By the time of the Flavians there were large reductions in the supply of slaves, both those peacefully imported from outside the Empire and those captured in military campaigns. It was a time of decline for every large latifundia farm-households and, a little bit later, during the Antonins' rule, slaves became purely luxury items, not a source of profit. So, I'm interested: if the Romans noticed the shortages in slave supply, why didn't they set up some sort of breeding centers for slaves in order to maintain their population?

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    One consideration: it takes a long time and a lot of care/money to raise children from babies to old enough to be sold as slaves. – enderland Feb 11 '17 at 13:38
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    Your question will be difficult to address without expressing opinion, as is any question on 'why didn't' something happen. Entire books have been written on the Roman slave system. – justCal Feb 11 '17 at 15:32
  • How could slaves be trusted in an army, whereas they do not have the same rights as free men do? – Ken Graham Feb 11 '17 at 16:11
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    I did find a good file, which doesn't answer your question, but gives a lot of info about the sources of Roman slaves:The Roman slave supply – justCal Feb 11 '17 at 18:27
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    Usually you can have a slave woman pregnant in normal conditions while still using her in the household as a servant or as a worker in agriculture. In a "breeding center" the same woman would not do any useful work except awaiting birth. – Anixx Feb 12 '17 at 0:20

One reason was a gender imbalance, a lot more male slaves (captured in war), than female slaves.And of course, "breeding" requires both.

When slaves were shipped to from Africa to America, there was a reasonable balance of male and female slaves that were bought or captured, and taken across the Atlantic in ships.

Very few ancient ships carried large numbers of women.The carvels of the Middle Ages were sufficiently comfortable to accommodate women (some came over on the Mayflower, for instance).

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