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