What if Rome had banned slavery when it became a Republic?

Why should they ban slavery? Or why should they even get the idea of banning slavery?
Slavery was a part of almost every society. Many saw it as the natural order of things.

When Rome became a republic, it was still a small Italian city state without much power. This early Roman Republic wouldn't be able to enforce such a ban of slavery (even if they would get the weird idea of banning it), since that would mean war with every neighbor.
 
When Rome became a republic, it was still a small Italian city state without much power. This early Roman Republic wouldn't be able to enforce such a ban of slavery (even if they would get the weird idea of banning it), since that would mean war with every neighbor.

I don't think that war with neighbouring countries would have been much of a threat; most likely, Rome's neighbours would just shrug at the city-state's weirdness. Bigger obstacles would be, firstly, the fact that (as you say) nobody of the time questioned slavery, and things like the abolition of slavery don't just come out of a vacuum; and, secondly, the fact that, as far as we can tell, the Republic was set up by an aristocratic coup against a populist tyrant, and why would these aristocrats, who'd just overthrown their king precisely because he was threatening their power, go around embracing ideas of universal equality?
 
It is not in the Republics interest to ban slavery. In fact the Roman Republic fought several wars to stop huge slave rebellions (2 in Sicily, 1 in Italy) and one attempt to ban slavery in Anatolia. Slavery was so pervasive throughout the Mediterranean that it would be bizzare to up and abolish a fundamentally necessary aspect of labour. We only shook off the last vestiges of mass slavery in the Western world 150 years ago.

The Republics' military is also less of a standing army in the early years and would not be able to "enforce" such practices, given that it consisted of small landholding farmers who would take slaves as loot and use them around their farm after short campaigns. That is until they were largely squeezed out by the massive slave fuelled Latifundia farms of the Patricians.

The Achaemenid Empire, however, disapproved of slavery in Persia, due to their Zoroastrian faith (which banned the practice). It was one of the reasons the Hellenics did not like to be ruled by them.
 
Why should they ban slavery? Or why should they even get the idea of banning slavery?
Slavery was a part of almost every society. Many saw it as the natural order of things.

When Rome became a republic, it was still a small Italian city state without much power. This early Roman Republic wouldn't be able to enforce such a ban of slavery (even if they would get the weird idea of banning it), since that would mean war with every neighbor.

And that it would stay. Even if their neighbors just ignored them, even if they find the philosophical and cultural underpinnings, the economic disadvantage and required centeralized military spending needed to adopt such a policy means Rome will never have the spare resources to rise to anything close to compedative even in Latium, much less behyond. History changes radically, but for "Rome" the best case result is that its name becomes an obscure entry on a list of settlements dominated by and engulfed into the polity or alliance of a similar-cultured neighbor.
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
Not even remotely plausible, for it was too ingrained in the society. It's not just that no one questioned it - it simply never occurred to anyone to question it. In all the surviving literature from the ancient world, there is literally not a single sentence by anyone that even remotely suggests slavery is immoral. Seneca says that people should treat their slaves decently, but that is as close as you get.
 
Slavery had nothing to do with republic or monarchy.

It was deeply and logically rooted in antic societies.

And it is no mystery that slavery began being abolished in the age of the industrial revolution : morality is often the veil of interest.

From the beginning of human development, productivity was very low and workforce was scarce. So workforce was badly needed and valuable.

So this is why almost people captured other people and made them slaves. Unskilled slaves made the painful work. And skilled slaves, like doctors or teachers or engineers, were extremely valuable.

Neither Jesus nor the first centuries’ christians nor Christian monarchs proclaimed that slavery should be abolished. Same for other religions.

It was only when there was profitable alternatives to slavery that men decided, in Europe first of all, that morality could prevail over a social institution that had ceased being indispensable to their economies.

So there is no way the Romans are going to abolish slavery, be it in the beginning of the republic or in the end of that regime. Unless they turn cathar 16 centuries before this religious sect appeared OTL in Europe and decide that they should deprive their fleshly envelopes of anything more than the mere necessary to survive, or let themselves die.

This of course does not fit at all with warrior aristocratic societies. And those who give up these ideals will finished conquered and enslaved by their neighbors.
 
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Slavery wasn't questioned by most societies in antiquity. Indeed, one wonders why Achaemenid Persia was an exception. Sort of. Maybe.
 
