The Iowa Society of the Archaeological Institute of America presents:
Technologies of Control: Violence against Slaves in Ancient Rome by John Gruber-Miller, Cornell College
A number of publications have criticized the motif of the “happy slave” in antiquity. This presentation is meant to provide a corrective to that representation and take a deeper look at the evidence for how the enslaved experienced “social death” (Patterson). As Kamen (2010), Trimble (2016), and others have pointed out, Roman slaveholders used a variety of ways to mark slaves as property and to stigmatize them as social outcasts—workhouses, slave collars, brandings, tattoos, and scars. This presentation will lead participants through a sampling of the material and textual evidence for technologies used by slaveholders to control slaves’ bodies and to assert their ownership. Furthermore, I will suggest an approach for exploring the radically different perspectives of the slaveholder and the enslaved. Warning: this presentation will show potentially disturbing images and discuss difficult topics of confining, branding, whipping, and scarring human beings without their consent. We request that all attendees behave respectfully and demonstrate a civility. Anyone violating these basic guidelines will be removed from the meeting and will not allowed to log back in.