Slave looking for master

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The master-slave relationship was the cornerstone of the law of slavery, and yet it was an area about which the law often said very little. A major touchstone of the nature of a slave society was whether or not the owner had the right to kill his slave.

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In most Neolithic and Bronze Age societies slaves had no such right, for slaves from ancient Egypt and the Eurasian steppes were buried alive or killed to accompany their deceased owners into the next world. Among the Northwest Coast Tlingitslave owners killed their slaves in potlatches to demonstrate their contempt for property and wealth; they also killed old or unwanted slaves and threw their bodies into the Pacific Ocean.

That was not the case in other societies. The Hebrews, the Athenians, and the Romans under the principate restricted the right of slave owners to kill their human chattel.

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The Code of Justinian changed the definition of the slave from a thing to a person and prescribed the death penalty for an owner who killed his slave by torturepoison, or fire. Spanish law of the s and s denied owners the right to kill their slaves. Lithuanian and Muscovite law forbade the killing, maiming, or starving of a returned fugitive slave.

Qing Chinese law punished a master who killed his slave, and that punishment was more severe if the slave had done no wrong. The Aztecs slave looking for master some circumstances put to death a slave owner who killed his slave. No society, on the other hand, had the slightest sympathy for the slave who killed his owner. Roman law even prescribed that all other slaves living under the same roof were to be put to death along with the slave who had committed the homicide.

Assault and general brutality were other concerns of the law of slavery. In antiquity slaves often had the right to take refuge in a temple to escape cruel owners, but that sometimes afforded little protection. The ancient Franks and the Germans warned owners against cruelty. The Code of Justinian and the Spanish Siete Partidas deprived cruel owners of their slaves, and that tradition went into the Louisiana Black Code ofwhich made cruel punishment of slaves a crime.

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In modern societies brutality and sadistic murder of slaves by their owners were rarely condoned on the grounds that such episodes demoralized other slaves and made them rebellious, but few slave owners were actually punished for maltreating their slaves. In the American South 10 codes prescribed forced sale to another owner or emancipation for maltreated slaves. Nevertheless, cases such as State v.

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Hoover North Carolina, and State v. It was not an axiom of the master-slave relationship that the former automatically had sexual access to the latter. That was indeed the case in most societies, ranging from the ancient Middle EastAthens, and Rome to Africa, all Islamic countries, and the American South. Places such as Muscovyhowever, forbade owners to rape their female slaves, while the Chinese and the Lombards forbade the raping of married slave women.

More problematic were sexual relations between mistresses and male slaves. Athens and Rome both put the slave to death, and Byzantine law prescribed that the mistress was to be executed and the slave to be burned alive. In South India the slave owner had an absolute right to whatever labour his slave was capable of rendering. In Muscovy, on the other hand, a slave owner was jailed for forcing his slaves to labour on Sunday. In Judea in bcein Sicily in —32 bceand on the Nile in 46 ceregulations prescribed the food rations a slave could expect.

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The Lithuanian Statute of and the Russians in and decreed that slaves had a right to be fed. The Danish Virgin Islands in prescribed adequate food rations. The Alabama Slave Code of mandated that the owner had to provide slaves of working age a sufficiency of healthy food, clothing, attention during illness, and necessities in old age.

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Encyclopedia Article Introduction Historical survey Slave-owning societies Slave societies Slavery in the Americas The international slave trade Ways of ending slavery The law of slavery Sources of slavery law Legal definitions of slavery Master-slave legal relationships Family and property Legal relationships between slave owners Legal relationships between slaves and free strangers Laws of manumission The sociology of slavery The slave as outsider Attitudes toward slavery: the matter of race Slave occupations Agriculture Slave demography Slave protest Slave culture Expand.

Learning Guides. Videos Images. Additional Info. Load. Master-slave legal relationships The master-slave relationship was the cornerstone of the law of slavery, and yet it was an area about which the law often said very little. Load Next .

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