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5

Most of the answers focus on the similarities between serfdom and slavery, and it can often get subjective based on the one's political views (an anarchist or communist might claim that modern salaried employment is the same as slavery, because the employee doesn't own the means of production and most of the profit goes to the employer). Therefore, here are ...


6

One problem, as has been pointed out above, is that the terms "serf" & "slave" are largely defined in context of the culture they are used in. Almost any statement one could make about a "slave" could often apply to a "serf" too. For example, servants in ancient Rome were always slaves, yet (if I remember my Tolstoy correctly) Russian nobility had "house ...


35

It seems like you are trying to treat "slavery" and "serfdom" as trans-historical categories, and that is where the confusion lies. To make meaningful definitions and comparisons, we have to be more specific. There are many different forms of so-called "unfree labor" and each must be understood in its own context. Unfree Labor is the title of a classic book ...


10

In English Law (post Norman-conquest) there are in general two classes of Villeins, with shared aspects: Villeins en regardant: A villein annexed to the manor of land; a serf. The consequence of being annexed to the land is that these villeins are both required to, and guaranteed the right to, till the land to which they are annexed and enjoy its ...


23

Slavery and serfdom are legal terms; every legal framework (roughly every country) will have different definitions. So as you point out Roman slavery is different from French slavery, and both are different from serfdom. There is a linguistic principle that the definition of words refers to a cluster of related concepts (think of all the objects that can be ...


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