Go to page Content

The Roman News: Trading News – text only version

<Left column: Advertisement 1> WAITER WANTED Boy, 12-14 years old. Must be good-looking and born to a slave family. Should speak both Greek and Latin. Good price offered. Box No. 3985


<Left column: Advertisement 2> TUTOR FOR SALE Well-educated Greek teacher, 28 years old, to instruct your children at home. Only 800 Sesterth. Box No. 8294


<Left column: Advertisement 3> FOR SALE Two Britons, very strong, suitable for farm work. Able to understand a few words of Latin. Box No. 5482


<Left column: Advertisement 4> NEW SLAVES JUST IN - Prisoners of war—from all corners of the Empire, and beyond! Educated Greek slaves, strong barbarians from Germany and Britain, also slaves from Egypt, Africa and India. - New batch of criminals—most have been reserved by the government to work in the mines, sweep the roads, and perform other public duties, but some are available for private buyers. All our slaves have their age and condition clearly listed. And we guarantee to warn you of any limps, varicose veins, or other sicknesses. THE SLAVE MARKET, TRAJAN’S FORUM, ROME


<Right column>


Illustrated by MAXINE HAMIL


YOU’RE JUST ABOUT to set up house—and no home is complete without slaves. But how do you choose and buy them? By taking The Roman News’s advice, of course!


FIRST, how many slaves will you need? Well, if you’re rich, you can own as many as you like, A wealthy family may have up to 500 to run all its houses and farms, and some emperors have had as many as 20,000 slaves. But let’s assume you’re a more typical case—you’ll want at least five or six slaves.


Next, you’ll have to decide exactly what sort of slaves to buy. It’s worth paying extra for a few highly trained people—a cook, a tailor, and maybe a secretary.


Then you’ll want a strong man for all the heavy work, and some attractive young slaves to serve your guests at dinner parties.


Now for the tricky part. Which are the best kind of slaves?


We advise buying the children of other slaves, even if they cost most. They’ve grown up in slavery and they’ve been working since they could walk, so they don’t know any other way of life.


Alternatively, you could try children whose parents have abandoned them. These youngsters won’t cost you anything, and there are plenty of places around town where they can be found. Bring them up as part of the family, and you’ll find that they’re very loyal.


But remember: If these children can ever prove that their parents weren’t slaves, then you won’t be able to keep them.


Sometimes you can buy prisoners of war—though often they don’t speak Latin—or criminals who’ve lost their freedom as a punishment. Both kinds can be cheap, so see what’s offered at your local market.


<Pull quote in reverse type>NO FREEDOM FOR SLAVES


One last word of warning—some people allow their slaves to keep any tips they’re given so that they can eventually buy their freedom. We urge you not to do this, as you’ll only have to buy and train more slaves.


<Image of a man and a woman in plain tunics working in a graden by a Roman villa> HARD-WEARING: Strong fit slaves are useful for the hundreds of heavy jobs around the house and yard.


Extracts from The Roman News by Andrew Langley and Philip de Souza, Candlewick Press, reproduced with permission of Walker Books, text © Andrew Langley 1996.