percentage of popluation as slaves in ancient states/nations/tribes

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,084
Dispargum
#11
Well they might have been from other investments but they normally invested in all sorts of things anyway. I gather it was on the whole mostly ignored.
Yes, there were ways around the law. One practice was called commenda: a plebian or an equite with a business idea but no investment capital would approach a patrician with a proposition. The patrician would put up the money to get the business started. The poor man would run the business, and they would split the profits. It was a way for the patrician to invest in the business without actually "owning" it or working it.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,621
#12
Yes, there were ways around the law. One practice was called commenda: a plebian or an equite with a business idea but no investment capital would approach a patrician with a proposition. The patrician would put up the money to get the business started. The poor man would run the business, and they would split the profits. It was a way for the patrician to invest in the business without actually "owning" it or working it.
That was in large part how patronage functioned eventually. Originally it was much more personal and nearly tribal/local but not only did patricians lend money to their clients and split the proceeds they were often quite protective against competitors to protect their interests in their client's success.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,945
Navan, Ireland
#13
Robert Knapp in "Invisible Romans" page 129 says that less than I household in 7 would own a slave and they were about 15% of the population although it varied from place to place.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Roman Slavery

In the above podcast on Roman Slavery when asked about numbers one of the contributors replies that we can not be certain but census records from Roman Egypt put it at about 11%

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