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Coercion and slavery

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Malachi posted on Sun, Nov 4 2012 1:01 PM
From wikiapedi:
Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, publicly owned slaves were used by magistrates as police. In Athens, a group of 300 Scythian slaves (the ῥαβδοῦχοι, "rod-bearers") was used to guard public meetings to keep order and for crowd control, and also assisted with dealing with criminals, handling prisoners, and making arrests. Other duties associated with modern policing, such as investigating crimes, were left to the citizens themselves.[9]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police

now someone please explain how these "slaves" were coerced into remaining slaves? The military? Did these slaves live in fear of hard-nosed aristocrats? Or was there a voluntary component?

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Verified by Malachi

Well yes, we don't really know exactly.  My guess is that they were comprised of non-Greek slaves experienced and specialised as guards, bought from foreign masters (probably mostly from Asia Minor and Thrace).  Thus they were technically slaves owned by the polis, but that doesn't mean that they had the same status as typical chattel slaves in practice.  Because they were foreigners employed purely for that role, there wasn't much for them to do in Athens apart from that particular occupation, but if they wanted to flee there probably wasn't much the Athenians could do about it.

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Consider the Judenrat in Nazi Germany. The grant of limited temporary administrative privileges doesn't change the coercive nature of the arrangement

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They were probably employed.

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http://www.stoa.org/projects/demos/scythian_archers.pdf

In Athens the so-called “Scythian Archers” served as
a police force. They were public slaves (δημόσιοι) who
served as guards (φύλακες) or watchmen (ὕποπτοι) in the
city. There is very little evidence that provides any details
about these, and what evidence we have is either from the
5th century comedy of Aristophanes – which is difficult
evidence to interpret
– or from ancient scholarship from
many centuries later.

Luckily, he frequents these forums, we can ask him...

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They most likely functioned more as mercenaries than as slaves, if they were even slaves at all (they might have just been considered slaves since they were barbarian state dependents and were lumped together with the other public slaves, δημόσιοι).

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They were slave-class because they werent citizens or recognized nobles. But they were contractors. The only legal rights they had were related to their contractual relationship. Hmmmmm
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There was a class of people between slaves and citizens - the metics (foreign residents).

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I'm not a hellenolopologologist, so please bear with me. Is there a reason why they were slave-class and not metic-class (perhaps they werent residents) or is this part of the aforementioned lack of clarity?
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Verified by Malachi

Well yes, we don't really know exactly.  My guess is that they were comprised of non-Greek slaves experienced and specialised as guards, bought from foreign masters (probably mostly from Asia Minor and Thrace).  Thus they were technically slaves owned by the polis, but that doesn't mean that they had the same status as typical chattel slaves in practice.  Because they were foreigners employed purely for that role, there wasn't much for them to do in Athens apart from that particular occupation, but if they wanted to flee there probably wasn't much the Athenians could do about it.

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