Animalizing the Slave: The Truth of Fiction

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Keith Bradley, “Animalizing the Slave: The Truth of Fiction.” The Journal of Roman Studies 90 (2000): 110-125.


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Ostensibly focused on slaves rather than animals, Bradley uses the evidence of Roman law and the only almost complete Latin novel, Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, to demonstrate how the Romans intentionally “animalized” their slaves, that is, made them feel inferior, dehumanized, in order to control them. It is super-interesting because Bradley emphasizes how the animalization of a slave is an on-going process, and because animalization would not be an effective process if animals enjoyed a different status within Roman society. - SUSAN A. CURRY