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Slave gladiators in antebellum south?

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  • Slave gladiators in antebellum south?

    I am going to see the Quentin Tarentino Move, Django Unchained, which has as part of its storyline a plantation where the slaves were trained as gladiators.

    I'm doing a quick survey to see if anyone knows of such activities in the antebellum south. If so, how common were they.

    I recall the the 1970's Movie Mandingo showed fights between slaves that were similar to our modern UFC.

  • #2
    Never heard of it at least not in the Roman sense. I can imagine wrestling or boxing matches as gambling instruments between slaves, as it was not unheard of to stage these regardless of race between local favorites.

    As slaves taking part in these would probably be in prime physical condition it would also have been cost prohibitive, from the owners perspective, to risk costly assets in such a manner.

    Regards,
    Dennis
    If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

    Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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    • #3
      Two questions,
      1. What were the legal sanctions against harming or killing slaves? If a slaveholder had a thousand dollars to waste, what was stopping him killing a slave?

      2. What would be the inflation adjusted value of a slave today?
      One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

      "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
      Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chukka View Post
        Two questions,
        1. What were the legal sanctions against harming or killing slaves? If a slaveholder had a thousand dollars to waste, what was stopping him killing a slave?

        2. What would be the inflation adjusted value of a slave today?
        I can't answer no. 2.

        However, for no. 1, Southern slave codes, which were rooted in English colonial slave laws, punishment for killing a slave were usually a heavy fine. Later codes did make outright killing of a slave illegal in most cases, but I don't recall if the laws were heavily enforced.

        The Code of Justinian and the Spanish Siete Partidas deprived cruel owners of their slaves, and that tradition went into the Louisiana Black Code of 1806, which made cruel punishment of slaves a crime. In modern societies brutality and sadistic murder of slaves by their owners were rarely condoned on the grounds that such episodes demoralized other slaves and made them rebellious, but few slave owners were actually punished for maltreating their slaves. In the American South 10 codes prescribed forced sale to another owner or emancipation for maltreated slaves. Nevertheless, cases such as State v. Hoover (North Carolina, 1839) and State v. Jones (Alabama, 1843) were considered sensational because slave owners were punished for savagely “correcting” their slaves to death.
        http://www.britannica.com/blackhistory/article-24164
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~prael/projec...nen/page3.html

        http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twik...ect/Hoover.pdf

        Link to People Without Rights: An Interpretation of the Fundamentals of the Law of Slavery in the U.S. South footnote where murder cases of slaves are somewhat discusses in detail: http://books.google.com/books?id=zJ3...01843)&f=false
        Last edited by semperpietas; 30 Dec 12, 18:51.
        "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

        Pyrrhus Travels West:
        Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chukka View Post
          2. What would be the inflation adjusted value of a slave today?
          Average Price of a Slave



          Source: Historical Statistics, Table Bb212. Average Slave Price.

          A price of $500 per slave in 1850, using the simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value today is $14,900. This answer is obtained by multiplying $500 by the percentage increase in the CPI from 1850 to 2011.

          From: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/

          Philip
          Last edited by PhilipLaos; 30 Dec 12, 19:47.
          "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

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          • #6
            A Quentin Tarantino movie is the absolute last place I'd look for historical accuracy.
            Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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            • #7
              Where I was going with the question about the value of slaves was comparing southern slavery to the ancient Greek model, where slaveholding was relatively widely spread through the populace, but each citizen might have only owned one or two slaves. Nearly every slave account I have read (for some reason, perhaps related to my wage earning mortagee status I find these fascinating) seems to refer to slaves living in large holdings.
              One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

              "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
              Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chukka View Post
                Where I was going with the question about the value of slaves was comparing southern slavery to the ancient Greek model, where slaveholding was relatively widely spread through the populace, but each citizen might have only owned one or two slaves. Nearly every slave account I have read (for some reason, perhaps related to my wage earning mortagee status I find these fascinating) seems to refer to slaves living in large holdings.
                That is because the primary application for them was in the very labor intensive cotton growing process on very large individually owned plantations. There were people who owned smaller numbers of slaves, but they did not possess the economic, social and political power of their more well-heeled counterparts.

                Regards,
                Dennis
                If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by R. Evans View Post
                  A Quentin Tarantino movie is the absolute last place I'd look for historical accuracy.

                  I agree, but the problem is that many individuals who know little or nothing about history are going to watch the movie and think that things really did happen that way.

                  I am doing this survey to make sure that I'm not missing anything when I talk to other people who have seen the movie.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
                    This isn't the correct value, for a comparison of purchase value a slave costs about the same as ~ $300,000 2011 dollars, and in terms of relative value (the best indicator of how valuable a slave is) it's closer to 3 million 2011 USD.

                    A slave goes for about 3 years skilled labour wages (about 6 unskilled labour). Owning a human being was expensive.
                    "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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                    • #11
                      The value of slaves is more of using the correct formula of figuring out the value of 1860 dollars to 2013 dollars. Many Poor White Farmers in the US had dirt floors in 1860. I don't see Slave Quarters being better!

                      The Sugar Growing area of Southeast Louisiana still has some of these buildings in use. I assume there are now good floors and air conditioning now! Back in 1860 this same area had more millionaires than any other part of the US. Braxton Bragg had a plantation in Lafourche Parish!

                      Pruitt
                      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                      • #12
                        That movie depicts proto-KKK before the Civil War (which is not only inaccurate, but also doesn't make any sense) and has multiple shots that prominently feature the bust of Nefertiti, which wasn't discovered until the 20th century. It also (if I remember correctly) states the year 1858 as being two years before the Civil War, when the Civil War started in 1861.

                        The depiction of history in that movie is basically completely nonsensical.

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                        • #13
                          The movie makes a big thing about Black men riding horses in Texas. I don't think it was. If you send a Slave on an errand, a horse may just come in handy. In Texas a Slave could be found doing many things. It was a frontier state with an active Indian threat.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                            The movie makes a big thing about Black men riding horses in Texas. I don't think it was. If you send a Slave on an errand, a horse may just come in handy. In Texas a Slave could be found doing many things. It was a frontier state with an active Indian threat.

                            Pruitt
                            Yeah that struck me as odd, too.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cretaceous Bob View Post
                              That movie depicts proto-KKK before the Civil War (which is not only inaccurate, but also doesn't make any sense)......
                              The depiction of history in that movie is basically completely nonsensical.
                              Have you ever heard of Haiti? Nat Turner? John Brown? There were most certainly quasi-military organizations PRIOR to the Civil War. Kansas-Nebraska had a lot of those folks at war with the anti-slavery folks. And in many of the states they had Committees of Safety and Vigilance, which were nothing more than pro-secessionist groups of bullies who would intimidate Unionists just prior to the war.....even earlier, these groups would look for any abolitionists & would either tar & feather them or worse. They also looked out for the local communities when it came to worries about another Nat Turner type of rebellion. I didn't think that part of the movie was too far-fetched at all.

                              Edit: Welcome, by the way! Thanks for dropping in & posting!
                              The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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