[ExI] Gradual Extinction of Slavery

painlord2k at libero.it painlord2k at libero.it
Sat May 30 19:20:10 UTC 2009

Il 22/05/2009 23.58, Lee Corbin ha scritto:
> Mirco wrote (in The Rationality of Belief is Relative 8:33AM)
> painlord2k at libero.it wrote:

> Do you know why, about a millennium ago, slavery in Europe gradually
> ceased? (I do believe, from a book I'm reading "The Discovery of
> Mankind", that contrary to the stereotype, the Catholic Church's
> behaviour really was strongly affected (sometimes) by its highly
> theoretical doctrines, even if this meant less power. Perhaps this
> is why?)

Slavery started to decline with the Roman Empire, as there were not
enough successful military expedition to replenish the slave pool. The
slaves were not reproducing enough, so the Empire needed a continue
influx of new slaves from abroad.

Anyone know what was the reproduction rate of slaves in the South?
The black slaves were able to reproduce themselves or there was the need
to bring more slaves from Africa to replenish the losses?

The slavery continued with the German kingdoms and, maybe, the slaves
conditions was worse than in the imperial times.

The slavery was practically abolished at the end of the X century
(before 1000 AC) because the Church first extended the sacraments to the
slaves (slaves could become Christians) and prohibited to Christians to
reduce other Christians (and Jews) in slavery.

Saint Paul, also teach the slaves to serve their masters but admonished
the masters to not threat the slaves and that God treat all in the same
way. So, Christian masters where put in a situation where they could not
threat slaves with punishment or death with impunity. Not in front of
God. As slaves were given sacraments and recognized to have a soul, they
were recognized as men. And, as men, other men have not the right to
keep them as slaves or enslave them (some saint argued that all men
deserve to be slaves because of the Sin, so all masters are unjust
masters and they risk much more to go to Hell than slaves). Then the
priests urged the masters to free their slaves as a way to obtain
So, many masters in their last wills freed the slaves and many heirs
tried to forge the wills to prevent this.
Also, many free men married slave woman (something that was against the
laws). The most famous of these was Clodoveo II, king of Franks, that
married the slave Batilde (she become saint after). Under the regency of
Batilde, the commerce of Christian slaves was prohibited (this happen in
the VII century, 650-660 AC) and she sought to free slave children.

> (Evidently slavery was also slated for extinction in the U.S.,
> probably by the end of the 19th century, but there only for purely
> economic reasons.)

Machines make slaves redundant.
Slaves in agricultural settings are managed differently from slaves in

> Or were the reasons not connected to the Church?

Slavery continued and continue in Africa and M.E., so Church and 
religion are surely linked to the slave disappearance in the West.
Then the West, mainly England, settled to disrupt and destroy the slave 
trade around the world. I'm sure this helped England to affirm his 
economic power against others. England, with its Industrial revolution, 
was better off without competitors that based their competitiveness upon 
cheap slave labour.


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