Slaves were brought to Greece from "barbarian" nations and sold as servants to the Greeks.  Some slaves came from one Greek city-state conquering another and taking away its able-bodied women and children.  (The conquered men were typically killed.)
         There was a slave market in the midst of the city-state agoras, where citizens could buy or sell slaves. The slave trade was so well developed that even the poorest of citizens had one or two slaves.  The extremely wealthy would easily have a hundred.  Not all slaves were
domestic.  Others worked on countryside farms, toiled in the mines, manufactured pottery or armor in the city factories, or rowed on the Athenian war ships.
         Slaves had few to no rights.  Athenians were noted for being very "
humane" toward their slaves.  Even though slaves were the property of their master, the master could not kill one of his slaves without suffering a penalty.  In order for a slave to die, he or she must be tried before a court of law.  During the course of a lawsuit, slaves could be tortured (usually stretched on the rack) in order to obtain information about their masters.  But slave evidence was considered highly circumstantial, since most of them would freely admit whatever the torturer wished to know, true or not. 
         Slaves could visit temples and attend the city festivals, but were barred from the gymnasium and the city assembly.  Many slaves were given their freedom in their master's will, and some even managed to buy their freedom.     
          Even though they were "enlightened," the Greeks saw nothing wrong with owning slaves.  They simply believed that some of peoples of the earth were destined to serve others.




ABOVE:  Slave-trading Ships Arrive in Port

BELOW:  Female Slaves Gossip at the City Fountain