It was around this time 6 years ago when I first left Greece to come to Rome after selling myself into slavery to pay off my family’s debts. Walking into the slave markets I remember there were hundreds other slaves I could see drawn from all over Europe, particularly eastern and western societies such as the Celts, Germans, Thracians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Ethiopians. There were even many indigenous Italians, however I could tell countless others weren’t as willing to be there as I was. I assumed they had been captured and forced into being slaves, they must have been wondering why anyone would do this voluntarily.
I remember been put onto display naked in a market along with many others being auctioned off, the embarrassment and degradation I felt. A place card was put around my neck that read my name ‘Hermus’. When the bidding for me started it began it was quick and fierce, my price became quite high, everyone wanting a well-educated young man and my master ending up paying 570 denarii.
Once I was sold into slavery I knew I would be a slave for life as it would be an impossible task for me to try and buy my freedom. Raising the same sum of money that was paid for me was the only way and the small salary I was being paid would never be sufficient. I still always kept hope tho that one day my owner might have mercy to give me back the freedom I once had, allowing me to become a genuine citizen of Rome.