# What Were Slaves Not Allowed to Do in Ancient Rome?

As we explore the history of Ancient Rome, it is impossible to ignore the role that slavery played in the society of that time. Slaves were a significant part of the Roman economy, and they were used for a variety of purposes, ranging from manual labor to entertainment. However, despite the fact that slaves were an integral part of Roman society, they were subject to a number of restrictions that limited their freedom and autonomy. In this article, we will take a closer look at what slaves were not allowed to do in Ancient Rome.

Restrictions on Movement

One of the most significant restrictions placed on slaves in Ancient Rome was their limited freedom of movement. Slaves were not allowed to leave their master’s property without permission, and they were required to carry a pass or a token that identified them as belonging to a particular master. This restriction was not only to prevent slaves from running away but also to prevent them from engaging in illegal activities or socializing with other slaves from different households.

Punishments for Running Away

If a slave did attempt to run away, they could face severe punishments. In some cases, slaves were branded on their foreheads with a letter “F” for fugitivus, which meant “runaway.” This made it difficult for slaves to escape again in the future, as the brand would identify them as a fugitive. In more extreme cases, slaves who attempted to run away could be executed.

Legal Restrictions

Slaves in Ancient Rome were also subject to a number of legal restrictions that limited their rights and protections. For example, slaves could not enter into legal contracts, own property, or marry without the permission of their master. If a slave was accused of a crime, they could not defend themselves in court and were instead subject to the whims of their master or the court.

Treatment by the Law

The treatment of slaves by the law was a contentious issue in Ancient Rome. While there were some legal protections for slaves, such as the ability to seek refuge in a temple or the right to file a complaint against their master, these protections were often not enforced or were ignored. Additionally, while there were laws that prohibited the mistreatment of slaves, these laws were not always followed, and slaves could be subjected to physical abuse, torture, and even death.

Restrictions on Education and Religion

Another significant restriction placed on slaves in Ancient Rome was their limited access to education and religion. Slaves were often denied the opportunity to learn to read or write, which limited their ability to gain knowledge or communicate with others. Additionally, slaves were not allowed to practice their own religion but were instead required to adhere to the religious practices of their master.

Exceptions for Skilled Laborers

There were some exceptions to the limited access to education and religion for slaves who were skilled laborers. These slaves, who were often trained in a particular trade, were allowed to attend workshops and learn from other skilled laborers. Additionally, some skilled laborers were able to earn enough money to purchase their freedom and become free citizens.

In conclusion, the restrictions placed on slaves in Ancient Rome were significant and far-reaching. Slaves were denied many of the basic freedoms and protections that we take for granted today, including the freedom of movement, legal protections, and access to education and religion. While slavery was an integral part of Roman society, it is important to remember the injustices that were inflicted upon those who were enslaved.

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