‘I am your slave, forever’: Slavery and Servitude in Late Period Egypt
How can we define slavery? What makes someone a slave?
These were the questions that formed the basis of Ella Karev her dissertation, Slavery and Servitude in Late Period Egypt (2022). In this talk, she presents the findings of her scholarship regarding slavery of this understudied period in Egyptian history, but also speak about the deeper issues: was a slave considered chattel? What rights did slaves—or their owners—claim and exercise? Could they have children, get married, or own property in their own name?
In this analysis, she incorporates varied documentation (including Aramaic texts), re-evaluations of Egyptian terms of enslavement such as nmḥ and bꜣk, a study of onomastics and implications, insight into the practice of marking slave bodies, and relative price comparisons of slaves with goods and dowries. But at the core of this investigation are the above questions, which contextualise this study within slavery studies and demonstrates her attempt to answer how we can discuss slavery and enslaved persons in Egypt in modern terminology while remaining true to the Egyptian context.