Taxing Freedom in Thessalian Manumission Inscriptions


In Taxing Freedom Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz examines manumission inscriptions from Hellenistic and Roman Thessaly, which record payments made to the poleis by manumitted slaves. In this original study the author explores the purpose of and the motivation behind these payments, apparently exacted as a federal impost, and places them in a wider historical and economic context.
Based on a close examination of the epigraphic and literary evidence, Taxing Freedom offers important insights into the nature and extent of slavery and manumission in Hellenistic and Roman Thessaly, the Thessalian fiscal machinery, and the ways by which Thessalian poleis intervened in the economic life of their citizens to secure revenues.

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Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz, Ph.D. (1996), Tel-Aviv University, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics, Tel-Aviv University. She has published extensively on manumitted slaves and other non-citizens groups, including Not Wholly Free (Brill, 2005).
"In this useful contribution, Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz, the author of a very important monograph on Greek freedmen, re-examines the Thessalian manumission records in the light of comparative evidence from other areas, in order to establish the nature of this sum paid by Thessalian freedmen: did it constitute a manumission tax, or was it a fee for registering the manumissions? In the process, she examines various aspects of Thessalian slavery and its political, economic and social history." Kostas Vlassopoulos, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.08.35.
All those interested in the institution of slavery and manumission in ancient Greece, and in the economic and social history of Thessaly in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
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