Articles with keyword: captives

Barbarians at the Gate: Foreign Slaves in Greek City-States
Kelly Wrenhaven Cleveland State University


Volume 1, Issue 1

 | pp.



This article considers the relationship between interconnectivity and Greek slavery, in particular, the slave trade and the geographical sources of slaves in Greek city-states. Since there exists no extant treatment of the slave-trade from Greek antiquity, most of the evidence is indirect and focuses primarily upon the Classical period. A variety of source material is examined, including Greek drama, art, historiography, and inscriptions. Of specific interest is the often problematic nature of the evidence for the slave trade and the ethnicity of slaves. Although it is clear that the Greeks traded in foreign slaves, how most slaves were acquired and from where are questions that continue to confound modern scholars. This article does not seek to provide a definitive answer to these questions, but aims to further the discussion through a consideration of why the Greeks preferred foreign slaves, how slaves were procured and from where, how we might determine the ethnicity of slaves through indirect evidence (such as names), and the presence of foreign slaves in Attica, where most of the source material originates.