves. The slaves were tortured so much they grew hate toward their sadistic masters and rebelled, killing them both in the sadistic ways they had been punished. The story was written to explain that if slaves were treated as human they would behave and arrogant owners are the reason the “slaves were reduced to
the level of wild beasts” (Forsdyke, 2015). The tale of this slave rebellion highly relates to the slave rebellion of the united states by implying that if slaves were treated as human, not abused and given care then they would have no reason to rebel or feel less than. The author offers a reason the term “slavery” is considered bad because of the treatment of the slaves and not the labor they had to do.


Miserable Slave life

I searched up Sicily Rome “Slave Rebellion” “United States” on the website and the name of the article is “Slavery and Slave Rebellions before 1500” By Slave Revolts. The primary intended audience of the publication are people who interesting in the process of slavery and want to know why slaves rebelled.

The author connected the search terms “slave” and describes the miserable life of slaves. For example, the author said “that slaves were property; that they were outsiders who were alien by origin or who had been denied their heritage through judicial or other sanctions; that coercion could be used at will; that their labor power was at the complete disposal of a master; that they did not have the right to their own sexuality and, by extension, to their own reproductive capacities; and that the slave status was inherited unless provision was made to ameliorate that status.” This illustrates, in the past, slaves were regarded as property. They were trafficked and forced to perform menial tasks. Their lives were spent in slavery and trafficking. They have no right to decide their own life, or even their offspring. It was pathetic.

This article is seems relevant to the text Diodorus. For examples, “bought up an abundance of slaves; who being driven in droves like so many herds of cattle from the different places where they were bred and brought up, were branded with certain marks burnt on their bodies.” “so that most of them were forced to rob and steal, to get these necessities: so that all places were full of slaughters and murders, as if an army of thieves and robbers had been dispersed all over the island.” This shows, the environment of slave life is so hard. They are not taken seriously, and live a life of hunger and toil every day.

-ShuLinTan, Team Venus

Slavery in Chios

You’ve probably never heard of a place named Chios. You probably have no clue about it’s history and stories. Sara Forsdyke can help give you an idea. In Forsdyke’s article “SLAVES, STORIES, AND CULTS Conflict Resolution between Masters and Slaves in Ancient Greece”, she writes of a runaway slave, Drimakos. Drimakos had left behind his life as a slave and led other slaves to do the same. With some military experience, Drimakos fought against the Chian slave masters and was often victorious. Seeing the weak opponent, Drimakos developed a treaty with the Chian masters. Drimakos could take what he wanted from the Chians and in return, he would send back any runaway slaves without reasonable cause to leave. Drimakos, through time, had grown into a cruel authoritarian. So much so that runaway slaves would prefer to stay with their Chian masters rather than stay under Drimakos’ rule. Eventually, the city of Chios placed a bounty on Drimakos’ head. Drimakos was now old and allowed his young boyfriend to kill him and collect the bounty. The Chians eventually placed a shrine for Drimakos in the countryside, where runaway slaves would sacrifice things that they stole. Many Chians can sometimes see Drimakos in their sleep, where he warns them of their slaves’ plots. Forsdyke follows this story up with great analysis of other myths and historical events including slave rebellions.

The proper MLA citation of this article is as follows:

Forsdyke, Sara. “SLAVES, STORIES, AND CULTS: Conflict Resolution between Masters and Slaves in Ancient Greece.” Common Knowledge, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 19–43., doi:10.1215/0961754x-2818001.

Forsdyke’s audience for this article would be anybody interested in the history and themes of slave rebellions. Many myths and stories, including the story of Drimakos, have come about from communities of either slaves or their masters. These stories help us connect with previous history and understand how life was for slaves or their masters.

Diodorus writes in “The Library, fragments from books 34/35″ of the first Sicilian slave revolt. “The rich men of Sicily rivalled the Italians in pride, greed, and wickedness; for many of the Italians who had great numbers of slaves had driven their shepherds to such a degree of villainy, that they allowed them to rob and steal, rather than provide them with any necessary subsistence.” (27). The evil behind the slave masters of Sicily can be compared to that of the Chians. Both slave masters allowed their slaves to steal in order to survive, rather than to properly feed them. The cruelty behind their actions helps us to understand the life and community of a slave master, similar to Forsdyke’s article.

-Ahmad B. Khan, Team Mars

Slavery in Greece

I searched up Sicily Rome “Slave rebellion” “United States” on the Brooklyn Library website and came across an article called “SLAVES, STORIES, AND CULTS: Conflict Resolution between Masters and Slaves in Ancient Greece” by Sara Forsdyke. This article talks about slavery and a slave rebellion on the island of Chios. Forsdyke explains the two sides of this event. On one hand, the slave rebellion can be seen as a “heroic [attempt by a] slave over his masters”. But the event also raises the argument of how such rebellions can be controlled by masters if they “treat their slaves humanely”.

