Research Location: Austria, Slovenia and Italy (Spring 2017 )-Carnuntum, Vienna, Ljubljana, Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence
“Servus vel liber?” Slavery during the Late Roman Republic
When I was a child, every night before bed time my mother would always tell me stories about ancient Rome and the Roman civilization. I loved to learn about Gods, gladiators and Emperors. I remember my favorite story was about the founding of Rome, when Romulus and Remo were raised by a wolf and then created the greatest city in Ancient History. When I got accepted in the Vienna Program of the Spring 2017, I decided that it was time to take advantage of the geography of my program and to extend my knowledge about the Romans. Since I am a government major and am very interested in ancient politics but also in the gladiators, I decided to combine both and research roman slavery and its policy while looking at gladiators as one of my examples, since they were slaves as well. Thanks to the generosity of Ms. Francine Stone I could travel to Italy and Slovenia and learn more about these topics.
The title of my research was “Servus vel liber?”, which translates to “slave or free person?” and what I researched was: “An analysis of slavery during the Late Roman Republic focusing on the significance of slavery during the rule of dictators such as Julius Caesar, the policies that regulated slavery and a comparison between the free-servants and the slaves of this period.” To collect information, my first stop was the University of Vienna and their history faculty. There, I had the chance to interview a professor and a few students in order to gather general information about the roman slaves during the period of the Late Republic. Moreover, in Austria, I visited the former Roman town of Carnuntum, where they showed me how the Romans lived at the time and where I learned that the famous scene of Caesar pointing his thumb to the ground as a symbol of death for the gladiator was created for film purposes and never happened in real life.
During the semester, I travelled a few times to Italy to visit Florence and Venice, and their museums about the Roman civilization. I had the chance to visit the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, where I talked to a student of Roman History when surrounding the ancient Roman wall and the Roman museum. Once the semester was over, I visited the birth place of the Roman civilization, Rome, where thanks to the funds that I received, I visited the Foro Romano, the coliseum and all the museums about that were somehow related to my research, such as the Traiano Museum.
Overall, it was an incredible experience and it was only possible because of Ms. Stone’s generosity. Without her support I would not have been able to do this research and I would not been able of visiting these amazing locations with outstanding museums and such an interesting history.