I am a young woman of age 14 from Gaul and I am now a captive being taken back to the Rome. Before I was taken, I lived with my family in our home and I my parents were starting to consider suitors for my marriage. Julius Caesar conquered our territory and sold everyone in our area, including my entire family. Now I am being taken to Rome by slave traders. The current Roman consuls are Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Servius Sulpicius Rufus (UNLV, List). My people don’t speak the same languages as the Romans, so this is very difficult for me. My journey will require me to travel through Gaul to the coast and then by sea south towards Rome.
In spite of the trauma of being taken as a slave, I am not without hope. I am already dreaming that someday I will be able to earn my freedom because I have heard that this is possible and that if a slave can earn his or her freedom it is possible to raise one’s status in Roman society. When I arrive in Rome I expect to be sold—a humiliating prospect, since slaves are sold naked (Johnston).
I hope that I can become a household slave to a wealthy family because that would probably offer me the best life, but of course it also depends on what my masters are like. I hope that I could be a lady-in-waiting to a noblewoman, and preferably a kind and intelligent one who is able to keep her husband’s attention away from me. This would be one of the best types of work I could be given and it would also give me the chance of living a very comfortable life and even becoming close to the people I serve (Gagarin 323). I hope that I am bought by people who will treat me kindly and that I can come to be considered a member of the family. Life would be safer for me that way. As a slave I will be considered property and that means if male members of the household want to use me for sex I am unable to refuse them (Williams 31). For this reason I am fearful and I hope very much that I will be sold to good people who will take care of me.
I have heard that Romans will marry across class and since I am young and I have been told I am pretty, I hope that marriage might raise my status. I have also heard that slaves with special skills have a better chance of living a better life in Rome, and as I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful singing voice (UNLV, Roman Slavery), I hope this will help me in my new life (Gagarin 323).
I’m sad about being separated from my family and I am worried about what will happen to them. I am afraid that my father will be forced into difficult and dangerous work and that he may not survive long. I hope that my mother can get a good household position because she is good at cooking, but I do not know if her cooking will please the Romans. I am sad to leave my home yet part of me is also excited to see the city. Maybe that is a terrible thing to feel, since I have lost my home but I find that I must think of some way to be hopeful and the knowledge that I will see the great city keeps my mind occupied.
It is no great life being a slave, to be taken from your home and family to be sold to strangers in a foreign city. Some slaves are more fortunate than others and I am one of these because I am not likely to be sent to work in the mines or as a farm laborer or even a soldier. As a slave I will have few rights and little power, yet there is still the possibility that I might improve my situation in life or that I might be placed with a family that will become fond of me. So much of my fate rests in the hands of the person who will become my master (UNLV, Roman Slaver).
- Johnston, Mary. Roman life. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1957. Print.
- Millar, Fergus. The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2002. Print.
- Gagarin, Michael (Ed.). “Slavery in Rome.” The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
- Williams, Craig. A. Roman Homosexuality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
- UNRV History. (2003). List of consuls. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. http://www.unrv.com/government/consul.php
- UNRV History. (2003. Roman Slavery. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. http://www.unrv.com/culture/roman-slavery.php