The Slave


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The Slave and the Serf

In Ancient Rome, the word for slave was servus. So why do we call those owned by another slaves, rather than serfs or servants?

In the middle ages warring Germanic peoples subjugated a part of the Slavic population of east-central Europe. These Slavs, as they called themselves, were sold throughout Western Europe. 

Their conquerors quickly adapted this to the Latin sclavus. In time slave was the word used for any human property, whatever the origin, and servus or serf those who are in bondage to the land rather than to individuals.

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