A slave was a person who was usually captured in battle and send back to Rome to be sold.
Most slaves in ancient Rome were acquired through warfare, and the Roman armies would bring back captives as part of a reward for their presence in battles.
Some of the defeated soldiers were also brought back as slaves and normally brought in a lot of money and this could also serve as an alternative to imprisoning them or killing them.
Fathers could also go on and sell their children into slavery if they had a need for money and this was actually lawful.
Slaves normally sought freedom by escaping their homes.
Historian Moses Finley noted as such, “fugitive slaves are almost an obsession in the sources”.
The dealers gave a six months guarantee if the slave showed any defects that were not stated at the time of the sale by taking back the slave or returning the buyers money.
Slaves were brought in from all over Europe and the Mediterranean especially among the Germans, Thracians, Celts and Eastern Mediterranean.
Harboring of fugitive slaves in Rome was illegal and professional slave-catchers were hired to hunt down runaways.
Advertisements were posted everywhere which provided descriptions of escaped slaves, and offered rewards in some cases.
Cato the Elder was recorded as saying that he expelled any old and sick slaves within his household.
Some defeated soldiers usually chose to commit suicide rather than be taken into slavery by the Romans’.