White Slavery in Ancient & Medieval Europe
Among the ancient Greeks, despite their tradition of democracy, the enslavement of fellow whites even fellow Greeks was the order of the day. Aristotle considered white slaves as things. The Romans also had no compunctions against enslaving whites who they too termed “a thing” (res). In his agricultural writings, the first century B.C. Roman philosopher Varro labeled white slaves as nothing more than “tools that happened to have voices” (instrumenti vocale). Cato the Elder, discoursing on plantation management, proposed that white slaves when old or ill should be discarded along with worn-out farm implements.
Julius Caesar enslaved as many as one million whites from Gaul, some of whom were sold to the slave dealers who followed his victorious legions (William D. Phillips, Jr., Slavery from Roman Times to the Early Transatlantic Trade, p.18).
In A.D. 319 the “Christian” emperor of Rome, Constantine, ruled that if an owner whipped his white slave to death “he should not stand in any criminal accusation if the slave dies; and all statutes of limitations and legal interpretations are hereby set aside.”
The Romans enslaved thousands of the early white inhabitants of Great Britain who were known as “Angles,” from which we derive the term “Anglo-Saxon” as a description of the English race. In the sixth century Pope Gregory the First witnessed blond-haired, blue-eyed English boys awaiting sale in a slave market in Rome. Inquiring of their origin, the Pope was told they were Angles. Gregory replied, “Non Angli, sed Angeli” (“Not Angles, but Angels”). When the Franks conquered the Visigoths in southern Gaul huge numbers of whites entered the slave markets. “After Charlemagne’s conquest of Saxony, during which many pagan Saxons were enslaved, he set up a network of parish churches. To provide for the maintenance of the priest and the church, those living in the parish were to donate a house and land as well as a male and female (Saxon) slave to the church for every 120 people in the parish” (William Phillips, Slavery from Roman Times to the Early Transatlantic Trade. p. 52).