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While I agree that Rome banning slavery seems highly unlikely, the OP was rather asking for the consequences.

And this I would suggest could be a fascinating topic. Would it help them in their conquests if the slaves of their enemies could hope for freedom in case of a Roman victory? Would it have prevented Patricians founding their latifundiums and subsequently ruining the minor farmers that formed the base of the citizen soldiers?
 

Admiral Matt

Gone Fishin'
It is not in the Republics interest to ban slavery. In fact the Roman Republic fought several wars to stop huge slave rebellions (2 in Sicily, 1 in Italy) and one attempt to ban slavery in Anatolia. Slavery was so pervasive throughout the Mediterranean that it would be bizzare to up and abolish a fundamentally necessary aspect of labour. We only shook off the last vestiges of mass slavery in the Western world 150 years ago.

The Republics' military is also less of a standing army in the early years and would not be able to "enforce" such practices, given that it consisted of small landholding farmers who would take slaves as loot and use them around their farm after short campaigns. That is until they were largely squeezed out by the massive slave fuelled Latifundia farms of the Patricians.

The Achaemenid Empire, however, disapproved of slavery in Persia, due to their Zoroastrian faith (which banned the practice). It was one of the reasons the Hellenics did not like to be ruled by them.

While I mostly agree, the "we only shook it off 150 years ago" bit in a conversation about Rome obscures some huge shifts in the interim.

Chattel slavery legally validated by the state didn't really last until the 1860s. It went nearly extinct during the early Middle Ages (at least in the western half of Europe, non-Muslim-ruled India, and China). Then it suddenly and jarringly reappeared in 15th and early 16th century Europe, was popularly rejected except when it could be kept "out of sight, out of mind", proliferated where European civilization could profit the most while witnessing the least, and was then coincidentally shut down a second time in an era when transportation and mass media were making it harder to turn a blind eye.

Even then, the US civil war was hardly the end. I'd argue what the Nazis and wartime Japanese practiced was closer to the Roman institution than was the US form of slavery.

I need to go back and read more about the Zoroastrian take on slavery. I get the impression a lot of the Mesopotamian experience bled over into their culture, but I haven't read enough to know if I'm just imagining that.
 
Chattel slavery legally validated by the state didn't really last until the 1860s. It went nearly extinct during the early Middle Ages (at least in the western half of Europe, non-Muslim-ruled India, and China). Then it suddenly and jarringly reappeared in 15th and early 16th century Europe, was popularly rejected except when it could be kept "out of sight, out of mind", proliferated where European civilization could profit the most while witnessing the least, and was then coincidentally shut down a second time in an era when transportation and mass media were making it harder to turn a blind eye.
In the 'medieval period', de facto or legal serfdom existed in China and Europe.
 
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Admiral Matt

Gone Fishin'
In the 'medieval period', de facto or legal serfdom existed in China and Europe.

My point exactly. The two were drastically different systems, and were viewed as such by those who experienced them. Not to mention the utterly different way each functioned in economic terms.
 
What if Rome banned slavery when it became a republic and used troops to enforce it?
When slaves from other Italian city states and tribes start fleeing to the protection of Rome, a big coalition of angry slave owners rase the city to the point where archaeologists today don't even know where to begin looking for it.
 
My point exactly. The two were drastically different systems, and were viewed as such by those who experienced them. Not to mention the utterly different way each functioned in economic terms.
Not that much different except in a slight alleviation in status and legal protection which may or may not be enforced.A lot of serfs can be freely killed by their masters without any enforced legal repercussions.
 
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That wasn't the question. The OP wasn't asking for the possible process to such an eventuality but the consequences of said eventuality.
But in thus forum,you should always ask WIs that are theoretically possible and plausible.It’s the same about why you don’t ask WI Operation Sealion succeeded in post-1900.
 
But in thus forum,you should always ask WIs that are theoretically possible and plausible.It’s the same about why you don’t ask WI Operation Sealion succeeded in post-1900.
The Roman Republic came to be when Roman People under the leadership of their Patricians overthrew their Etruscan King, a simple tweaking of events changing the power dynamic among the Roman Rebels more in favor of the Plebs makes this scenario plausible. History has certainly taken stranger turns.

It's most definitely not impossible nor ABS and the discussion should not be buried under the Whys
 
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