Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Person:
Baldwin, James Mark
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit29448/544/
SERVITUDE 
servicium\ : Ger. (J9 ienst-) Leistung en ; Fr. 
services économiques ; Ital. servigi. Means of 
enjoyment when the processes of production 
and consumption are indistinguishable in 
time. 
There has been a long and rather profitless 
discussion of the question whether services 
should be included in wealth. The answer, 
indicated by the analyses of Newcomb and 
Fisher, is that in measurements of wealth as 
a flow services should be included ; but that 
in measurements of wealth as a fund, they 
should not be included. (a.t.h.) 
Servitude [Lat. scrvitudo, slavery] : Ger. 
Sklaverei ; Fr. servitude ; Ital. schiavitu. The 
state of a slave ; the state in which a human 
being is an object of property, a chattel. 
Slavery is one of the oldest and most 
widely diffused of social phenomena. There 
may have been a period antecedent to the rise 
of slavery in which the enemy or stranger 
(once almost similar characters) was invari¬ 
ably killed and perhaps eaten. But when 
this first stage of savage life had been sur¬ 
mounted, slavery seems to have been univer¬ 
sally recognized. At first the recognition of 
mutual rights and duties was confined to the 
small group of persons united by some real or 
fictitious kinship. As the primitive com¬ 
munity enlarged itself, the moral sphere was 
enlarged also. Men acknowledged the claims 
of members of the same tribe or city, and even 
of the same nation, but very faintly recognized 
those of other aliens. Even Christians, until 
comparatively recent times, scarcely recog¬ 
nized any duty towards Moslems or heathens 
beyond that of converting them when possible. 
Thus until the 18th century most civilized 
men considered that a great part of the 
human race might lawfully be held in slavery 
and treated as articles of property. Aristotle 
defended slavery under certain circumstances, 
and the Christian Church did not condemn it. 
In the most logical form of slavery the slave 
is simply an object of property, and as such 
may be used or destroyed at the pleasure of 
his owner. Such was the position of the 
slave in the primitive Roman law. But as 
such a relation between human beings is re¬ 
pugnant to the better feelings of civilized 
people, religion and morals tended to mitigate 
the position of the slave. In Greece and 
Rome the slave was regarded as a member of 
the family, and might by emancipation acquire 
civil and even political rights. The Athenian 
law and the later Roman law protected him 
from extreme brutality on the part of his 
5 
master, but without recognizing him as a 
legal person or empowering him to defend 
his own cause. In Greek and Roman society 
many slaves were highly educated, and were 
employed in what we should term the liberal 
professions. Thus they were often the equals 
of their masters, and the relations between 
master and slave were often friendly and con¬ 
fidential. But slaves employed in agriculture 
on large estates were frequently victims of 
atrocious cruelty. Such slaves took the chief 
part in the servile wars which mark the last 
age of the Roman republic. Under the em¬ 
perors rural slavery was very generally trans¬ 
formed into serfdom. Without ceasing to be 
a slave, the cultivator acquired a holding and 
a separate abode. Although still legally at 
the discretion of his master, he had a freer 
and more human life than a plantation slave 
working in a gang and shut up at night in a 
prison. When the empire became Christian, 
the slave’s family ties, which the law had 
ignored, were recognized by religion. Serf¬ 
dom survived the fall of the Roman empire. 
In Western Europe the bulk of the cultivators 
were serfs until the 13th century, when various 
causes produced a rapid diminution of serf¬ 
dom. In Central Europe serfdom was common 
down to the French Revolution. In Russia 
it was only abolished by the Czar Alexander II 
in the year 1861. The distinguishing charac¬ 
teristic of serfdom as opposed to slavery is 
found in the customary rights of the serf. 
Although the serf and his tenement were re¬ 
garded both by Roman and mediaeval lawyers 
as the property of the lord, he gradually 
acquired a customary right not to be disturbed 
in his holding so long as he rendered the 
customary payments and services. Thus the 
serf became a proprietor, although of a de¬ 
graded kind. Mediaeval and modern law 
recognized his family relations, regarded him 
as responsible for crimes, and in relation to all 
men except his master treated him as virtually 
a free man. Thus the condition of the serf 
admitted of a certain degree of wellbeing. 
Slavery, in the strict sense of the term, was 
common in the Roman empire down to its 
fall, and mediaeval and modern Christians felt 
no scruple about enslaving persons who were 
not Christian. In the interminable wars 
between Christians and Moslems the captives 
were frequently reduced to slavery, some¬ 
times of the most cruel kind, such as slavery 
in the galleys. The discovery of the New 
Woi'ld gave a powerful impulse to the use of 
slave labour in working mines and plantations. 
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