Rome was a slave society. Slave labour was utilised in almost every aspect of life, from manual work or household duties to management and secretarial positions. Slaves could be acquired in a number of ways, such as captives from warfare, piracy, and trade with other societies and countries. Slaves might also be ‘home-bred’, as the children of slaves were born slaves (even if their father was actually the Roman master of the household!). ‘Home-bred’ slaves were sometimes considered to be better than other slaves, as they were expected to be more loyal and could be educated for specific tasks from their childhood. Tiro, born on the family estate, is one of these ‘home-bred’ slaves.
This video provides some general information on slavery and manumission in Rome. It is a video made by HBO for its TV series Rome. Specific slaves mentioned in the video are characters from the series. The video also provides some great visuals for how Rome may have looked.