Saturday, January 2, 2010

Curious Item

I just finished reading two fascinating books: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Volume I and Volume II. The books are about a young African man who is raised in an experiment in Boston in the years leading up to and during the war for Independence. It brings up questions about race and slavery that I had not considered before.

A quote that caught my eye from the story:

"The Latin for 'slave' - servus - as rendered in English literally is 'the spared one'; slaves being those taken prisoner in battle, who should, therefore, by all the rules of engagement, have been slain. In antiquity, slaves possessed no rights as citizens because, though spared, they were accounted dead, and as the dead, could not be admitted as living men; and so, for generations, the dead toiled and bread in Rome; the dead taught Rome's children the secrets of philosophy; the dead built Rome's great monuments and tombs; until the Romans themselves joined the dead, and all that remained were tombs, and monuments, and half-remembered terms." pg 330 of Volume I.

This should lead to an interesting discussion in class.

No comments:

Post a Comment