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Average lifespan for people who made it to the age of 10 was 47.5 years.   Say you have a slave who is 45, and is therefore, presumably, something of a banger.

Suppose you are a bit of a bastard and also a tightwad, and  would prefer not to keep spending money on food, accommodation etc for a slave who was frankly always a bit of a lemon.

You aren't allowed to kill them, Hadrian outlawed that.   Your slave has no marketable value.

What do you do?

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sineala
10th Jan, 2016 00:20 (UTC)
...free them? Then they're -- well okay, they're still your problem, but presumably less of your problem?
bunn
10th Jan, 2016 09:26 (UTC)
That was my logical solution too! And there's some support for it, in that Claudius ruled that if you dumped your sick old slaves at the temple of Aesculapius on an island in the Tiber rather than looking after them, they were automatically free and you didn't even get to still be their patron.

But then I had a moment of doubt and looked it up, and found several historians all going 'you might think they were freed when they got old, but you would be WRONG' (that doc that ningloreth links above is an example.) Only I couldn't work out WHY they were saying that.

I suppose it may be as simple as Noted Historian A said it So Everyone Knows It Must Be True.

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