Ancient Greece was a great civilization. The Greeks invented many things and their civilization thrived. The Greeks were spectacular sea traders and they became rich off of trading goods and services. One thing that contributed to the rise and productivity of ancient Greece was slaves. At one point there were more slaves then citizens in Athens Greece and Sparta relied soley on slaves to provide food for their soldiers. In this article I go into detail about the use and value of slaves in Ancient Greece.
Slavery played a major role in ancient Greece. Many of the people living in Ancient Greece were slaves. This was a contributing factor in th rise of Ancient Greece as a superpower in the ancient world. Slaves could be found everywhere. Slaves worked in fields,mines,offices almost anywhere you could find a slave. Slaves were a very good and bad thing in ancient Greece on one hand they offered cheap labor on the other they took away many jobs from Greek citizens.
Slaves where produced in 2 ways. One they were brought in from another country. The second way is that they were born slaves. No one in Greece was safe from becoming a slave. Some Greek people who were born Greek became slaves when they failed to pay debts they owed other people. In some city states if you failed to pay your debts you could be turned into a slave.
Many middle and upper class citizens owned slaves. Some wealthy merchants owned hundreds of slaves. Without slaves Greece would not have been the leading producer of Olive Oil in the ancient world due to the fact that most of the olive oil was produced by slaves on farms. Slaves allowed the Greeks to produce a large number of olives to sell. At one point in Athens there were more slaves then citizens. This is a great example of how the Greeks depended on slaves. To many people slaves were considered assets. they were bought and sold like a commodity in the local agora.
surprisingly some slaves worked for the city states themselves. In Athens trustworthy slaves could be found in the local treasury and worked on police force.
The value of a slave was determined on what their skills were,gender,size,age,strength and a few other few factors. Young male slaves could fetch a high price in the market because they could be used to work in mines and on farms. Old slaves of any gender did not have much value and young girl slaves could also have value as they where used as prostitutes in ancient Greece. It is important to remember that in todays prices less then 200 dollars were paid for most slaves. Sometimes slave were bought for less then 10 dollars at the market. A big factor in finding a slaves price was the supply. After winning big battles there was often a surplus of slaves meaning the prices dropped drastically. On the other hand there were times when there was very few slaves available on the market and prices soared. Also because of this food prices and other commoditys soared. Since slaves where used in agraculutre and many other industrys, when there was a shortage everybody suffered.
In conclusion slavery was a big business in ancient Greece. Without slaves the Greece would not have thrived as well as they did. Slaves were the backbone of the Greek world.