Although the author doesn’t connect the search terms together, this article can relate back to the text, Diodorus, where it states, “Those whom fate has placed in a lowly position will gladly yield to their superiors in honor and glory, but if they are denied the kindness which they deserve, they revolt against the men who act like cruel despots.” The Romans governed the slaves using fear. But fear can motivate the slaves to revolt. Similarly, the slaves in ancient Greece rebelled because they weren’t treated “humanely”. Perhaps if both ancient Greece and the Romans had treated their slaves better, there wouldn’t have been a rebellion.

Aisha · Team Ares

MLA Citation

Sara Forsdyke. “SLAVES, STORIES, AND CULTS Conflict Resolution between Masters and Slaves in Ancient Greece.” Common Knowledge, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 19–43.


Slavery’s Deep History

After searching for “Sicily Slave Rome Haiti” on the Brooklyn CUNY library website, there was an article that caught my attention. In Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in New Testament Studies by J. Albert Harrill, I found that his studies would benefit anyone that wanted to know about slavery and how it reveals the unsettling and dark truth history tries to leave behind. Harill explains that under Roman expansion, there were very few slave revolts, which would seem surprising to many because anyone being held against their will and forced to do labor would do anything for their freedom. The slaves that were under ancient Roman rule learned to coexist with their masters through fear of losing their life. They only revolted if they were violently abused. Romans did not have a racial justification as to why they enslaved people, but their harsh and violent punishments inflicted fear upon the slaves made it easier to tame them. By dehumanizing them and viewing them as animals, they were able to control their mentality and make them work for them with little to no objections. In the articles it states, “The world history of slavery reveals slave revolts to be extremely rare occurrences; only four outright slave wars are known: one in modern Haiti, two in ancient Sicily, and one led by Spartacus in ancient Italy. Moreover, the ancient revolts occurred in a very limited time span in the context of massive military expansion and political upheaval in the late Roman Republic.” (Pg.509) Slavery not only allowed for the Romans to expand on their land, military, and political ideals in society, but it also made them progress and grow economically. It gave slave owners power because they provided a cheap labor source that made exponential profits.

In the ancient text of Diodorus, book 33 states, “Those whom fate has placed in a lowly position will gladly yield to their superiors in honour and glory, but if they are denied the kindness which they deserve, they revolt against the men who act like cruel despots.” Though the slaves were forced to coexist with the Romans out of fear, there is a certain point where they can no longer accept being violently oppressed. There were few slave revolts because they were afraid of the consequences. Romans thought that by dehumanizing and abusing their slaves, it would lead to obedience, but they failed to acknowledge that pain could also give them strength to rebel. It is not an uncommon thing to see how hate can become a driven passion for survival. Diodorus shows how ancient Romans handled slavery and Harill explains the technique used to keep them in check. Both show the underlying purpose as to why each side acted the way they did and how slavery in and of itself is a cruel, dark, and inhumane part of history that will never be forgotten.

MLA citation:
Harrill, J. Albert, “Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in New Testament Studies”, The Ohio State University, USA, Biblical Interpretation 21-4-5 (2013) 506-514

 Mary H., Team Vulcan

Spartacus the Slave

The term I searched was Sicily Slave Rome Haiti. The article I selected was, “The ghost of Spartacus”, and its MLA citation is Diken, Bülent. “The Ghost of Spartacus.” Journal of War &Amp; Culture Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 2011, pp. 399–411. This article was written for those who admire Spartacus and those who are interested in Roman slavery. The author connects the search terms “Slave” and “Rome” by explaining how how the slaves were the ones that kept Rome together. “The slaves ‘are always with us, and we are the unique product of slaves and slavery. That is what makes us Romans’ . As such,as the ‘irrational’ element of a rational totality, the slave is the symptomatic  point at which Rome encounters its own unreason”(Fast 1960: 39). This quote explains how the slaves were always attached to the Romans and without the slaves, the Romans would not be able to think for themselves. “That is what makes us Romans”, proves this even more by explaining how people cannot be Romans without slaves.”The Spartacus War deprives Rome of the commerce of all south Italy. As a result, half the precincts of Rome are without bread and the city is close to panic”(BÜLENT DIKEN). Without the help of the slaves, the Romans cannot defend for themselves. They rely on the slaves for assistance and struggle when going against them.

“Those agricultural operations are performed by slaves with fettered ankles and by the hands of malefactors with branded faces! although the Earth who is addressed as our mother and whose cultivation is spoken of as worship is not so dull that when we obtain even our farm-work from these persons one can believe that this is not done against
her will and to her indignation”(Readings for CLAS 1110 on the Roman Republic, page 18). This quote shows the importance of slaves, as the slaves were the ones that took care of farming for the Romans. Without the slaves, the crops would not be cared for and the Romans would have to take of it themselves.


Diken, Bülent. “The Ghost of Spartacus.” Journal of War &Amp; Culture Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 2011, pp. 399–411

“Readings for CLAS 1110 on the Roman Republic.”,

Frank,Team Artemis