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Internet History Sourcebooks Project


Slavery has been a cross-cultural social and legal insititution in many human socities. Throughout the Internet History Sourcebooks Project, there are a number of primary source documents related to slavery and the goal of this page is simply to bring them together.


Ancient Slavery

Greek World

  • Slavery in the Roman Republic excerpts from Plautus, Pseudolus, Act. I, Sc. 2; Cato the Elder, Agriculture, chs. 56-59; Plautus, Menaechmi, Act V, Sc. 4.; and Plutarch, Life of Crassus, viii-xi (on the Spartacus revolt). [At this Site]
  • Texts on Three Roman Slave Revolts
    A. Sicily 136-132 BCE - Diodorus Siculus (wrote 60-30 BCE), Bibliotheke Books 34/35. 2. 1-48; Strabo (64/3 BC- c.21 CE), Geography Book 6. 2. 6-7; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2. 7. 1-8; Orosius, Histories Book 5. 6
    B. Sicily 104-100 BCE - Diodorus Siculus (wrote 60-30 BCE), Bibliotheke Book 36. 1-11; Florus, Epitome 2. 7. 9-12; Dio Cassius (c.155-235 CE), Roman History Book 27 fragment 101
    C. The War with Spartacus 73-71 CE - Plutarch, Crassus 8-11; Florus, Epitome 2. 8. 20; Appian, The Civil Wars 1. 111-121; Orosius, Histories 5. 24. 1-8
  • Tacitus (b.56/57-after 117 CE): The Murder of Pedanius Secundus (Annals 14) [Was At Michigan, now Internet Archive]
    On the murder of a slave-owner by his slave, possibly because of homosexual jealousy. The Senate addresses whether all the slaves in the house should be killed.
  • 2ND John Madden: Slavery in the Roman Empire Numbers and Origins [Was At Classics Ireland, now Internet Archive]



Early Modern Europe


The Slave Trade

Enslaved People

The Ending of Slavery

The Americas


  • Slavery in Brazil PDF File [Was at Utexas, now Internet Archive]
    Contains a number of primary sources on slavery in Brazil.
  • WEB Brazilian Slavery [At HistClo] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Charles Darwin: “I shall never again visit a slave-country” passage from near the end of the Voyage of the Beagle [At Victorian Web] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Thomas Ewbank: On Slavery in Brazil 1856 [At Modern Latin America] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Pope Leo XIII: Encyclical In Plurimus (On the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil),  1888. [At the Vatican]
    The pope gives a history of slavery in the modern period, condemns Muslim slavery and condones anti-slavery activity by popes. He neglects to mention the permission for the onset of the African slave trade provide by Pope Nicholas V.

China and East Asia

Secondary Literature



The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 12 July 2024 [CV]


[At Internet Archive