Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Slavery (Gk δουλεία; Lat. servitus; Cop. ⲙⲛ̅ⲧϩⲙ̅ϩⲁⲗ/menthemhal, or ⲙⲛ̅ⲧϭⲁ[ⲟ]ⲩⲟⲛ/mentkyawon; Syriac: ܥܒܕܘܬܐ/cabdūtā) – the capturing and/or buying and selling of human beings for forced labor – was a key social institution in the ancient Mediterranean world. The fundamental trajectory for one’s social identity was whether one was freeborn, a former …

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Wet, Chris De, “Slave/Slavery”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 01 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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