6 Reading 34-1 a foreign language, and were strangers from capture to death. The revolt of Spartacus (73–70 B.C.), which shook the Roman Republic to its foundations, made the relationship between masters and slaves much more severe; so did the sale of huge numbers of slaves by triumphant generals such as Crassus and Julius Caesar. At one time during the reign of Augustus, the slave population may have outnumbered that of free persons. It is fashionable to argue that Roman cruelty existed, in all its obscenity, long before slavery became essential to the Imperial economy. If true, Rome’s mass slavery gave sadism wider opportunity. The Arabs, by and large, understood the inef f ciencies of servitude. Moslem thought was much more commonsensical than the contradictory Romano-Christian views on slavery. Though Christianity had been adopted f rst by the poor and the slaves of the Mediterranean world, the Church was ambivalent about slavery once Christianity became the established religion. For slavery was essential to civilized life unless the rich and powerful were prepared to work themselves. The well-born could f ght and write verses and philosophize, appear in law courts and engage in disputation, haggle and trade, gamble and socialize, but
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