While much has been written about the concepts of slavery and freedom in ancient Greece, far less attention has been paid to the institution of manumission, which ‘bridges’ the gap between the two opposite poles of slavery and freedom. At the same time, our understanding of Greek manumission is severely undermined by modern scholarly approaches that are informed by a general rejection of legal data and by the over-imposition of modern categories on the ancient material. By contrast, this book adopts an emic legal approach to the ancient documents, therefore presenting a new understanding of the institution in light of the Greeks’ own conceptualisations. This analysis focuses on the most relevant sources for Greek manumission in order to isolate the fundamental features characterising both the legal nature of the act of manumission, and the legal and factual dimensions of the condition of manumitted slaves (whether under paramone obligation or not). This book ultimately shows not only that the Greeks’ conceptualisation of manumission is underpinned by a solid and pragmatic understanding of key legal concepts such as slavery, freedom and ownership, but also that this institution is informed by common legal principles shared by different geographical and chronological contexts of the Greek world.
After graduating in Law at the Università degli Studi di Padova, Sara Zanovello completed a joint-PhD programme between the Università degli Studi di Padova (School of Law) and the University of Edinburgh (School of History, Classics and Archaeology). This book illustrates and further supports the arguments discussed in her doctoral dissertation. She has published articles on various aspects of ancient Greek and Ro-man law.
From Slave to Free
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