Compare the conditions of life for a French serf and a Roman slave.
The conditions of life for a French serf and a Roman slave are discussed below:
Who were the slaves and serfs?
• A serf was a tenant farmer who was entitled to work on his hereditary plot of land under the whim of his lord. In lieu of the ownership of the land, a serf had to offer personal services to the lord. This involved working in the fields owned solely by the lord.
• A slave was a bonded labourer of the ruler. He was bought from the market by the ruler to work on the fields and provide the services demanded. Unlike a serf, a slave did not own any land.
• The origin of slavery can be traced back to the frequent wars fought by the Roman Empire against the Western European countries. From all these nations, millions of people were brought to Rome to be sold in the market as slaves.
• Serfdom is a construct of the feudal system in Europe. This modified form of slavery originated in the medieval Europe.
• Both the slaves and the serfs had an extreme low status in the society. The word of the master was the law and neither of them could raise a voice against the master. Legal rights did not exist for either of them.
• Marriages entered into by the slaves were not recognised. A serf could marry only if he pays a fee to the master.